Saturday, January 07, 2012

Virgin martyrs...

What is required?

Dawn Eden has an excellent comment regarding the issue of virgin martyrs who may have been violated before actual death.  Very few Catholics seem to know about this stuff, much less understand it.  This is what Dawn has to say about it:
What is required for a saint to qualify as a virgin saint?

Bottom line: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas taught that virgins who are raped do not forfeit their virginity. What is more, according to Aquinas, a holy virgin who is raped not only retains her virginity; she receives a second crown in heaven for having endured the outrage of being violated. He adds that she remains a virgin in the eyes of the Church even if her rape results in her bearing a child.

That is the doctrine of our glorious Church, and more people need to be made aware of it. There are a lot of Catholics out there who are hurting because they suffered sexual abuse and are under the misapprehension that the Church perceives them as being stained by what was done to them against their will. It is my hope that my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints will dispel such myths and help victims find the healing that is available only in and through Christ in His Church. - Dawn Patrol

Saturday Update:

It was Fr. Z who originally posted on the topic and received some interesting comments, most interesting and informative of all however, is Dawn Eden's good response reprinted here:
dawneden says:

When I researched this question for my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, I found that much of what Catholics believe the Church teaches on this matter–such as that rape is somehow voluntary if a woman is violated–is completely erroneous.

The actual teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church is that the measure of whether a holy virgin who is raped qualifies as a virgin martyr (also known as a martyr of chastity) is not whether she was violated, but whether she resisted.

As Father Z would say, full stop.

Exhibit A: St. Augustine, City of God, Book I, Chapter 18. The chapter is titled “Of the Violence Which May Be Done to the Body by Another’s Lust, While the Mind Remains Inviolate.” That should tell you something right there. Augustine, writing about the virgin martyrs of the early Church, lashes out at pagans who claim that virgins who had been violated were no longer virgins: “What sane man can suppose that, if his body be seized and forcibly made use of to satisfy the lust of another, he thereby loses his purity?”

Exhibit B: In the Acts of the third-century martyr St. Lucy (which were first quoted by St. Aldhelm in the seventh century, but were probably written much earlier), when a Roman consul threatens St. Lucy with rape unless she recants her Christian faith, she replies, “If you cause me to be violated against my will, my chastity will receive a double crown.”
Exhibit C: St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Supplement, q. 96, a. 5, ad 4.  
Quoting the Acts of St. Lucy, Aquinas writes that a virgin martyr who was raped will receive a double reward in heaven—“one for observing virginity, the other for the outrage she has suffered.” He adds that “[even] supposing that one thus violated should conceive, she would not for that reason forfeit her virginity.”

In researching My Peace I Give You, I was told by a senior investigator of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in no uncertain terms, that the teaching of St. Augustine still stands.

It is a terrible loss for all Catholics that victims of rape are being told that, because saints like Maria Goretti were not violated, they themselves are somehow considered by the Church to have stained themselves by “letting” themselves be raped. We, as a Church, need to get our message in line with our own Fathers and Doctors if we are to begin to address the sexual abuse crisis in the culture at large, which the media is only beginning to acknowledge in the wake of the Penn State outrage.

Please say a prayer, as you read this, for anyone reading this who is a sexual-abuse survivor. Every Catholic bears a personal responsibility to show them, and all who have suffered injustice, the way to the healing that can be found only in Christ in His Church. Ave crux, spes unica.

Though your sins be as scarlet...

Finally, for those who may have lost their virginity, always remember, "the blood of Jesus makes fallen souls virginal."  The holy Archbishop Luis M. Martinez wrote that someplace, and I have never forgotten it.

Santorum is not Catholic enough?

I've noted a few Catholic blog posts claiming that.

I think Gingrich was on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo last night.  Do you suppose he is Catholic enough?

Nope - I have seen blog reports that he may not be - in fact one esteemed Catholic blogster questioned the motives for his conversion - perhaps he converted just because he admired JPII a little too much?  Not good enough, I guess. 

