Tuesday, November 23, 2021

On Spiritual Abuse in 'Communities with Sectarian Deviations.'

Valparaiso Carmel, barricaded against Visitators.

The truth behind the fear mongering.

Archbishop Vigano has famously called contemplative nuns to resist 'Cor Orans' and the 'Bergoglian' assualt against traditional contemplative life.

"Behind this purging operation, like everything that distinguishes the work of the Bergoglian Church, there is a hatred and an iconoclastic fury towards the communities of contemplative life, and in a particular way against those tied to Tradition and the ancient rite. This hatred has become commonplace with the infamous instruction Cor Orans and its cruel and merciless application. What also stands out is an insane interest in the finances and donations that these communities receive, which the Vatican tries to grab for itself using any pretext it can." - Vigano Letter

The Archbishop and his supporters and followers, in their campaign against the Franciscan Papacy, fuel the fires of controversy with their lies, infiltrating even into the cloister.  One such influencer appears to be the Fairfield Carmel chaplain, Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, a former Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate.  His congregation was the subject of a Visitation and reform by the Holy See.  Many traditionalists claimed persecution as a result.  I will reprint an excerpt from another excellent article from WPI by Sr. Gabriela Hicks, OCD which clears up much of the disinformation disseminated by LifeSite News, Fr. Dean and Archbishop Vigano.  (Be sure and follow the link and read the entire essay.)

Welcome the Light

I posted the Open Letter to Archbishop Vigano on our website on October 4, and on the same day LifeSiteNews posted an article about the chaplain at the Fairfield Carmel, Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean. The article presented an interview with Fr. Dean which had been made over a month before. As I read the article and watched the interview, I was shocked to read Fr. Dean’s report of the meeting we Carmelite Nuns had with our former Father General and members of the Definitory (the governing body) in St. Louis in April 2017. In the interview, Fr. Dean claimed that the Father General said “that the times have changed and that they, contemplative, cloistered nuns, need to adapt to the times… that they can’t live the way they were living before.”
This was totally incorrect. Immediately, some of us who were present went online to say so. Although Fr. Dean said, “I heard some reports from what took place at the meeting, he didn’t say where he got his information. Since both Mother Stella-Marie, the Prioress of Fairfield Carmel, and Mother Therese, the Sub-Prioress, were present at the meeting[i], as well as Mother Agnes, the Sub-Prioress of Valparaiso, they could have told him directly what was said. The full address of Father General is available online (you can read it here). In his address he did not say anything about needing to “adapt to the times,” but that we need to respond to “the challenges that the times we live in present to contemplative life.” Furthermore, he affirmed and upheld “the truth of our vocation, the truth of Carmel, of its message, of its extraordinary pertinence for modern times.” Moreover, all the conferences and question-and-answer periods were recorded on video, so it is easy to establish the truth.
Since Fr. Dean’s statements concerning the Carmelites were so far from reality, I had questions about the veracity of his other statements. Fr. Dean was previously a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate, and he was obviously negatively affected by the Apostolic Visitation of that Institute. He seemed to imply that any apostolic visitation led directly to the suppression of an institute. He mentioned the Hanceville Poor Clares, and I looked into the matter and found that they were doing well and had recently elected a new Abbess.
For the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, I looked into reports of the Visitation, and even such conservative websites as Catholic Culture and Catholic World Report agreed that the apostolic visitation was justified. There was also a long and detailed report in La Stampa. These gave a very different view of an apostolic visitation from what one gets in watching Fr. Dean’s interview. In the end, far from being suppressed, the Hanceville Poor Clares and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate seem to have come through their apostolic visitations diminished in numbers but invigorated and strengthened in spirit. - SISTER GABRIELA HICKS


Sunday, November 21, 2021

New paintings.

S. Martin de Porres
S. John Macias
in the style of Angelico.
T. Nelson

Recent paintings after Fra Angelico.

The reason I began painting icons years ago was because I always want a real icon, or one I had seen in a museum.  So I decided to try and make my own, to copy the masters - which is how I learned to paint.  Icons were religiously fashionable in the early 1970's, considered more theologically correct, not to mention the preferred form of sacred art to the romantic art of the West - especially the Baroque style.  As time went on and the incredible snobbism associated with iconography left me discouraged, I turned my attention to Spanish Colonial and the Italian-Greco style of sacred art, perfected by Giotto and Fra Angelico, as well as the Sienese School - namely Duccio.  Having been self taught in iconography, I graduated to painting in the other styles - by imitating the other techniques.  Now, in my old age, I paint what I want.  Most recently, I've collected very antique frames and filled them with my reproductions, or original works painted in the style of the masters I admire.

