Saturday, November 09, 2013

I had a dream about poodles.

I had a dream that I was gathering up stray dogs, one I found at a convenience store, where you can buy just about anything disposable.  The little guy was sitting in a pot of multicolored flowers.  I picked him up and took him to an inn across the road.  There was a room I'd rented to give the dogs shelter.  I already had several dogs when I brought in the little miniature poodle I had just found.  It was at that moment I realized they were all poodles.  I also noticed they all had messy butts, and the one I was holding had a long piece of poop stuck, and so I got a paper towel and pulled it out.

I awakened thinking of the dream.  Wondering what it meant when a thought came to mind: "This is what you do when you blog."

I thought about it for awhile.

It seemed about right. 

Chesterton's Fr. Brown mysteries on PBS

Fr. Brown

I've seen two segments so far.  I really like the stories.

The Fr. Brown character reminds me of someone...

Editors note: The rest of this post has been deleted.

Friday, November 08, 2013

On the Washington Redskins.

Not opposed to Matriculation - even for women.

Fr. Rutler is a wonderful man. 

He makes everyone look stupid.

I love reading Fr. Rutler, as well as listening to him.  He is just so darn erudite, ain't he Trixie?  What?  Really, whenever he speaks or writes, he reminds me of how stupid we've become - even the highly educated, high school graduates and the certified Community College professionals and those grads who never got out from under, amongst us.

Fr. Rutler's essay in Crisis is one of the best commentaries I've read on the brouhaha over the Washington Redskins.  So many of us can be swayed by media and popular opinion, while language has deformed through manipulation by political activists and social engineers - I think it is safe to say many of us really do not know what we are talking about half the time. 

Ignorance of etymology.

That's it!  Ignorant Redskins all.  (He said 'ignorance'.)  Seriously, Fr. Rutler goes to the root of the problem - ignorance of language and vocabulary.  Discussing the Redskins:
There was real lack of understanding behind complaints about the trademarked name of the Washington Redskins professional football team, as racist and demeaning. That was shot down in District Court, the Court of Appeals, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. One of the original complaints came from a Native American who was one year old when “Redskins” was registered as a mark in 1967. I myself have no case against calling Native Americans “Native Americans,” and I am well aware that the Lenni Lenapes were tilling the land on which I was born for possibly eleven centuries before my natal day. In 1684 a Scots settler, perhaps a Gordon for all we know, said they were “gentle, kind and good.” That was in New Jersey, and anyone born in New Jersey is radically native to America, so I claim the name for myself as well.
Now the case against the Washington Redskins has been revived, and it is an echo of stirrings from the 1970’s when a group of “college activists” forced Dartmouth to change its symbol from an Indian to a Pine Tree, even though pine trees lack athletic prowess. At the time, to the embarrassment of mostly pale-faced campus “activists,” chiefs of tribes across the nation said in a survey that they wanted to keep the Indian. Dartmouth was chartered by King George III in 1769 “for the education & instruction of Youth of the Indian tribes in this Land in reading, writing & all parts of Learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing & christianizing Children of Pagans as well as in all liberal Arts and Sciences; and also of English Youth and any others.”  
The term “Redskin” was a translation of the Peau-Rouge neologism of the benign and longsuffering French Jesuit missionaries. It was also self-referential, and the chief of the Sauks, Quashquame, was recorded in 1825 as referring to his “Red Skin nation.” James Fenimore Cooper popularized the term in allusion to native people he thought “comely” and never as an insult. Not infrequently did various sachems refer to Europeans as “red men” because of how they were sunburned by an unfamiliar outdoor life. - Fr. Rutler, Crisis Magazine
More interesting factoids from the article:

The term savage:
“Savage” is not a high compliment and certainly can be pejorative, but it is properly understood with detachment in the sense of its Latin source silvaticus, meaning wandering and wild, which would apply today to the typical undergraduate, whose vocabulary is much more limited than that of any of the Algonquian language groups.
The term tar baby:
Ignorance of etymology fuels the fire of such people, and consequently there is the foolishness of banning the term “tar baby” from storybooks even though it has nothing to do with race.
The term niggardly:
There is the actual instance of the forced resignation of a mayoral aide in Washington, D.C., for using the word “niggardly” with reference to the city budget. A member of the city council, who objected that the term was racist, was weak in his grasp of Old Norse, origin of the root word nigla, which means “fussing pedantically over nonsense.”
The term gay:
Things got complicated when the shocked city councilman was called “homophobic” by members of the “gay community” which defended the mayoral aide as one of their own. Even the good word “gay” has become freighted with new meaning, and I expect that the Gordon Highlanders may next object that the Scottish folkdance, “the Gay Gordons,” has become misinterpreted. This is not helped by the fact that it is danced counterclockwise. Julian Bond, as head of the NAACP, an organization that has managed steadfastly to keep its official name, sensibly said of the niggardly incident: “You hate to think that you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding.”

