Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some thoughts on Friendship for the Feast of St. Francis De Sales

I'm reading all this stuff on friendship and 'that' particular inclination, which reminded me of something I once copied for another post from Francis De Sales.  I thought it might be a nice followup to yesterday's post.  Forgive me, I took a couple of liberties with the text.
"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, and 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

Too simple?  Perhaps.

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. - Ibid

NB: Truth be told, St. Francis De Sales' direction on spiritual friendship is more practical for lay people than the work of St. Aelred... just saying.

Don't listen to me, go to confession and get a spiritual director instead. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Archbishop Georg Gänswein gives interviews too.

"Speaking of an antipope is simply stupid, 
and also irresponsible. 
 That goes in the direction of theological arson."

My friend Diane sent me an email with an interview attached.  Gänswein was interviewed by Christ & Welt, a weekly supplement to Die Zeit in Germany.  It is a great read.  I'll offer just a couple of excerpts below.

With the Synods on the pastoral care for families this past and the coming autumn, Francis created a focal point. Especially the question of allowing divorced and remarried faithful access to the sacraments causes much disagreement. Some also have the impression that Francis is more concerned with pastoral care than with doctrine…
I do not share that impression. It creates an artificial opposition which does not exist. The Pope is the first guarantor and keeper of the doctrine of the Church and at the same the first shepherd, the first pastor. Doctrine and pastoral care are not in opposition, they are like twins.
Do the current and the retired Pope take opposite views in the debate about divorced and remarried Catholics?
I know of no doctrinal statements from Pope Francis which are contrary to the statements of his predecessor. That would be absurd too. It is one thing to emphasise the pastoral efforts more clearly because the situation requires it. It is something else entirely to make a change in teaching. I can only act pastorally sensitive, consistent and conscientious when I do so on the basis of full Catholic teaching. The substance of the sacraments is not left to the discretion of pastors, but has been given to the Church by the Lord. That is also and especially true for the sacrament of marriage.
Was there a visit of some cardinals to Benedict during the Synod, with the request that he intervene to rescue the dogma?
There has not been such a visit to Pope Benedict. A supposed intervention by the Pope emeritus is pure invention. - In Caelo et in Terra

Papal gaffes.

soup du jour 
Art: Michael Sowa

So many Catholics online seem to be embarrassed by their Pope when he gives interviews ...

Some say he speaks beneath the dignity of his office.  Others insist his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI would never speak the way Pope Francis does.  Many of these critics just don't like Francis - and that's fine - no one has to like the man.

That said, Catholics seem to have short memories.  Every predecessor of Pope Francis made their own spectacular gaffes and received severe criticism from faithful Catholics - be they progressive, dissenting, or the inflexibly obedient.  As I said in the com box to another commenter:

Actually dear Pope Benedict XVI had a reputation for gaffes - he made a couple of statements on the use of condoms - in Africa, as well as by male prostitutes, which media and faithful Catholics pretty much attacked. Likewise his famous Regensburg lecture on Islam caused quite a stir throughout the world. Even the current Pope Francis was critical. Benedict's appointments were very often criticized, as was the lifting of the excommunication of SSPX Bishop Williamson. Some people still view the Pope's resignation as either appropriate for a failed papacy, or a huge mistake and a running away from the wolves. 
St. John Paul II was even more sharply criticized and accused of gaffes by liberals and conservatives - depending on the 'offense' - especially when he kissed the Koran, as well as his participation in the Assisi gatherings. One can't forget the bare-breasted women communicants in New Guinea, not to mention the liturgical abuse ridden World Youth Day gatherings. 
Of course it would fill a week's worth of com box entries to enumerate the many horrible gaffes traditionalists and secular media attributed to Bl. Paul VI - the real PPVI, not the impostor.

Pope Francis is simply the soup du jour among Catholic politicos, pundits and bloggers - who find him intolerable, not excluding the traditional enemies of the Church in secular media of course - they know how to pit everyone against one another.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Catholics are so sensitive...

