Saturday, October 19, 2013

So, while reading the obituaries in the newspaper this morning ...


The other day I was reading somewhere how eulogies and sometimes homilies at funerals speak of the deceased as being in a better place, praising the deceased for his works, his success and accomplishments, while extolling his fun-loving spirit, and so on.  Funerals have become a celebration of life, a minor canonization - because most people now believe everyone goes straight to a better place, heaven.

Some people complain about that notion.  For Catholics, that isn't good of course.  We need prayers after we are dead - so don't forget us - please.

On the other hand - the point of the post I was reading was that just being nice isn't the same as being holy - or good.  Bad people can be nice - that is true.  I'm not criticizing the post here, nor the fundamental idea of it, but I couldn't help be reminded of what I have noticed in the obituaries of late.  Indeed people are praised to the heavens, and they now plan and schedule really fun wakes - or celebrations of the deceased person's life.  Yet very few obits mention religious funerals or memorial services - just internment at a cemetery - and not always that.  Is it a loss of faith?  I don't think so - at least not always.

One priest once suggested that it was because baby boomers aren't religious, so they do not see to it that their parents have a traditional funeral - or, the deceased may have failed to provide for one.  Others attribute the lack of a religious funeral to a 'who needs it' attitude by people who think everyone goes straight to a better place.  Some see it as a great expense and a waste of money.  Some seem to have no need for the Church or a priest... yet they believe in God.


What to do?  Rather than worry about people confusing nice with goodness, or kindness with love - maybe priests should try to round up the faithful before they die, so they can prepare them for eternity, to plan and have a real funeral when they die, and arrange for prayers to be said for the repose of their soul.  Maybe if they welcome the 'ignorant' before death, even the ones who can't make the 'stole-fee' or measure up to the standards of perfection, maybe these folks would then feel more 'presentable', or at least 'eligible' for a Catholic funeral?

Unless of course, someone comes forward to protest and demand so and so not be given a Catholic funeral because he's a filthy sinner.

I wonder if that could be a reason why some Catholics don't have funerals anymore?  (Aside from the expense.)  Perhaps they are afraid they are not holy enough?  That they'll be rejected?

If that is the case, it's no wonder some priests can't figure out what Pope Francis meant when he said:
Ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people,” he stressed, stating that it is because of this that many are distanced from the Church. 
“It is a serious illness, this Christian ideology. It is an illness, but it is not new,” he said, recalling how the Apostle John alludes to this mentality in his first letter. 
Pope Francis then emphasized that the attitude of those who lose their faith in preference of personal ideologies is “rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. - Pope Francis

Be kind to one another.

People seem to respond to that.

Santo Pedro de Alcantara

The holier the confessor, the easier to confess.

"The holier the confessor the gentler he is, and the less he is scandalized at other people's faults, because he understands man's weak condition better."  - John of the Cross

I would love to make my confession - hourly if need be - to St. Peter of Alcantara.   What John of the Cross says is very true.  I have experienced it.  However, I have sought out confessors with a reputation for holiness, or great prayer, and they were very much scandalized by my sins.  I could never return to them.  I return to confession - frequently - just not to them.  Never be afraid to go to confession - no matter who or what.  (Don't over think it.)

Anyway - happy feast day to all those devoted to St. Peter.

I. Love. This.

"I have great respect for Cardinal Dolan, though I do have to say, sir, it is not easy when you are wearing that outfit," Colbert said.

"In that cape and red sash, you look like a matador who's really let himself go." - Story here.

I know!  But with that dark curly hair
you look like a Poodle!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Love is kind.


Thank God there are bloggers online telling us that love and kindness is not the same thing.  What would happen if that wasn't spelled out to people?  Oh. My.  Gosh.

What if people were just kind to one another?  How would you explain to them that charity-love is more than just being nice?

I used to get so tired of hearing this woman I knew - who began a religious-spa-retreat-treatment type of business - repeating to everyone she got mad at "Jesus wasn't nice!"

Just be kind to one another.

Love is a teacher.  Dostoevsky wrote that.

Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.  John of the Cross that.

Sr. Antonia Brenner - RIP

Her story is simple - but oh so great...

She lived in a prison.  For 30 years.  Everyone will be writing about her, so I won't editorialize the story except to say, there are saints amongst us.  There always have been, always will be.
Sister Antonia Brenner, a Beverly Hills-raised mother of seven who became a Roman Catholic nun and moved into a notorious Tijuana prison where she spent more than three decades mending broken lives, easing tensions and dispensing everything from toothbrushes to bail money, has died. She was 86. - Finish reading here.

I recall hearing that there were Little Sisters of Jesus who lived in a prison somewhere.   There are saints in weird places, where no one else will go.

Love is kind.

Identity ... gay or ssa or just a guy?

I'm having difficulty trying to articulate some stuff...

Where to begin?  Why begin?  Why do I feel the need?

Daniel Mattson has an excellent essay on the subject of identity- and mistaken identity.  Mattson is a wonderful writer - probably one of the best on the subject of same sex attraction and Catholic teaching.  It's always something I think is 'settled' in my life, yet I have learned in and through my conversations online that it is not settled in the minds of many others, and there are those who insist upon a gay identity - a 'queer' identity.  many are young Catholics.  Not all dissent from Church teaching, yet they remain uncomfortable with the 'tone'...

It can be confusing.  The most important thing I have discovered is that some of the new 'gay' voices online are sincerely working through issues of self-knowledge and self-acceptance in an attempt to make sense of their lives in a manner compatible with Catholic teaching.  I have learned a great deal from them.  I've learned a great deal about acceptance - of self, of others.  I'm deeply moved that they articulate and speak about their experiences so honestly and I'm reminded I too struggled very much in the same way they do.  Their honesty and acceptance of self is important for them to document and discuss, even if they make mistakes in the process, or even as they express frustration that their efforts are misunderstood.  I've made the same mistakes but lacked the freedom of spirit to always acknowledge it or deal with it - until much later, 'after the fall'.  That they work through many of the difficulties publicly is certainly helpful to many others who struggle, I am sure.  But I digress.

As I said, one of the best writers on the subject of same sex attraction and being Catholic is Mattson.  So, without further ado - because I just don't have time to be online - I will reprint below a few strands from Mattson's essay - but I encourage you to read the whole thing when you get some time.

A Case of Mistaken Identity.
My favorite novel of mistaken identity has always been C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy. It’s the perfect fairy tale, beginning with a miserable young boy, Shasta, growing up in Calormen, treated like a slave by Arsheesh, the man who he assumes is his father. When one of the lords of Calormen, a Taarkan, offers to buy Shasta from Arsheesh, Shasta learns how “his father” found him adrift in a river when Shasta was an infant. Lewis tells us that Shasta had never loved his father, nor felt like he belonged in Calormen, so this knowledge “took a great weight off his mind. ‘Why, I might be anyone!’ he thought. ‘I might be the son of a Tarkaan myself—or the son of the Tisroc (may he live forever!)—or of a god!’” The rest of the book chronicles Shasta’s adventures with the talking horse Bree and two other companions as they journey north, towards Narnia, where Shasta discovers his true identity: He is indeed the son of a king, heir to the throne of Archenland, the ally and friend of Narnia.

For Lewis, Shasta is obviously “Every Man,” born into this world just as the writer of Hebrews wrote of the Patriarchs who “acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,” desiring a “better homeland, a heavenly one.” Like Shasta, we know innately that something is wrong with the world and don’t realize our true identity as beloved sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Henri Nouwen said that “one of the enormous spiritual tasks we have is to claim that [identity] and to live a life based on that knowledge, and that’s not very easy. In fact, most of us fail constantly to claim the truth of who we are.” These words of Henri Nouwen have a deep significance for me, because as he did, I am a man who lives with same-sex attraction. As I have worked through my faith to claim my true nature as a beloved son of God, I have come to believe that the greatest case of mistaken identity in the world today concerns sexual identity. The contemporary litany of sexual identities come from Calormen, not Narnia and the North. They come from the world, not the mind of God.

