Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Michael Voris Affair

On the Canon Law 'Catholic' trade-name dispute.

It just might not be as much about Canon Law as some people would like you to think it is.

I do not think this is just another conspiracy theory either.  JoeK of Defend Us In Battle blog wrote a very respectful and rather insightful commentary/critique of the controversy generated by the Archdiocese of Detroit involving Michael Voris and his unauthorized use of the term "Catholic" in the 'branding' of his company, "Real Catholic TV".  (Talk about brand loyalty.)  Anyway - I'll let you read what JoeK has to say on the subject:
The only portion of this dispute that turns on Canon law is the Canon law question of whether the AOD can Canonically prohibit RCTV from using the name 'Catholic.' Beyond that, this matter has nothing to do with Canon law. In the most recent Vortex, Voris himself admits that they will not be making Canonical arguments about this issue. He issues a call to prayer. 
If this isn't about popular opinion, blogs, and what people "think" why are so many "gigs" being wasted on it? Why has Dr. Peters written three blog posts about it? Why does Father Z. put up posts that essentially are copies of Dr. Peters' posts, only so that people can use his [Fr. Z's] com-box for discussion? Why have other blogs who rarely write about such things made this a "hot topic" on their blogs? I will tell you why, again. This was meant to be, and has become, a public opinion battle.

The reason that so many are on Voris' side in this is simple: walk into a parish anywhere and you are likely to find what he talks about on the Vortex everyday. This is true in the Archdiocese of Detroit, I was a parishioner there in several parishes. Bloggers who write and talk about the faith everyday know that Voris is on to something, even if they don't like his method, tone, or hair. He is willing to say in public, what most are only willing to say to their close friends: there are serious problems in our parishes and it seems that priests and Bishops turn a blind eye to them. This being the case, when a Bishop, who many consider to be very orthodox and loyal to the Church, comes out and tries to silence that voice... people are left in a quandary. 
The faithful want an authentic version of the faith. They want to hear the Pope say something, and then witness it in their parish. Parents want to teach their children about the faith, and have it affirmed in homilies at Mass. The youth want a faith that they are willing to go against the culture for. People know what is real when they see it, and frankly... in many parishes - THEY DON'T SEE IT. So when someone like Voris says what many have been thinking, they gravitate to him. He becomes the "real" to them. So when matters like this come up, and complex Canonical issues are involved in what has been made to be a "popular opinion" battle, people will do what they can to back their man. That being said, I don't believe that "might makes right," I am simply observing the landscape.

This isn't about Canon law. Archdioceses don't put out press releases on issues preemptively to make the point that they need to deal with a Canonical issue. Someone convinced the good Archbishop that they could achieve whatever ultimate end they are seeking by waging this in the public realm. They were wrong. The good Archbishop should root out his faulty advisers and start addressing the real problem here: modernism and heterodoxy run amok. The world is in upheaval, and people want a strong bold leader. They want words and action. One entity in this dispute has waged a war of words, the other has waged a war of words and action. Specifically prayer. 
So realize... this isn't about Canon law. I know I am some lowly ole' blogger in Alaska, but my email is on the sidebar if anyone wants to discuss this further. As always, the com-box is open as well. I just hope the good Archbishop realizes that the longer he lets those in the AOD wage this war attempting to convince people that this is about Canon law, the worse it becomes for him. The blogosphere is speaking, and it isn't echoing many praises of the AOD. - JoeK: Defend us In Battle

Editor's note:  People should start reading more of the 'outsider' blogs and 'independent' sites - after awhile, all the members of the '.comblogerates' and 'news portals' seem to just parrot one another on the big news stories, and no one dares speak out of line - and if you do, you don't get promoted anymore.  Not a good thing. 

You vill conform - and be nice to the right people!

Here's a thought....

Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walk like a man.

Rash judgment concerning the mannerisms and vocal inflections of other men.

Many years ago, I fired an employee for misconduct.  I really liked the guy, but my bosses did not.  He was a very good artist/painter and a talented worker.  He had a drinking problem and had been through company sponsored - paid for - treatment.  Nevertheless he had other issues which made it difficult for him to fit the mold, as it were.  I did everything right - verbal warnings, written warnings, finally termination.  In the process we talked about his performance and he shared a lot of personal concerns with me.  I mistakenly went beyond empathy and attempted to counsel him, believing he just might be in denial about an issue or two.  Big mistake, both in judgment and application.

