Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cardinal Burke obviously supports Archbishop Nienstedt... "The alarming rapidity of the realization of the homosexual agenda ought to awaken all of us... There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan."

"There is far too much silence..."

Q. Things seem to be declining at an accelerating rate in our country. For example, it is shocking how quickly things happened in Minnesota. A year ago it seemed almost certain that a November ballot referendum would constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Despite a heroic effort by Archbishop John Nienstedt and many other Church leaders, it failed. Just four months later a law was enacted making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize so- called same- sex marriage. How did we get to this point? Aside from prayer and fasting, what can the faithful do?

Cardinal Burke: First of all, I would underline the need for much prayer and fasting. The alarming rapidity of the realization of the homosexual agenda ought to awaken all of us and frighten us with regard to the future of our nation. This is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which after life itself defines us. There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan. It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation.

How did we get to this point? The fact that these kinds of “ arrangements” are made legal is a manifestation of a culture of death, of an anti- life and anti- family culture which has existed in our nation now for some time. We as Catholics have not properly combatted it because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention. I can say this because I was the bishop of two different dioceses.

After fifty years of this, we have many adult voters who support politicians with immoral positions because they do not know their Catholic Faith and its teaching with regard to same- sex attraction and the inherent disorder of sexual relations between two persons of the same sex. Therefore, they are not able to defend the Catholic Faith in this matter.

What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity. Charity means speaking the truth, especially the truth about human life and human sexuality. While we love the individual, we desire only the best for one who suffers from an inclination to engage in sexual relations with a person of the same sex. We must abhor the actions themselves because they are contrary to nature itself as God has created us.

The virtue of charity leads us to be kind and understanding to the individual, but also to be firm and steadfast in opposing the evil itself. This confusion is widespread. I have encountered it many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not “ politically correct.” But we cannot be silent any longer or we will find ourselves in a situation that will be very difficult to reverse. - Source

Pray very much for our faithful bishops. 

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

"The soul that has come to know the Lord fears nothing except sin, the sin of pride, in particular. She knows that the Lord loves us, and if He loves us, what have we to fear? The Merciful Lord is speaking to us for our understanding: 'My children,' He says, 'repent and live in love. Be obedient and sober, and learn meekness and humility of Me, and you shall find rest for your souls.'" - St. Silouan the Athonite: Reflections after an earthquake, September 14, 1932.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Something the Pope said...

Larry Mondello thinks what the Pope said may apply to bloggers.

I do too.  Especially me.

I think the only reason I will continue to blog is to try and undo the harm and scandal my writings may have caused, and possibly to say only 'good things, things that will really help people' - as St Paul exhorted us to do.  I'll try to make amends while explaining the meaning of my existence.


In the battle for chastity...

This man always writes well...

The author of the blog, Letters to Christopher posted a couple beautiful quotes from the gentle Doctor, St. Francis De Sales, which he offers as encouragement for those who struggle ...
A passage I read tonight from the good Doctor of the Church reminded me of my own thoughts where I compare my battle for chastity with a child beginning to learn to walk. I wrote recently that,
like a Father observing a child who stumbles over and over again when learning how to walk, I’m convinced God delights in the moments when we stand and walk, and realizes that stumbling and falling is a necessary part of the process.  If there’s a barrier in our way that causes us to stumble, we need to trust that God knows all about it, and knows us better than we know ourselves, which is exactly why He allowed it, because He knows we need some obstacles in our way in order to lean on Him.  He knows the places where we always tend to trip, and knows that eventually, with his guidance, we will learn to step over them.

In a letter to an Abbess, dated 14th May 1620, St. Francis urged her to not be too hard on one of the novices in the Abbey.  St Francis writes:
But look you, my dear daughter, you are a little too severe with her, this poor daughter: you must not give her so many reproaches, since she is a daughter of good desires. Tell her that as unstable as she may be she must never be disheartened nor be vexed with herself; let her rather regard Our Lord, who from the heights of heaven regards her, as a father does his child when the child as yet quite feeble can hardly take its steps, saying; gently now, my child: and if it tumble he encourages it, saying: he is up again, he is very good, do not cry–then he goes up to it and gives it his hand.  If this daughter be a child in humility, and know well that she is a child, she will not be astonished at a fall; besides she will not fall from a great height. - Stumbling and Picking Yourself Up

Read the entire post, as well as this man's blog.  Unlike me, he speaks gently, compassionately and patiently  on issues related to living with same sex attraction.

