Saturday, July 20, 2013

Monsignor Pope on reverence in Church.

Don't blame lay people - you guys started it.

Always a big topic in the summer months.

Why?  Often because of immodest dress of course: tight tank tops under a flimsy gauze over-shirt, really short cropped pants and flip-flops, and that is just the religious sister in charge of RCIA at the parish.

As usual, Monsignor Pope makes excellent points.  One statement stood out for me however:
I will not even argue that ALL the old traditions should return, (even though I would like that). But at least we ought to recover SOME way of signifying that we are on holy ground and before the presence of the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of glory. - Mons. Pope
Say cheesy.

"The lack of formality, or decorum, must over time take its toll on us collectively"

I'm not convinced the lack of reverence is all about clothes however.  I think it is more a lack of faith.  I think it is - in part - about sloppy liturgy and sloppy catechesis.  I think it's about sloppy, all too casual, all too willing to be your BFF priests and religious.  Even Sr. Judy DRE/RCIA of the Servants of Social Justice, though she can pull off the decorum act in conversation with critics of the LCWR, she nevertheless walks around the sanctuary without any outward sign of reverence for anything save a slight bow to the 'Table' - yet no sense of reverence for the tabernacle.  Likewise, the church as community center and concert hall engenders the sense of a more casual atmosphere.

A couple of days ago I was at my parish for adoration.  Towards the end, the pastor came in to lock up the church, tended the $candles$, and left.  Seconds later, a layman did his own form of benediction before reposing the Blessed Sacrament.  Afterwards Father came back in to speak to him about next week's adoration day.  Father never concludes adoration with benediction - despite the fact he is usually available and free to do so.  Walking around towards the closing of adoration were musicians and choir members, preparing for practice, totally oblivious of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, on the portable altar, surrounded by candles.  I'm not sure if another concert was scheduled or it was simply choir practice. 

At my parish, I rarely see anyone, except the few who come to adoration, show any external reverence for the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass - when at Mass, I try not to look.  It is worthy of note that many of the lay men and women - HCMCs - distribute Holy Communion dressed in all sorts of casual, and sometimes revealing summer clothing.  Although, to be fair, in summer months many of the women are more covered up than usual because the air conditioning is so cold.  Usually a shirt or sweater draped over the shoulders seems to suffice.

Yes you did.  You guys started it.

For all of you who think I should mind my own business, please know I do not watch what people do in church, I do not look for missteps.  I'm awake however, and I cannot avoid noticing what goes on.  Personally, I don't care what people wear to church.  I never have.  What I care about is the lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament - by priests and deacons and secular nuns and catechists and music ministers and EMHCs.  It strikes me there is a serious lack of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist - body, blood, soul, and divinity.  Despite what they say, and no matter if they promote adoration or not, it is the conduct of the 'ministers' which leads me to believe that.

So yeah.  I'm throwing it back on the priests.  Lead by example - be holy.  There is an old saying in the Catholic Church:
If the parish priest is a Saint, his people will be holy;
If the priest is holy, but not yet a Saint, his people will be good;
If he is good, his people will be lukewarm,
and if he is lukewarm, his parishioners will be bad.
And if the priest himself is bad, his people will go to Hell.

So maybe it's not about what you wear or don't wear...


Some people should not be parents...

That's what I've always said.
St. John of the Cross writes:  "It is also vain to desire children, as some do in upsetting the whole world with their longing for them.  For they do not know whether their children will be good and serve God, or whether the expected happiness will instead be sorrow, or the rest and comfort, trial and grief, or the honor, dishonor.  And because of the children they might, as many do, offend God more.  Christ says of these people, that they circle the earth and the sea in order to enrich their children, and they make them children of perdition twofold more than they themselves are. [Mt. 23:15] - Ascent, Bk. III, Ch. 17:4
"Desire not a brood of worthless children, nor rejoice in wicked offspring.  Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the Lord.  Count not on their length of life, have no hope in their future.  For one can be better than a thousand; rather die childless than have godless children." - Sirach 16: 1-3

"Better is childlessness with virtue..." - Wisdom 4:1 


Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Travel to World Youth Day

Take a cappa magna ...

I think the Holy Father should consider travel alternatives for his trip to Brazil - maybe use some sort of flotation device to make the crossing.  Flying may be a bit grand.

Speaking of rock concert Catholicism...

Brazil's celebrity priest: Father Marcello Rossi.

Song for this post here.

I just found out...

Two guys I know are planning to get married - now that it is legal in Minnesota.

They obviously heard from their financial advisor that it would be more beneficial for them to do so.  They explained to me a couple of weeks ago their decision would be based upon whether or not it was to their benefit financially.

How romantic.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No Mo-Town: Detroit bankrupt.

Story here.

No wonder Larry hasn't been online - not only was his internet access down, looks as if he doesn't even have water.