As a man who came back to the Catholic Church because of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and sexual identity, I have watched with great concern as I see “coming out” become more and more commonplace, particular at younger and younger ages, including in the Church. The USCCB wisely cautions against this in their 2006 document, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care”:
For some persons, revealing their homosexual tendencies to certain close friends, family members, a spiritual director, confessor, or members of a Church support group may provide some spiritual and emotional help and aid them in their growth in the Christian life. In the context of parish life, however, general public self-disclosures are not helpful and should not be encouraged.
Though I’ve never “come out” in the world in which I live my daily life, I decided to write publicly about this part of my life because I have great concern for the way our culture negatively influences the young Shastas in the Catholic Church who may be confused about who they are after realizing they live with same-sex attraction, and decide to “come out” because the world teaches them that their sexual inclinations comprise one of the chief definitions of “who they are” and that in order to be truly “authentic” they need to reveal this about themselves. The counsel of the bishops to avoid public disclosures of homosexual attractions reflects the best interests for these young men and women who tragically have been conditioned to accept the modern concept of sexual identities, and to use phrases such as “I am gay” to describe themselves, which reveals the ease by which we can become imprisoned by the culture in which we live, in the way John Paul II wrote in Veritatis Splendor:
It must certainly be admitted that man always exists in a particular culture, but it must also be admitted that man is not exhaustively defined by that same culture. Moreover, the very progress of cultures demonstrates that there is something in man which transcends those cultures. This “something” is precisely human nature: this nature is itself the measure of culture and the condition ensuring that man does not become the prisoner of any of his cultures, but asserts his personal dignity by living in accordance with the profound truth of his being.
The best explanation for why so many people accept the world’s definitions of sexuality stems from St. Paul’s famous line that “for now, we see through a mirror, dimly,” but the mirrors of sexual identity aren’t merely dim and obscure; they are the crazed and distorted mirrors of a diabolical fun house, manipulated to the point of destroying any recognizable connection with the truth about man. - Finish reading here.

I love this:
"... the mirrors of sexual identity aren’t merely dim and obscure; they are the crazed and distorted mirrors of a diabolical fun house, manipulated to the point of destroying any recognizable connection with the truth about man."

Personally, I think I've always had a Steve Gershom attitude towards using the term gay as opposed to same sex attracted.  But that's another post.

Although I'm not sure it makes much sense for me to continue writing about this stuff. 


True Colors...

Song for this post here.

"They" are saying Pope Francis is bringing out "their" true colors...

Like that's a bad thing?

Should I trade mark that?


H/T Chinese lady

Thursday, October 17, 2013

House stenographer freaks out about Freemasons...

Before I found out her name, I did a quick check to see if maybe it was anyone I knew... like any of the East Coast female Catholic bloggers...

Turns out it was a real stenographer named Dianne Reidy...  I'm not sure if she is Catholic or what, but she knows about the Freemasons:
“The greatest deception here is not ‘one nation under God.’ It never was. Had it been … the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons."  – Dianne Reidy, a stenographer in the U.S. House of Representatives, speaking as she was escorted off the House floor during the vote to end the government shut-down and raise the federal debt ceiling.
I thought I heard a news report claiming she was blaming the Jesuits on her way to the hospital - but I wasn't able to verify that.

"That's a nuts!"
Update:  Michael Voris has a video on Freemasonry as well.  Here

Prayers to Santo Nino for the victims and survivors of the Philippine quake.

O miraculous Santo Nino prostrate before your sacred Image,
we beseech you to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Your tender love, so inclined to pity, be softened at our prayers, and grant us that grace for which we ardently implore you. Take from us all unbearable affliction and despair. For your sacred infancy's sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid that we may praise you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

+ + +

From the Philippines:

Bishop Medroso says “the damage is enormous” and spoke of his sorrow at seeing many national heritage churches reduced to piles of rubble by the quake, alongside the damage caused to homes and the deaths of scores of people. Asked about the mood of the people in the quake-stricken areas, the bishop said many of the local population are still in a state of shock with thousands of people too frightened to return inside their homes. Many, he said, are eating and camping outside in the squares and open spaces as after-shocks continue to shake the area. - Vatican Radio


On devotion to the Infant Jesus.

