Friday, March 13, 2015

The Holy Father said he doesn't think he will be around for very long.



I get that feeling too.

In a new interview the Holy Father discusses his Pontificate.  It's really very touching.  He said he gets the feeling his papacy will last maybe four or five years.
“I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years; I do not know, even two or three. Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation. Maybe it’s like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won’t be disappointed and if he wins, is happy. I do not know. But I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more … But it is a feeling. I always leave the possibility open.” - Pope Francis
It makes me sad.  It also seems to explain why and how he is doing so much in such a short time.

Sometimes I think he will be gone so fast that even his critics will be brought to their knees in overwhelming grief.

Praying for the Holy Father.


Today the Holy Father also announced a Holy Year/Jubilee Year of Mercy, to commence on December 8th, 2015.  Details here.  This is wonderful news and it is a wonderful time to begin to prepare for it.

Eve Tushnet's Gay and Catholic Crisis



Deacon Jim Russell asks "A yes or a mess?"

I have only written about Eve's book here and there - within in the context of posts about what others are saying in their reviews of the work.  In fact, the further out the discussion goes with commentary by other noted religious thinkers, the less qualified I feel myself to say anything of substance.

Deacon Russell does a fine job of covering the troubling aspects of Eve's gay and Catholic 'teaching' in his current essay.  I have learned a lot from Deacon Jim, he has helped me understand the fine points regarding same sex friendship, celibacy, chastity, and so on.  I think he 'gets it'.  This is especially clear in the latest article for Crisis.  When it comes to forming youth, educating them on Catholic teaching regarding sexuality, marriage - including same sex attraction, Deacon goes right to the heart of the matter.

Interestingly, a post by and about Eve Tushnet's POV regarding 'gay and Catholic' titled, “God Delights in Me: What I’ve Learned as a Gay Catholic” has been removed from the LifeTeen website.  Deacon Jim noted it in the combox, saying, "It's prudent and will minimize any potential confusion."   I agree - but it's already out there, and has been - some Catholic schools pretty much teach the same things.  The endorsement maybe has been put on hold, that's all.

Does the Church view homosexuality as a condition associated with affective immaturity, which may be transitory in adolescents? Yes.

It isn't as if Eve Tushnet is some wicked heretic, it's simply that the 'doctrine' may be a bit 'off'.  As Deacon Jim stated in explaining his purpose for the current article:
I’d like to focus on Tushnet’s message as presented in the context of Catholic youth ministry. Let’s assess her assertions and then ask some questions about what a more authentic Catholic view regarding homosexuality and youth would be like. - Crisis

I want you to 'hear' that.  We need to understand that things which get published on or off the Internet are sometimes intended for distinct audiences.  Deacon Jim's chief concern with Eve Tushnet's outreach to youth is whether or not it is appropriate within the context of Catholic youth ministry.  Kids in their formative years - despite the fact they may be from "Modern Family" style households and exposed to far more than many of us can imagine - it is absolutely critical that young people are educated in authentic, unambiguous Catholic teaching on faith and morals - not queer theory, gender theory, or same sex romance stories - but what the Church actually teaches and really calls us to.  We can't 'make up' vocations.

Should the Church address same-sex attraction first and foremost via the virtue of chastity, particularly for young people? Yes.

Please read what Deacon Jim has to say - it should clear up any confusion you may have from Eve's book and her latest post at LifeTeen.  As she herself noted in her post: “These days I go back and forth on how well I think I grasp the theology behind the Church’s sexual ethic.”

Ironically, that is a very real problem for gay people in general - the homosexual person or those with same sex attraction seeking to live in fidelity to Catholic teaching.  Eve's book does little to dispel such wavering regarding Catholic teaching.  Likewise, "pastorally speaking"  accounts for even more confusion - if you know what I mean.  The pastoral approach to individuals is unique, yet it is between the spiritual director and the individual person - to lift up exceptional life situations as a model for dealing with what is objectively disordered is not an acceptable replacement/substitute for clear, definitive Catholic teaching.

Should a clear and definitive distinction be maintained between authentically healthy and “disinterested” friendships on one hand and less-than-healthy relationships formed at least in part on the basis of same-sex attraction on the other? Yes.

Some of the Spiritual Friendship studies seem intent upon establishing a sort of gay-Catholic exceptional-ism which allows for exclusive same-sex partnerships, albeit without genital intimacy.  So, if I was a kid and I heard that, I might think, "I can have a boyfriend - we just can't 'do it'."

