Saturday, October 17, 2009

At Mass tonight...

I thought of Our Lord's words to the rich young man:

"Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone." - Mark 10

St. Peter of Alcantara

Saint Peter of Alcantara's liturgical feast has always been celebrated on October 19, the day after his death. Due to the fact that the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist is observed on October 18, his feast was assigned to October 19, when his feast was included in the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in the year 1670. Owing to reform of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in the year 1969 and the limited importance of his feast worldwide, St Peter's feast was removed. The inclusion of Saint Peter of Alcantara in the Roman Martyrology as one of the saints of October 18 means that he may still be given official honors everywhere. Traditional Roman Catholics continue to celebrate the feast day of "St Peter of Alcantara, Confessor" on October 19. - Source

Friday, October 16, 2009

Michael - recovering from brain surgery.

I received the following from Michael yesterday:
michael r. said...
I want to thank you and your readers for the prayers. I am humbled by your generosity. My surgery went rather well. I seem to be mosly ok; not doing anything too inappropriately. I have a lot of pain, but I can deal with physical pain. I will know more about the path ahead in a couple of weeks when the staples are removed from my head and all of the biopsies are complete. It sounds like more radiation and chemo. I had a good visit with a priest while in the hospital. He seems to have sought me out. I think some prayers were guiding him along. It was a rather profound experience for me. The question remains, why do I keep beating such odds?

Let's keep praying for him.  Thanks.

So there really is no gay agenda?

And the Hate Crimes Bill will not impinge upon Church teaching regarding homosexuality?
That is what many homosexual activists want people to believe, while accusing of lying or exaggeration those contending the opposite.  There are grave concerns the federal hate crimes bill - currently before the senate - has the potential to limit freedom of speech and religion.  The bill clearly states that "courts may consider relevant evidence of speech, beliefs, or expressive conduct to the extent that such evidence is offered to prove an element of a charged offense or is otherwise admissible." (Source)  Opponents to the bill (including the ACLU) are concerned that it's passage would allow that any politician, pastor, preacher, priest, rabbi or imam who teaches or makes statements, based upon their moral traditions - that homosexual acts are disordered, unnatural or immoral - could be found guilty of a federal crime. 
Charges of thought crimes have been brought against public figures elsewhere - Europe and Canada  to be specific.  European homosexualists have started to use repressive powers of state to silence expressions of opposition... as implied by British pro-homosexual activist Peter Bradley's e-mail to AFTAH stating, “You are very lucky that you live in the United States as we have laws in the United Kingdom about inciting hatred based on sexual orientation… here you would be imprisoned; and justly so.” - Source 

Under such hate crime legislation - which BTW protects a special group of people who already have the same equal protection under the law as other US citizens - it is entirely likely that church groups and/or religious leaders could face prosecution for inciting hatred if and when an individual act of discrimination or violence perpetrated against a protected group could be blamed upon a specific religious teaching, or even a homily condemning immoral sexual acts, and so on.  After all, it is part of the gay agenda...
At least for people like David Bohnett...
“We must treat the causes of intolerance and bullying as well as the symptoms of them,” he remarked. “And as we see most often, it is the evangelical and fundamentalist groups that teach homosexuality is a sin, who stand in the way of fairness and equality.

“It’s time to combat head-on the religious organizations that are funding the opposition to marriage equality and safe school legislation.”

Let us make it known, however, that we will challenge those religious leaders and institutions that shamefully and cowardly use the imprimatur of their church and the name of god [sic] and Jesus to promote hatred and bigotry toward lesbians and gay men,” Bohnett declared. “Among our greatest adversaries who actively work against us are the leaders of the Catholic, Mormon, and evangelical churches who seek to deny equal protection for us and for our children.”

“The bible [sic] is all too often used as a weapon against us, quoted and misquoted by those who seek to deny us freedom and equality,” he continued, arguing that children taught that the Bible condemns homosexuality may become “school bullies” and later become the adults who vote “to deny marriage equality.”

