Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chasing my tail

Getting sucked into the debate over the New Homophiles.

It's getting deep and way over my head - the arguments which show up in the com boxes at Crisis on the subject of concern over the new homophiles.  Last weekend I was invited to comment on Austin Ruse's post, which included a mention of my posts on the group, and I've been distracted ever since.  The arguments in the com box at Crisis remind me of a cat chasing her tail.  They wear me down, distract me, confuse me - that's what I mean by making my head swim and chasing my tail.

The arguments are getting to be like the Chris West controversy over his interpretation of Theology of the Body.  It tends to be more an academic-intellectual debate playing magisterial and non-magisterial teaching against each other rather than fostering any deeper understanding.  The so-called new homophiles usually speak over the heads of the ordinary person.  They claim to be leaving Catholic teaching intact, yet it nearly always sounds foreign to the common understanding Catholics have of traditional moral teaching.  They use self-referential gay vernacular in their literature,  explaining how faithful they are to Catholic teaching while dismissing what they consider offensive or hard to understand language used in Magisterial instructions.  A fact more than ironic, since Magisterial-catechetical teaching is always clearly stated and much easier to understand than anything these people write in their own defense.

There is nothing wrong with this group per se, and they will tell you that.  The insistence on accepting the Church's teaching on chastity is their standard claim to orthodoxy.  Chastity is after all, what the Catholic Church calls everyone to - according to one's state in life.  Chastity is more than simply abstinence from sexual behavior - but that's another post.  It is clear their network is very tight, perhaps exclusive, a safe distance above theological scrutiny, until now.  The Crisis series is a very good exposé  if you will, bringing to light the confusion generated by this movement.

Like I said, I do believe they are faithful to Church teaching as regards chastity, but what seems in process of developing is a promotion the so-called gay lifestyle - more or less inadvertently perhaps - by advocating queer theory, gender confusion, as well as the idea that God created some persons gay.  In other words, they are saying homosexuality is a good in itself, that it is a gift from God.  This is where they come very close to rejecting magisterial teaching regarding the very nature of man.  I wholeheartedly agree with Mattson and Ruse in calling for their positions to be examined by Catholic theologians.  The articles in Crisis magazine, and the debate these essays generate will hopefully bring about such an examination.

"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." - Veritatis Splendor

Friday, January 24, 2014

About that Spiritual Friendship thing ...

From St. Francis de Sales:
There are some who will tell you that you should avoid all special affection or friendship, as likely to engross the heart, distract the mind, excite jealousy, and what not. But they are confusing things. They have read in the works of saintly and devout writers that individual friendships and special intimacies are a great hindrance in the religious life, and therefore they suppose it to be the same with all the world, which is not at all the case. - Introduction to the Devout Life

And then I annotated this section:
"Whatever is founded on mere sensuality, vanity, or frivolity, is unworthy to be called friendship. I mean such attractions as are purely external; a sweet voice, personal beauty, and the cleverness or outward show which have great weight with some. You will often hear women and young people gay men unhesitatingly decide that such an one is very delightful, very admirable, because he is good-looking, well-dressed, sings, or dances, or talks well. Even charlatans esteem the wittiest clown amongst them as their best man. But all these things are purely sensual, and the connections built on such foundation must be vain and frivolous, more fitly to be called trifling than friendship. They spring up chiefly among young people, gay men who are easily fascinated by personal attractions, dress, and gossip—friendships in which the tailor and hairdresser have the chief part. How can such friendships be other than short lived, melting away like snow wreaths in the sun!" - St. Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Former Head of the Swiss Guard Confirms the Existence of Gay Lobby.

Gay Lobby.

“I can speak from personal experience as to the existence of this lobby,” said ex-Swiss Guard Chief Elmer Mader. - Ex Swiss Guards Chief: Vatican 'Gay Lobby' Poses Risks For Pope

The former commander seemed to back up such allegations, in the interview published Sunday. “The problem is that this network is comprised of people loyal to each other, so it constitutes a sort of secret society,” said Mäder, who headed up the iconic Swiss troops responsibile for the protection of the Pope. from 2002 to 2008. “If I had discovered that one of my men was gay, I would have never, ever promoted them... the risk of disloyalty would have been too high.” - ibid
Watching you...

Sources tell us well known Patheos blogger Katty Fernandez* a devout Catholic, expressed regret that the Holy Father could be at risk, but was thrilled by the implications that the entire Swiss Guard is obviously straight:  "I can't blame gay clerics for their attractions, but these brave men are straight, and I'm going over to Rome asap to show my support ... for the canonization ... err ... and maybe to shop for rosaries and stuff.  For evangelization and all that good stuff. You know. Yeah... well ... yeah ...  That's all."

*Crescat is well known for her stalking admiration of Swiss Guardsmen.