I want to do a post on the Tushnet quote, "I go back and forth" - about the wavering on Catholic teaching gay people go through.  On one hand we are bombarded by popular culture opening its arms to welcome gays as equal and normal, likewise psychology and academia affirms the gay person as intrinsically gifted and special.  While the Church teaches the inclination itself is towards an intrinsically disordered sexuality, that chaste celibacy is the only alternative - yet the 'world' and popular culture distorts the very notion of all that is good and pure and simple.  I see the back and forth all the time.

I have friends who've left the Church for the Old Catholics, the Anglican/Episcopalians, or some just 'moved beyond' the limitations of Catholic teaching.  Almost all have vacillated on Catholic teaching at one time or another:  Embracing this compromise, repenting and embracing the Courage model; or, falling back and integrating their lives with gay and straight - acting out, but going to Communion, repenting, digging in and going back to Courage or some sort of self-help source, even burning their bad books and Speedos, only to fall again - or just giving up all together.   Maybe even developing their own idiosyncratic spirituality ... protestants do that.  It's not Catholic.  It might be spiritual and contain a Catholic sensibility, even a facade of Catholic religiosity - but it is not Catholic.  I'm not judging the person here, nor am I saying the baptized person is not Catholic - but the 'practice' is not Catholic.

My point is that gay Catholics often have stability issues.

But. I. Digress.

Read Deacon Russell's essay.  He doesn't vacillate.

UPDATE:
3/14/15
Joseph Sciambra posted on the L.A. Religious Ed. Congress speaker Arthur Fitzmaurice, describing him as a gay "dissenter" from Catholic teaching, read Joe's post here.   No surprise there I suppose.  As I always say, Catholic education is riddled with misinformation - it's already part of the curriculum.    No wonder Catholics are confused and 'go back and forth on how well they grasp - or accept - the Church's sexual ethic.'

Fitzmaurice teaches that God made people gay.  All rightey then.

Apostasies among bishops and priests increase.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Curtis Wehmeyer removed from priesthood by Vatican decree.



The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis received the decree last week, the decree was served to Wehmeyer yesterday, Wednesday, March 11.

Curtis Wehmeyer, 50, was sentenced in 2013 for abusing a 12-year-old and 14-year-old boy and possessing child pornography while serving at St. Paul's Church of the Blessed Sacrament. In November 2014, he was charged with second-degree sexual assault in Wisconsin.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Pope Francis issued a decree for Wehmeyer's dismissal in December. Wehmeyer has been "permanently and definitively barred from presenting himself as a priest." - Finish reading here.

He smoked dope too.

I have to watch what I say.

After yesterday's news from Kat and how she was treated at her Grandmother's funeral I have a low threshold for churchmen related news.  [Kat posted a conciliatory update here.]  As I said to a friend, that sort of abuse is what reveals the hypocrisy of churchmen as well as erodes Eucharistic devotion - and causes people to lose interest in 'worship' and liturgy.  Similarly, Wehmeyer's ordination and fall from grace erodes the confidence most Catholics need to seek reconciliation in and through the sacrament of penance, as well as seeking simple spiritual direction or help in discernment.

Ironically, Wehmeyer might have been termed one of the 'new faithful' - remember that book title?  He also could have been included in the JPII group of priests.  Young, faithful, devout, and so on.  I only mention this to demonstrate that there are bad apples in every realm of Catholic piety.  Liberal, conservative, traditional - doesn't matter.  Incidentally, all categories seem to be taking advantage of the Francis pontificate to maintain division in the Church.  Religious people - priests - are able to justify just about any behavior with some sort of excuse from their 'religious decorum handbook' - reliant upon the "Jesus wasn't nice" mantra, as well as the 'Jesus rebuked' stories whenever needed - Wehmeyer wasn't nice - but I digress.

Be assured however, I'm a big fat hypocritical Pharisee myself - so I have nothing to lord over the likes of Wehmeyer or any one else.

God have mercy.

Go to St. Joseph during the novena in preparation for his feast day...



Go to him just the way you are.

There are a lot of people giving up - or at least tempted to do so.

Go to St. Joseph instead.  Tell him about yourself and ask him to help you.

You like sin?  You're not able to break with it - because you maybe don't really want to?

You want to be left alone?

Tell him.

Ask him to help you.  Just to help you.

He knows what you need.

He's an ordinary saint - he is also a wonder-worker - but never be intimidated.  He's a guy, a man, a friend, a dad ...

I just read a couple of blog posts and it sounds like some people might be on the verge of giving up.

Catholics have a lot of rules and a lot of people want to make sure you know you aren't living up to them.  You feel like crap because you can't measure up to other's expectations?

