Saturday, February 28, 2015

Screenshot: FrancisChurch: Bum given bishop's resting place ...

Willy Herteleer, pilgrim.
Photo credit, Paul Badde

What editorial headlines tell you about the editor.

FrancisChurch? Bum?

It's almost funny... giving the impression that Francis the talking mule and bungling fools are running the Church...   Enemies of the Church would approve of such language.

But editorial headlines don't tell the whole story.

By now everyone has heard the story of Willy Herteleer the homeless man buried at the Vatican, in case you haven't - here is a brief summary:
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See press office has confirmed the news of the burial of a homeless man in the Teutonic College cemetery within Vatican City State. Willy was a homeless man of Flemish origin.  His exact age was unknown but he was believed to have been around 80 years of age. He died on  December 12 last year and was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery on January 9 this year. 
Willy was a familiar face to many in the area of the Vatican. He attended daily Mass in  Sant’Anna parish in the Vatican and spent his days and nights on the streets around St. Peter's Square, Borgo Pio and Via di Porta Angelica. The pastor of Sant’Anna in the Vatican, Father Bruno Silvestrini, had dedicated the Nativity Scene at Christmas to Willy, adding a homeless man among the shepherds. He loved to pray, he had a good heart, attended the morning Mass at St. Anna every day and always sat in the same place. Read more at Vatican Radio
Tomb of St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Many bloggers have since picked up on the story and so I wasn't going to post on the man until I saw the offending headline at Pewsitters.  Mr. Herteleer wasn't a bum.  He was a pilgrim, a homeless pilgrim.  For centuries pilgrims have journeyed to Rome and for centuries some who did so remained - to pray in the heart of the Church.  Naturally I first thought of St. Benedict Joseph Labre - who was a homeless pilgrim from France.  He too lived among the other homeless people on the streets.  Willy Herteleer chose to live among those who did not live in the shelters.
After morning Mass, he would stop for a while and speak with the people.

“When did you last go to confession?” he would ask everyone he met. “Are you going to communion? Do you go to Mass?”

He asked the same of other homeless people, those with whom he chose to live.

For a time he lived in a shelter. “Yes, it’s nice, welcoming and clean. Yes, you eat well and the people are nice,” he told people. “But I need freedom. I love freedom!”

He preferred his friends. He preferred the streets. He preferred the monsignor that brought him oranges, the journalist that took his photo.

After Mass, he would speak with his friend Msgr. Amerigo Ciani. “Thanks for your homily pronounced so calmly. I understand it well and it helps me to meditate throughout the day,” he said. - CNA

I find his story edifying and encouraging.  After St. Benedict Joseph's death the Romans immediately hailed him as a saint.  He was given a wonderful funeral and burial - and today his tomb, containing his relics are enshrined in a church.

I suspect Mr. Herteleer wouldn't object to being called a bum, a vagrant, a beggar - though it is said he didn't really ask for funds or food.  I suspect he was very humble and aware of himself - that is - he had such humility that he knew himself completely - as Christ knew him.  Jesus knows each of us deeply - he recognizes us - he recognizes himself in us.

It's a very great, wondrous mystery contained in such self knowledge.  Great freedom - freedom of spirit.  Willy said, "I love freedom - I need freedom!"

How entangled we make ourselves.  It must be so obvious to people like Willy, observing those who pass by in the square ... each carrying about a facade of how we want to be perceived or what we want to become.  Willy wouldn't have been there to judge of course, but rather to encourage others to go to Mass, to go especially to confession.  They want to call him a 'street evangelizer' because they need to categorize him, to dignify him - just as those who wish to denigrate him as a bum - a good for nothing.  We do that all of the time - to ourselves and to others.

We confine ourselves within social definitions of what we ought to be, or want to be, or think we should be.  Some people can't do that.  They can't live up to the expectations of others.  Willy Herteleer demonstrates that it doesn't matter:  Be what you are and let the holiness of God define your existence - allow him to love you.