Many people give up on chastity, one blogger recently wrote about his struggle, expressing doubts he'll ever reach a point of continence.  I say, never give up.  "A saint is a sinner who keeps trying."  What seems impossible in your teens and 20's - okay, 30's and 40's  - gets better.  If you don't give up, that is.  The falling and rising, the victories and defeats is the way of holiness.  At each and every fall, Christ is there waiting to lift you up.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Conscience... confused? Again?

"Where Church authority remains fully true to her mission and where conscience becomes pure, the antinomy between freedom and constraint is dissolved." - Ratzinger

The Church offers clear teaching on conscience.  When confused by media reports of what this bishop or even Pope Francis says regarding Catholic moral teaching, search out authentic Catholic teaching in the Catechism and the official teachings of the Magisterium.  Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI wrote extensively on conscience, theology, and Church authority.  A couple of examples here:
"... Saint Paul [who] tells us, that the pagans, even without the law, knew quite well what God expected of them (Rom 2:1- 16). The whole theory of salvation through ignorance breaks apart with this verse. There is present in man the truth that is not to be repulsed, that one truth of the creator which in the revelation of salvation history has also been put in writing. Man can see the truth of God from the fact of his creaturehood. Not to see it is guilt. It is not seen because man does not want to see it. The "no" of the will which hinders recognition is guilt. The fact that the signal lamp does not shine is the consequence of a deliberate looking away from that which we do not wish to see. - Ratzinger
Blessed Pope John Paul II.
32. Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment.  
As is immediately evident, the crisis of truth is not unconnected with this development. Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. - Veritatis Splendor

It is very important to know Catholic teaching on these issues.  Don't look to secular media for what the Church teaches, and even beware Catholic social media.*  Go to the source, the deposit of Faith:  The Church.

*Fr. Z is the exception, here:
"Newspapers are not where the Church deepens doctrine nor changes the Church’s disciplines.  Not even when the papers are El Universal or La Repubblica.  If we can be clear about that point from the onset, we are 90% there." - WDTPRS

Something is wrong with MSM reports on what the Pope says...

This is what I mean:
Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven ...
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences. - Source



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Archbishop Nienstedt is unambiguous in his defense of Catholic Doctrine.

Family as the foundation of culture.
IV. The family under attack
Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life.  Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization.  The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies.  Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth. - Legatus Magazine
Read the entire address and keep it on file.  It is clear teaching.

God bless Archbishop Nienstedt - with prayers and thanksgiving for such a faithful Shepherd. 

“What good are closed convents to the Church?” - Pope Francis

“Empty convents don’t help the Church by being turned into hotels to make money,” the Pope added.

I expect that is true.  It really makes sense to me to open old monasteries and convents to the poor and refugees.  I do not know what the laws are in Italy, or the requirements for insurance and the interference of government departments of health and human services in such endeavors, not to mention licensing requirements for such services - but in the United States these requirements usually must be addressed before a group can open the doors to provide shelter and care.

It's expensive to be poor and to serve the poor.

For instance, if I do not acquire health insurance by next year, I will be fined.  Insurance has become  a prerequisite for care. 

If my parish wanted to open the old convent for the homeless, they would probably have to rehab to bring it up to code, obtain permits, increase insurance coverage, and so on. 

Monasteries which empty out, or which retain only a few vocations, often may have to sell the facility in order to provide proper care for aging religious, or because they lack the income to maintain the property and the buildings.  A couple of years ago there was a story in the local newspaper about a group of nuns who had to sell their property, and the retired religious moved into a nursing home.

