Saturday, December 22, 2012

FYI: Next Tuesday is a National Holiday.

Everything will be closed, no mail - although Walgreen's may be open.

Art:  The most beautiful card to date - Gabby got it from her cat cousins, Max Beckmann and Mo Mo Modigliani, they live in Scadia, Minnesota.  It is printed on fine card stock, the image embossed and hi-lighted with subtle gold outline in places - as is the spine of the card.  It is made by Paula Skene Designs, San Francisco - it is from 'The gold line'.  One rarely sees quality such as this these days.  (Gabby did the scan and left a cat food bit at the top right side of the card.  She apologizes.)

Luxury line...

"Fly from riches and luxury; love poverty and silence; have charity, even for bad people.” - Our Lady to Bl. Jacinta Marto

The Voris cruise turned out to be a pretty hot topic.  I can't really speak for anyone else but me - which is why I remain an independent blogger and never sign on with blogomerates nor have I aspired to be a regular on major websites or news portals.  Nothing wrong with those places, but as Michael Scott liked to say, "I just can't be managed."

That said, I think I have an idea why some people think the Year of Faith* cruise is perceived to be a little much.  Forgive me, I may be wrong.

A luxury cruise in Lent. 

Why is that so bad?  I'm not sure it is.  I know lots of people with money who go to exotic spots such as Fiji for vacation during Lent simply because the deals are great, the kids are on Spring break and it is the only time a Catholic family can vacation together.  Obviously such people are not on welfare, default-on-the-mortgage financial dupes, nor are they among the working poor struggling pay check to pay check.  People can travel and still observe Lent.  Lent is easy anyway.  You can give up candy and abstain from meat on Fridays and you're pretty good to go.  

"All Fridays through the year and he time of Lent are penitential days and time throughout the universal Church" (CIC 1250).

So I suppose the cruise isn't necessarily a problem in itself.  However, other Catholics seem to think the timing is inappropriate, and I would have to agree.   The Church usually never permits weddings and fun receptions in Lent, and although they often give a dispensation to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the season is really supposed to be penitential.  For me, adding to the irony of a Lenten retreat at sea during Lent, is how two popular figures of Catholic whistle-blowers and everything orthodox, who've been known to call out CINO's for their extravagances, as well as faithful Catholics who may not share or endorse their interests and/or lack of observance in ritual, decide to get on board with the luxury cruise business and provide an exotic retreat experience.  Many religious groups do the same thing of course - centering retreats at spas are always nice.  Retreats in our era, much like the pilgrimage-tour industry, tend to be on the luxurious side anyway.  No doubt they can be spiritually beneficial as well.  So what's wrong with that?  Probably not much.

It's just not my idea of a retreat.  A conference maybe, but not a retreat.   To each his own I guess.

Comedic verve.

Personally, I thought the idea of pairing Fr. Z and Voris cried out for parody, and I blogged about it.  Saps at Sea - one of my favorite films.  I didn't necessarily mean to infer that Father and Voris were saps though...

After due consideration, it seemed to me that a priest who lives on the kindness of others probably could use the stipend, and probably deserves the break.  Nevertheless, I still think it isn't the best move to align oneself with a man who has become persona non grata to many bishops and clergy - a priest in need of an assignment has to be careful.  To be sure, it's none of my business what he does - please forgive me my concern. 

Oddly enough, followers of CIA director Michael Vortex Voris consider it their business to defend the project.  Many are offended Voris has been made fun of and criticized in some sections of the Catholic blogosphere.  Some people even want a couple of his critics fired from their jobs.  It amazes me these people go after their opponents with such vehemence and spite - frequently in exactly the same way they accuse others of doing to them.   Don't they realize both Voris and Fr. Z make fun of other Catholics and Catholic organizations themselves - CINO's though they may be?  Whenever the duo exercises any sort of discretion in their sometimes harsh and demeaning critiques, their followers pick up the thread and go in for the attack all on their own - on their blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, and in comboxes.  The Church Militant TV ground troops swell when their heroes are criticized or parodied online, accusing anyone who expresses an opinion contrary to theirs of heresy, modernism and liberalism.

So there you go - that's my take on why I think some of us who are weaker in the faith regarded the Lenten cruise as amusing, if not scandalous.

Let me talk to Arroyo:
*To my knowledge, Year of Faith use does not denote the event is sponsored by, nor authorized by a particular diocese, nor does it mean it is an official Year of Faith event.  No indulgence attached.

By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (CCC 540).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas gift ideas for mums and dadums and aunt Betty Mae.

How about a cruise?

Amazing. Simply amazing.

