Saturday, January 26, 2013

Who is the greatest?

"Christ, who had committed no faults, loved shame, shunned honors, and in comformity with his divine plan, freely chose to be debased and held in contempt in his life in order to teach his friends how they can grow in merit and grace through love..." - Blessed Angela of Foligno

What if the Church went broke?

What if the Church lost all it's property, all of it's finances?
Milwaukee Archdiocese says it is going broke...
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is hemorrhaging money on legal and professional fees as a result of its bankruptcy and will be unable to pay its monthly operating expenses beginning in April unless the judge suspends those payments, it says in court documents filed Thursday.

The archdiocese filed a motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to allow it to suspend all payments to attorneys and consultants, except $125,000 for work on its plan of reorganization. And it would continue to pay its own attorneys to challenge sex-abuse claims with proceeds from its insurance carriers.

"Without it, we will be unable to continue operating. We've used all the money we had from savings, reserves, investment earnings and money budgeted for litigation," archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said. - Source
What if diocesan workers had no health insurance?  What if parishes had no community rooms?  What if there were no paid Religious Ed people?  No paid custodians or grounds keepers?  What if there were no paid office workers?  What if there was no heat in churches?  What if they couldn't even afford wi-fi?  What if?  What if the Church went broke?  What if Mass had to be celebrated in the biggest house of the richest parishioner, or in the community room of a condominium complex?  What if parish outreach meant actual evangelization rather than planning committees and fundraiser dinner-theatrics and walk-a-thons?

If the Church really went broke, would it really be so bad?  "They" can take away facilities, but they can't take away charity and love.  We can still do what Christ called us to do.  Being broke never stopped Catholics before.

Not only that, but what if it is God's will?


Friday, January 25, 2013

Was there a March For Life in Washington Today?

I saw nothing on national or local news.  I was watching ABC - but maybe the other networks covered it.

Did you notice anything?  Maybe no one showed up?

Well there was that news blackout
over the Anglican nuns, but...

Once I called someone an idiot, and everyone thought it was directed at them..

Blogs are like that.

I'll write about 'a priest' and every priest who has ever commented here, or may have met me, thinks I might be talking about him, or Fr. Z.  I say something about someone on medication and everybody thinks I'm talking about them.  BTW, that's supposed to be funny.

Seriously.  In the com box of another blog I referred to a sector of apologists as idiots and someone asked, 'which idiots?'   As such, idiot is an idiom, a pejorative term many of us use for those who hold opinions which contradict our own - or which go against common sense or traditional teaching.  It's an insult.

The Gospel tells us: "...but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

That's a pretty stiff sentence.

Go to confession.

Elsewhere, I encountered someone writing in defense of his more critical blog posts.  It was a sort of response to a reader who suggested that the blog author go to confession.  I'm not sure if the author dismissed the admonition, or just the tone in which it was said, but he appeared not to take it seriously.

I on the other hand try to take such things to heart.  I think God  speaks to our conscience through other bloggers and commenters.  If someone tells me to go to confession - I am grateful for his kindness.

Please pray for me that I can get to confession - soon.  And thank you for reminding me to do so.

"Even among the sincere there is often such arrogance, such a desire to play a role, to be the leader, a subtle form of pride among the refined." - Elizabeth Leseur


On the Conversion of St. Paul...

If you have this month's Magnificat, read Heather King's essay for the feast day.

It is very good.
Authentic conversion always comes from realizing we have been 'persecuting' Christ.

Christ never cuts us down with a gun or a sword.  He looks at us with love.  He looks us in the eye with love and says, 'Why are you persecuting me?'

How often I've been harsh, rageful, importunate, intolerant, unfaithful, unkind, and just plain wrong.

When that happens I'm struck blind for a few hours or days or even months.   Often a long time passes before I see that, once again, I've been persecuting Christ. - Heather King
I think Heather King may be one of the most important spiritual writers of our day.  Visit her blog here

Women in combat. I'm against it.

This is just how Nazi Germany started!

I hate the idea of a mom separated from her child.

Women seem to want it however.

I'm against it.

Today is the day: The March for Life.

United in prayer!  Thanks to all who march and participate.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Update on Fr. Tom Donovan

“an indefinite leave of absence"

My sincere apologies for jumping to conclusions when I posted about the priest who made a 911 call after he had become inextricably trapped in a pair of hand cuffs under circumstances his therapist describes as “non-sexual self-bondage.”