“It’s time we raise our children to be independent thinkers and deeply suspicious of bible beating organized religion. We’d be much better off if parents were honest with their children about the hypocrisy of some churches with regard to homosexuality.”

Bohnett then outlined tactics to "counter faith based discrimination,” saying it is an obligation to take “active measures” to create a world “free of bigotry and intolerance.” He advised an “aggressive response” to critics that “confronts lies with facts” and also a “preemptive campaign” that anticipates the arguments of homosexual activists’ opponents and undermines their credibility.

He said activists should speak with friends, family and co-workers about “religious intolerance as one of the main impediments to progress in the march toward full equality for lesbians and gay men and their families.” - David Bohnett, acceptance speech for his GLSEN award, October 9, 2009 Respect Awards
Talk about an agenda, or the slippery slope of hate crimes legislation.  Strange twist to the term religious intolerance as well - from my perspective it seems obvious gays are the ones intolerant of Catholic teaching.
So anyway:  The Catholic Church is NOT homophopic.
Those opposed to homosexual behavior are often charged with "homophobia"—that they hold the position they do because they are "afraid" of homosexuals. Sometimes the charge is even made that these same people are perhaps homosexuals themselves and are overcompensating to hide this fact, even from themselves, by condemning other homosexuals.
Both of these arguments attempt to stop rational discussion of an issue by shifting the focus to one of the participants. In doing so, they dismiss another person’s arguments based on some real or supposed attribute of the person. In this case, the supposed attribute is a fear of homosexuals.
Like similar attempts to avoid rational discussion of an issue, the homophobia argument completely misses the point. Even if a person were afraid of homosexuals, that would not diminish his arguments against their behavior. The fact that a person is afraid of handguns would not nullify arguments against handguns, nor would the fact that a person might be afraid of handgun control diminish arguments against handgun control.
Furthermore, the homophobia charge rings false. The vast majority of those who oppose homosexual behavior are in no way "afraid" of homosexuals. A disagreement is not the same as a fear. One can disagree with something without fearing it, and the attempt to shut down rational discussion by crying "homophobe!" falls flat. It is an attempt to divert attention from the arguments against one’s position by focusing attention on the one who made the arguments, while trying to claim the moral high ground against him.

The Call to Chastity.

The modern arguments in favor of homosexuality have thus been insufficient to overcome the evidence that homosexual behavior is against divine and natural law, as the Bible and the Church, as well as the wider circle of Jewish and Christian (not to mention Muslim) writers, have always held.

The Catholic Church thus teaches: "Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357).

However, the Church also acknowledges that "[homosexuality’s] psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. . . . The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties that they may encounter from their condition.

"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 2357– 2359). - Source
Support for Catholics with homosexual inclination:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Would you be worried?

Teaching about Fatima in Catholic schools.  Oh my.
I came across a blog post by a Catholic dad questioning a worksheet his eldest child brought home from school asking what our Lady of Fatima had revealed to the seers during the apparitions in 1917.  The subject matter struck the dad as "quite odd".  The fact that he found it quite odd strikes me as quite odd.  After all, Fatima is an approved apparition, with a great deal of official Church support, frequently visited and referenced, even promoted by popes, and lest one forget, the message of Our Lady at Fatima was explained and well documented by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
In addition, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima is fixed in the Roman Calendar, albeit observed as an optional memorial outside of Portugal and titular parishes.  (Optional memorial doesn't imply optional belief.  When an apparition is approved - the Church is declaring it is worthy of belief; when it is assigned a liturgical feast, I'd say it can not be so easily dismissed as optional to accept.)   Therefore, why wouldn't a Catholic student learn about such things in a Roman Catholic school?  If I were a parent, I'd be concerned about a great deal more that can find its way into the curriculum of our Catholic schools.

