Saturday, November 02, 2013

"Little children stumble often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much." - St. Therese

"We stumble mostly by choice."

Not always.  The thought,  'we stumble mostly by choice' is true in a literal sense of course, in so far as it concerns grave sin, for a sin to be mortal, there must be full consent of the will.  I do not want to make a big deal of this, but the statement caught my attention.  We trip or stumble frequently by accident, something trips us up.  Sometimes we falter and are unsteady, we can lose our balance - something precedes the fall - scripture tells us it is pride.

Generally, I think many people stumble and fall more through human weakness, rather than malice.  I may be wrong.  Sick people need a doctor.  Some need therapy - frequent confession and guidance - and a lot of prayer.  Really sick people sometimes can't get up on their own.  Children and weaker souls can be like that.  Surely they do not choose to stumble.  When people are in recovery - they often relapse.  See the different point of view here? 

Justice and peace, mercy and truth.

When my brother was dying I sensed the disgust of his doctor and some of the nurses.  He looked horrible, blood from his eyes and pores, a 45 year old fat alcoholic, dying of liver disease.  They might as well have told me that he made the choice to die an alcoholic.  Some will insist he made a series of choices, aka the stages of sin - but there is never reason to lose hope, nor to write off  someone who has fallen so low.

"There is no pit that his love is not deeper still."

Betsy Ten Boom said that in the concentration camp, amidst such horror, suffering and sin.  She understood that Christ was there - already! - his gaze meeting the soul who stumbled and fell.  It is good to understand that aspect of Christ's stumbling and falling.  He descended into the depths to meet us where we have fallen.  He chose us first.

Confidence and love.
 "It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaming our living. ... To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices. ... It is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children stumble and fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."  - St. Therese
We get what we hope for.
'We can never have too much confidence in the Good God, He is so mighty, so merciful. 
As we hope in Him so shall we receive.'

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."   I think that is why the prayer says what it does.



Catholic Paparazzi

"I saw it in the window and I just couldn't resist it.”

Fashion watch...

The Pope said Mass backwards - facing the wall - back to the people - ad orientem.* "The only alternative was to put on the polyester vestment and celebrate as the architecture required."

The Pope has a new ferula - a cross with Christ risen from the tomb - in 'bling' - sent by a company whose business practices are - I'm not sure.  It's a Resurrexifix.

The Pope wore polyester.  Vestments.  Were.  Polyester.  "Appalling rearrangement..."

There is a tone emerging.

Not just emerging - but in your face - loud and clear - it never went away.

Triumphalist snark.  It's just getting louder. 

The fashion-decorum commentary reminds me of a story.  Several years ago, I once used a cigarette lighter to light the candles for adoration and a very snooty cleric gave me a really dirty look and told the priest-celebrant what I did.  Clerics with attitude.

Song for this post... i'm watching you ... here.

PS:  I got a great email from a friend about blogs, bloggers, and blogwatchers:

I don't care if to care if Pope Francis says mass forwards, backwards, wearing silk or polyester.

Too busy.

I don't care either.  Really.

*No Chinese lady - not facing China.

"Is everyone lit?"


All Souls...

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death,
 in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ:
either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately,
 -- or immediate and everlasting damnation. - CCC


1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608
1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611 - CCC

+ + +

"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!" - 1 Galatians 1: 6-12

Friday, November 01, 2013

"You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go..." - OL of Fatima

Theological/academic arguments notwithstanding.

If anyone is confused about what the Church teaches regarding Hell, consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Then pray for the forgiveness of your sins, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of souls.
1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619
1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621 - CCC

O my Jesus
forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell,
lead all souls to heaven,
especially those most in need
of thy mercy.

I wouldn't wish hell on my worst enemy. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NSA spied on the Vatican? What did they find out?

"Can you hear me now, Cha-Cha?"
Oh, oh.

Although Fr. Lombardi said, "It maka no diff - we gotta no-thin' to hide-a!"

How could he say that?

I don't know.

Anyway - reports are that NSA monitored communications during the time period leading up to the conclave!  I know!  Story here.

So what did they find out?

The Pope is Catholic, that's what.

Contrary to everything traditional-liturgists have been saying.

I suppose now people will try to say the conclave was fixed by Modernists and Communists, Freemasons and the gays. 


Halloween Extra: More creepy Catholic stuff ...

As I said... Catholics invented it.

Well, they didn't invent the macabre or scary - they celebrated it, they enshrined it, in a sense.  "O death!  Where is thy sting?"

Nothing to be afraid of then my pretty ...

Museum of the Holy Souls.

Fr. Z always writes about this one - but if you don't know what it's about, go here.


