Saturday, June 09, 2012

Eros... celebrated as divine power... as fellowship with the Divine.

The Flight of Moloch, Wm. Blake

Reclaiming the erotic?

Ever notice how much eros is being talked about these days amongst Catholics?  I know! 

I'd rather read what the Pope has to say.

4. But is this the case? Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world. The Greeks—not unlike other cultures—considered eros principally as a kind of intoxication, the overpowering of reason by a “divine madness” which tears man away from his finite existence and enables him, in the very process of being overwhelmed by divine power, to experience supreme happiness. All other powers in heaven and on earth thus appear secondary: “Omnia vincit amor” says Virgil in the Bucolics—love conquers all—and he adds: “et nos cedamus amori”—let us, too, yield to love.[2] In the religions, this attitude found expression in fertility cults, part of which was the “sacred” prostitution which flourished in many temples. Eros was thus celebrated as divine power, as fellowship with the Divine.

The Old Testament firmly opposed this form of religion, which represents a powerful temptation against monotheistic faith, combating it as a perversion of religiosity. But it in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it, because this counterfeit divinization of eros actually strips it of its dignity and dehumanizes it. Indeed, the prostitutes in the temple, who had to bestow this divine intoxication, were not treated as human beings and persons, but simply used as a means of arousing “divine madness”: far from being goddesses, they were human persons being exploited. An intoxicated and undisciplined eros, then, is not an ascent in “ecstasy” towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man. Evidently, eros needs to be disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns. - Deus Caritas Est

I used to be fascinated with the temple prostitute thing, and Israel's corruption and turning to Baal.  "And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal, and caused my people Israel to err." - Jeremiah 23

 To be continued.

I've never shopped at a Penney's store in my life.

Chaz Bono and another guy in yellow diapers with two kids not their own. Weird.

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

I still think Luther did this the best.

Friday, June 08, 2012

What's wrong with Patheos?


It worked for Larry once.  Now he big shot.

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

I first heard this at their concert in Rome. 

"Disinterested" Cruising and Carressing and ...

"For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.”
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Disinterested Friendship...

One of the issues I've found myself concerned about in recent years, when I come across pop-TOB as it is sometimes loosely interpreted for same-sex disinterested friendships, is that emphasis is frequently placed upon what I term same-sex inordinate affections, as well as vain rejoicing in the natural goods of another.   This is a trend  discussed by so-called chaste-gay-Christians who cultivate or preserve a 'queer' identity.  Likewise, some of these folks seem to be intent upon developing a gay-spirituality of same-sex friendship, reinterpreting the works and lives of the saints to fit their experience.  Especially as it concerns the question: How long can I ponder the beauty in 'men's' faces?  Lovely in limbs?  How far can I go physically in loving my friend? Can I hold hands? Can I admire his/her body? Can I cuddle? Massage? Kiss? Can I caress his hair?  I may be wrong, but I think such questions betray what St. John of the Cross would say is a vain rejoicing in sensory and natural goods, not to mention a lack of detachment and a weak spirit.
I had a spiritual director once who counselled me regarding my 'scruples' about such temptations to similar intimacies in a same-sex friendship.  Father, obviously thinking of the Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, encouraged me to "See the face of Christ reflected upon the face of your beloved. See the outline of Christ's body upon the limbs of the one you love. By his resurrection he has made all things new..." Needless to say, I ignored the priest's counsel.  (This priest was a monk who taught at a prestigious university out East.  Just because one has a spiritual director doesn't mean he is right about everything.)

Vain rejoicing in sensual and natural goods and the need for detachment in every relationship.
I'm no expert but it is obvious to me that type of spirituality is in error. As St. John of the Cross, commenting upon St. Paul affirms, "The sensual man is the one who occupies his will with sensory things, the animal man who is unperceptive of the things of God; while the other who raises his will to God, he calls the spiritual man, and he is the one who penetrates and judges all things, even the deep things of God. [1 Cor. 2:14, 10]
St. John continues: "Until a man is so habituated to the purgation of sensible joy that at the first movement of this joy he procures the benefit spoken of - that these goods turn him immediately to God - he must necessarily deny his joy and satisfaction in sensible goods in order to draw his soul away from the sensory life. Since he is not spiritual, he should be fearful lest through the use of these goods he may perhaps get more satisfaction and strength for the senses than the spirit. Because of their predominance in his activity, the sensory forces increase sensuality, and sustain and nourish it.
And this we should ponder considerably, for it is really true. No one who has not yet mortified his pleasure in sensory things should dare to look for notable benefit from the vigor and activity of his senses regarding these goods in the belief they are a help to the spirit." - Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Bk. III, Ch. 26.

