Saturday, January 17, 2015


Song for this post here.

I don't think I like blogging anymore...

See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, 
that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, 
through which many may become defiled,  
that no one be an immoral or profane person like Esau, 
who sold his birthright for a single meal. - Hebrews 12:15-16

Did I mention I had my cataracts removed?

Everything looks so different now.

Thank you Santo Nino!

Friday, January 16, 2015

See. I told you so: Pope Francis and Little Therese.

Francis is her little Pope...
Aboard the papal plane, Jan 15, 2015 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During his flight to the Philippines, Pope Francis thanked a French journalist who gave him an image of St. Therese, saying that instead of giving the usual rose when he asked for help, St. Therese came to him herself. 
“I have the habit of, when I don't know how things will go, to ask of St Therese the little child, St Therese of Jesus, to ask her if she takes a problem in hand, some thing, that she send me a rose,” the Pope told journalists during his Jan. 15 in-flight press conference from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. 
“I asked also for this trip that, she'd take it in hand and that she would send me a rose. But instead of a rose she came herself to greet me.” 
The image of the St. Therese, which was given to the Pope by Paris Match’s journalist Caroline Pigozzi, was a bas-relief, or carving, that appeared to be in silver. 
After the Pope received the framed image, he thanked Pigozzi for the gift, saying “Thanks to Caroline and thanks to little Therese and to (all of) you.” - CNA

He's a Theresian Pope.

I like this very much.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Pope in Asia

He still schleps his own bag.

What's a schlepper?  Salesmen used the term to describe themselves going around, dragging their baggage - business to business, town to town.  The term has taken on a somewhat negative connotation these days, but I think of it as more a fun term... self-deprecating.

That said, the Pope makes me smile when I see him schlepping his own bag - it looks kind of funny, kind of dumpy - it makes him look like a schlepper.

Prayers for the Holy Father as he travels through the Philippines.


Here's an interesting papal fashion trend:  Many Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors, and even priests and seminarians are now beginning to carry their own over-sized black bags themselves ...


Get. Out.

I wonder what brought this on?

Actually, it was the Irish priest who outed himself from the pulpit last weekend.  I mentioned it here.

What was the statistic Jeannine Gramick cited?  40%-50% of priests are gay?  And she and a whole bunch of others think they should all come out.  That doesn't mean they are sexually active - I hope - but either way, if they all Got. Out. who would be left?  What would be left?

I sometimes wrote on how homosexuals weren't supposed to be admitted to seminary or religious life, but despite the rules, they have been admitted and most likely continue to be admitted.  I have no control over that ...  Then there are so many questions.  What if they used to be gay but are now just SSA?  What if they were notoriously gay - but now just have another job that keeps them busy after parish office hours?  What if they are gay and celibate - like gay-Catholics - and the actually say gay?  Then Michael brings up the fact there are gay bishops and gay friendly bishops - then what do you do?  What if you want to report a suspicious priest?  Or request that a Courage chapter be established in the archdiocese and he won't let you because he's against it?  What to do?

What to do Michael Voris?

I just want to be able to receive the sacraments and go to Mass - oh - and when I'm dying, please call a priest.  Make sure it's not a woman though.

If it's not one thing it's another, isn't it?

I never ask for anything - you know, like other bloggers do ...

But will someone please buy this stuff for me?

A Painted and Gilded Italian Tabernacle.
19.5"W x 11.25"D x 21.75"H
Price: $2,440

I actually need this piece too.  I would use it for an antique statue of Our Lady of the Apocalypse:

An Altar Piece/Stand
18"W x 7" D x 12" H
Price: $1,625

I would like to have these items by Candlemas.  Thank you.
Oh.  I will send an acknowledgement and
nice thank you card as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Okay. So if demons or the devil talks to you, don't listen - and never believe what you hear.

Detail of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's The Fall of the Rebel Angels

The devil hates people - and unnatural vice.

The devil is also a liar.  Christ said he is 'the father of lies'.

Which is why I'm thinking - if he tells you something - don't believe him.  (It might be a good idea not to pay attention to any voices - but check with your confessor or spiritual director first to make sure.)

What am I talking about?  I don't know.  Because I'm not an authority on this stuff.

But here's a thought:
"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". Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov
That's interesting, isn't it?

If you disagree - that's fine - I'm just saying.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayers for the Pope

The Pope in Sri Lanka.

