Saturday, July 06, 2013

Pope Waves!

Why is that considered a miracle?

The story is that Pope Francis will canonize Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII together.  The miracle attributed to John Paul II wasn't announced, but the miracle attributed to John XXIII was:
Pope Waves!  Second Miracle for John XXIII.


The Two Candlesticks: LUMEN FIDEI

Consecration of the Vatican to St. Michael the Archangel
and St. Joseph.

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, that stand before the Lord of the earth.~Apocalypse 11:4

 But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time. ~Daniel 12:1

 Here we witness the two popes together, like Saints Peter and Paul or like Moses and Elias. - Fountain of Elias blog.

Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord! - Lumen Fidei

Statue of St. Michael the Archangel,
blessed by Pope Francis and Benedict XVI.

Friday, July 05, 2013

One final word ...

G'nite puddles.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano

Che cosa?


Say what you will, but this guy is kind of cool - in a Hollywood sort of way, I should say.  Not in a Church way of course - because Catholics aren't cool - but that is another post.

I prefer art thieves or jewel thieves if someone is going to be a glamorous crook, although it appears the accused Monsignor Nunzio Scarano owned a fine art collection in his palatial apartment.  "Many were donations" - he claims.  Not that there is anything wrong with donations.  [Likewise, please keep in mind the Monsignor may be innocent of all charges.]

These stories are so unfortunately fascinating...

Dan Brown should hope to write such fascinating thrillers about the serial corruption in Roma - from the la dolce vita stories involving the Abbey of Santa Croce suppression, to the Vatican Bank scandal, to the gay priest scandal - it is so medieval... Renaissance... Borgia-esque?  One soon realizes there is really nothing new under the sun: the Church has been  through all of these scandals before.   

That being the case, if there is anyone more talented than Dan Brown reading this, you might consider writing a novel or a screenplay - with the right budget, director, casting, it could be a blockbuster.

I think maybe George Clooney could play Mons. Scarano - despite the fact Stephen Colbert looks more like him; Richard Gere could play Don Simone Fioraso, although if it were a comedy, Steve Martin might be a good fit; and Martin Short could play Monsignor Tommaso Stenico - drama or comedy - he'd be perfect.

Disclaimer:  Of course I think it is terrible that there could be corruption in the Vatican or in religious life.  I'm against it.  Although, I can possibly legitimize this post by passing it off as a PSA for budding writers-film makers.

Che cosa?  (That means "what?" in Italian.)


Thursday, July 04, 2013

How to treat persons with homosexual inclination with dignity: Tell them the truth.

From an interview with Papal Theologian Rev. Wojciech Giertych.
Asked about the problem of homosexuality, gay ‘marriage’ and their incursion on relgious freedom, Fr. Giertych noted “this is not an issue which is reacting against the Church’s teaching – this is a fundamental anthropological change.” It is, he said, “a distortion of humanity which is being proposed as an ideology, which is being supported, financed, promoted by those who are powerful in the world in many, many, countries simultaneously.” 
“The Church,” he added, “is the only institution in the world which has the courage to stand up to this ideology.”
“The Church, standing up to this ideology which we are seeing now in the Western world, the Church is saying something very normal and humane, which corresponds to the understanding of humanity, which humanity has had for millennia, long before Christ, long before the appearance of Christianity,” he said. “So it’s not a question of the Church fighting the ideology, it’s a question of the distortion of humanity, and the Church standing up in defence of human dignity.”
Speaking of practicing homosexuals Fr. Giertych said, “of course they have to be treated with dignity, everybody has to be treated with dignity, even sinners have to be treated with dignity, but the best way of treating people with dignity is to tell them the truth.” 
“And if we escape from the truth we’re not treating them with dignity,” he added. 
The Pope’s theologian also explained the distinction between the words “homosexual” and “gay” and the danger to someone who identifies themselves as being “gay”. 
 "…in the American language you have a distinction between the word ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’. A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. Somebody may have this difficulty, and his friends, his neighbors will not know about this. He’s dealing with this in cooperation with the grace of God and may come out of this difficulty and come back to normal human relationships. Sometimes adolescents, at the moment when their sexual sensibility is appearing, if they have been distorted by others they go through a phase of difficulty in this field. But as they mature they will grow out of it. Whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this.’ Now if somebody is not only homosexual, but a gay, declaring, ‘This is how I am, and I want this to be respected legally, socially and so on’ – such a person will never come out of the difficulty." 
He also spoke of the danger of identifying with the homosexual condition as if it was the “supreme expression of the identity of the individual” which would deprive the individual of healing and happiness. 
The papal theologian concluded noting the Christ is both the model for a healthy humanity and the source of healing for distortions of humanity. “Christ shows us a humanity which is supremely transformed from within by the divinity, “ he said. “Now, we have access to the grace of God through our faith, through the sacraments, and, by living out the grace of God, that grace of God heals whatever distortions we may have, whatever difficulties we may have, on the condition that we initiate, we commence the pilgrimage, we start the journey of living out our lives with the grace of God.” - LifeSiteNews