 “This is the way of the adulterous woman. She eats and wipes her mouth and says ‘I have done no evil.'” - Proverbs 30:20

Art: Ganymede and Jupiter's Eagle. John Woodrow Kelley   Myth described Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals.  It was said he had been seduced, raped-abducted by Zeus, who became enchanted by the youth's natural beauty and grace.  Zeus, in the form of an eagle, snatched him away to Olympus.

Thou shalt not covet...

Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.

Yesterday, after reading a post of mine wherein I linked to a gay blog site, a reader asked me why sites like that so often display homoerotic images.  I couldn't tell her, but I agreed, that it is often the case on such blogs.  I tried to explain, in my clumsy way, my sense of scripture regarding homosexuality or homoerotica, responding to her email, I wrote:
Nope - it is just not you - gay sites are obsessed with male nudes - why? Not sure. I think it's comparable to 'religious cult' in some aspects.  Seriously.  With some people, it seems homosexual attraction can border on idolatry, with a bit of fetishism thrown in - albeit more or less unconsciously.   I'm not sure why everything seems to be reduced to the  erotic - but it certainly appears obsessive.   I've noted lately how so called "chaste-Catholic-gays" seem to be intent on developing a spirituality involving a precipitous  understanding of eros in same sex friendship.  Nevertheless, I think there is a danger in such thinking, perhaps even a subliminal cultivation of the erotic in the process. I'm trying - politely and respectfully - to make sense of their constant discussion on how gay/queer is good - but I'm not buying it.  - My response to a reader.
My friend never responded, so I sent her something I found later, from a writer I'm probably not supposed to like.  However, in a discussion he posted at his site on the topic of the chaste-gay-Catholic phenomenon, I had to agree with many of his points.  I didn't take his commentary to be offensive or mean-spirited, straight forward and blunt perhaps, but his argument seemed reasonable enough to me.  I've never read the guy before, I do not know him, I've only read what other people say about him.  Reprinted below is the section of his post which I sent to my friend, and which accords with my personal intuition.

The interesting thing about beauty is that the person who has it did nothing to attain it. It is something given to them by God. So, if one wants to appreciate the beauty of a human being, one must realize that the human being is merely a reflection of the beauty of God and thus not the one to be plugged into. The only thing beauty should prompt us to do is marvel at the God who created it. Or as St. Paul puts it, one needs to reject the temptation to worship the creation and only worship the Creator. Interestingly enough, St. Paul’s warning against idolizing the creation appears in the very context he is speaking about the causes for homosexuality, Romans 1:25. In other words, the seeds of homosexuality begin by an inordinate admiration of the creation. The creation becomes the focus of one’s attention rather than the God who created it. In fact, in most cases of sin, it is the idolization of the creation that leads to the shunning of God, and this is why St. Paul calls covetousness idolatry (Col 3:5). It is here where the person begins to idolize either another person or even themselves, and the idolization takes on its own identity, and the very reason that the label of “chaste gay” becomes so important to those promoting this new persona. - Robert Sungenis, The Chaste Gay Concept in the Light of the Tenth Commandment

Live "according to the Spirit of unity and truth. To this end we must pray that the Spirit may illuminate us, guiding us to overcome the lure of our own truths and to accept the truth of Christ, as transmitted by the Church". - Pope Benedict XVI, Pentecost 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament

My adoration day has been switched to Thursdays, which in turn becomes my weekly day of recollection.  Today is also the traditional feast of Corpus Christi - although here it is celebrated on Sunday, for those who are not able to make it to Mass during the week.

Praying very much for the forgiveness of my sins and the grace to know the truth, as well as for all of you who read this blog, and those I have offended and alienated.   

A former Dominican priest's take on the Farley Notification.

"But part of it is my general dislike of liberal dishonesty
and the refusal to accept that certain organisms
 have an identity,
one which may not be dreamed up from scratch
 every ten minutes." - ex-cathedra

A story you probably wouldn't find on a Blog-gomerate or any Catholic news portal.

While looking for photos - to be more specific - photos of nuns getting beat up by priests, a strange category I know, but one I wanted to use for another post I intended to write for the Sr. Farley Notification, I came upon the following post which I thought might interest my readers for its honesty.  In fact, the man who writes is a former Dominican priest, who chose to leave the Catholic Church because he recognized that the Church could not change her teaching on faith and morals.

