Saturday, May 05, 2012

"I don't have to think - with the Church - I'm Catholic."

The Kathleen Turner line, "I don't have to think, I'm Catholic" from the new go-straight-to-DVD film, The Perfect Family, may work better the way I wrote it: "I don't have to think with the Church, I'm Catholic" - better add "nun" to that as well.  Especially as it concerns more radical Catholic women religious like Sister Brigid McDonald, CSJ - one of the famous McDonald sisters shown above in that circle, back in the habit days.

The Four Sisters For Peace have been at it for years, some might say agitating for peace and justice, while others applaud them more as fearless activists for social change - both in and out of the Church.  I suppose they must be considered 'feminist nuns', especially now in view of one of the sisters criticism of 'Vatican intervention' in the LCWR.  Secular press reports the move as a political intervention, nevertheless it is clearly first and foremost a pastoral as well as doctrinal correction/intervention.  Regardless, the Holy See is well within its authority to step in - and perhaps long overdue.  Brigid McDonald doesn't like that, and says as much:
MinnPost: What are you hearing in your community about the decision?
Sister Brigid McDonald: Well, some are shocked that he would go that far, you know, to start using his power. To me, it is a misuse of power, a misuse of authority where he can step into religious communities and dictate how they should speak about these issues.
MP: When you say “he,” you are talking about Benedict?
SBM: Yes. I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. But that is just a personal bias.
I think they are overstepping their jurisdiction to expect that nuns are going to think as they tell us to think. To me those issues are not spiritual issues; many of them are political issues and some, of course, are social justice issues. I think that our personal spiritual life, it is another matter and that is our private belief.
I can't even begin to imagine what he could say or do that would change religious women's beliefs. I don't know how he plans to change that. That is of concern. That could be scary — what will he do to change our beliefs. You know, that scares me. - "Abuse of Power" - MinnPost

One of Sr. McDonald's real fears for herself and other religious may best be expressed in this statement:
"They want us back in the habits and being obedient. You don't belong out here with social workers." - Brigid McDonald 

One has to remember there is a long history there - not just with the McDonalds, or the Sisters of St. Joseph, or the other sisters who had been in the forefront of the Civil Rights battles of the 1960's.  These women religious did good back then, they labored in good faith, for that they are deserving of respect.  They marched for peace and justice, although some never stopped marching:  Out of the classrooms, out of the habit, and now some might say, out of the Church.

Locally at least, and probably nationally, the bishops might have intervened early on and prevented this.  However, the bishops gave them a long leash and often supported and praised their activism - even as it led to the disintegration of communal religious life.  Therefore, humanly speaking, one may at least understand the sisters anger over what they perceive as threats to their mission in the Church.  We must be honest however, and recognize some of their activities have gone against Church teaching, and therefore warrant correction. 

Correction can be painful.  Pray for these women not to lose faith.

Taking refuge in the desert...

They said of a monk that the more bitterly anyone injured or assailed him, the more he was well disposed to that person, for he said, "People like this are a means to cure the faults of serious men. People who make them happy do their souls harm. For it is written. 'They who praise you deceive you.'"

Mark asked Arsenius, 'It is right, isn't it, to have nothing unnecessary in one's cell? I saw a brother who had a few cabbages, and he was rooting them out.'  Arsenius said, 'It is right, but each should do what is right for his own way of life.  If he is not strong enough to endure without the cabbages, he will plant them again.'

Photo; Simone of the Desert, Bunuel

Friday, May 04, 2012

Saints who were sinners.

The arrest of Jacques Fesch.

Another saint no one wants.

Jacques Fesch, the Parisian 'playboy' who bungled a robbery and shot and killed a policeman in the getaway.  In prison, Fesch was converted, through the influence of St. Therese - the little saint who specializes in the conversion of sinners, 'welcoming them and eating with them' - 'at the table of sinners'.  Fesch was condemned to death and guillotined for his crime.  After his death people called him a saint, and eventually his cause was opened by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris. [More information here.]

Imagine.  A murderer proposed for canonization?  It's funny.  This public sinner died with a reputation for sanctity.  The French police union protest and condemn the very notion.  Oddly enough, sinners can be canonized.  The Good Thief was one of the first - on his deathbed of the cross no less.
"It is only recently that I have come to understand the meaning of the cross. It is at once prodigious and atrocious: prodigious because it gives us life, and atrocious because if we do not accept to be crucified all life is denied us. This is a great mystery, and blessed are the persecuted." - Jacques Fesch

All saints were sinners - albeit some may not have committed mortal sin, all were born in original sin, and it is probable all committed at least one venial sin at one time or another.  Only Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary were sinless.
"In my Father's house there are many dwelling places." - John 14: 1-6

On being called a saint.