"I knew that."

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

 "O my God, You are in me and I am in You."
O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness. - Elizabeth of the Trinity

Blessed Elizabeth understood and experienced her entire being as the sanctuary, the tabernacle of the Most High, the dwelling place of the Blessed Trinity.  Her mission - yes - her very real 'mission' - her peculiar charism - was and remains so in heaven, to teach souls the mystery of the prayer of recollection - our heaven on earth.  Like Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, Blessed Elizabeth understood the secret of sanctity, the secret of the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity.   "God gives the lonely a place to live in..."  He in me, I in Him... on earth and in heaven for all eternity.
"I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying."  - Bl. Elizabeth
The prayer of recollection.

St Teresa notes that we can obtain the prayer of recollection for ourselves, "for this is not a supernatural state [a passive recollection which can only be produced by divine motion], but depends upon our own volition; and by God's favour, we can enter it of our own accord."
Therefore, it is important to know what the soul should do in order to practise this prayer, and this can be reduced to two things: "The soul collects together all its faculties and enters within itself to be with its God" (ibid, 28). Our senses, imagination, and intellect tend spontaneously toward exterior things, on which they are dispersed; therefore, the soul, by a prolonged, resolute act of the will, ought to withdraw them from these exterior things in order to concentrate them on interior things -- in this little heaven of the soul where the Blessed Trinity dwells. This exercise, especially in the beginning, requires effort and energy and it will not be easy at first. However, the Saint teaches, "let the soul try to cultivate the habit, despite the fatigue entailed in recollecting itself and overcoming the body which is trying to reclaim its rights." Little by little, "as a reward for the violence which it had previously done to itself" (ibid.), recollection will become easy and delightful; the senses will obey promptly; and even if the soul is not entirely free from distractions, it will not be so hard to overcome them.
"O my God, You are in me and I am in You. I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is You, O Lord, and You are in my soul. I can find You there always; even when I do not feel Your presence, You are there nevertheless, and I like to seek You there. Oh! if only I could never leave You alone!" (cf. Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letters) - Divine Intimacy


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Icons and mystical experience and apparitions ... and chaff ... and ufo's ... and ...

on the verge of something big? 
Are icons written or painted?

What do you think?

20th century chaff.
New Age projections.

Some prophets do things for profit.
When you see stuff in the sky, it could be chaff.


Pope Francis embraces a disfigured man ...

Love is kind.

... covered in boils - story here.

The man approached for a blessing.  The Pope embraced him, prayed with him and blessed him.

I'm sure everyone has seen the photos and read the story by now - I'm posting it again because it demonstrates kindness ...

A saintly guy...

The famous photo I remember.

Tom Dooley

In grade school the nuns always praised him, the self-sacrificing Dr. Thomas Dooley.  "He went to daily Mass."  In fact there was talk that Dooley could be a saint.  He died at in 1961 at the age of 34 and investigations into the possibilities of sainthood commenced some time later.  It was the investigation into his personal life which revealed his association with the CIA - not as a spy, but as a sort of benevolent informant.  I'm not sure, but these investigations may also have revealed rumors that Dooley participated in homosexual activities.  Evidently the cause was dropped, although I wonder if there was any type of positio gathered and documented?

Dooley died a faithful and devout Catholic.  He had a missionary spirit and is regarded a fine humanitarian, having received many honors before and after death.  A very brief biography can be found here

I post about him since gay people seem to want a saint who was gay.  Dooley possibly experienced same sex attraction, but obviously managed to integrate it into his life.  If homosexual activity is verifiable, I would see this as a sign of moral struggle, that he probably mastered with grace and the sacraments.  Not knowing the facts, it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider that perhaps the CIA invented the homosexual activity as an option to discredit Dooley, should circumstances have called for some sort of disavowal.  Nevertheless, Dooley generously sacrificed his life in service to others - a sign of heroic virtue, while foundations he either began or inspired, continue his work today.