How did that happen?

I blame the Catholic Defense leaguers.  They are always on the lookout for some insult against Catholics.  Or maybe it's just American Catholics who have become so feminized?

It's really only since JFK was in office that Catholics took on an air of social respectability and got their names in the paper for other than bootlegging.  I exaggerate perhaps, but before 1960 Catholics had to tough it out, 'paying their dues' as underclassmen to the White Anglo Saxon Protestant majority in power.  So maybe it's a status-oriented-political thing then?  It's not like Catholics were ever slaves in the U.S. ... Eventually they gained a foothold uptown and at the Cape - which meant, respectability, status and class.  Cardinals hobnobbing with the rich and famous and politically powerful became a common sight especially since the 1950's.

I wonder - is that why egos are bruised and crushed so easily today?  Is that why Catholics in the United States feel marginalized and persecuted?  Are the sufferings in this country somehow worse than what Catholics in Syria and Iraq have faced?  Are Catholics chopped to bits or burned alive here in the States?  Is there any suffering like our suffering?  Does the Government force abortion and contraception upon Catholics who seek Government assistance?  Is it the Government who is closing parish churches and schools?  Are men banned from entering seminary?  Are priests banned from travelling abroad and collecting donations for every trip to a foreign powder room?

Of course not.

Yet let the Pope say something innocent, which secular writers use to goad religious people they do not like with, and the tears start swelling up, and the very manly Catholics start pissing and moaning and feeling sorry for themselves.  Where's Cardinal Burke to witness and speak out about such effeminate behavior?

Those poor lonely single Catholic women, some even single mothers, who can't get a date.  The lonely single celibate gay Catholic, suffering the pain of loneliness and isolation, unable to masturbate or marry - exiles in their own parish - so unwelcome, feeling they don't fit in, sleeping alone at night.  Where is the Pope - why can't he call these people and console them and let them know that they are loved and give them a teddy bear?  Why didn't the Synod Fathers ever mention the sad plight of the single person, adrift in a pop-culture they are no longer cool with?  Forget about the widows and widowers who miss their loved ones - they had their chance.

Then.  This past week.  A very special Blossom: The plight of ... Catholics - with ... large ... families!  Oh.  My.  God.  The humanity!  Get me to a Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form or I will never make it to heaven!

Very seriously people - er, gentle reader.  What kind of Catholics have we become?  How painfully sensitive?  What whiners?  What martyrs?

As I said last night in the com box:
If many faithful Catholic couples are in uncomfortable positions because the 'world' doesn't understand what the pope meant or said - what is wrong with that? Isn't the Gospel uncomfortable any way? I hope so.
Did you ever feel funny saying grace in a restaurant? Did you ever get teased for not eating meat on Friday? Haven't people suggested you could skip Mass on Sunday and holy days? Haven't you ever been ridiculed for some Catholic teaching? It goes with the territory. 
I have traditional Catholic friends who are married with lots of kids and consider it a scandal that there is a childless couple who doesn't tell everyone at donuts and coffee that they are either unable to have children or they are practicing NFP - thus, the Inquisitors assume they are contracepting or the husband may be gay. Seriously - I worked with these religious busy bodies.  They can be worse than what we complain about as anti-Catholic bigotry from the world.
And what about gay people? The universe tells them they are nuts to follow the teachings of the Church and to live celibately - they are mocked and marginalized when they support and live according to Catholic teaching. I've been damned if I do or I don't use one term or another in speaking on the subject - and I'm nearly expected to give a blood test to prove I'm faithful to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage when saying anything nice about gay Catholics. Catholics eat their own and cry fowl when someone steps on their toe. 
But so what?! That is life.  We are Catholics - the Gospel is counter-cultural. It's the cost of discipleship. What is with all this self-seeking, self-pity? What is it that pampered, Western modern Catholics want? Praise and the esteem of society for being good boys and girls and keeping the commandments? Do we want adulation and praise just for being faithful?  Are we so self-absorbed that now we imagine even the Pope insults us?  In doing so we make ourselves more Catholic than the Pope, more Catholic than the Church.
Where is the faith? Where is the generosity of spirit? Where is the humility?
I think many today believe they 'paid their dues' and they are seeking some sort of exaltation and praise - simply for doing their duty. That's not Catholic.