Perhaps the most famous ossuary chapel in the world is in Rome.
The Capuchin Crypt is a small space comprising several tiny chapels located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini in Rome, Italy. It contains the skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order.[ The Catholic order insists that the display is not meant to be macabre, but a silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth and our own mortality. 
Described by Frommer's as "one of the most horrifying images in all of Christendom", large numbers of the bones are nailed to the walls in intricate patterns, many are piled high among countless others, while others hang from the ceiling as light fixtures.

St. Catherine of Bologna

Body parts and incorrupt corpses.

I have a rather large collection of first class relics of saints and blessed - most are small pieces of bone.  The hearts of saints, the heads and other body parts of saints have been enshrined in ornate reliquaries for centuries.  Their bodies 'uncorrupt' or not, rest under altars for veneration.  All altars in Catholic churches contain relics of the saints - this goes back to the days of the first martyrs.

Some corpses appear mummified - like St. Catherine's shown above.  Age has done that.  At one time she was as fresh looking and pretty as the day when they first exhumed her body.  Even some Catholics get freaked out by things like this.  I don't - but some people do.

Heart of St. John Vianney
The head of St. Catherine of Siena.
(The Dominicans in Rome have her body.)
See how fun it is to be  Catholic?
Now capes are scary. 

Halloween special: Creepy Catholic stuff ...

Scaring  the hell out of people for 2000 years!
Protest Halloween. 

I know!

We started it.

Crap - we invented it.




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fasting on Halloween

The holidays are upon us!

When I was little Halloween was a day of abstinence - as was Christmas Eve.

I remember my dad fixing tuna hot-dish with potato chips on top, and we'd have to eat supper before going out.  I loved that - tuna hot-dish I mean.  My dad fixed it because my mom worked.  I couldn't eat fast enough however, to get into my costume and go out trick or treating.  That was when I was little.

This Halloween: Scare the hell out of them.

Halloween is fun for kids.  Especially little kids.

People worry about the old fashioned tradition of scary costumes and decorations.  Many adults seem to associate Halloween with the occult today.  Additional themes are associated with sexy, adult entertainment.  I blame the parents - and Disney.

Some families have their kids dress up as saints instead.  I've always liked that idea.  There are really scary saints too.

St. Denis was beheaded and is said to have picked up his head and walked back to his cathedral.

St. Antony of Egypt, covered with attacking demons that look like the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz would be a cool costume - start making it today for next year.

Virgin martyrs like St. Lucy - eye balls gouged out and on a plate - very cool.  Agatha is good too - severed breasts on a platter - you get your sexy along with the macabre.  It's a win-win, and a lesson in abstinence.

Go as Black Peter - St. Nick's assistant, and terrorize other trick or treaters by demanding their candy.  It's kind of like holy-bullying.  Maybe just threaten to take their candy - you don't want to be stealing stuff.  On second thought, you better skip the Black Peter idea.

Thomas Moore or some of the English martyrs were beheaded, some drawn and quartered - think how bloody a costume that might be.  Of course the devils are afraid of the martyrs - so go ahead and scare them.  Scary is fun.

What Halloween lacks today is creativity.  And maybe fasting before the feast of All Saints.  The candy is better the next morning.  It can almost be like Christmas.  Trudging door to door can be like a pilgrimage, or a sort of Posada - in memorial of the dead.  Or not.

Christians shouldn't be afraid of stuff - except sin.


Let no one discourage you...

Or persuade you otherwise.

"Where the Bishop is, there is the Catholic Church." 

Cling to him.

El Nino and Papa Francesco

Pope Francis seated the boy on his chair
before resuming his speech.

The little boy and his papa.

The Pope welcomed the little boy.
"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet." - S. Therese of the Child Jesus

More photos here.

"I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven."

H/T Fr. Martin, S.J.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pedophilia now classified a sexual orientation?

"The inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."
Did someone say disorder?

Redefining pedophilia.
In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the American Psychological Association (APA) drew a very distinct line between pedophilia and pedophilic disorder. Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation, whereas pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality. - Source

That is close to what happened to homosexuality in the 1970's.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990.
 It's a step, as Fr. Z  noted, a 'first step, change the language, change the definition.'  Father's statement isn't exactly prophecy.  Efforts to change the age of consent has been proceeding in Europe, especially the Netherlands, for years.  Underground efforts have been working towards the same goals in the United States for decades.  Probably the best known advocacy group being NAMBLA.

Changing age of consent laws and normalizing pedophilia may also be connected to the sexualization of children through media and early, graphic sex education - especially exposing very young children to homosexuality and masturbation.  (I also wonder about the influence of Islamic law and culture here?  Islamic men sometimes marry very young girls.  Then there are those stories about Islamic men and the rape of young boys.  It strikes me that some in Islam would be comfortable with lowering the age of consent as well.)

The Vatican might need to update the Catechism.

