Saturday, January 31, 2015

Centenary of the Birth of Thomas Merton

Fr. James Martin, S.J. seems to be very devoted to Merton, aka Fr. Louis, o.c.s.o..  Fr. Martin writes here.  Merton's final lecture here.

I appreciate much of his writing - Merton's - and many of his thoughts.  Although I think I like Thomas à Kempis better.  I suppose that sounds like a put down.  It isn't meant to be.  It seems to me Merton was more interested in defining monastic/contemplative life in his last days, while Thomas à Kempis was more interested in sanctifying ordinary life - within and without enclosure.

ISIS Brutally Executes Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto

I'm so, so sorry.  Prayers now for Kenji Goto, as well as prayers for the victims and all of those murdered, raped, maimed and displaced by this reign of terror.

It seems to me many of us have forgotten the people who continue to suffer in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.  We get caught up in our stupid, stupid controversies and gossip.  We worry about stupid crap.  Stupid, stupid crap.

Stop and pray.  Shut up and pray. At least take time to pray a rosary, a chaplet - right now.

Prayers for the latest victim and his family.

Stray thoughts ...

Saturday detention.

I guess Bruce Jenner really is transitioning.
Evidently it wasn't botched cosmetic surgery, he really is transitioning into a woman, and documenting it for a film.  Story here.
Sports make you straight, huh?  Just kidding. 

I wonder if Mary Cheney will bitch about that?  
She's questioning why it is okay for men to do drag while it's politically incorrect to do black-face.  Story here.  Dykes do drag too hon.  Michael Jackson did white face - so go ahead and be the first to revive the black face tradition.  How dumb.
Voris is Mic'up over Smuggling in Sodomy.
I watched pretty much the entire video.  See here.  The Mic'up show is better than the Vortex 'trailer' because it is more serious and doesn't have all the sound effects and tricks - which is one reason why people make fun of Mr. Voris.  That said, the show was fine - he covered everything wrong in the Church very well, as did his guests.  I've pointed out the same issues on my blog over the years, in one way or another.  Voris pretty much condenses the problem within the time allotted.  
Will anyone listen?  As I always say, connect the dots - the entire evolution has been documented.  It's all accounted for.  Do your homework and you will see.  (Nope, I'm not doing links and footnotes because I've done that in the past and you readers still refute it.  So do your own research.) 

Gay/SSA priests.
Within the Voris exposé is the concern about gay priests and narcissism and liturgy.  There is more than a suggestion that the reform of the liturgy is the only culprit here, that somehow the post-Vatican II Church bred, or at least groomed gay men for the priesthood.  That's dumb.  People always and everywhere want to blame the Novus Ordo and Vatican II for all the corruption in the Church - especially the gay priests and sexual abuse cover-up.
The gay priest thing existed before Vatican II.  There have always been gay priests.  There continue to be gay priests among the traditionalist - those dedicated to the Extraordinary Form and all things some refer to as pre-Vatican II.  Yeah but, in the Extraordinary Form there is no room for narcissism - the priest faces God.  Really?  The priest can still make himself the center of attention - there is plenty of room for performance and drama.  Likewise, the priest often made himself the center of attention in and through the sermon.  And don't forget the Pontifical Mass and the cappa magna grand entrance.  I'm just saying. 
There are SSA priests among us - traditionalist or novus ordo.  They have parishes, communities, oratories, and so on.  I'm quite sure they are chaste and faithful to Catholic teaching.  At least one may have good hope.  Yet the Voris video, as well as several bloggers are now on this anti-gay priest thing.  I've gone through that many times before.  No one listens.   
Bishops, rectors of seminaries, abbots, religious superiors, and spiritual directors all give the okay for men with homosexual inclination - as well as to those who, though once active, have since renounced homosexual activity - dispensations are given to allow entrance to Holy Orders or consecrated life.  They have always done so, and apparently always will - despite what official documents say.  When a guy gets kicked out of the seminary in one diocese, he can often find a bishop in another to ordain him.
And yes, that some bishops have said they make the best priests - that is true.  I've heard it myself.
Whatchya gonna do about it?  Here is my suggestion:  Pray for priests.  Why do you think the saints and Our Lord and Our Lady always request we pray for priests?  It's not as if Heaven doesn't know about these guys.
Bonus thought:  Did you know that some men may be SSA but have never, ever acted on it?  That they have remained a virgin - all of their life?  Did you know that some men who are SSA may never, ever have told anyone that they are SSA?  And that they never, ever even fantasized about it?  Can you imagine asking a man like that, one you suspected of being SSA if he was SSA?  I've known good Catholics who have done that, or else pointed the finger to say that about someone they thought seemed somewhat effeminate.  