I would like to look more closely at his life and reputation for sanctity.  If anyone knows what happened with the initial investigation for canonization, let me know.  Oddly enough, I met the priest responsible for the cause several times in the 1980's and '90's, never knowing about his work on the Dooley cause.  His name was Rev. Maynard Kegler.  I just found out Fr. Kegler died a year ago, on November 3, 2012.   Talk about the communion of saints, huh?

Dr. Dooley appeared on What's My Line shortly before his death,

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Medjugorje Clamp Down? Dateline October 21, 2013

But!  But!  But!  Pope Francis!  The Pope waved at someone from Medjugorje!

I can tell people love this story.  (Maybe not the followers of Medj.)  What it is in effect is a reiteration by the CDF of a declaration from 1991 that the Bishops of the former republic of Yugoslavia had it right the first time.  The followers of Medj have added so many exceptions and loopholes to all that the ordinary authorities have said regarding pilgrimages and promoting the messages, that many Catholics are not only confused, but completely turned off to anything associated with private revelations.

This new directive is a clarification which forbids the travelling apparition sideshow 'experience' and gatherings where the apparitions are promoted as authentic and simply awaiting approval.  Fr. Z posted the document here.

Medjugorje aside, I wish statements or directives were forthcoming from the CDF regarding the very strange visionaries who returned from Medjugorje with their own brand of apparitions and loco-locutions.  Cristina Gallagher comes to mind, as does the Scottsdale phenomena, and other sites throughout the country.  These things take on a life of their own and wind up on Catholic news portals, for your 'discernment' pages.

Every few months I think the CDF should issue directives about a host of matters.  It wouldn't hurt to reissue Catholic teaching on homosexuality either.  Just to keep up with the pop-psychology, and dubious secular research claiming it normal and natural and the Church is going to changer its teaching on sexuality.

No She isn't.

For your discernment?  Many Catholics can't even discern their way to Sunday Mass.

There are many good people devoted to the Madonna whose lives have been changed at Medjugorje; many have dedicated their lives to following Christ.  These are good people.  Many will be confused by the news and perhaps discouraged.  We need to keep praying together and be kind to one another.  Our Lady always tells us, "Do whatever He tells you."  She will prepare our hearts to accept God's will.

As I always say, I await the decision of the Church.


From The Church of Nice...

"Back off bit--, I've got a cold."

What to say at the sign of peace.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Investiture of Dr. Alice von Hildebrand: She's a Lady!*

file photo

Lady Alice von Hildebrand.

Cardinal Burke invested Dr. Alice von Hildebrand as a Dame Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great, an honor Pope Francis bestowed on her Sept. 19.
For her part, von Hildebrand shifted the evening’s attention to the work of her late husband and the influence it had on her. - Source

She really is so humble.  Always deferring to her late husband.  One day I expect she will be declared a saint.  I admire her very much.  Congratulations Dame Alice!

“In Lady Alice, which is a most fitting title, the Church has a daughter who is most greatly gifted in teaching and writing.  She is always ready to defend the truth, which is found is Jesus Christ, our Savior.” - Cardinal Schönborn

*Very, very few people realize that Tom Jones originally dedicated his famous song to Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, but her late husband was against it. (Kind of like how Neil Diamond claimed he dedicated Sweet Caroline to Caroline Kennedy.)  What?  The Tom Jones song here.

More weird saints stuff...

St. Zosimas and Mary

I'm grateful when someone notable writes about crazy saints.

I enjoy writing about them - weird saints, that is.  Most recently I wrote about some of the transvestite monks - women pretending to be men so they could be a monk.  How did they get away with it?  I have one idea.  Did you know that anorexics frequently stop menstruating?  Therefore the monks wouldn't be bothered by the 'scent of a woman'.  HOO-HAH!

[And yet I wonder why my posts on the subject are ignored.]

"The Anomalous Saints” is in fact the title of a new book by the late Belgian Benedictine monk, Reginald Gregoire.  It is fitting that a monk should write about such saints, as monasteries have their share of strange people living within their enclosures, saints in the making, but nonetheless weird.  Oh, it's true.  In the monastery where I lived for such a very short time we had some crazy monks.  One old brother could escape the Infirmary and wander into the Guest House naked.  Another old brother loved to regale the guests with stories of how he died once.  So you see, strange people can indeed be sanctified.

