Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blessed Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, Martyr

We knew then that he was a martyr.

In thanksgiving for the beatification of Blessed Oscar Romero, who in the words of Fr. James Martin, S.J.: Oscar Romero was clearly a martyr and should have been declared one decades ago.

We can say that, but we forget these things happen when God allows them to.  We can't discern his purpose.  Otherwise we are like those who criticize the popes because they didn't reveal the third secret of Fatima or carry out some sort of consecration in the manner we expected.

Certainly politics delayed the beatification - but it happened now.  We can thank God for favors granted.  We need to avoid politicizing Romero any further than he has been.

More martyrs are coming, faster and faster.

St. John Paul at the tomb of Bl. Romero.
We knew then that he was a martyr.

Now NYC will have to allow LGBTQ contingents in the St. Patrick's Day parade...

Civil unions are not an alternative - they just pave the way.

Ireland approves gay marriage.
DUBLIN (AP) -- Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world's first national vote on the issue. 
As the official ballot counting continued, the only question appeared to be how large the "yes" margin of victory from Friday's vote would be. Analysts said the "yes" support was likely to exceed 60 percent nationally when official results are announced later Saturday. - Read more here.

So in your face.

Friday, May 22, 2015

And suddenly there shall come ...

A 5.4 4.8 quake in Vegas ... today.

Just a 4-pointer yesterday in the Bay area.

It's all probably part of the big build up to the film, San Andreas (May 29).

Strange coincidence.

Can you criticize the Pope?

At Fatima Our Lady urged the faithful
to pray for the Holy Father,
she never mentioned criticizing him.

Of course you can - you have free will.

The pope doesn't speak ex cathedra with every utterance.  Does he deserve our respect?  Absolutely.

Steve Skojec has a very good post discussing the issue.  It's well reasoned and is written in a very respectful tone.  Many people get upset with media reports and Vatican press releases, as well as the daily homilies or comments reportedly from the pope.  The pope himself can come off as pretty critical of all of us - no matter where we stand on the Catholic spectrum - traditionalist to progressive.  I think he is often misrepresented however, and his name taken in vain, as it were, by those who seek to promote an agenda or defend themselves.

My biggest objection to criticism is that it often involves scoffing and ridicule, treating the pope as we might a presidential candidate we disagree with, or some public figure we despise.  Sometimes the critics themselves seem to have serious issues wherein the crackpot blogger title is more than appropriate.  I have no time for Emmerich prophesies or Malachi Martin insights, or drunken rants on blogs, but a frank discussion, respectful and considerate is not a problem - if one feels the need to discuss publicly what the pope really said.

Skojec notes: "It has become an increasingly common problem in the Catholic world these days to find ourselves in the unenviable position of being afraid to say what we really think. This is both institutional — imposed as policy (whether written or unwritten) on those who work for Catholic organizations — and personal — through the various mechanisms of self-doubt. If we notice patterns, problems, and consistent deviations from the mien of previous pontificates, who are we to raise such questions? To borrow a phrase, 'Who are we to judge?'” - 1Peter5

I'm not sure it is our place to judge.  Likewise, those who take sides on any issue jump down the throats of those who disagree with them - therefore sometimes it is best to be silent - unless you want to get into a fight just for ego satisfaction, or you're Irish.

We live in confusing times and we aren't privy to what goes on behind closed doors.  We may not even have a need to know.