Yeah, but - why are homosexuals attracted to the priesthood and service to the Church in the first place?
Power.  Control.  Narcissism.  Narcissism isn't a new development.  It isn't exclusive to a Novus Ordo priest who may place all of the focus on himself during the Mass and homily.  What a naive POV!  The Extraordinary Form offers plenty of face time, costume/set design, and music.  The Extraordinary Form is very attractive to gay men with superior taste.  
I came across a rather good essay titled; UnEnglish and Unmanly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality, by David Hilliard.  It's a PDF so it is very difficult to copy and paste, yet if you go to the site and skim through it, you'll find lots of evidence that traditional liturgy is quite attractive to gay men... traditional or liberal.

One more stray thought: The Pope knew about it and authorized it...
Huh? What?  "The lead organizer of the Vatican’s Synod on the Family has revealed that Pope Francis approved the controversial mid-term report from the meeting before it was published."  Oh. My. God.
So what?  Everyone wants transparency - the Holy Father probably wanted it published to avoid all the conjecture, gossip, and fear mongering that occurred afterwards.  Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.  Now the conspiracy theorists seem to be using this latest development against the Holy Father. 

Whatchya gonna do about it?  Here is my suggestion:  Pray for priests.  Pray for the Holy Father - and not just to gain an indulgence.  Pray the Rosary every day - and think about the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Song for this post here

Friday, January 30, 2015

Former model Olalla Oliveros ... and religious order fashions. Redux.

Olalla Oliveros.  Make-up did a lot.  I recall an article
concerning her conversion at Fatima when she said she was
thinking of becoming a nun.

Wearing your religion on your sleeve.

Olalla Oliveros is in the news again - kinda/sorta.  It's really more about the religious order she joined after a profound religious experience at Fatima.  Remember the story?

Just as her modelling career took off!  Supermodel.*

At the top of her flourishing career, a beautiful Spanish model has given it all up to become a nun.
Olalla Oliveros, a beautiful and well known Spanish model who did advertisements, television commercials, and worked as an actress has given up her career and decided to become a nun. Last month, Oliveros entered the semi-cloistered Order of Saint Michael. - NCR
The habit doesn't make the nun.

As I wrote last year... Olalla Oliveros' community of St. Michael the Archangel adopted a strange habit. The coloration and insignia seems a bit Disney to me. The male branch of the order wears the same habit.

Today we find out that not only the religious garb was strange, so were the founders and the religious life.  From CM Report:
Well, Oliveros may have wanted to become an ordinary nun, but the order she joined if far, far from ordinary.  It has been described as a sex cult with satanic practices.