S. Martin in Grand Tour Frame 24"x9"

S. Juan Macias in Grand Tour Frame 24"x9"

St. Francis after Angelico

Divine Mercy after Duccio

Friday, November 19, 2021

To Quell the Error

Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen

The mystery of the contemplative vocation in Cor Orans.

I have been following the controversy over the supposed threat by the Holy See against contemplative nuns, orchestrated by Tridentinist Catholics and Archbishop Vigano.  Vigano fuels the fire with erroneous interpretations of every document, teaching and comments made by Pope Francis.

Mike Lewis, editor of Where Peter Is has published a series of rebuttals against the scare mongering regarding the new instructions for contemplative nuns.  I've linked to the series on FB and Twitter and I think I've done so on this blog as well.  

The fourth in the series was published today.  It contains an open letter by a Carmelite nun to Archbishop Vigano.  Sr. Gabriella, OCD of the Flemington New Jersey Carmel received permission from her prioress to counter the misinformation regarding the contemplative vocation in the light of Cor Orans.  I don't need to editorialize, except to say the articles have been extremely helpful to me, reassuring may be a more accurate term.  I encounter so much conspiracy based posts online, it can be disturbing.  The propaganda generating by Vigano and sites like The Remnant, Church Militant, Fr. Z and those who follow them is surreal - something I expressed in my fantasy post highlighting Buñuel's cinematography in "La voie lactée".

I will post an excerpt from the Where Peter Is, highlighting Sr. Gabrielle's excellent letter to Vigano.  To read the entire article and the other articles, go here.

Open Letter to

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

Concerning Cloistered Contemplative Nuns

Reverend Monsignore,

Praised be Jesus Christ!

On October 1st, 2021, the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, a Discalced Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church, you published a statement denouncing the treatment of cloistered contemplatives by Pope Francis. Your statement has so far appeared on Stilum Curiae, and Non Veni Pacem. In your statement, you inveigh against the visitation of cloistered contemplative nuns ordered by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo. The statement appeared on Non Veni Pacem under the heading Fairfield Carmelite Interrogations Concluded, Archbishop Viganò Issues Statement in Defense of Women’s Monasteries of Contemplative Life, and in it your refer to “the Apostolic Visitations that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is carrying out in various Convents of contemplative women religious in the United States.” Articles concerning the Fairfield Visitation have appeared on various websites including Non Veni Pacem, LifeSiteNews, Gloria.tv, Fr. Z, FreeRepublic.com and CatholicCulture.org among others.

In your statement, you wrote: “Behind this purging operation, like everything that distinguishes the work of the Bergoglian church, there is a hatred and an iconoclastic fury towards the Communities of Contemplative Life, and in a particular way against those tied to Tradition and the Ancient Rite. This hatred has become commonplace with the infamous Instruction Cor Orans and its cruel and merciless application.” You also write: “I understand well how difficult it is, in the face of the perversion of ecclesiastical authority, to combine one’s solemn Vow of Obedience to one’s Superiors with the evidence of the evil purposes they pursue, and how painful it is to have to resist those who should be exercising authority in the name of Our Lord.”

Monsignore, you are obviously not familiar with the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus, who founded the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1562. In the “Book of Her Life” she writes: “Some persons came to me with great fear to tell me we were in trouble and that it could happen that others might accuse me of something and report me to the Inquisitors. This amused me and made me laugh, for I never had any fear of such a possibility. If anyone were to see that I went against the slightest ceremony of the Church in a matter of faith, I myself knew well that I would die a thousand deaths for the faith or for any truth of Sacred Scripture. And I said they shouldn’t be afraid about these possible accusations; that it would be pretty bad for my soul if there were something in it of the sort that I should have to fear the Inquisition; that I thought that if I did have something to fear I’d go myself to seek out the Inquisitors; and that if I were accused, the Lord would free me.” (“Life”, 33, 5) If St. Teresa laughed at the thought of being investigated by the Inquisition, who were not known for their respect towards the persons they investigated, then her Daughters can have no reason to fear an investigation by the Church. “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (Jn. 3, 21)

You also denounced Cor Orans, the Instruction issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to establish the norms for applying Pope Francis’s Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaere. In the March and July 2021, editions of “Amigas”, the newsletter of the St. Joseph’s Association of American Carmels, there appeared several articles written by various Carmelite Nuns concerning Cor Orans, and especially the norms presently regulating canonical visitations. The opinions expressed by the Carmelite nuns are overwhelmingly positive. You can read these articles on my Community’s website: flemingtoncarmel.org/posts.