Jesus, I trust in you!

"God in the New Testament is the God of love, compassion, and mercy. That is why we can trust Him fully, there is no more fear." - M. Teresa

I was looking for something Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said to a journalist who told her people were calling her a living saint. I recall Mother laughing it off, as it were, and saying something like, "When we are in the state of grace, we are all holy."  I couldn't find the exact quote, but I found some other very good quotes from Mother to share for today.
Even during her lifetime, people recognized Mother Teresa's exceptional holiness and called her "a living saint." To indiscreet remarks made about her sanctity, she would respond with utter simplicity: "Holiness is not a luxury of the few, but a simple duty for you and for me." Since sanctity should be our normal state, there was no reason for self-glorification.

In stating that holiness was a simple duty for everyone, Mother Teresa was not implying that it was easily achieved. Fully aware that holiness is a fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit in the soul, she also stressed that it required effort and a strong resolution on our part. "I will, I want, with God's blessing, be holy," was a recurring refrain on her lips in the last years of her life. Though her physical strength failed over time, her determination to strive for holiness never diminished.

"I prefer you to make mistakes in kindness than to work a miracle in unkindness," Mother Teresa wrote to her sisters. This was a principle she herself followed. It was precisely this attitude of being kindly disposed that led her to look at others' actions in a favorable light, to give them the benefit of the doubt or to overlook a mistake. This kindness made her approachable and sought after even by people whose opinions were opposed to hers. Such kindness that communicates love was what she demanded of her sisters: "Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. In the slums we are the light of God's kindness to the poor."

"Holiness is not a luxury of the few, but a simple duty for you and for me."  - M. Teresa

Dry bones...

L’Age D’or - Luis Bunuel

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Dan Savage: Just like "The 'B' in Apartment 23"...

It gets worse.

Sort of.

Have you ever watched that show?  The Bitch in Apt. 23?  No, I'm sure you haven't.  I mention it however because it's really pretty gay.  The writing, I mean.  The Bitch can be kind of a bully - or mean girl - a favorite character in Disney teen entertainment.  I realize  the main characters in this particular sit-com are women, but they act like nite-clubbing-gay-boyz I used to know.  Don't get mad because I said that - I'm not saying all gays act like that... insert my litany of exceptions... I'd rather not have to do that every time I write a post, BTW.  But that type of 'mean girl' behavior is used by some gay-kids... like Dan Savage of It Gets Better fame, for instance.

Before I get to Savage however, something should be said about family friendly programming on ABC - it is bad.  And getting worse.  I know, I know, good parents wouldn't think of letting their kids watch that stuff - no way, no how.  But there are a lot of parents out there who aren't as fortunate as my good Catholic readers.  Some may be in bad marriages, and of course, there are many single parents who probably outnumber those who read any Catholic blog, some of whom may have to be at work at that hour, or just drunk or high, or even in bed sleeping, because they have to get up early for work - while the kiddles watch the soft porn served up on prime time TV.  So if we don't watch, or decide to stop watching, there are young people and kids who do... it's part of that battle for your child's mind, you know, forget the occult.  Anyway - I thought I should mention it.  That's all.


So, Dan Savage.  He pretty much hates Christianity because it condemns homosexual acts.  He wants to use the anti-bully pulpit in order to have acceptance of homosexual behavior taught in the schools - so 'gay kids' aren't bullied.*  I know, I over-simplified that fact, forgive me.  But like the Bitch in Apt. 23, Savage wants it his way while he makes fun of, and bullies, Christian kids and their parents.  How mature, huh?  His excuse?  "Christianity belittles me, so I am going to go after you."  Kinda-sorta.

He's a nice man though... when he wants to be.  Because nice is important.
The National Scholastic Press Association and Journalism Education Association, who sponsored the “Journalism on the Edge” conference in Seattle, had invited Savage to talk to students about the power of social media as well the problem of bullying against gay young people.

Savage was one of two plenary keynote speakers at the April 13 national high school journalism conference.

“We can learn to ignore the bulls--t in the Bible about gay people – the same way we have learned to ignore the bulls--t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation,” Savage told students.