Memorial of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

July 4 is the feast day of Bl. Pier Giorgio, shown above partying with his friends.
[Pier Giorgio is the one wearing the paper hat.]
“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.” - Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  April 6, 1901 - July 4, 1925
"Born to a rich and politically influential family; his mother was the painter Adelaide Ametis; his father was an agnostic, the founder and editor of the liberal newspaper La Stampa, and became the Italian ambassador to Germany. A pious youth, average student, outstanding athlete and mountain climber, he was extremely popular with his peers, known by the nickname "Terror" due to his practical jokes. He was tutored at home for years with his younger sister Luciana. He studied minerology in an engineering program after graduating high school. He worked often with Catholic groups like Apostleship of Prayer and the Company of the Most Blessed Sacrament that ministered to the poor and promoted Eucharistic adoration, Marian devotion, and personal chastity. He became involved in political groups like the Young Catholic Workers Congress, the Popular Party, the Catholic Student Federation, Catholic Action and Milites Mariae that supported the poor, opposed Fascism and worked for the Church's social teachings. Enrolled as a Dominican tertiary on 28 May 1922, taking the name Girolamo (Jerome). Especially devoted to the teachings of Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Thomas Aquinas. He spent his fortune on the needy and visited the sick; during this ministry he contracted the disease that killed him." - Patron Saints Index

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Wounds of Christ

"Jesus tells us that the path to encountering Him is to find His wounds. We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to the body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress - the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because he is humiliated, because he is enslaved, because he is incarcerated, because he is in hospital. These are the wounds of Jesus today.
We need to touch Jesus' wounds, caress Jesus' wounds, bind them with tenderness; we must kiss Jesus' wounds, literally. Just think: what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper? The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed." - Homily for St. Thomas

Dr. William Hudson resigned as President of Totino-Grace High School.

"In and Out" - kind of.

Dr. Hudson resigned because he has a family: 2 children in a committed same sex relationship - which conflicts with Catholic Church teaching.  Hudson acknowledged that saying: "For over 20 years, I have placed service of the Catholic Church ahead of my family. I am excited to now be able focus on my two children and my partner of 18 years as my first priority."

The president of Totino-Grace High School resigned from his job last week - a voluntary decision he made because he's in a committed same-sex relationship.

William Hudson's last day as president at Totino-Grace in Fridley was Friday, June 28, according to a statement from the school Tuesday, July 2.

"I love the Totino-Grace community, however I need to be truthful about my life," said Hudson in a statement. "I am in a committed same-sex relationship, and I felt the best course of action was to inform the school. I value my time at Totino-Grace as one of the most enriching experiences of my career." - Source

Perhaps he intends to enter into a civil marriage with his partner, which would have made his private life public and created problems with the Archdiocese?  Perhaps some one was going to 'out' him?  So he decided to resign on his own terms, without controversy? 

Dr. Hudson appears to have been respected and well liked, one student remarked: "I recognize that I do go to a Catholic school and it does go against Catholic teachings, but I mean it had absolutely no effect as far as I could see on his job performance so that is a little saddening."

It is sad. 

Though it all seems so normal, doesn't it?  Hudson is obviously highly qualified, a respected educator, probably a devoted, loving dad, a faithful and loving partner, an upstanding citizen, a normal guy - no would ever guess he was gay. 
"That said, leading a Catholic school while living in a committed same-sex relationship is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church." - Totino-Grace Letter


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Staying gay - why not?

