Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tomorrow is 'Sea Sunday' around the world...

I did not know that.
This Sunday, churches around the world mark Sea Sunday, a day to remember seafarers and pray for them, their families and those who’ve made it their apostleship to support them. - Full story here.
Naturally one of the first things which came to mind when I read about it was the tsunami which swept Mrs. Wallace out of Harmony.  I can never forget that harrowing scene  from Passions, my favorite soap of all time - it was actually a very Catholic show BTW.  You don't remember?

Mrs. Wallace bio:
Edna Wallace is the kind of mother that no child should have. Throughout her younger years, she was the 'friendliest' woman in town, sleeping with so many men, she has no idea who the father of her children are. She used to bring home her boyfriends, not caring that her daughter, Beth, became their victim. When Beth was still relatively young, she brought home Mr. Wallace (he owned the Book Café), and for many years, Beth thought of him as her father, and only learned long after his death that she and his mother weren't married after all. 
Edna is very free with words for her daughter, abusing her both verbally and emotionally. Her primary goal in life is to rob Beth of any happiness she can possible receive, in part because she blames Beth for something that happened when Beth was just a teenager. Edna worked hard to expose Beth and Charlie's plans to kidnap Sheridan and raise her baby as their own while trying to get along with her orangutan caregiver Precious, but although she threatens to expose Beth, especially now that Sheridan has been returned home and Beth still has the baby, she has never done so. 
Although she would not return him to his mother, Edna has arranged for some encounters between Sheridan and Martin, and encouraged Sheridan to spend time with the child she believed to be her son. She kept insisting that Sheridan belongs with her son, showing more concern for Sheridan than she ever did for her own daughter. She showed a remarkable streak of kindness toward Beth (her first ever) when she realized how much Beth truly did love that little boy and offered to help Beth escape Harmony with the child. Only moments later, though, DNA tests proclaimed Beth as Little Martin's mother. Later that night, Edna burst in on Alistair and Beth just as they were about to make love, and announced that Alistair was Beth's father from a one-night stand in the 1970s. 
Edna eventually realized that Tabitha Lenox was a witch, and had Tabitha and Endora use their powers to make her young and beautiful again -- well, younger and more beautiful. Edna enjoyed her new life, but everything changed again when she was swept out of Harmony on a wave during the tsunami. She eventually turned up in a psychiatric ward, going on about witches and babies who could change people's appearances. She and a fellow patient, Norma Bates, escaped, and after being unsuccessful in killing Tabitha, disappeared from Harmony again until turning up in Rome. - Source

Norma Bates and Edna.
Marianne Muellerleile played Norma.
She is also a Catholic.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Vatican freezes Monsignor Nunzio Scarano's ...

- photo removed -

Assets.  Freezes his assets.

Oh.  I thought you meant... 

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has frozen the assets of a monsignor who was arrested in a plot to smuggle 20 million euro ($26 million) into Italy and warned Friday that other people may be caught up in the investigation.

The Vatican’s chief prosecutor on July 9 froze the accounts at the Vatican bank of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who was arrested by Italian authorities June 28 on accusations of corruption and slander. Scarano allegedly plotted to bring 20 million euro into Italy from Switzerland in July of last year aboard a private jet to avoid declaring it at customs.
Prosecutors say the money was believed to have belonged to friends of Scarano, members of the d’Amico shipping family. Scarano has reportedly told prosecutors he stood to gain 2.5 million euro in commission for the operation.  [Ed. Note: My best friend in school was Larry Damico!] 