One! singular sensation...
song here

BTW:  Vatican officials seem to doubt the reports: The Vatican’s deputy Secretary of State called on former vice commander of the Swiss guard to give names regarding claims that a powerful ‘gay lobby’ exists in the Vatican. More here.

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

A day of prayer and penance.

I told you so: On those notorious Beatles album covers...

The Four Holy Crowned Beatles

From Scott Eric Alt ...

A take down of the Taylor Marshall 'moral panic' post*, Did the Beatles promote abortion?.  Read it here.

I wrote my rebuttal here.  In my eagerness to defend the good name of the Beatles, it appears I too may have depended upon a couple mistaken notions, 'urban myths' regarding the cover Dr. Marshall mistook as an evil machination of the devil.

  1. The cover wasn't a commentary on war.
  2. The cover wasn't a slam against the record industry.
Otherwise I got it right.  I know my history kids!  

Thank you Mr. Alt.

"I fear those who have such great fear 
of the devil more than I do the devil himself..."

* Kidding.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



Watching it now on PBS.

Song for this post here.

Soon to be Cardinal Abp. Sebastián Aguila: "Homosexuality is a deficient way of manifesting sexuality."

[Ed. note:  This story has been reported elsewhere without direct quotes.  I found a translation of the interview at Rorate Caeli.  If the translation is accurate, I see nothing wrong with what the Archbishop says about homosexuality.]
- The Pope go to great lengths in his gestures of respect and esteem for all persons, but he does not betray or modify the traditional Magisterium of the Church. It is one thing to display welcoming and affection to a homosexual person, and something else to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality. I can tell one person that has a certain deficiency that it is what it is, but this does not mean that I stop caring for him and helping him. I believe that is the position of the pope, and likewise regarding homosexual marriage or divorces. We will be on his [the person's] side, but the Church cannot change the moral demands. Love always demands fidelity and irrevocability. Human love is what it is, and the Church must defend the truth and the deep authenticity of man, helping all, those who accomplish it well, and those who make mistakes or fail.
- Many complain and do not tolerate it, but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a deficient way of manifesting sexuality, because the latter has a structure and an end, which is that of procreation. Homosexuality, which cannot reach this and, is faulty. This is not an outrage for anyone. We have in our body many deficiencies. I have high blood pressure, should I get upset because others tell me so? It is a deficiency that I have to correct as well as I can. To identify in a homosexual [person] a deficiency is not offensive, it is a help, because many cases of homosexuality can be treated and normalized with adequate treatment. It is not an offense, it is care. When a person has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him so. - Source 

Again - it works for me.  There is nothing different in what the Archbishop says from what approved Church documents and the Catechism says: The inclination itself is intrinsically disordered.  Everyone must have that memorized by now.  People shouldn't get upset over such statements.

The Archbishop said what he said and did so with charity and understanding.  It may also be true, that in some cases, if and when a person is determined and committed to change, it may be possible to do so. Nevertheless, the person must be highly motivated to change, and he would need to have access to reliable treatment.  Likewise, if professional help is willingly pursued, a person must be able to afford the cost.  The poor cannot be expected to do this - therefore the Church does not make such a demand.  The Church calls all to conversion, and requires chastity and faith, but not therapy or treatment.

That said, nothing is impossible with God.  God's grace is sufficient.

NB: Some 'gay-Catholics' and most gay activists object to the idea of sexual orientation change or reparative therapy for unwanted same sex attraction or homosexual behavior.  The Church does not mandate such therapies nor does the Church address the issue of change.  Oddly enough, GLBTQ activists, Catholic and secular, who are almost always against reparative therapy, frequently cite research on sexual fluidity and gender-queer issues, proposing such theories that sexual orientation is not fixed.  ("The dogmatic assertion that if you are gay once, you will always be gay, overshadows the real experience of women who have undergone a change in their sexual attractions." - Melinda Selmys)  Hence it strikes me as somewhat inconsistent that these 'thinkers' are now against something as benign as voluntary, elective reparative therapy to help someone overcome unwanted same sex attraction and/or behavior.  

Fr. Spaulding Mystery Unfolds ...

If the news story is true, it is shocking news indeed.

A Vatican court has recommended that a Phoenix cleric be removed from the priesthood.
The Rev. John Spaulding, a priest in the Diocese of Phoenix for 40 years, has been accused by four people of sexually abusing them decades ago when they were minors.
The judgment was reached by a special tribunal, an independent panel of three priests from across the U.S. who have doctorates in canon law. The panel was convened at the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican agency.
The special tribunal found Spaulding guilty of sins against the Sixth Commandment with a minor and recommended that he be dismissed from the clerical state, a process commonly known as “laicization” or defrocking. The commandment, commonly recounted as “You shall not commit adultery,” refers to all sexual sins, according to the Catholic Church. - Source

Fr. Spaulding was a well known supporter of Medjugorje and was pastor of the Church of St. Maria Goretti when similar apparitions/messages were transmitted there.  He is also well known for his ministry to the deaf and youth.  I've written about him in the past here.

