Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just in case you missed it: Fr. John McNeill, Priest, Father of gay-Catholic movement, dead at age 90.


Rev. John McNeill, second from right, in New York’s gay pride march in the 1980s. 
He wrote “The Church and the Homosexual.” CreditCharles Chiarelli


From the New York Times, September 25, 2015
The Rev. John McNeill, an openly gay Roman Catholic priest who, from the 1970s onward, publicly pressed the church to welcome gay men and lesbians — and who was expelled from his order as a result — died on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 90.
His death was announced by DignityUSA, an organization that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics. Father McNeill had helped found its New York chapter in 1972.
A Jesuit who was ordained in 1959, Father McNeill was known in the decades that followed as an author, activist and psychotherapist specializing in the needs of gay clients. He first came to wide, explosive attention in 1976 with the publication of his book “The Church and the Homosexual.”
That book was the first extended nonjudgmental work about gay Catholics, a subject that had long been taboo in official church discourse. It has been credited with helping to set in motion the re-evaluation of the religious stance toward gay people — not only among Catholics but also among those of other faiths — that continues today.
“John McNeill is one of the most important voices in the history of the L.G.B.T. civil rights movement,” Brendan Fay, the director of “Taking a Chance on God,” a 2011 documentary film about Father McNeill, said in a telephone interview on Friday. “ ‘The Church and the Homosexual’ became the primary text that is still considered the key in transforming the conversation on religion and homosexuality.” - NYT

As I told the friend who sent me the link, With his background, he could have been a saint. I recall reading his book shortly after it came out - there was so much I learned about the gay movement within Catholic circles, and so much I disagreed with in his writings and what was considered pastoral care. Yet his writing reflected what was already at that time, the pervasive thinking among progressive clergy - I heard 'accept yourself' all the time in confession - or 'that's not a mortal sin' - or 'see Christ in the limbs of your lover' and so on. Sad indeed.

It's interesting how he is considered a pioneer among many gay-Catholics and queer-theologians.  I never held onto his books but do vaguely recall one line about how all of those who accept and support gays are themselves gay just because they embrace equality.  I have no access to the quote now - so I may have it wrong.  His second book title strikes me as apt - Taking a Chance on God.

That's pretty much what you do when you reject Catholic teaching and teach that homosexual acts are not sinful.

Fr. McNeill is survived by his husband Charlie Chiarelli.  They were together 46 years.

Prayers for the repose of his soul.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.



+

Lord, holy Father,

you revealed to us the way, the truth, and the life
in your beloved Son.
Grant that by faithfully following his example and teaching,
and through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
we may be led in safety to you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




H/T P for NYT's obituary.

No need to apologize ever again... Thank you Pope Francis.



Never again.

No need to apologize for Vatican II.

No need to apologize for loving the Ordinary Form of Mass, the restoration of the Extraordinary Form of Mass, the vernacular in the Liturgy, the renewal of religious life, Nostra aetate, the Synod on the Family ... Vatican II.

No need to apologize for loving every single Pope of the 20th century and venerating the sainted and beatified Popes of Vatican II.




Thank you Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.

Thank you Lord for your generous mercy and the grace of Baptism and all the sacraments in the Catholic Church.  Thank you Lord for not abandoning The Church.  Thank you Lord for appointing shepherds over our heads.  As the Rule of St. Benedict says: "Thou hast placed men over our heads."

Thank you Lord.

Forgive me Lord, for my inconstancy, my sins, my disobedience, my pride...

Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy.

"Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me." - St. John of the Cross

The amazing, most reassuring effect of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to the United States to confirm the faith of believers, is the obvious hermeneutic of continuity in the implementation of Vatican II.  The liturgies, the crowds, the immense crowds of priests and religious, the prayer ... all of these Catholics gathered together in unity.  It strengthens and confirms my faith.




Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope at Our Lady of the Angels in Harlem. Sweet.




Quote of the Day: Little girl at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem to Pope Francis working a computer screen: "You have to double click it!"

The Pope seems to be keeping the locutionists and prophets busy ...

un’eclissi totale di Luna
Get it?  'eclissi - sounds kinda like ecclesi'
I know!

The Blood Moon, the Total Eclipse, 9:11 PM, CDT, September 27 ......  And, and, and,

The Pope flies back to Rome that evening.

And, and, and,

The economy is going to collapse.*

And, and, and,

The Pope made a huge mistake - or will.