I've written before that people have to be careful what they read, especially by people who claim special spiritual insight, discernment of spirits, and sensitivity to the 'signs of the times'. As Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger writes:

[T]he autonomous personal conscience sometimes lays claim to a false discernment when it sets private revelation and presumed personal graces against the magisterium. The desire for union with God sometimes leads individuals to attach themselves to extraordinary manifestations of the “spirit,” but in such a way that weakens their attachment to the Church. Thus, Catholics continue to embrace New Age spirituality, or some dubious private revelation, or a personal insight even though they know that their conviction runs contrary to Church teaching or discipline. 
The discernment of spirits is so important today because there are many voices competing for our attention, and it is all so easy to assume that that what we hear, or even what we think and say comes from God. - Fr. Geiger

I think sometimes we have to step back and pray more and ponder in our hearts the things which confuse us - placing all of our trust in God alone.  As St. John of the Cross taught his novices: "Take Lot's wife as an example, because she was troubled at the destruction of the Sodomites and turned her head to watch what was happening, God punished her by converting her into a pillar of salt. You are thus to understand God's will: that even though you live among devils you should not turn the head of your thoughts to their affairs, but forget these things entirely and strive to keep your soul occupied purely and entirely in God, and not let the thought of this thing or that hinder you from doing so."

"Keep yourself in peace and thousands around you will be saved." - St, Seraphim of Sarov

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weight gain can be a side-effect of blogging ...

Weight is also a cultural bias.

Fat women used to be the most desirable - especially fat wives - fat husbands showed off their wealth, decorating their wives like floats.  Ask Rubens.

Ever since Twiggy in the late 1960's, really thin was in.  You may say models were always thin, that's not exactly true - we'd call them fat today.  Flat chested was fashion.  Big breasts were for Hollywood and pin-ups.  Big breasts came with a bit of meat.  Though thin was always considered svelte since Coco Chanel, the standard was never as bad as when heroin chic came along.  And now androgynous boy models keep the anorexic movement going.

It's always something.

Kat's on a diet and preaching against the dangers of obesity.  That's fine.  People recovering from smoking or alcoholism do that stuff too.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, there is fat, obese, and morbid obesity.  All of which gets condemned and fat people are scorned ...  (Doctors like it because they can offer bi-pass surgery or lipo, - it's a lucrative industry - shame people into medical intervention.)

Except!  Wait!

Fat fashions for fat girls here.  It's a huge market that has been pretty much overlooked until recently.  (Pun intended.)  Fat people help the economy - dress them up and make them feel good about themselves - build profits for the overseas textile industry as well as Chinese manufacturers.

Oh!  Oh!  And guess what is sexy to women now?  The dad's bod!  Normal guys with a bit of a tummy... go here.

So here's my Jennifer Fulwiler quick take on all this.  

Quit obsessing about your body - it's a bit narcissistic and can be a form of idolatry.   Vanity is the devotion of self.  It is the main idol of body culture.  Always has been.  We lose weight and get in shape for better health, yes.  We look in the mirror, like what we see, and va-va-voom!  The mirror has two faces!

I know guys who get in shape and trick out because they are now 'gorgeous'!

I know women who left their husbands after losing a ton of weight and got a make-over.

I know women who found live-in boyfriends after getting shape.

Take care of the interior first - the exterior will start looking better before you know it or even care.

Thin fat people are always fat on the interior - you have to take care of your selfish self-seeking first.  Catherine of Siena writes about that.  Nowadays she is reputed to have been anorexic - but we miss the point on that because we are eating-disordered and obsessed with weight and appearance.  Catherine wasn't.  She was fixated upon her Beloved, her Christ.  Her heart was single, unencumbered.  It is the self which weighs us down.

And she was definitely thin...


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The accuser of our brother ...

Despite what anyone says, the manner in which priests accused of some sort of sexual abuse are treated, is unjust.  Despite statements to the contrary, that the accusation itself - though 'credible' implies no presumption of guilt, the impression is given that there is a sort of presumption of guilt.  That is unfair.  The priest is presented publicly as being under suspicion, while the accuser remains anonymous and the alleged abuse remains unknown.  The priest is suspended for the duration of the investigation.  That is unfair.  Especially in decades old cases and the accused has never had any other allegations against him during his ministry.  In fact, the accused has been a faithful, humble, obedient priest, serving generously and tirelessly all of his priestly life - a true son of the Church.

