Saturday, November 01, 2014

Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity Conference - pretty one dimensional?

Day One: Gay Celibates in Christ Conference.

A little non-denominational as well?

I'm not on Facebook or Twitter so I may be missing play by play coverage - but I don't think I'm missing much so far.  Interestingly, after looking through the schedule for the Conference I saw no clergy represented, no prayer sessions, and no indication of a Mass in conjunction with the event - no bishop either.  A woman religious who teaches at Notre Dame will be speaking - but that's as close as it gets to a Catholic event.

Which may explain why there is nothing very little on Catholic Internet covering the Conference.

Except Eve Tushnet, and me.

Eve Tushnet posted on the first day here.  The report is literally just notes - not unlike the briefings I'm getting from my guy on the floor - as well as my parody reports and exclusive photos ... which I enjoy doing.  (Although Spiritual Friendship geeks are not known for their sense of humor.)

So what did Eve have to report?
Ron Belgau (my paraphrase): The Bible doesn’t appeal to the Creation narratives to settle questions of scientific curiosity. Genesis 1 is about the liturgical rhythms of work and worship. Genesis 2 is about love, loneliness, and marriage. And the longest Creation narrative isn’t in Genesis but in Job, where it’s used to remind us that God is in control. 
This speech is not a safe space for Protestants. - Tushnet
Maybe not for Catholics either.  My guy had this to say:
"If ONLY you knew how the 1st talk went off: gloves off, slapping back & forth (albeit politely)... DM took him to task and so did DE." - DB on the floor for AB - literally.
I knew DM was going to be there but I did not know DE would be there.  (I had suggested to DB that spanking might be needed, I wasn't thinking of slapping at all.)

So anyway.

So far coverage for an openly gay conference seems to me to be closeted at best.  There was more information forthcoming from the Synod last month than this thing.

If ONLY you knew how the 1st talk went off: 
gloves off, slapping back & forth (albeit politely)

Ed. Note: A serious overview of the Gay in Christ Conference may be found at The Cardinal Newman Society website here.

I didn't know the conference is also billed as a 'workshop':
In correspondence with The Newman Society, Cavadini said that he planned Notre Dame’s “Gay in Christ” conference “as a ‘workshop’ style conference that was exploratory and on the small side, not a conference that proclaims immediate results or even settled views.”
Isn't that the way for everything these days?  Implant, propagate ideas in workshop format - no settled views put forward - while challenging Catholic teaching and insuring there be an endless dialogue in order to facilitate development of doctrine?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Just a thought before the start of the Gay in Christ Conference at Notre Dame ...

The Conference schedule is here.

I'm not sure all that many Catholics are aware of the importance of this conference, which will most likely affect the way gay people are treated within the Catholic Church, at least throughout the United States.  Hence it is important to pray for the Conference, its speakers/presenters, as well as the participants/audience.  I may have fun with the event - but I respect those who will be attending.

I think Today's First Reading from Philippians is more than providential for the opening day of the Conference, as well as a good prayer to ponder:
I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the Gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right that I should think this way about all of you,
because I hold you in my heart,
you who are all partners with me in grace,
both in my imprisonment
and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel.
For God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,

so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God. - Philippians 1: 1-11

I could be wrong of course. 

Fortitude and Magnanimity

"The principal act of fortitude is endurance, that is, to stand immovable in the midst of dangers rather than to attack them." - St. Thomas

"Fortitude and magnanimity. They are like the two opposite sides of a pointed arch, supporting each other.

Fortitude is the moral virtue which strengthens the soul in the pursuit of the difficult good so that it does not allow itself to be shaken by the greatest obstacles. It should dominate the fear of danger, fatigue, criticism, all that would paralyze our efforts toward the good. It prevents man from capitulating in a cowardly manner when he should fight; it also moderates audacity and untimely exaltation which would drive him to temerity.

Fortitude has two principal acts: to undertake courageously and to endure difficult things. The Christian should endure them for the love of God; it is more difficult to endure for a long time than in a moment of enthusiasm, to undertake courageously something difficult. 