Tell St. Joseph and ask him to help you.  Remind him every so often during the day.  Go to him, saying:


Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, 
that never was it known that anyone who implored your help 
and sought your intercession were left unassisted.
Full of confidence in your power 
I turn to you and beg your protection.
Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, 
but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.

Thank you O holy father St. Joseph.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Novena to St. Joseph begins today.

Go to Joseph.


The Novena.

This year, I'm turning with greater urgency and solemnity to our holy father St. Joseph, and I get the sense many Christians are doing so as well.  Certainly the Universal Church turns to her patron with great fervor, so I unite my prayer to the prayer of the Church.

My devotion to St. Joseph developed under Franciscan and Carmelite influence and tradition - especially as promoted by St. Teresa of Avila.  I too have experienced  that St. Joseph helps us in every need we entrust to him.
"I took for my advocate and lord the glorious St. Joseph and earnestly recommended myself to him. I saw clearly that as in this need so in other greater ones concerning honour and loss of soul this father and lord of mine came to my rescue in better ways than I knew how to ask for. I don't recall up to this day ever having petitioned him for anything that he failed to grant.

...whereas with this glorious saint I have experience that he helps us in all our needs and that the Lord wants us to understand that just as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth—for since bearing the title of father, being the Lord's tutor, Joseph could give the Child commands—so in heaven God does whatever he commands.

This has been observed by persons, also through experience, whom I have told to recommend themselves to him. And so there are many who in experiencing this truth renew their devotion to him." - Teresa of Avila

I like to think about him, to wonder what his life must have been like.  Did you know some Spanish friars once told me they believe that St. Joseph was assumed into heaven?

I think the Copts believe he wasn't a virgin but was married before.   I believe he was a virgin however.  He was most pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I can only understand this by thinking St. Joseph must have been pre-sanctified - perhaps like St. John the Baptist - and was preserved from concupiscence.  I like to think that.

Somewhere I read that the house where the Holy Family lived has been found in the Holy Land.  It is thought that a small edifice was constructed at the mouth of a small cave, containing a few 'rooms', was the place Jesus grew up.  Some speculated that the Blessed Virgin and Jesus lived in the antechamber, and Joseph slept separately in the back.  I don't know how they lived, but I doubt it was in that way.  I think they were well integrated as a family and they shared the space as any family would.  Certainly sleeping arrangements would be different - but I wonder if they had the luxury of separate rooms?  They were very ordinary people, after all.

I like to think of St. Joseph as an example, a model, a patron of chastity, for those committed to a chaste life - even in the most irregular circumstances.  After all, he was husband to the most chaste Virgin Mary and foster father to the Son of God.  He is a helper and model for men and women, be they single or married, living a common life, or living alone.  Likewise, he is the protector of virgins - male and female.

He's a father to the fatherless, the abused, the abandoned, the desperate, the lonely.

He's a provider.  He finds a home for the lonely.  He finds work for the unemployed.

He's a friend for the friendless.

He teaches us to pray.

He's the patron of a holy death.

He loves us as a father and friend - he will come to our aid in even better ways than we know what to ask for.  Did you know some Spanish images dedicated to his honor give him the title of "Refuge of sinners"?  He is certainly that - he helped me many times - especially when I fell from grace.  He never gives up - he is the preeminent saint of the impossible.

Go to Joseph!

A very good devotion in honor of St. Joseph are the prayers honoring the Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph.  They can be found here.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Please remember my friend's mom in your prayers.



Nan is a friend of mine, as well as to many on this blog - her mom died tonight.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Thank you.

Nan was a very dedicated care-giver and did much for her mother and family.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

Re-Edited Post: Ohio gay activist faked his own abduction.

Editor's note:  I posted this earlier in the week, making fun of the story and the young man.  It was uncharitable and demonstrated once again I am as bad if not worse than the other Catholic bloggers and Catholic news portals I criticize for their inflammatory posts.  There's no excuse for this.

Indeed I'm not trying to excuse myself but I would like to explain part of the deception we all can fall for when reporting or commenting on various news items.  In this case the subject is known publicly as a gay activist - advocate for same sex marriage.  He's a public figure.  One might assume he is against Catholic teaching on marriage and family and sexuality.  The ideological opposite to those who advocate for traditional marriage.  Hence the unconscious assumption he's fair game for 'parody'.

Kicking him when he falls.  That is so much opposed to Christian charity.  I'm sorry.  If the part of the Golden Rule is to forgive seven times seventy, how much more should I show kindness to the one who encounters any sort of misfortune.  It is definitely not for me to judge Hoover's mental stability or motivation - no matter what.  Obviously something strange happened and this young man screwed up.  Hopefully he will get the help he needs and get his life together.

