"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
April 26 was the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, and I watched a dramatization on it on PBS. Oddly enough, the filming reminded me of Dr. Who or something done in the 1950's, which struck me as a novel way in which to tell the story. The disaster had the potential of becoming something much more apocalyptic, you can read more more about it here.
While thinking about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and more recently Fukushima, it occurred to me that the world as we know it may well be destroyed by 'accident' or human error, rather than design. Or perhaps by a really big meteor.
It's a rainy day today.
I mentioned it to a friend the other day, and she asked me "what coming turmoil?"
I explained that I expect there will be Act-Up style protests against the Church because of its stance against same sex marriage and teaching condemning homosexual behaviour. Like Planned Parenthood offering an imitation 40 Days for Life prayer movement, gay activists are forming prayer groups in addition to picket lines outside churches and chanceries, for their intentions. One such prayer group was recently requested to pray silently at the Cathedral in St. Paul. However, as boycotts and picketing endeavors go unnoticed by media, I suspect the need for more aggressive protests will develop as push comes to shove. If I'm wrong, all the better.
An incident occurred just a couple of days ago in Portland. Though not a Catholic church, a gay activist group, Angry Queers smashed windows of a protestant church there. The story here:
PORTLAND, OREGON, April 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexual activist group calling itself “Angry Queers” claimed responsibility for smashing nine windows in a church known for teaching traditional sexual morality early Tuesday morning.
“Upon arriving at the church, we discovered nine separate windows had been smashed in with rocks, including two beautiful 100-year-old stained glass windows,” wrote Tim Smith, pastor of the Portland campus of Mars Hill Church. “We estimate the damage to be several thousand dollars.”
The vandals sent an e-mail to local television station KOIN-TV stating they took the action, because “Mars Hill is notoriously anti-gay and anti-woman.”H/T Pewsitters
Church members say they hold to “traditional Bible-based views on homosexuality.”
Eyewitnesses told police they saw six young men wearing “dark, mask-like partial face coverings” flee the scene around 2:30 a.m.
The Oregonian reported “black-clad demonstrators…some of whom wore kerchiefs to cover their faces, shouted profanities at adults and children” last October, when the new campus of the Seattle-based church opened. About 20 protesters blocked the entrance and screamed, “Shame on you homophobes. You’re not welcome here. You’re going to burn in Hell.” - LifeSite
Photo: Synagogue, Kristallnacht 1938.
Friday, April 27, 2012
We write publicly on public forums which are open to anyone who chooses to read what we post. If another person desires to write a separate post discussing what we have already made public ourselves, that person is certainly free to do that - be it critical or complimentary. Rather than post an extremely long comment to another person's post, a writer may elect to write a post at his own blog rather than fill up the combox of another. It is also ludicrous to imagine one's blog or combox is one's personal salon or living room - published work, though it can be protected by copyright, remains in the public domain, open to critique and commentary.
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Dermatophags (wolf-biters) eat the skin around their fingernails, similar to how some people chew on their fingernails. Can one do so on Friday?
I would have to answer yes, provided you do some other sort of penance. The last time I checked, the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays may be substituted with another form of penance.
Always ask your confessor or check with a diocesan authority when you have questions on Catholic discipline.
"Pope Benedict XVI wants the Catholic Church in America to be in the forefront of reviving Catholicism worldwide..."
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
That's what he said:
"The Church in the United States should lead the entire Church in the world" in a revitalization effort, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano said. "This is a great task, but you have the determination and the grace to do it. This I know is the vision of the Holy Father regarding the Church in the United States."
The archbishop was speaking to an audience of seminarians and benefactors of the Pontifical College Josephinum at its annual rector's dinner April 23. He called on the American Church to go beyond its mission of evangelizing the United States and "to be missionaries not only to the Third World, but especially to the countries of Europe.