Fortitude is accompanied by patience to endure the sorrows of life without being disturbed and without murmuring, by longanimity which endures trials for a long time, and by constancy in good, which is opposed to obduracy in evil.

To the virtue of fortitude is also linked that of magnanimity, which leads to the lofty practice of all the virtues, avoiding pusillanimity and effeminacy, but without falling into presumption, vainglory, or ambition." - Garrigou-Lagrange

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Disordered affection ...

Gay people hate the word disordered.  

It is one of the single most objectionable words used in Catholic teaching regarding homosexual acts.  It was even mentioned at the Synod - as hurtful language.  The use of the word disordered is one of the objections to the CDF documents regarding pastoral care of homosexual persons.  It is why not a few gay-Catholics dislike Cardinal Ratzinger - Pope Benedict - simply because he was in charge at the time and responsible for updating the Catechism as well as issuing the following clarification:
Since “[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (aforementioned) declaration..., an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good”, the letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. - Some considerations ...
The supreme pontiff, St. John Paul II, signed off on all of it - meaning the CDF or Ratzinger did not step outside Catholic doctrine.

Inordinate affection.

In the spiritual life - which every Christian is called to - terms such as disordered and inordinate are frequently used to describe obstacles to 'our perfect union with God'.  Recently, a meditation from Archbishop Luis Martinez appeared in Magnificat magazine, which may help us understand better the meaning of such terminology and the reason why it is used.
Whenever the affections of the heart are not an expansion of divine love, they are an obstacle to our perfect union with God. (an obstacle to sanctity)
Although every affection that blossoms from the love of God is holy, and increases our perfection rather than impedes it, the same is not true of any other affection that has purely human and natural roots; for from affections of this kind come forth sins, both mortal and venial.
Inordinate affections are the root of sin ...
When at any time an affection rises to the point of taking complete possession of our heart in such a way that it causes us to place our happiness and our final end in a creature, then mortal sin is committed; for mortal sin is nothing else but the triumph of an inordinate affection over the love of God.
Very often a disordered affection does not go to such an extreme, yet it can contrive to live side by side with the love of God.  Then it is a species of parasite that prevents the love of God from developing in all its fullness and in all its glory.  In this case, a disordered affection is the cause only of venial sins or simply imperfections, yet, in every instance, it hampers the perfect development of the love of God. - Archbishop Luis M. Martinez

Spiritual Friendship: See - it really is based on revisionist interpretation...

The Problem of Gay Friendship

For many of his contemporary admirers, however, Aelred’s significance goes deeper than this. The late historian John Boswell, in his classic work of revisionist historiography Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, puts it bluntly: “There can be little question that Aelred was gay and that his erotic attraction to men was a dominant force in his life.  Accordingly, many readers have seen in Aelred and his treatises the possibility of a Christian affirmation of gay partnerships. Aelred’s writings on friendship, in this view, may be read as commendations not just of chaste, intimate same-sex relationships but also of specifically romantic partnerships between men (and, by extension, between women). Aelred becomes, consequently, the patron saint of gay and lesbian love, the historical forerunner of advocates for same-sex marriage in the church today. - Source

Watch for up to the minute - exclusive - coverage 
Starts Friday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pope Francis on Big Bang Theory

"The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it." - Pope Francis

Does this mean he will be on the show or not?

Meddling in the lives of others.

Telling people how to live, what they can and cannot say...

That's what we do online.  We might think we are simply clarifying something important - but oftentimes we are setting ourselves up as some sort of authority, judge, arbiter, advocate - or the more holier than thou excuse - exercising fraternal correction.

I had a dream I was in a cellar and there was a basilisk - though dangerous, and kind of scary, it was useful for something I was working on.  It was useful so long as I controlled it.  Suddenly I was distracted by something and it got away from me, I searched the cellar - which was really quite clean BTW.  Crossing the cellar floor, I glanced over my shoulder and saw another basilisk - this one was much bigger and more dragon like ...

Creepy Freudian symbology, huh?

Dreams are meaningless, right?  Maybe.  (I love dreams.)  Actually I know where all the symbols come from.  I could connect each to a certain encounter or something I noticed yesterday.  Nevertheless, as an artist, the symbols do mean more than the data recall my brain processed yesterday...