More than 100 teens walked out of the auditorium as he continued to mock the Bible. Savage then taunted those who left, calling them “pansy-a--ed.”
Like I said, how mature - not. 

Anyway, I have to agree with Bill Donohue's commentary on the story:
“Ironically, Savage’s bullying of Christian students was done in the name of protesting the bullying of homosexuals,” Donohue added. “When it comes to bullying, Savage has no peer.” - CNA
Mean Bitches.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
We are filled with contempt.
Indeed all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich,
with the proud man's disdain.**
- Ps. 123

*I'm against it:  Bullying anyone.
** This section of Ps. 123 can work both ways, BTW.

The simple life

"When Macarius was living in Egypt, one day he came across a man who had brought a donkey to his cell and was stealing his possessions.  As though he was a passer-by who did not live there, he went up to the thief and helped him to load the beast, and sent him peacefully on his way, saying to himself, 'We brought nothing into this world (1 Tim. 6:7) but the Lord gave; as he willed, so it is done: blessed be the Lord in all things."

"The desert fathers saw themselves as poor men and sinners in need of mercy, as those who were not strong enough to endure the friction of worldly life."

"They lived alone, or with disciples living nearby.  At the beginning this was a way of life largely uninstructed by theological reflection.  These men were ordinary Christians, most were neither clerics or scholars; they were laymen, uneducated peasants... who chose to live out their evangelical commitment... in great simplicity." - Text loosely gathered from The Desert Fathers, Benedicta Ward.

Art: Ladder - Gregor Ziolkowski

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Obama invented his girlfriend.  He just made it up... I wonder if he's made up stuff about himself before?

Story here.

He really is Urkel, isn't he.

laughing with you!

Oh! How I suffer!

How bad is it?

I wonder if people ever get tired of themselves whining?  Have you ever visited a really crappy nursing home?  A Vet's home?  A children's hospital?  Have you ever walked through a really horrible section of town? 

I really get tired of people whining all of the time.

Yeah - I know - I just did.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. - James 1:27

Mark Shea writes about a man he considers a 'gay saint'.

I can't really add anything to it - it is so beautifully written.
Some folk who have not read the blog for long or who are afflicted with short or selective memory might form the notion that, because I criticize Bullies for Homosex such as Dan “Hooray for Inciting Rape!” Savage, bullying is all I see in the gay community.

Not true. One of the people I admire most in the world, who I regard as an inspiration and, very likely, as a saint was a gay guy who lived here in Seattle named Perry Lorenzo. You can get something of a sense of the man from his blog. Dunno if he was celibate or not and, frankly, regard it as none of my business. All I know is that the guy was clearly a man who loved Jesus, loved his Catholic faith, and taught a huge number of people about it, both gay and straight, in a way that was immensely attractive and uplifting for everybody who encountered him. He was also one of the most learned people I have ever met and a profoundly humble man. He was, for many years, the director of education for the Seattle Opera. Had a brilliant knack for speaking the Catholic tradition to the cultured despisers of tradition here in Seattle. His funeral, which he planned himself as he was dying, was one of the most beautiful and Christ-centered liturgies I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if half the congregation was not Catholic: a testament to his greatness.

Some Catholics (and some of my gay readers) will probably be surprised to hear that I’m not interested in whether or not he was celibate. Not my business. That’s between him and God. (I had a reader write me in some degree of scandal after I posted on his death because he apparently had a partner he lived with. If memory serves, I expressed to my reader a deep lack of interest in that fact since a) Not. My. Business and b) merely living with his partner is not proof of anything anyway, either about his relationship with his partner, nor about his relationship with God. - Continue reading here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Traditional Catholic Tutorial: Dress like a Lady. Chapter One: How to enter a room gracefully and modestly.

"Oh... this old thing?"

As modeled by Loretta Young.  (She was a devout Catholic who went to daily Mass - with my Aunt and Uncle.  I know!)
"...Clothes to be modest need not only to cover the body but also not to cling too closely to the body. Now it is true that much feminine clothing today clings closer than do some trousers, but trousers can be made to cling closer, in fact generally they do, so the tight fit of such clothing gives us not less grounds for concern than does exposure of the body. So the immodesty of men's trousers on women is an aspect of the problem which is not to be left out of an over-all judgment upon them, even if it is not to be artificially exaggerated either." - Cardinal Siri
Another example hereWhat?