Managers should never, ever attempt to be therapists; however, I suspected the guy had issues concerning sexual orientation and wondered if that was not at the root of his alcoholism and workplace issues.  I know - I was young and deluded and didn't understand things myself.  Needless to say - what a huge mistake! 

The poor guy was totally blown away by my intervention.  Though his mannerism and expressions were incredibly effeminate, and his humor was as outrageous as Rip Taylor's, he was as straight as an arrow.  I eventually discovered he lived happily with a real-girl girlfriend and they were in love and enjoyed a rich sex life.  He was totally insulted by my insinuation.  He told me he had to endure such suspicions ever since his youth - he assured me that he was very confident in his masculinity, and despite the knowledge of how his mannerisms were perceived, he explained to me that he was not in need of behavior modification to fit in.  Indeed, he threatened to sue me for harrassment, and even slander if I persisted in such talk.

That situation taught me never to assume or accuse people of being this way or that way - unless I know for sure - and even then to leave it alone, especially as it applies to secular employment.    Likewise, it is never an employer's job to advise or counsel an employee on personal issues, period.  But I digress.

Another story.

Evidently concerned pewsitters have a few issues with their priests not being masculine enough.  I came across a post on WDTPRS asking "Should priests with effeminate manners work to correct them?"  A reader posed the following question:
 I hope you will not take this the wrong way but given certain sad realities of our time, do you think priests who are unusually effeminate in manner (e.g. speech) should work to minimize this aspect of their personality? Just the other day my wife’s friend told her she’s fairly certain her pastor is homosexual, but I have known of him for a number a years and am certain he is a holy, orthodox, priest. In fact, she also related how he alienated a good number of parishioners when he first came to their typically-liberal parish, which I take as a sign of his faithfulness.
 Father answered, "Yes."

Is it really our concern?

Once I read on another man's blog, (during the homo-priest scandal deal, fueled in part by the "Good Bye Good Men" scare) that he could tell that his priest was a homosexual - a big flaming fag.  Either the blogger had great gaydar or he was making a rash judgement based upon the priest's 'manners and traits of speech.'   Pity.

I know so many priests who have so-called effeminate traits it is not funny.  But are all of them effeminate?  Or are they refined, or perhaps, somewhat decorus?  Liturgical, monastic decorum can sometimes appear as effeminate to some people.  How does one differentiate?  Discounting religious behavior, what if a priest struck a pose like Jack Benny one day when he was perplexed about a question - in front of some  burly truckdriver with Jesse Ventura style sensibilities?  See the contrast in personalities?   I've known very good men with feminine characteristics; slight lisps, hissy esses, all the stereotypical mannerisms.  It does not ever mean a man is gay or has homosexual inclination.

I will admit I have known priests who have effeminate characteristics which can be exaggerated when accompanied by humor or frivolity - in other words, they camp.  Sometimes they carry on.  That's an entirely different matter however, although even then it can be more closely related to  habits of levity and loquaciousness.  A while back I read a comment somewhere concerning a famous priest who began a religious house and the person inquiring into the life complained of the 'campy' humor and inside jokes between the two priests in the community.  One priest was a convert from a protestant group where he had been a gay minister.  I suppose in that case, there were perhaps grounds for the man's concern.  Perhaps in such a case, that type of behavior can and probably should be modified, or better put, mortified.

However, when a man has been raised with good gender role models, made it through the incumbant peer pressure in school as a youth, and cleared all the hurdles and mastered all of the fine points of training and grooming in seminary, I expect that his demeanor and pattern of speech or vocal inflection as it is today, is pretty much an integral part of his temperament and personality.  At the very least, I would compare it to a man who has a Southern accent - some men retain an accent, others don't.  Nevertheless, there is no requirement to get rid of the accent - nor is it a necessity.  And it shouldn't make a difference for his ministry.


Below are some reminders from the Catechism for myself and my readers to keep in mind when speculating and discussing the personal foibles of others.

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.


Blondes really are more fun.

Best post of the week...

Creative Minority Report published a report that Austria has now outlawed dumb blond jokes.  Seriously.  In addition, he posted a wonderful dumb blond joke and an even better dumb blond video. (Shown above.)

BTW - Is that a plastic wig Mrs. Gringrich wears?  It never moves - and it is very yellow blond... I don't think it's real hair.

Distractions at adoration.

I spend Thursdays at adoration now - my parish canceled the Wednesday slot for awhile - long story - but not a bad one.  So if you're looking for me.

So anyway - I usually try to turn my distractions into prayer, but one distraction caught my attention yesterday - for a second or two longer than usual...

