Saturday, February 25, 2012

The last day of the Novena in Preparation for the Oscars

After so many meditations, prayers, and fasting from TV to watch all the nominated films, we've come to the end of the novena.  Tomorrow is the feast, the festival, the celebration of the Academy Awards Presentation in the Kodak Temple Theater.

The Ceremonies are scheduled on a Sunday, since they usually take place during Lent.  Unlike St. Patrick's Day when the Irish seem to think they are holier than the Church - the Academy is reluctant to break the Lenten fast - hence the schedule for the Awards is always set for Sunday evening - allowing not only for everyone to get to Mass that day - but to break their fast in good conscience and enjoy some champagne and chocolates. 

Photos:  Notice how the statues are covered until the the ceremonies - such a very Catholic thing to do.  Although it should be noted that the champagne fountains are never emptied and filled with sand, as is done in liberal Michigan Catholic churches during Lent.

I don't care what they say...

I'm happy Mother Dolores will be at the Oscars.

A Prophet to our times

Pope Paul VI

Little Christmas in Lent

Friday, February 24, 2012

The gay "Courage Campaign"

The name choice of this campaign may be in all likelihood deliberately intended to be confused with the Roman Catholic "Courage Apostolate".

As a friend of mine noted: "Typical Alinsky-ite tactic: They have chosen "Courage Campaign" as the name of their organization to sow confusion... "

 Another friend sent the following:
Subject: Don't confuse the Catholic group, "Courage" with this "gay activist group, "Courage Campaign"

Beware! The Evil One plays the game of "Deception"!
Don't confuse the authentic Catholic group, "Courage" , with the "gay" activist group in California working to legalize so-called "same-sex" marriage...called "Courage Campaign" - tell others...

What are they talking about?  Here's a link to the press release:
Los Angeles -- The Courage Campaign, a national, progressive and grassroots online organization, and Grindr for Equality, the gay rights and political action initiative mobilizing members of the world's largest all-male social network Grindr, have teamed up to petition the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to help fund efforts to support marriage equality in various ballot initiative fights this election year. - Finish
 more here:

Defending a Higher Law

The publication, Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same-sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement,  from Tradition, Family, and Property, printed in 2004, is now available online in PDF form here.  It is normally available for purchase from TFP for $12.95 - but now you can get it free as a download.  It is a very important book which not only presents Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality - through the ages, but it also traces the genesis and history of the homosexual movement in modern times, which has set the stage and prepared the place where we find ourselves today.  I can't recommend it more highly, except to say, amongst those who do recommend the book, and endorsed it in writing are Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

Since the online document is in PDF form, it is difficult to excerpt and format.  The following is an example. 




This contention is false. First of all, one cannot compare two

essentially different realities. A man and a woman of different

races are not comparable to two men or two women.

A man and a woman wanting to marry may be completely

different in their characteristics: one may be black, the other

white; one rich, the other poor; one learned, the other not; one

tall, the other short; or one may be famous, the other unknown.

None of these differences are insurmountable obstacles to

marriage. The two individuals are still man and woman, and

thus the requirements of nature are respected.

Same-sex “marriage” opposes nature. Two individuals of

the same sex, regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition

or fame, will never be able to marry because of an insurmountable

biological impossibility.

There is simply no analogy between the interracial marriage

of a man and a woman and the “marriage” between two

individuals of the same sex.

Secondly, inherited and unchangeable racial traits cannot be

compared with non-genetic and changeable behavior. - Defending a Higher Law

h/t Ray at Stella

Blogger of the Week... Second Edition.

Matt Badger. 

Get it?  Like Matt Drudge?  Whatever. 

Anyway - Badger Catholic is a really cool blog - good news spots, good Catholic posts - minus any animus.  (It kind of rhymes with minus - but it is true.)

Badger Catholic is my pick for Blogger of the Week.

Matt co-blogs with Virginia BTW - check out their profiles.


Fasting from food is good...

Abstaining from sin is better.

When St. Bernadette was asked, "What is a sinner?" she replied, "Someone who loves sin."

