Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patti Smith at the Vatican

She could use a new stylist.

I've never been a big fan - actually, not a fan at all.

Patti Smith is a lot older than I am.  A lot older.  I like that about her.


I don't really care who sings at the Vatican.

Turkey Idolatry

Concentration-Extermination Camp for Turkeys.

Americans celebrate Turkey Day and Black Friday...

With over-eating, drinking, family fights, parades, football and shopping.

It's idolatrous.

Slutty priestess with her votive offering.

Here's something not about gays ...

Heroic drinking and smoking - and still writing.  Now that's special.

Chesterton was a tippler.

That's why he was so fat!  Chesterton cult followers may be disappointed that an 'apparent' lack of temperance may pose problems for his cause - heroic virtue is required if you weren't a martyr.  Although, dispensations have been made in the past - the Pope can beatify anyone.  Kinda, sorta.

"I cook with wine, 
sometimes I even add it to the food."

If Chesterton ever makes it, it will be nice to know we have a saint who liked his drink.  Recovered alcoholics enveloped in the odour of sanctity are so middle class.  These days they are a dime a dozen as well.

Oh wait Chestertonians!  This just in @3:01 PM on November 22, 2014:  Chesterton's reputation untarnished: “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard. . .!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matt. 11:19)

Indisputable evidence of sanctity and distributist drinking thinking.

"Hear, hear!  I'll have another Frances, my dear!"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Here's a thought.

I wonder how long Adam was able to live by himself?

60 Minutes and Cardinal Sean

I've watched 60 Minutes since its debut in the '60's.  I only missed it when I was in a monastery or being a hermit.

This past Sunday, I watched Cardinal Sean's interview.  I thought it was fine, but could have been better.  He wasn't speaking 'ex cathedra' - obviously.  Of course we know the interview was edited down as well.  Interviews are usually edited for time and content.  I think even Fr. Z experienced that and had to do a post explaining what he really said.  (Go here.)  Cardinal Sean expanded upon the content of his interview as well.  (Go here.)

I am continually appalled by what Catholic commenters write in reaction to everything and anything which comes out in MSM on what this or that religious figure said.  I came across a comment calling Cardinal Sean a slime ball.  Worse things have been said, but that is an evil thing to say.

Anyway.  Rorate Caeli has a very good take on the 60 Minute interview.  I cite it because it is a respectful and dignified response to a Catholic who was obviously confused by what the Cardinal had to say in response to some very tough questions.

Cardinal O’Malley apparently resisted being interviewed on 60 Minutes for a long time but finally gave in. In so doing he put himself into an impossible position of trying to make sense of Church doctrine in a purely secular context, that is, a context that sees everything through the lens of personal rights and equal opportunity. When Norah O’Donnell, his interviewer, first brought up the question of why the Church denies the priesthood to women, the Cardinal’s answer was solid: he referred to the Incarnation and the maleness of Christ. He did not follow that through, however, for he was immediately forced to respond to the question in the secular way of thinking as set by the interviewer: power, fairness, exclusion, discrimination against women. O’Donnell, using “gender” terminology as a preface, asked the Cardinal the set-up question: Do you think the exclusion of women in the priesthood is “immoral”? The Cardinal was put in the position of having to respond to the question in terms of “gender”, gender discrimination. And that is where he stumbled, for Catholics do not believe in the ideology of gender theory. We believe in sex: male and female. He could have gone back to the Incarnation and the maleness of Jesus Christ, but that would be talking about theology, about doctrine, something of no interest to secularists, even Catholic secularists. - Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla

Read the rest here - it is a charitable and respectful commentary. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eve Tushnet: Wrong? Or right?

Big Pulpit has the attention grabbing headline: Eve Tushnet is Wrong, by Kevin O'Brien

Really?  Is that ex cathedra?

I had already read O'Brien's post which didn't really declare "Eve Tushnet is wrong" - it was more fun than that.  What I got from the article is that he disagrees with Tushnet and therefore she is wrong because Joseph Sciambra pretty much said she was wrong and Kevin agrees with him.  More or less.

