Thursday, September 05, 2013

Prayers for Syria, prayers for peace.

Everyone knows by now that the Holy Father asked for prayers and fasting on Saturday, September 7, the vigil of Our Lady's birthday.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative. - Angelus address
I've been preparing for Our Lady's Birthday, offering my rosary for Syria.  I look forward to the vigil fast. 

At Fatima, Our Lady requested at each visit that the children pray the rosary every day, for peace, for an end to the war.

What I don't understand now, is how bombing Syria in retaliation and as punishment for using chemical weapons is a remedy?  How can bombing and killing more people make for peace? 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I'm launching an investigation into the Patheos monopoly and advertisement earnings....


Power struggle online...

Professional Catholics and Michael Voris and Church Ladies...

It's a business.

It's an ego trip.

Infallible blogists.

No donations for you.


This is very good: Fr. Paul Check on why chastity is an essential virtue for those with same-sex attraction—and for all Christians.

Fr. Paul Check is the director of Courage.

Catholic World Report has an excellent interview with Fr. Check on homosexuality, identity and the grace of chastity.  I will post some important points below.

Yesterday I touched on identity and 'causation' - Fr. Check does too in this interview.
The Catechism describes the same-sex inclination as objectively disordered. Now, we need to be plain, those words fall very hard on some ears because when they are heard it immediately sounds as if, or can sound as if, we are talking about a person—that a person is somehow disordered, not whole, not complete. But from the context of the Catechism, we can see that is not what is being said at all. What is being said is that the appetite, the erotic attraction to a member of the same sex, is out of harmony with human nature, it is misdirected. And because it is misdirected, and because we live in a world governed by cause and effect, then perhaps with some careful reflection we might be able to ascertain what it is that has caused that disordered attraction. 
On the recent decision by the Boy Scouts to allow openly homosexual scouts, but not leaders?
 My first concern is the boys who self-identify as “gay” or “homosexual.” And the question is: why are they doing that? If we go back to our prior discussion about identity, the Church is reluctant to label people in this way, and I think we want to do anything we can to avoid encouragement of that label, particularly for adolescents. The teenage years are a period of discovery and adventure in a certain sense and a time of coming to know oneself. And that has to be guided properly so that self-entanglement doesn’t take place. Many different things are happening at this age and it seems, at best, premature in that stage of development for someone to take a label for himself that is not reflective of his entire being. 

In Veritatis Splendor, Blessed Pope John Paul II says that we are in some degree changed by our actions, although we have a fixed human nature. The more a young person self-identifies, the more he is already making a choice in order to firm up that identity in his mind. The better hope is to caution a great reserve in this and to charitably and prudently establish trust with the young person and see what may lie behind the same-sex attraction, so that very real help can be given. But encouragement to act out, even if it is just self-identification—certainly encouragement to act out sexually—is not going to be good, but is going to reinforce what is in fact a false identity which can only lead them to unhappiness. The point is that the same-sex attraction or desire can never be acted upon consistent with our human nature and therefore it will always put the person at cross-purposes with himself or herself.  
"Nothing is outside god's providence."
We have to want to live chastely, cheerfully, and joyfully. The problem of pornography and the problem of contraception are things that are wide-spread within the Catholic community, including Mass-going Catholics. We have to examine our own conviction that chastity is essential for the joy of human relationships. We cannot expect that other people are only going to do what we say they should do, such as, “Don’t marry someone of the same sex.” We can hardly expect to be a compelling voice if we are not already convinced of the veracity of all that the Church teaches us, so we have to live that virtue cheerfully and joyfully. And if we do, other people will see it and be attracted to it.

We have to return to that kind of thinking of the early Christians, knowing full well that the current culture will be hostile. It gives us a spirit of purpose. We know it will be hard. Chesterton said, “Christians go gaily into the dark.” Now maybe we have to change that to “Christians go cheerfully into the dark” because of the way that word has been distorted, but Chesterton was right. A down-faced, angry Christian fulminating at the world is not going to be a good instrument of evangelization. We need that trust and confidence in God that St. Thérèse had and showed us so magnificently. We need that now and to try to live it, and we can! God’s grace will make it possible. - Catholic World Report

 Read the entire interview - it's very good.  My apologies for venting frustration over not being understood on this subject at times.  Thanks for putting up with me.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Build yourself a spiritual cell, which you can always take with you, and that is the cell of self-knowledge; you will find there also the knowledge of God's goodness to you. There are really two cells in one, and if you live in one you must also live in the other, otherwise the soul will either despair or be presumptuous; if you dwelt in self-knowledge alone you would despair; if you dwelt in knowledge of God alone you would be tempted to presumption. One must go with the other, and thus you will reach perfection. - St. Catherine of Siena

From my hidden faults acquit me O Lord.

