Saturday, June 01, 2013

Request for prayers.

Please pray for a close friend of mine who is suffering from depression.  Thanks.

We must learn to be very kind and patient with one another.

Simcha Fisher - "trying to find something to wear in a world where there is nothing to wear."

"Just be modest and pretty. 
Just be feminine and beguiling
 and decorous and just wonderful,
wonderful you, like God wants you to be." 

Now what could be more natural than that?

Simcha Fisher has a helpful post on the problems of dressing modestly - and lovely - during hot summer weather.  It's an important post for this time of year, since many people are offended by 'scantily clad' (love that term!) women on the street and sometimes at Mass.

I'm thinking religious people can over-react to summer fashions and should avoid that dreaded Calvinist attitude as regards so called  proper attire at Mass and on the street during hot weather.

As a PSA, I'm posting some photos offering a couple of suggestions for the clothing choices one could make during hot weather.  If it was good enough for Blessed John Paul II, it should be good enough for today's woman.  One must remember, it's all about intention.  If you do not intend to be provocative or sexy, it's all good.

Just for men:

Tattoo pants can be a cool alternative in hot weather.

Man with tattooed swimwear.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Catholic News and Worldly Reports

Fr. Amorth is in the news again.

"He wants the pope to let all priests perform exorcisms
at will, even the screwed up ones?"

Negative culture in the blogosphere.

Detail, Hieronymus Bosch

It seems to go in cycles.

Jealousy, Envy, Strife

Jealousy, envy, and strife are the seed ground of hatred, and are also hatred's perverse offspring. There is nothing more unworthy of a child of God than jealousy and envy; these vices are an insult to Divine Providence.

Alas, there are in all walks of life people who love strife. They thrive on discord and like nothing more than contentiousness and argument. Such people are the bane of community life. Their only contentment is discontent, and they are discontented wherever contentment holds sway. Incapable of keeping their misery to themselves, they seek out, from among those around them, the most vulnerable and impressionable types, and enroll them in their bitter causes. A lover of strife has no place in a cloister, and should such a man present himself, he must, as soon as his propensity is discovered, be sent away lest he inflict severe damage on the household of God. - Source

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Celebrity priest, Fr. Andrew Greely, RIP.

Fr. Greely died Wednesday, May 29, at the age of 85.

I never read his novels.

I never paid much attention to him.

I remember a nun telling me that he once said Madonna was attracting kids to the Church and devotion to the rosary.  She thought he was right and asked me what I thought and I said, "Could be.  Jesus Christ Superstar started the ball rolling for me."

I think he was said to have had all the dirt on the “Lavender Mafia” in the Church - files and names.  Will all of that come out now after his death? 

I noted he lived in the Hancock building in Chicago - I've always liked that tower.
Greeley's family issued a statement, noting his 59 years in the priesthood:

"Our lives have been tremendously enriched by having the presence of Fr. Andrew Greeley in our family. First and foremost as a loving uncle who was always there for us with unfailing support or with a gentle nudge, who shared with us both the little things and the big moments of family life. But we were specially graced that this man was also an amazing priest who recently celebrated the 59th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He served the Church all those years with a prophetic voice and with unfailing dedication, and the Church he and our parents taught us to love is a better place because of him. Our hearts are heavy with grief, but we find hope in the promise of Heaven that our uncle spent his life proclaiming to us, his friends, his parishioners and his many fans. He resides now with the Lord of the Dance, and that dance will go on." - Lifted from here.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Why do some bishops and some cardinals say one thing and do another...

Our Lord told us to do as they say - not as they do.

Why the pope lives in a hotel?

He doesn't want to live in the Apostolic Palace.

That may be partly true.  More importantly, he wants to live as he did in Buenos Aires, and he doesn't want to be isolated.  He likes to be with ordinary people.
He explained his choice in a letter written two weeks ago to an old friend, Father Enrique Martinez, a priest at the Church of the Annunciation in La Rioja.
"I didn't want to go and live in the apostolic palace. I go over there just to work and for audiences.
"I've remained living in the Casa Santa Marta, which is a residence which accommodates bishops, priests and lay people." There he feels "part of a family" he wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Clarin, an Argentinian daily.
"I'm visible to people and I lead a normal life – a public Mass in the morning, I eat in the refectory with everyone else, et cetera. All this is good for me and prevents me from being isolated.
"I'm trying to stay the same and to act as I did in Buenos Aires because if you change at my age you just look ridiculous." The Pope, the first Jesuit pontiff in history and the first to come from the Americas, said his election was "something totally surprising" which he considers "a gift from God".  - Telegraph

I like that.

As for other bishops, especially brand-new ones like Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, maybe follow the rubrics and stick to protocol on your first assignment.

Or not. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A preview.

The Dream Secret
T. Nelson 2013

Preview of a painting I've been working on for months... a couple of other shots here

[The flash back obscures the already obscure image of the Blessed Trinity at the top.]