In addition to the money-smuggling case, Scarano is also under investigation by prosecutors in his hometown of Salerno for allegedly taking 560,000 euros ($729,000) in cash out of his Vatican account in 2009 and carrying it into Italy to help pay off a mortgage on his Salerno home. He used a complicated scheme to give dozens of friends 10,000 in cash in exchange for checks, made out to be donations, that he then deposited in an Italian bank account. - Money-Laundering Post

Bonus breaking news update:

Talk about crooks.  The Pope is said to be personally inspecting expensive cars in the parking lot of the Vatican to see who they belong to and just how they were able to afford such luxury vehicles and have enough left over to buy all those cappa majangas!  He's also cracking down on priests asking for donations to buy gourmet foods, wine and booze, expensive cigars, multiple computer monitors and laptops and ipads and handguns.  That's what I heard, at least.

H/T to Nan for the assets-tip.  Please, no blow-back.


Is Brandon Vogt the Vatican's equivalent of Edward Snowden?

We could hype it to make it look that way now, couldn't we...

What's the big deal?

When ninety-nine-and-a-half-just-won't-do.

[Update: Voted best post of the day!]

You know what's really corny?


For the Punctilious

So anyway - I found another boat altar, consecrated by a Bishop in a far away fishing village...
The altar as a boat evokes the analogical mind. Firstly, the culture of Jesus and disciples in the little fishing village of Galilee. It evokes the Fullerton fishing culture in which we all grew up, buying carite and cavali at giveaway prices as the boats came in, while throwing away shark and catfish, Maracas delicacies today! It links the culture of Jesus to our own. The boat also evokes the ancient Christian notion of pilgrimage (1 Pet 2:11); we cannot settle, we are always on the way, a motif that began with the Hebrew Exodus and will end in the New Jerusalem. Then the boat evokes the barque of Peter, that our faith rests on the solid witness of the apostles, a patrimony defended by Peter and his brothers, custodians of “the way” of Jesus. Additionally, the boat reminds us of Mary – Stella Maris – guiding and interceding for the Church through the tempestuous waters and dark, cold nights like the present. Finally, the boat is the symbol of the ark of my salvation - my little village where I was baptised and named, where the seed of faith was planted by my parents, nurtured in the community and put to work in harvests, where I celebrated First Communion and Confirmation, read frequently at Mass before leaving in 1983 for the seminary. - Source

 Wade in the water.

The history of the bikini...

Well kinda - just since its revival in the 20th century.  Check that out here.

This too is very good, Daniel Mattson on 'Gay identity'.

[Ed. note: I don't want to screw it up with my personal commentary.]
In my last essay at First Things, I echoed the words of Pope Benedict writing about the pastoral care of the homosexual person by saying, “only what is true can ultimately be pastoral.”  Rev. Wojciech Giertych, O.P., the Theologian of the Papal Household, last week echoed the words of Pope Benedict when he said, “the best way of treating people with dignity is to tell them the truth, and if we escape from the truth, we are not treating them with dignity.”  This truth, which is blunt, precise, and difficult to hear, yet honoring of man’s dignity, is that “homosexuality is against human nature.” 
The Papal Theologian provides a valuable contribution as well to the ongoing debate here at First Things about the acceptability of a gay identity within the Church’s anthropology: - Finish reading at First Things
Mattson does an excellent job explaining things.

Art: 'Not to be Reproduced' Rene Magritte

el viejo

The old man and the See...

Evidently Pope Francis affectionately refers to Pope Benedict as 'el viejo'.
Argentine journalist Jorge Milia recounts that in their phone conversation, Pope Francis spoke endearingly about Pope Benedict, whom he calls "el viejo" -- literally, "the old man," but a term that carries with it affection and respect. 
"Today I was with el viejo, and we talked a lot. It's a pleasure for me to exchange ideas with him.... You can’t imagine the humility and wisdom of this man,” the pope told me. 
“Well, then keep him close to you,” I replied. 
“I wouldn't even consider giving up the counsel of a person like this, it would be foolish on my part!” 
Milia tells Francis that people view him as more approachable than his predecessor, and that Francis gives the impression that people can come up and speak to him. The pope replies: 
“And why not? Certainly, they should be able to do that! It’s my duty to listen to them, to pray with them, to hold their hands so they feel that they’re not alone.” 
But the pope adds that not everyone around him at the Vatican can easily accept this.
“It’s not easy, Jorge, here there are many ‘masters’ (padroni) of the pope, and with a lot of seniority in years of service.”
The pope went on to say that every change he’s introduced so far has cost him great effort. He said the most difficult battle was in maintaining some management of his own agenda of activities, instead of having it imposed on him. For that reason, he said, he chose not to live in the formal papal apartment, because many popes have become “prisoners” of their secretaries. 
“I am the one who decides who to see, not my secretaries…. Sometimes I cannot see who I’d like, because I need to see who asks for me.” - John Thavis