Editor's note:  The remainder of this post has been removed after careful consideration as it could lead to unnecessary speculation as well as harmful distractions for those of you who read this blog, while at Mass and in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  The original distraction I discussed here was a temptation and distraction I experienced at prayer.  When such temptations/distractions arise it is always good to ignore them, make acts of faith, hope, and love in opposition to such thoughts and continue in prayer, resuming meditation, sacred reading, or whatever vocal prayer you may be using.  Distractions come and go - and if you are in quiet prayer, let such thoughts blow about like leaves in the breeze and pay no attention to them.  If they disturb you,  offer them as a prayer and a sacrifice, keeping in mind Teresa of Avila's counsel, 'let nothing disturb you.'   Later, if a problem continues to haunt you, submit it to your spiritual director or confessor for scrutiny and clarification.  Never worry about things you cannot know about or is out of your control.  Trust in God.  

I apologize for my indiscretion.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fr. Hardon... Mother Teresa... tainted saints?


Just when I think I have heard it all and nothing could ever shock me ever again, I come across this crap:
Tainted Saint: Mother Teresa defended pedophile priest.

Documents obtained by SF Weekly suggest that Mother Teresa knew one of her favorite priests was removed from ministry for sexually abusing a Bay Area boy in 1993, and that she nevertheless urged his bosses to return him to work as soon as possible. The priest resumed active ministry, as well as his predatory habits. Eight additional complaints were lodged against him in the coming years by various families, leading to his eventual arrest on sex-abuse charges in 2005.

The priest was Donald McGuire, a former Jesuit who has been convicted of molesting boys in federal and state courts and is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence. McGuire, now 81 years old, taught at the University of San Francisco in the late 1970s, and held frequent spiritual retreats for families in San Francisco and Walnut Creek throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He also ministered extensively to the Missionaries of Charity during that time.

In a 1994 letter to McGuire's Jesuit superior in Chicago, it appears that Mother Teresa acknowledged she had learned of the "sad events which took [McGuire] from his priestly ministry these past seven months," and that McGuire "admitted imprudence in his behavior," but she wished to see him put back on the job. The letter was written after McGuire had been sent to a psychiatric hospital following an abuse complaint to the Jesuits by a family in Walnut Creek.

"I understand how grave is the scandal touching the priesthood in the U.S.A. and how careful we must be to guard the purity and reputation of that priesthood," the letter states.  
"I must say, however, that I have confidence and trust in Fr. McGuire and wish to see his vital ministry resume as soon as possible."
I doubt this is the big deal they want to make it.

Despite what the news story says, along with the quotes from a dead atheist's slanderous book says, even if this is true, and I doubt it is entirely credible, but even if it is true, I'm convinced M. Teresa did not know all the details.  And if she did, she did not believe them.  I have to doubt Fr. Hardon filled her in on all the dirty details, especially since he himself believed Fr. McGuire's version of the story, rather than what the plaintiffs had to say.  Hardon most likely would have told Teresa he was convinced of his innocence and that the priest, albeit acted imprudently, did not do anything that bad.  So what did Hardon do?
But statements by Hardon in his letters could complicate that process. The documents reveal McGuire admitted to Hardon that he was taking showers with the teenage boy from Walnut Creek whose complaint led to McGuire's psychiatric treatment. He also acknowledged soliciting body massages from the boy and letting him read pornography in the room they shared on trips together.

Despite these admissions, Hardon concluded that his fellow Jesuit's actions were "objectively defensible," albeit "highly imprudent," and told McGuire's bosses that he "should be prudently allowed to engage in priestly ministry."

One of the best-documented instances of abuse in McGuire's record is one in which neither the victim nor his family chose to pursue litigation against the church. Jesuit records show that in April 1993, a devout Catholic man in Walnut Creek came forward with the complaint that his 16-year-old son, who traveled with McGuire as his personal assistant, had looked at pornographic magazines, showered, and masturbated with the priest.

Following this complaint, McGuire was removed from active ministry and sent to Saint John Vianney Center, a psychiatric-treatment facility for clerics in Pennsylvania. It was there that Hardon — whom the victim's family had requested investigate their allegations — interviewed McGuire and chose to exonerate him. After six hours of face-to-face talks at the hospital, Hardon wrote to McGuire in a January 1994 letter, "I firmly expressed my belief in your innocence of any sexual misbehavior."