And, and, and,

Hey - did you know Fr. Z tweeted Raymond Arroyo while he was on the air - from Japan - and Raymond mentioned it on the air?

I know!

But anyway, Shemitah - "Shemitah means the sabbatical" ...

 ... so take the rest of the year off, Poodles.


 *A very specific prophesy!
"....The collapse will not come before Pope Francis comes to America but it will happen while he is in America. I deliberately brought the Pope to America, the world’s financial center, to be here when it takes place. I want him to be part of the picture. I want him to be present. His presence in America will be my sign that the Church is very important in saving mankind from its own follies. Toward the end of his trip, he will have to shift his message and address the new world situation." - source

OMGosh!



Song for this post here.  (This guy looks like Michael Voris' dad.)

Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. - Psalm 72



That is my prayer today ...

... welling up, spilling over.

What a grace, the peace of Christ.

Joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.

There is no pit so deep that his love is not deeper still.

Profound peace ...

... deep in my soul.






Keep yourself in peace, and thousands around you will be saved ...





We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: "He who does not love does not know God" (1 John 4:8). - Nostra aetate

Abbey Roads Exclusive: Guess where Pope Francis wants to go to breakfast in NYC?


Just a few blocks down the street ...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Me and John Boehner ...







Song for this post here.

Surfing the coverage on the Pope's visit.



The secular coverage is the most interesting, maybe even the best - especially ABC with Fr. Martin, S.J..

Today I could probably delete all the Catholic blog links in my sidebar.

What a breath of fresh air Pope Francis is!

Rock hard hearts cry out ... [Luke 19:40]

“Today salvation has come to this house ..." [Luke 19:9]


I'm staying away from the naysayers, the doomsayers, the schism-mongers, the negative-mean-spirited people who seem to be so convinced of their own righteousness and despise everyone else.  Those who bind up heavy burdens too heavy to carry without lifting a finger to help.  

We know who we are.

So ... paradoxically: 
Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.  Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? - [Luke 18]

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. [2 Cor. 3:17]

Pope Francis cites Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton in his address to Congress ...



Just thought I'd mention that ...

In speaking to Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis demonstrated that he’d brushed up on his American history in advance of his historic visit to the U.S. In mentioning a few famous Americans whose lives could serve as inspirations as the world navigates current crises, he turned to two obvious choices—Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King—and two whose names might be unfamiliar to those less versed in the history of American religion: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. - Source

Partial text of the speech here

The Bishops who welcomed Pope Francis ...



Among the Bishops who welcomed Pope Francis, I spied our own Bishop Cozzens, standing in front of Bishop Barron.

What is so very consoling is seeing all the Bishops united to welcome - enthusiastically, I might add - their Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.


Two other guys from Minnesota: Bishop Christensen 2nd row, center.
Archbishop Carlson, 1st row, lower right.


"The great mission which the Lord gives us is one which we carry out in communion, collegially. The world is already so torn and divided, brokenness is now everywhere. Consequently, the Church, “the seamless garment of the Lord” cannot allow herself to be rent, broken or fought over." - Pope Francis


Prayers for all the bishops and priests of the United States.

Feast of Our Lady of Mercy


B. Mariæ V. de Mercede
 
Merciful Father and God of all consolation,
you have shown yourself
to be wonderful in the glorious Virgin Mary,
Mother of Christ, and have given her to us
as the Mother of Mercy.
May all of us who venerate her with devotion,
always experience her powerful intercession,
and enjoy Your immense mercy.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Prayers for the Holy Father on his Apostolic journey to the United States.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Little Sofia




Pope Francis beckoned to the little girl, who had stepped out of the crowd. Sofía was part of a delegation of 6 children and 19 adults who had come from their California church with one important mission - to seek the Pope's advocacy and support for legalizing the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. - Source



Pope Francis to the Bishops of the United States.



Sweet.
Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love (Mt 20:1-16). 
The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly. The richer the heritage which you are called to share with parrhesia, the more eloquent should be the humility with which you should offer it. Do not be afraid to set out on that “exodus” which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realize deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain. Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing. - Read the rest at Aleteia

I like what the Holy Father is saying, so much - I like this especially: "We need to let the Lord’s words echo constantly in our hearts: 'Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, who am meek and humble of heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls'” (Mt 11:28-30).

His words humble me... correct me... at least I hope so.

I watched the Canonization Mass.  Very beautiful.  Long - but beautiful.