Doesn't he look better?

I did a quick edit to show how good Fr. Z would look if he lost some weight.  Squint - he looks pretty good for his age. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are you Rohr-man Catholic?

Questions about Fr. Richard Rohr... again.

I know some California mystics and contemplatives in the Southwest, and probably many others in the business of religious education, spiritual formation and the retreat industry, love, love, love Fr. Richard Rohr.  I know!  That's cool.  It's a free country.

I've written about Rohr before - but who am I?  Nobody.

Which is why I'm grateful for this post from Dan Burke of Spiritual Direction blog:

Can I trust Richard Rohr?

Fr. Rohr is deeply involved in the New Age. On the website for his Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), a “training and formation center” based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that he founded in 1987, he says the purpose of his work is to provide “a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness” (whatever that means). 
The CAC was a well-known hub for the Church’s premier dissent group in the U.S., better known as Call to Action (endorses women’s ordination, homosexuality, goddess worship, etc.). 
Fr. Rohr has also been a long-time teacher of the Enneagram, an enormously popular New Age gimmick used for discerning one’s personality type. A specific warning against the use of the Enneagram for spiritual direction is included in the pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. - Spiritual Direction - Originally published by Women of Grace

Something to think about.

The Jesuit Fr. Henri de Lubac told a famous priest on the day of the man's priestly ordination: "ask the Holy Spirit that he grants you the saints' anti-clericalism". 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mark Shea and Michael Voris at play.

Mike warms up Mark with a game of charades.

Badger Catholic has the photos from last week's debate...  here.

St. Teresa of Avila

And now, O my soul, it were well for you  to look that danger in the face from which our Lord delivered you; and if you did not cease to offend Him out of love you should do so out of fear. He might have slain you a thousand times, and in a far more perilous state. I believe I exaggerate nothing if I say a thousand times again, though he may rebuke me who has commanded me to restrain myself in recounting my sins; and they are glossed over enough. I pray him, for the love of God, not to suppress one of my faults, because herein shines forth the magnificence of God, as well as His long-suffering towards souls. May He be blessed for evermore, and destroy me utterly, rather than let me cease to love Him any more! - Teresa of Jesus, Autobiography


Monday, October 14, 2013

I was wondering when Anna Katherine Emmerich's writings would make the rounds again...

"I saw also the relationship between two popes ..."

The prophecies, that is.

Anna Katherine Emmerich is beatified - she is a beata.  Her writings were not beatified with her.  In fact, many are uncertain her revelations as recorded by Brentano are her words verbatim, or an interpretation by Brentano.  Rod Dreher points that out in a post of his on Emmerich, which caught my attention.

I know several people who refer to Bl. Emmerich's writings when pointing out the evils in the Church today.  I know the so-called prophecies which they claim point to the modern, post-Vatican II apostasy - and especially the NO-Mass.  When one reads these things as gospel, or hears them explained and 'promulgated' by uber-traditionalists, one cannot help become infected with a certain uneasiness, and if one gives them any credence at all, it easily taints one's view of the Catholic Church as it is today - since Vatican II.

The latest revival prophecy appears especially sensational as it mentions two popes ...
“I saw also the relationship between two popes … I saw how baleful would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city of Rome. The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness… 
“I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps.”
“I see the Holy Father in great anguish. He lives in a palace other than before and he admits only a limited number of friends near him. I fear that the Holy Father will suffer many more trials before he dies. - Source
If the prophecy is true - if it pertains to a specific time, it is more than likely it pertains to the times wherein it was recorded, which may explain why someone like Bretano would elaborate in such detail.  If it pertains to the future, it becomes even more obscure, since the author is limited by his own interpretation within the scope of his experience and times.  Likewise, prophecy tends to be symbolic and  is subject to change.  It may also be interpreted to suit any number of circumstances in and through clever interpretation.  That said, it is up to the Church to interpret and approve or say that any private revelation is free from doctrinal error, etc. - Bl. Emmerich's works have no Vatican seal of approval.  She's beatified - not her writings or mystical phenomena associated with her.