McGuire returned to his order at the beginning of 1994, but his future, including the extent to which he would be allowed to interact with families and children as a priest, was still unclear. Hardon's letter to McGuire reveals that the errant Jesuit still worried that the sex-abuse allegations lodged against him would mar his prospects for continued work with Mother Teresa, work that considerably enhanced McGuire's prestige among other Catholics to whom he ministered.

"You expressed your deep fear that despite your proven innocence of all charges, somehow you would nevertheless not be allowed to continue your retreat ministry to Mother Teresa's sisters," Hardon wrote. At the conclusion of his letter, Hardon indicated that the matter would soon be resolved in direct consultation with the "Saint of Calcutta" herself.

"And so, Don, this is the state of the question on this eve of my departure for Calcutta, India, where, with your permission, I will be communicating with Mother Teresa about your situation and your future," he wrote. - Read the entire story here.

Holy naivete?

Fr. Fessio and Phil Lawler seem to think the story is true and cast a negative shadow on Fr. Hardon.  (Read the entire article.)  Although, I have to believe Fr. Hardon was most likely misled...
The father of the Walnut Creek boy whose abuse allegation prompted McGuire's psychiatric treatment in 1993 said the information in the new documents is unfortunate, but not shocking. "That McGuire fooled Father Hardon and Mother Teresa like he did so many others is disappointing, but not a surprise," he said. "It shows that a person doesn't have to be a mind-reader in order to be a saint."

Charity believes all things...

Nevertheless, the story is undeniably screwed up and incomprehensible to normal people:  An adult priest with a teenage assistant, shower together, give massages, use porn - but supposedly no lingering sensual experience:

Hardon's letter to McGuire, as well as the letter that appears to have been written by Mother Teresa, indicate it was Hardon who personally carried news of McGuire's situation to Calcutta. It is thus important to understand how much Hardon knew when he visited Mother Teresa in January 1994. On this front, newly uncovered documents show the Jesuit in an unflattering light, and may have a serious impact on his prospects for sainthood.

In addition to his January 1994 letter to McGuire, Hardon wrote a detailed explication of his knowledge of and involvement in McGuire's case to Schaeffer, the Jesuits' Chicago provincial, in November 1993. The father of the alleged abuse victim from Walnut Creek had requested that Hardon personally intercede to assess exactly what McGuire had done to the teenage boy. At the time, Hardon was an internationally known and beloved priest who had staked his reputation on championing a conservative strain of Catholicism, not dissimilar to McGuire's, that was often at odds with the beliefs of his more liberal-minded fellow Jesuits.

During a visit to Saint John Vianney, Hardon had a frank conversation with McGuire in which the latter admitted to taking showers with his alleged victim, asking the boy to massage his body, and allowing him to possess pornography in the room they shared while traveling. McGuire denied additional allegations that he had touched the boy's genitals and watched him masturbate.

Hardon was apparently satisfied with what he heard. As he wrote to Schaeffer:

"Regarding showering, Fr. Don said that it was true, but the picture is not one of a lingering sensual experience. It was rather the picture of two firemen, responding to an emergency, one of whom was seriously handicapped and in need of support and care from the other." - Source

Everyone makes mistakes...

In my personal opinion, if the stories are true, they do not tarnish Bl. Teresa's reputation, nor does it affect my devotion to Fr. Hardon.   Looks to me as if even the best amongst us can make a mistake in judgement sometimes.  Now that Mother Teresa is in heaven, perhaps she will obtain a miracle to make all things well concerning these allegations and those involved.

Here's a thought...

"Conversion may be a seemingly/relatively instant event, but it does not bring with it all the values, attitudes, and habits which render the ideal practically possible.  Normally years intervene while the convert tries to become what he is.  The same is true of prayer; after the initial fireworks, decades of plodding fidelity follow before prayer becomes instinctual.  A contemplative, as Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us, is not merely one for whom to live is Christ, but one for whom this has been the case for a long time.  The practical effect of this is that a monk has to endure living with his own patent imperfections, even though he desires nothing more than to be quit of them.

An associated source of difficulty can be found in the intrinsic changeableness of spiritual life.  This theme, addressed under the headings of alternatio and vicissitudo, is one of Bernard's most characteristic emphases.  Life can be difficult simply because as soon as we develop skills to handle one set of circumstances, everything changes, our aptitudes become irrelevant and we are confronted with new and fearsome challenges.  The temptation is either to stop trying altogether or to go back to doing the things which used to work, blocking from our mind the thought that such wooden 'fidelity' seems to be accomplishing little.  It seems to be part of God's pedagogy for the monk that he is always left wrong-footed; he is not allowed to save himself, no matter how desperately he desires it." - Michael Casey, ocso


So even if you were born this way...