St. Junipero pray for us.


The Pope at the White House



I watched - I liked.  I didn't notice any of the 'objectionable guests' and I suspect the Holy Father didn't know who was who in the audience either.  It was a great reception.

While praying for the Holy Father and the President I was distracted for a moment thinking how cool it would be for the Holy Father to receive the Obama's into the Church on this visit ... I know!

Below is a photo of the Holy Father being driven down Constitution Ave. after this morning's welcoming ceremonies.  I was touched by how Secret Service agents actually brought children to him to be blessed.  It's a great day for America.  (FYI: Fr. James Martin is the ABC priest consultant.  He's doing a good job.)

Cardinal Wuerl and Pope Francis.



Pope Francis will canonize Fr. Serra today too.  Praise God!


BREAKING:

Just announced:
He'll be taking the bus to the National Shrine for
the canonization.  





What?

Pope Francis ditches the Popemobile and limos for more humble transportation ...

"If it was good enough for Pacelli - it's good enough for me."


He's chosen the Beverly-Hillbillies-mobile instead.  Toonces will be driving.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Papa is here!


The Obama's and the Biden's are there to welcome him!

So cool!

Live on EWTN.

Live reports on every network.  Unprecedented.

Prayers in thanksgiving!



A Discalced Carmelite Nun in Argentina ...

La hermana Mónica Astorga, carmelita descalza 
que vive en Neuquén (Argentina), 
acompaña desde hace diez años a un grupo de travestis y transexuales ...


'If I had not been accepted in Carmel, I would have entered a Refuge (for fallen women) and lived out my days there, unknown and despised among the poor penitents.'
- St.Therese of Lisieux

I thought of that quote from the testimony by Sr. Marie of the Trinity in the canonization process for Therese, while reading about an Argentine nun who ministers to transgender persons and prostitutes.

Sister Monica Astorga, o.c.d.
For the past 10 years, Sister Monica Astorga, a Discalced Carmelite in the central Argentine city of Neuquen, has helped a group of transvestites and transsexuals who decided to give up prostitution and addictions to alcohol and drugs. She has started them on the path of recovery and reintegration into society.
But the work has been full of obstacles, she said. “People asked me why there were transgendered people in church. I told them the Church is for everyone. Who was Jesus with? With sinners. What is important here is that they live in dignity, so they don’t have to sleep on the street in cold temperatures—even below zero. What I offer them is a space for prayer and to find a way to work, and the rest is for the judgment of God, which I know is so merciful.” - Read the rest at Aleteia
It's a very moving account.  Sr. Monica has the permission of her Bishop, and the encouragement of the Pope.  Perhaps like Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, Sr. Monica received a 'call within a call'.  I also think of  St. Simon Salus, who left his desert solitude to live amongst the outcasts, criminals, and whores, to demonstrate the love of God, to be a sort of presence of merciful love amidst the unlovable.  I'm so edified by this story of Sr. Monica.  I'm betting Sr.'s penitents may not always manage to be faithful, nor may they change all that much in appearance, yet the grace of God is available to them and they have found a place in the Church.

We have to make a place for people in the Church - the truth is, there is a place ... a place for all of us.

Christ can do all things if we ask with faith. "O Lord, I want to return to the Church and the sacraments but I don't know how." The Lord finds a way. When I write about two men or two women living together, agreeing to renounce sinful relations and determining to sanctify their lives and return to the Church and the sacraments, I'm saying that Christ can accomplish for them even more than they ask or desire. The Church does not lay burdens too heavy to carry on those who wish to be reconciled. The Church calls homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, sinners to freedom, to chastity, to holiness. The Church does not dictate with whom and where a person must live, the Church doesn't command a person to join this or that group.

Have faith: Ask, seek, knock. It will be opened for you.

"I go to prepare a place for you...
... You know the way that leads to where I go...
... Follow me...
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places."


O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, 
as many times as my heart beats, 
as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, 
so many thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.

I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy 
and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. 
May the greatest of all divine attributes, 
that of Your unfathomable mercy, 
pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.

Can someone please explain to me how Courage & Spiritual Friendship differ regarding ministry to homosexuals?



That question answered here.