It has been reported that the founders of Mandate and Order of Saint Michael Archangel have been arrested on sex and fraud charges.
The sect's leader, Feliciano Miguel Rosendo da Silva, and his right-hand woman, the self-described "nun" Marta Paz Alonso, were detained on Thursday in the town of Collado Villalba, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Madrid.
An investigating judge will question the suspects "once several outstanding police procedures" are completed, the High Court of Justice of Galicia, in northwestern Spain, said in a statement.
The pair ran the sect, dubbed Mandate and Order of Saint Michael Archangel, in Galicia but moved to the Madrid region after Da Silva was expelled from the Roman Catholic diocese of Tui for "inapproriate moral behaviour". They then renamed the sect "The Voice of the Serviam".
Police accuse them of sexual abuse, money laundering, tax fraud, criminal association and crimes against moral integrity.
The arrest came a day after former members of the sect and their family members spoke out about alleged sexual, physical and psychological abuse by the two leaders, who they said got rich at their expense.
There are some pretty sordid details at the source. - CMR

I hope Oliveros got out before they got her involved.  It would be wonderful if this story proves to be untrue.

That said, the habits still look ridiculous.

*BTW:  I use the term 'Supermodel' only because it reminds me of a song.  However, the term is often used loosely today, indicating someone arriving at the pinnacle of success.  Those at the pinnacle of success are few - everyone else, pretty much just has the potential to be.  It's like 'film star'.  If no one ever heard of you before, you aren't really a star.  I remember when I first entered the monastery and mentioned to the assistant novice master that 'I gave up everything, I left it all behind to enter, I trampled the world under foot.'

Br. Benedict laughed out loud and said, 'No you didn't.'  Then he said something like, 'you only left the potential to achieve/acquire this or that behind.'

I had to laugh too.  Anyway - I think that's what a lot of people have to understand, and don't be too grand about 'giving it all up.'  Many are called, few are chosen, and given the chance, some will take everything back.

All the discussions about chastity these days may miss a very simple point.

Single heartedness.

It seems to me the real difficulty with chastity - especially for those who have been sexually abused or have abused the gift of sexuality itself, may come down to a lack of charity.  The Catechism defines the virtue of charity this way:

1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. - CCC

Chastity is difficult when our affections are dissipated, inordinate, disordered, and all over the place.

One may be celibate and remain unchaste. So celibacy isn't the goal.

Chastity frees us, open us, expands all our faculties to love God with our whole being, and our neighbor as our self.

[Lust and attraction are not synonymous either.]

Pier Vittorio Tondelli came to understand chastity as a “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”

It seems to me that celibacy is more a condition of single life. All are called to chastity. In contemporary understanding, chaste single life pretty much equals celibacy. Religious life does too - yet ordinarily, religious do not make a vow to be celibate, but to be chaste. To love God with their entire being, otherwise celibacy doesn't mean a great deal.

Just like love, chastity is misunderstood and 'not loved' in our culture. It's not a curse. Tondelli suggests it is chosen - on some level that is true - we can eat of the tree of forbidden fruit, or not. We have free will. More deeply, it is a grace, a gift, a valuable pearl, that one needs to sell everything to obtain. Like love, it requires sacrifice.

"Love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labor. For we must love not occasionally, for a moment, but forever." - Dostoevsky, Fr. Zosima

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What the Pope said ...

Today's homily makes total sense to me.
The Pope pointed out that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews gave some very important practical advice: ‘Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do.’ He said this happens when we’re at such assemblies, in the parish or community and we judge the others, when there’s this kind of scorn towards the others. This, Pope Francis stressed, is not the new and living way of Jesus.
“They scorn the others, they stay away from the community as a whole, they stay away from the people of God, they have privatized salvation: salvation is for me and my small group, but not for all the people of God. And this is a very serious mistake. It’s what we see and call: ‘the ecclesial elites.’ When these small groups are created within the community of God’s people, these people believe they are being good Christians and also are acting in good faith maybe, but they are small groups who have privatized salvation.” - Vatican Radio

Now to whom do you think the Pope was expressing this teaching?  Who is he talking about?  Who is he talking to?  Me, for sure - and maybe you.   How can we be ecclesial elites?  We see it all the time online when we use our labels for one another, add our academic or religious initials/credentials behind our names, proclaim ourselves, attributing to ourselves some authority, correcting and admonishing - even the Pope ... and so on.  When we look around our parish we see the same dynamic.  We ourselves can be guilty of this notion of elitism.