And then we get into hairsplitting the meaning of words such as gay, lesbian, gay Catholic, SSA, and even "former gay porn star".  Joseph Sciambra now explains he was an amateur porn actor and escort.  Adding in his profile:
In 1999, following a near death experience, Joseph returned to the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Since then he has written extensively concerning the real-life issues of pornography, homosexuality, and the occult. - Sciambra
No doubt Joseph is a good faithful Catholic and has very deep concerns with the acceptance of porn and homosexuality in our culture, as well as the influence of the occult.  What he writes is good and true.  Obviously he disagrees with Eve Tushnet's book - or some of the things she states in her book.  I have some disagreement with her POV as well - but I disagree with many people over issues of homosexuality.  For instance, I disagree with things Cardinal Dolan has said.  It is clear that Eve isn't promoting a different Gospel - she is writing from her experience and understanding about an issue she has struggled with.  She is not claiming infallibility in what she says in her book.

What I believe she is doing is offering people a look at what it means to continue to identify as gay or lesbian - even queer - and still be called by Christ to the fullness of the Gospel, to be chosen to follow Christ as a faithful, Catholic, Christian woman.  There is nothing wrong with that.

The Church does not say to a person who experiences homosexual attraction that he or she must seek reparative therapy if they are not converted from the inclination entirely.  The Church doesn't say that a person needs change what they have understood, perceived, or experienced as a 'sexual orientation', rather that the person is called to conversion of heart, conversion of manners: the person is called to holiness, to chastity.

Some people see the call to chastity and holiness as nearly insurmountable as it is.  Many gay people are convinced the Church hates them.  They experience the Catholic welcoming committee as banging them over the head with "You can't come in if you say you are gay - if you want to come in you have to say, 'I'm not gay - I'm same sex attracted'!"  But that is not true - that is wrong.  The official language of the Church does not use terms such as 'gay' ... although the Church is clear that such persons are called to chastity, and are among those called to holiness.

Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. 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 homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes 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.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. -CCC

That gets repeated so often we ought to know it better than the Baltimore Catechism Q and A.

That said, even active gay people can go to Mass, and to be sure, they can and should pray.  They may not receive sacramental communion at Mass, but they can certainly go to church and participate in Mass.  The Church condemns homosexual acts - not the person.  (Alcoholics at AA still identify as alcoholics.)

Therefore, Eve Tushnet is not wrong since she accepts Catholic teaching and offers hope to many who seek God - no matter who they are or how the identify themselves.

Joseph Sciambra on what bothers him about Eve's book:

First of all, the problem starts right off in the title of the book itself: “Accepting My Sexuality..;” this is not “my sexuality,” and it is not your sexuality, it’s a wounded condition. In fact, it’s not a sexuality at all, as the Catechism rightly states - it’s a “disorder.” And, as the Sacred Congregation wrote, in its “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:” the inclination itself “…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.” Therefore to “accept” homosexuality is to accept a moral evil. 
Secondly, Tushnet disturbingly writes: “I’m in no sense ex-gay. In fact, I seem to become more lesbian with time—college was my big fling with bisexuality, my passing phase…” While I completely understand her ambivalence towards embracing the Catholic ex-gay therapy movement, by the way - which I highly recommend (in particular: Dr. Joseph Nicolosi,) I am gravely worried by her admonition that she has become “more lesbian.” 
Thirdly, Tushnet wants to somehow redefine the gay lifestyle for skeptical Christians, who, according to her, have been mislead by overly critical works; on this subject she wrote: “And—more problematically—these books tend to assume that gay communities are like fairy gold, which looks like real gold but turns to dead leaves overnight. So, too, gay communities are presented as attractive and perhaps even liberating at first, but ultimately hollow and worthless. There needs to be a book directed at people who still find beauty, mutual aid, and solidarity in gay life…” - Sciambra

I do not have a problem with any of that.  I think I understand  where Joseph is coming from - and he is right as far as Catholic teaching is concerned.  Nevertheless, Eve is not saying anything contrary to Catholic teaching.  In fact she is writing to people 'where they are at'... she accompanies those most in need of mercy.  She reminds me very much of Madeleine Delbrel whose mission was to live amidst those who were most in need of evangelization.

It seems to me Tushnet is a realist, she understands the term disorder and believes homosexual acts are indeed sinful.  I don't claim to understand how she feels even 'more lesbian' now that she is celibate and sober - but I don't understand women - lesbian or not.  To be honest, I don't understand gay.  I understand myself as a man... a Catholic man.  Just Catholic.  How another person defines himself is not my business.