Does Vatican Insider have the inside scoop on Medjugorje? One thing to know and share...

I don't know, but your stats sure go through the roof whenever you post anything about Medj.

On Spiritual Deception ...

Disciple: Give me a precise and detailed notion of spiritual deception [prelest].  What exactly is this condition?

Elder: Spiritual deception is the wounding of human nature by falsehood. Spiritual deception is the state of all men without exception, and it has been made possible by the fall of our original parents. All of us are subject to spiritual deception. Awareness of this fact is the greatest protection against it. Likewise, the greatest spiritual deception of all is to consider oneself free from it. We are all deceived, all deluded; we all find ourselves in a condition of falsehood; we all need to be liberated by the Truth. The Truth is our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:32-14:6). Let us assimilate that Truth by faith in it; let us cry out in prayer to this Truth, and it will draw us out of the abyss of demonic deception and self-delusion. Bitter is our state! It is that prison from which we beseech that our souls be led out, that we may confess the name of the Lord (Ps. 141:8). It is that gloomy land into which our life has been cast by the enemy that hates and pursues us. It is that carnal-mindedness (Rom. 8:6) and knowledge falsely so called (I Tim. 6:20) wherewith the entire world is infected, refusing to acknowledge its illness, insisting, rather, that it is in the bloom of health. It is that “flesh and blood” which “cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50). It is that eternal death which is healed and destroyed by the Lord Jesus, Who is “the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn. 11:25). Such is our state. And the perception thereof is a new reason to weep. With tears let us cry out to the Lord Jesus to bring us out of prison, to draw us forth from the depths of the earth, and to wrest us from the jaws of death! “For this cause did our Lord Jesus Christ descend to us,” says the venerable Symeon the New Theologian, “because he wanted to rescue us from captivity and from most wicked spiritual deception.” - Archbishop Brianchaninov

+ + +

Let us turn out attention to yet another important law of spiritual life. It consists in “the like interrelationship of virtues and of vices” or, to put it another way, in the strict consequentiality and mutual conditioning of the acquisition of virtues as well as the action of passions. Saint Ignatius writes, “Because of this like relationship, voluntary submission to one good thought leads to the natural submission to another good thought; acquisition of one virtue leads another virtue into the soul which is like unto and inseparable from the first. The reverse is also true: voluntary submission to one sinful thought brings involuntarily submission to another; acquisition of one sinful passion leads another passion related to it into the soul; the voluntary committing of one sin leads to the involuntary fall into another sin born of the first. Evil, as the fathers say, cannot bear to dwell unmarried in the heart” (5:351). - Alexei Ilyich Osipov - Based on the Writings of St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)

+ + +

Weak faith and carelessness are expressions of people’s irreligion, but even a pious person is not protected from spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide, either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called prelest, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, lay people who are zealous in outward ascetic struggles undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintainces in feats of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In all events in their lives they see special, intentional directions from God or their Guardian Angel, and then they start imagining that they are God’s elect, and not infrequently try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness — Spiritual Delusion. - Metropolitan Anthony Krapovistsky

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why do so many gay people smoke?

Strike the pose...

Because it adds drama?

Someone mentioned to me that I could be trying to cause 'moral panic' in the way I speak about the behavior of gay people.  As if I even made any mention about the evils of smoking tobacco.

The myth of the healthy gay lifestyle* ...

I came across this very funny article from Slate this morning:

Why Do So Many Gay People Smoke?*

The author seems to believe it is internalized homophobia, specifically self-loathing:
If anyone has a reason to smoke, gay people do. Gays have higher rates of PTSD,depression, and anxiety—all of which lead to the urge for a cigarette. And a tragically high number of gay people are told that they are diseased, aberrant, intrinsically disordered throughout their youths, fostering a self-loathing that can lead, if not to suicide, than to nearly suicidal activities.
All Americans know that cigarettes kill you, LGBTQ people included—and in a sense, that’s part of the problem. We can wave CDC morbidity studies around all day, but a gay person struggling with self-loathing won’t particularly care. In fact, in a perverse way, the hazard is the draw for gay kids who see no reason to continue living. Merely reminding the LGBTQ community that smoking is awful will do nothing to curb it. The root of the problem—self-loathing cultivated by years of being told you’re a disordered monster—goes too deep to be resolved by scolding PSAs, tempting as that quick fix might seem.
Instead, the solution to the LGBTQ smoking crisis is, essentially, to do nothing—nothing more, that is, than we’re already doing to promote gay rights across the country. Every time a states’ citizens give the thumbs-up to gay marriage, every time a federal judge grants basic equality to gay people, a new generation of LGBTQ youth becomes a little less prone to self-hatred and self-destruction. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s insistence that gay people deserve equal dignity probably did more to curb smoking among gay youth than any anti-smoking ad ever could. As gay people become more accepted in mainstream life, so, too, will gay teens feel less tempted to exorcise their agony with risky behavior like smoking. But until gay people are truly welcomed in all facets of society, gay kids will keep turning to those vices that, in the midst of such overwhelming bleakness, provide a fleeting (and ruinous) moment of relief. - Source
"... will gay teens feel less tempted to exorcise their agony with risky behavior like smoking. But until gay people are truly welcomed in all facets of society, gay kids will keep turning to those vices that, in the midst of such overwhelming bleakness, provide a fleeting (and ruinous) moment of relief."