Buddhist and Hindu leaders welcomed the Pope, speaking of the need for peace, reconciliation and unity in a nation still struggling to overcome the effects of the civil war. A Muslim representative also recalled the need for religious leaders to build bridges, overcome suspicion and promote peaceful coexistence between communities. He mentioned the killing of innocent people in France and Pakistan in the name of Islam, but he said “Islam has no relationship to such evil conduct and deeds”.

Unofficial reports say the Holy Father is already exhausted.  Pray for the Holy Father.

Street Life and Evangelization...

Moving on down ... to the peripheries.

The other day I watched a story on local news about a family who moved out of their comfortable home into a trailer park - they actually chose to live in a trailer park.  They bought a mobile home, and mom and dad and the boys downsized their lives and moved onto the peripheries.  Sounds like something Pope Francis Catholics might do, right?  They aren't Catholic though.  I think they are Evangelical Christians - both mom and dad met in seminary at Bethel College - the same place some tele-evangelists went to school.

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” ― Mother Teresa

I mention it because this is something Catholics usually do - or used to do.  I'm thinking always of people Like Dorothy Day and Madeleine Delbrel, and the like - who lived with those they 'ministered' to.  Our saints did likewise, Catherine of Genoa, Angela Foligno, and so on. How often do we associate Evangelicals with the prosperity Gospel, or missionary activity in South America or something?  Yet this story shows how individuals, responding to the Gospel, can move out of their comfort zones to share their lives with others.  Here is their story:

Jill Dejewski and her husband Brian had just made the decision to move their family from a two-story house in Maple Grove to a mobile home park in Corcoran.
"It doesn't necessarily make sense on paper," concedes Brian Dejewski. Decisions made with the heart often don't.
The Dejewskis' trip to Maple Hill Estates mobile home park actually began 18 years earlier, when Jill first arrived as a volunteer at a vacation bible school.
"I thought it would be a one week thing and we'd be done," says Jill. Instead, weeks turned into years, and then a life commitment.
"She fell in love with the kids right away," says Brian, who met his wife when they were both seminary students at Bethel University.
Brian received the calling to Maple Hill a bit more reluctantly, but over time came to appreciate the mission as much as his wife.
Minnesota is home to more than 600 mobile home parks. They are places more affluent Minnesotans often drive past, but rarely into.
"There's a stigma that lays over the community that lives in a mobile home park," says Brian.
Nearly 200 mobile homes line the streets of the Maple Hill community. Surveys administered by the Dejewskis indicate more than half the park's families are living near, or below, the poverty line, with the heads of some households unable to speak English.
That's where Jill and Brian come in.
Recruiting dozens of volunteers from churches, schools and civic groups, the Dejewskis have established or expanded a series of programs to assist the residents of Maple Hill, including after school homework help, English language classes, food distribution, legal assistance and summer camps for kids.
The couple has created a non-profit organization called "Mobile Hope," with a goal of instituting the programs at other mobile home parks as well.
But it was Jill's frequent trips between Maple Hill and her home in Maple Grove, which led her to conclude her family could serve the residents of the park more completely if they moved in with them. - Finish reading here.

The conversion of sinners and street ministry.

There are few Catholics, so it seems, who go out into the highways and byways to invite others into the wedding feast.  The Dejewski have followed an interior call to live amongst people who have usually been marginalized as 'trailer trash' - what a horrible thing to call human beings.  I know Catholics who do this in their own way - the Catholic Worker may be the most famous example of lay evangelization, and I know there are other apostolates, but I'm not sure there are very many street evangelists.

“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” ― Mother Teresa

Scott Woltze is one active street evangelist I know of.  I also think, in his own way, Joseph Sciambra is another fine example.  But first, something Scott wrote is very important, at least for me, to fit this type of idiosyncratic ministry, or witness into context for Catholics.  From Scott's blog:

Where are the Catholic Street Evangelists?
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!" I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and talents entrusted to them. -St. Francis Xavier, from a letter recently featured in the Divine Office
The saints have a way of getting our attention. Today the Church is blessed with countless laymen whom God has entrusted with "learning and talents", and yet so few take the faith to the streets. Pope Francis has even implored Catholics to go out into the world, but perhaps his call has gotten lost in the headlines. There is an abundance of Catholic books on seemingly every subject (with more published every year), and there is a dizzying number of online ministries and blogs, and yet all we see on the streets are Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and the occasional fundamentalist. Yet St. Paul, the most piercing theologian the Church has ever known, was also her most tireless street evangelist.