Clearly, (an) understanding of original sin is essential when we are speaking of the moral quality of human inclinations. Because of original sin, a certain disorder resides in the human heart such that one often desires that which is contrary to the moral law. Therefore, even if homosexual inclinations are entirely inherited, this does not mean that they necessarily correspond with human nature in the original sense, as God intended it. Moreover, as Christ made clear in his preaching, it is the original, created order that has normative weight to it, not this transitory fallen state:
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt 19.3-6).
Thus, the inclinations that arise in the human heart must be tested according to objective moral norms because the human nature we encounter in this age of history, though wounded by sin, is still called to the same norms of behavior intended by God “from the beginning.” Why? Because God created us “out of love for love” (John Paul II, 1981, no. 11); His wise, loving plan permeates all of created reality. Therefore, to follow the norms given to us by our Creator and Redeemer is in no way an imposition or alienation but a call to happiness. The moral law given to us by God is a blueprint by which human beings can achieve their fulfillment. This implies another fundamental truth of Christian anthropology: human nature is wounded, but it is not totally corrupted. Man still has freedom. Though weakened by sin and prone to misuse, the human person still possesses the ability to make free moral choices and, by cooperating with God’s grace, grow in holiness and maturity.

Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when direct toward God, our beatitude (CCC, no. 1731).

The proper, beatifying use of freedom requires God’s grace. Only with His help can we properly see the truth and act in accord with it. Thankfully, God desires all men to be saved and abundantly supplies the means for it to happen. - Andrew J. Sodergren, M.S. John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Through the envy of the devil...

Sin entered the world.

Idle Speculations has a provocative essay on the subject of envy and discord.  I recommend it to all bloggers.  God bless us every one!
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.

Basil Cole OP in The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology defines it thus:

"Envy is a sadness at the success or good achieved by another. Someone’s good fortune or even virtue is seen by someone captivated by this vice as a personal threat.
Its offspring are tale-bearing, detraction, joy at another’s misfortune, and grief at another’s prosperity.
The Catechism adds to this notion that it is a refusal of charity (§2540), which would be a rejoicing in the goodness of someone else as a gift from God to the community"

Envy is an offence of the Second Great Command: "Love Your Neighbour as Yourself". It was set out in the Tenth Commandment which according to the Catechism (§2534) "concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law." -   Envy and Jealousy
Envy's twin is discord.

We see this in life - it is the source of much of our conflict and unhappiness:  "You envy and you cannot acquire, so you quarrel and fight." - James 4.  It is a spiritual sin we can often fail to see in ourselves, especially when we are consumed by the acquisition of, or the defense of, our so-called rights; and more grossly, when we are either enslaved by our passions through mortal sin, or while in a spiritual combat to overcome sin - especially the more obvious and dramatic sins of the flesh.
The sinful character of envy comes more clearly to light when we compare it – for example – to zeal:

Whereas the envious man “begrudges” the goods of another and sees them as a threat to his own status, his glory or reputation, the zealous man does not grieve over the goods others possess, but desires to acquire them himself. “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.”

The envious man considers the goods – spiritual or material – of others as his own evil. The zealous man preserves the goodness of things in others – but wishes to enjoy the same goodness proper to these goods. And he is virtuous in doing so if it is a moral good he wishes to acquire. The envious man destroys goodness in others in seeing it as an evil for himself which makes him smaller, less honored, less pious, less intelligent, less esteemed and – less lovable.

We see here why envy belongs to the deadly sins: Its essential character is directed against the love of God, God Himself, Who is the source of all goodness – in us and in all men. And if envy is sorrow for the increase of God’s grace in our neighbor, “it is accounted a sin against the Holy Ghost, because thereby a man envies, as it were, the Holy Ghost Himself, Who is glorified in His works.”

Envy weeps at those who rejoice and rejoices at those who weep. Weeping over our neighbor’s good – which is envy, gives rise to joy in his evil.

Of course: Also envy is committed as a grave and mortal sin only if both – our knowledge and our will – fully embrace this sadness over our neighbor’s goods. St. Thomas says: 
“Nevertheless, in every kind of mortal sin we find certain imperfect movements in the sensuality, which are venial sins: … so in [regard to]… envy we find sometimes even in perfect men certain first movements, which are venial sins.” - Courageous Priests

I'm not sure where I am going with this - but it is something I am meditating and examining my conscience on.