I'm very sorry for posting what I did.  Sometimes we can get 'on a role' with our humor and we thinks everything is comedic and discretion and consideration for the sensibilities of others goes out the window.  In the combox for this post I said I know nuts when I see it.  In this case I should have exercised greater caution recognizing the vulnerability of the person after such a public humiliation.  I will remove his personal photos and captions which make fun of the situation, but will leave the text so readers know how offensive my remarks had been.  My apologies to Mr. Hoover and his mother.

Terry Nelson




Police say he faked his own abduction.

Adam Hoover, 20, co-president of Marriage Equality Ohio, an LGBT organization promoting the redefinition of marriage in Ohio, faked his own abduction this week, causing an uproar that threatened to drain away precious resources from real emergencies, police say.
Hoover left his job on Monday evening. Hours later, around 12:30 Tuesday morning, he posted messages on his Facebook page and Twitter feed claiming that he had been kidnapped, stuffed inside the trunk of his car, and his captors were threatening to murder his entire family. - LSN

Read the rest here.



The poor kid thinks he's gay.

All I can say is people often do stuff like this to get out of some thing or other - and he is young, plop that on top of gay-arrested-development-syndrome, despite the fact he's been an activist since age seventeen, his judgement was obviously impaired... Or.  Talk about a cry for help?

“Please help me I’m in the trunk of my ford escort red 2000,” he said, sending his license plate number, as well. “They said they are going to kill my family please call 911.” 
Hoover said he had not called 911, because he was afraid his kidnappers would hear him talking and kill him.  "Please, please call,” he implored. “I don't want to die." - LSN



Just the facts ma'm.
Lt. Vetter would not say what made Hoover allegedly make a false report, but alluded to “stresses” plaguing the Miami University student. “It’s…personal stuff,” the officer said. “It wouldn’t be fair to go into too much detail, but he’s a young man and as many young kids do, he’s dealing with some issues.” - LSN
A spokesperson for Marriage Equality Ohio told journalists they expect Hoover back in leadership after everything is settled.

Officer Friday reportedly told Hoover, "Next time, son, maybe just call in sick." (I made that up.)

Philomena

Scene from Philomena.


I finally watched the film Philomena in its entirety.  It was very good.  I missed the anti-Catholic aspect.  Certainly the journalist that helped her had an attitude towards the Church - but many people do.

The behavior of the nuns looked about right to me.  Mistakes were made, the new superior, Sr. Clare obviously sought to help make amends.  Sr. Hildegarde was portrayed well.  She was an 'old school' nun.  They used to be 'strict' - especially in Ireland.  The young nun who sneaked the photo of Philomena's son was very much in character as well - she was very kind and compassionate - I suspect many, if not most of the sisters could be like her.  The nuns were human.

Times have changed drastically - the real Philomena knows that.

I don't think we Catholics need to be so defensive when our faults and failings are uncovered, or we are criticized for past abuses.

I spent part of my morning prayer time recalling some things from the days of my first fervor, when I was convinced I was very holy but wouldn't say so because I was (had to be) humble ...  Haha!  Although I didn't realize what a hypocrite I am back then.

When Christ warned the disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees, I think he was pointing out the dangers of believing in our own self-righteousness and good works and lording it over others - looking down on others.  Yet when our faults surface, we can either deny them outright, or make them out to be not as bad as they seem.  The leaven of pride and self love rises imperceptibly, and we can become self-righteous without even realizing it.  

Traditionalist nuns prepare for the zombie apocalypse: Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning...



From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. - Matt. 11:12


H/T Diane

Sunday, March 08, 2015

In An Unusual Move, The Editorial Staff of Abbey Roads Joins Joint Call to End Capital Punishment ...



It's official.

"I'm against it, except in cases of rape and incest." - Nathan Thurm, Senior Editor, Spokesmodel for Abbey Roads News









Song for this post here.

50 Years Ago Today ...



After 1960 ...

I just realized that there have been many anniversaries commemorating events which took place 50 years ago.

I posted on the arrival of the Trappistines in Iowa here.

Today I'm reading about Pope Francis commemorating the first 'novus ordo' Mass by Pope Paul VI - for whom the reformed Missal is named.  Is that the right way to say that?

So anyway - Pope Francis is in trouble once again because of it.  Certain Catholics interpret everything he says in the most negative, anti-traditionalist way possible.  What to say?  Their mind is made up against him, their 'teeth are on edge' whenever he speaks, their heart is hardened against him.  They believe everything he says is some kind of dig against them and the Tradition of the Church.