. . . 

Bonus feature:  You wanna see sad?  Just remember, not all rabbits have large families ... but they do get lonely.



I love lambs.

The Pope blesses lambs today on the feast of St. Agnes - find out why here.

St. Francis of Assisi used to cry when he saw a lamb because he thought of the Passion of Christ, the little Lamb of God.  It is said a lamb followed him everywhere he went, another story says it was a rabbit he had rescued from a trap.

Lambs are so simple.  Francis called Br. Leo 'little lamb' because of his simplicity and obedience.

Many know the story of how Francis tamed the wolf of Gubbio, who became as gentle as a lamb.

Today we honor St. Agnes, the pure and spotless little virgin who shed her blood rather than surrender her virginity.

St. Agnes pray for us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, Supports Large Families... Get over it!

Pope Francis' Address to the Italian Association of Large Families

"In a world often marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude then becomes a benefit for the whole society."

Dear parents, I am grateful to you for the example of love towards life, that you preserve from conception to natural end, despite all the difficulties and burdens of life, and that unfortunately, the public institutions do not always help you. You rightly remembered that article 31 of the Italian Constitution, asks for particular attention to large families; but this is not adequately reflected in the facts. It remains in words. Therefore, I hope, also thinking of the low birth rate that has long been in Italy, for a greater focus on policy and administrators on a public level, in order to give due support to these families. Each family is a cell of society, but large families are a more rich cell, more vibrant, and the State has an interest in investing in it.
Therefore, we welcome the families meeting in this association– like this Italian one and those of other European countries represented here -, and we welcome a network of family associations capable of being present and visible in society and in politics. In this regard, St. John Paul II wrote: "Families should grow in awareness of being 'protagonists' of what is known as 'family politics' and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference." (Familiaris consortio, 44)
The commitment that the family associations develop in the various national and local "Forums", is precisely that of promoting in society and in the laws of the State the values and needs of the family. We also welcome the ecclesial movements, in which you members of large families are particularly present and active. I always thank the Lord in seeing mothers and fathers of large families, together with their children, engaged in the life of the Church and society. For my part, I am close to you through prayers, and I place you all under the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. And a beautiful news is that in Nazareth, a house for families is being built for families around the world who go as pilgrims where Jesus grew in age, wisdom and grace (cfr. Lk. 2,40).
I pray in particular for the families who are most tested by the economic crisis, those where the father or mother have lost their job, - and this is hard – where the youth have been unable to find [work]; the families tried by love ones and those tempted to give in to loneliness and division. 
Vatican City, 


A million kisses and thanks to Elena Vidal for the reminder.

Laughing with him - not at him ...


Monday, January 19, 2015

The Pope of surprises ... I guess.

Watch out how you paint him.

 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." - CCC

Fallout from the Holy Father's visit to the Philippines.

Apparently the Holy Father surprised people because he spoke out against contraception and gay marriage and spoke in support of, and the need for support of the family:
Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi later confirmed with Catholic News Service that the Pope had been referring to same-sex marriage among other distortions to both marriage and the family. 
"As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture," he said. "[resist] ideological colonization that threatens the family"

These comments from the Pope are consistent with comments he made in the past while Pope and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jose Maria Bergoglio. Speaking before an audience from the international Marian movement in October, the Holy Father said "the family is being bastardized" and decried "new forms of unions which are totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage." His comments came only a few weeks before he exclaimed, "children have the right to a mother and father" at the Vatican-sponsored "Complementarity of Man and Women" colloquium in November. - Source

The Pope has consistently held up Catholic teaching when it comes to these questions - before becoming Pope he was very clear in his stance against same sex marriage.  The 'faithful remnant' chose to ignore these facts and ran with anti-papist/anti-Catholic  news reports from secular agencies and Catholic blogs and Catholic 'tabloid news portals' such as Pewsitters and other start up sites.