I'm especially grateful for the following two clarifications from Ron Belgau regarding the Newman and St. John friendship, as well as the writings of St. Aelred on spiritual friendship:

For example, if we discuss the friendship of Bl. John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John, or Newman’s writings on friendship more generally, we are not suggesting that there was anything sexual about their relationship. We are looking to their chaste and holy intimacy as a model for Christ-centered spiritual friendship. The key here is that we think that virtuous, Christ-centered friendships are a basic human good, an essential part of a flourishing human and Christian life. Lust or homosexual activity corrupts this good, while the virtues—particularly chastity—preserve, protect, and nurture this love, which is an important icon of the love of God.
When we look to Aelred of Rievaulx, we are not trying to read him through a quasi-romantic lens, as if he were a medieval Charles Ryder or Sebastian Flyte. We look to him because he does a good job of distinguishing disordered carnal friendship from rightly ordered spiritual friendship, which is important if we are to overcome temptation and cultivate chaste spiritual friendships. - Ron Belgau

Works for me.

It's a good essay which hopefully answers many questions.

However.

The priest, Fr. Schneider, who originally asked the question, might do well in asking people like Fr. Check, Fr. Paul Scalia, Deacon Russell, and other clerics who work in this ministry as well.  If one knows what Courage is, and hopefully he does, one knows that there are counter movements.  Movements which may applaud Courage, but reject it as the only apostolate available.  What Courage is not is an AA, SAA, group - despite the fact critics claim it is.  Sometimes critics sound a bit like the Pharisee who thanked God he was not as bad as the Publican.  "I'm not some pervert porn actor - I'm a virgin who happens to be erotically attracted to handsome men and I do not identify with such low life.  I just want a friend."  I'm being slightly facetious, however, if you read comments on the SF site, you will understand my point.

Courage offers a spirituality based upon traditional Catholic spirituality and ascesis, helping people with same sex attraction issues to sanctify their lives, live chastely, and integrate into Catholic communities-parishes, if and when they find that difficult.  Yet more importantly, it helps people live a faithful, chaste, Catholic life.

Not everyone is attracted to 'groups' or 'movements' yet Courage is a trusted resource for spiritual direction in accord with solid Catholic teaching.  You don't have to join anything - everything is available online.  Just live your life, pray, frequent the sacraments, and don't pretend being gay makes you God's gift to man, woman, the Church, or the world.  It's pretty straight forward.  Straight single men and women do it all of the time.

It really is consoling to know that Ron Belgau and company are so well grounded in Catholic teaching and spirituality, yet a project such as Spiritual Friendship does not rise to the level of a pious association, third order, or school of spirituality such as Carmelite, Benedictine, Franciscan and so on.  It's not l'Arche, it's not Catholic Worker, it's an intellectual project, a gay movement - a gay-Catholic movement.  Courage Apostolate on the other hand is recognized as a Catholic apostolate, as the Courage webpage explains:

With the endorsement of the Holy See, Courage now has more than 100 Chapters and contact people world-wide, over 1500 persons participating in its ListServs, and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office and website. It has become a mainstream Catholic Apostolate helping thousands of men and women find peace through fellowship, prayer, and the Sacraments. - About Courage

Spiritual life is about conversion - opening one's heart to the Gospel, to Christ.  It's not about a change in doctrine, a compromise of Catholic teaching on sexual ethics, an accommodation of Catholic teaching to suit an idiosyncratic spirituality based upon dubious concepts of sexuality or gender identity, no matter how intriguing it may be to debate such issues.  A person - a soul - needs Christ - not a movement - and never an ideology.

The ordinary means of sanctification are available to all in the Catholic Church - no special clubs or academic degrees, no intellectual prowess necessary... just resolute determination to repent and to sin no more.

Monday, September 21, 2015

"He walked in peace through the midst of them." - Luke 4:30 ... a couple of thoughts.



I love that translation from Luke 4:30.

It is used in the old votive Mass for S. Benedict Joseph Labre.

I think of it especially today with the many posts for and against Pope Francis and his visit to Cuba and the United States.  I noted one headline: The pope has become a political football.  Yes, but - he walks in peace through the midst of them.

Why this tumult among nations,
among peoples this useless murmuring? - Psalm 2

And another thing ...

I think many Catholics are way too political about the Papal visit.

I think many Catholics online are too mean-spirited.

I think many Catholics online like to argue and slap-down anyone who disagrees with them.  (Nope, not talking about any Deacons here either.)

I think we can be pretty convinced of our own self-righteousness and look down upon everyone else... I'm not like you, I never experienced, never did this or that, like you did.  I know more than all who teach, because _____ fill in the blanks

That is what repels non-Catholic, non-religious people - and even Catholics.  (Why men don't go to Mass?  Why men don't join church groups?  The put downs.  The disrespect.  The lack of charity.)