"Christianity (in Europe) in some way has lost its strength and needs an example," he said, noting "very positive signs of growth" in vocations to the priesthood and the religious life in the United States. - Source
Really? That's what the Pope said? In that case the Pope must be looking through the Americanist Enlightenment Filter E. Michael Jones speaks about?
I give up.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
"...the fresco has unexplainably remained suspended in the air close to the wall of the chapel in the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel for over five hundred years."
No doubt, few Catholics continue to believe in such things...
If they do not believe in the Real Presence, I'm sure they reject such lesser miracles as the translation of the Holy House of Loreto by angels, as well as the translation of the the Holy Image of Our Lady of Good Counsel of Genazzano.
The image received its papal coronation on November 17, 1682. A canon of Saint Peter's chapter was sent to represent Pope Innocent XI. A report was written five days later describing the image as touching the wall only at the upper edge and not supported by other means. It is from this date on that the existence of the painting as such was considered miraculous, not only because of its arrival at Genazzano, but because it is for the most part suspended in the air. Eyewitnesses also testify to extraordinary phenomena regarding changing features of the image. Since that time, there have been many privileges granted to the shrine, papal visits and honors. - Source
O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.Our Lady of Good Counsel was a symbol and special patroness of lay involvement and responsibility in Counter-reformation times. The Jesuits have been instrumental in spreading devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel since the 1700's.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Cigars, beer-farts, belching, spitting contests, outdoor distance-peeing, and more beer.
It's a fun time... especially considering, "Men and boys who don’t have masculinity problems have the ability to duke it out and then either be friends or at least be civil."
Throw off the shackles of your Puritan heritage and join us at Saint Augustine’s in South Saint Paul on May 8th for our last AOTM of the season. We’re going out with a bang…or at least a good deal of smoke. What makes AOTM different (and we say better) than other similar events is the atmosphere – the conversations, the food and drink, and now the SMOKING. The pre-argument party starts at 3 PM on the luxuriant greens of Saint Augustine. A tent will be set up in case of rain, so don’t think we’ll call it off on account of weather. We’ll have beer (still free) and cigars for sale – feel free to bring your pipe if you smoke one. We’ll also be roasting the food and reserve the right to conscript you into volunteer service should the need arise. The schedule for the day is as follows:
Smoking and Drinking: 3 PMAppetizers: 6 PMDinner: 7 PMPresentation: 7:30 PMAs promised the presentation will focus on the marriage amendment. We’ll take a look at some of the larger issues. What brought us to this junction and where do we go from here win or lose? The debate format will be replaced by a panel of speakers, providing the most robust analysis of the marriage amendment you’re likely to hear.
Argument of the Month
408 3rd Street North
South Saint Paul, MN
[Seriously - it is a great Catholic get-together. Click here for more details.]
His Holiness, Dalai Lama was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a check-up.
While there, he spoke to a group gathered in the Clinic's Catholic chapel dedicated to Our Lady. I know I'm not supposed to, but I like the Dalai Lama. I'm not a follower of course, and I do not buy Buddhist nun soap, but I think he's very cool. He was seated in the sanctuary of the chapel, so I expect some people may have issues with that, but when the Popes have traveled, they have sat in non-Catholic holy places whenever they were asked to speak as well. I'm sure there were no religious services held yesterday while he was there. It's a pretty chapel, isn't it?
His Holiness strikes me as a very affable man, and though a Marxist, he has good things to say. From yesterday's address:
Using humor and wearing a University of Minnesota visor that matched his maroon and gold robe, the Dalai Lama spoke to hundreds of Mayo Clinic staff members about compassion and finding peace.
"Compassion means an open mind," he told about 300 people Tuesday morning at a discussion titled "Resilience Through Mindfulness."
Speaking at Saint Marys Hospital's chapel on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama addressed a concern that's arisen during previous visits to Rochester: Compassion fatigue. In other words, how do you maintain an attitude of compassion when there is so much suffering in the world?