It seems to me that many people think you have to be Republican if you are Catholic and if you are a Republican Catholic you have to make sure which Catholic running for nomination is really Catholic enough.  On one blog I read a comment condemning another well known blogger because she said something ever so slightly favorable about Clinton - "she (the bad lady) is no Republican."

That's all.

Photo:  Political analyst, Dr. Cindy Munchausen, WTF, President of the Actun Sanitarium, a financial think tank exploring how to increase personal revenue through religion and politics.  Dr. Cindy is the author of  "Santorum, Santorum" - her recently updated biographical/historical novel on the Senator, soon to be made into a musical, currently only available through Amazon at WTHITAA website.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine: A Sinister Site?

Christian 'art experts' seem to think so.

As their website states: "The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the seat of its Bishop."  St. John the Divine is an architectural marvel in this day and age, a cathedral constructed in medieval style with traditional stonework - worked by skilled masons... eh, eh, eh.  The all inclusive community at the Cathedral openly welcomes all types of people... even gays.  Cross your fingers and shout exorcism prayers as fast you can and get out of there!  Just kidding - but conspiracy theorists have a ball with that place.  Especially as it concerns the art and architecture - the black helicopter shaped sanctuary light, and, and, and...  Okay - I made up the sanctuary light design bit - but it could happen.

John the Divine is not a Catholic church, it isn't even a part of the new ordinariate - which was more or less formed because faithful Anglicans wanted to get away from their liberal counterparts at churches such as St. John the Divine.  No doubt it is a very liberal church.  But as such, it remains just a protestant church, the edifice of which is constructed in the ancient manner of the great medieval Gothic and Romanesque style Cathedrals of Europe.  The traditional ornamentation is executed in the traditional manner - chiseled by hand by skilled artisans.  The art and symbolism is decidedly modern and reflects the locality wherein the church is situated, with all its contemporary nuance and features. 

Typical of the architectural style of the old cathedrals, the entrance is surrounded by scenes of the Last Judgement, and in the article referenced here, particular scenes from the Book of Revelation are depicted in contemporary imagery: For example, scenes depicting NYC being destroyed - the World Trade Center towers visible, and so on.  This has always been a perfectly acceptable way in which to express end times motifs - especially since the original intent of sculpting such images in the first place was to evangelize the illiterate of the time and place.  A notion obviously lost on our highly educated and sophisticated society today.

The article, Prophetic Pillars on St. John the Divine, attempts to lay out all of the sinister symbols embedded in the art and architecture of the Cathedral and makes the claim there are occult images and 'prophecy' pointing towards the establishment of one world religion, and United Nations domination, leading to the rule of the Antichrist.  For instance the author sites a Kabbalah Tree of Life symbol - something not unknown in medieval times - the Christian variety of which even Bl. Raymond Lull delved into - before or after his conversion I'm not certain.  Nevertheless, it is not so unprecedented - despite the fact it is considered part of the "New Age".  I'm not sure it is a covert symbol in this case however.

On another pillar photo depicting the resurrection of the dead and a labyrinth - also very ancient - the author makes this notation:
A scene depicting a birth from some kind of flower, surrounded by mummies and above a lamb with its legs tied. Who is being born? Is the Anti-Christ who is said by the Book of Revelation to the beast “coming up out of the earth; and had two horns like a lamb“? Underneath is a spiral vortex (symbolizing change of consciousness?) and people apparently praising or worshipping the figure.

Even if the stone carving depicted exactly what the author implies, how can that be construed as sinister when in fact it depicts what is written in the last book of the Bible?  Which is in itself prophecy - and most suitable for an entrance to a Christian place of worship.

It is one of the more stupid articles and discussions (read the comments) on art and architecture I have ever come across since the embedded phallus on the Crucifix of San Damiano story.  Except maybe for the snake on the rosary crucifix story - that was just ignorance of Scripture.  (The reference goes back to the Book of Numbers 21 and corresponds to Christ's statement in the Gospel of John 3:14; "Just as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the desert, etc."   Old crucifixes sometimes have a variety of symbols on them. - sometimes illustrating the moon and the sun, along with the phases of the moon.