The great saints agree that writing is secondary to the direct care of souls. St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars, writes, "St. Francis de Sales, that great saint, would leave off writing with the letter of a word half-formed, in order to reply to an interruption." In other words, any human need, any interruption by a soul "made in the image and likeness of God" commanded his attention over the demands of his writing ministry. He still managed to write his pamphlets and books, but they were secondary to his face-to-face encounters with his fellow man. 
Writing a book or managing a website can be an enjoyable and rewarding use of our time, but it can also be a time-consuming process that only yields a small circulation among readers. I'm writing a book like everyone else (hopefully my only book), and whenever I have a block of free time I ask God, "Should I write my book, or do the street ministry?" I always get the same impression: I should walk the streets. - Scott Woltz, Urban Missionaries

Scott's witness is remarkable and important to ponder, and I think, support.  He's a husband and father - such extremely important roles for a man in today's society... and he goes out to the streets in the name of Jesus caritas.  His conversion story is very important as well - read it here.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ― Mother Teresa

Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Castro what Jesus had done for him...

A different ministry, albeit it similar - is Joseph Sciambra's outreach.  His story is remarkable as well - his experience, albeit hard to read at times, and perhaps difficult to understand, is all the more extraordinary since he also does a form of street ministry.  He shows up at gay events in the Castro district of San Francisco letting people know, "Jesus loves gay people."  That in itself takes guts.  Telling his conversion story, takes more guts - especially since he is pretty much rejected by mainstream Catholics, gay Catholics, just as much as LGBTQ activists - who dismiss him as a sort of nutcase.  He's not - his conversion story and his research into the very dark side of the homosexual sub-culture - especially as it relates to pornography, is a very important message for our times.  Check out his website here.

His conversion story upsets many people, but it totally reminds me of what happened to the guy in the Gospel of Mark 5 whom Jesus healed and to whom Jesus called to witness much in the same way as Joe Sciambra:

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.  But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”  Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. - Mark 5

That's what Sciambra seems to be doing.  It's what Scot Woltze is doing in a similar context. It seems to me it is what Pope Francis calls us all to do within our particular milieu, or going further outside it.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

I think these people, and others with notable conversion stories, are brought to our attention to help us understand how single individuals can respond to God's call and follow Christ.  Oftentimes without any evidence of making a difference in what they understand to be their 'vocation' or 'apostolate', or even when there are few who seem interested or accept their message and work.  Yet as the parable of the Good Shepherd demonstrates, it is God's will, it is God's love at work in and through ordinary people ... It only takes one person to leave the ninety nine who are doing just fine, to go in search of just one who is lost.  Heaven and earth rejoices over just one lost sheep who is found and returned to the fold.  All the angels and saints in heaven rejoice over just one sinner who repents.

These people have a special place in my prayers and I thank God for the good work he has begun in them.  They make me want to be a better man.

Song for this post here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Here's a thought ...

"St. Therese of Lisieux used flowery language of her day to cover the hardness of her teachings.  She had the severity with herself of the Spanish mystic." - Dorothy Day

100 years ago today Ade Bethune was born to a noble Belgian family.  As an art student she volunteered her illustrations for the Catholic Worker.  Much later she designed a church in St. Paul, St. Leo's, now Lumen Christi.  Bethune also created the mosaic for the baptistery in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Minnesota.   More information on her life may be found here.  Ade Bethune died in 2002.

Ade Bethune poses with her mosaic
of the Baptism of Christ in the Cathedral
of St. Paul. - Source

Bonus Here's a thought:  Interestingly, Ade Bethune was born Adélaide de Bethune, a Baroness by birth ... but unlike one of her contemporaries, who happened to be a baroness by marriage, and more or less retained the title after her marriage was annulled, Ms. Bethune shunned the title and avoided giving any impression of noble birth ...


Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Thing Cardinal Burke Forgot To Mention About Altar Girls ...

The harm it has done to women and girls ...

Gender confusion, alcoholism, gender indifferentism, lesbianism, hairy legs, bullying, and women priests...

The interview missed that.

"If the girls were good enough to clean and decorate 
for the Altar and Rosary Society
they should be good to go as servers."

Toonces reacts to criticism.

I was right - I've seen all of this Pope-bashing before ...

And it was by the same players doing it now ...

Some people in seminaries and chanceries referred to them as "Wanderer-types", CUF-ers, Fatimists, Baysiders, and so on.  When I first returned to the Church/sacraments, I was told to stay away from them, as well as St. Agnes parish in St. Paul.  The thing is, my attraction to the Church had been the Eucharist - Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament - and my first communion upon my return took place at St. Agnes - where the Ordinary Form of Mass was celebrated as it was intended to be.  I prayed the rosary, sought out places for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, all things considered traditional.  So I wasn't sure why I should stay away from these 'types' since I felt I was Catholic, just like them.