Arrogance and conceit and a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes...  

It's not convincing.

Yes, I hear the whisperings of many: "Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!" All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. "Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him." - Jeremiah 20:10




Pope Francis and Our Lady, Virgin of Charity, El Cobre

More photos here.

All weekend, there has been so much coverage on MSM - from PBS to network news.  What a wonderful grace.

Prayers for the Holy Father and all who are touched by his Apostolic visit.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I would like to live in Wisconsin too. Best ad ever.




Unlike the ad shown here, in the Minnesota ad, Jordy isn't shown in the Packer's uniform/colors.

"Clear thinking about moral truth flounders on the rocks of relativism and subjectivism." - R.J. Neuhaus



Who told you you were naked?

Who told you you were gay?  I thought of that stuff this morning in my silent time after prayer.

Who told you you were gay?   God didn't.  Nature didn't.  Before I knew what it meant - before I ever even heard the word homosexual - someone called me a 'filthy little homosexual'.  I had to look up the word at the time, and I still didn't think it applied to me.  Later, Life magazine - or was it Look? - did some articles on homosexuals in NYC - what they did, where they hung out, and so on.  Then I got it - sort of.  They were gay.  Men who had sex with males were gay.  I just thought it was lust - though I wouldn't have been familiar with that term either - so I would have thought it was 'dirty'.

So who told you you were gay?  Like I said, it wasn't God.

My penance after confession yesterday was to read the beginning of Mark's Gospel.  I came across an incident in the first chapter which captured my attention: when Jesus healed a man ... a Demoniac - a person believed to have an evil spirit.  Mark says he had an unclean spirit - who shrieked Christ had "come to destroy us".  The shriek was phrased as a question - though the unclean spirit said "I know who you are!"  Unclean spirits recognize Christ - they know him.  Throughout history they have deluded, duped people into believing they were good spirits - even angels of light.

Though they know God and Scripture, they don't want us to know him.  Rather, they want to convince us that Christ has come to destroy - not save.  To destroy our freedom, our presumed autonomy.  Pondering that, I immediately recalled how Adam and Eve hid from God because of their nakedness ... They were afraid, ashamed - before their Creator, their Father.  Yet God made them, formed them, he knew them.  How strange.

So who told them they were naked?

Who told you you were ...

Why are we afraid God will destroy our freedom?  That he will deprive us of our choices?

God's plan poses no threat to man's genuine freedom; on the contrary, the acceptance of God's plan is the only way to affirm that freedom. Veritatis splendor
What is truth?
In a radically individualistic culture, we do not discern and obey what is objectively true. Rather, each of us decides what is “true for me.” We create the truth. - John Neuhaus

I'm thinking ... I'm thinking ... I like to think about this stuff.

Why do people say they are gay?

Who told you you were gay?  What does that even mean?  Why has that become a source of pride?  To be accused of being gay, or a filthy homosexual was a source of shame... now it is proclaimed as a source of pride.

Isn't that itself disordered?  Disorder is rooted, springs from, original sin.

So.  Perhaps we can understand a little better what some people are trying to hide, as it were ...

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed towards those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not”
[...] an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good”, the letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. - Some considerations ... CDF
Like I said - I'm thinking ...
The words of Genesis 3:10, "I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself," provide evidence of the first experience of man's shame with regard to his Creator—a shame that could also be called "cosmic".
However, this "cosmic shame"—if it is possible to perceive its features in man's total situation after original sin—makes way in the biblical text for another form of shame. It is the shame produced in humanity itself. It is caused by the deep disorder in that reality on account of which man, in the mystery of creation, was God's image. He was God's image both in his personal "ego" and in the interpersonal relationship, through the original communion of persons, constituted by the man and the woman together. - JP II
Perhaps gay men hide their shame - in other men?

Perhaps lesbians hide their shame - in other women?

Thus they can be like gods and decide for themselves what is right, what is wrong, and what they are?

As Fr. Neuhaus noted: "Clear thinking about moral truth flounders on the rocks of relativism and subjectivism."

Ain't that the truth.

"But wisdom is vindicated by all her children." - Luke 7:35

Moving on ...



Here's the deal.
Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. - 1 Timothy 

I think I'm going to let the dead bury their dead ...