Getting tired of what the Pope says?

No one is forcing us to listen, much less comment on what he says.  Who has appointed any of us his spokesman?  That said, as I responded last night on another blog, I simply do not understand the confusion, nor the anxiety over what the Holy Father says and does, explaining:

I don't know what is not to get or to be upset by? I see Francis in continuity with his predecessors - he's just more accessible and candid. I wonder if the confusion could be the result of many Catholics being unfamiliar with the Scriptures. Certainly they may have some scholarship - but do they read and ruminate the Scriptures?   
St. Therese carried a small New Testament with her always - Francis suggests we do the same - something he has done and continues to do. I think he lives the Gospel very simply. I do not believe for a minute there is any artifice or any duplicity in him whatsoever. 
I really do feel badly that otherwise faithful Catholics find him so troubling. I often think of how the many very devout Catholics, those follow apparitions and who read private revelation which speak of a warning and an illumination of conscience and a chastisement to come, are acting now. Protesting and complaining, calling the Pope out as an abusive father. For me Francis has been warning us, he has laid bare the conscience and hearts of many; something I find especially moving for myself, inspiring compunction and repentance in myself, and I think in others. It seems he has been calling us all to repentance - almost daily, often urging the faithful to go to confession.  What is the call of the Gospel?  Repent and believe the Good News.  Yet so many seem to be stopping their ears and ripping their garments in response. 
Francis is the man who occupies the Chair of Peter as Vicar of Christ, he follows in his predecessors footsteps, after him, another will take his place. - My comment on another post.
Again - I don't know why I involve myself in these discussions.  Ignorant, steeped in sin since birth, who am I to say anything?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Andrew Sullivan is putting the blog to bed. That's journalism speak for he's quitting.

No it's not.

That's not journalism speak.

I knew that.

But it is true, he's leaving the blog behind to spend more time actually doing something worthwhile.

I rarely ever read Andrew Sullivan* - but I know a lot of top notch bloggers who have.  He was a trailblazer.  A 'maverick'.  (I just said that.)

Seriously, I was going to quit blogging as well - all of my posts have been leading up to that final, special moment when I'd make the announcement.  Now Sullivan comes along and steals my thunder.  I think I know what he's really doing though... he's only announcing he will be quitting, writing: "I want to let you know I’ve decided to stop blogging in the near future."

What?  "In the near future."  Really?  Give me a break - I say the same thing all the time and soon traffic picks up again.  Not only does he steal my thunder, he steals my schtick.

Just kidding about Sullivan - he's big.  He's important.  I'm no one.  Nowhere man.  Andrew Sullivan is big.  Really big.  Huge.

No one cares what I say now.  So I've decided to stop blogging - in the near future.

Think of the rest of my posts as a very special, "Last Lecture".  You know, like the book ...


Song for this post here.

*Andrew Michael Sullivan is a British author, editor and blogger, resident in the United States. A former editor of The New Republic and the author or editor of six books, Sullivan is an influential blogger and commentator.

Michael Voris Mic'd Up Over Sodomy

“There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws..."*

No matter what you say about Michael Voris, the information here is troubling.

That said, Voris certainly nails the means of corruption: Catholic ed., Social Justice groups, and Liturgy.  I've always said LGBTQ theory, according to the Fr. Curran, John O'Neil, New Ways Ministry model, has influenced Catholic education for decades.  Likewise, Social Justice groups in the Church indiscriminately support equality issues related to LGBTQ and radical feminism as well.  I'm not sure how the liturgy has been 'sodomized' - perhaps he means by LGBTQ Masses?  I'll have to watch the show to find out.

Before you say Voris is nuts, just remember what he discusses has been documented and more or less ignored or filed away, out of sight, for one reason or another - again for decades.  The most famous and objective book being The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy - Fr. Enrique Rueda - it remains an excellent reference.  The book was pretty much black listed after its release.  It's out of print but copies are still available on Amazon.  It's not cheap - used copies start at $95 - I paid $90 for my copy a few years ago.