Many things the Holy Father says echo what all of his predecessors have said - including Benedict.  Aside from Benedict XVI - who is still alive - and John Paul I, two of his closest predecessors are saints, one is beatified.  Even in that they seem to suspect a conspiracy.  I'm not sure it can be said that they're 'thinking with the Church'.

That said, I love what John Allen wrote about the Pope recently:

Francis believes he experienced a miracle.
Here’s an insider account I provide in the book that makes the point.
“Over Christmas 2013, a veteran Latin American cardinal who has known Bergoglio for decades made an appointment to see his old friend in the Santa Marta, the hotel on Vatican grounds where the pope has chosen to reside. (He lives in Room 201, a slightly larger room than the one he stayed in during the conclave that elected him, giving the pontiff enough space to receive guests comfortably).
“The cardinal, who didn’t wish to be named, said he looked at Francis and, referring to the exuberance and spontaneity that are now hallmarks of his public image, said to him point-blank: ‘You are not the same man I knew in Buenos Aires. What’s happened to you’?
“According to the cardinal, this was Francis’ answer:
“ ‘On the night of my election, I had an experience of the closeness of God that gave me a great sense of interior freedom and peace,’ the cardinal quoted the pope as saying, ‘and that sense has never left me.’ ” - Crux

Who am I to ...

I have the same sense about the Holy Father.  In such a short span of time he has stirred up the Church.  Sometimes it seems to me it really is a new Pentecost.  Whatever I read for lectio and other spiritual reading, I link to so much of what Francis says in his homilies and addresses.  When Francis says something, I'm often reminded of this or that which Pope Benedict said or wrote as well.

One recent headline on a news portal stated: "Francis commemorates Paul VI Mass, slams 'inauthentic' ancient rite - compares event to driving out the money changers in the temple."  That was so misleading.  He didn't 'slam' the ancient rite, nor did he say or do anything comparing traditionalists to money changers in the temple.  He spoke about true, authentic worship in spirit and truth - just as Our Lord did to the Samaritan woman at the 'periphery' where they met.

Elsewhere, the Pope was criticized when he said:  "the rich man in Jesus' story was likely not an evil man, but "the eyes of his soul were certainly tinted so as not to see.  Maybe he was a religious man, in his own way," Francis said. "Maybe he prayed and a couple times a year he surely went up to the temple to offer sacrifices and he gave big donations to the priests, who in their clerical cowardice would thank him and give him a seat of honor."

Traditionalists hear such homilies as another criticism against them - yet 400 years ago, St. John of the Cross wrote very similar things about those who donate and embellish churches, pointing out seven kinds of harm which can result from joy of the will in 'moral goods'.  It seems to me the Pope's consistent catechesis is often evocative of what the Saint has counselled.  For instance:
The fourth evil follows from this. It is that they will have no reward from God, since they have desired in this life to have joy or consolation or honour or some other kind of interest as a result of their good works: of such the Saviour says that herein they have received their reward.[137] And thus they have had naught but the labour of their work and are confounded, and receive no reward. There is so much misery among the sons of men which has to do with this evil that I myself believe that the greater number of good works which they perform in public are either vicious or will be of no value to them, or are imperfect in the sight of God, because they are not detached from these human intentions and interests. For what other judgment can be formed of some of the actions which certain men perform, and of the memorials which they set up, when they will not perform these actions at all unless they are surrounded by human respect and honour, which are the vanity of life, or unless they can perpetuate in these memorials their name, lineage or authority, even setting up their emblems and escutcheons in the very churches, as if they wished to set themselves, in the stead of images, in places where all bend the knee? In these good works which some men perform, may it not be said that they are worshipping[138] themselves more than God? This is certainly true if they perform them for the reason described and otherwise would not perform them at all. But leaving aside these, which are the worst cases, how many are there who fall into these evils in their good works in many ways? Some wish to be praised, others to be thanked, others enumerate their good works and desire that this person and that shall know of them, and indeed the whole world; and sometimes they wish an intermediary to present their alms, or to perform other of their charitable deeds,[139] so that more may be known of them; and some desire all these things. This is the sounding of the trumpet, which, says the Saviour in the Gospel, vain men do, for which reason they shall have no reward for their works from God.[140] - Ascent, Bk. III, Ch. 28:5

So.  Was St. John accusing or insulting his readers?  No.  He was instructing them on the Gospel, calling them to true worship, in spirit and truth.  I have yet to hear the Holy Father holding up one form of Mass against another.

Just a thought.  Have a nice day.


What?