In response, the Dalai Lama talked about the danger of treating compassion as solely a focus on suffering.
"If we look at it as suffering only, you really develop hopelessness," he said. - Source
Asked privately what he thought of the AofA vs. Patheos controversy, the Dalai Lama said, "They're no damn good."
What? I'm kidding, I just made that up......
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Work the runway...
This past Sunday's paper had two pull-out catalog-style ads for guns. Gun sales are through the roof these days.
And then there is this:
There are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S, federal authorities have been forced to reveal following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit.And yet the Obama administration says: "The war on terror is over."
The unmanned planes – some of which may have been designed to kill terror suspects – are being launched from locations in 20 states. - Source
Civil unrest may be the new terrorism.
Please remember to dress fashionably.
Not now of course, but way back when...
LifeSite dug up a 1967 Documentary by Mike Wallace on Homosexuality.
Hard as it may be for my readers to believe - I watched the documentary when it aired. Not many years before that, Life magazine ran feature articles on the homosexual sub-culture in NYC, which helped educate anyone who cared to know about it, just how things worked in the underworld of the gay social scene. In fact, the entire country suddenly knew more about homosexuality than they probably wanted to know. And yes, people hated homosexuality.
One psychologist interviewed in the documentary, Dr. Socaride, described homosexuality to Wallace as “a mental illness, which has reached epidemiological proportions.” Today public attitudes have changed radically. Obviously sex education beginning at university level even before the time of the interview, extending down to secondary and primary school level as we know it today, helped to change public attitudes toward sex. Teach your children, as they say.
However, the wider cultural reasons for the paradigm shift were clearly recognized at the time of the documentary - although few expected the rapid, radical shift in morals that we experience today. Cultural critic Dr. Albert Goldman sized it up rather well:
“It seems to me today we are in the course of gradually rolling back from our former cultural values or cultural identifications, to a more narcissistic, to a more self indulgent, to a more self-centered and essentially adolescent lifestyle,” says Goldman. “The homosexual thing cannot really be separated form a a lot of other parallel phenomena in our society today.”How astonishing, and yet today, people imagine that only now are we "gradually rolling back from our former cultural values or cultural identifications, to a more narcissistic, to a more self indulgent, to a more self-centered and essentially adolescent lifestyle. The homosexual thing cannot really be separated form a a lot of other parallel phenomena in our society today.” Nevertheless it was anticipated then, it was already in the works back then. As Wallace noted:
“I mean, we see this on every hand. Forty percent of modern marriages end in divorce. We have a very widespread tendency to live lives of nonstop promiscuity. This is played up in a kind of playboy philosophy which is celebrated and sugar-coated and offered to the masses and received with pleasure. We have all sorts of fun and games approaches to sex. We have rampant exhibitionism today in every conceivable form.
“We have a sort of masochistic sadistic vogue. We have a smut industry that grinds out millions of dollars worth of pornography a year. We have a sort of masturbatory dance style that’s embraced as if it were something profoundly sexual, whereas actually all those dances do is just grind away without any consciousness of other people or their partners. And homosexuality is just one of a number of such things, all tending towards the subversion, towards the final erosion of our traditional cultural values.”
“It should be pointed out that Dr. Socaride’s views are not universally held. There is a smaller group who do not consider homosexuality an illness at all. Instead, they regard it as a deviation within the range of normalcy.”Although now days even to suggest homosexuality is a deviation within the range of normalcy would be insulting to most gay activists, who regard the orientation as completely normal sexual orientation. In the documentary, Gore Vidal also has something to say about normalcy - well, kind of - and it's the same thing people like Dan Savage say today:
Vidal begins by insisting that the family is not under threat from the homosexual subculture, and then proceeds to argue that marriage and sexual fidelity are “obsolete.”Yeah, so. The more things change...