From my understanding there remains a few religious orders in the Church who will not accept anyone with homosexual inclination - even those with 2 or 3 years of living chastely.  It is my understanding that most seminaries and religious communities will accept candidates with homosexual inclination provided they have proven themselves able to live chastely and celibately.  Some Catholic bloggers have taken up this issue once again and I expect the discussion will explode after the Voris Mic'd up episode airs tonight.  Click here.

I've written about this stuff over the years and my experience is that nothing much has changed.  So we'll see what Voris and his troupe can do to reform the Church now.

Voris is also correct in noting that Courage Apostolate has been blocked in some dioceses by priests and bishops who are not supportive.  I know that from experience.

*FYI - a reminder from the CDF:
5. “There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved” (no. 9). 
6. “She (the Church) is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to or as acceptable as the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy” (no. 9). 
7. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. 
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase” (no. 10). - CDF

Song for this post here.

H/T Ray

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Very convincing video on the call to priesthood ...

Included in the video is Fr. Michael Schmitz's vocation story ... he's from the Diocese of Duluth where he works as director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.  Fr. Joshua Waltz, from Baton Rouge is the other priest in the video.

This is so good.  You feel discouraged about the Church?  God continues to call good men to follow His Son.  Watch the video and see.

And pray, for these guys and all priests.

H/T Deacon Kandra

On the pastoral care of whatchamacallit persons. More thoughts on 'gay celibates'.

"But-ch-ya are, Blanche, ya are!"

Adding to the confusion here, I just want to say you really can be a gay-celibate.  It doesn't mean you are not a man or a woman.  As Dan Mattson says, our bodies tell us what we are.  Recently I was invited to join Ello, a social website, and I had to write a short profile on myself.  I began with this, "I was born a man and lived all my life as a man ..."  As I frequently say here, I'm a single Catholic man.  I love being a man.

In his essay, Dan Mattson mentions being open to marriage, among other things, as part of his not being gay and simply a single man.  That's his idea.  Nothing wrong with that, either.

One size doesn't fit all, however.

For instance, and as I have often said on my blog and in life:  I never, ever wanted to be married.  In fact, at a very early age, 5, 6, or 7 maybe?  I insisted I would never marry, I insisted that I did not want to be married, and for lack of understanding at the time, I told everyone I wanted to be a priest.  They left me alone after that.  I even made 'private' vows of chastity, all through grade school - even after being molested.  My point is that I knew for an absolute fact I was not called to marriage.  I even tried to 'force' myself to marry later on, after my return to the Church, but it was very clear to me I did not want to be married and it was not God's will for me.  I am a celibate, single man.

So, what is a celibate?  

It is defined as a person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations.

When a person understands himself to be same sex attracted, a sexual inclination popularly, culturally, academically and generally identified as gay, and when such a person decides to return to the Church and the sacraments, living chastely and celibately, he may use the term gay-celibate.  The Church calls all persons to live chastely according to their state in life.  If a person is single and chooses not marry, he chooses the celibate lifestyle for himself.  Interestingly, celibate persons - no matter what their temptations, frequently live together in large or small communities.  Diocesan priests frequently live alone, but more and more join together to live in a community of two or more.  Single men and women can do the exact same thing.

That is pretty much my only disagreement with Dan Mattson's excellent article in Crises.

However, the com box discussion for the article has pretty much turned into a contentious debate, thus taking it out of the pastoral and turning it into an ideological-academic argument in an effort to justify this or that position.  Which is precisely why I hate writing about this subject.  The posts are subsequently picked up by news portals who reduce the work down to a soundbite such as 'you can't be gay and celibate', or something like that.  The person always gets sidelined or boxed-in - thus the pastoral concern gets lost in the details.

But-ch-ya are Blanche, ya are.