I think the Pope was speaking to the situation in Italy, especially Rome.  Maybe regulations are different there.  It's a wonderful idea - a return to what convents and monasteries were often founded for in the first place.  The founders and saints of religious institutions did exactly that initially.  They provided hospice for pilgrims and the poor in Rome.  I love the proposal.

However, in the United States even the Church is subject to governmental regulations and insurance requirements.  At least that is what parish Business Administrators tell the parishes which would like to open empty convents and rectories.  I could be wrong - but that is what I've always been told when I asked why an old convent couldn't be opened in the winter to allow homeless a place to sleep.

+ + +

The Pope "called on religious sisters whose convents are “empty” to “generously” and “courageously” open them to refugees, observing that the Church does not need “empty convents to be transformed into hotels (to) earn money.” - Vatican Radio

Now what about those 'new' religious communities building expensive new monasteries? 

What about dioceses tearing down venerable old landmark churches which immigrants in this country labored so hard to build?


Did "Legally Blonde" send the wrong message to women and girls?

 I think it did.

Whatever... Priest gives Pope an old car...

So what? 

The Pope should probably refuse the car.  Don't accept gifts Holy Father - give the car to the poor instead. 
God therefore warned us through Moses: 'Do not receive gifts that blind even the prudent.' [Ex. 23:8]

The Pope wants old convents for refugees.  Good idea. 

He may not own them though.

Here's the deal: the Pope lives in Vatican City.  There are cars and limos and sedan chairs and toilets and showers and dining halls and lots of space in the Vatican.  He doesn't own it. 

What's all this fuss about?  All of the time?  What is this feigned austerity about?  The Pope is not homeless or starving.  There are bigger cars in the garage - right? 

Don't make such a big deal about this stuff then. 

I'm trying not to pay much attention to these stories which keep popping up.

These stories distort the papacy and the Church. 

So, if the Pope called me today, I would say:  "Give away every gift you personally receive Holy Father, and just be Pope."

Here's what I think:  Passive aggressive, ambiguous sentiment doesn't work - issue definitive policy statements and motu proprio reforms - and then see that they are implemented.  Be Pope.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

If I had the wings of a dove, I'd fly away and be at rest... (Psalm 55:6)

A modern stylite?

Evidently.  A recluse in Georgia lives atop a high outcrop of rock, following the monastic tradition of ancient stylites. 

Maxime Qavtaradze is following in the ancient traditions of the Stylites, or Pillar Saints: men of the Byzantine world who believed residing up pillars would remove them from temptation and provide ample opportunity for prayer and contemplation. 
The monk's life of solitude came to light after New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple was permitted to photograph the man and his rock, but only after he had spent four days in intensive prayer. 
At first life on the Katskhi Pillar, Mr Qavtaradze's limestone monolith which stands in the Caucasus Mountains that run through Georgia, was tough for the monk. 
"For the first two years there was nothing up here so I slept in an old fridge to protect me from the weather," said the 59-year-old monk. Later, Christian supporters renovated a derelict chapel and built a cottage to provide him with a few creature comforts.  
Mr Qavtaradze makes the 20 minute and perilous climb down a ladder attached to the pillar twice a week to pray at a small monastery at the foot of the tower. But he relies on daily provisions winched to him by supporters on the ground.

Once home to Stylites, the Katskhi Pillar had remained derelict for centuries, and it was only in 1944 that a team of climbers scaled the tower, finding at the top the skeleton of its last occupant. Mr Qavtaradze moved in 1993 after taking his monastic vows, and found it moved him closer to God and help banish a troubled past.  
"It is up here in the silence that you can feel God's presence," he said. "When I was young I drank, sold drugs, everything. When I ended up in prison I knew it was time for a change.  
"I used to drink with friends in the hills around here and look up at this place, where land met sky," he added. "We knew the monks had lived up there before and I felt great respect for them." - Finish reading here.
 Earlier stylites were said to stand day in and night out, atop high columns - at least they are thus depicted in icons.  So this stylite is more a recluse, hermit whose solitude is uniquely situated atop an outcrop of rock.  It strikes me as more habitable, more hospitable.  The fact that the stylite descends twice a week suggests he is well guided or directed in the spiritual life, that is, he is probably spiritually accountable to someone.  He also has access to the sacraments.