The secular world, and some in the Church use the term gay.  That's just a fact.  It is also a fact that this is taught in schools - it has been since Eve was a kid, and is even more so now days.  (I point to that fact all of the time.)  It is used, and has been used for decades by mainstream culture.  The Church doesn't use the term in doctrinal documents.  The secular world uses it though.  It's just a fact of contemporary MSM life.

I'm not sure Eve is trying to redefine the "gay lifestyle for skeptical Christians."  I think she is introducing skeptical Christians to an aspect of gay culture they have not hitherto been acquainted with - gay Christians.  I don't get it completely, but evidently many gay Christians do.

I told a friend I was reading her book.  My friend is rarely interested in anything Catholic except art, architecture and Pope Francis.  He perked up at the title of Eve's book, "Gay and Catholic" saying, "Really?  That sounds interesting."  I asked why he said that, and he said he didn't know you could be gay and Catholic.  I answered, "Yes, you can be - you just can't engage in homosexual acts - no sex.  Chaste and celibate."  He answered, "Well that I am."  I replied, "Then you can become a Catholic."

Nothing is wrong with Eve Tushnet - as far as I can see.

Nothing is wrong with Joseph Sciambra either - as far as I can see.

Just saying.

I'm sure I'll be writing more on this subject in the future.

"...and the Israelites moved on from the wilderness of Sinai by stages..." - Numbers 10:12

Song for this post here.

Mike Nichols

"Dryly urbane"

“Most of the time people thought we were making fun of others when we were making fun of ourselves,” Mr. Nichols said in 2000. “Pretentiousness. Snobbiness. Horniness. Elaine was parodying her mother, as I was mine, and a certain girlishness, flirtatiousness, in herself.”
“But what I really thought it was useful for was directing,” he said, “because it also teaches you what a scene is made of — you know, what needs to happen. See, I think the audience asks the question, ‘Why are you telling me this?’ And improvisation teaches you that you must answer it. There must be a specific answer. It also teaches you when the beginning is over and it’s time for the middle, and when you’ve had enough middle and it’s time already for the end...” - NYT


Jimmy Ruffin, RIP

+ 1936-2014 +

What becomes of the broken hearted (1966)

That song would have been the closing credits of the movie of my life.  LOL!

May Jimmy Ruffin and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

What becomes of the broken hearted?

As I walk this land of broken dreams,
I have visions of many things.
But happiness is just an illusion,
Filled with sadness and confusion.
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a tumblin' down.
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger,
I can't stand this pain much longer!
I walk in shadows,
Searching for light.
Cold and alone,
No comfort in sight.
Hoping and praying for someone who care,
Always moving and goin' nowhere.
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find,
Some kind of peace of mind.
Help me..
I'm searching though I don't succeed,
For someone's love, there's a growing need.
All is lost, there's no place for beginning,
All that's left is an unhappy ending.
Now what becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find,
Some kind of peace of mind,
I'll be searching everywhere,
Just to find someone to care.
I'll be looking everyday,
I know I'm gonna find a way.
Nothings gonna stop me now,
I'll find a way somehow.
I'll be searching everywhere...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why is 'dysphoria' more acceptable than 'disorder?

Jon Kortajarena
for The Narcissist

Random musings.

If there is no such thing as gender and human beings have evolved to a non-binary state - sort of like angels - then we can have sex with anyone - if they consent, that is.  It's beyond gay, isn't it?  Yeah, it is.  Human nature being what it is will still have to create some sort of caste system all over again though - don't you think?  (Comments are still closed so you can't answer that.)

Back to disordered thoughts...

So why is dysphoria a kinder gentler term than disorder?  I don't think it is.  I think disorder is very informative.  In fact, I don't mind real terms such as, disorder, dysfuntional, dysphoria, dystopia, dis an' dat.  (I hate being serious, but I am lately.)

Self love - inordinate self love - is disordered, it makes me dysfunctional, and causes you to be dysphoric, and therefore life becomes dystopic.  Yes it does.

Yesterday I read something important about self love.  Self love motivates many of us - probably most of us - and it seems to me that is what the Pope is trying to explain half the time we keep asking, "You talkin' to me?!"