Please pray for the falsely accused - pray for all priests.  Today there appears to be a convenient way to knock a priest out of ministry, increasing the shortage, disrupting pastoral care, distancing the faithful, discrediting the priesthood, casting suspicion upon the Church and her ministers.  It is a great evil.

St. Teresa of Jesus, pray to 
Mary, Mother of Divine Grace,
and the Infant Jesus,
for this priest so falsely accused.
St. Teresa, pray for us.
St. John, pray for us.
St. Therese, pray for us.
St. Miriam, pray for us.
St. Teresa of the Andes, pray for us.
St. Teresa Benedicta, pray for us.
St. Raphael of St. Joseph, pray for us.
Bl. Elizabeth, pray for us.
Holy Martyrs of Guadalajara, pray for us.
St. John Paul, pray for us.
St. Joseph, Protector of Carmel, pray for us.

Carmelites and those devoted to the Infant Jesus are in the midst of the monthly novena to the Divine Infant Jesus.  Please add to your prayers the priest so unjustly accused. Implore the Mother of Divine Grace to obtain from her Son grace in abundance for her priest-son.  Pray for a speedy exoneration and declaration of innocence through the intercession of St. Teresa of Avila, whose fifth centenary we observe this year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why men don't go to Mass: Professional actors coach seminarians on 'preaching'.

And now students, we will work on how to master timing in order to deliver a Biblical truth or a laugh line.

Really?  People already complain about the Mass as performance art, required applause for the music ministry, and standing ovations for liturgical dancing altar servers, as well as accusing priests of being narcissistic, claiming they act as if it is all about them.  So why add more theatricality to the mix?

Deacon Kandra reports on a Preaching Boot Camp for Seminarians:
Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary has hired two professional actors to put priests-in-training through an acting/public speaking workshop nicknamed Preaching Boot Camp. 
For the last several years, actors Arthur Beer and Mary Bremer-Beer have conducted the three-week workshops at the seminary. The seminarians are taught how to project, how to control tempo, and how to master timing in order to deliver a Biblical truth or a laugh line. - Read more here.
Prayer works.  If a priest prays - if he ruminates the Scriptures - he doesn't have to worry about technique, style, presentation, or getting a laugh.
To get them to tap into their emotions, the men were asked to write and deliver speeches about their mothers — and to read those speeches to their moms. - ibid
Really?  Pray. Be men of prayer.  Eat the Word of God.  Fall in love and live in union with Christ in the Eucharist.  Some of the best saints were not polished speakers but they prayed.  Nothing wrong with speech therapy - but the emphasis shouldn't be on performance.  Be natural and learned and holy, and speak from the heart.

Jim and Tammy Bakker were dramatic preachers.  So was Kathryn Kuhlman.  Joel Olsteen is great too - maybe get a teleprompter then.  Entertaining the faithful is not what it's about - you don't need schtick.

Please don't add any more drama or comedy to the homily 'segment' - and don't try to master timing or deliver punch lines.  It's already too much with all the musical numbers, orchestrations, and laity prancing around the sanctuary.  How much do we have to endure?


Okay boys.  More drama!
You need pathos!
Throw open your arms
as if to embrace the congregation!
Then throw in a joke!
End with a Marty Haugen tune ...
Try, "All are welcome ..." 
Then ask them to be generous 
in the collection basket.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Not important enough for American Loons ...

Investigating mystics.

I was reading some material on Monsignor Esseff and new messages from Mary supposedly dictated to a locutionist under his direction.  I was trying to find out who the unnamed mystic is, apparently she is a cloistered nun.  The messages strike me as too political and a bit pro-American.  For me I find nothing edifying in them - much like Medjugorje.  Obviously it isn't meant to be - for me.

That said, I came across an American theologian, Ronald L. Conte, Jr. who discredits the Esseff locutions as well - so he must be right, since it accords with my intuitions on the subject.  Just kidding - I only say that because when we want to be right we can usually find someone who agrees with us - even a theologian.  However, I don't care about being 'right' on this - I was simply looking to find out more about the Essef messages - as they seem to be well received in my part of the Church.  I should point out Conte also accepts the following revelations as 'trustworthy':
Fr. Stefano Gobbi
Me, not so much.