On the Home page of that website, you will also find the link to our Statement of Support for Pope Francis: flemingtoncarmel.org.

In your statement, you write, about the persecution of traditional, cloistered nuns. However, as someone wrote, when people speak of “tradition”, they mean how things were 75 years ago. But Tradition goes back millenia! Vatican II said to return to the sources. That is what we have tried to do in my Order, the Discalced Carmelites. We returned to what St. Teresa wrote and how she intended her sons and daughters to live. In my Carmel, we wear the full habit, sandals included, we keep the full enclosure and only go out for doctor’s visits and absolutely necessary business, and we have the full monastic schedule with 2 hours of prayer and 2 hours of recreation. We consider ourselves totally traditional, even if we don’t have the Liturgy in Latin or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, except when we have a visit from a FSSP priest or a priest of the Institute of Christ the King. We are glad to be fully traditional and fully faithful to the Holy Father and to the prescriptions of Vatican II.

You deplore the treatment meted out to cloistered contemplative nuns by the present Holy Father and his delegates. But there are some 6,000 cloistered contemplative nuns around the world, in various Congregations and Orders. How many of these nuns share your opinions about the way they are treated? I do not know for how many nuns you speak, but here in Flemington, New Jersey, there is one Community which does not share your views. We are all weak and we are all sinners who have been blessed by God’s mercy and grace, but we here in Flemington rejoice to give this witness to our gratitude to God for the blessings and graces we have received through Pope Francis and his delegates.

Reverend Monsignore, though I do not share your opinions, I gladly assure you of the prayers of my Community for you and your ministry. May Our Lord bless you and draw you ever closer to Himself.

In Jesus and Mary,

Sr. Gabriela of the Incarnation, O.C.D.
Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen

October 4th, 2021
Feast of St. Francis and Anniversary of the
Death of St. Teresa of Jesus

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Something from St. Teresa of Avila

"A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I've mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins. This experience took place within the shortest space of time, but even were I to live for many years I think it would be impossible for me to forget it. The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated. 

"What I felt, it seems to me, cannot even begin to be exaggerated; nor can it be understood. I experienced a fire in the soul that I don't know how I could describe. The bodily pains were so unbearable that though I had suffered excruciating ones in this life and according to what doctors say, the worst that can be suffered on earth for all my nerves were shrunken when I was paralyzed, plus many other sufferings of many kinds that I endured and even some as I said, caused by the devil, these were all nothing in comparison with the ones I experienced there. I saw furthermore that they would go on without end and without ever ceasing. This, however, was nothing next to the soul's agonizing: a constriction, a suffocation, an affliction so keenly felt and with such a despairing and tormenting unhappiness that I don't know how to word it strongly enough. To say the experience is as though the soul were continually being wrested from the body would be insufficient, for it would make you think somebody else is taking away the life, whereas here it is the soul itself that tears itself in pieces. The fact is that I don't know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains. I didn't see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.
"Being in such an unwholesome place, so unable to hope for any consolation, I found it impossible either to sit down or to lie down, nor was there any room, even though they put me in this kind of hole made in the wall. Those walls, which were terrifying to see, closed in on themselves and suffocated everything. There was no light, but all was enveloped in the blackest darkness. I don't understand how this could be, that everything painful to see was visible." (St. Teresa of Avila)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Something Prophetic About "La voie lactée " (The Milky Way).

Filmmaker Luis Buñuel

He, along with Fellini and others, were consider filmmakers hostile to the faith.  Yet they displayed a marvelous insight into the Church and its flawed clericalist ideals.  I often wonder if Pope Francis is a fan of the late 1950 through the 1970's foreign cinema - especially as it concerns the Church?  I know he loves La Strada, but I wonder about the films of Buñuel?

As a visual artist, the scenes of these films speak louder than plot or dialogue.  Especially the Buñuel cinematography.  "La voie lactée"  is especially surreal for its time, yet it makes so much sense today, in so many ways, especially since the Camino Santiago is so trendy these days.

For myself, I've gained some insights into popular rad-trad ecclesiology and politics, pondering some of the images in the film.  I may be way off base, but we live in really bizarre times.  Sensationalist conspirators like Vigano, Coffin, Taylor Marshall, Fr. Altman, Michael Voris and others have attained great influence over the devout and pious who fear Pope Francis.

One scene, of Jansenist nuns reminded me of the suppression of a couple Italian monasteries which from all reports was more or less because the nuns preferred the Tridentine rite over the NO.  (I can't find that story at this time.)  Yet it never occurred to me that their strict observance may have been tainted with Jansenist spirituality.  Perhaps Cor Orans and Traditionis Custodes were necessary safeguards against a growing rigorous backlash against the apostolate of mercy and accompaniment so encouraged by the Pope?  Not a few critics of the Pope wish him dead, hence the firing squad scene in the film seems to reflect that sentiment as well.