The Holy Father's words seem to express my own intuition upon a related subject.

But I want to hold onto the identity, the culture, the sodality - though I will try - so hard even - to be chaste:
""It’s so hard to cut ties with a sinful situation. It is hard! Even in a temptation, it's hard! But the voice of God tells us this word: 'Escape! You cannot fight there, because the fire, the sulfur will kill you. Escape!' St. Therese of the Child Jesus taught us that sometimes, in some temptations, the only solution is to escape and not be ashamed to escape; to recognize that we are weak and we have to escape. And our popular wisdom, in its simplicity, says as much, somewhat ironically: 'he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.' Escaping to go forward along the path of Jesus."
But I've been there, done that; I can remain to help them accept Christ, the Gospel, and understand Church teaching in a new, more all inclusive way:
"Faced with sin, we must escape without any nostalgia. Curiosity does not help, it hurts! 'But, in this sinful world, what can we do? What is this sin like? I would like to know . . . ' No, do not! This curiosity will hurt you! Run away and do not look back! We are weak, all of us, and we must defend ourselves. The third situation is on the boat: it is fear. When there is great upheaval at sea, the boat was covered with the waves. 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' they say. Fear! Even that is a temptation of the devil: to be afraid to move forward on the path of the Lord.”
But this is who I am - not what I am or what I do.  I can't give up all that I have worked so hard to accept and know - and achieve:
"Looking to the Lord, contemplating the Lord. This gifts us the beautiful wonder of a new encounter with the Lord. 'Lord, I am being tempted: I want to stay in this situation of sin, Lord, I am curious to know about these things, Lord, I'm afraid.' And they looked to the Lord: 'Save us, Lord, we are lost!' And wonder at a new encounter with Jesus followed. We must not be naive nor lukewarm Christians, but brave, courageous. We are weak, but we must be courageous in our weakness. And often our courage must be expressed in escaping without looking back, so as not to fall into the trap of wicked nostalgia. Do not be afraid and always look to the Lord! ". - Pope Francis homily on the day's readings.

 Just a thought.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

“You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things as silver or gold but with the Precious Blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish and without spot.” - 1 Peter

July 1 is the feast day of the most Precious Blood of Jesus, while the entire month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood.  I can tell you from experience that devotion to the Precious Blood is especially efficacious for obtaining the grace of contrition after falling into sin.  Likewise it is a powerful remedy against sins of the flesh.  I highly recommend recitation of the Litany of the Precious Blood, especially if you feel bound by a particular sin.

Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation, and that not only for priests, but for every follower of Christ. I really believe, and I hesitate even saying this, but I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood.  
Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is first- veneration, it is secondly- invocation, and it is thirdly- imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love and adoration. We are to study to come to a deeper understanding of what those two - I am afraid for many people - casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.

To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must (otherwise the mystery will be lost on us), we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe that Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way, that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. - Fr. Hardon

19 Firefighters Dead

The 19 firefighters killed Sunday in Arizona were members of an elite crew known for battling the region's worst fires ... - Story here.

Prayers for these valiant men and their families.


To lose always - the trait of valiant souls...

"Let the dead bury their dead."

Do you really think people want there to be a cabal of gay priests in the Vatican?

I've been asked that - especially since Michael Voris seems to be onto some thing... 

Quick answer:  No.  Most people do not want the story to be true.  Most Catholics never ever wanted the scandals of the past to have been true.  At best, honest Catholics may want their fears assuaged - the lies exposed - so they can be dealt with and then move on - 'let the dead bury their dead.'  A few others may secretly enjoy the drama and hope for a movie or a mini series.  While others just want to kill the messenger or generate revenue with traffic to their websites.

It's a good thing to lose an argument - it's a good thing to be on the wrong side of things and to lose.  That was reaffirmed for me today again when the Gospel for the day repeated what we heard Sunday: "Let the dead bury their dead."  Going around picking fights and calling everyone out is the Alec Baldwin way of doing things.  It's the bully pulpit. 

"Let the dead bury their dead." 

I loved today's meditation in Magnificat from Mother Elvira Petrozzi, foundress of Comunita Cenacolo, on the subject:
"... Someone will have to 'lose' so that peace can reign.  Yes, peace is more important than anything, and to know how to 'lose' is our security." 