Anyway - the big obsolete of the entire documentary - at least according to any gay activist or happy homosexual today, would have to be the following information the documentary revealed to a still rather naive American public back then:
“The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous,” Wallace states matter-of-fact. “He is not interested in nor capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits, and even the streets of the city - the quick one night stand. These are characteristic of the homosexual relationship.”Truth be told, gay people have been socialized better in these days of political correctness and equal rights, they no longer have to haunt the places they did back then. Today it's more an optional/alternative form of behavior/entertainment. As for couples staying together - it's probably closer to the same percentage rate for hetero couples staying together - maybe not - I don't think it's that big of a deal to gay couples. There may be an element of cool to the idea they can divorce just like straight couples, adding to the semblance of normality, or parity with heteros, the movement has sought to create. That said, nothing will make the modern homosexual more crazy than to claim that homosexuality is a mental illness. They took care of that diagnosis in 1970. (Don't ever mention it though - I just did but I think I got away with it.)
Anyway - read the LifeSite article and watch the video - it's very interesting. Click here.
H/T Ray of Stella
Monday, April 23, 2012
"You can't be serious!"
Many readers have asked me to chime in on this matter. This is exactly why homosexuals should not be allowed in the military! Loose morals have infected every Government service agency since. That's all I am going to say.
Except for this - if Secret Service Agents were allowed to marry, this would never have happened.
Oh. I see, they are allowed to marry.
Well, in that case, I blame the wives.
BTW - Sarah Palin brought this on herself - she is much too sexy. More on that story here.
Francis Bacon, 'Study for Portrait II' (1956).
I completely forgot about Francis Bacon.
I like painters who paint churchmen. Botero does too - paints churchmen - although I'm not sure if he likes people who do - paint churchmen. Michelangelo painted churchmen into his fresco of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel - so I'm sure he got a kick out of that. There are many examples of churchmen in art. I should say church people, because sometimes nuns are painted too. I painted a nun in the style of Botero once - she is a real nun. Her sisters in religion accused me of being mean for painting her like that - even though the sister was actually very fat. They assumed I was being cruel, when in reality I considered the sister my friend and wanted to capture her likeness as perfectly as possible. It seems to me rash judgement happens when people are convinced of their own self-righteousness. It happens to all of us.
This morning I came across a photo of Sophia Loren's home interior and noted a Francis Bacon painting of a bishop, and I suddenly remembered I liked Bacon's work very much.
Whenever I paint churchmen, I am always surprised how much I grow to like them and respect them even more that I did when I first began the painting. Painting - for me at least - is similar to praying - one can no longer dislike the person one is praying for, it is the same in painting. Like I said - at least for me.
My uncle Jim always painted baseball players and soldiers. He's very old now and has Alzheimer's.
I have always loved the book and film, The Hiding Place, the story of the TenBoom sisters arrested by the Nazis for harboring Jews during WWII. A crime which resulted in their internment in the Nazi concentration camp. Betsy died a saintly death there. The female inmates had no church, no ministers, no sacraments, but they united together faithfully in prayer, a witness to the Risen Jesus in the midst of a cruel, hateful death camp. Amidst that population were communists and anarchists and other unbelievers, many of whom hated religion or opposed Christianity, and some of them challenged Betsy for her faith. One of her responses to them always gives me courage, "There is no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still." Betsy was a light in the darkness of that place, in the midst of those who did not accept Christ.
Thus, as the light dims in history once again, and as love grows cold, and many follow other gods and religions, the Christian is asked to evangelize culture, the Catholic is expected to witness to the reality of the mercy of God in Christ. Even in the most mundane circumstances of life... in the workplace, the market, school, the gym, online - in ordinary life - in the midst of those who do not accept Christ.