So anyway.  Think about this and what you are trying to do to make your dysphoria go away or be accepted and approved ...

"The sin of self love consists in viewing nothing honestly ...

The sin of self love consists in viewing nothing honestly, neither happiness nor even God himself, except in relation to self.  It consists in appropriating all to itself, inasmuch as its one end is its own welfare, and it only looks upon the possession of God, and of his love, as a means to this end.

By this strange confusion (disorientation) love of myself becomes my principle and ruling passion, and the love of God is but a secondary love.

I desire my own happiness and I love myself above all else.  Afterwards I love God, and I desire to possess him as a means necessary to that happiness ... - Fr. Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J.

After the fall ... disorder.

I like this from St. John-Paul II (Today's meditation in Magnificat.)
The story of the human race, even after the fall - into sin - is a story of constant achievements, which, although always called into question and threatened by sin, are nonetheless repeated, increased, and extended in response to the divine vocation given from the beginning to man and to woman (Gn.1:26-28) and inscribed in the image which they received...  - John Paul II, December 30, 1987 Blessing at St. Peter's
What we have received ...

What we have received from God is not disorder or dysphoria, these came after the fall, adding to the disorientation which continually entices us to reject God's plan, his call, his will for our lives.  As JPII explained, "it is a story which is constantly endangered by reason of infidelity to the Creator's will, and especially by the temptation to idolatry."

Free Fall


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cardinal Burke and "normal" Catholic teaching ...

Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce,
“so-called gender theory” into schools. 

I was reading Fr. Z's post on comments Cardinal Burke made in Ireland and they are just so - right.

Lashing out at the “so-called contraceptive mentality,” he warned it was “anti-life” and blamed it for “the devastation that is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography” and the “incredibly aggressive homosexual agenda,” which he claimed could only result in “the profound unhappiness and even despair of those affected by it.” 
Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce “so-called gender theory” into schools. 
He warned that such theory was “iniquitous” and that exposing children to such “corrupt thinking” could not be permitted. *
He said “society has gone even further in its affront to God and his law by claiming the name of marriage for liaisons between persons of the same sex.” 
To applause, the cardinal said he refused to use the term traditional marriage for the marriage of a man and a woman. 
“My response is — is there any other kind of marriage? I fear that by using that terminology that we give the impression that we think that there are other kinds of marriage; well, we don’t.” - Source

I totally agree with what Cardinal Burke has to say on these particular issues.  He knows them well.  He knows the dangers posed by gender ideology.  The introduction of gender theory into schools has happened already.  Besides that, students already know these things.  They know.  If they were not taught in school, they pick it up outside of school.  It is the same dynamic which introduced kids to things like gay-straight alliance clubs, and other after school specials.

Then the kids grow up.

*Too late.  It's permitted.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A very kind priest sent me the following thought ...

But first - another friend sent me this:
“before you can be your brother’s keeper, 
you have to be your brother’s brother.”

"Won't it be a relief to see Jesus and whisper all our pain, shame, secrets, and abandonment into His ear? Can you imagine our joy when He tells us, 'How could you doubt my love for you? I've waited for you from all eternity.' " - A priest friend.

And then, I came across something written by another very kind priest - something terribly important to remember for those of us who comment publicly on the lives, actions and statements of others.

It is about grace ... amazing grace ...

In much of the thorny discussion surrounding doctrine and sacramental discipline surprisingly little is said about grace. It is this want of reference to and of confidence in grace that causes the discourse of some to sound akin to that of those who “bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’ s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4). What needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops and in every corner of the ecclesiastical blogosphere is the message of the Apostle: 
There was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me for which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful. (2 Corinthians 12: 7–10)
According to St. Augustine: “God does not command you to do impossible things, rather, in commanding he invites you to do what you can, and to ask for what you cannot.” The Council of Trent adds, glossing St. Paul, “and God helps you and makes you able” (Dz 1536)
This is a message of mercy and hope, entirely consonant with the universal call to holiness and with the costly practice of virtue in every state of life. This is a message that needs to be repeated by priests in the confessional and in the pulpit until it reaches the hearts of those who, weary of the struggle, are tempted to despair. “Do what you can and ask God for what you cannot. God will help you and make you capable of those things that, of your self and by yourself, you cannot do”. - Source

The same priest once told me 'there is no accounting for grace'.  It took me all of this time to figure that out. 