"Let the dead bury their dead."

Christians are not approved by the world - indeed, Christians often do not approve of one another - all the snark online verifies that much. But how does that concern me when my job is to follow Christ? St. Seraphim Sarovsky assures us, "Keep yourself in peace and thousands around you will be saved." So there you have it - that is what I understand by the words, let the dead bury their dead. It is in reality a going out of sorts - outside the city gates, bearing the insult Christ bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come. Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name. Our life is hidden with Christ in God and I need to fix my eyes on him, who inspires and perfects my faith.

"To lose always and let everyone else win is a trait of valiant souls..." - Maxim 58, St. John of the Cross

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Michael Voris update.

Michael Voris is suggesting we pray for Holy Mother Church, offering an extra decade of the Rosary.  This, after a Bishop in Rome asked him to ask his viewers to pray.  I will do so.

Voris also updates with comments on the scandal he reported on earlier last week - the priest whistle-blower has been arrested, and authorities are claiming he was lying.  Voris remains skeptical.

Michael Voris concedes that there may not be a well organized group, such as a 'gay mafia', but rather a 'loose confederation' of like-minded clerics, doing whatever it is they do.  That is what I've always maintained and it seems more believable.  I liken it to be sort of like the 'Sodomites' mentioned in Brideshead - the group of students at Oxford to which Sebastian belonged, and into which Charles was more or less inducted.  These are cliques - or to use Voris' term, 'loose confederations'.  I think they feed off the powerful in their orbit, and exert limited, but often effective influence over their hosts.

Voris seems to be on to something...  I wouldn't be so quick in trying to discredit him.

The Last Day

"Closing" comments.

Today is the last day of Gay Pride Month, and the last day of the festival in Loring Park, Minneapolis.  So I suppose I should say something, seeing how I promised to have extra commentary on the issue this month.  For the record, I'm no longer sad or depressed, much less discouraged by the recent gay marriage decisions in the news, as one Bishop affirmed, "Catholic teaching doesn't change."  I'm fine - but I'm not convinced the kids are alright.

Anyway - huge crowds this year at Minneapolis Pride - most likely because of the marriage victories in Minnesota and the nation.  The focus at the pride event - according to news reports - is the wedding business.  Many gay florists, caterers, etc., appear to be on hand to offer services to gay couples planning to wed.  Looks like there will be ample gay resources that gay couples will not have to bother businesses which would rather not support gay weddings.

I've been to Pride fest several years ago, with some friends - we did a quick walk through - I found it surprisingly unsophisticated and tacky.  The friends I attended with, now say they wouldn't be bothered to go to the festival - because most of those people do not represent them.  They are pretty much talking about the drags and leathermen, and underwear fetish type guys - and the dykes - who add color to the festivities.  There are class distinctions amongst gay society of course - even though they claim it's all about love and acceptance.

The intellectuals, theologians, social anthropologists and therapists amongst the more discerning and respectable class have often decreed these behaviours are reactions to years of suppression and shame and suffering the label deviant.  Truth be told, Pride is a direct reaction to the deviant label - Pride month, week, weekend, commemorates the 'great' Stonewall uprising - an event which took place in 1968 in NYC - that's back when gays could be arrested for morals violations - such as public sex and nudity on Folsom St..  I've post on this before, one study in particular supports my POV: Marriage, Cruising, and Life in Between: Clarifying Organizational Positionalities in Pursuit of Polyvocal Gay-Based Advocacy.  

Now that sodomy is legal - and has been for quite some time - the shame excuse doesn't work as well - unless one is into bondage and discipline of course.  In fact, gay spokesmen for the movement now recognize these so-called sexual minorities within the general sexual minority movement known as LGBTQ, as helpful and supportive to the cause.  Perhaps because the more Stepford-type gays appear even more normal and natural in comparison.  Sorry, I was being flip.

One local activist-educator-writer, Michael Bayly lays a great deal of blame on the Catholic Church, I suspect there are other queer Catholics who would agree with a lot of what he writes - though they may not have evolved as far as Michael has - yet.  The Catholic Church and Folsom St. Fair - united in their differences?  It's all about dysfunction, repression and shame then?
Contrary to the findings of both science and human experience, this natural variant of the God-given gift of human sexuality is described by the Vatican as being “against natural law,” while homosexuals themselves are said to harbor an “intrinsic disorder.”