That said, the hermitage seems sufficient protection from the elements.  I would like to live there myself, although I wouldn't want to come down twice a week.  It's somewhat edifying to know that aspects of ancient monasticism continue to be observed - especially penitence.

It's too bad his solitude was invaded and exposed to worldly curiosity.

Did you ever stop and think that monks and nuns are just ordinary men and women?

They just dress funny.

I've been thinking that the mystical life/spiritual life - the way of perfection - is really analogous with the ordinary Christian life.  It isn't something separate from ordinary life.  I suppose that sounds just too obvious of course, but what I'm trying to say is that the so-called stages of prayer, the prescriptions for the 'way of perfection' - commonly understood to mark the stages of the spiritual life, are indeed analogous with ordinary Christian life - that is, the authentic Christian life.  The acquisition of the Holy Spirit, our imitation and conformity to Christ, union with God - whatever you call it:  The means are the same, the failings as well as the progress of the soul cannot be compartmentalized or removed from ordinary life. 

In itself, climbing a high column doesn't bring us closer to God.  God is already close, closer than we 'can ask or imagine'.  As St. Paul admonished in today's first reading:
"Walk in Christ Jesus, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving..." - Colossians 2:6-15
I think the lives of the early Christian martyrs witness to this fact - from there, we understand better the purpose of standing on a column at the mercy of the elements - and the 'elemental spirits'.

I wish I could express my thought better, but I lack the vocabulary to do so. 
"We are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them." - Ephesians 2


Fr. Z sets my mind at ease on Liberation Theology...

Don't be fooled...
You, like I, have been hearing a lot these days about a Church of “the poor” and a rehabilitation of Liberation Theology.  This has caused concern for some who are doctrinally coherent and orthodox and elation for liberals.
Fr. Z directs us to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation.  Explaining:
Theologians such as Gustavo Gutiérrez are not the problem.  Not every strain or aspect of Liberation Theology is unacceptable.  So, say both Card. Ratzinger and B. John Paul II.  In fact, every sound theology is a “theology of liberation”.  As a shorthand way of thinking about this, Liberation Theology without Marxism can fairly be called “Catholic Social Teaching”. 
Be alert when you see discussions of Liberation Theology in the future. 
The sort of Liberation Theology that Pope Francis eventually became interested in is not the strain that involves Marxism.  - Fr. Z
Thank you Fr. Z - that is most helpful and reassuring. 

People, be careful who you read and what you listen to. 

Charlie Rose and Assad

I couldn't wait for the interview, only to find out it wasn't Audrey Assad he was sitting down with.


Seriously - I have little idea who Audrey is - I just see her name on Catholic blogs.  I know she's a singer, but I'm fairly certain I'm not into that kind of music.   Call me old fashioned, but once you go black you can never go back. 

So anyway - and very seriously.

I watched the Charlie Rose interview with Syria's leader.  I'm not sure what to think.  It was one of the few times I wasn't happy with Charlie Rose.  I'm indifferent as regards Assad.

I just do not think it is necessary to bomb the country to punish the leadership.  How can we who massacre our own children in the womb, justify such an attack.

I'm against it.

Good news here:
The Syrian government supports a proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control as a way to avert a Western military strike, Syria’s prime minister said Tuesday.

Monday, September 09, 2013


I think Regis was drunk.

Two men went up to the temple to pray...

Our Lady of the Forsaken

That's how my prayer began today. 

In fact, the recollection of the text was so impressed upon me, I was convinced it had to be the Gospel for the day.  Of course it was not... but the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee formed my meditation this morning.

I always considered myself the publican, always repenting - in the sense of prayer and my stance before God, better put, as in the Jesus prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I sit to the side and back of church, I try to pray and remain recollected.  Yet even in that, I can think, "Thank you Lord I'm not like the rest of men who don't know themselves, don't pray, don't follow the rules."  Of course I can't acknowledge such an attitude - it isn't how I want to think, or what I want to say, you know, in the sense of Romans 7:15: "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it..."