St. Joseph the Worker

Pietro Annigoni

John Collier

Two of my favorite paintings of St. Joseph the Worker.

The first, by Pietro Annigoni is masterful - I love everything about it.  "Annigoni was not only the greatest painter of the twentieth century but his works rank with the most celebrated paintings of all time" ~ Bernard Berenson.

The second, by John Collier is wonderful for its realism.  I would like to see a St. Joseph painted in a sort of Soviet Realist, propaganda-poster style, since his feast day falls on May Day, or International Workers' Day.  Pius XII established the feast of St. Joseph the Worker as a remedy for the Socialist Worker's celebration.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Joseph patron of the universal Church and instituted another feast, with an octave, to be held in his honour on Wednesday in the second week after Easter. This was abolished by Pope Pius XII, when in 1955 he established the Feast of "St. Joseph the Worker", to be celebrated on 1 May. This date counteracts May Day, a union, workers and socialists holiday and reflects Joseph's status as what many Catholics and other Christians consider the "patron of workers" and "model of workers." Catholic and other Christian teachings and stories about or relating to Joseph and the Holy Family frequently stress his patience, persistence, and hard work as admirable qualities which believers should adopt. - Source
Perhaps in our day the emphasis ought to be placed upon St. Joseph's role as father and husband. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

How nice...

"Anyway - I broke his leg
so he won't run from ya
no more."

The Good Shepherd breaks the legs of his sheep.

I never heard that one before, but apparently that's what all the Israelites who listened to Christ's teaching would have known:
Jewish shepherds would leave the flock, and go in search of the lost one, the reason why he would carry it on his shoulder is because he would break or dislocate its leg, which meant until it healed the shepherd needed to carry it around.

The important thing was that whilst it was getting better it was also learning to stay with he flock and while it was disabled it could not teach the rest of the flock to run and it itself learnt to listen to and follow the shepherd. - Source
Really?  Don't tell PETA or the Humane Society.

How to wreck a lovely story, huh?  Although I suppose this angle of the Good Shepherd story might be helpful in childhood abuse cases - "I just maimed the little bastard so he'd keep to the straight and narrow Judge."  

"Oh that's okay then, case dismissed." 

Tough love. 

Break the sons a bitches legs! 

Just kidding... kinda.

Where were you?

Where were you 2 years ago?  5 years ago?  10 Years ago?

Where were you in your conversion?  What were you doing?  What were you wearing?  What were you drinking?  Smoking?  Were you still screwing around?  Cussing?  Or were you a saint over night?

Did you come into the Church knowing everything?   Did you convert because someone wanted you to and only later discovered the truth?  Ask yourselves these types of questions - think about the stages of your conversion, your acceptance of Christ and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Then maybe give other people a break once in awhile.

Image:  Our Lady of Confidence

Prayer against persecutors...

I noticed a prayer against persecutors on another blog.  I immediately thought of how Our Lord counseled, "pray for those who persecute you" and thought to myself: 'In that case, isn't it rather strange for a Christian to pray against his persecutors?'  Unless of course one is praying for protection and the defeat of the evil one, as in the prayer of St. Michael, or the invocation to the Holy Face, "Arise O Lord and let thy enemies be scattered, and let those that hate you flee from before your holy Face."  The psalms are a rich resource for prayers for protection against enemies, but I think in the New Covenant these are more or less against our spiritual foes - the fallen spirits, the Devil and his minions.  

In the Our Father, we ask to be delivered from evil, or the evil one - which is a way of praying against evil.  Yet we are instructed to forgive our human enemies, those who trespass against us, while asking to be delivered from temptation and evil.  Christ didn't really instruct us to call down wrath upon our human persecutors or those who disagree with us.  In fact Christ rebuked the disciples who wanted to call down fire from heaven upon those who rejected their preaching.  Although I'm sure, out of charity, one can and ought to pray against persecutors as it affects others, yet when it comes to personal attacks, it seems to me we do well to pray for our persecutors and enemies.

In persecution, St. Peter tells us to "Rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings... Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ..."  But what if we are persecuted, or suffer for something we may deserve?  Or perhaps we suffer some setback to be saved from an even greater evil?  What if our suffering is a necessary correction?  Something God wills for our sanctification?  Are we to pray for God's wrath upon our enemies?