At every stage of my conversion I have struggled with various sins, often wondering why I kept falling into the same sins over and over.  Especially sins of the flesh.  Frequently, what I failed to acknowledge and pretty much tried to ignore, was my attachment to a particular sin, or rather, my affection for it.  St. Francis De Sales discusses this subject in the Introduction to the Devout Life:
ALL the children of Israel went forth from the land of Egypt, but not all went forth heartily, and so, when wandering in the desert, some of them sighed after the leeks and onions,—the fleshpots of Egypt. Even so there are penitents who forsake sin, yet without forsaking their sinful affections; that is to say, they intend to sin no more, but it goes sorely against them to abstain from the pleasures of sin;—they formally renounce and forsake sinful acts, but they turn back many a fond lingering look to what they have left, like Lot’s wife as she fled from Sodom. They are like a sick man who abstains from eating melon when the doctor says it would kill him, but who all the while longs for 21 it, talks about it, bargains when he may have it, would at least like just to sniff the perfume, and thinks those who are free to eat of it very fortunate. And so these weak cowardly penitents abstain awhile from sin, but reluctantly;—they would fain be able to sin without incurring damnation;—they talk with a lingering taste of their sinful deeds, and envy those who are yet indulging in the like. Thus a man who has meditated some revenge gives it up in confession, but soon after he is to be found talking about the quarrel, averring that but for the fear of God he would do this or that; complaining that it is hard to keep the Divine rule of forgiveness; would to God it were lawful to avenge one’s self! Who can fail to see that even if this poor man is not actually committing sin, he is altogether bound with the affections thereof, and although he may have come out of Egypt, he yet hungers after it, and longs for the leeks and onions he was wont to feed upon there! It is the same with the woman who, though she has given up her life of sin, yet takes delight in being sought after and admired. Alas! of a truth, all such are in great peril. - Chapter VII  

Photo notes:  Notice the head coverings on the women.  Most American women either wore scarves or hats - not Mantillas - before Mrs. Kennedy came along.  Told ya.  Not an issue however.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comments on comments - again.

Comment Moderation has been activated once again.

Sorry about that - I know the delay in seeing what you wrote get posted inhibits the flow of conversation, but it has to be done.  It may work out better than closing comments all together.

The Editor in Chief.

It's not you - it's me...

"We must proceed to rectify rash judgments, according to their cause. Some hearts there are so bitter and harsh by nature, that everything turns bitter under their touch; men who, in the Prophet’s words, 'turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth.'"

This past week I watched the PBS series, The Clinton Years, covering the presidency of Bill Clinton.  I have nothing to say here about Clinton, except regarding the leaks and subsequent investigations surrounding the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  We all know the story, the deceit, the obstruction of justice which led to the impeachment of the President, and so on.  Yet what disturbed me the most was the behind the scenes intrigue connected to the investigation, as well as the public outrage and controversy generated by the scandal:  Rash judgement, detraction, calumny, criticism, condemnation, anger, scoffing, mocking, ridicule... so many sins were generated.  On all sides.

It caused me to examine myself and what I sometimes write about on this blog.  For the most part, I really do write corrections to myself - especially when I record quotes by spiritual writers - I'm usually sharing corrections to my own conduct I have found helpful - or at least I am noting them in order to reinforce them to myself.  So please do not take what I write here personally.

Nevertheless, I have been - at the very least, indiscreet with not a few of my posts, although I'm afraid some may have been worse than that.  I believe at times I've been guilty of attitudes and behaviors St. Francis De Sales points out in the following excerpt from his Introduction to the Devout Life:
FROM rash judgments proceed mistrust, contempt for others, pride, and self-sufficiency, and numberless other pernicious results, among which stands forth prominently the sin of slander, which is a veritable pest of society. 
 I entreat you never speak evil of any, either directly or indirectly; beware of ever unjustly imputing sins or faults to your neighbour, of needlessly disclosing his real faults, of exaggerating such as are overt, of attributing wrong motives to good actions, of denying the good that you know to exist in another, of maliciously concealing it, or depreciating it in conversation. In all and each of these ways you grievously offend God, although the worst is false accusation, or denying the truth to your neighbour’s damage, since therein you combine his harm with falsehood. 
Those who slander others with an affectation of good will, or with dishonest pretences of friendliness, are the most spiteful and evil of all. They will profess that they love their victim, and that in many ways he is an excellent man, but all the same, truth must be told, and he was very wrong in such a matter; or that such and such a woman is very virtuous generally, but and so on. Do you not see through the artifice? - Introduction, Chapter XXIX
I hope and pray to avoid such sins in the future and to make reparation for even the appearance of such sins in my past, keeping in mind this admonition from St. Francis:
But while extremely sensitive as to the slightest approach to slander, you must also guard against an extreme into which some people fall, who, in their desire to speak evil of no one, actually uphold and speak well of vice. If you have to do with one who is unquestionably a slanderer, do not excuse him under the expressions of frank and free-spoken; do not call one who is notoriously vain, liberal and elegant; do not call dangerous levities mere simplicity; do not screen disobedience under the name of zeal, or arrogance of frankness, or evil intimacy of friendship. No, my child, we must never, in our wish to shun slander, foster or flatter vice in others; but we must call evil evil, and sin sin, and so doing we shall serve God’s Glory, always bearing in mind the following rules. 
 Public, notorious sinners may be spoken of freely, provided always even then that a spirit of charity and compassion prevail, and that you do not speak of them with arrogance or presumption, or as though you took pleasure in the fall of others. To do this is the sure sign of a mean ungenerous mind. And, of course, you must speak freely in condemnation of the professed enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics,—it is true charity to point out the wolf wheresoever he creeps in among the flock. Most people permit themselves absolute latitude in criticising and censuring rulers, and in calumniating nationalities, according to their own opinions and likings. But do you avoid this fault; it is displeasing to God, and is liable to lead you into disputes and quarrels. - ibid 
Works for me.  I just hope I can do it.   Please pray for me.