"He has confused the proud in their conceit."

Incredulity after reading the comments and posts in reaction to the title of Venerable conferred upon His Holiness, Pope Paul VI...

This stood out:  "He wasn't a very good pope.  He was a weak pope."  And: "In trying to make sense of this, in connection with Paul VI and what seems to many to be a lack of positive accomplishments according to his state in life..."

Simply amazing.

Christ then wasn't a very good Messiah, was He...
He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. - Isaiah 53

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas gift ideas for grandpa, dad, or uncle Bill... even friar Tuck.

Catholic gifts for men.


Really.  Booze is always good - get the girls candy, but get the guys booze.

Get one better than this.

An expensive scotch...

A fine vodka - no flavored stuff.

Traditional is good.

Save the wine and flavored stuff for the girls.

It's Catholic!

Beer.  Really good, expensive beer and ale - stuff he wouldn't buy on his own.

He can quit later.

If he smokes - get him some tabacco he likes.

If you must give candy - make sure it is liquor filled.

Better than Centering Prayer.

Then throw in a nice pair of leather gloves or something.

Always try to buy luxurious stuff for Christmas - nothing practical.

Who needs practical?

Don't give gift cards or money - unless you are just not that close.  It's very unoriginal.  Cold.

Don't get cheap beer either.

You know what's really weird?

Santa might get sleighed - but he's always dodged the bullet.

Considering all the people in the United States who have guns, Santa and all his reindeers have never even been shot at.  Imagine him down in the living room, what would happen if mom or dad thought it was an intruder? 

See - Santa is real.

The Little Jesus

Everyone knows he was born 2000+ years ago already, right?  Still, we celebrate his Nativity and the mysteries surrounding the Incarnation and Birth of the Lord every year at this time.  Likewise, faith prompts us to keep ourselves ready and to anticipate his final coming - Catholics know that and do that at every Mass.

Nevertheless, we prepare for the Holy Nativity, anticipating the solemnity with great care, and sometimes, anxious cares.  We have wants and needs.  I think we forget God already knows that however - hence our anxiety.  Yet he gives little favors, little signs of his loving providence all the time - to increase our hope, our desire.  Sadly, we fail to thank him for the little stuff - most times we don't even notice them.  Fr. Solanus reminded me of that this morning.

Try to notice the little signs, the little lights twinkling in your life, albeit reflected in a darkened window, as it were.  Treasure these little signs in your heart with thankfulness - give thanks more than you give things...

Keep thanking God and the Little Jesus will be so thrilled with our prayers of thanksgiving he's sure to give increase - in abundance. I thought I should tell people that.  Wrap, swaddle the Little Jesus in warm, loving prayers of thanksgiving.  Let us welcome him into our heart and care for him there - carry him there.  The poorer we are, the more grateful we are.

Prayers In Thanksgiving

Declared Venerable:  Servant of God Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini, Italian, Supreme Pontiff (1897-1978).

I do not hate the MSM.

Though there is bias, and they make big mistakes...

I'm grateful they have covered the massacre at Sandy Hook so closely.  I felt as if the people gunned down were my family.  I wanted to know what happened, to whom, how, where, and why.  I wanted to know the victims, the families.  I wanted to hold them close, in my imagination, my heart, my prayer. 

Beyond that, I'm grateful for the brave journalists who risk their lives to cover the wars and terrorist assaults upon ourselves and other countries.  I've worried and prayed for NBC's Richard Engel who had been held captive with his crew in Syria - my heart filled with gratitude to God when I learned they had escaped and are now free.

I think of the sacrifice of Daniel Pearl, a journalist beheaded doing his job.  I think of Laura Logan who was sexually assaulted doing her job.  These are brave men and women who put their life on the line.

I don't care if it is the
week before Christmas,
I want Amanpour off the air!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Read this with the Sandy Hook Massacre in mind...

Killing kids...

Abortion: Every sixth foetus showed signs of life.

For the first time ever in Denmark, a survey has shown how many foetuses show signs of life following a late term termination, according to Kristeligt Dagblad.

Previously, conventional wisdom has suggested that 10 per cent of foetuses gasped or showed other signs of life following a late term abortion between the 12th and 22nd week of pregnancy.

But statistics from Denmark’s second largest maternity clinic at the Aarhus University Hospital Skejby show that out of 70 late terminations between August 2011 and November 2012, 11 – or 16 per cent - showed signs of life.

Translated into national figures from 2010, during which 877 foetuses were terminate after the 12th week, the statistical figure for life signs in aborted foetuses would be 140.