The Pope talks about more than the Devil - he talks about suffering.

The temptation of a Christianity without the Cross

I have a friend who was sexually abused as a child.  The effects have remained with her for life.  She is unmarried and has had several affairs that have been sexually abusive in nature.  Years ago, when I returned to the Church and began to do 'penance', she made a hostile comment to me on my way to Mass one day - "You think the only way to get to heaven is to suffer!"  I laughed and tried to deny it and point out how delightful it is to follow Christ, to receive him in communion, and so on.  She wasn't buying it.

I never forgot what she said, and I'm sure she would make the same protest to me today.  She dislikes the Catholic Church - she doesn't have devotion for the crucifix, if you will.  She rejects the notion of suffering - yet her entire life, though comfortable and filled with every nicety and luxury, is a life of endless suffering.  She involves herself in unhappy sexual relationships doomed to failure.  But she has no friends - she rejected some, the others do not like to be around her.  She suffers and is interiorly miserable.  I know because another friend of ours, who is her confidant, tells me.

Today the Pope talked about triumphalist Catholics and suffering:
"Triumphalism in the Church, impedes the Church. Triumphalism among Christians, impedes Christians. A triumphalist, half-way Church that is a Church that is content with what it is or has, well sorted – well organized - with all its offices, everything in order, everything perfect no? Efficient. But a Church that denies its martyrs, because it does not know that martyrs are needed for Churches’ the journey towards the Cross. A Church that only thinks about triumphs, successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross. And this is a temptation that we all have”.
A similar Christianity is proposed by the 'prosperity Gospel' preachers.  Likewise, the new age spiritual currents in Christianity promise happiness without the cross.  'Recovery' Christians can pretty much preach the same thing on some level - it's a great way to sell books and land speaking gigs as well.  Gay Catholics make a lot of 'happy' promises too - most likely a side effect of anti-depressants.  (JK)  I shudder to think how survivors of abuse might tell my friend about all the happiness she is missing out on.  Or me telling a gay friend, "it gets better Poodle!"  It does of course - but not without the cross.  The cross, suffering, is always there.  The wounds remain and on certain occasions, like a mystic's stigmata, they open and bleed.  Some people may be healed right away, most wait a long, long time - in order to learn how to embrace the cross, to learn how to love - to learn how to let themselves be loved.

Again, the Pope says it better than I can:
"I remember once, I was in a dark moment in my spiritual life and I asked a favor from the Lord. Then I went to preach the annual spiritual retreat to nuns and on the last day the made their confession. One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘ Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you asks the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it'. She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, 'Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner’. This did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end”.
"We ask the Lord for the grace that we may not be a half-way Church, a triumphalist Church, of great successes, but a humble Church, that walks with decision, just like Jesus. Forward, forward, forward. With a heart open to the will of the Father, just like Jesus. We ask for this grace. " - VR

Record Numbers on Disability

At the risk of sounding callous, I wouldn't be surprised if a high number of cases involve mental health issues.*  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  On the other hand, I wonder if disability hasn't become the new welfare, or the alternative to unemployment compensation as benefits cease?
The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,978,040 in May, up from 10,962,532 million in April, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration. - CNS

This is a very bad indicator for the country.

It is also unsustainable.

*Perhaps the consequences of living without faith in a culture of death.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The ill effects of contraception: Even Roman Polanski noticed.

Scene from Polanski's film: Rosemary's Baby


Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on Saturday blamed birth control pills for "masculinising" women, as he premiered what he called a satire on sexism.
Asked by a reporter how his views of women had changed over time, the filmmaker said he thought feminism and advances in contraception had blurred the distinctions between the sexes.
"I think to level the genders -- it's purely idiotic. I think it's a result... of progress in medicine. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, 'masculinising' her -- how would you say it?" he said, looking to his cast for a prompt. - Source
Perhaps that is why he was attracted to a 13 year old?

Contraception is the original sin of of the sexual revolution and gender confusion.

Mass chat: The Holy Father heard confessions - on Sunday.

Keep the light on.

Some people have problems with hearing confessions on a Sunday.  I think that's dumb.  I wish every parish had more than one priest, one could be in the confessional, the other saying Mass.  Or the priest could hear confessions before Mass - while people are adoring the Blessed Sacrament before Mass.

Anyway, the Holy Father visited a Roman parish today, and...
Early on Sunday the feast of the Holy Trinity Pope Francis made his first Pastoral visit to a Diocese in Rome. The Parish of Saint Elisabeth and Zechariah gave the Pope a rapturous welcome as he arrived by helicopter to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacrament of Holy Communion to 16 children. Also in a first for a Pope on a visit to a parish, the Holy Father heard the confessions of a least 7 people. - Vatican Radio
I wish I could go to confession to him.

When I was very young I wanted to be a priest just so I could hear confessions and give people last rites... in other words, save souls.