I use that line from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane because SSA or gay - chaste, celibate, or sexually active - those who know you use that language.  They will never let it go.  If you are unmarried, they want a handle to identify you with.  That's reality.  You can say what you want, and have all the Church documents on your side, but it is what it is.  Catholic schools, parishes, priests, bishops - they all speak the same language.  To both the religious and non-religious person, SSA pretty much equals gay.  To a person who finds the idea of homosexuality revolting, you are a pansy, a fag, a creme-puff - and these are just some of the pejorative terms I heard this past week on PBS Masterpiece Theater.

My point is, these discussions are great for the classroom, for precise theological teaching, which aids the pastor directing an individual, but they miss the point to the degree it is used to further alienate and or condemn those individuals who may not be as spiritually perfect as one would like them to be.

There really is a progression in the spiritual/moral life of the Christian.  Condemn it as gradualism if you will, but it is a reality.  We are human beings.  St. Benedict recognized that, hence the vow of ongoing conversion of manners.  Christ himself acknowledges that when he says 'strive to enter the narrow way' and 'not everyone can accept that', and elsewhere when he says, 'what is impossible for man is possible for God'.  It is why we pray and do penance and frequent the sacraments and seek direction through reading and spiritual counsel.

Chastity, continence, and celibacy.

Dan Mattson presents Catholic teaching masterfully - he speaks of the way of perfection - he is a wonderful witness.  Dan's essay is necessary to counter the gay-Catholic Spiritual Friendship movement which insists GLBTQ is an identity - an issue of gender politics with the intent towards a 'development of doctrine' regarding Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage.  This movement pretty much militates against the CDF's direction to avoid 'an all too benign interpretation be given to the homosexual condition itself' and by extension, the approval of same sex unions.

A friend of mine privately responded to me regarding the recent Crisis essays, saying that he was just trying to live chastely - to keep the commandments - that he didn't have the strength or interest in such discussions.  My friend is a faithful Catholic, under competent spiritual direction by a priest.  He makes a very good point.

If these discussions on chastity, continence, and celibacy confuse you, I urge you to speak with a good priest, in confession or make an appointment with a priest for a conversation on these issues.  If a priest is unavailable, read the documents on Catholic teaching, or good books on the subject.  Courage is an excellent resource for solid material.  Above all, pray, pray, pray a great deal - and be patient with yourself.  Don't panic - some people go through life in fits and starts and make themselves crazy.  Don't do that.  Use common sense and don't try to please others to be accepted.

Never - ever - despair of the mercy of God.  The Church does not lay burdens upon you that you cannot carry.  Have confidence and don't be discouraged.  In one of St. Paul's letters he says that one ought to continue before God in the condition of life that was his when he was called.  That is not to mean one continues in living in sin - but the call to holiness is not necessarily restricted by one's state of life.  (Obviously if you're an actor in porn films, you'd quit the business, and so on.)  Indeed, elsewhere Paul says to come out from the midst of them - suggesting one leaves behind a sinful lifestyle, or one riddled with numerous occasions of sin.  That's just common sense, nevertheless, one is not necessarily called to go into 'reparative therapy' either.

Of course I may be wrong.  So pay no attention to me - I have absolutely no credentials or initials after my name and so I'm a complete idiot.

Oh!  Why do I involve myself in these discussions?  Why?

Song for this post here.

Screenshot: Pewsniffers Tabloid News

Yeah. So. The photo used below has nothing to do with the headline or the story it is linked to ... Rather, it's a photo of the Holy Father meeting with a former drug addict in Rio. That story here.

Francis Receives 'Former Woman' and 
His/Her 'Wife' at Santa Marta 
... more

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Pope receives Diego Neria Lejárraga as an invited, private guest. What's wrong with that?

Diego Neria Lejárraga

What's wrong with that?