He remains a free man.

First seen at Deacon's Bench.

The new laws in Vatican City State...

"You should have asked permission to publish."

Maybe the legal changes in the Vatican are to blame for the extraordinary 'censorship' of Brandon Vogt and Fr. Zuhlsdorf in their attempts to disseminate the new encyclical, Lumen Fidei?  Of course the enthusiastic New-evangelists released their versions the encyclical before the Motu Proprio was even released, but perhaps there had been a sort of in-house tightening of the reins on any sort of unauthorized distribution of any official documents beforehand?  Just a thought. 
.- Pope Francis took a step forward in modernizing the Vatican’s legal code today by explicitly listing certain acts as crimes – such as child abuse and genocide – and enabling the Holy See to prosecute any of its officials who commit crimes outside its walls.

“In our times, the common good is increasingly threatened by transnational organized crime, the improper use of the markets and of the economy, as well as by terrorism,” Pope Francis said in the opening line of his July 11 Motu proprio declaration.

“It is therefore necessary for the international community to adopt adequate legal instruments to prevent and counter criminal activities, by promoting international judicial cooperation on criminal matters,” the first Motu proprio of Francis’ pontificate says.

In addition to updating the laws, the pontiff also made them applicable to both the Vatican City State and the Holy See, which respectively operate under civil law and canon law.

The effort to update the legal framework of the Vatican City State was begun by Benedict XVI in 2010 as he sought to make its laws compatible with the challenges presented by modern society and the evolution of crime. - Finish reading here.

I realize the new laws have nothing to do with copyright infringement. I'm just suggesting that the concern to maintain control over who and how the encyclical is promulgated could have more to do with an atmosphere of increased security after the Vatileaks scandal than anything else.

Although I am a bit surprised that several people have protested and complained about the Vatican's right to control its publications and to require users to abide by copyright laws.

Copyright violators will be prosecuted.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

All dressed up...

Dolce and Gabbana, Haute Couture, 2013

Another look here.

It's better to be unknown.

A reader sent me an email warning me about a few 'wack jobs' online.  I said even crazy people can speak the truth sometimes.  Think of Simei whose cursing and raving called out King David.  The lives of the 'fools' for Christ demonstrate that we shouldn't so easily dismiss our critics.  We always want to find fault with those who contend with us, we need to put them in their place, to find something wrong with them, to assure ourselves that we are in the right, that we are above contempt.

We aren't at all poor in spirit, nor humble when we do that - when we look down on others. 

It's better to be unknown.
What does it profit you to enter into deep discussion
concerning theological matters, if you lack humility, and thereby be displeasing to God?  For truly it is not deep words that
make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which makes a man
dear to God.  I had rather feel contrition than be eloquent in the
definition thereof.   
It is vanity, too, to covet honours, and to
lift up ourselves on high. 
There is naturally in every man a desire to know, but what profit is knowledge without the fear of God?  Better of a surety is a lowly peasant who serves God, than a proud philosopher who watches the stars and neglects the knowledge of himself.  He who knows himself well is vile in his own sight; neither does he care about the praises of men.  If I knew all the things that are in the world, and were not in charity, what should it help me before God, who is to judge me according to my deeds? - Saying from the Imitation of Christ
It's better to be unknown.

Art: Miguel Conde

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I think it's funny.