Ironically, such negative teaching comes from an institution whose priesthood is filled with a disproportionate number of gay men – men instructed to despise and repress their sexuality and the sexuality of others like them.

There may well be a dysfunctional and damaging “homosexual subculture” within some seminaries and even the wider Church, as some so-called traditionalists like to claim. But any dysfunction and damage stems not from the homosexual orientation per se, but from the Church’s persistent demonizing of this orientation, this aspect of nature.

Whereas it’s acceptable for straight seminarians and priests to talk about their struggles and issues as sexual beings, many gay seminarians and priests feel unable to talk about their sexual issues in a similarly upfront and healthy way. Many harbor a legitimate fear of being hounded out of the ministry to which they feel called. There’s also the fear of being stereotyped, to the extent of even being accused of pedophilia. And, of course, there’s a limit to how often one can stomach hearing one’s sexuality being described as an “intrinsic disorder.”

Furthermore, the Church encourages and rewards secrecy and repression on the part of its gay seminarians and priests. And when the consequences of such unhealthy repression surface in dysfunctional behavior of one form or another, it’s the homosexual orientation that’s to blame, not the culture of secrecy, denial, and repression. It’s all very sad and pathetic. - Wild Reed
It seems to make sense doesn't it?  Michael is good at what he does.  Obviously, I have opposing views on that.

Newscasts this past week have been showing clips of dads and dads - with children, looking forward to August when they will be able to legally tie the knot.  They really do look normal.  It's hard to even believe there is anything 'off' about their 'marriage' and family.  I have to wonder however, if they let the kids go to Pride, and there is erotic art exhibited, or 'scantily clad' fairies, how they explain that to them?  I didn't see the film, The Kids Are Alright, so I'm not quite sure what they want me to think.  But I digress.

Dan Savage has some praise for the sexual minorities many other gay people like to insist do not represent them - although they may have enjoyed their performances in a bar, a gym, a sauna or a shower, in porn, or in a bush someplace.
I don't think it's a coincidence that cities with big pride parades and events like Folsom are more tolerant and more accepting of sexual minorities than cities that don't have big gay parades and fetish street fairs. If an event like Folsom were actually counterproductive, you would expect San Francisco to be less tolerant and less likely to back equal rights for sexual minorities, not more likely.

And finally, any attempt to shut down the Folsom Street Fair – or to ban drag queens, go-go boys, dykes on bikes, or leather guys from pride parades – would be so poisonously divisive that it would do more harm to our movement than a thousand Folsom Street Fairs ever could. - Wild Reed: "Savage's response is helpful though limited in depth, no doubt owing to the spacial limitations of any type of 'advice column.'"

"To the extent that a homosexual tendency or inclination is not subject to one's free will, one is not morally culpable for that tendency. Although one would be morally culpable if one were voluntarily to entertain homosexual temptations or to choose to act on them, simply having the tendency is not a sin…. Simply possessing such inclinations does not constitute a sin, at least to the extent that they are beyond one's control."  - USCCB, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, Nov. 14, 2006

Moving on now.


So did the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI signal the end of an era?

Is the papacy changing?

[I]n marking his first 29 June as Peter's 265th successor, the first Francis to occupy the Chair kept to his own script in repeatedly veering from his prepared homily to speak of, among other things, an enhanced spirit of "synodality," or collegiality, between the Roman pontiff and the college of bishops.
Here, the Pope's portrayal of "the Synod" was that of the episcopal college, full stop – just as the term entails in each Eastern church. Ergo, the combination of the concept and the spontaneous reference amid today's feast serve to indicate what could be a significant change to the form of Petrine governance kicking around in Papa Bergoglio's mind. - Whispers In the Loggia

United in our differences.

The Prophecy of Malachy supposedly referred to Benedict as the last Pope, and his successor as Peter the Roman.  If true, the Peter the Roman thing makes sense, seeing how Pope Francis prefers to identify himself as the Bishop of Rome.  Whether or not the prophecies are true, things in this papacy are much different.

If Dolan would've made it in,
there'd be a lot more pomp - and cocktails!