One hears so many strange stories these days, especially concerning the unusual recreations of some men who simply like to dress up.  No accounting for eccentricities, I guess.  My apologies.

Bishop Paprocki announced that Fr. Donovan will be taking “an indefinite leave of absence for an extended period of professional help and spiritual renewal.”   The Bishop explained, Fr. Donovan  “is suffering from a psychological condition that manifests itself in self-bondage as a response to stress.”

I can believe that.

Though many people associate bondage with sexual behavior, Bishop Paprocki stated, “He (Donovan) insisted that he had been alone the whole time of this incident and denied that there was any sexual component to this.” - Read the entire story here.

I can believe that.

Fr. Donovan is also a member of Illinois Air National Guard and chaplain for the Peoria-based 182nd Airlift Wing.

I'm not saying another word.

Hello? Hello?

Thank you Pope.

Shut up!  I'm tweeting!

[Doesn't that title sound dumb?  It's like saying, "Good morning Pope"  Instead of "Good morning Holy Father/Your Holiness" - properly speaking that is.  Just saying.]

Papa on-a-line. (That is Italian for Pope online.)

I'm pleased the Holy Father is saying something about being online, as well as noting the negative effects of continual ranting, which drives more people away, than attracting anyone to the Gospel.
"Ultimately, however, if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means. In the digital environment, too, where it is easy for heated and divisive voices to be raised and where sensationalism can at times prevail, we are called to attentive discernment.
Let us recall in this regard that Elijah recognized the voice of God not in the great and strong wind, not in the earthquake or the fire, but in 'a still, small voice'. We need to trust in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and truth – a desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and woman – keeps our contemporaries ever open to what Blessed Cardinal Newman called the 'kindly light' of faith.
An authentic and interactive engagement with the questions and the doubts of those who are distant from the faith should make us feel the need to nourish, by prayer and reflection, our faith in the presence of God as well as our practical charity: 'If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal'. -BXVI

Amazingly, the Holy Father just gets on Twitter for a short time and he knows. Thank God!

Here are a few more snippets of what the Pope really had to say:

"I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new 'agora'*, an open public square in which people share ideas, information, and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.
The culture of social networks and the changes in the means and styles of communication pose demanding challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values. Often, as is also the case with other means of social communication, the significance and effectiveness of the various forms of expression appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value. Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation. At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention, which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression that appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process. Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own. 'Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful'.
The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which His teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there. - Vatican Information Service
Actually, Instead of reproducing it here, just read the entire document - it is worth it. I want to add a couple of personal impressions.

The Pope said the virtual is real. Especially for younger people - and maybe old too - people who live online. I get what he means, it is part of the daily experience - however - it does not replace real world reality and responsibility. If it that were the case, can I please make my confession online Holy Father, and receive absolution? So really, all I want to say to those who want to take his words on this and run with it, put it in perspective.

"Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young." - BXVI

I'm very impressed with the Pope's address and the commentary I've read from others. He recognizes the need for cordiality and friendly discourse. It would seem to me the Holy Father would actually praise the Catholic presence on Patheos - in fact it seems to me, *Patheos is a useful model for Catholic bloggers in the new "agora".  I mention Patheos in this context because there was criticism of Catholics who signed on with the site despite the presence of advertising and policy statements which were more or less non-Catholic yet inclusive, and 'stuff' like that.

I'm grateful to the Holy Father for this good instruction.


"Doubt" The Opera

From The Minnesota Opera.  Every time the ad comes on television I crack up.  The music starts at about 3:00 in the above interview.  For me, the dialog is hysterical when sung...  The sets look good though.

I have no class.  I keep thinking of Corky in "Waiting for Guffman" - part of his resume included, "Backdraft" the musical.  The theater burned down opening night.

St. Francis de Sales

On Catholics.
"Heretics are heretics and bear the name, because out of the articles of faith they choose at their taste and pleasure those which it seems good to them to believe, rejecting and denying the others. And Catholics are Catholics, because without any choice or election they embrace, with an equal assurance and without exception, all the faith of the Church." - St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cute story: Two retired Australian priests get in a scuffle and one of them bites the other one's ear off...

"I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."

Full story here.