Developing: Vatican nixes musical version of Lumen Fidei over copyright dispute.

In futuro, dovrà contattarci per tempo, o in caso contrario, saremo costretti ad applicare le leggi in materia di copyright. - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Rehearsals were just wrapping up, and the final production was scheduled.  It was to be a stunning duet, Donny Osmond joined with Susan Boyle, singing the text of Lumen Fidei in tribute to the two authors, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, accompanied by the same orchestra Pope Francis snubbed in June.  Once again, after reprimanding Brandon Vogt, and giving Fr. Z notice, Libreria Editrice Vaticana stepped in, forbidding the production of Lumen Fidei, The Musical.

I know!

The papal "Boat Altar"

Mass 'on the frontlines'

Some have called it tacky, even corny...

The refugees, the migrants had the Pope visit them on Lampedusa the other day. 

He celebrated a penitential Mass on an altar constructed in the form of a boat, reminiscent of the boat carrying migrants who drowned when it was shipwrecked.  The altar was a humble gesture, a reminder, a votive offering from the poor, in honor of the poorest of the poor.  Christ was crucified upon such an altar, the crucifix was a contemptuous, disgraceful instrument of death, made from unrefined, crude timber.  The suffering Christ was condemned as a criminal, he was filthy, sweaty, bloody, a man others looked away from in disgust, despised and lowly, held in no esteem... Before execution, he was presented to the jeering crowd, 'tackily' dressed as a mock king, with a 'corny' crown of thorns. 

Christ visited the refugees, the migrants, the homeless survivors on Lampedusa the other day.   

Cardinal Bergoglio, Mass  on a simple table in Buenos Aires slum.

Cardinal Bergoglio Entrance Procession.
When St. Lawrence was asked for the treasures of the Church, he brought forward the poor...

If the Pope makes me uncomfortable at times, perhaps I've been too comfortable for too long.

+ + +

More Mass on the frontlines and unusual altars.



Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A friend asked me: "How do you describe yourself...?"

Ed. note:  A friend emailed me a couple of questions I didn't know how to answer at first. I began to write, and a few thoughts - though more than he expected, and I intended - flowed out.  I thought maybe I'd record my response here on the blog - after all, it is a journal, and I suppose others might be interested as well.

My response:

You ask, " Terry, how do you describe yourself in relation to your erotic attractions?"

I don't.  I'm not sure what else to say.  When and if sexual temptation comes along, I just see it as that - temptation to sin.

I'm accustomed to the so-called gay identity because that is where 'I came from' if you will, it was the niche I fit into, and it is how the world views persons with same sex attraction or those who engage in homosexual activity.  Precise language should not include that way of identifying self or one another however, despite the fact it is how contemporary secular culture, as well as gay culture, insists upon labeling persons.  I suppose the alternative could be 'ex-gay' - but once again, that plays into the gay identity trap, and it isn't accurate.  Of course, when I am with friends or associates who are non-religious and gay - it's just a given I suppose.  Although it is not even discussed.  If I were to make a show of 'I don't identify as gay' they would think I was nuts - they wouldn't be able to comprehend that. My friends already think I'm nuts because they know what I believe about homosexuality and that I'm a practicing Catholic, but it is what it is - the carnal man can't comprehend the spiritual. 

On the other hand, with anyone else - family, former co-workers, and so on, I never identify as anything but a Catholic man.  If challenged, I explain what I believe as regards chastity and celibacy - which accords with Catholic teaching on sexuality.  People seem to think what they want to think anyway - but I have no control over that.