My advice, don't be superstitious.

Photo: Taken from "Prophetic Pillars" see more here.  The art and architecture is fantastic.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

News bites...

The Bishop has two kids.
VATICAN CITY Jan 4 (Reuters) - An assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles in the United States has resigned because he had a secret family, including two teenage children.

The Vatican said on Wednesday that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignation of Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop of the diocese which has been plagued by sexual scandals. - More here.
Stuff like this is not even shocking any longer.  Apparently Fr. Maciel wasn't the anomaly many of us thought.  And we move on...


Michael Voris is coming to the Twin Cities to speak at the Argument of the Month club.  It should be a sell out.  Badger Catholic has the details here.

The canonist Ed Peters has commented on the situation involving Michael Voris and Real Catholic TV and the notice from the Archdiocese of Detroit that they are in violation of Canon Canon 216 which states: “Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name ‘Catholic’ without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.”  He posts objectively on the matter, click here to read.

The Archdiocese is well within its rights to ask that they stop using the name 'Catholic' - since they do not speak for the Catholic Church in any official capacity, and of course there are other Catholic broadcasting enterprises, so to claim, "Real Catholic" may be a bit presumptuous, if not annoying to bishops who really are supposed to be the real, authoritative teachers of the Catholic faith.

Michele Bachmann

Her speech today was very good - I find I agree with her on practically everything she stands for.  I admire her tenacity and courage.  How unfortunate that she is just cast aside - but the endless debates proved whose convictions were genuine and I believe Bachmann made a difference.  I'm behind Santorum now.  I'm not convinced anyone can beat Obama however - unless it is Romney - but I don't trust him, and I doubt he would win.

Photo:  Kramer's living room.  For me it expresses the idea of the blog as a talk show.  Kinda.

The Annointing of the Sick

“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Lk 17:19)

In his message for the 20th Annual World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI said that he "would like to place emphasis upon the “sacraments of healing”, that is to say upon the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and that of the Anointing of the Sick, which have their natural completion in Eucharistic Communion."

He particularly calls attention to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which I agree deserves greater consideration.  I've often thought the sacrament would be efficacious for people who suffer from depression and various forms of mental illness and other addictive disorders.  Perhaps it is already in use for people in recovery, I don't know.
The encounter of Jesus with the ten lepers, narrated by the Gospel of Saint Luke (cf. Lk 17:11-19), and in particular the words that the Lord addresses to one of them, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (v. 19), help us to become aware of the importance of faith for those who, burdened by suffering and illness, draw near to the Lord. In their encounter with him they can truly experience that he who believes is never alone! God, indeed, in his Son, does not abandon us to our anguish and sufferings, but is close to us, helps us to bear them, and wishes to heal us in the depths of our hearts (cf. Mk 2:1-12). 
3. From a reading of the Gospels it emerges clearly that Jesus always showed special concern for sick people. He not only sent out his disciples to tend their wounds (cf. Mt 10:8; Lk 9:2; 10:9) but also instituted for them a specific sacrament: the Anointing of the Sick. The Letter of James attests to the presence of this sacramental act already in the first Christian community (cf. 5:14-16): by the Anointing of the Sick, accompanied by the prayer of the elders, the whole of the Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord so that he may alleviate their sufferings and save them; indeed she exhorts them to unite themselves spiritually to the passion and death of Christ so as to contribute thereby to the good of the People of God.

This sacrament deserves greater consideration today both in theological reflection and in pastoral ministry among the sick. Through a proper appreciation of the content of the liturgical prayers that are adapted to the various human situations connected with illness, and not only when a person is at the end of his or her life (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1514), the Anointing of the Sick should not be held to be almost “a minor sacrament” when compared to the others. Attention to and pastoral care for sick people, while, on the one hand, a sign of God’s tenderness towards those who are suffering, on the other brings spiritual advantage to priests and the whole Christian community as well, in the awareness that what is done to the least, is done to Jesus himself (cf. Mt 25:40).