I think Reginald Gregoire's book would be fun to read:
Browsing through the book’s pages, the reader discovers that Serapion – a 4th century monk – was called the Sindonite, an adjective which was probably roughly equivalent to today’s term “nudist”. The saint wore just a shroud (a linen tunic) as a symbol of absolute poverty. Then there is David the Dendrite of Thessaloniki (6th century) spent his life atop a tree as a sign of penitence. Not to mention the “transvestite” female saints – this is in fact far more common in hagiography than one would expect – who for years pretended to be men to escape violence or for other reasons. St. Paula the Bearded is another very strange case. She was venerated at Avila, Spain and according to a 19th century legend she apparently took refuge in a chapel to get away from a young man with evil intentions and prayed for help before the cross. The legend says when she left the chapel she had a beard and moustache growing on her face and this made her harasser run away.

But Gregoire’s book is not all amusing stories like this. The events surrounding the lives of some saints lead to far more serious questions: the Virgin Lidvina, a Dutch 19th century mystic was an anorexic. Her biography proved interesting for the history of medicine.  - Vatican Insider

Mary of Egypt was naked and clothed by the monk Zosimas.  Some of the ascetics and fools for Christ went around naked as well.  Of course, many ascetics probably could be diagnosed anorexic today.  Therefore, the naked ones would hardly be an occasion of sin for anyone, I'm sure.  They followed the humiliated Christ ...
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  - Isaiah 53

I love crazy, eccentric people.

"Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame." - Luke 14: 15-24, Today's Gospel.

Is this the 'church of nice' I hear so much about?

“I don’t think church leaders should pretend to be something they’re not.”
- Rev.  Nadia Bolz-Weber
She doesn't look nice ...

Rev.  Nadia Bolz-Weber bounds into the University United Methodist Church sanctuary like a superhero from Planet Alternative Christian. Her 6-foot-1 frame is plastered with tattoos, her arms are sculpted by competitive weightlifting and, to show it all off, this pastor is wearing a tight tank top and jeans.
Looking out at the hundreds of people crowded into the pews to hear her present the gospel of Jesus Christ, she sees: Dockers and blazers. Sensible shoes. Grandmothers and soccer moms. Nary a facial piercing. - Finish reading here.
Thanks to PML for the laugh.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Pope Francis conducting a poll? I didn't think so.

"The female cardinal deal isn't happening either honey."

Survey says.

Polls?  That's how il fatto Catholic bloggers and other Catholic dissidents operate. 

  • Vote early and vote often. 
  • Go stack the polls at WAPO, NCR, NYT's, LCWR. 
  • Flood the bishops office with letters demanding the EF and pretty churches.
  • Should priests be women?
  • Go spike his stats. 
  • Should buskins be worn on the bus? 

Sound familiar?  Polls are notoriously inaccurate and easily manipulated.

Fr. Lombardi.

It's not really a poll.

.- The director of the Holy See press office has clarified that Pope Francis has not presented a questionnaire to Catholics worldwide to consult on homosexual unions and divorced persons, as some news outlets have reported.
This assertion, made by Italian daily il Fatto Quotidiano among others, is “not true” and in fact the basis is “only a document sent to bishops' conferences throughout the world by the secretary general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, in preparation for the synod of bishops,” Fr. Federico Lombardi told CNA Nov. 2.
He added that the synod, which will be held Oct. 5-19, 2014, will be dedicated to “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” The synod will focus on pastoral responses to the problems of divorce and gay marriage, as well as other challenges to the health of families. - CNA

I told you ChaCha, the questions
 'are not regarding the doctrinal position of the Church.'”

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday misses...

St. Martin de Porres

His story is so extraordinary...

Today there are no lay brothers like him.  They pretty much abolished the vocation.  Everyone must be somebody now.

They say 3000 people leave religious life each year. 

Everyone must be somebody now.

Souls in purgatory.

I believe there is a purgatory. 

I believe what the Catholic Church teaches.

Most people know the Church changed the rules on indulgences so that we no longer count days or years.*  Indulgences are now simply plenary or partial.  Counting time pretty much stops at death, right?  I don't know.  At any rate - souls who do not go straight to heaven, and those who are not damned, need to be purged -  hence they are purified before they enter into the fullness of the Beatific Vision.  Maybe that is not the right way to describe it either. 