More deeply, my self image remains somewhat disfigured however - or more accurately, wounded - which is another reason why I find such consolation in devotion to the Holy Face.  I tend to identify with Jacob in today's reading; though I've wrestled all of my life with this issue, my heart is fixed on God - his loving will for me.  The inclination itself has greatly subsided.  If it troubles me at all, it manifests as a temptation at times, or perhaps in a dream, but the effect is more like a wound, a jab, or a thorn in my side to remind me that it was grace alone which pulled me from the mire.  Again, taking the imagery from the story of Jacob, whose hip socket was wrenched in the struggle, I too go through life with a sort of limp:  Again, I see it as a lesson in humility as well as a call to deeper repentance, and as a reminder to have compassion for others.  In a sense, the grace I've been given is similar to Jacob's, who was given a new name in and through the struggle.  Similarly, my true identity in Christ is thereby continually revealed.  In Christ there is no gay.

In response to your own struggles, I want to say, the temptations, the falling and rising younger men experience, do not define them - albeit the nature of the temptation is the defining factor of their combat; yet when we accept Christ, it is His victory which leads us through every defeat, and wins every battle.

I also think that eventually you find you can appreciate others without worrying about what attracts you to them, without trying to 'justify' your feelings, or better put, to examine them so minutely as to determine whether or not you consented to 'movements' to lust.  We get all mixed up because we feel unwanted physical movements, and unwanted passionate emotions - they are just feelings.  We often conflate the tempest with feelings of fear, guilt and despair.  Of course you do well to examine your conscience, and/or try to understand what's going on in those experiences, but you should find your peace. 

Remember,  'Christ walked in peace through the midst of them' - that is how Christ acted amidst all the turmoil raised by the villagers who sought to throw him over the hill - that's sort of an analogy of the effect temptations have on us, and how we can conduct ourselves in the heat of the moment, as it were.  Naturally, things are entirely different when we deliberately place ourselves in the occasion of sin - in that case we need to flee, like the naked guy in the garden after the arrest of Jesus - run, even though we lost even the little we imagined was covering us.

We keep fighting, continuing to trust in Jesus.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. - Matthew 11:12

Jack Levine     
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel
1975, oil on canvas

Monday, July 08, 2013

Fr. Paul Scalia on same sex attraction.

Fr. Paul Scalia is the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Fr. Scalia has been involved with Courage for eight years and will be a featured speaker at this year's Courage Conference in Mundelein, Illinois at the end of July.  He has come to the attention of secular media, in part because of the family name, as well as his promoting the position that homosexuality is an attraction or inclination, but not properly an orientation:  "homosexual tendencies (to use a term from magisterial documents), do not constitute a fixed, unchangeable aspect of the person and therefore should not be considered an “orientation.” Further, the term does violence to a proper understanding of human sexuality. Either our sexuality is oriented in a certain direction (i.e. toward the one-flesh union of marriage), or it is not. We cannot speak of more than one sexual “orientation” any more than we can think of the sun rising in more than one place (i.e. the orient)."

Media naturally spins Fr. Scalia's POV as anti-gay, as demonstrated  by the following from Huffington Post:

Overshadowed by his father for years, the similarly anti-gay opinions of Scalia's son Paul, however, are beginning to attract attention as well. An important tenet of the younger Scalia's position on homosexuality is his belief that being gay is not an immutable characteristic or identity.