Without going into detail, just let me warn you: Don't go into the basement....  haaaahaaaaahaaaaa!

Actually - if I had more self knowledge the basement wouldn't be so scary.

What am I getting at?

As Christ told the disciples, "You know not of what spirit you are."

"Do not judge."

"Take the log out of your own eye first."

"The sins which defile a man come from within ..."

"And when the evil spirit returns, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

"How can you judge what is right when you seek the approval of men?" 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Androphilia and Gynephilia in Christ Conference

Actually it is Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity ...

The conference takes place this weekend at Notre Dame.
A two-day conference, “Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity,” co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the Gender Relations Center, will convene Oct. 31 (Friday) to explore appropriate pastoral strategies for Catholic parishioners who regard themselves as non-heterosexual, but who accept Catholic Church teaching on marriage and sexuality. 
According to ICL director John Cavadini, the conference should resonate with much of the discussion of the Catholic bishops who assembled last week for the Synod of Bishops in Rome. 
“I think this is timely, given the synod on the family and its attention to such pastoral issues,” Cavadini said. "The conference is not intended to cover all issues related to identifying as gay and Catholic, but is directed, ultimately, at forming a pastoral strategy for parishes to be able to receive the gifts of self-identified gay Catholics who also adhere to the teaching of the Church on marriage and related issues. 
“Can Church teaching support an ‘exchange of gifts,’ enabling a parish community to receive the gifts that such people bring to us, and, in turn, to make the gifts of ecclesial belonging more securely and fruitfully available to these Catholics? That is the long-term goal of the rather experimental discussions we are beginning here.” - Source

I hope they tape it and/or publish the presentations of the participants.  Personally, I'm looking forward to reading Eve Tushnet's latest book, Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality.

I know someone who will be there and I'm hoping he will send photos of what everyone is wearing - I'm not sure if there will be a red carpet event or not - after all, it is Halloween.

A curious quote from the blog of a former priest - nothing to do with the Gay in Christ Conference, but interesting nonetheless.
"As Jack Donovan brilliantly pointed out in Androphilia, the pre-packaged gay identity is an amalgam of left-wing politics, feminist man-resentment and, eternal victimism."

Disclaimer: No offense intended to LGBTQ-ers.

It could be said the Gay in Christ initiative developed and evolved from
the Spiritual Friendship 'movement' of which many of the speakers at the 
Notre Dame conference are a part of.  This movement, though more intellectual
and theologically Catholic in theory, is loosely derivative of the 
more Christian (Protestant) , Gay Christian Network (GCN).
As that website states:

Through conferences, speaking events, videos, message boards, and more, 
we’re transforming the conversation in the church 
and working to “share Christ’s light and love for all.”

I also think it is proposed as the Courage alternative.

Open mic

Random excerpts from recent emails ...

"He sounds almost typical gay-ssa-Catholic-celibate with issues. "

"It's really hard to find an honest ssa religious guy - esp. one who is in the 'business' or some movement promoting acceptance ..."

"So yeah, I don’t care who they are or how stable they seem:  we got issues."

"Least it's not as bad as the plight of the unwed mother ... what?"

"Some people online have serious mental problems and they may not always be on medication."

"How do you find this stuff?"

"I came across a site which actually charges a registration fee just to comment on the blog posts."

"I wonder if many of us who engage in social media will be saved?" 

"I don't get it. I don't whine about my parish. "

"Just curious if you receive my comments or if there is something you find offensive and decide not to publish them?  Just curious why my comments don't show up."

"Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well.  I won’t bother you for a while."

Some day I'll publish some of the comments I deleted from blog posts. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

I still love this ...

Unusual Ex Votos ...