Praying away the... you know...


Some saints did it.  Remember the story of St. Francis who threw himself into the thorn bush and rolled around in his effort to resist temptations against chastity?

Many today mock the very idea of praying and fasting and doing violence to oneself to drive away any sort of disordered passion. 

I found the story of another extraordinary saint who resisted temptations to lust to a heroic degree...
Venerable John the Much-Suffering pursued asceticism at the Kiev Caves Lavra, accepting many sorrows for the sake of virginity.
The ascetic recalled that from the time of his youth he had suffered much, tormented by fleshly lust, and nothing could deliver him from it, neither hunger nor thirst nor heavy chains. He then went into the cave where the relics of St Anthony rested, and he fervently prayed to the holy Abba. After a day and a night the much-suffering John heard a voice: “John! It is necessary for you to become a recluse, in order to weaken the vexation by silence and seclusion, and the Lord shall help you by the prayers of His monastic saints.” The saint settled into the cave from that time, and only after thirty years did he conquer the fleshly passions.
Tense and fierce was the struggle upon the thorny way on which the monk went to victory. Sometimes the desire took hold of him to forsake his seclusion, but then he resolved on still greater effort. The holy warrior of Christ dug out a pit and with the onset of Great Lent he climbed into it, and he covered himself up to the shoulders with earth. He spent the whole of Lent in such a position, but the burning of his former passions did not leave him. - Finish reading here.

St. John the Much-Suffering came through his struggles successfully.  However, today spiritual directors would naturally warn people against becoming too 'tense' or too 'fierce' in their struggle against vice, no one wants to be discomforted or sad of course, but sometimes we really do need to 'do violence' to ourselves to avoid sin.  Especially in the summer.

Pray it away.  You can do it.

Apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Please pray for missing Wisconsin toddler, Isaiah Theis

He wandered away...

Isaiah has now been missing for more than 24-hours. He wandered off from his home near Centuria, Wisconsin in Polk County Tuesday night. His parents say they last saw him playing with his seven year old brother in the house. Searches have scanned about a two mile area multiple times, focusing mostly on 40 acres around the house. - Story

Santo Niño Cautivo

O Miraculous Infant Jesus, prostrate before your sacred Image, we beseech you to cast a merciful look upon little Isaiah, who remains missing, his welfare so uncertain. Let your tender Heart, so inclined to pity, be softened at our prayers, and grant Isaiah the grace for which we ardently implore you.  O Little Jesus!  Grant that little Isaiah may soon be found, safe and sound, comforted by your loving protection. Take from little Isaiah all affliction and fear, all sadness and any further misfortune.   For the sake of your sacred Infancy and remembering the anguish of Our Lady and St. Joseph when you went missing, hear our prayers and send Isaiah consolation and aid.  Little Jesus!  Hear and grant our prayers that we may praise you and thank you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

UPDATE:  Little Isaiah's body was found by law enforcement late last night.  I will post details after a press conference to be held today.

2nd UPDATE 7/18/13:  Little Isaiah's body was found locked in the trunk of a car.  His dad worked on cars.  No further information available at this time.

Tweeting your way to holiness: Indulgences for following the Pope on Twitter...


[A] Vatican court has ruled that following Pope Francis online and on Twitter can earn believers time off from their sentence to purgatory for confessed and forgiven sins.

The granting of “indulgences” to those who use the Internet to take part in faraway religious gatherings was floated by the pope in a June 3 meeting with members of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, one of three tribunals of the Roman Curia that administers church business. 
Three weeks later, the tribunal confirmed in a decree that “the faithful who are legitimately impeded [from attending events in person] can obtain the plenary indulgence if ... they follow the same rites and pious exercises ... by the new means of social communication.” 
The little-noticed decree took on new meaning this week as Vatican officials prepared for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, a Catholic festival to which the pope will travel, leading the July 23-28 series of sermons, prayers and celebrations.
The newspaper, which is collaborating with the site, also consulted Father Paolo Padrini, a respected scholar of digital communications dubbed the “iPriest,” on the significance of the online offer of purgatory reprieve. 
“Imagine your computer is a well-laden table where you can find tweets from Pope Francis, videos on YouTube, clips on and Facebook postings from your friend in Brazil,” Padrini said. “That is the dinner that will nourish your spirit. Sharing, acting in unison, despite the obstacle of distance. But it will still be real participation and that is why you will obtain the indulgence. Above all because your click will have come from the heart." - Source
I didn't say anything.