Roma locuta, causa incoepta
Another American nun has had her theological work condemned. The usual tired narrative is provoked: power-hungry old men vs plucky female pioneer. She favors masturbation, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and remarriage after divorce. People act shocked that there's a problem. This "widely respected" teacher disingenuously denies that she was attacking traditional doctrine or proposing a new set. She calls her work "another genre entirely." Her book, Just Love*, is apparently the theological equivalent of "Just sayin'."
The author nails it, doesn't he.  Not a question.  See, there really are honest people in the world - people who've been there, maybe even done that - as far as talkin' the talk; saying the right stuff in order not to be kicked out, maintaining a sense of decorum, while having it your way.  But I digress.
What people forget is how mild and rare Rome's reactions now are, compared to what they used to be.  And I include Rome during Cardinal Ratzinger's term at the Holy Office. How many ideas, practices and/or people had sanctions laid against them during his whole term? It was hardly a reign of terror.

When I left the priesthood and the Dominican Order twenty-five years ago, it was partly based, ironically, on my commitment to Catholicism. That is, despite my sense of personal rightness about my sexuality, I knew very well that Catholicism was not something that you can make up as you go along. Especially if you are vowed/ordained and a public theologian. Just because I wanted this 2000 year old tradition to agree with me did not mean that it would. Or, as I realized, could.  
Part of my irritation at liberal Catholics may be an unconscious resentment at them for having their cake and eating it, too, while I made the painful choice to jump the Barque of Peter in mid-journey. But part of it is my general dislike of liberal dishonesty and the refusal to accept that certain organisms have an identity, one which may not be dreamed up from scratch every ten minutes.

Everything the liberal Catholics want in a church already exists, fully formed, in the Episcopal Church. To me, they lack the balls to jeopardize their "prophetic" status and livelihoods and make honest women and men out of themselves. - ex-cathedra blog


One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Two birds with one stone - Quincy, Brothers Johnson... remix.  Chaka in the background.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Don't forget - the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus begins today - or tomorrow if you missed it.

Getting into heaven.

The Catechism Lesson by Jules-Alexis Muenier

This is scary.

Have you ever heard non-religious people say things like; "God!  Is that all those people do is talk about religion?"  I'm religious and even I said that on occasion - so you know it is okay to say stuff like that when you disagree with the people you are talking about, or they've excluded you from the conversation.  What? (Kidding)

Anyway - I'm talking about those people: family members, friends, co-workers and others who just don't want anything to do with religion or religious people, and though spiritual, they have no time for religious practice.  How boring.  "Only fanatics go to Mass every day and pray and talk about God all the time.  What a bore."

Early, early on in my conversion - I hate to say how long ago, but it was 40 years this year - as I was getting out of bed one morning, I heard a distinct interior voice say to me, "Pray.  Pray without ceasing, this is how you will attain eternal life."  It has been my quest ever since.  Even when good people say to me things like, "You spend too much time praying."  Or, "For someone who prays all the time, you're still as screwed up as ever."  While all that is true - I tell them, "Just imagine how bad I'd be if I didn't."

Some people just can't be bothered however.

This morning in Magnificat, the meditation for the day's reading is from Blessed Cardinal Newman, discussing this subject - much better than I can, of course.  He points out how a irreligious man wouldn't even want to be in heaven, saying:
 "If then a man without religion were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment.  Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he has shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he disliked or despised... he would perceive himself to be an isolated being... he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he could never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him.  Ah! he could never bear the face of God; the Holy one would be no object of joy to him.  'Let us alone!  What have we to do with you?' is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge his majesty." - Cardinal Newman
 'Let us alone! What have we to do with you?'  That is scary.

Anticipating heaven.

Pray, pray, pray.  However you know how, wherever you are.  Never give up prayer, no matter what state you are in.  The rosary is a sure way of ceaseless prayer.  The morning offering ensures that everything we do is a prayer and a sacrifice throughout the day, as the Catechism states:  "He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing."  And, "It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking."

I would suggest that frequent spiritual communion throughout the day sustains us in the presence of God and teaches us how to be recollected in our occupations.  These things I recommend to those who do not go to daily Mass, and even those who may be caught in the habit of sin. "Prayer is the trap door out of sin."  Never give up prayer.

Artists like to quote Dostoevsky, or is it Solzhenitsyn, who wrote, "beauty will save the world".  What few realize is that the true beauty, the essential beauty, or the 'love of beauty' is what the monastic fathers called prayer.  As the Catechism affirms: "Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life."