Ranking #205 in his list of false revelations, he states:
205. "Locutions to the World" - Anonymous visionary at, whose messages are announced through a retired priest, Msgr. John Esseff. Messages claim that Russia was never consecrated as requested at Fatima, even though Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzginer (now Pope Benedict XVI) and sister Lucy, the visionary of Fatima, all said that Russia has been properly consecrated. The messages are similar to the other false messages of the above false visionaries, including profane commentary on politics, economics, and current events. - Conte
Works for me.  The Esseff locutions are also pro-Medjugorje - an irony because Conte accepts Medj as true.  It isn't a contradiction however, since they all accept Catholic teaching and remain Catholic.

Investigating the investigators.

Interestingly, Conte rejects Mark Mallet, a charismatic who supposedly misinterpreted a word of knowledge he received and speculated upon the three days darkness.  That's all such iffy stuff as it is - so who can judge?  I've noted some bloggers seem to follow Mark Mallet, but I know very little about him or his prophecies.  Remember John of the Cross has much to say on these things and I've often referred to his writings, especially when people interpret locutions in a literal sense.

I cited the extensive list of false revelations simply to demonstrate how popular spiritual prophecies and warnings and predictions are today - it goes hand in hand with the popularity of the occult I think.  That in itself should be a warning for devout souls.

When I googled Conte, his name came up on a fun site called American Loons - which pretty much diminished his credibility right away, for me at least.  I searched the site for other Catholic bloggers such as Barnhardt, Mckinley, Fernandez, Jeffie, Skovran, Verrechio, Zuhlsdorf, Poodles, and so on, but they weren't listed.  (Neither was I - but I'm not important enough.)  I did see Ann Coulter and Pam Geller - which is what prompted me to seriously look up Ann Barnhardt - but I didn't find any other personality I've met online ... except for this guy:
Dec 08, 2014
Michael Voris is a hysterically fanatic, militant religious (Catholic) fundamentalist. He is the president and founder of St. Michael's Media, which creates short videos and full length programs for the website ...

Did you know? St. Mary of Jesus Crucified is said to be among those who foretold the Three Day Darkness?

St. Mariam Baouardy, who was canonized yesterday is reputed to have joined those saints and mystics who have prophesied the three days darkness. I've never been able to find her prediction in the literature I have on the saint.  I've only seen the quote on sites which promote prophecies on the warning and chastisement.

"All states will be shaken by war and civil conflict. During a darkness lasting three days the people given to evil ways will perish so that only one-fourth of mankind will survive." - St. Mary of Jesus Crucified.

Fifth Centenary of the Birth of St. Felix of Cantalice

 La Vierge Marie et l’Enfant Jésus avec  Saint Félix de Cantalice.

To commemorate the centenary, Fr. Charles, OFM, Cap. notes there is an opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence beginning today until May 18, 2016.  Details here.

St. Felix was one of those humble lay-brother saints.  A quaestor for the Roman friary, he was popularly known as Br. Deo Gratias, because he used that blessing whenever he received an alms or greeted passersby.  Gratitude and joy was a hallmark of his spirituality.  He was a dear friend of St. Philip Neri, as well an acquaintance of St. Charles Borromeo.  He was beloved by the people of Rome, revered for his sanctity, healing, even preaching.  Exhorting young men to live chaste lives, rebuking corrupt city leaders, teaching little children their catechism and leading them to devotion, while especially concerning himself with poor mothers - he was loved by all.  He is buried in the Capuchin church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto - one of the first churches I visited when on my first visit to Rome.

Read more about St. Felix here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Canonized May 17: St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD

Saint Mariam Baouardy -The Lily of Palestine

The story of St. Mary of Jesus Crucified is amazing.