Fr. Scalia's work is based upon Fr. John Harvey's life work, which included the founding of Courage Apostolate.  The current news items on Fr. Scalia are taken from his own writings on the evolution of Fr. Harvey's work, addressing the ever changing developments in the culture related to homosexuality.  It is always better to read the sources rather than depend upon secular media reporting on issues of Catholic teaching, or even reading my own POV, which is never articulated as well as it should be.  I want to post a few excerpts from Fr. Scalia's article - which helps explain why using the term same sex attracted is preferred over identifying as gay, queer, homosexual, and so on.  (In other words, it supports my own POV regarding the identity issues.)
Consider how swiftly American society has changed as regards homosexuality. The “Stonewall riots,” the touchstone and unofficial beginning of the gay rights movement, occurred in June 1969. Since then, the demands from the gay community have progressed from simple tolerance, to acceptance, to the right to marry, to now the silencing of any opposition as bigoted and “homophobic.” Those who once insisted on tolerance for their lifestyle will now tolerate no disagreement. Society now requires everyone’s approval of what not long ago was regarded as morally abhorrent.
[...] Father Harvey repeatedly articulates and explains the principle that guided his work and the work of Courage – namely, the distinction between the person and his homosexual attractions or tendencies. Those who advocate the goodness of homosexual acts and lifestyle do so because they identify the person – always a good – with the homosexual inclinations. They therefore conclude that such inclinations must be good and so also, of course, the actions. Likewise, those who feel shame and loneliness do so precisely because they have come to identify themselves (their very persons) with their same-sex attractions, which they know (both intellectually and affectively) to be wrong. The work of Courage (and of the Church as a whole) turns on the person/attraction distinction. We can fairly summarize that work as distinguishing the person to be loved from the attractions to be resisted and even overcome. 
[...] in his last book, Father Harvey ceased using the term “homosexual” or “homosexual person.” His thought and ministry brought him to realize that it is better to speak of someone with “same-sex attractions.” Although lacking brevity and ease of speech, this phrase has the virtue of precision. It acknowledges both the person/attraction distinction and the complexity of the condition – not fairly summarized as an “orientation.” Which brings us to another matter of vocabulary.…  
Father Harvey’s use of the term “orientation” also underwent a deserved change. In his first two books we find the use of this word to describe homosexual inclinations or attractions. In the last book, however, he deliberately avoids it. This reflects the increased appreciation for the fact that homosexual tendencies (to use a term from magisterial documents), do not constitute a fixed, unchangeable aspect of the person and therefore should not be considered an “orientation.” Further, the term does violence to a proper understanding of human sexuality. Either our sexuality is oriented in a certain direction (i.e. toward the one-flesh union of marriage), or it is not. We cannot speak of more than one sexual “orientation” any more than we can think of the sun rising in more than one place (i.e. the orient). 
Indeed, one of Father Harvey’s contributions is his discussion of the possibility for healing of homosexual attractions. He deftly navigates the extremes (on one hand, that change is impossible… on the other hand, that it is morally obligatory) to present the simple truth that many have found freedom, to varying degrees, from homosexual attractions. Thus we cannot speak of it as a fixed, unchangeable, unchanging “orientation.” (For this reason also the Church made a similar correction in the second edition of the Catechism, removing unfortunate language that implied homosexuality is a fixed orientation.) - For Those Who Believe in Rational Argument: In Memoriam John Harvey OSFS

"[T]he Church does not propose different standards of sexual morality (one heterosexual and another homosexual). Rather, she articulates the truth about human sexuality for all — a truth that is not her exclusive possession but pertains to the nature of man. She bears witness to the natural law, to the design and purpose of human sexuality. The truth is this: Human sexuality has meaning, purpose and design — all discernible by natural reason. It is for something: for procreation and union." - Fr. Paul Scalia, Same Sex attractions: The Church's Pastoral Approach, Part I 


Lisa Graas is a better known blogger than myself, I have the impression she is read by more prominent bloggers and Catholic news portals.  I'll direct you to her site for a couple of posts on the same subject. 

More On Gay Identity
This is why they think we are bigots
Does Multiculturalism Require Catholics to Accept the Gay Identity?

H/T Ray at Stella Borealis for the Scalia article.
H/T Larry at Acts of the Apostasy for the Graas link.

The Pope standing at the helm.

A most important pastoral visit...

It strikes me as prophetic in the true sense of the word.  I hope the world sees, listens, understands, and responds.
“Who has wept?” Who in today’s world has wept?
Immigrants who died at sea, from that boat that, instead of being a way of hope was a way of death. This is the headline in the papers! When, a few weeks ago, I heard the news – which unfortunately has been repeated so many time – the thought always returns as a thorn in the heart that brings suffering. And then I felt that I ought to come here today to pray, to make a gesture of closeness, but also to reawaken our consciences so that what happened would not be repeated. Not repeated, please!
Global wave of 'disorientation'...