Return to your early love ...

The readings from today's Mass touch me deeply.*

They were very important to me when I first returned to the Church.  They call out to me once again today.
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning—
great is your faithfulness!
- Lamentations 3
The call to return to my early love - renewed - each day.

How free that was!  How engrossed I became with Jesus in the Eucharist, with his Sacred Heart - how fixated I became upon him crucified - his holy wounds, his heart, an open wound of love.  I wanted only him.  I didn't care who or what called out for me to stop my prayer: "Jesus!  Have pity on me!"  Like the blind man in today's Gospel - I want to see.  They could tell me to stop and they would even tell me to go away, and I would flee to the next tabernacle...

The world's slow stain.  St. Catherine of Genoa warned of that - 'the contagion of the world's slow stain' is what she feared the most.  That compromise we make with ourselves, our feelings, our desires ...  the desire to please, to fit in ... those voices are really telling us to be silent, to go away from the fountain of light and love.

Nothing, no one, no condition, no circumstance can keep us away from Christ...

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8: 35-38

*Readings for today's Mass here.

Song for this post here.

St. Elizabeth of Thuringia

It is amazing how mistreated St. Elizabeth was in her lifetime.  Rejected by family after her husband's death, she was treated especially severely by her spiritual director.  Read about her holy life here.

If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny his very self ... Mark 8 34-35

"Oh who can make this counsel of our Saviour understandable... Oh who can explain the extent of the denial our Lord wishes of us..." - John of the Cross

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Today's collect at Mass asks this grace from God:
Grant us ... the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy ... -33rd Sunday
Matt Talbot once said something similar - perhaps in a letter?  He said something like:  "What God wants is constancy."

I often think of that, especially since my life has been characterized by inconstancy.  I knew it would be as a child, which helps explain why I used to pray to die after confession or communion.  My childhood was marked by inconstancy and instability - hence I struggled with that all of my life - and still do.  It is probably why I have to battle against the temptation to impatience and annoyance with others who may appear to be inconsistent.  It is why change can be difficult to accept.  I heard something today about my pastor being transferred - although not sure if it is true, I was disappointed because I like him there.  Years ago, every time I found a good confessor or spiritual director, they were transferred.  It exacerbates the abandonment issues which lurk in my unconscious.

More common episodes of inconstancy are related to the moral and spiritual life of course.  I have been extremely inconstant - perhaps my only constancy has been sin followed by prayer and the sacraments - which is exactly right for a habitual sinner - and that is sheer grace.  I'm just not qualified to give advice - ever.  I'm not qualified to comment on the lives of others - especially when it concerns the moral life.

Having said that ...

I've been reading Eve Tushnet's book, Gay and Catholic.  I set it aside because of other things which needed my immediate attention, but I have to say I am impressed with what I've been reading so far.  It seems to me, Eve reveals her soul in the book - and that means I cannot say anything about that - although I felt a bit in awe of what I perceived as the work of the Holy Spirit in her life.  That said - I find nothing wrong with her book, and I have been pondering and praying over it for days now.  I think Eve's spirit is good, and will remain so depending on how 'her doctrine' develops.

I recognize she speaks for and to another generation, a generation which has been raised to accept gay as 'good' and compatible with Christianity.  That's quite a leap, which I'll try to discuss in another post.  It is a problem I can't get over.

My resistance lies in what was stated in the CDF document "Some considerations ... on nondiscrimination of homosexual persons" which cautions against what had developed in response to the 1975 Letter on Sexual Ethics:  "an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good”. - CDF

I don't have a problem with that.  Nevertheless, younger people appear to - precisely because equality and acceptance and approval has been taught in our schools, it has been promoted in media/pop-culture, politics, and so on.  It seems to be the 'new' reality.  Eve Tushnet addresses that with great honesty and depth.  I respect that.

I had no intention of getting into Eve's book on this post, but it turned out otherwise.

It's not a compromise or cop-out on my part when I say, "who am I to judge?"  Because of my lack of constancy, I am in no position to judge even myself.  I'm also not qualified to tell other people how to live their lives.

That's all for now.

[Comments closed for awhile.]