I never fit in however.  I never fit in with so called progressives either.  I never tried to fit in either - why should I when Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament had already taken me in?  I had great devotion for the papacy - I was grateful for the papacy.  I admired from my youth those saints martyred during the Protestant upheaval who were martyred for their faith in the Real Presence and their fidelity to the Pope.  Why was I Catholic?  The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist of course - God with us, Our Lady, Mother of God, and Habemus papam - we have a Pope.  I loved every pope - and I was grateful for each new pope after his predecessor died.  I have said I have favorites among the popes - but it is only about personality.

Perhaps the sweetest pope ever was Pope John Paul I.  I watched bits and pieces of a film on the pontiff last night.  It was very well acted and presented - a fact creators of American Catholic film and television drama ought to aspire to and emulate.  But I digress.

The point is, Holy Father John Paul I seemed very much like Pope Francis and I suspect, if he had lived longer, he would have had the same enemies Francis does today.

That said, I came across an excellent reminder from John Allen at Crux magazine that the anti-papist sentiment and attacks we are witnessing in the Franciscan papacy is nothing new - as I've noted in former posts.  Have a look:

Anti-Francis backlash in contextThe Burke saga has left some observers wondering if the internal opposition Francis faces is unprecedented, especially at senior levels of the Church.
To begin, let’s be crystal clear: According to tradition, Francis is the 266th pope of the Catholic Church, and he’s also the 266th pope to have problems with some of his bishops. The story goes all the way back to the Acts of the Apostles, and a celebrated clash between Peter and Paul.
More recently, both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI faced enormous internal opposition, both from the grassroots and from sectors of the hierarchy. There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world and more than 5,000 bishops, and to think that at any given time some share of both aren’t going to be unhappy with their leader is a delusion.
In sum, the notion that there’s anything terribly new about what we’re seeing today is, for all intents and purposes, hogwash. - Finish reading here.

 What seems more remarkable to me however, is the viciousness of the attacks against the Pope - and this by the 'faithful remnant'.

A comment on Mark Shea's blog regarding such harsh criticism against Francis by the uber-faithful Catholics online, offered another take on the phenomenon here:

I would say there are a few causes of this. One, many of them were/are converts, which is itself a good thing, but they brought with them their non-Catholic issues and way of thinking: they are Protestants who happen to believe, for now, the Catholic Church is right, but they give a Protestant conditional obedience to the Church. I know many of these who then go from church to church: I know many right now thinking of going Orthodox because of it (which is a danger to the East).
Another group has been raised Catholic, but are very much American first. They often accused the left of this, which is often true in the US, but they are it just as much. They look at everything in the lens of American politics, forgetting that the foundation of American politics (right and left) stemmed from a reaction against Catholicism. This, I think, is why many of the same memes are used between classical anti-Catholicism and their current ideology. It is because they took on too much of the foundations of American thought which devolves into this.
Another group has been led astray by the first two, and though they want to be Catholic, and agree that the Pope should be heeded, they are confused because they believed the Pope has been saying the exact same thing as the American right for some time. As a result, in their writings, you can see their confusion; they still hold on to what they "learned" and reason from it, though they are willing to slowly learn and see beyond it. Yet because they have yet to "get there" yes, their words are then re-used by others to reinforce the divide.
Certainly, there are also the sophists, who just parade what they think can be said for the sake of money. - Horn of Silk  (The follow up comments are equally as interesting.)

They all chose death rather than renounce 
their faith in the Blessed Sacrament and Papal supremacy. 
Imagine that.

Things I don't get.

Deacon Kandra has a post about an Irish priest announcing from the pulpit that he is gay and he gets a standing ovation.

That's fine - Kandra is just reporting the story, and really - big deal, like anyone is surprised a priest would make such an announcement - albeit inappropriate and in defiance of Catholic teaching regarding marriage.  (Oh - and he said 'gay'.)

However, the thing I don't get is how Catholics screamed anti-Catholic when the 1994 film Priest was released.  The film was about an Irish priest kinda, sorta like the one Deacon K reported on.  It was a very realistic film, released just as the priest scandal was breaking.  Why did Catholics hurl the same anti-Catholic rants over stories about the so-called Magdalene Laundries and films such as Philomena - and even the Dan Brown novels and films - which really are fiction?  What was that all about?  What is it about?

Especially when many of the same Catholic Defense League types complain, scorn, condemn, even attack Pope Francis.  How anti-Catholic can you get?

Song for this post here.