Art: Allegories of the Virtues and Vices -  Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua. Detail Invidia (envy).

The Pope and The Women of The View...

Yesterday, the ladies on The View made fun of Pope Benedict XVI because of what he had to say about gay marriage.  So what did the Pope say?
Pope Benedict XVI has a warning for all mankind: Gay marriage is one of a number of threats to the family unit that holds the potential to undermine “the future of humanity itself.” This warning, which is sure to cause angst and pain among those who disagree with its sentiment, comes as other Catholic figures are using strong language to condemn pro-same-sex marriage policies.

During an address to diplomats from nearly 180 nations, the pope discussed the importance of education and the need to reinforce the traditional man and wife paradigm. According to the Daily Mail, these were some of the pope’s strongest comments yet about gay marriage, as he said that the family unit is necessary to sustain both education and development.

“This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society,” he said. “Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states.” - Source

Modern Popes are accustomed to being ignored and laughed at.  A predecessor of Benedict XVI, Pope Benedict XV had a peace plan for Europe* that was ignored; while Paul VI was not only ignored, but ridiculed for his prophetic encyclical, Humanae Vitae - On the Regulation of Birth.

*On 1 August 1917, Benedict issued a seven point peace plan stating that: (1) "the moral force of right . . . be substituted for the material force of arms," (2) there must be "simultaneous and reciprocal diminution of armaments," (3) a mechanism for "international arbitration" must be established," (4) "true liberty and common rights over the sea" should exist, (5) there should be a "renunciation of war indemnities," (6) occupied territories should be evacuated, and (7) there should be "an examination . . . of rival claims." Great Britain reacted favourably but President Woodrow Wilson rejected the plan. Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary were favorable but Germany replied ambiguously. Benedict also called for outlawing conscription, a call he repeated in 1921. Some of the proposals eventually were included in Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points call for peace in January 1918. - Wiki

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Michael Voris in the Twin Cities - Tonight: The War For the Soul of Catholicism

Minneapolis/St. Paul welcomes Michael Voris.

St. Augustine's Catholic Church
In the basement of St. Augustine's Catholic Church.
408 3rd St N.
South St Paul, MN 55075

Tonight 1/10/2012

The War For the Soul of Catholicism

After a month off, the AOTM welcomes back Michael Voris on January 10 to kick off the New Year.

In all ages the faith is a battle and ours is no different. What makes these days particularly difficult is the confusion and disorientation so often present in those very places from which clarity and order should come. Even those who strive to be faithful Catholics can sincerely wonder whose example to follow. During particular troubled times in the history of the Church, it has been said that "Peter is sleeping" - a brief examination of Church history will reveal that our age is not the first to experience a lack of leadership. Amidst scandals and dereliction of authority, these same sentiments ring true today. As the influence of the Church weakens, culture has turned rapidly anti-Christian and grows increasingly so year by year. So what can we do about it?

Join us on January 10th as Michael Voris provides his insights on how to battle for the soul of Catholicism. In addition to his standard presentation, Mr. Voris will be asked probing, practical questions that go to the heart of the dilemma we face. How are our energies best spent in a culture so hostile to the Catholic faith? Where do we draw the line between taking a stand and unjustified disobedience, both in terms of the obedience we owe to civil and religious authority? To whom do we look for direction? What is the place for Catholic action in culture at large and must we accept that we're fighting a losing battle? There are no simple answers, but that doesn't mean we can pretend these aren't important questions. On January 10, 2012 The Argument of the Month will ask them. What will Mr. Voris answer?
Michael Voris

What's on the Menu
Brat Bites & Rye Toast with Dip
Apple Glazed Roasted Pork
This Pork is covered a rich apple glazed and slow roasted until it is so tender it falls off the bone.
Served with garlic mashed potatoes (eat them with or with out the gravy) and baby carrots steamed and covered in a sweet glaze.
Cinnamon Crumble with Ice Cream

AOTM General Event Information
6:00pm Social Hour and Appetizers
7:00pm Dinner
7:30pm Main Presentation
8:30pm Dessert
8:45pm Q&A
$12 at the door (The total cost for the night) You will get great appetizers and beverages, hear one of the best inspirational stories you have ever heard about manhood and faith. Do all this while you listen and enjoy a fabulous "Manly Meal”. Men of all creeds and ages are welcome to join in the good humor, food, and fellowship. Priests and seminarians get in free but will not be shown partiality in debate. Fathers are encouraged to bring their minor sons.