I may be way off on this, but for all those who follow QAnon crap, this just might explain their existence.  I don't mind being wrong about things I have no control over.


Religious studies for homeschoolers.

( La Voie lactée)


Friday, November 12, 2021

In memoriam


Friar Camillus Delude

✞ 2014
American. Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) in 1993 and given only a few years to live, Brother Camillus defied the odds and went on to live with this cross for more than two decades. He was always prayerful and never a complaint was heard, even as he slowly began to lose the ability to move. He was a dedicated member of the Militia Immaculata as a ‘Knight at the Foot of the Cross’, offering up his suffering and praying for the intentions of the MI, the Order, and the Church.


I was fortunate to meet him and live with him while I stayed at Marytown in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Such a humble, simple friar, always joyful and kind.  

I discovered his story while searching for a priest I knew.  Br. Camillus did a lot of the menial work around the friary, but he was also active in the publishing of The Immaculata and books published by the Militia.  He was well treated, but considered rather simple by some of the friars and others who encountered him.  

I think he is a saint.

Franciscans of St. Bonaventure Province

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

What Traditionis Custodes is not.



A Pogrom.

A pogrom is "an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, in particular that of Jewish people in Russia or eastern Europe."  The Nazis did it as well - Kristallnacht: the anniversary of that night is today, it happened the 9-10 November 1938.  Ninety one Jews were murdered and 30,000 were sent to concentration camps.  

Fr. Z outrageously appropriates the term for traditional Catholics attached to the EF Mass, suffering from the restrictions imposed upon the TLM and sacraments by Angelo Card. DE DONATIS, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome.  He insults the Roman Pontiff, Bishop of Rome, his Vicar, and the document itself, while appropriating a term which compares the actions of the Holy See to that of Imperial Russia and the Nazi persecution of the Jews.  Completely disrespecting those who were murdered on a massive scale in WWII.  Fr. Z writes:

I don’t have the energy to translate the hideous letter from the Vicar of Rome. Rorate has a translation, HERE, which I will lift, below.

Suffice that… this repression is for, “facilitating ecclesial communion for those Catholics who feel bound to some previous liturgical forms”. Orwell stands in awe.

The repression is done with “lively pastoral charity”.

This pogrom is carried out “for the spiritual good of the faithful.”

The Vicar is setting up a Commissioner to handle requests from priests… blah blah blah… - Fr. Z

He calls it the 'anti-Catholic pogrom in Rome'.   


What pogroms look like.



Pogrom dead.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

The Stranger

The Fall

My lifelong existential crisis continues.  Kind of.  I'm simply perplexed these days.  It seems everything is in a state of collapse, or else threatened by it.  Some days I feel like the last Catholic who loves and supports the Holy Father - when I may not understand what he says or does sometimes, I usually don't try to either.  However, I do try to understand why so many dislike him or don't trust him.

To be honest, I think it is often because individuals and groups have formed themselves into 'clans' if you will - borrowing from Michael Matt's call to 'unite the clans'.  Maybe that's what I have done as well, yet I see the Pope as a sign of hope, pretty much a prophet, albeit his ways can be as abrasive as a Jeremiah.  Yet I try to maintain a 'supernatural' attitude regarding his authority and pastoral care - that is, recognizing that he is the one God has placed over our heads.  To dispute that he is Pope by God's will is to mistrust Divine Providence - even if one thinks his papacy was arranged by the St. Gallen Mafia - he's the Pope.

And that's where people get tripped up.  That's where the resistance originates.  

I can be as confused as the next person - in fact I'm often confused.  Remember that prayer, "Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything."  I pray that a lot - along with 'Jesus, I trust in you.'  It helps.  Especially when I worry that some institutions, apostolates, religious communities and so on, may change or disappear.  All of us have seen it going on for decades, yet today, it appears to be accelerating, which entails not a little bit of suffering.

"My church will be different; my people will be different; difficulties and trials will come upon you."

Years ago a group of Franciscans in Boston befriended me because we shared a devotion to Charles de Foucauld and sought to emulate his contemplative life in an urban environment. The brothers were part of the Charismatic movement, which I was familiar with before entering the monastery. Long story short, they invited me to go with them to the Conference at Notre Dame. A donor gave them an extra ticket and we flew there from Boston. It was teeming with prophecy and great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in and through adoration. It was quite a sight to see hundreds of people my age and younger sitting around the altar in prayer and adoration - I'll never forget the sight.  Anyway, long story short, but fresh from Rome was the Ralph Martin prophecy, which seems to me we are living through now. It's a good reminder for Catholics and Christians to get a grip and not be taken in by every wind of resistance, especially towards the Holy See.