“Although he was alone, he didn’t feel alone,” said Msgr. Ciani in the homily. “The presence of God was strong and alive within him. He prayed and prayed. He prayed for the conversion of everyone, even for strangers to repent.”
And, that’s how Willy’s story on earth finishes, with a tomb in the Vatican’s cemetery, surrounded by the affection of those who were close to him in life.
His was a life lived in the margins, but a life full of love. - CNA

Today I found added encouragement from the writings of Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus:

Why can't we love in a way that is both passionate yet very pure?  Don't you think that that should be possible?  I assure you the world needs love ... I am nothing but Jesus has given me a tiny spark of his love.  We can't continue to let people suffer all around us and not go to them under the pretext that we have to protect ourselves, like a soldier who, in order to keep his uniform impeccably clean, avoids the mud of the trenches and the danger of bullet wounds. - Magdeleine of Jesus

Pope Francis or Willy Herteleer might have said the same exact thing.

"... For if you love those who love you, what compensation will you have?  Don't the tax collectors and people you despise do the same?  And if you greet your family and friends and those you esteem only, what's so special or unusual about that?  The non-believers and dissenters do the same things ..."

Humor break...

This is the best car ad on TV right now ...  What?

Back to regularly scheduled blogging in 1, 2, 3, ... 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Turkish Border Closed to Syrian Christians. Who will help?

"Look! Don’t you see many roads, paths and fields full of people 
crying of hunger, not having anything to eat?
 . . . And the Holy Father in a Church praying next to the Heart of Mary?"
- Bl. Jacinta Marto
.- The number of ISIS hostages in Syria has increased to at least 250 after continued attacks on Christian villages, and civilians fleeing to the Turkish border have been stranded when not allowed to cross.

“There are 200 families who were running away and trying to escape to Turkey, but the border is closed for Syrians. No Syrian can cross into Turkey,” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told CNA Feb. 26.

Archbishop Hindo oversees the Syrian archdiocese of Hassake, which is located in the Al-Hasakah region of Syria. The region sits between the country’s borders with both Turkey and Iraq.

He spoke to CNA in French over the phone with a patchy connection from his diocese in Syria, where internet is currently down, saying that ISIS has continued its assault in the area, raising the number of hostages to more than 250 after an estimated 90 were kidnapped during attacks earlier this week. - Elise Harris, CNA

Spock is dead! RIP

“I am what I am, Leila. And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.” - Spock

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. - NYT

The Kidnapped Syrian Christians are being slaughtered.

The world - all of us - must pay attention to what is happening and come to their aid.
ISIS has killed the first Christians who are being held hostage in the governorate of Hassake in Syri, on the northeastern border with Iraq. The Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, who reported the abduction last Monday, informed Aid to the Church in Need (a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church, supporting the Catholic faithful and other Christians where they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need) that 15 of the hostages have been killed. “Many of them were fighting to defend and protect the villages and families,” Youkhana says.
In the village of Tel Hormizd one woman has been beheaded and two men were shot. There is currently no information about who the other executed captives are. 
Archimandrite Youkhana informs that at least 350 people have been captured by IS. In addition to the fighters mentioned above 81 people were seized from Tel Jazira, 21 from Tel Gouran, five from Tel Feytha and three from Qabir Shamiya. All of the above are being held in the Arab Sunni village of Um Al-Masamier. 
Also, 51 families from the village of Tel Shamiram have been taken – Archimandrite Youkhana adds: “The average is five persons per family”.He added that there was no news about where the families were being held: “Most probably they have been captured and transported to Mount Abdul Aziz, a nearby region controlled by IS.” 
Another source says there was an unconfirmed report that the mosque in the Arab Sunni village of Bab Alfaraj had called on people to attend “a mass killing of infidels” at Mount Abdul Aziz on 27 February. - Source

Prayer to Our Lady of Ransom

O God, Who by means of the most glorious 
Mother of Thy Son 
was pleased to give new children to Thy Church 
for the deliverance of Christ's faithful 
from the power of the heathen; 
grant, we beseech Thee, 
that we who love and honor her as the foundress 
of so great a work 
may, by her merits and intercession, 
be ourselves delivered from all sin 
and from the bondage of the evil one. 
Through the same Christ, our Lord.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Here's something ...

...something for Larry ...
- he misses the best stuff.


H/T Fr. Martin.  He likes everybody.  I love him.

I bet Oprah lands the Pope interview when he gets here.

Vatican issues new guidelines for Pontifices: Caution Labels mandated for cappa magna: Capes can be dangerous!*

Editors note: The cappa magna ("great cape"), 
is a voluminous ecclesiastical vestment with a long train.
The cappa magna is not strictly a liturgical vestment, 
but only a glorified cappa choralis, or choir cope.