I lack charity.

But God does not - God is love.  He knows us through and through... deep... deep down... deep calls unto deep.  It makes me want to cry.

I was thinking how over the years, even under spiritual direction, I pretty much let my 'soul be my pilot'.  I'm not an especially obedient soul - 'I can't be managed' - one of my favorite lines from Michael Scott.  But I always went to confession when I ran aground.  Sometimes about five times a week.  Yet once I had the audacity to remark to a priest, who wanted me to join a third order or something, "I have more understanding than all who teach me because I do your will." (Ps. 119)  Oh my God!  I cringe now when I think of that - only Christ can rightly say that.  I assumed I could because I had renounced a gay lifestyle, lived chastely - went to confession when I didn't - and considered that obedience.  In a sense it really was.  God calls us to repentance.  Yet somewhere in all of that was the Pharisee who well could have added to his prayer, "Thank you Lord I'm not like those people who I ran into in the bar last night but don't go to confession..."  Get it?


This morning I considered all the holy priests who heard my confessions and absolved me from my sins.  None of them ever said, "You stupid twit - what are you doing!"  "You're going straight to hell!  You know better than go into that occasion of sin!"  "You have to wake up!  Leave your situation, wall yourself off, don't go near even the most remote occasion of sin."  "You're so disordered and evil, you're a scumbag, a filthy homosexual pervert."  Not one priest condemned me.  Not one.  Not one ever said: "I don't get it - I don't get you.  How can you come here week after week confessing the same sins?  You ought to be ashamed of yourself."  No one said that.  Not one priest condemned me.  Not one.

No one who comes to me will I ever reject.

Jesus said that: "No one who comes to me will I ever reject" - though he knows the heart of man... he knows our adulterous generation, our propensity for sin.  Not one priest ever condemned me - all of them were compassionate and kind and encouraging to me as I struggled.

As Catholics, like the priests who over the years directed me and absolved me from all my sins, we desperately need to see the person.  We may already see a sinful condition - but within that disguise is a person.  Beneath the façade is someones son or daughter, brother or sister, friend or enemy - there is a person, a real person who may not know of what spirit he is.  Jesus told the disciples that when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on those who rejected the Gospel, "You do not know of what spirit you are speaking."  I went through whole periods in my life wherein I did not really know of what spirit I was.  Hence the prayer, "Of my hidden faults acquit me O Lord."

If called to do so, we must defend the faith - even with our lives - but we have to stop condemning one another and setting ourselves up as arbiter and judge of everyone else.  We can judge behavior and recognize sin - and in certain situations - when challenged as to why we believe what we do, we defend the faith, the truth - in charity, but we must recognize and love the person who rejects the faith.  We do not need to brow beat them, berate or 'hammer' the truth home to them.  Many already know the things we can tell them - even though they reject it.  To attack and condemn only drives 'others' away further - and discourages those who are especially weakened by the 'world's slow stain'..  

Anyway - that's some of the stuff I've been thinking of while I was offline.  It's really good to be 'cut off' for awhile, to pray and get to know oneself.   This is my personal opinion of course, and I may be wrong.  If what I write doesn't work for you or make sense - it wasn't for you.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

"Love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labor.  For we must love not occasionally, for a moment, but forever." - Dostoevsky, Fr. Zosima

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Three Days Darkness

For the second time in two weeks my computer succumbed to a virus.  The three days darkness - no Internet access from Thursday/Friday to Sunday.  Two weeks in a row.

I'm losing interest in being online.

I checked my emails - I have nothing to say.  Oh - except if there are any attachments, links embedded, or I do not know you - your email will not be opened.

I checked the updates of blogs I follow - same old same old.

Haven't checked Catholic news portals yet - not sure if Voris is still under fire.

Not interested.

Seriously, Catholic bloggers are generally a bunch of whiners and complainers and mudslingers.  Stay offline for a few days to a week, and then check the main blog-a-rama-bama listings.  Predictable, boring, self-promoting gas bags. 

 I've wasted the past 7 years here.