There is a religious order which traces its charism to Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who tried, unsuccessfully, to found the way of life they embrace. They are the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus. They live amongst the poor in many places in the world, as well as amidst non-Christians in various countries, indeed, one group I know of actually travels with a circus. They are a silent, loving witness amongst those who do not know Christ. Their life is contemplative and Eucharistic. They remind me of the early Fools for Christ, especially Simeon Salus who went to live amongst the prostitutes and outcasts. Sometimes Christians are called to go outside the camp, sharing in Christ's shame, and sometimes, sharing joyfully their faith - even in the midst of those who do not accept Christ.
I try very much to continually read the Letters of the Apostles, particularly St. Paul: such reading is known as lectio continua, as opposed to lectio divina which is prayerful reading. As a matter of fact, I've done this most of my adult life - or at least since my return to the Church. I mention it because I am always amazed at Paul's ability to fit himself into the culture of his times. I think he is a fine example for us in our cultural pantheon of relativity, so to speak, on how to be present to the reality which surrounds us in secular life - in the midst of those who do not accept Christ.
It occurred to me that perhaps it would be good for many of us, floating about in cyber space - or, wandering the digital continent, to remember in particular St. Paul's visit to Athens. There, amidst the Greek pantheon of deities, the pagan philosophers asked Paul to explain to them what his new teaching was, because the people were excited that he was "introducing new teachings to them and they should like to know what it is all about."
Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’* What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you..." Continue here.
St. Paul went amongst the Athenians with respect, and presented the faith. He went amongst the gentiles and pagans and taught. Wheresoever we find ourselves, we have that same opportunity to make Christ present. Even in the midst of those who do not accept Christ, or believe as we do - we can be present, and thus make Christ present.
As John of the Cross says: "Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love."
Sunday, April 22, 2012
"Morosini was known for his perpetual smile despite a tragic life growing up."
During the funeral Mass for a young Italian soccer star who died suddenly during a match on April 14, Father Luciano Manenti of the Diocese of Bergamo said the tragedy provides believers with an opportunity to reflect on their faith and the fragility of life.Professional soccer player Piermario Morosini, 25, collapsed from a heart attack during a game last Saturday and was pronounced dead. The incident, seen live on television, shocked Italians nationwide.
The funeral Mass was held at a small church in Monterosso before a congregation of six hundred. Some five thousand people gathered at the Bergamo Stadium to follow the funeral on giant TV screens.
Morosini won the affection of his fellow soccer players on the five teams he played for at different times since he was a teenager. He was known for his perpetual smile despite a tragic life growing up. His mother died when he was 15, and soon after he lost his father as well. He was left to take care of his two handicapped siblings. His younger brother committed suicide and his older sister, Maria Carla, lives in a home for the mentally disabled in Bergamo.
Morosini’s death has sparked a network of solidarity among Italian soccer players, with some stepping forward to offer to care for his handicapped sister. - Finish reading here.
PierMario and girlfriend Anna Vavassori.
+Prayers for PierMario and those loved ones he left behind.+
The Third Sunday of Easter.
The homily for today was all about Earth Day, and the man who invented it in 1969 - with mention of what inspired him the year before: The 1968 Apollo 8 lunar mission, especially the photos showing the astronauts' view of the earth. Thus when the same images were later printed in Life magazine, Deacon seemed to think that those photos are what inspired the guy to create Earth Day. I always thought it had more to do with a huge oil spill in California around the same time, but who cares.
The Deacon preached the homily. Normally his homilies are very good, drawn from the liturgical texts for the Sunday he is scheduled to preach. His regular ministry is to the Native American community in town, the community is dedicated to Kateri Tekakwitha. Since his assignment there, Deacon has become ever more environmentally conscious. That may explain a few things with regard to the subject of his homily.
So yeah, the Third Sunday of Easter, and the homily was all about Earth Day - so much for that joy of Easter, huh?
"Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And He said to them, 'Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'" - Luke: 24: 35-48
Remember: Don't mention the Passion of Christ, repentance or the forgiveness of sins, or any para-liturgical devotion during Eastertide! I kinda did in a post yesterday, but I think I got away with it.
Earth Day eggs.