Why the new guidelines?

Ask Madonna ...

Madonna's shocking fall backwards while a dancer
attempted to remove her beautiful cape during a
performance.  Trooper that she is, the elderly singer,
flat on the floor, continued with her song, ironically belting out the

Madonna claimed to be unhurt and continued
with the performance, but a nursing assistant
tweeted this photo of the star going upstairs 
to the bathroom in her home.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Vatican spokesman, Fr. Rosica 
leaked to reporters that the new regulations
 are a sign of the Holy Father's deep concern for the 
safety of those prelates 'who like to travel and dress up'.

Outside the Vatican sources insist the new mandate was 
necessary after the Holy Father saw photos of
Madonna's fall on stage.  Conscious of his own missteps, 
the concerned Pope reportedly told kitchen workers:
'Pontifical Masses can be just as dangerous for elderly prelates
going up and down all those stairs, with swarms of altar boys underfoot.'

*H/T Jackie

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On The Sign of Jonah

"Jesus speaks to us usually from the pulpits, from the altars; in our conversations, in our affairs and recreations; and yet we do not sufficiently esteem his words or inspirations." 
 - Fr. Nicolas Caussin, S.J.
I found a great meditation on the seeking of signs.

It is a very ill sign when we desire signs to make us believe in God. The signs which we demand to fortify our faith are often marks of our infidelity. There is not a more dangerous plague in the events of worldly affairs than to deal with the devils or to play with predictions. All these things fill men with more faults than knowledge. For divine oracles have more need to be reverenced than interpreted. He that will find God must seek him with simplicity and possess him with piety. Fr. Nicolas Caussin, S.J., posted by New Catholic*
I wanted to post this because I have read several 'new' prophecies and locutions floating around the Internet, supposedly decoding the dire events we are witnessing these days.  We have to be careful that in our confusion we are not misled by false visionaries and locutionists.

Praying very much for the exiled Christians in Iraq and Syria - most especially those Syrian Christians abducted this past week - and for all in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere suffering under the Islamic Jihadists.

ISIS blew up tomb of Prophet Jonah, 7/24/14.

*I like very much the spirituality of New Catholic and find many of his posts edifying and instructive. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Graham Moore Oscar acceptance speech.

Graham Moore

You know - the one where everyone thought he was gay?

Screenwriter Graham Moore received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Imitation Game.  In the course of his acceptance speech, Moore spoke movingly of his attempted suicide at the age of sixteen, encouraging other young people who felt 'weird or different or they don't fit in' to not give up and "Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass this same message to the next person who comes along.”

It was a beautiful statement which everyone seemed to think meant that he was gay.  People made that assumption because he 'sounded gay'.  Even gay people made that assumption based on appearance, voice inflection, emotional expression, and so on: Gay stereotypes.

Bad gays. ;)

Hmmmmmmmmm.  I think this means gays can be bigots.  I think this means gays discriminate too.  I think this means gays are are also prejudiced.  I say that because so many like to accuse everyone else of the same stuff, as well as 'homophobia'.
Graham Moore told Buzzfeed: “I’m not gay, but I’ve never talked publicly about depression before or any of that, and that was so much of what the movie was about, and it was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing so much. 
“I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons. Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story.”

Like I said - it was a great acceptance speech, especially on an evening when suicide was the topic of other works nominated.

Moore's surprise at public reaction to his speech, as well as his response, says something about our tendency, our inclination to define persons by their sexual inclination/orientation.  It stops us in our tracks to reconsider identity outside the confines of sexual orientation.  Graham Moore is a man.  As a teenager he felt weird - he felt he didn't fit in?  Why?  He didn't say, and it's no one's business.

I find it amazing and distinctive that whatever it was, he didn't just settle for some pop-cultural label or range of sexual identities to limit and define himself by.  That whatever it was, he maintained his true identity as a person, a human being, a man.

Indeed, he's a gifted, talented man.

Congratulations to him for this current success and best wishes for his future.  He's a sign of hope - and with one speech expanded our horizons tremendously.

Post Script:

Gay writers/activists are complaining the Imitation Game didn't go far enough - saying the film whitewashed the gay aspects of Alan Turing's life out of the film, avoiding sexual/romantic scenes which must have been part of his life, and would have helped fashion him into more of a cause célèbre for gay rights.