See?  So it makes more sense to me to not spend so much energy harboring resentment and wishing and hoping and praying for some great chastisement to befall those we perceive to be our enemies, but rather, leave such matters to God.  I think it is better to follow Christ's admonition to "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and to pray for your persecutors."  As St. Paul writes: "Rather, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.' Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good."   It has been my experience that there is no greater good one can do for one's enemies than to pray for them.

Please correct me if I am wrong.  Thank you.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bully: Thoughts from Fr. Barron

This is the very first video I have ever watched by Fr. Barron.

If I could respond to Fr. Barron I might say something like this:  "On the other hand, I sort of considered bullying an initiation rite all its own."  I'm sure that's wrong though.

One thing for certain, boys need good male role models.

h/t DB

Mass Chat: Music Ministry Alive!

No kidding. 

Editor's note:  I think it has to be only a really very small minority of people online, representing a remnant of Catholics in segregated TLM parishes, and maybe a handful of ordinary Catholics in ordinary parishes who long for a more traditional liturgy and traditional music at Mass.  I think the majority - vast majority of Catholics, are Vatican II, Ordinary Form Catholics led by a faithful, Vatican II, vernacular speaking Pope, who celebrates the Ordinary Form of Mass, day in and day out - with perfect freedom BTW - in the Vatican (and wherever he goes), at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.

Whew!  That was long.  It made sense, right? 

Anyway.  Having spewed all of that, one must conclude, there is still no accounting for taste in the American Catholic Church when it comes to music, even with a a new translation - which I have to admit is cumbersome, but that is another post.  Case in point, this announcement from my parish Sunday bulletin today, on the Glee-culture as it pertains to music ministries in the Catholic Church:
Music Ministry Alive!  Come be a part of the 14th Annual Summer Music Ministry Institute for Young Adults and Adult Leaders!  Music Ministry Alive! - Breathe Your Spirit Into us - Celebrating the 50 Year Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.  Led By David Haas, Special guest Bishop Remi De Roo, Vatican II Council Father... More info here.
Happy anniversary folks.


Hey kids!  Be sure and tell Grandma
and your old 'bachelor' uncle!

Just click:

Music Alive offers senior programs too!

Check it out:

Yes, I do control the ads.

Wearing the cassock... is back.

2004 in the Tyrol.

It never went out, you say?

Well, it kinda did.  Rorate Caeli has an interesting post from a document written by the oft-ignored Cardinal Siri on the disuse of the cassock (and religious habit) as well as the role it played in the decay of ecclesiastical discipline.
From an earlier era.

A Te Sacerdote 
I deem it necessary to draw attention to a problem that is becoming increasingly important: that of ecclesiastical dress. […] In fact, we are witnessing the greatest decadence in ecclesiastical dress. […]Clothes strongly condition and sometimes even forge the psychology of those who wear them. (Ecclesiastical) clothing, in fact, is a commitment at the taking of the habit, for its conservation and for its substitution. It is the first thing that is seen and the last thing that is laid aside. It is a reminder of commitment, of belonging, decorum, union, team spirit and dignity! It does this continuously. It consequently creates limits in action, calls to mind these limits incessantly, instigates the barrier of modesty, of a good name, of one’s own duties, of public resonance, and of the consequences of malicious interpretations. […]

I believe it is difficult for the ecclesiastical spirit to exist in our times, because of its characteristics, if the desire and respect for the ecclesiastical habit is absent. […] It is not only with “ecclesiastical dress” that we are concerned here, but with the cassock itself.

And let us face reality, without any fear of what can be said about it. […] Some, in order to boycott the use of the cassock or to justify giving in to the current fashion against it, affirm: “Anyway, the cassock is a liturgical garment” - with this, they want to reduce the cassock to liturgical use only. This is openly false and insidiously hypocritical! […] Frankly, it is clear that the clergyman's suit […] is not the most desirable solution. Will he who does not love his cassock be able to resist and love his service to God? Our neighbor does not substitute God! He who does not love his uniform is no soldier. […] - Continue reading here

Top photos:  I thought it might interest readers to see photos of another Cardinal and how he sometimes dressed.
Cardinal Siri would have been proud of this guy.

But maybe not this nun.
Oh sure, she's wearing the habit,
but she's playing with
scantily clad young men.

The Good Shepherd

I know my sheep, and mine know me.

Which is why I cannot follow another.

When it seems I am all alone,

separated... excluded...

even lost,

it is then I realize

You are carrying me.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to trust in man.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord

than to trust in princes.