Art: A Fool-in-Christ - Pavel Svedomsky

Good advice...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent is other people...

There are many people who spend all their time at their prayers and other religious exercises and mortify themselves by long fasts and so on. But if anyone says as much as a word that implies a reflection on their self-esteem or takes something from them, they are immediately up in arms and annoyed. These people are not really poor in spirit. A person is really poor in spirit when he hates himself and loves those who strike him in the face. (cf. Matthew 5:39). - Saint Francis of Assisi, The Admonitions

Does this cape make me look fat?

All the photos I have ever seen of St. John  Bosco gave me the impression he was a stout man.  Looking at the photo shown here, it appears that he was quite thin. 

Must be the capes then.  Capes make people look fat.

The Call to Repent and Believe in the Gospel.

Everyone is talking about what they are giving up for Lent and what Lent means - in fact there was an entire segment about giving up stuff for Lent on local news last night.  And here I am talking about it.  (Priests should talk about it however.)

The Catholic blogs are full of commentary about giving this or that up, providing guides on what to do on top of our private penance, such as adding extra prayers, daily Mass, multiplying works of charity and alms and making sacrifices for our nation, the bishops, priests, etc..  Innumerable good ideas for taking on this new project we call Lent.  Not to mention bitching about this or that person's observance and practice - or lack there of.  Do you leave your ashes on, or wipe them off?  Do you even get ashes?  Should political candidates wear them for the debate?  Can my cat get ashes?  Will cigarette ashes do? 

I wonder how many of us forget that Lent is about repentance?  And that Ash Wednesday reminds us of the vanity and brevity of life... to make us know the shortness of our life?  Just think, some of us may not even be alive at the end of the day or tomorrow morning.  Think about that.  We can't wait for some leisure time to repent.  Ash Wednesday announces, today is the day.  Repent. 

Not to worry if we don't get it on the first day however.  It should dawn on us sooner or later.  Perhaps, as is often the case with many of us - when we fail in the project of Lent (as in not keeping our resolutions) - then we will finally come to realize the awful truth; our need to repent.

Ash Wednesday and Lent is about repentance - personal repentance and conversion - at least for me.

"Let us correct our faults which we have committed in ignorance, let us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking in vain for leisure to repent." - Ash Wednesday Responsory.

Photo:  Ricky and Newter.  Will they wear ashes on TV?  Who the hell cares.  I forgot to insert smiley face!  :)

Ash Wednesday

"Well, if we must walk around like this, we might at least remember to put on our happy face." - Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eric Mataxis on the Obama HHS Mandate: Must See!



"The “contraception mandate” is really a presidential power grab." That's what I said!

No one ever listens to me unless I'm talking about them.

From Michael Novak, National Review:
The most evil thing about the Obama administration’s recent violation of the separation of church and state is its deceptiveness. With his order requiring inclusion of contraception and abortifacient drugs in insurance coverage, the president is smuggling the hidden premises of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other supporters of abortion into U.S. law, and doing so untruthfully. - More here.

So, what are you giving up for Lent?

"How very impertinent!  No doubt you will regard this as rather unorthodox, but when I was younger, one never revealed such things!  'Don't let your right hand know what the left one is doing' and all of that you know."

Mad as hell...

Hear!  Hear!

h/t PML

Mardi Gras

I'm against it.

Art:  Detail from "The Conflict Between Carnival and Lent" - Pieter Bruegel.  Few people realize that the central figure depicted here is actually a portrait of a man named Marti Grau, who happened to be a favorite dance partner of Bruegel's mother at every Shrove Tuesday celebration, before and after her husband died.  Long story short - the term Mardi Gras is derived from the name of Mrs. Bruegel's paramour, Marti Grau.  That said, their story is much too ribald to repeat here today, I'm afraid. 


Rude awakening... Obama's pro-abortion record.

President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation.
The following is a compilation of bill signings, speeches, appointments and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency.