Midwives surprised

The Chair of the Midwife Association and Member of The Ethical Council Lillian Bondo says she is surprised at the figures.
“But I get the feeling from my colleagues that handling the issue is not a major problem, although it is an unhappy situation,” Bondo tells Kristeligt Dagblad.

“It requires a good level of information and agreements and procedures on how to gently and calmly treat a foetus that is born with signs of life so that it does not suffer,” she says.

Denmark has free abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy. Late term abortions are only allowed in Denmark if the foetus is found to have a serious illness, or if special social circumstances make the mother unfit – for example a very young woman.

Bondo says a report is needed on conditions that can be seen as least upsetting for the terminated foetus.

The Danish Infant Death Association says parents should be given the possibility of choosing a potassium chloride injection to stop the foetal heart before a termination in order to ensure that the foetus is stillborn. 

The method is in use in the United States and elsewhere. - NewsSource

I wouldn't worry too much about the guns...

Prayers in reparation for the massacres.

You just never know.

Judging by appearances... not a good idea.

There is a story from the desert fathers wherein a monk went to see another, renowned for his wisdom and holiness. The monk was scandalized that the father lived in relative luxury compared to what he had been used to in his skete. The father drank wine, slept on a bed of straw, bathed, and ate rather well, although he fasted and was faithful to the rule of psalmody and other exercises peculiar to the eremitical state.

The young monk left the father to return to his skete. The father knowing he had been scandalized called him back and questioned him as to his life. It turned out the monk had been a poor shepherd, sleeping in the fields and eating a very meager diet, without any comforts, no bathing, except in the river, and so on. In the skete, he had regular meals, a mat to sleep upon, and a hut for shelter.

The father then told him of his past. He had lived like a prince in Rome, with many attendants and great luxury, dining sumptuously every day. Upon his conversion he renounced all of that and went into the desert to live the ascetic life as the young monk could see.

Filled with compunction, the young monk recognised his presumption and asked the father's forgiveness, often returning to him for spiritual instruction.

Less than a week ago...

Evidently NOT a persona non grata...

Professor Carl A. Anderson*, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus was received in private audience by Pope Benedict XVI.

I thought Michael Voris once said something about Anderson and the Knights of Columbus being 'no damn good'?

I wonder how many Catholics online have ever been received in private audience?

*In Rome for Ecclesia in America Conference, Vatican City.  Somehow I think he has the Pope's approval and blessing on his side. 


Back online, with attitude. Redux.

Editor's note:  I composed this out of frustration after getting shutdown by a virus.  I was on a trusted Catholic site - but found out the virus could have been lurking on my computer for awhile - possibly received in and through an email.  Hard to tell.  Geek Squad says they get at least 2 computers a day to get rid of what is called the FBI virus.  It blocks your computer from accessing the Internet until you pay to be unblocked.  Posing as a government entity - some people are foolish enough to actually pay to be unblocked - that is the intent of the fake intrusion.  They obviously count on the fact that people use their computers for porn - it's a type of blackmail.  I do not use porn, never have.  I was totally disgusted by the porn displayed by the virus.  I took the computer in and paid no ransom.  I was pissed.  I felt invaded, my privacy violated and contaminated.  Which is why I wrote this post.  My apologies if it hit a little too close to home for some readers.  If you have online voyeurism disorder, just remember, you are picking up ITD's and infecting others.  Maybe get some help, or stay offline.


Our Lady of Guadalupe took my computer away and sent me back to the abbey - sort of.  It was a wonderful break Poodles!  Listen to this:
"If any man thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, he's nuts!" - St. James

This blogging crap is empty bombast Poodles!  We are shouting into a vortex... 

We can't evangelize if we go on tearing one another to pieces.  Anyway - most blogs simply preach to choir.

Just think about it.  Envy, jealousy, stats, glorying in our conversions and graces and insights and degrees and accomplishments - listing all the books we read, making a wish list for more. Pumping up our friends count - pumping our friends full of...

"Oh children!  There's just so much to tell you!"  Said Maria excitedly, then she sang her "Favorite Things"!  And told the Captain to go to ... no she didn't.

But I'm back - and I never ever want to write to please any of you ever again!

"You never did!"  Said Cath, adding.

Which is why I love you!

So anyway - what a wonderful break from the Internet!  What a wonderful life!  Life is beautiful! 

Yes - I had the FBI virus - along with 700 other icky things, cookies, trojans, creepy filthy things.  The infected computer is a metaphor for the soul - we go online, engage in intercourse - even with trusted friends... ahem - and pick up ITD's - Internet Transmitted Diseases.  Just punishment for our online sins.  You get where I'm going.  Adulterers.  Adulterous generation.  Greedy little pan-handling ... oops!  How'd that get in there?  So you see, we bring it on ourselves.  Step into traffic...