From all accounts, the purification process is painful - but not without hope... the soul knows he is saved. 

Yet the Church asks for prayers and suffrages for the Holy Souls.  They are called holy because they are saved.  Holy people on earth seem to suffer rather well - at least the saints did - I suppose because they loved much.  Likewise, the Holy Souls must grow in charity, and therefore have peace in their sufferings - don't you think?

Yet they need our prayers.  It is such a mystery.  Some of the saints and mystics said they communicated with the souls in purgatory - many often came to tell them they needed prayers and Masses, and so on.  The other day I posted on a museum of Holy Souls, which contains artifacts from souls - evidence they left for the living as proof of their existence.  That can be scary to people.

I believe what the Church teaches - I don't always believe what the mystics say however.  For instance, I have a hard time believing the Maria Simma stories. 

Of course, I pray for the souls of the dead, and have Masses said for them. 

I sincerely hope I make it to purgatory. 

I like the art.

*Did you know that the designation of so many days indulgence wasn't counted as time off in purgatory but counted for as many days of earthly penance instead?  I read that somewhere.  So if someone alive started now, doing penance - and did so for the rest of his life, he might well avoid purgatory all together.  Kind of.


"Today I must stay at your house."

I love this Gospel - in fact I have been thinking of it on and off for several days, so I was surprised when I discovered it was today's Gospel.

The Holy Father has a beautiful homily for today, as do many other priests.  The homily I heard was kind of hard to understand.  Father mentioned that Zacchaeus was fat.  I wasn't sure where he got that, but I checked online and it is suggested in some online entries, or 'teachings'.  I think homilies are important, but if you are going to 'outsource' them, maybe keep it simple and focus on one point - one good anecdote.  No offense intended - it just would be more helpful for the listeners to follow.

As I said, I've always liked this Gospel, and I've been thinking about for several days.

Zacchaeus is sort of a funny guy - the Gospel passage strikes me as sort of humorous.  I like to think his enthusiasm delighted Our Lord.  Christ may have already been told who Zacchaeus was and most likely knew what he did, and why he was despised.  Of course, he also could see into his heart, and more deeply, God "knew him before he formed him in his mother's womb."  Therefore it seems to me safe to say, Christ first went in search of Zacchaeus, "for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you"  as St. John of the Cross says.

Since my monastery days - I've been accustomed to understanding this Gospel as an invitation to recollection, the prayer of recollection.  I like to imagine Christ, in the deepest center of our heart, of our soul, calling us to leave behind our preoccupation with externals, the distractions we seek and those which assail us.  I like to think Jesus calls us to come down, to get out of our brains as it were, to put aside all the intellectual, theological speculation and commune with him in silent, loving prayer.  Even when we find ourselves so imperfect.  Despite our failures, I think Christ sees us already cleansed of our sins, and calls out:
"O soul, most beautiful of all creatures, that so greatly desires to know the place where your Beloved is, in order to seek Him and be united with Him.... It is a matter of great contentment and joy for you to see that He is so near you as to be within you. Rejoice and be glad in your inward recollection with Him, since you have Him so near. There desire Him, there adore Him, and do not go to seek Him outside yourself." - Spiritual Canticle
This prayer of recollection can become habitual, and like the sheep pastured by the Good Shepherd, the soul "will come in and go out and find pasture" - all the while remaining in his presence, before his watchful gaze.  The prayer of recollection becomes the pasture, as it were.  As Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection said, "That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times."

When good people grumble about our sinfulness and scandalous life, (and they do) - then we can all the more repent, and rejoice with Zacchaeus, that we are at last 'found out'.  We can then  follow the example of Zacchaeus, confess our failings, striving to make reparation, while trusting in God's mercy - God, who first loved us, who sought us out, with the intention of staying in our house this day.  We can repent every day, and return to our inward cell of recollection.  Because God comes to save what was lost.
“There is no occupation or social condition, no sin or crime of any kind, that could erase from the memory and the heart of God even one of His children.” God is a Father, always keeping a watchful and loving vigil “to see reborn in the hearts of the child the desire to return home. And when He recognizes that desire, even simply stated, He is immediately close by, and with His forgiveness He makes the path of conversion and return easier.” - Pope Francis