Nothing at all ... although a couple of Catholic writers seem to be raising a few red flags, stopping short of suggesting something is wrong about it.  This, despite the fact no one knows any details about the personal meeting or what was said - except the Holy Father and his guests.

Did I mention that Diego Neria Lejárraga is a transgender male?

A transgender man from Spain had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday. 
Hoy, a newspaper in the Extremadura region of Spain, reported that Diego Neria Lejárraga and his fiancée had a private audience with the pontiff that took place at his official residence.
Neria told Francis in a letter that some of his fellow parishioners at the church he attends in the Spanish city of Plasencia rejected him after he underwent sex-reassignment surgery. He said a priest even called him “the devil’s daughter.”
Francis called Neria on Christmas Eve after receiving his letter.
The private audience took place a month later.
“After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me,” Neria told Hoy in an interview the newspaper published on Sunday. - Source  Original Spanish report here.

So.  Why would the Holy Father reach out to this man?  I think it's obvious - the man felt rejected by the Church.  The Church doesn't know what to do with these people.  Neria reached out, the Holy Father responded.  That is what he does.  Nothing wrong with that.

As bishop of La Crosse Wisconsin, Cardinal Burke permitted a transgendered woman to begin a religious community, or pious association of the faithful. As bishop, Burke said he did so in consultation with the Holy See. A concerned lay woman went over the Burke's head and complained to the Vatican. As a result, the nascent religious community was disbanded.

In a letter, Bishop Burke responded to the complaint, writing:
"With regard to Sister Julie Green, F.S.J., the recognition of the association of the faithful which she and Sister Anne LeBlanc founded was granted only after consultation with the Holy See," he writes. "These are matters which are confidential and do not admit of any further comment.... I can assure you that Sister Julie Green in no way espouses a sex change operation as right or good. In fact, she holds it to be seriously disordered. Therefore, I caution you very much about the rash judgments which you made in your letter to the Apostolic Nuncio." - Source
Today some people dispute the story about Cardinal Burke, nevertheless it is true, local people know many the story well, knowing both the informant as well as the unfortunate victim.

To my knowledge Cardinal Burke has never responded to the story publicly.

I expect the Holy Father is simply trying to respond to a situation as did Cardinal Burke.

People who hear voices in their heads are now encouraged to talk back ...

Sister Magdalena of the Cross, once esteemed by many in Spain, 
confessed, one day, that the Devil had been visiting her in her cell.

File under: Things Catholics always knew.

Besides, isn't that what blogs are all about?  And not just for those who use the Internet to publish their personal locutions?  Some of our blog posts just may be answering the voices in our heads - with our only feed back being the com box - and if you close comments ... the voices in your head get really angry.  What?

All kidding aside, there is an interesting article that may prove helpful for people who actually do hear voices, as the article says, It may not always be a sign of mental illness or need treating with medication.  An interesting thought I suppose.  Reading the entire article however, it strikes me as a little nuts, but so do locutionists.

I also never knew there was a network for people who hear voices.
Recently, Waddingham and more than 200 other voice-hearers from around the world gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the sixth annual World Hearing Voices Congress, organised by Intervoice, an international network of people who hear voices and their supporters. They reject the traditional idea that the voices are a symptom of mental illness. They recast voices as meaningful, albeit unusual, experiences, and believe that potential problems lie not in the voices themselves but in a person’s relationship with them. 
“If people believe their voices are omnipotent and can harm and control them, then they are less likely to cope and more likely to end up as psychiatric patients,” says Eugenie Georgaca, a senior lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the organiser of this year’s conference. “If they have explanations of voices that allow them to deal with them better, that is a first step toward learning to live with them.” 
The road to this form of recovery often begins in small support groups run by the worldwide Hearing Voices Network (HVN). Founded in the Netherlands in 1987, it allows members to share their stories and coping mechanisms – for example, setting appointments to talk with the voices, so that the voice-hearer can function without distraction the rest of the day – and above all gives voice-hearers a sense of community, as people rather than patients.
There's a place in the Church for that too.