More chat:  I've only had two really bad confession experiences that I can recall.  Once when I was convinced I knew more than the confessor and was miffed he wasn't impressed by my self-knowledge and humility.  LOL!  The other, when a priest told me he wasn't my mother (?) and that homosexual acts were not a mortal sin.  I had to beg him for absolution.  I think he had mental problems and may have been in treatment at the time. 


The Boy Scouts...

Pewsitter had the headline: "I have no problem with the Boy Scouts' decision."

I assumed it would be a link to Fr. James Martin, S.J., last Thursday, he posted:

As a former Cub Scout and Webelo I support the Boy Scouts' welcoming everyone into the Scouts. As a Catholic I support the recognition of the fundamental human dignity of every person. - Fr. Martin, S.J.
When I clicked on the Pewsitter link I discovered it was a different author, with a very different take on the matter.  It was Eric Erickson, editor of RedState.  (Never heard of him BTW.)
The Boy Scouts of America now begin the winding down of their ability to serve as a moral beacon teaching clear Judeo-Christian morality and while I don’t have a problem with them doing it, I do choose now to opt out of considering supporting the Boy Scouts of America. - Eric Erickson 
Mr. Erickson's take impressed me as more Catholic than Fr. Martin's. 

Long time readers know that I like and respect Fr. Martin, although I often disagree with him on issues related to homosexuality. 

A day or two ago I expressed my opinion on the Boy Scout decision in the com box of one of my other posts.  For what it is worth, I'll restate it here:
My greatest disappointment is that a boy, Boy Scout age, can be convinced he is gay or SSA. It bothers me that kids have been so sexualized in childhood.

That said, male friendship - good male friendship would be the best thing for young men who believe they are SSA. Thus, the fact any boy is accepted into Boy Scouts might be fine - unfortunately, in this particular case it means affirming a boy for his sexual preference.  It is a short step to the gay Boy Scout becoming the gay Scout Master.

I think some one needs to found a Catholic Boy Scout organization as a substitute - the way Fr. McGivney did with the Knights of Columbus, as an alternative to the Masonic Lodge - TN

I think my comment segues well with the rest of Erickson's post:
My son will not be in the scouts. While I have no problem with the scouts allowing in self-identified gay youths, and I believe churches should welcome in gays, I do not believe an organization that works to foster morality and strong character in young men can continue to do so while allowing in young men who identify as gay if the homosexual act is to still be considered a sin.

To be sure, being gay is not a sin. All of us have temptations. But to act on that temptation and engage in sin, is sinful. We live in a day and age where many expect the government to subsidize birth control because sexual behavior in and out of marriage is the norm. Society no longer recognizes homosexual behavior as a sin, nor does it recognize sex outside of marriage generally as sin. Government now subsidizes the behavior.

While churches should not turn away gays and should preach the full Gospel to us and them and require us all to repent, an organization like the Scouts will no longer do so in the context of teaching healthy morality and character to young men. The moral component to the Scouts will collapse in favor of knot tying, tent pitching, and badge collection.

While being gay in and of itself is not a sin, we fool ourselves to think that secular society does not rapidly then move to the act itself as another form of normal. The truth is, for Christians the homosexual act is a clear sin and an organization such as the scouts that lets in gay scouts will not long maintain its compass in declaring the scout fine, but his conduct not. The scouts will lose that distinction just as society has and will, over time, allow gay scout masters. The wall is breached and cannot be repaired. - Eric Erickson

I'm not convinced same-sex attraction in adolescence is necessarily fixed for life - promoters of sexual fluidity would happily agree with me - but that isn't my point.  I have problems with the way children and young people are sexualized at such early ages, encouraged to make sexual preference choices even before adolescence.  Today kids are sexualized far too early, and it is generally considered healthy.  I was sexualized as a child - not just through sexual abuse, but through bad example - particularly the sexually irresponsible behaviour of my parents.  I knew too much too early.  Many people who have been abused and or sexualized at an early age know the experience can lead to promiscuity and depression later on.  No degree of social acceptance and approval can repair the damage.  I expect time will demonstrate that for those who think otherwise.

"Recognition of the fundamental human dignity of every person" and acceptance of SSA youth is one thing.  Approval of homosexual acts - sin - is quite another... "we fool ourselves to think that secular society does not rapidly then move to the act itself as another form of normal" sexual behaviour.

Little by little.

Good News, Dr. Taylor Marshall intends to start a Catholic Boy's Scout group!  He should consider Charles Untz as one of the patrons.

From Bishop Jarrell:  "National media have reported that the Boy Scouts have changed their policy and will admit 'openly gay' young men," Jarrell wrote in his letter. "I note that the policy adopted does not use those words. It states: 'No youth may be denied membership in the Boys Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.'"*

Jarrell goes on to explain that his position, and that of the church, is to promote tolerance rather than exclusion.

"The new standard adopted by the Boy Scout of America does not provide an obstacle to continued sponsoring of scouting," Jarrell said, "as long as Catholic principles of morality are consistently applied." - Source

 *I did not know that.