Prayer is our heaven on earth.

"One in Ten"


It's a myth.

Kinsey lied.  I knew that, other people knew that, but the 'general' population in the United States evidently doesn't know it, possibly demonstrating that LGBTQ propaganda has indeed worked... at least statistically.  Here, without any personal poltical agenda whatsoever, I present an interesting article from the Atlantic Monthly on the subject:
Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are
One in ten. It's the name of the group that puts on the Reel Affirmations gay and lesbian film festival in Washington, D.C., each year. It's the percent popularized by the Kinsey Report as the size of the gay male population. And it's among the most common figures pointed to in popular culture as an estimate of how many people are gay or lesbian.

But what percentage of the population is actually gay or lesbian? With the debate over same-sex marriage again an emerging fault line in American political life, the answer comes as a surprise: A lower number than you might think -- and a much, much, much lower one than most Americans believe.

In surveys conducted in 2002 and 2011, pollsters at Gallup found that members of the American public massively overestimated how many people are gay or lesbian. In 2002, a quarter of those surveyed guessed upwards of a quarter of Americans were gay or lesbian (or "homosexual," the third option given). By 2011, that misperception had only grown, with more than a third of those surveyed now guessing that more than 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian. Women and young adults were most likely to provide high estimates, approximating that 30 percent of the population is gay. Overall, "U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian," Gallup found. Only 4 percent of all those surveyed in 2011 and about 8 percent of those surveyed in 2002 correctly guessed that fewer than 5 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian. - Continue reading.
So why does a small, yet economically, racially diverse, sexual minority claim so much power?

Equal time myth buster:

  • Gay people can be dissuaded from homosexual acts by pointing out the inherrent health threats attached to such behaviors. 

Just like cigarette smokers, they don't care.

Photo source.

The day the music died.

Last evening, I watched an edited version of the Concert for the Queen's Jubilee.  It was horrible.  I felt sorry for Her Majesty, having to sit through that.  Fortunately for her, she had her earplugs in.

God save the Queen!

(Why wasn't JayKay there?)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

How Theology of the Body helps us understand why same-sex marriage is not possible.

"There is one thing man and woman cannot do, however, and that is to change the language of the body itself. This language is inscribed in our very being by the Creator."

I took the following from an interview with Fr. Walter Schu, L.C., whose life work is dedicated to the study of John Paul II and the Holy Father's catechesis on what is called the Theology of the Body.  I think it is important for Catholics to understand that the issue of same sex marriage is fundamentally a faith and morals issue which has been politicised by gay activists and media.  Faithful 'gay-Catholics,' frustrated with prevailing narratives about homosexuality, seem to want to disassociate themselves from any Catholic effort to promote traditional marriage, considering it excessive focus on political issues which muddies the waters of a developing gay-Catholic-spirituality.  Likewise, Catholic gay-activists argue that the bishops should not be meddling in political/legislative actions that promote same-sex marriage, claiming they have no authority in that realm and they will only alienate countless souls from the Church.  That is nonsense of course, since as I said, the issue is one of faith and morals, and is therefore very much something within the bishops authority and realm of responsibility.

26. Obviously, another major issue is the understanding and definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Can you discuss how Theology of the Body helps us understand why same-sex “marriage” is not possible?

Same-sex “marriage” is not possible, because marriage is not simply a human institution that we can modify or redefine at will. Marriage was instituted by God himself, when he created the first man and woman before the dawn of recorded history. Marriage entails the exclusive gift of one man to one woman, and vice versa, in their entire person, their whole “self,” over a lifetime. This “law of the gift,” this call to self-giving love is inscribed in our very nature, which John Paul II calls the “language of the body.” Husband and wife, by their total self-giving love in marriage, bear wonderful fruit in bringing forth children, in creating a family, a new community of love, which confirms and deepens their own communion of life and love. This fruitfulness images the fruitful, self-giving love of the Blessed Trinity, the communion of persons in love that is God himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just as Shakespeare’s works raised the English language to new heights, the language of the body is a beautiful poem of love.

There is one thing man and woman cannot do, however, and that is to change the language of the body itself. This language is inscribed in our very being by the Creator. There are two and only two ways to be a human person: either as a man or a woman. The gift of self between husband and wife is expressed and made incarnate in the act of conjugal union, in sexual intercourse between the spouses, when the two become “one flesh,” with the intrinsic fruitfulness that is inscribed in this act.