From Mystics of the Church:

Saint Mariam Baouardy -The Lily of Palestine - Extraordinary Mystic, Stigmatic and Victim Soul (1846-1878) 
Saint Mariam Baouardy, known in religion as Mariam of Jesus Crucified, was born in Ibillin, located in the hill country of upper Galilee, Palestine. Her family originated in Damascus, Syria. They were Catholics of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Rite, descendants of the Archeparchy of Antioch, the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. Her father, Giries (George) Baouardy, came from Horfesch, Palestine; her mother, Mariam Chahine, came from Tarshish, Palestine.

Her martyrdom and miraculous cure through the Blessed Virgin Mary
In her isolation from her uncle’s family, she turned to a Muslim servant to have him deliver her letter to Nazareth. For his part, the young man encouraged Mariam to reveal her personal troubles. He became outraged at her uncle’s treatment of her and played upon the mind and feelings of the young girl. He introduced conversion to Islam as a remedy to Mariam’s problems. His words and actions focused young Mariam directly upon her Christianity. However, she soon realized the young man’s true intentions, and this caused her to draw back. She denied his advances and loudly proclaimed her faith in the Church of Jesus. “Muslim, no, never! I am a daughter of the Catholic Church, and I hope by the grace of God to persevere until death in my religion, which is the only true one.”

Her so-called protector, furious at being rejected by this young Christian, became violent. Eyes flashing with hatred he lost control and kicked her to the floor. He then drew his sword and slashed her throat. Thinking her dead, he dumped her bloody body in a nearby dark alley. It was the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8,1858. What followed was a strange and beautifully moving story, told years later by Mariam to her Mistress of Novices at Marseilles, France:“A nun dressed in blue picked me up and stitched my throat wound. This happened in a grotto somewhere. I then found myself in heaven with the Blessed Virgin, the angels and the saints. They treated me with great kindness. In their company were my parents. I saw the brilliant throne of the Most Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ in His humanity. There was no sun, no lamp, but everything was bright with light. Someone spoke to me. They said that I was a virgin, but that my book was not finished. "
She then found herself once again in the grotto with the “nun dressed in blue”. How long did Mariam remain in this secret shelter? She later spoke of one month, but she was not sure. One day, the unknown nurse prepared some soup for her that was so delicious that she greedily asked for more, and all her life she was to remember the taste of this heavenly soup. On her death bed she was heard to say tenderly, "She made me some soup! Oh, such good soup! There I was a long time, looking, and never ate soup like that. I have the taste in my mouth. She promised me that at my last hour, she will give me a little spoonful of it."
Toward the end of her sojourn in the grotto, the nurse in blue outlined for Mariam her life`s program, "You will never see your family again, you will go to France, where you will become a religious. You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa. You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second, and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem." - Read the entire story here.

A priest friend, founder of a Carmelite community of men gave me a first class relic of the saint on the occasion of her beatification.  I am so happy for her canonization.

I'm Not Sure That's News (First edition): Girls Scouts Now Welcoming Transgender Boys...

I thought they always had?

Apparently not.

A new Girl Scouts of America policy extends membership to boys who identify as girls. In other words, this girls group is now embracing transgender boys. 
"Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority," the group says in an FAQ on its website. "That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe." - Source

Something is off.

Gender ideology may be the clearest indication we have that aliens are among us - right now on planet earth.  Transgender boy/girl?  Cis-male?  Genderqueer?

Here's a comprehensive Glossary/Definition of Terms to help potential adoptive parent(s) in guiding their child in determining what it is.  If the push is for non-binary - why all the terms?  

I watched "Into the Woods."

The film, Into the Woods.

I didn't like it.  Bad message.  Bad.

Prince Charming is a womanizer.  Red Ridding Hood is a brat.  Jack steals gold from the Giant and kills him - then the rest of the characters go after the Giant's avenging widow and kill her.  Jack robbed their house!  He should have been killed.

Then, most of the dialog was singing.  I hate musicals.