I know!  Both in their 80's.  Gosh, if Father only had a conceal and carry permit! 


So anyway, a priest, a rabbi, and an apologist walk into a bar....

This is a cool adaptation...

St. Vincent: Hope for Michael Voris.

St. Vincent of Saragossa

When brought before the Roman governor and ordered to renounce their faith and worship idols, Vincent's bishop was the first to speak.  He defended himself so timidly that Vincent interrupted him, rebuked him for his weakness and proclaimed that "one must cry out against all tyranny leveled against God's ministers."  The narrative from this month's Magnificat indicates that Vincent loudly denounced the injustice perpetrated upon them and was therefore subjected to painful torture unto death.

He rebuked his bishop yet defended the office - God's ministers - at the same time.  Seems to me St. Vincent would be a good patron for Voris.

Did you know Vincent is the patron saint of wine as well?  Which can be a reminder for would-be apologists not to whine if you're planning to call out the bishops.


Pro-Life from the start: Cardinal O'Malley

It doesn't matter when you got on board, it just matters that you are on board.

Some people are joining the March for Life for the first time this year, while taking pot shots at those who have so far never participated - publicly, waving flags and banners.  One might ask the questioner, 'where were you before?' - but the March is not a competition, nor a time to be applauded for one's commitment or personal role or achievement, rather it is time to join together for the cause of LIFE!

That said, Cardinal O'Malley has been there since he was a young priest:
Where were you when the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Roe v. Wade?
I was a young priest working with Hispanic immigrants in Washington, D.C. Later on, after the ruling, I heard that Nellie Gray wanted to start the March for Life, and I contacted her and worked with her.
She was a real prophet: The Church was stunned, and people didn’t know how to react. But she knew immediately that we needed to mobilize and use the anniversary of that terrible decision as a way to rally people.
I was determined to get people from my Hispanic parish to the first march [in 1974] and gave impassioned sermons on the pro-life issue, reminding them that the anniversary was coming soon, and they promised to come.
The morning of the march, there was a line of rented buses at the church, but no people. In my naive youthfulness, I did not realize that "Si, padre" did not mean "Yes." The following week, I told the people how disappointed I was.
After Mass, they told me, "You know we are undocumented. And in our own countries, whenever there is a demonstration, the army comes out and arrests and shoots people. We are here to send money home to our families who live in Nicaragua and El Salvador, where civil wars are raging. We cannot afford to do this."
I told them that the army would not shoot at them and that the march would be a peaceful demonstration. That is what we do in a democracy where we need to witness to certain values. - NCRegister
The question today should not be, "Where were you then?  Where are you/they today?"  or "Will CHA have a banner in the March for Life?"  But rather, "Will you please come on board and support life?" 
Let's get over our sectarianism and divisiveness...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Japanese Minister to Elderly: "Hurry up and die"

Sound familiar?

Kind of like the people who can't wait for the baby-boomers to die off, and those who applaud the biological solution in effecting change in the Church.

Nevertheless, the more recent "hurry up and die" PSA was made by a different biological-solution Aso, this one is from Japan.
Japan's new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country's finances.

Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care.

"Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government," he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. "The problem won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die." - Source
 Those who can't wait for other people to die off will simply have to wait their turn.

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion. - USCCB

Just do it.

What if the joke really is on us?

Thinking about Monsignor Meth and all the other cover-ups.

I was reminded of a friend from Connecticut and the story he told me of trying to get in contact with then Bishop Egan about some liturgical abuses at his parish - only to be brushed off by the people who surrounded the Bishop.  Later, the chancery informed the priest of my friend's complaints, and the priest no longer showed 'hospitality' towards his parishioner, and my friend ended up attending another parish.  He wasn't fond of Egan, to say the least.

So it gives one pause, doesn't it.  Like the time I asked Bishop B. if he could help in the formation of a Courage group in my archdiocese, informing him of my experience in confession with gay priests who always told me gay was good...  the Bishop interrupted me and said, "Gay priests?  I'm not aware of any gay priests in this archdiocese."

I felt like Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby when she finally deciphered the anagram of the book title:  "All of them witches."  It makes sense only in retrospect.

When you just don't know what else to do.

Monsignor Wallin chased cash: “He was not a humble person. He had a personality problem. He was very overly aggressive and he had anger...