So anyway.  I'm no longer opening e-cards, attachments, photos, stupid office hi-jinks kitsch, or stuff like that any longer - not even from those people I know - I don't really know any of you BTW - Oh?  Have we met?  Not really Poodle.  I deleted all of my recent emails without opening, and I'm not sure I'll ever open an email ever again.  I don't know where you people have been or what you do with yourself, or your computers ...

So anyway - I'm back online.  My hope renewed that I may be the most unpopular person ever to write a blog.  I will never return to Facebook, I will never be on Twitter... the Pope can do what he likes. Ganswein too.

This has been an Abbey Roads status update.   Thank you for tuning in.  Comments are reopened.  Donations never requested or accepted.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Penetrating to the core of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut

From Dom Kirby...

Massacre of the Innocents
A Hellish Crime

The massacre of innocent children and of others ten days before Christmas, in my own home state of Connecticut, is evidence enough of the implacable hatred of the Evil One, the incorporeal Herod, who everywhere seeks and finds breaches in the souls of men, in families, and in society, into which he sends his infernal troops, full of contempt for human life, to plunder, ravage, and destroy. The devil, mocking the liturgical calendar of the Church, follows his own calendar of feasts of death and seasons of destruction. 

A Harsh Christmas - A reflection from Alfred Delp, S.J.

"This year the temptations toward a picturesque Christmas are probably reduced."
The harshness and coldness of life have hit us with a previously unimaginable force. Some of us, whose homes cannot even offer the cold shelter of the stable in Bethlehem anymore, perhaps begin to forget the picturesque little ox and little donkey and to approach the quesiton of what Christmas is really all about. Is the world more beautiful and life healthier because of that first Christmas? Because the angels finally and publicly sang their Gloria? Because the shepherds awestruck, ran and adored? Because King Herod panicked and murdered little children?

Release of tension (whether through avoidance, indifference, resignation, insensitivity, physical atrophy, destruction of the metaphysical nerves, overexertion,or weariness with life) is one of the deadly wounds from which modern man is bleeding to death. Eliminating the tension that strained one to the last nerve may have seemed life a relief at first, like liberation from an uncomfortable burden. Yet over time, one cannot avoid recognizing that these burdens are among the fixed conditions and prerequisites of life. - Alfred Delp, Letters
Title and quotes taken from A Spacious Place, by Christopher Page, 2 December 2010.  Rev. Page wrote:
If we are to truly live, we need to be willing to hold the tension of the fact that things are not always as we might hope they would be. Life is often painful, difficult, and messy. “These burdens are among the fixed conditions and prerequisites of life.” We can rail against them, fight with all our might to make the world different than we know it is, or we can accept the realities of life as they present themselves and live from that place of honesty, openness and surrender.

Like Father Delp in Germany in 1944, many people in the world today can only anticipate a harsh Christmas. It is important, particularly for those of us for whom Christmas may be less of a struggle, to hold tenderly the reality of suffering that this season embodies for so many. - Christopher Page


The one thing the good guys and the bad guys have in common: They all love guns.

"Mom!  Mom! 
Can we shoot the ornaments off the tree?"
"No shooting in the house honey!
You know how your dad gets"

They all love guns.

I remember when my brother Skip got his first gun.  I know!  My crazy family really had guns!  Skip went hunting with a neighbor guy, and sometimes I could even go along.  I was actually trained to shoot.  I know! 

It all sounds so crazy today, doesn't it?  The Nelson family armed?  But times were different back then.  I know, I know, my mother threatened to kill me holding a butcher knife to my throat, and my sister had to pull her off - but I was whining about something... I think I was hungry.  "Okay then mom, I'll wait until exactly 5 PM to eat."  And then life that day returned to normal.  Things were different by high school of course, as a convicted felon, I'm thinking my dad no longer could own a gun, so I'll never know if he would have used it on me instead of chasing me out of the house with a meat clever one evening before super.  We Nelson's were so darn dramatic, weren't we?  I just have to laugh now.  The good old days!

Seriously, they were - in a way.  Back in the late fifties, early sixties, we never would have thought about shooting passerbys on the street, much less one another, or even shooting noisy planes down from the backyard.  It just wasn't done.  We had respect for our weapons, we used them legally and appropriately, for hunting, target practice, as well as protection - although , come to think of it, my dad did threaten us once...  But that was unusual, an exception... and it was a squirt gun anyway - though it looked like a real gun. 