Monday, January 09, 2012

An illustrious testimony and defense of marriage...

On the nature and dignity of Christian marriage.

By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life.

From this it is clear that legitimately constituted authority has the right and therefore the duty to restrict, to prevent, and to punish those base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature; but since it is a matter which flows from human nature itself, no less certain is the teaching of Our predecessor, Leo XIII of happy memory: "In choosing a state of life there is no doubt but that it is in the power and discretion of each one to prefer one or the other: either to embrace the counsel of virginity given by Jesus Christ, or to bind himself in the bonds of matrimony. To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words 'Increase and multiply,' is beyond the power of any human law."

Therefore the sacred partnership of true marriage is constituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution. - Casti Connubii 7-9, Pius XI

Hillary Clinton: Headmistress of Discipline.

Hillary believes in the coercive power of the State to promote LGBT rights... “laws have a teaching effect.”  You vill obey!

“The Obama administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy,” Secretary Clinton affirms. And to those who object, remember: “laws have a teaching effect.”

“Progress comes from changes in laws,” Clinton explains. “In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect….It is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.” - Hillary Clinton Pushes for Coercive Power of the State.  And even more here.

Oh yes she did.

Busted: More Medjugorje myths exposed.

Concerning Bishop Pavao Žanić (May 20, 1918 – January 11, 2000)

Why did the late Bishop oppose the apparitions?  It appears several journalists, in the process of attempting to defame him, may have helped bring the actual truth to light. 
From the beginning in 1981, Bishop Žanić was apparently open to the phenomenon, because, as a Catholic bishop, he believed in the possibility of apparitions of the Madonna in the world. In that context we can understand his struggle against the atheistic, unbelieving Communists with respect to his protection of the Franciscans and the “seers” of Medjugorje. But he was always very cautious regarding the phenomenon under way in that parish. One example is the moment in which he caught the “seer” Mirjana in a contradiction, when she lied under oath on July 21, 1981: “We went to look for the sheep...” no, no: “Sorry, we went out to smoke...” Or think of when he wrote to the Apostolic Nuncio on August 19, 1981: “In my soul a judgment about all this has not crystallized. Hallucinations? Supernatural?” Or when he wrote to Pope John Paul II on September 6, 1981: “I spoke with the young seers. They are seeing 'something', but to me it is not clear if this is a supernatural phenomenon or not”, as we reported in Mirror of Justice, 2001. Therefore he made the distinction between the seers' phantasms and subjective visions and the objective reality of the apparitions and messages of the Madonna which have been verified.

The real turning point for the bishop took place after January 14, 1982, when the three “seers” Vicka, Marija, and Jakov went to him to convey the “message from the Gospa” according to which the Bishop had been “rash” in the Herzegovina case. In that conversation, the Bishop asked the children several times if there had been any messages relating to the “curates”, about which he had already been informed. The seers denied it categorically.

But on April 3, 1982 Vicka and Jakov went to the Bishop, again at the Gospa's orders, to tell him that the disobedient curates of Mostar “did nothing wrong”! At this point when it became clear that the “Medjugorje phenomenon” was inserting itself into the “Herzegovina case”, there was a real change and rupture. And there was no longer a possibility of turning back. A long series of arguments persuaded the Bishop more and more that it was only a case of fraud and lies in service of the sad “Herzegovina case”. Bishop Žanić “crystallized” his attitude out of all this: with his message to the parish priests in December 1982, with the Position of October 1984, especially with the two diocesan Commissions (1982-1986). And also at Medjugorje, from the altar, during the Holy Mass, in the homily of July 25, 1987, on the occasion of the feast of St. James, patron of the parish, he solemnly affirmed with all clarity and resolution, that at Medjugorje there were no authentic apparitions! - Source
Works for me.

An excellent source for accurate information concerning Medjugorje:  Louis Bélanger MEDJUPEDIA – From now on, no more lying…

Disclaimer:  I remain open to all that the Church finally decrees regarding the authenticity of the events at Medjugorje.  It is also my understanding that the current Bishop Peric remains skeptical of the apparition claims and does not approve.  That too, works for me.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

An 'Outsider' Artist: Martin Ramirez

Tarmo Pasto, an art and psychology professor at Sacramento State University took an interest in the work of Martin Ramirez. Pasto, at left, and Ramirez hold up one of the patient's large drawings at DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, circa 1950s.  