If pedophilia gains acceptance as a natural variant of human sexuality/orientation, I wondered how the Catechism and the CDF might deal with it, if pressured to do so by 'Catholic' pedophile advocacy groups.  Thus, I simply substituted a few terms in the text from the CCC teaching on homosexuality. 

What if there was a section added to the Catechism covering pedophilia?  It could be worded like this:

Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation towards minor-attracted persons.  Pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality.  It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents pedophilic acts as acts of grave scandal, tradition has always declared that "pedophilic acts are intrinsically disordered."  They are contrary to the natural law. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated pedophilic tendencies hopefully is rare. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, should constitute for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Pedophiles are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested incarceration, by prayer and sacramental grace, they should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. 
Just in case the vice becomes socially acceptable, and protected by law...  The CDF may have to step in, declaring something to the effect:

[Though] an overly benign interpretation was given to pedophilia itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good, or a natural variant of sexual orientation. Although the particular inclination of the pedophile person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. 

Of course that will never happen... or will it?

Very seriously, differentiating between pedophilia as an orientation and pedophilic disorder  'as a compulsion - used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality', such a fine distinction, though perhaps well intended in order to counsel persons with the tendency, is destined to be considered unjust discrimination at some point.  (Likewise, sexual crimes against children are frequently crimes of opportunity.)  At the very least, as was said regarding homosexuality, "the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" -  that way of speaking regarding any type of sexual orientation will most likely be rejected as hurtful, offensive, hateful, and discriminatory.

Or something like that.


Pope Francis on Professional Catholics

Professional Catholics must
carry a briefcase.

"Be professionals in your service to the Church your work is of great quality, as it needs to be for the task that has been assigned to you. But your professionalism must always be in the service of the Church, in everything you do ... " - Pope Francis, Professionals in the Service of the Church

He concluded, "Carry your briefcase with humble pride!"*

*I made that part up.

With Pope Francis, shame is no longer a dirty word, nor do we need to pretend any longer.


The grace of being ashamed.

In his homily a few mornings ago at Holy Mass,  Pope Francis preached about the sacrament of confession. 

Pope Francis: "We always seek to justify ourselves: 'But yes, we are all sinners' we say”.

Pope Francis confided that he admires the way children make their confession. “Little ones have a certain wisdom. When a child comes to make his confession, he never speaks in generalities. He says: 'Father, I did this, and I did this to my aunt, I did this to someone else, and to someone else I said this word', and they say the word. They are real, they possess the simplicity of truth. And we always tend to hide the reality of our weakness and poverty”.

He then added: “But if there is one thing that is beautiful, it is when we confess our sins in the presence of God just as they are. We always feel the grace of being ashamed. To feel ashamed before God is a grace. It is a grace to say: 'I am ashamed'. Let us think about St Peter after Jesus' miracle on the lake: “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinner”. He was ashamed of his sin in the presence of Jesus Christ”.

Going to confession, the Pope said, is “going to an encounter with the Lord who forgives us, who loves us. And our shame is what we offer him: 'Lord, I am a sinner, but I am not so bad, I am capable of feeling ashamed'.

The Holy Father concluded: “let us ask for the grace to live in the truth without hiding anything from the Lord and without hiding anything from ourselves”. - Source
"Without hiding anything from ourselves."


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Re-runs and flash-backs.

I watched Easy Rider for the very first time last week.

I never ever wanted to see the film when it was released.  In fact - I didn't watch it through when it was on TV a night or two ago.  I just clicked back to it from time to time to check on the development. 

I wondered if the film would have freaked me out back then?  I imagined myself better than that - back then.  Shots in New Orleans kind of reminded me of Andy Warhol's trash - which I said I liked at the time.  Warhol created his work around the same time as Easy Rider

The film reminded me of experiences I had with my friends.

It was an awful time, in retrospect.  I don't like revisiting it.  I never thought of God back then.  I said I didn't believe, that I was an atheist.  I couldn't have been - I wasn't smart enough - it was simply a façade.

I can now understand - to an extent - why red-neck-religious types 'hate' hippies.  It doesn't say much for their religion, but says a lot about their fears and prejudices, their anger. 

Oddly enough - nearly everyone is pretty decadent these days, or tainted to some extent.  What does John of the Cross say?  Rarely has anyone avoided drinking from the cup of the whore of Babylon.  Just read blogs.  The f-word is used even by the holy ones.

Easy Rider is creepy, though it be an important piece of cultural documentation.

It's amazing how grace entered into the lives of so many souls who were thought lost in drugs and the culture of the time.  How Christ rose victorious in the lives of the living dead.

It is a source of hope - even for the zombies and the lovers of such in our day, don't you think?

"Let your sin be present to you always and, according to the Wise Man's advice, do not be without fear even for sin that has been forgiven.  God's judgments are uncertain and hidden; they are not rashly to be presumed upon..." - Blessed Guerric of Igny