Monsignor Pope wrote a short post on the subject of 'hidden faults' - not those faults we intentionally hide from others, but the faults we do not even realize we have... though we see the splinters in other men's eyes, we miss the log in our own.  Just as we may see the faults of others, those they may not be aware of, they too see faults in us that we may not be aware of in ourselves.  Oddly enough, the faults we condemn in others can sometimes even mirror our own hidden faults.  But I digress from Monsignor's original thought.
Indeed we all have sins and behaviors that are often clear to others but of which we are unaware. Indeed there are even deeper faults of which no one is aware except God himself who sees our innermost heart.
Yes, some of our sins are obvious to us and we may rightfully work upon them. But lest we sin through pride, we ought always recall that we have sins and faults that are often hidden from us. Others may see them, or perhaps only God. 
At the end of the day we’re all going to need a lot of grace and mercy! - Monsignor Pope
Catherine of Siena, and all the mystics, over and over stress the need for self-knowledge.  Teresa of Avila insists upon humility at every stage of our spiritual life.  Yet we are so easily deceived.  We think by doing what is right and good, as best we can, that we are on the way to perfection, if not already there.  We think we are 'alright'.  We can even think we are good enough to instruct and guide others, or at least to point out the errors others commit... not understanding of what spirit we are

Damnable pride.

I think today, the Pope has something to say regarding these mysteries...
“How many believe they are living in the light and they are in darkness, but they don’t realize it? What is the light like that Jesus offers us? The light of Jesus can be known because it is a humble light, it is not a light that imposes itself: it is humble. It’s a meek light, with the strength of meekness. It’s a light that speaks to the heart, and also a light that offers you the Cross. If we, in our inner light are meek, if we hear the voice of Jesus in the heart and look on the Cross without fear: that is the light of Jesus.”

But if, on the other hand, a light comes that “makes you arrogant,” he warned, a light that “brings you to look on others from on high” to despise others, “that leads you to pride” – that is not the light of Jesus: it’s the light of the devil, disguised as Jesus, as an angel of light.” The Pope pointed out the way to distinguish the true light from the false: “Wherever Jesus is, there is always humility, meekness, love, and the Cross.” But, he added, sometimes “we find a Jesus that is not humble, that is not meek, that is without love, and without the Cross.” So we must follow the true Jesus “without fear,” following His light because the light of Jesus “is beautiful and does so much good.”

In today’s Gospel, he concluded, Jesus cast out the devil and the people are lost from fear in the face of a word that casts out unclean spirits:

“Jesus doesn’t need an army to cast out the demons, He has no need of pride, no need of force, of arrogance. ‘What is there about His word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ This is a humble word, meek, with so much love; it is a word that accompanies us in the moments of the Cross. Let us ask the Lord to give us today the grace of His Light, and to teach us to distinguish when the light is from Him, and when it is an artificial light, made by the enemy to deceive us.” - Francis' homily for 9/3/13
We don't know ourselves.

I think that is the problem much of the time, we don't know ourselves.  We neglect to examine our conscience in the light of Christ.  We neglect mental prayer in the interior cell of our heart, in the presence of the Sacred Humanity of Christ Crucified.  We fear humility and meekness and the cross.  We cover ourselves in spiritual and material vanities and falsehoods, we distract ourselves with trifles, fascinated by  "a light that “makes you arrogant, a light that brings you to look on others from on high - to despise others - that leads you to pride – that is not the light of Jesus: it’s the light of the devil, disguised as Jesus, as an angel of light.”

Because we don't know ourselves, we can't know our hidden faults.  God can purify us of them in 'the dark night' or in purgatory - his mercy remedies them.  Sometimes he allows us to see - in his light, his mercy - some of our hidden faults.  Sometimes he allows others to point them out to us.  Sometimes he even allows us to fall into serious sin, to bring us to a deeper humility and repentance which keeps us from presumption. 

Just thinking through some things here...

Thinking out loud, trying to formulate my thoughts.  So when I write 'you' or 'we' I'm really speaking to myself - don't think I'm writing about this person or that person - I'm working through something in these posts.

I think men who are same sex attracted - that sounds so dumb - gay men, have an especially hard time with humility and self-knowledge.  First of all, there seems to be an aversion to authentic self-knowledge within the gay Catholic community.  Understanding the root causes of sin is important in Catholic spirituality, for how else can one battle temptation if one doesn't know one's weakness and propensity for sin?  How else can one avoid the occasions for sin?  To be sure, in and of itself, homosexual inclination is not a sin, and if one never engaged in homosexual behavior or fantasy, one hardly has any need to 'identify' as a homosexual, since the inclination is nothing more than a temptation.  However, if one is so inclined, and acts upon it - the acts are sinful - disordered.  Therefore a person may want to know the why and wherefore of the inclination in order to adapt.  My POV sounds dated and old fashioned, I'm sure, especially since contemporary gay Catholics believe "debates about causation are not important."  Yet it begs the question.