 “Adam, where are you?” This is the first question that God addresses to man after sin. “Where are you Adam?” Adam is disoriented and has lost his place in creation because he thought to become powerful, to dominate everything, to be God. And harmony was broken, the man erred – and this is repeated even in relations with his neighbour, who is no longer a brother to be loved, but simply someone who disturbs my life, my well-being. And God puts the second question: “Cain, where is your brother?” The dream of being powerful, of being as great as God, even of being God, leads to a chain of errors that is a chain of death, leads to shedding the blood of the brother!
These two questions resonate even today, with all their force! So many of us, even including myself, are disoriented, we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live, we don’t care, we don’t protect that which God has created for all, and we are unable to care for one another. And when this disorientation assumes worldwide dimensions, we arrive at tragedies like the one we have seen. 
“Where is your brother?” the voice of his blood cries even to me, God says. This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us. These our brothers and sisters seek to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families – but they found death. How many times to those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity! And their voices rise up even to God! And once more to you, the residents of Lampedusa, thank you for your solidarity! I recently heard one of these brothers. Before arriving here, he had passed through the hands of traffickers, those who exploit the poverty of others; these people for whom the poverty of others is a source of income. What they have suffered! And some have been unable to arrive!
“Who among us has wept for these things, and things like this?” Who has wept for the deaths of these brothers and sisters? Who has wept for the people who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who wanted something to support their families? We are a society that has forgotten the experience of weeping, of “suffering with”: the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep! - Read the entire text at Whispers in the Loggia.

And another thing...

The peace of Christ is to be brought to everyone, and if some do not receive it, then you go on. - Pope Francis

Art: Michael Sowa, 'Rabbit'.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.

There will be little meditations for everyday of the novena offered at Fountain of Elias.

Oh, most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven. Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity, Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech thee from the bottom of my heart to succor me in my necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (say three times). Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands (say three times). Amen.

Mass Chat: So, is the Church guilty of a "pastoral failure toward homosexuals"?


A few gay Catholics seem to think so.  They complain homosexual sin is singled out but contraception, divorce and remarriage is not - although there are support groups for divorced and remarried, evidently there is nothing for gay and Catholic.  Of course there is Courage, but one writer complains it is not in every diocese, other writers complain Courage isn't a one size fits all solution for gay and Catholic.  It is very difficult to discern just exactly what gay people want or expect.

Many - up until recently, myself included, have complained they are forever the outsider - damned if they do and damned if they don't.  That they have a sort of scarlet letter with which they are branded.  They do not feel welcomed at church, in the parish, and so on. 

I don't know.

Looking back on my own life, I think I often alienated myself, I projected onto other people my own conflicts.  I separated myself many times, withdrew from family, coworkers, fellow Catholics.  In several instances, it was a good thing, since I was able to avoid giving scandal to others.  At other times I just didn't want to have to offer an explanation or get involved in a debate.  It was easy to convince myself that people would probably reject me if they knew my history - despite the fact that those who knew accepted me already.  But. I. Still. Did. Not. Fit. In.  Or so I convinced myself.

Last evening I had dinner with a couple of friends, and they talked about how they were bullied and shamed during high school, how they hated gym, were always the last to picked for the team and so on.  Though there were elements of that in my experience - except I was never bullied or called a sissy, my family were the only ones who did that to me - in school I was always treated well.  If I wasn't good at a particular thing, the coach-gym teacher excused me saying, "Terry you don't have to do that."  No one shamed or demeaned me or bullied me.  But I wasn't interested in boys either.  So maybe that's why.  Did I feel like an outsider on the inside?  Pretty much - but I wanted that - I wanted to be an artist.  To suffer!  Little did I know...