Did you know Locutions to the World continues to publish?

I'm sometimes troubled by the language in the Monsignor Esseff publications, the last time I read it, the voice of Mary was warning about economic collapse, and prices skyrocketing.  The language could have been lifted from the Wall Street Journal.  But who am I to judge?

The Hearing Voices Network would do well to consult Catholic mystical teaching on locutions.  Especially John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.  As readers know - I always refer to these saints when it comes to this type of mystical phenomena.  Read here.

The following from Teresa of Avila is also very good:
St. Teresa of Avila, who herself had an abundance of visions, takes a similar stand. She admits that great profit can be had from such things when they are genuine and are received in the proper spirit. Yet she says (Interior Castle 6. 9): "I will only warn you that, when you learn or hear that God is granting souls these graces, you must never beg or desire Him to lead you by this road. Even if you think it is a very good one... there are certain reasons why such a course is not wise." 
She then goes on at length to explain her reasons: First, such a desire shows a lack of humility; second, one thereby leaves self open to "great peril because the devil has only to see a door left a bit ajar to enter"; third, the danger of auto-suggestion: "When a person has a great desire for something, he convinces himself that he is seeing or hearing what he desires." Fourth, it is presumption for one to want to choose his own path, as only the Lord knows which path is best for us. Fifth, very heavy trials usually go with these favors: could we be sure of being able to bear them? Sixth, "you may well find that the very thing from which you had expected gain will bring you loss." 
She then adds that there are also other reasons, and continues with some wholesome advice that one can become very holy without this sort of thing: "There are many holy people who have never known what it is to receive a favor of this sort, and there are others who receive such favors even though they are not holy." - Fr. William G. Most

Joan of Arc Hearing Voices (1879) by Bastien-Lepage

BTW - I never answer the phone - so it goes without saying I'd never pay any attention to imaginary voices, much less answer them.  

What'd you say?

Song for this post here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Little saints: Bill Sackter

William "Bill" Sackter (April 13, 1913 – June 16, 1983) was a mentally disabled man whose fame as the subject of two television movies helped change national attitudes on persons with disabilities. - Source

I watched a deeply moving documentary on Bill.  If you are interested, go here.  Barry Morrow and his family are pretty saintly as well.

Barriers to Christian Unity ...

Or you can't be Catholic and  >fill in the blank<

Concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis said today:

“It is a bad thing that Christians are divided, Jesus wants us united, one body. Our sins, history has divided us. For this we must pray that the Holy Spirit bring us together again". - Angelus message.
Is anyone listening?

Probably not anyone associated with The Remnant and other 'restricted' sites.

I was reading a blog post from a writer who recently challenged Mark Shea on Facebook over something 'gay' related.  No surprise there.  I noted the critic referred to Shea as a neo-Catholic.  I never really knew for sure what that meant - but it made me wonder, 'how can there be unity among Christians when the Catholic Church is divided into factions?'

I Googled neo-Catholics to find out what it means.  I got more than I asked for from The Remnant.

Neo-Caths, Rad-Trads, Trads, Progressives, oh my!

The terminological problem is that two groups of Catholics claiming to be "simply Catholic" differ markedly and sometimes dramatically in matters of theology and praxis, a development not seen until after the Council. The termsneo-Catholicism and neo-Catholic are intended to express the difference between traditionalists and those Catholics who adopted progressive theological views and new practices after the Council even though the Church has never actually commanded any Catholic to do so. The resulting dynamic tension throughout the ecclesia between two essentially orthodox constituencies, one of which did not exist a half-century ago, has no parallel in Church history. - Remnant

And you can't be Catholic and ___.


Not interested ... how's that for disinterested.

I don't think little children
make these types of distinctions.

I like this from Little Therese:
"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet." - S. Therese of the Child Jesus

Theology of the Body: Rabbit test.

"Class! No petting during the test!"

"Yes Sister."