That said, while it is true private revelations are not part of the deposit of faith, and Catholics are not obligated to follow them, Catholic piety and devotion as well as the liturgy, recognizes, includes, accepts and encourages the faithful in such practices.  It should be remembered that the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes has been extended to the Universal Church, the shrine itself an international destination for pilgrims.  Likewise,  the feasts and devotions of the Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal - both sacramentals originating from apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have been established throughout the Universal Church; there is a feast of OL of the Miraculous Medal, and a feast of OL of Mt. Carmel.  Of course, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a solemnity in many places in the Western Hemisphere, and commemorated by Spanish speaking countries everywhere, yet she is the patron of the Americas.  All three of these devotions originated with apparitions, that is, private revelations.

As the Catechism explains:  "Throughout the ages, there have been so-called private revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.  They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith.  It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.  Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church." - CCC 67

"Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries." - CCC 66

The Blessed Virgin introduced nothing new at Fatima, she simply reiterated authentic Catholic teaching:  As one famous priest stated, "Our Lady came to Fatima as Mother and Catechist."

"Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children." - Matt. 11:25

Photo source.

Congratulations Bishop Sirba

Te Deum Laudamus!
The Holy Father has named Fr Paul Sirba, 49, vicar-general of St Paul and Minneapolis, as bishop of Duluth, succeeding Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, who was named coadjutor of Cincinnati a year ago this month.

This is the 5th bishop I actually know!  Fr. Sirba is one of the kindest, holiest priests I have ever known.  He is friends with Bishop Christensen in the diocese right next door to his... what a pair.  God bless them.

I will miss Fr. Sirba very much.

H/T to Ray for sending me the announcement after he found it on Whispers... 

This is as good a time as any to mention that these guys were not at all ambitious for such honors - being named bishop was most likely never even on their radar screen.  "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly!"
Prayers and best wishes for Bishop Sirba.  Read more here.

Teresa de Jesus

Happy feast day.
I found a site with some of the saint's Letters.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who is Tessa Bielecki?

For starters, she's no longer a monk.
Tessa Bielecki cofounded the Spiritual Life Institute with Fr. Wm. McNamara, and lived there as monk and Mother Abbess for almost 40 years. She now lives alone in a log cabin in the wilderness outside Crestone, Colorado, where she writes and teaches. Tessa recently created the Desert Foundation, an informal Circle of Friends who explore the wisdom of the world’s deserts, focusing on peace and understanding between the three Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She was one of the first teachers at Naropa University’s Buddhist-Christian dialogue in the 1980s and considers that experience pivotal in her life. She is the author of several books and CDs on St. Teresa of Avila, and recently recorded Wild at Heart for Sounds True. - Source
Watch out for New Age false mysticism.

Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, 1917

Please remember in your prayers my friend Michael R. who is undergoing brain surgery today.  Thanks.  (Michael has been a regular reader of my blogs from the beginning.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christopher Columbus, Third Order Franciscan.

The "Columbian" evangelization.
Columbus was not only a good man. He was extraordinary.
"What is not commonly known is that the growing power of the followers of Mohammed had closed the normal pathway from Europe to the Orient. In God's providence, this is what occasioned the search for another way to the Indies. Most historians claim that this was the dominant motive for Columbus going west so that the wealth of the East might be found. The Book of Prophecies shows the opposite. Commercial interests were certainly prominent in the minds of others. But Columbus had deeper spiritual interests at heart. It was surely part of God's mysterious design that Columbus should have planted the true faith in the New World at the same time that Islam was overrunning Africa, the Near East, and was being driven out of Southern Europe.
As early as 1493, Columbus wrote a letter to the Royal Treasurer of Spain in which he speaks of the discovery of the New World as a great victory. Yet, it was not a victory by force of arms but a victory of bringing the truth to people who were sitting in the darkness of unbelief. He wrote, "Since our Redeemer gave this victory to our most illustrious King and Queen and to their famous realms, in so great a manner, it is fitting for all Christendom to rejoice and to make celebrations and give solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity with many solemn prayers for the great exultation which it will have and the turning of so many peoples to our holy Faith."
Franciscan tertiary.
All that we know about Columbus testifies to his having lived up to his Franciscan Rule. We know that he would wear the Franciscan habit, especially when he appeared before the Royalty or nobility. Except for the Franciscans with whom he stayed before leaving on his historic voyage, he would never had received the entree to Ferdinand and Isabella which opened the door to the New World. He went to confession to Franciscan priests. He would spend long periods of time in worshiping before the Blessed Sacrament in Franciscan chapels. When he left Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492 to cross the Atlantic, he left his son in the care of the Franciscans at their monastery.