That is completely nuts.

*I'm not sure why people bother with these stories intended to point out unhealthy aspects of the gay lifestyle.  Health cautions or concerns have little effect upon young people in general.  Gay or straight.

Song for this post here.

Medjugorje in the news.

Good news too.
And so today, a reliable source close to the Vatican, biographer Andreas Tornielli, reveals that the international commission set up by Benedict XVI almost four years ago to study the Medjugorje phenomenon has concluded:


Tornielli went on to say in his report: “Some of the Commission’s members have highlighted the need for a change of pace in the provision of pastoral care to millions of faithful who come to Medjugorje from all over the world. The Commission and Cardinal Ruini himself, thanks to visits by people close to him, have noticed that people really are converting to the faith or returning to the sacraments – what the Church refers to as spiritual fruits –  in a significant way.” - Source
Works for me.

Of course official decisions, statements, and instructions will have to be made public, but it looks rather positive for devotees of Our Lady who believe the Blessed Virgin appears in Medjugorje.  Will the Church approve the apparitions or confirm the events as supernatural?  I may be wrong, but it seems unlikely before all the 'secrets' are revealed to those seers who haven't received them, and before some supernatural 'sign' is given.  Likewise, the best that could be said is the rare conclusion that the events are worthy of belief.

What seems certain is the - so far - unofficial position that there is no hoax, no deception, no scam.  The finding will surely clarify there is no prohibition against pilgrimages to the site: “The Commission is not opposed to Medjugorje as a place of faith where faithful pilgrims gather” Cardinal Puljic confirms."  

Personally, I haven't been attracted to Mejugorje, though I've always been open to what the Church decides on the phenomena.  For me, the best witnesses for the authenticity of the apparitions have always been the faithful who have traveled to Medjugorje and have received some signal grace there.  Those whom I've met have often impressed and edified me by their devotion, fervor, good works, as well as their fidelity to the Holy Father.  Another good sign from Medjugorje has been the vocations to the priesthood and religious life that have resulted from the experience.

What is needed of course is pastoral care for the pilgrims who go to the site and return home inspired by the messages and spiritual experience and who have dedicated themselves to evangelization.  Pastoral care and spiritual direction is essential to protect, guide and sustain these faithful as they grow in faith and fidelity to Catholic teaching.

That said, I await the decision of the Church.

+ + +

[I should add that it seems to me that Fatima still has to come to fulfillment - and that message, or call to conversion, prayer and penance needs to be heeded.  I accept Fatima without any problems.  Nevertheless I tend to be skeptical about other modern purported apparitions and private revelations.  I even have doubts about Akita - and that apparition was approved by the local ordinary.]  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Genderqueer, what is it?

Photo credit: Sartorialist

From Wiki (Because it is a convenient and concise definition):

Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.[1] Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:
  • having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.
  • two or more genders (bigendertrigenderpangender);
  • without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender; neutrois);
  • moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);
  • third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender; - Source

If you've been out of school for awhile, don't read a lot, do not follow news, and consider yourself 'normal', these terms, which have been constructed to define a growing philosophy of sexuality, will be foreign to many of my readers.  Gender fluid and sexual fluidity are important non-binary conditions as well.  These terms are important in understanding movements to 'queer the Church'.

What does the Vatican say about genderqueer?


Although there is no official document addressing the issue, Pope Benedict XVI did comment on the problem in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia in 2012:
After giving a brief overview of the past year’s events, Pope Benedict XVI said that the crisis is shaking the institution of the family to its foundations, particularly in the West. When we reject lasting bonds, the Pope added, ”the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.”
Benedict XVI criticised  gender theory, citing a study by the Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim and Simone de Beauvoir’s famous phrase: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). “These words,” the Pope explained, “lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.” 
 According to this new theory of sexuality “people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity… They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.” If the duality between man and woman ceases to exist, the Pope explained, then “neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. - Source
Be aware of what your kids are being taught and who or what teaching is forming their conscience.

Top photo: Andrea Pompilio Menswear Fall/Winter 2014

Two women?  Or a man and a woman?