Fr. James "Poodle" Martin, S.J. has the straight story on all of this - I knew there had to be a better explanation:
Here were the tantalizingly weird headlines: “Follow pope online, get to heaven sooner - Facebook likes don't count.” “Cut your time in purgatory by following pope on Twitter.” And, worst of all, from Slate: “Pope now offering indulgences in exchange for Twitter followers.”  
Similar headlines popped up on more than 190 news sources on Wednesday.
Ha ha. Is the Catholic Church offering time off in hell– or purgatory, depending on the website - just for checking your Twitter feed every few hours? Is the church really that dumb? And here I thought Pope Francis was cool, or as Esquire recently termed him, “awesome.” 
This is (another) case of how the media misunderstands and misreports a story from “The Vatican.” 
Here’s how it seemed to have happened. - Read the rest here.
See - it takes a Jesuit.

"Waddya mean, I'm not eligible?"


Please pray for Thomas Peters.

See Catholic Vote for more information.

I understand he is in critical condition after a swimming accident.
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
UPDATE from Edward Peters: “Thom can move his arms, docs are discussing the best treatment for his neck injury. Immediate concern is for the considerable water in his lungs. We are astounded at the expressions of prayers and support. Thom & Nat know about it. Please keep them up. Love from us all, EdP.” - H/T Catholic Bandita

The Queen signs off on gay marriage.

Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.

So if Will and Kate's baby turns out to be gay, they could have two queens on the throne one day.


Continuity? Not so much.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

This feast of Our Lady is not just for Carmelites - it is for the Universal Church.
Over time this rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become, through the spread of the Holy Scapular devotion, a treasure for the whole Church. By its simplicity, its anthropological value and its relationship to Mary's role in regard to the Church and humanity, this devotion was so deeply and widely accepted by the People of God that it came to be expressed in the memorial of 16 July on the liturgical calendar of the universal Church. - Blessed John Paul II
One can remain a lay person and belong to the family of Carmel through devotion to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Membership in the Secular Carmelites is a special vocation, but enrollment into the Scapular Confraternity is open to all laity, priests and religious alike.  Otherwise, anyone may devoutly wear the Scapular as a sign of devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

John Paul II as a layman,
secular Carmelite,
wearing scapular

"The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives." - JPII
Who may invest people with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel? 
According to the Rite for the Blessing and Enrollment in the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, approved by the Holy See in 1996, any priest or deacon has the faculties for blessing the scapular.  A person given authority to act in the name of the order may receive people into the confraternity of the scapular.  The official ritual provided by the Holy See makes no provision for someone other than a priest or deacon to bless the scapular. - Catechesis
Triptych Madonna of the Scapular,
side panels, Prophet Elijah and St. Elisha,
and St. Simon Stock receiving the scapular.
Personal speculations regarding the scapular.
It's an article of clothing, as the Holy Father noted in the address cited above, it is essentially a habit.  Scapulars go back a long time.  The scapular became a sign of taking upon oneself, the yoke of Christ.  Religious Jews wear a similar garment, somewhat analogous with the Roman Catholic habit of wearing the Scapular:
The tallit katan (Yiddish/Ashkenazic Hebrew tallis koton; "small tallit") is a fringed garment traditionally worn either under or over one’s clothing by Jewish males. It is a poncho-like garment with a hole for the head and special twined and knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners. The requirements regarding the fabric and fringes of a tallit katan are the same as that of a tallit gadol. Generally a tallit katan is made of wool or cotton. - History here.
The scapular as an article of Christian religious clothing goes further back than medieval times - it was part of the monastic habit - in one form or another - going back at least to St. Pachomius (4th century), who was believed to have received it from an angel, as part of the monastic 'schema' - still worn by Orthodox monks.

The scapular originally was thought to be part of the work habit amongst monastics, and was prescribed in the Rule of St. Benedict.  Yet as I mentioned earlier, Eastern monasticism traces it back to the 4th century and St. Pachomius and the 'Angelic habit'.  John Cassian likewise records the habits of the Egyptian desert fathers, which includes the malfor, or scapular.  That text here:
Chapter VI.
Of their Capes.
Next they cover their necks and shoulders with a narrow cape, aiming at modesty of dress as well as cheapness and economy; and this is called in our language as well as theirs mafors; and so they avoid both the expense and the display of cloaks and great coats. - Cassian, Bk. I: The Dress of Monks

A 'prophetic garment' - an 'evangelical garment'.

Perhaps it is a stretch on my part but I have always seen the Scapular of Mt. Carmel somehow prefigured as it were, in this episode in the Book of Kings when Elijah passes on the mantel to Elisha. It seems to me when Our Lady gave the scapular to St. Simon there was a similar significance. To be sure it is a sign of her favor and protection, first to Carmel and then to the lay person who wears her 'livery' as the medieval word refers to it. Ponder the idea and consider it's meaning.

Elijah passes on the mantel to Elisha.