There was one feature of Columbus' Franciscan spirituality that by now we have seen was dominant in his historic discovery. It is the zeal of St. Francis, as expressed in his Rule of Life, "To go among the Saracens or other unbelievers." As we know, Francis himself did the incredible thing of personally visiting the Moslem Sultan in the Near East to bring him the Gospel of the Christian faith. To this day, Franciscans are the authorized guardians of the sacred places in the Holy Land." - Fr. Hardon on Christopher Columbus

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rafael Arnaiz Baron

Rafael was canonized today in Rome.

Didget on the march on Washington...

“He knows this march is happening, and he can’t even acknowledge it?” said Robin McGehee, 36, a co-director of the march.

Sweetie, he did the same thing with the Tea Party marchers, so at least take comfort in the fact that in that category, gays have achieved a semblance of equality.  Alas, the President ignores you, too. See, at only about 2% of the population, well, he's just not that into you. And he knows that liberals - and I am guessing a lot of gays fall into that category too - have a codependent relationship with him, like a battered spouse. Y'all will forgive him and after stamping your feet, return to the fold. You can't help yourselves.

After all, you still like Bill Clinton and he gave you both the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the Defense of Marriage Act.

By the way, when the New York Times says "thousands" came out and there is no wide angle shot of the Mall, it was less than 10,000. Maybe even less than 5,000. - Digital
I know!  Thanks Didget!

Teresa of Avila

Last evening I watched episodes of the Spanish film Teresa de Jesus, produced in 1984 as a mini-series for Spanish television.  It is an absolute jewel of a film and the saint is magnificently portrayed by the Spanish actress Concha Velasca, who I think bears a remarkable resemblance to Teresa.  The series is faithful to the writings of St. Teresa which, if one is familiar with them, one recognizes the scenes or recalls her wonderful descriptive prose describing the events and the persons involved, not to mention her teaching on prayer.  Watching this film is the next best thing to actually being  present with her in these circumstances.  The historical accuracy is incredible for a theatrical production.  One of the most edifying aspects of the series is how it traces Teresa's conversion story - she is a wonderful saint for sinners.

Last evening I watched the episode which included her friendship with a wayward priest, to whom she made her confessions and sought guidance.  (Read Peers translation here - Chapter 5 of Autobiography.)  I was touched by her charity and reverence for his supernatural vocation despite her knowledge of his infidelities.  It was through her friendship with the the priest that he was able to break free of an adulterous affair.  The lesson was well taken, and hopefully from now on I may follow suit and become less chastening in my remarks concerning errant clergy.

St. Teresa's feast day is this Thursday, October 15.  If you haven't read her, try to do so - I found her Autobiography to be the best place to start - it contains excellent teaching on prayer.  Her style is easy to understand.  I think the very best translation of her work has been done by the Institute of Carmelite Studies.  Her Life (Autobiography) is available in Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. I through
Art:  Communion of St. Teresa, Claudio Coello.  St. Peter of Alcantara giving communion to St. Teresa of Avila.  Source - I had copies of paintings done by this company before - their work is excellent - perfect hand painted copies of the original at very modest prices.     

Mother of God

October 11 was once observed as the feast of the Divine Maternity of Mary, but in the reformed calendar the feast is now commemorated on January 1.
Between the Orthodox and the Latin rite, I think there is some sort of feast day for Our Lady every day.
Fr. Hardon on Devotion to the Divine Maternity.