Same-sex partners are incapable of a true act of sexual union. They cannot become “one flesh” and cannot bring forth children. This reality reflects the fact that they cannot live out that exclusive gift of one’s entire self in married love, which only a husband and wife are capable of, due to the language of the body inscribed in our very being as man and woman created in the image of God.

The fruitful gift of one’s entire self to the other in love that takes place in marriage is possible due to the authentic complementarity between man and woman. This complementarity is not only physical, but also extends to the sphere of the emotions and even to the very depths of the person. This complementarity is patently lacking between same-sex partners. - Source

Fr. Schu celebrates Mass at my parish in Minneapolis whenever he is in town visiting his mother.

Something to think about.

"Fire and water do not mix, neither can you mix judgment of others with the desire to repent. If a man commits a sin before you at the very moment of his death, pass no judgment, because the judgment of God is hidden from men. It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open but have done greater deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes." —St. John Climacus

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

I'm not sure what to write about.  I've been reading too many personal blogs.  Every one has their story and every one is compelling... but not always convincing... perhaps because they remain unfinished.

To be continued....

Monday, June 04, 2012

Fr. Z in London: Jubilee Madness?

I think Fr. Z is giddy.  The Jubilee madness has gone to his head.  He is now calling on the Catholic blogisterium to use the moniker Magisterium of Nuns whenever they refer to the LCWR in their postings. 

Yes Mrs. Upson, it is amusing, but is this really necessary?  Aren't there proper authorities - formally appointed no less - in charge of the reform of the LCWR?  Isn't the Vatican conducting the inquiry?  Weren't there officials directed to conduct the inquiries and recommend the proper guidance?  Should a priest be directing his online followers and benefactors to go on the offensive and stir up the crowds?  Really?  Just because the progressive Catholic news outlets, and the leadership of secularized religious women are angry and fighting back, does that warrant the food fight Fr. Z seems to be hinting at in his request to all the Catholic bloggers?

Perhaps the advice his friend and mentor Cardinal Mayer once offered Father may be helpful to recall here, not only for Father, but for all of us who blog about the troubles in the Church these days:
"At a certain point we must stop arguing and try to open their hearts." - Cardinal Mayer

One-a-Day: Greatest hits. Redux

There is something about this version...

Sunday, June 03, 2012


The Blessed Trinity

The cloud of unknowing... 'cover me with your shadow' ...

I decided I can better "understand" the Holy Trinity if I try not to think about it.
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to become utterly forgetful of myself so that I may establish myself in you, as changeless and calm as though my soul were already in eternity. Let nothing disturb my peace nor draw me forth from you, O my unchanging God, but at every moment may I penetrate more deeply into the depths of your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven, your cherished dwelling-place and the place of your repose. Let me never leave you there alone, but keep me there, wholly attentive, wholly alert in my faith, wholly adoring and fully given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, I long to be the bride of your heart. I long to cover you with glory, to love you even unto death! Yet I sense my powerlessness and beg you to clothe me with yourself. Identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself for me, so that my life may become a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, as Redeemer and as Saviour.

O Eternal Word, utterance of my God, I want to spend my life listening to you, to become totally teachable so that I might learn all from you. Through all darkness, all emptiness, all powerlessness, I want to keep my eyes fixed on you and to remain under your great light. O my Beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, overshadow me so that the Word may be, as it were incarnate again in my soul. May I be for him a new humanity in which he can renew all his mystery.

And you, O Father, bend down towards your poor little creature. Cover her with your shadow, see in her only your beloved son in who you are well pleased.

O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to you as your prey. Immerse yourself in me so that I may be immersed in you until I go to contemplate in your light the abyss of your splendour! - Source

Lesson learned... I hope.

The other day I opened to the following quotes from The Furrow.
637  There are some who are so Pharisaical that they are scandalized when others repeat precisely what their own lips have let fall.

638  You are such a busybody that it seems as if your only concern were to dive into the lives of your neighbors.  And when, at last, you stumble upon an upright man of good will and energy who has stopped you in your tracks, you complain in public as if he had offended you.

Your shamelessness and deformed conscience... have led you thus far.  And that goes for many others. - St. JoseMaria
Then, after confession, I came upon this:
908  Don't be worried by those contradictions and all that talk.  It is true that we are working in a divine undertaking, but we are men.  And it is natural that as we walk we raise dust along the road.

If anything bothers you or hurts you, make use of it for your purification and, if necessary, to straighten out your own behavior. - St. JoseMaria
 All things work together for good for those who are called... 

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

That's all.

Oh, and this one...