Anyway, real guns were for protection.  As dad always said, "If you gotta shoot the son of a bitch and he's still on the doorstep, drag him in the house so you won't be charged - that way it's self defense."  Guns were treated with respect.  My mom wouldn't touch them, and my dad never threatened us with real ones.  He might beat up mom or one of us, even bad enough to be hospitalized, but no guns were used in the process.  They were just for hunting, target practice, and protection.  It was an Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver idyllic life.

Things are much different today.  People have great 'blow 'em up good' 'exterminate the bastards now' video games the whole family can enjoy.  It's a new mindset these days.  Killing is taught at an early age.  Guns are the source of power and control - and of course, protection.

Mrs. Lanza was a gun collector and was convinced she needed them for protection - she and the boy might one day have to defend themselves after the inevitable collapse of the United States.  How ironic, the guns she collected and practiced self defense with were the same weapons her kid used to shoot her face off.

Not that many days ago, a grandfather in Minnesota shot his granddaughter believing her to be an intruder.  He was simply protecting his castle.

Shortly before that incident, two little boys found their dad's gun - he kept it in the headboard of his bed for protection.  The older boy shot and killed the younger boy.  They were both under the age of five.

Guns are legal, and that's just fine with me. 

I just don't want one.  I don't trust myself.

Here's an interesting factoid:  The original rule of St. Francis forbade tertiaries from carrying weapons.  Of course, Francis talked a wolf out of eating the populace of Gubbio too.  So I highly doubt he would be a gun advocate.

That said, I still can't get over the irony of Mrs. Lanza having all of those guns for protection, only to become a victim of matricide.  I suppose it's not all that unusual these days - it's happened before and will happen again.  New laws won't change anything.
A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse (gun)
 - despite it's power it cannot save. - Psalm 32

Cigarettes don't kill - people do.


This week Paul VI to be declared Venerable

This is welcome news for me.

I was in Rome in my early twenties, a pilgrim who frequented St. Peter's.  While there, I was blessed to attend Masses with the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI.  At the time he was 'my pope' - I expect not unlike young people considered Blessed John Paul II to be 'their pope' while he was alive.  Truth be told, the pope is the pope - the one who occupies the chair of Peter, he is the Vicar of Christ.  Each pope has his own personality - each pope I love and cherish with a special devotion.  However, the reigning pontiff radiates a particular attraction, in a charismatic sense, especially to the young and the faithful.

In those days, I wore a crucifix, a copy of the gnarled crosier Paul VI initiated, the same one used by John Paul II, and for a short time by Benedict XVI.  My devotion for the Holy Father was intense, and for that reason I wanted to be identified with him by wearing a small replica of his crucifix.  I recall two priests mocking me one day, in a little cafe near the train station, for speaking of him as the "Holy Father' - they were certain that since I was an American, it was an affectation.  As I attempted to convince them otherwise, they made fun of me even more.  I was used to stuff like that.

Years later, a friend of another priest friend of mine, a somewhat pompous, if not arrogant professor at the local university, once corrected me in a conversation involving Pope Paul VI.  I mentioned I thought that Pope Paul was 'great' - not at all in the sense people like to attribute to Blessed John Paul II however - I was simply trying to express my enthusiasm for the late pope.  I believed him to be holy, a 'suffering servant' and a prophet - due in part to Humane Vitae of course.  The priest interrupted me, saying, "I wouldn't call him great... not at all!"  And then he proceeded to denigrate the late pope, pointing out his weaknesses and faults.  My enthusiasm for Paul VI wasn't at all diminished, although my respect for the foul-mouthed professor certainly was.

In my opinion, the declaration of venerable is a much greater honor than being titled 'great'...

For some reason the arrogant things priests say make a deep impression upon others.  Much more so than the things lay people can say - often in their ignorance.

The arrogant are sent away empty.

If you really want to make a difference, pray.

Be faithful to the duties of your state in life.

The novena for Christmas begins on the 16th of December.  On the 17th, the Liturgy itself is the source of the most suitable prayers in anticipation of the Nativity of Our Lord.

If you want to make a difference in the world, pray.  Pray without ceasing.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Innocents

My eyes stream with tears... - Lamentations

In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning,
of bitter weeping!
Rachel mourns her children,
she refuses to be consoled 
because her children are no more. - Jeremiah 31:15

Art: Bruegel, Slaughter of the Innocents 

Even now, I dare not speak...

The unspeakable.

O Lord, set a guard over my mouth
and upon my lips an effective seal,
that I may not fail through them... - Sirach 22:27


Psalm 136

By the rivers of Babylon
... there we sat and wept ...

How could we rejoice?
The Passage of Souls
Louis Janmot