Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tolerating racism - on Oprah.

That would be reverse racism.

(Photograph of Paul Robeson as Othello and Peggy Ashcroft as Desdemona from the 1930 London production of Shakespeare's Othello.)

The gospel according to Oprah evidently tolerates reverse racism. Coming in from doing yard work I smoked a cigarette and turned on TV to watch the news. I was too early and caught a bit from the Oprah show with the stars of some new movie dealing with interracial couples. Instead of turning the channel, I watched as she had a group of black men discussing the growing trend of black women dating white men. (It's okay with them for the black men to date outside of their race, but not so much for the women.) They made statements such as , "They're just after money or status." when they date white men. And in response to black women stating that they can't find good black men, they respond, "here we are". All of that is fine with me - I don't care about interracial dating, but I started to think about what had been said. If these were white guys talking about the same subject, stating the same opinions, there would be outrage expressed over obvious racist statements. And it would not end on the Oprah show. Maybe I missed something, but it sure sounded like reverse racism to me.

Funny conspiracy theories.

Now new ones...

Even involving Sr. Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, the visionary of Fatima, shown here at her funeral. (But this isn't the first time they have involved her.)

Conspiracy theories can be entertaining on some level, just the sheer nonsense of many along with the intriguing thought, "what if it's true?" thrill. Not a few believe the bogus "Protocols of Zion" are true. There are Catholics who think that there is more to the third secret of Fatima than what the Vatican revealed, while Sr. Lucia as well as Cardinal Ratzinger, including his new Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone insisted the entire secret has been revealed. Cardinal Bertone recently stated so in an interview, when answering this question;

"Q: You closely followed the publication of the secret of Fatima: are there [further] catastrophic revelations regarding the future or has everything been revealed and accomplished?

A: I met sister Lucia many times and had in my hands the declaration written by her on the matter. There are no further revelations of Fatima and the so-called Third Secret has been completely revealed. As for the catastrophisms, some said that sister Lucia did not close her eyes at night since she was so terrified of the imminent disasters. She answered me, "But if I did not sleep at night, how would I be able to pray all day long?" Sister Lucia recommended that credit should not be given to these announcements of misfortunes."
[snip] Rorate Coeli.

How much more do people have to have to be convinced of the fact that the Fatima secrets have been revealed? Maybe they have not come to pass entirely and the message of prayer and penance is still imperative for us today, but we have the full message. We have what we need to know. We need to trust the Pope when he says so. Before all the secrets were revealed, we already had the essential aspects of the message to amend our lives by, what more needs to be done? Some Fatima devotees think that the consecration of Russia was never performed correctly and therefore must be done in accord with what Our Lady requested. This, despite the fact that Sr. Lucia has said "Heaven has accepted" the consecration of John Paul II in 1984, soon after which, the Berlin wall came miraculously tumbling down and Communism seemed to be dying out. (Not that the world is any more secure or better for it.)

Today I received in the mail a copy of the notorious "Fatima Crusader" magazine, operated by Fr. Nicholas Gruener. Fr. Gruener's group are the chief architects of this conspiracy theory against the Vatican as well as the post Vatican II Church. In one of their books on the subject by John Vennari entitled "The Devil's Final Battle" which insults many in the hierarchy and claims a conspiracy to hide the true contents of the third secret, the author is convinced the secret dealt with the ongoing crises in the Church. He indicates the prohibition of the Latin Mass and the loss of vocations, etc. was initiated by Masons and Communists (some of whom were Cardinals) bent on the destruction of the Church. (A local priest, said to be silenced, has also talked about these things as being true, although he is not as extreme as this bunch; however, such views can get someone silenced. Gruener is supposed to have been.) At times the tone and tenor of Vennari's book is downright hateful, and does it's best to sow seeds of doubt and discord in the most casual reader.