Part of the experience of gay culture is the desire, the image, that one is unique or special - set apart, different from other mere mortals or muggles.  Therefore I have to wonder, 'what are those who identify as gay Catholics really asking?'  Especially when they insist upon identifying themselves as gay Catholic?  (By doing so - they have already set themselves apart for special reference, special treatment or consideration.) What more can the Church do or offer other than what the Church offers for every man and woman?  Are priests expected to be psychologists and therapists?  Aren't the sacraments enough?  Isn't a parish community enough? 

In my parish I believe there are gay people who work there.  I also know there are parishioners there who dissent from Church teaching.  I know there are very traditional parishioners as well.  It is a microcosm of the Church.  People get along, accept one another, pray together, do works of charity together - it is a parish.  The church has special groups, Social Justice, Mission, Youth, AA, all sorts of stuff.  The Archdiocese supports a Courage group.  What more is needed?  What do gay people want?  You see what I'm trying to say?  If I felt like an outsider, it was because I didn't join in, I didn't participate.  I was still accepted however - I was still allowed to be there - indeed, welcomed to be there.

Methinks they protest too much.

I think what I'm trying to say, after years of experience, that gay people make it difficult for ordinary people to even know how to respond.  Today, as never before in history, the Church is literally on its knees seeking to minister to persons with same sex attraction - we have cardinals and bishops wringing their hands, claiming the Church must do more.  While at the same time, other dissenting gay Catholics assail Church teaching and condemn the Magisterium as being out of touch.  There is something really screwed up with that - and the problem is not with Church teaching.

I'm not writing a book here, nor a magazine article, this is pretty much just my comment on a post Mark Shea did: Interesting letter from a gay Catholic, the letter is from Eric Brown, who also wrote this elsewhere:
It seems that homosexual Catholics hardly get the support they need from their Catholic brothers and sisters. It is absolutely true that Catholics have an obligation to build a moral and just society. However, there seems to be a hypocrisy in the way Catholics and other Christians make extraordinary demands on homosexuals in American life on the basis of “loving them”, yet the amount of effort spent in offering support and educational awareness of the plight of homosexuals and how to accommodate them sensitively within a Catholic moral framework is very disheartening. How many chastity resources for homosexuals can one think of that is secular, that may appeal to homosexuals who have struggles with approaching anything religious? What are non-religious homosexuals to do? Moreover, just how much do we actually think of the concerns and journey of homosexual people when considering public policy? - Eric Brown

What are non-religious homosexuals to do?

What is any non-religious person to do?  What is this all about?  What do homosexuals want?  What exactly do they want the Church to do for them?

My secular gay friends reject Church teaching.  But they don't want to be religious.  They don't care.  They don't believe.  I'm their friend.  They can't read my blog without going ballistic, so they don't read it.  We are friends.  We talk.  I'm not better than they are, though sometimes they think they are better than me because they are free of the burden of the Faith, but we remain friends.  I pray for them - that they will be saved.  I don't pray, 'make them Catholic', 'make them straight', 'make them this or that'.  I pray for their salvation.  They know me and accept me.  They don't make demands on me, I don't make demands on them. 

So what are non-religious homosexuals to do?  Whatever they want. 

I'm sure this post will be taken as mean-spirited, bigoted, narrow minded, homophobic, and on an on.  I'm just being honest and realistic however.  I do not want to offend the authors of the posts cited above, but after reading so much about these matters lately, I really think gay people have to get over themselves.  If they are constantly finding problems with the Church and her ministers, they really should take a closer look at themselves.

"We should not predicate 'homosexual' of any person, that does a disservice to the dignity of the human person by collapsing personhood into sexual inclinations.” - Fr. Paul Scalia

Duck and cover.


Pope Francis to Seminarians, Novices and those on a vocational journey: "...avoid trappings like the latest smartphones and expensive cars..."

Pope John XXIII
Out For A Ride, Terry Nelson, 2010
8" x 8" Acrylic on canvas.

“It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car” he said. And Francis continued saying “cars are necessary. But take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger' and dedicate the savings to them”. - Francis

Not that there is anything wrong with that.