Dreher wisely concludes his article with this:
I think this kind of paranormal prophecy thing can be real and true, but there’s so much potential for abuse, deception, and confirmation bias that one should keep it at arm’s length. - ibid
It also should be noted that Catholics are not obliged to believe or follow private revelations and prophecy:
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations." - CCC 

I don't usually read Rod Dreher, but I understand he was a convert to Catholicism and then left the Church to become an Orthodox Catholic.  He makes some interesting points whenever he writes on Catholic matters.  As an ex-Catholic, Dreher's comments, though insightful, can also be divisive, as in his Time article about not returning to the Catholic Church.  I come away with the impression that some of his commentary may not always be helpful in building up the Body of Christ.  It strikes me that Catholic Traditionalists have quite similar issues   A few converts seem to have church shopped and denomination jumped over the years.  If they came into the Catholic Church, and then left, I question who they are seeking.  Did these folks ever encounter Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Church?  I pray for their return to the Church and I'm sympathetic to their pain and confusion over whatever scandal drove them away - but leaving the Catholic Church is a problem - especially the question of being led by the Holy Spirit.

Don't go to strangers. 


The Priesthood ... and troubled priests.

Some thoughts from Fr. Ciszek.

Pretend it's back then - that life is a concentration camp ...
"The camps were full of informers...
In every camp there were a number of priests.  They were delighted to have another priest in the camp, and quick to spread the word among the prisoners.  We exhorted and encouraged one another, shared prayers and short homilies ... They may not have been the most polished sermons ... but they were often moving and provocative because of the circumstances under which they were delivered.  It was something just to be with these men, and to see them prove in word and deed their dedication to God and to the flock he entrusted to them day after day.
Not that all of them were perfect.  Indeed, there were even informers among the priests themselves.  We sometimes knew it - trusted prisoners who worked in offices would tell us of encounters they had seen.  Sometimes these priests themselves would tell us privately ... they begged our forgiveness.  ... These informers or suspected informers were never excluded from our company.  They shared in our Masses.  We heard their confessions - and they heard ours; such was our confidence in the seal of the confessional.  We all had our failings; each of us knew only too well how much we depended upon God and on his grace.
The key word, in fact, of our priestly apostolate in the camps had to be the word 'witness'.  It wasn't so much a matter of preaching God and talking religion to the men around you as it was a matter of living the faith that you yourself professed.
It was not always a matter of preaching God and religion.  It was enough at times to simply respect each of your fellow men in the camp, to do good to each no matter what he himself did or said, no matter how he acted toward you ... There was little call to preach about sin or damnation or hellfire to men who experience daily the hell of loneliness and separation and anxiety.  A great deal of tolerance and a great deal of understanding were required of a priest if he wished to be effective among these unfortunate and almost degraded human beings.  Common sense and intuition, a feeling for the finger of God's grace behind a question or a conversation or an encounter, was much more necessary than textbook answers in theology." - The Priesthood, He Leadeth Me, Walter Ciszek, S.J. 

I need a priest.

I need a priest for the sacraments, for the Mass, for my life.  I've gone to confession to good priests and bad, and they absolved me.  They have counseled me - they listened to me and cared about me - they absolved me.  I need to forgive too.

"Not that all of them were perfect."

Pray for priests.



Pray for priests and the faithful
of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Pope welcomes Our Lady - a must see video.

"To be sure, a very simple explanation underpins all this. For those who grasp it, no words are necessary...
          for those who can't, nothing will ever suffice." - Rocco Palmo
From Rocco Palmo:
As previously noted, whenever the Theotokos comes around, the 266th Bishop of Rome simply loses himself and is spiritually transported to another place.

Yet again, it was visible last night in the Square, as a clearly overcome Pope spontaneously rushed down the steps to receive the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, refusing to take up his designated place until she was in hers.... - Palmo