In an article in the current "Crusader" Venarri continues to reach - claiming a new book with heretofore unpublished writings of Sr. Lucia, issued with permission from the Vatican as well as her Carmel in Coimbra, cannot be the authentic writings of Sr. Lucia. He writes, "It is the rhetoric of post-conciliar ecumenism, not that of Sr. Lucia's own words." He is writing regarding Sr. Lucia's words about World War II and the persecution of the Jews, while going on to claim the Jewish religion of today is not the same religion of Jesus' time. (Something a few others say as well.) He cites passages from the Talmud to support that claim. This may or may not be true, I have never read the Talmud, but it simply does not accord with what the Church currently understands when the Jews are referred to as "our elder brother in the faith."

The silliest part of the article is where Venarri addresses the ultimate conspiracy theory that Sr. Lucia may have either died or was killed in the late 1950's, only to be replaced by an impostor. (In the '70's there was a similar conspiracy theory by "out there" Marian devotees saying Paul VI was also put "out of the way" and replaced by an impostor.) Gratefully, he finds it hard to believe but states, "My own opinion is that I would prefer the case to be studied by reputable forensic experts." Thus leaving open the absurd possibility of it all.

He ends the article with this statement; "Hence, Catholics would do well to treat any posthumous writings of Sr. Lucia with extreme caution, especially when they contradict her previous lifelong testimony, and contradict bedrock truths of the Catholic Faith."

I think Catholics would do well to avoid any writings endorsed by "The Fatima Crusader". No wonder people think Fatima is for the crazies and ignore its message and relevance to our own times, when people like this incite such division and mistrust in the authentic teaching Magisterium of the Church.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How we may know chastisement is coming.

Burning Man (Painting by Andre Durand. I did not use the real title.)

We can know that a chastisement is being prepared for us without divine revelations or apparitions of the Virgin Mary. (Although we must be grateful to so good a Mother that she would help us discern the will of God.) Her apparitions have been occurring since the 1830's beginning with St. Catherine Labore, with warnings of chastisements. Since we seem to have recovered from every war and revolution we become more and more skeptical that any real chastisement could befall us. We become ever more complacent, permissive, as well as licentious. It seems to me there has been established a new world religion - not so much the "liberalism" Ann Coulter writes about - that is it's cult, or praxis - instead it is relativism that is the idol of this religion. Materialism, pleasure, leisure and convenience seem to be its "graces".

John of the Cross writes, [Chastisements] "can also be known in their causes, since the divine providence responds most certainly and justly to what the good or bad causes arising from the sons of men demand. One can know naturally that a particular person or city, or some other factor, will reach such a point that God in His providence and justice must respond in conformity with the punishment or reward that cause warrants." (Ascent II, 21;9)

What is so wrong in the world that it should merit a general chastisement? I don't know? Maybe read the news and not watch the censored and sanitized version of it on television. One simply has to just look around. Not just the wars and the rumors of wars - those are chastisements.

Abortion. I know everyone gets tired of hearing about it, and soon they won't be with the not-so-new "morning after pill", that guarantees even more promiscuity. Everyone takes contraception so for granted they fail to realize just how much of an affront it is to God. By it we attempt to make ourselves masters of our own creation, while misusing the gift of sexuality for our own pleasure. It cannot be a coincidence that homosexuality has gained such acceptance in a contraceptive culture. Sex without consequence legitimizes just about every other sexual expression. Just as abortion, legitimizes every other type of life choice, such as infanticide or euthanasia.

In our very well educated minds we convince ourselves there is no such thing as revealed truth that governs our lives. Everyone claims we worship the same God and that there is no religion any better than another, pagan goddess worship included. Everyone is equal. Hence, even the Catholic church may host pan-religious prayer meetings at Assisi praying for peace. We now believe every person can decide for himself what is moral or immoral. Thus man falls for the original lie and thinks himself equal to God, and this essentially is idolatry.

This is what happened in ancient Israel, when the people turned from idolatry and corrupted the temple worship. Turning to other gods is never pleasing to the One True God. It is never pleasing for him to see us engage in abominable behavior, such as infanticide, sacrificing children to idols for a life of convenience, whether by a pill, or a knife. We may not mock his creation by abusing his gift of sexuality through masturbation, homosexuality or transgender operations. It seems to me we have lost our sense of sin because we have forsaken true worship of God and authentic spirituality - thereby abandoning even the natural law.

So you see, we can know by natural reason a chastisement is coming. The question is, when?