They're never happy.

ISIS threatens to throw homosexuals from the Leaning Tower of "Pizza" - after they conquer Rome.

Italians are making fun of the threat, but ISIS really does throw homosexuals from the tops of buildings, only to stone them to death at the bottom if they survive the fall.

As the above photo illustrates, there is precedent for the threatened atrocities - though it seems highly improbable, unlikely, even impossible that ISIS could invade and conquer Italy any time soon.  Nevertheless, the targeted executions which have already taken place, coupled with such specific renewed threats, outrageous as they may be, ought to at least get the attention of gay rights activists*, not to mention Obama - who refuses to call terrorism terrorism, refuses to admit ISIS is Islamic, refuses to admit the threat of radical Islam is spreading like wildfire and is a threat to the world, and refuses to put forward any meaningful plan to deal with ISIS.

* Yet gay activists continue to blast the Catholic Church as homophobic and oppressive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lesley Gore, RIP


Last week I skipped posting on the death of a pop-singer-songwriter from a long time ago - when I was really, really little - for reasons I can't recall now.

Lesley Gore 68, died last week, February 16.  I wasn't a huge fan really - I just remember her on Bandstand and knew she was in High School when she came to fame for "It's My Party" and "You Don't Own Me" - and I kind of had a crush on her.  (I sort of dumped Annette Funicello for her.)  I also thought she was Catholic - but found out now that she wasn't.  I lost interest in her when Motown got big, and as the saying goes, once you go black ... you never go back.

Which means I actually under rated Gore.  Why do I say that?  Because she wrote the very great, albeit under appreciated song: "Love Me By Name".  Patti Austin covered it best - song here.

Lesley Gore was a fine singer, songwriter and actress - under appreciated by many, I'm sure.  RIP.

Now THEY want to silence Catholic bloggers just as THEY silenced Pope Benedict XVI!

Who some feel fled "for fear of the wolves."

What should I do now?

Remember how THEY replaced PPVI with an impostor?*
Which one was beatified?

*THEY did the same thing to Sr. Lucia.


Oh! Oh!  THEY probably murdered JPI too!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Academy Awards Teaser ...

"Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are." - Oscar Wilde

Here's one more burning question for the Oscars 2015.

Query:  How many times will host Neil Patrick Harris mention his husband, his kids, that he is married, that he has a family?

Song for this post here.

Joan Crawford: [Joan addresses the fans camped out in front of her house on Oscar night]
I would rather be here with you than anywhere else in the world.

Me too.

UPDATE:  I couldn't have been more wrong - he never mentioned it once.  

Mass chat: Sometimes I don't understand the homilies ...

Nothing was said at Mass about the Coptic martyrs.

Sometimes I wonder if the homily is more a prepared, obligatory address, an assignment similar to writing a paper on a theme, based on the readings of course - yet cleverly inserting some relevant tie-in with an issue the listeners can identify with.   Studied, prepared, delivered according to the ordinary form within the allotted time frame.  Cut and paste.  Finished and ready to be delivered - no matter what.

Sample assignment:  Compare Christ in the desert/wilderness to ... saving the wilderness and tie it all together with this and that verse about rainbows?  

I'm just not sure ... and I was so lost.

All I could think about during the homily was 21 Christian men beheaded on a beach in Libya.  All I could think about was their families, their faith, their courage ... Their cry, "Jesus save me!"  Did the martyrs see Him as St. Steven did at the moment he gave up his spirit?  Did they suffer much?  Does it hurt to have your throat slit?  A lot?  At what point do you die?  I kept thinking and praying for them and with them and for their families.  What if it happened here?  What would I do?  How could I withstand such an assault?  Is my faith real?  Do I have such charity, such love to surrender my soul as these men did?  What must I do?  

 + + +

All I'm saying is, try to make your homilies real - try to talk about Jesus and the shedding of His blood and what is happening to Christians - NOW.  In the early Church the early fathers exhorted the Christians to martyrdom - they taught how to prepare for martyrdom.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to criticize or complain ...

I can't stop thinking of the martyrs.  There are Christians right now in real deserts, real wilderness: desert refugee camps, arid prisons, sexual enslavement, some lost at sea attempting to flee their homeland.

We are now living in an actual passion-tide of blood...

The Libyan beach.