4. As regards the “sacraments of healing”, Saint Augustine affirms: “God heals all your infirmities. Do not be afraid, therefore, all your infirmities will be healed … You must only allow him to cure you and you must not reject his hands” (Exposition on Psalm 102, 5; PL 36, 1319-1320). These are precious instruments of God’s grace which help a sick person to conform himself or herself ever more fully to the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ.  - Vatican Radio

 Photo: Blessed John Paul II during the anointing of the sick at St. George's, Southwark, 1982.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Holy crap! Ted Haggard stars on Celebrity Wife Swap.


I like Xfinity ads...

The wife in this commercial reminds me of what I think Charlotte of Cheeky Pink Girl might be like.

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus


Today, January 3, is the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus as restored to the Novus Ordo calendar by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

The Holy Name is a powerful prayer.  The Holy Name Jesus is a prayer in itself and contains the entire Gospel.  JESUS.

Different schools of prayer place much emphasis upon the formula known as the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner."  It is a way of prayer for lay people and monks, known especially in the East.  It is an ancient practice.  Those who practice it unceasingly and exclusively are sometimes known as hesychasts, and they employ a technique of breathing to coincide with the recitation of the prayer.  Some remain suspicious of the 'controlled' practice, suggesting it is a form of quietism - a criticism some people also make regarding the practice known as Centering Prayer.  Many people find themselves attracted to such mystical techniques, but the Holy Spirit is not limited by nor subject to technique.  That said, there is nothing wrong with praying the Jesus prayer in the hope of praying unceasingly and as a means to union with God. (CCC 2616)

Nevertheless, the Holy Name alone, JESUS, is sufficient in itself.  The Holy Name contains all, encapsulates all, embraces all, consumes all:  To the extent that it is the very heart of the Hail Mary, and every prayer of the liturgy is offered in that same Holy Name - 'through Jesus Christ'.  


I did it...

I fell.

I wasn't going to do it, but I gave in.  I posted about Fr. Corapi - to 'cash in' on his recent news - or rather, the lack thereof.  He disappeared from the Internet - he went offline - no explanation, without a trace.  (Although, for all the interest he generates, couldn't someone have gone to Kalispell and staked him out?  Aren't there Catholics in Kalispell who read the gossip blogs?) 

So anyway, as I admitted before, I'm not really interested in him except to push people's buttons.  This morning I have come across several blogs that have jumped on the story, always counselling discretion and prayer and the deepest concern of course... while throwing open the doors for criticism and speculation - in charity.  How spiritually helpful can you get?

I know, you don't have to tell me - But terry, you are re-posting on him now.  What can I say? 

Anyway - I'm seriously trying to leave the guy - Corapi - alone.  He's living his life as he sees fit.  It was only because he turned into a celebrity evangelist that he became the object of everyones concern.  He became a  star, and then his light went out.  It happens.  That said,  I've known many ordinary Catholics, priests and religious and laity who have left the Church for one reason or another - they do just fine with their lives.  They get married, raise a family, attend another church - or not - and they live out their lives as they see fit - without fanfare.

It happens - go figure. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Different holidays, different feast days.

New Year's Day Two: The legal holiday today.

Today is a legal holiday in the US - yesterday was the actual New Year's Day - but today is everyone else's holiday or day off because the real holiday fell on a Sunday.  So the Rose Bowl Parade happened today instead of yesterday.  Oh!  And get this.  The local parish church is closed for the secular holiday.  I know!  You can't even get in.