Monsignor Wallin

“He said he was moving, being transferred.  He said he really liked it here but he was going somewhere where he could make more money.” - On Monsignor Wallin on his suspension and resignation

 Pay attention to the signs.  They are always there.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Saints in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.

Blessed Junipero Serra

National Statuary Hall

The President and Congress lunched there today.

Did you know there is one Saint and one Blessed of the Catholic Church honored amongst the Catholic religious figures on display in the Capitol of the United States?

Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. (Dutch: Pater Damiaan or Heilige Damiaan van Molokai; January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889[1]), born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious institute. He won recognition for his ministry to people with leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokaʻi in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

Blessed Junípero Serra O.F.M. known as Fra Juníper Serra in Catalan, his mother tongue,[1] (Catalan: [ʒuˈnipər ˈsɛrə]) (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded the mission chain in Alta California of the Las Californias Province in New Spain—present day California, United States. Fr. Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

Fr. Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., (10 August 1645 – 15 March 1711) was a Jesuit priest from a town which is now a part of northern Italy. For the last 24 years of his life he worked in the region then known as the Pimería Alta, modern day Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona. He explored the region worked with the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that Baja California is not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death he had established 24 missions and visitas (country chapels or visiting stations).

Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, S.P., (16 April 1823 – 19 January 1902) was a Canadian Religious Sister who led a group of the members of her congregation to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. There, under her leadership, they established a network of schools and healthcare to service the American settlers in that new and remote part of the country. For her contributions to the development of that region, she was honored by the State of Washington as one of the two people allowed to represent it in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Jacques Marquette S.J. (June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675), sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673 Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.

Last but not least... though not a blessed or saint, nor a religious or a priest...

Charles Carroll of Maryland (1737-1832), the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and a cousin to the nation's first Catholic bishop, Archbishop John Carroll.

And perhaps one day...

Narratives from Wkipedia.

That did it!
The son of a bitch can't post anything
without pushing  someone's buttons!

The Pope of Christian Unity Prays for Peace and...

A Halt to Killing Unarmed Civilians.
"To the prayer for unity among Christians," the pontiff concluded, "I would like to add once more, a prayer for peace so that in, all the various ongoing conflicts, the slaughter of unarmed civilians might stop, that there may be an end to all violence, and that the value of dialogue and negotiation may be found."

Nope - He never said a
 word about praying for
conceal and carry

While we're on the subject of Washington, DC

Money, money, money...

BTW: Mayim Bialik, aka Amy Farrah Fowler would be well cast as Ethel Merman in any remake of Merman's plays/films or  even a bio-pic.

You are welcome Hollywood casting directors.

Who's Ethel Merman?

A fan since Blossom!

Undisclosed Inaugural Factoid...

Thanks to Oprah, everyone in attendance at today's Inaugural will be going home with a George Foreman Grill.


I lied: I'm watching the Inauguaration ceremonies after all..

It's exciting.
“Pray for those in authority: This is good and pleasing to God.” - 1 Timothy 2:1-7


Thank You Mirjana!

Visionaries are not important...
The Medjugorje seers are only a means to communicate a message, and so they are no more important than the pilgrims who basically have the same role, says visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo. The privileged people are the priests, adds the seer who says the key is in opening the heart. - Source
Good advice.  Mirjana has always been my favorite.

See, good things do come out of Medjugorje.

Disclaimer:  I await what the Vatican Commission decides.  In the meantime I accept what the local ordinary of the area has said about the apparitions. 

On virginity.

Chapter 19 - A saying of St. Basil, about his virginity.
A saying of St. Basil, Bishop of Caesrea, is recorded:  'I have never known a woman, yet I am not a virgin.'  By this he means that purity of the flesh does not lie merely in abstinence from women, but in singleness of heart, which is the perpetual guardian of unsullied holiness of the body, either through fear of God, or love of chastity. - Cassian, The Monastic Institutes

This is the will of God and your sanctification. - I Thess. 4:3
You see, it is all about sanctification... doing God's will.  It's very simple.

Photo source.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Michelle Obama: She looks good.

I like the new look.

I also think it is amazing that the Inauguration is actually taking place on MLK Day.  Historic.

No.  This doesn't mean I approve of the President or all of his policies.  No.  I won't be watching the ceremony.

St. Sebastian

Read my thoughts about his cult here.