First - a quick Wiki bio:
Martín Ramírez (March 31, 1895 – February 17, 1963) was a self-taught artist who spent most of his adult life institutionalized in California mental hospitals, diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic.

He was born in 1895.

Having migrated to the United States from Tepatitlan, Mexico in 1925, Ramírez was institutionalized in 1931, first at Stockton State Hospital in Stockton, California, then, beginning in 1948, at DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, near Sacramento, where he made the drawings and collages for which he is now known. At DeWitt, a visiting professor of psychology and art, Tarmo Pasto, came across Ramírez's work and began to save the large-scale works Ramírez made using available materials, including brown paper bags, scraps of examining-table paper, and book pages glued together with a paste made of potatoes and saliva. His works display an idiosyncratic iconography that reflect both Mexican folk traditions and twentieth-century modernization: images of Madonnas, horseback riders, and trains entering and exiting tunnels proliferate in the work, along with undulating fields of concentric lines that describe landscapes, tunnels, theatrical prosceniums, and decorative patterns.

He died in 1963. - WikiSource
I fell in love with this man's work after I saw a CBS presentation on his art.  I know many so called 'normal' people, aka 'ordinary' people, as well as traditionalists do not like 'modern art', so many may not appreciate this man's work, or may dismiss it because Mr. Ramirez was a mental patient.  Likewise, referencing his art as 'folk art' strikes me as somewhat dismissive as well.  To each his own.  I love this man's work.  Below is one of my favorites - although I have so many.  His work reminds me very much of the santeros paintings of rural New Mexico, as well some of the glyphs and design motifs of the ancient Aztecs.
This collage is framed by multiple patterns of parallel lines, and a comforting structure resembling an altar. In the middle is a cathedral, an homage to Martin Ramirez' deep faith in Catholicism. Rising above all is a horse and rider, reflecting the artist's unfulfilled dream to be a successful rancher. Untitled (Landscape) Circa 1952.  

More links:

The debate and media bias...

Gingrich nailed it.
Gingrich and Romney both took jabs at liberal media elites during the debate.

“I just want to raise a point about the news media bias,” Gingrich said after a rhetorical skirmish about gay marriage. “You don’t hear the opposite question asked.

“Should the Catholic Church be forced to close its adoption services in Massachusetts because it won’t accept gay couples, which is exactly what the state has done? Should the Catholic Church be driven out of providing charitable services in the District of Columbia because it won’t give in to secular bigotry? Should the Catholic Church find itself discriminated against by the Obama administration on key delivery of services because of the bias and the bigotry of the administration?”

“The bigotry question goes both ways,” Gingrich added. “And there’s a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concerning the other side. And none of it gets covered by the news media.”

Romney seconded Gingrich. “As you can tell, the people in this room feel that Speaker Gingrich is absolutely right and I do too,” Romney said after the former speaker’s comments earned him a loud applause.* - Source

*“As you can tell, the people in this room feel that Speaker Gingrich is absolutely right,” said Romney, “and I do, too. And I was in a state where the supreme court stepped in and said marriage is a relationship required under the constitution for people of the same sex to be able to marry. And John Adams, who wrote the constitution, would be surprised. And it did exactly as Speaker Gingrich indicated. What happened was Catholic Charities, that placed almost half all the adopted children in our state, was forced to step out of being able to provide adoptive services. And the state tried to find other places to help children –We have to recognize that this decision about what we call marriage has consequence which goes far beyond a loving couple wanting to form a long-term relationship –that they can do within the law now. Calling it marriage creates a whole host of problems for families, for the law, for the practice of religion, for education. Let me say this, 3,000 years of human history shouldn’t be discarded so quickly.”

Ah, that Stephanopoulos - he's a cute little shit, ain't he?   Little bigot - and his sister is a nun.

H/T to PML


Epiphany celebrates three mysteries of light*, or rather, three public manifestations of God in Christ.

  • The adoration and homage paid by the Magi to the Infant Christ.

  • The Baptism of Christ.

  • The Wedding at Cana.

After tomorrow's feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church begins Ordinary Time.  I love Ordinary Time, much in the same way I prefer Low Masses to High Masses.

*I'm not speaking in the sense of the mysteries of the Rosary here.  Although in Blessed John Paul's addition to the Rosary, known as the Mysteries of Light, two aspects of the Epiphany are included: The Wedding at Cana, and The Baptism.  While in the Seven Joys Rosary, the Adoration of the Magi is the only mystery of the Epiphany included.