Last week I came upon an interesting letter from C.S. Lewis to Sheldon Vanauken, wherein he discusses the issue of homosexuality.  The author of the post, Ron Belgau remarked that the section of Lewis' letter cited below, was somewhat insulting, although I recognized it to be right on the mark.  Lewis wrote:
"I have mentioned humility because male homosexuals (I don’t know about women) are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type. I wish I could be more definite. All I have really said is that, like all other tribulations, it must be offered to God and His guidance how to use it must be sought." - Source 

One thing I hope I've learned is not to generalize regarding homosexuals, however a serious lack of humility is something I've experienced in myself and have recognized in others.  Speaking of Rosie O'Donnell and her fall from grace on The View, Barbara Walters said one of her problems was that she "wasn't content with riding along - she had to drive the bus."  - in other words, she wanted to call the shots.  The observation accords with what Lewis pointed out, "I have mentioned humility because male homosexuals (I don’t know about women) are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type."

I may be wrong of course, but it has been my experience and I've lived with and worked with homosexual men all of my life. 

The lack of self-knowledge and lack of humility is a serious deficit - at least it has been in my life.

Ed. note:  I would add 'to be continued' but everyone already knows I write about this stuff way too much.

Hold the phone...

The first papal telephone, donated to Pope Pius XI by Catholics in the United States.

The Pope phone.

"Get that and say I'm not here."

Which makes me think... What if Pope Francis called me

I don't answer the phone. 


"Quit calling here!"

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Pope's daily homilies are back!

He walked in peace through the midst of them...

Once again, there is something to look forward to online.
"Where there is God there is no hatred, envy or jealousy, and there is no gossip that can kill.

This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily this morning as he celebrated Mass in the Casa Santa Marta after the summer break."
"... they wanted to kill Jesus. Because of jealousy and envy. This – he said – is not just something that happened two thousand years ago: “this kind of thing happens every day in our hearts, in our communities”. And he made the example of when somebody new enters a community, on the first day – he said - people speak well of him; on the second not so well; and from the third on gossip and badmouthing starts to spread and end up skinning him”. - Vatican Radio

I wonder if the Pope reads blogs?  

Anti-Papist - Anti-Magisterial - Anti Catholic Sentiments ... how to recognize error.

"At all times, but particularly in the last two centuries, the Popes, whether individually or together with the College of Bishops, have developed and proposed a moral teaching regarding the many different spheres of human life." - Veritatis Splendor

From the Protestant Reformation to the French Revolution to the Spanish Civil War to now, the Catholic Church has been attacked and persecuted, often explicitly requiring Catholics to renounce, at the very least, Papal authority: teaching on faith and morals. 

I was reminded of these things after reading the short biography for today in Magnificat of Bl. Armand Chapt De Rastignac, who had been imprisoned with nineteen other clerics for having refused to take the revolutionaries' anti-papal oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.  They were all put to death by a revolutionary mob which stormed the prison.

The Spanish Civil War witnessed the “most extensive and violent persecution of Catholicism in Western history, in some way even more intense than that of the French Revolution. 
“More than 6,800 Catholic clergy were slaughtered, including 13 bishops, more than 2,360 monks and friars, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarians, as well as 283 nuns. Thousands of churches were destroyed.  Most of the intense killing occurred in the first six months of the conflict, but by the end of the war about 20% of the nation’s Catholic clergy was dead." - Stanley Payne 

Today it is fashionable on the 'popular front' to reject and attack Papal authority and Magisterial teaching, although, pretty much only Islamic countries and China are engaged in outright persecution of Christians. 

Within the Church there are progressives who reject papal authority and Magisterial teaching on a host of subjects.  Some of the dissenters claim to remain in the Church, but that is questionable.  Nonetheless, they claim to be faithful Catholics - those who have not formally left the Roman Catholic Church, though they reject Catholic teaching.  Some have left the Church for other denominations more sympathetic to their cause.  Others formed their own faith communities, or joined schismatic sects.  These have clearly left the Church, and should be given credit for their honesty and integrity in doing so. 

Others remain in the Church and claim to be Catholic, though they reject Catholic teaching.  Many criticize and condemn Papal-Magisterial teachings.  We can recognize them by their errors. 

1. Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, "the true light that enlightens everyone" (Jn 1:9), people become "light in the Lord" and "children of light" (Eph 5:8), and are made holy by "obedience to the truth" (1 Pet 1:22).  
This obedience is not always easy. As a result of that mysterious original sin, committed at the prompting of Satan, the one who is "a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44), man is constantly tempted to turn his gaze away from the living and true God in order to direct it towards idols (cf. 1 Thes 1:9), exchanging "the truth about God for a lie" (Rom 1:25). Man's capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus, giving himself over to relativism and scepticism (cf. Jn 18:38), he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself.  - Veritatis Splendor

O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, and in revealing them you can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen

I really liked this meditation while I was offline...

... they love to receive praise, and sometimes they even seek it.  In this they resemble the foolish virgins who had to seek oil from others when their own lamps were extinguished... - St. John of the Cross

- when their own lamps were extinguished...

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mass Chat: I'm back.

The computer was down. 

It's fixed now.

It was good to be off.  Such silence.  I didn't even miss being online.  I'm afraid to open emails and go to my sites because I don't want to lose this peace. 

I'm back though.  I'll try to make email replies within the next day or so.

It was good to be offline.