"Doña Josefa Peres Maldonado offers this monument of her gratitude to the Most Holy Christ of Encino, venerated in the Church of Triana, and to the Most Holy Virgin Mary of El Pueblo, in perpetual memory of the benefit, due to her piety, that resulted from an operation that took place on 25th of April 1777, when the surgeon Don Pedro Maillé removed six cancerous tumors from her breast, in the presence of the gentlemen and ladies depicted on this canvas. Although the wound closed perfectly on the 25th of July 1777, other accidents befell her from which she died on Friday, the 5th of September, at 3 p.m., with clear signs of the patronage of the Holy Image and of her salvation." - Translation of what is written.

In thanksgiving for favors granted.

Ex Votos are often small to shoe box size paintings on tin depicting a miracle or answer to prayer, created and offered in thanksgiving to a particular saint.  Such paintings are left at shrines and altars in churches - especially in Mexico and Latin America.  Canon Law (Can. 1234 - 2) states that ex votos and such must be kept and maintained by the shrines.

I found a few even more 'unusual' ex votos on Tumblr ...

To see more and read the translations go here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More about Irish Step-Dancing Spirituality ...

Abbey Tower of St. Meg the Mad.

Step-Dance Prayer.

It's a little known Irish tradition of monastic contemplative prayer.

Much more ancient than Centering prayer or the labyrinth, or even the green rosary beads with the Celtic Cross, and most assuredly long before the Claddagh.  The tradition quite possibly predates St. Patrick when Ireland was first Christianized by vagrant, Arian, gyrovague monks from Sicily - who incidentally were searching for four-leaf clover to harvest.  It is worthy of note that some non-Catholic historians have speculated that Sufi Dervishes may have been influenced by the same group.

It's quite a simple form of prayer, once the footwork is coordinated - it becomes automatic - and after about a quarter of an hour the subject is raised above one's senses, in a form of ecstasy, and a sort  'rapture' propels the dancer for several minutes.  Every succeeding session, or dance, if you will, raises the subject's consciousness to what some have described as total union in oblivion of all sensibility, a complete and total flight of the spirit.  St. Meg the Mad, the little known anchoress who once lived off the south coast of Ireland is said to have uttered prophesies while in such a state.  One is most famous, but rarely attributed to the Saint.  It should be noted the darkest part of the prophesy, the last three stanzas, are frequently omitted as well:

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
I danced on Earth

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He! 
Here we have the end-times prophesy concerning the tsunami:
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
Keep on dancin' (keep on)
Keep on doin' the jerk right now
Shake it, shake it, baby
Come on & show me how you work
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea!
And I'll dance 'till the waves sweep y'all out to sea! 

Many religious communities are opening wide their doors to step dancing gurus in what has been termed the perfect marriage of action and contemplation - the dichotomy of prayer and activity no longer existent in this ancient form of liturgical/contemplative dance. - Excerpt from the hard to find treatise: The Step Dance Ladder of Monks and Nuns, Sr. Mary of St. Joseph O'Shea, AA

"The more rigid, the more holier than thou."  - Ven. M. Maria Ansa Da Foen

Choral recitation of the Office
 incorporating Step-Dance.

Here's something to think about ...

“Loving the truth isn’t the same thing as arguing about it; when we argue, we are so bent on getting the other person to see our point of view that we hardly mind whether it is true or not; we become advocates. 

Loving the truth isn’t the same thing as preaching it or writing about it; when we preach it or write about it we are too much concerned with making it clear, with getting it across, to appreciate it in its own nature. 

Loving the truth isn’t even the same thing as studying it, or meditating about it; when we study it, we are out to master it; when we meditate about it, we are using it as a lever which will help us get a move on with the business of our own souls. 

No, we have got to love the truth with a jealous, consuming love that can’t rest satisfied until it has won the allegiance of every sane man and woman on God’s earth. And we don’t, very often, love it like that. We are God’s spoiled children; his truth drops into your lap like a ripe fruit—Open thy mouth wide, he says, and I will fill it. There is a sense, you know, in which the false thinkers of today love the truth better than Christians do. Their fancied truth is something they have earned by their own labours, and they appreciate it more than we appreciate the real truth which has dropped into our laps.” —Ronald A. Knox

From his book “A Retreat for Lay People”.

Jackie teaching step-dancing in the
nuns visitor parlour at Toonces Abbey, Ireland.