While Obama has promised to reduce abortions and some of his supporters believe that will happen, this long list proves his only agenda is promoting more abortions. - Read on...
 Included are examples of outright deceit, such as this infamous speech:
May 17 – During his commencement speech at Notre Dame, Obama deceived listeners into thinking he wants a conscience clause, promoted embryonic stem cell research and misstated his pro-abortion record.

There is absolutely no way anyone with a conscience can approve, or much less excuse that record.

H/T to PML and Ray 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Religion versus Spirituality

Religion bad - Spirituality good?

Even the more progressive priests and religious seem to have embraced the notion that religion is bad and spirituality is better; therefore it is not just the enthusiastic, born again 20-somethings on YouTube preaching organized religion is bankrupt, or the online contemplatives lamenting the violence entailed in the spiritual combat who like a softer gentler approach to faith.  Rather - the idea that 'religion' is bad and constraining and mean and violent seems to be pervasive in popular culture these days.  At times it seems the very understanding of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ is disputed by some of our peace and justice workers when they disparage the understanding of the Church on earth as the Church militant, diminishing on some level the serious and necessary struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.  Likewise, it seems to me at least, they forget that among the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of piety, which perfects the virtue of religion.  Thus one must be careful - and informed - when one attempts to disparage religion. 
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor."68 "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."69  - CCC
As noted in the Catechism - the virtue of justice is one of the cardinal virtues,  and Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion."  Vague 'spirituality' does not complete these virtues or the practice of religion, rather it is the theological virtue of charity which crowns and perfects these goods.  Therefore, as the Catechism teaches:
  • 1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who "first loved us":106

    If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.107  

The spiritual works of mercy....

It also must be remembered that it is a great charity to admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and to manfully resist the world, the flesh, and the devil.  When 'spiritual' persons call others to embrace some sort of esoteric 'spirituality' or seek to acquire a consciousness of the sacred and divine - more or less as an end in itself - it seems to me they are promoting erroneous teachings that may contain an element of truth but are incomplete - in other words, as Garrigou-Lagrange would say, these are based upon incomplete ideas of perfection.
15. There exists, in fact, a false charity, made up of culpable indulgence, of weakness, such as the meekness of those who never clash with anybody because they are afraid of everyone. There is also a false charity, made up of humanitarian sentimentalism, which seeks to have itself approved by true charity and which, by its contact, often taints the true.
One of the chief conflicts of the present day is that which arises between true and false charity. The latter reminds us of the false Christs spoken of in the Gospel; they are more dangerous before they are unmasked than when they make themselves known as the true enemies of the Church. Optimi corruptio pessima, the worst of corruptions is that which attacks what is best in us, the highest of the theological virtues. The apparent good which attracts the sinner is, in fact, so much the more dangerous as it is the counterfeit of a higher good. Such, for example, is the ideal of the pan-Christians, who seek the union of the Churches to the detriment of the faith, which this union presupposes. If, therefore, through stupidity or more or less conscious cowardice, those who should represent true charity approve here and there the dicta of the false, an incalculable evil may result. This evil is at times greater than that done by open persecutors, with whom evidently one can no longer have anything in common. - footnote, Ch 8: The True Nature of Christian Perfection

In fact, I wonder if some of the namby-pamby spiritualists out there who find Church teaching to be uncharitable, just might have imbibed a little too much kool-aid from a fountain otherwise known as Theosophy?
The conception of the Greek philosophers, which makes perfection consist in wisdom, is found again today mingled with many errors in those who put intellectual culture above everything else, and also in the theosophists, for whom perfection lies in "a consciousness of our identity with God," in the intuition of what is divine in us. (11) 
Far from putting the creature in his humble place beneath the Creator, theosophy presupposes pantheism, which is the negation of the order of grace and of all Christian dogmas, although it often preserves the terms of Christianity while giving them an entirely different meaning. (If a man becomes involved in theosophy, he may find himself enmeshed body and soul.) A most perfidious imitation and corruption of our asceticism and mysticism, theosophy is a product of the imagination in which God and the world are confounded, and in which we find, as we do in a novelty store, all sorts of antiques which attract our curiosity and turn our souls away from divine truth and eternal life. This heresy reminds us of the bewitching foolishness which darkens the intellect, as the Book of Wisdom says: "For the bewitching of vanity obscureth good things"(12) - ibid
Just some stuff to think about as we approach Lent... Steep yourself in Roman Catholic spirituality... not self-centering spirituality.
1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church. - CCC
One does not need a degree to read and study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 Photo:  Chair of St. Peter 

Memorial of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto

“Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary...” - Bl. Jacinta
Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, pray for us.

Little Jacinta died on this date in 1920.

Sunday, February 19, 2012