Church people have the best of both worlds - for those who love their days off.  Although, Church holy days are sometimes transferred if they land on a Sunday - so you might have a Sunday obligation with a holy day obligation a couple of days later.  No wait - that's not right, is it?  Although, if some holy days land on an inconvenient day, they can be transferred to a Sunday - thus 2 birds are knocked off with one stone - that is more like it.  Likewise if a solemnity other than Christmas falls on a Monday or even a Saturday - the holy day of obligation rule is often times suspended, and Father gets a holiday.  Huh?  What if St. Pat's day falls on a Friday in Lent?  The fast is usually suspended - so you can eat meat with your beer.

It's confusing, isn't it.  But it gets stranger.  For instance, those who use the EF of Mass follow the old calendar and celebrate today as the feast of the Holy Name, yet the feast, which was restored to the reformed calendar by JPII is now observed on January 3.  Isn't that quizant, Ollie?  Now you may not think it's a big deal, but it can confuse people who make novenas - when to begin them?  When to conclude them?  What day is Mass on?  What if the parish is closed like mine is today and you wanted a procession or something?   

No wonder I never know how to dress... which explains why I always wear jeans to Mass.  Not really - it's my habit - religious people have habits.  What?

So when does the New Year really begin?  No one really knows, do they...   Chinese people have their own, as do Jews, and we Catholics do too - when you consider Advent is the new liturgical year - yet there are two calendars.  Something has to be done about that. 

Oh yes!  Then there is Kwanza.  Never mind - that is just for black people.

Photo:  From my collection of favorites:  Pope receiving Catholic Cats in audience.  It could happen.

The little Russian saint, Seraphim Sarovsky.

I scanned my little icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov - shown here, which dates to the year of his canonization (1903) and was made at his monastery.

He is a favorite saint of mine whose feast falls on the birthday of little Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.  They are very much alike, since their spirituality was directed especially towards lay people and sinners in the world.  They teach us that it is good to know we are imperfect and to remain so as long as the Holy Spirit is pleased to leave us there... and even to delight in it.  How wonderful when everyone condemns you - your own conscience included - for then you are surely fitted to receive the mercy of God in abundance.  It is very much like what St. Francis referred to as the 'perfect joy' - it is something the imperfect can actually know and experience.

To read about the Holy Father Seraphim and the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, click here.

Disclaimer:  Remember, the feast day devils taunt us on and around the holy days - they try to make us fall:  If you do, repent immediately and humble yourself and know Our Lord is not surprised.  He is there for us.  If you fall again, repent again.  Our Lord is not surprised.  Our Lord knows not to trust us, so don't pretend and try to trust yourself.  Repent again and trust only in God's mercy and love that comes to us in Christ Jesus.  Confidence and love.  The devils hate it that we can keep trying and seek to dissuade us from doing so. 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Favorite blog photos...

This is one of my favorite photos from my collection. I wish I could add sound bites, if I could, it would go like this, as if it were Wallis Simpson speaking:

"Then again he asked me: 'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said 'It's going to rain', would that be bound to happen?' 'Oh, yes, Father.' 'But supposing it didn't?'  I thought a moment and said, 'I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'  Oh Eddie, and then I laughed and laughed and handed him my donation."

"Oh Wally, you are such a clever - and naughty - little Duchess, aren't you, darling!"  The Duke replied with a mischievous smile.
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Going through photos...

Did I ever show you where my trees live during the winter? This photo is from last winter - this year the trees are bigger. They are very happy down there in their little corner of the lower level.

I'm going through photos - I have a very good collection of funny photos that I use on the blog. I may post a few.
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On a mission...


Congratulating ourselves on our intellectual and spiritual integrity and being above the fray, the gossip, the contempt and the proud man's disdain.

I suppose we all need a pat on the back sometimes.

Art: "Self portrait in a tree trunk" - Odd Nerdrum. Weinstein Gallery, SF 

The Holy Mother of God

In the bush seen by Moses, as burning, yet unconsumed, we recognize the glorious preservation of your virginity: O Mother of God, intercede for us.

I love today's feast more than words can express.  Happy New Year to all readers, friends and enemies alike.

May God, who through the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary willed in his great kindness to redeem the human race, be pleased to enrich you with his blessing.  Amen.