The Order of Carmel has always seen the prophets Elijah and Elisha as the 'proto-founders' of the order. In the passage from Kings wherein Elijah sees the "little cloud rising from the sea" from his perch atop the summit of Mt. Carmel many have written that this little cloud prefigures the Virgin who would bear the Savior. Archaeological evidence tells us hermit followers of Elijah inhabited Mt. Carmel even in Old Testament times, and of course Christian hermits lived there later, in the spirit of Elijah, hence the origins of the Order of Mt. Carmel.

The affiliation to the Order of Carmel (indeed, simply being a baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic) gives our lives a prophetic character, that of witnessing to our faith, albeit sometimes silently and hidden, much as the Scapular we discreetly yet devoutly wear next to our heart.

Bl. Isidore Bakanja

Monday, July 15, 2013

For the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel...

Carmine Madonna*
Terry Nelson
Acrylic on canvas panel

I think I will give this painting away.  It is now lavishly framed in a baroque black wooden frame with subtle gold ornament (not shown)

Anybody want it? 

Tell me why in the combox or via email.  Our Lady will choose and the recipient will be announced within the octave.

[Due to shipping costs, you must be in the United States or Canada.]

Happy feast day!

*For a closer look, click here and then click on the image.

New Popemobile Unveiled

Notice the sede vacante at the top.

Something special for Kat, Fr. Z, and the 'others'... 'Focus' people!

Practicing what he preaches, Pope Francis showed up
to lead his first public prayer at the papal summer home
in a humble Ford Focus.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XV1, tooled around town in a custom-made Renault, a BMW X5 and a Mercedes.

Meanwhile, true to form, Pope Francis is not staying at the pretty papal summer home for the season. He made the trip just for the day. - NY Post

Song for this post here.

I can't help it!

I know this is not exactly "Modernly-Catholically-Politically Correct"...

But it's about salvation.
Lord, are there few that are saved? But he said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able. - Luke 13:23-24
The saints are few, but we must live with the few if we would be saved with the few. O God, too few indeed they are; yet among those few I wish to be! - St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori  
The greater part of men will set no value on the blood of Christ, and will go on offending Him. - St. Isidore of Seville  
All persons desire to be saved, but the greater part, because they will not adopt the means of being saved, fall into sin and are lost. [...] In fact, the Elect are much fewer than the damned, for the reprobate are much more numerous than the Elect. - St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori 
Shall we all be saved? Shall we go to Heaven? Alas, my children, we do not know at all! But I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter. - St. John Mary Vianney  

The Remedy: On Promoting Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church... This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works. [14] 
If only Christians would reflect more frequently on the fatherly warning of the first pope: "Look anxiously, then, to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts.
You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the precious blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim."[15] If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: "A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence."[16] Their upright lives would then be the shining ex ample they ought to be; Christ's Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved,[17] for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ. If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened. Life in society would be so much more peaceable, so much worthier of God and the human nature created in his image and likeness. - John XXIII 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Have they stopped publishing the Pope's daily homilies?

I haven't noticed them posted on Vatican Radio site lately.

I still like the Holy Father's homilies of course, but some times it seems a little too much exposure, despite the fact we get mostly incomplete snippets or sound bites.  To be honest, I was hoping there would be something today on the Good Samaritan - especially the question, "and who is my neighbor?"

It seems to me the Pope's words are treated like that.  People ask, "what does he mean by a 'poor Church'?"  Priests make fun of the 'no drive-a the fancy car' suggestion.  Everything he says and does gets dissected and analyzed - and criticized - by someone, somewhere.  The Pope seems to make nearly everyone uncomfortable - especially those of us who think we are religious.  That's pretty convincing evidence - for me at least - that the Holy Spirit is at work.  That reform is taking effect.   I may be wrong of course.

But I have no desire to try and justify myself either.

Justified through the gift of faith in Christ, we are called to live in the love of Christ for neighbour, because it is on this criterion that we shall be judged at the end of our lives.
[W]hile Paul is primarily concerned to show that faith in Christ is necessary and sufficient, James accentuates the consequential relations between faith and works (cf. Jas 2: 24). Therefore, for both Paul and James, faith that is active in love testifies to the freely given gift of justification in Christ. Salvation received in Christ needs to be preserved and witnessed to "with fear and trembling. For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.... Do all things without grumbling or questioning... holding fast the word of life", St Paul was to say further, to the Christians of Philippi (cf. Phil 2: 12-14, 16). - Benedict XVI 

Pope at Castel - he did say something...

 In the parable of the Good Samaritan, said Pope Francis, “Jesus shows that the heart of this Samaritan is good and generous and that – unlike the priest and Levite – he practices the will of God, who desires mercy more than sacrifice.”

“God always wants this: mercy,” added the Pope, expanding on his prepared remarks.  “God well knows our pain, our difficulties, and even our sins! (Yet) he gives us his merciful heart.  And this – what the Samaritan did – shows God’s own compassion: mercy towards those who are in need.”
- Francis

Mass Chat

Sometimes I feel like I attend a Protestant church.