“Because I love you, I want to show you what I am doing in the world today. I want to prepare you for what is to come. Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation....Buildings that are now standing will not be standing. Supports that are there for my people now will not be there. I want you to be prepared, my people, to know only me and to cleave to me and to have me in a way deeper than ever before. I will lead you into the desert...I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me. A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen.... And when you have nothing but me, you will have everything: land, fields, homes, and brothers and sisters and love and joy and peace more than ever before. Be ready, my people, I want to prepare you...” (given by Ralph Martin)
“I speak to you of the dawn of a ‘new age’ for my church. I speak to you of a day that has not been seen before....Prepare yourselves for the action that I begin now, because things that you see around you will change; the combat that you must enter now is different; it is new. You need wisdom from me that you do not yet have.
You need the power of my Holy Spirit in a way that you nave not possessed it; you need an understanding of my will and of the ways that I work that you do not yet have. Open your eyes, open your hearts to prepare yourselves for me and for the day that I have now begun. My church will be different; my people will be different; difficulties and trials will come upon you. The comfort that you know now will be far from you, but the comfort that you will have is the comfort of my Holy Spirit. They will send for you, to take your life, but I will support you. Come to me. Band yourselves together, around me. Prepare, for I proclaim a new day, a day of victory and of triumph for your God. Behold, it is begun.” (given by Bruce Yocum)

"In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic."
Our Lady to Sr. Lucia

“Come, Holy Spirit! You inspire new tongues and place words of life on our lips: keep us from becoming a ‘museum church,’ beautiful but mute, with much past and little future. Come among us, so that in this synodal experience we will not lose our enthusiasm, dilute the power of prophecy, or descend into useless and unproductive discussions.” - Pope Francis

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Do not fund the enemies of the Church.


Fr. Z has an update on Fr. James Jackson.

I reprint it here:

UPDATE 4 November 2021:

From what I have heard, Fr. Jackson is now being held on federal charges.  This is not a good development, as it implies that there is something more complicated than simple possession of illegal material.

A GoFundMe campaign had been set up for him and it raised a significant amount, but the campaign was axed by GoFundMe.

While we continue in a presumption of innocence, there is little to see that is positive in this case.   While I believe it is good to harbor a sober, eyes-open optimism, at the same time – in my considered opinion – it is also a good idea to begin to steel ourselves for very bad news.

Please continue to offer prayers for Fr. Jax as well as for all those involved in the investigation of this case.  It is important that the truth be the goal of everything that is done.  We all know that that isn’t always the motive of some in either law enforcement or the legal profession… or the Church. - Fr. Z

Just a couple of comments. 

The investigation leading to an arrest is so thorough and exhaustive, there is no way it can be a 'setup'.  For the arrest to take place there has to be probable cause and evidence.  The fact the priest is held on federal charges is even more serious.  If the feds have evidence, there has to be digital evidence.  And there is.

PROVIDENCE — During their investigation of a Providence priest, police investigators found videos that showed young girls, including infants and toddlers, engaged in sex acts, according to a filing in U.S. District Court, Providence.

Investigators were told the video, which was on a storage device, belonged to Father James W. Jackson, of St. Mary's Church, say federal prosecutors.
The investigation led members of a special police task force to the rectory of St. Mary's Church on Saturday. - The Providence Journal

That is Satanic.  This isn't ordinary sin.  Sins against infants and toddlers?!  Such pure, innocent beings.  It is similar to the gross abuse of the Blessed Sacrament - yet so much worse.  

Fr. Z noted that a Go Fund Me was set up and then removed.  People can do what they want with their money, but a legal defense fund may not always be a good idea.  Reading the charges is so repulsive, I can't even imagine donating.  I think Fr. Altman profited from the fund set up for him, but his case was a canonical case, not a civil or criminal case. Fr. Jackson's Society should be responsible for his defense.

Church Militant is asking for money to pay legal costs for their lawsuit to stage a rally in Baltimore.  The request is on FB and goes like this:

"Please help defray our legal costs and empower Church Militant to fight valiantly in defense of the First Amendment and against these crooked bishops." - Michael Voris

Don't contribute to anti-Catholic causes.  If you are not with the bishop you are not with the Church.  If CM would like to sue the USCCB they can do that - but don't give them money.  There may be corruption within the USCCB, but CM lacks irrefutable evidence of it.  If they had it, they would be in court.

That's all.