One particularly shrewish Catholic blogger, self-congratulates and pretty much heaps self praise upon herself and other crackpot bloggers such as Ann Barnhardt, Steve Skojec, and other fear-mongering-divisive 'faithful remnant' sites claiming the influence of the Catholic blogosphere goes to the Chair of Peter itself.  In other words, the Catholic blogosphere believes they've somehow forced the Pope to become more Catholic?!  Amazingly ridiculous.

I seriously think many of these folks are deluded malcontents. They are like drunks hanging out at their neighborhood corner bar - arguing and fighting and looking for new fights to get into - just for the sake of congratulating themselves for the win - and if they should lose a round, they start to denigrate and shame their 'liberal' opponent to death.  So today, after they are forced to acknowledge that the Pope is faithful, they ALL go on the attack against secularists, who have no interest in Catholic teaching save to find ways to circumvent it or destroy it.  Suddenly, everyone with a Catholic blog-site muscles up all their sarcasm and derision to hurl insults and told ya so's against the cultural enemies of the Church.

What a bunch of blowhards.  Don't forget to hold out your tin cups to support yourself - especially now while the hits are coming in.

Be sure to support the online 'faithful remnant' priests too.  You know - the ones who wander the 'digital continent' like gyrovagues.

'Gutsy lady' 
Catholic-blogger-type A-O.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Millions Who Attended Mass With the Pope

The Santo Nino is in the foreground.

The faces of devotion and prayer ... kneeling in the rain ...

"This is the one I approve, the lowly and afflicted man, who trembles at my word." - Isaiah 66:2

Santo Nino Sunday

“It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Nino Sunday with you”, said the Pope in his homily. “The image of the Holy Child Jesus accompanied the spread of the Gospel in this country from the beginning. Dressed in the robes of a king, crowned and holding the sceptre, the globe and the cross, he continues to remind us of the link between God’s Kingdom and the mystery of spiritual childhood. He tells us this in today’s Gospel: 'Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it'. The Santo Nino continues to proclaim to us that the light of God’s grace has shone upon a world dwelling in darkness, bringing the Good News of our freedom from slavery, and guiding us in the paths of peace, right and justice. The Santo Nino also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world.

“In these days, throughout my visit, I have listened to you sing the song: 'We are all God’s children'. That is what the Santo Nino tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family. Today St. Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are. This is our identity. We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon.

“The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed! God 'has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens'. These words have a special resonance in the Philippines, for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia. - VIS

Joel said: "It won't make you happy."

Things can't make you happy.

So true.

This is sweet: Former First Lady Imelda Marcos attends Papal Mass

"The message of the Holy Father is about the poor, and I love the poor." - Mrs Marcos

TACLOBAN, Philippines — Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos raised eyebrows Saturday when she made an appearance at Pope Francis' Mass held in the typhoon-ravaged region, declaring that she loves the poor. Marcos, 85, was one of the thousands wearing yellow ponchos and enduring wind and rain to hear the pontiff deliver an emotional homily centering on the faith and resolve of the people there. - Source

I was wondering if and how she would be present.  I think she is so sincere.  I love some of her quotes, especially the one I often repeat, "Don't dress down for the poor, they won't respect you for it."  Makes sense to me.


Rod Taylor 1930-2015

Gone to be with Weena forever.

It's like no one even noticed ...

At least I hadn't seen anything announcing his death.

I just found out last night that Rod Taylor died on January 7 of this year, four days before his 85th birthday.

RIP Rod.

Song for this post here.