Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stray thoughts after the Paris attack.

News coverage you can't avoid ...

I never watch Fox News but because of the attacks in Paris one channel in Minneapolis was streaming the coverage.  First time I ever saw 'Shep' the news anchor.  I heard of him before, and noted his name occasionally mentioned online before, but never saw him in action.  I got the impression he and Michael Voris may have gone to the same broadcasting school.  Now I know why people do not like Fox news - such drama.  Even when Megan Kelly came on the air, she started to really work the drama and emotional tone of what she was reporting.

I know media distorts and sensationalizes the news - but I have never witnessed such blatant manipulation as I did last night during Fox coverage.  I also do not listen to talk radio - ever, but some people in a place I once worked always had  the radio tuned to Rush Limbaugh and other talk shows - the language and emotionally charged reporting/discussions were very similar to Fox.  I'm convinced that explains why people are so nuts - they get their engines revved up by these media personalities and go online and freak out on their blogs and in the com boxes.

O Mary, Conceived without sin, pray for us
who have recourse to thee,
and for those who do not,
especially the enemies of the Church, 
and those recommended to thee.

Signs - looking for signs ...

It's not a bad thing to do, it's very human, and in time of crisis, it helps one make sense of what is going on.  Just don't get too attached to the signs - or read to much into them.  I think I can do that a lot.

That said, I searched for something significant in the date of November 13.  (I don't believe in bad luck or the Friday 13 superstitions.)  I was looking for something associated with Our Lady.  France is beloved by heaven - obviously singled out for many graces and favors throughout history by Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin.  I especially wondered if the revelations of the Miraculous Medal played a significant role.  However, the date November 13 did not appear to be significant.  All I could find is that the last alleged apparition of Our Lady at Garabandal, Spain took place on that date in 1965.

Otherwise, November 13 is the memorial of Our Lady of Nanteuil, one of the earliest French shrines dedicated to the Virgin known for miraculous healing and as a designated pilgrimage site.  A statue was found there and shortly before the French Revolution, the smile on the Virgin's face changed into a look of sadness.  Otherwise I found no connection to the date related to Islam or an earlier victory over the Turks, such as at Lepanto and the Battle of Vienna - which is what I was hoping to find.

What I did discover however, is that the feast of the Miraculous Medal, which I know is the anniversary of Our Lady's apparition to Catherine Laboure at Paris in November 27, 1830, just might be significant in another sense.  Kind of.  The Parisian apparitions to Catherine are considered by many Mariologists to have initiated what has been known as the Marian Era in the Catholic Church, consisting of prodigies, apparitions, studies, definitions of Our Lady's prerogatives, as well as dogmatic declarations, and so on.

Curiously, in my online search, I re-discovered that Urban II launched the First Crusade on 27 November 1095 - I know!

I know nothing - but it seemed significant last night.

Have a nice day ...

Fox offers make-up deals on 

Prayers for Paris and the victims and survivors of the terror attack November 13, 2015

"The orb which you see represents the world, 
especially France, and each person in particular. 
These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. 
The jewels which give no rays symbolize the graces 
that are not given because they are not asked for." 
- Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure


 "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Paris under siege. Blood in the streets. Terrorists.

Hostages taken, at least 60 dead, many wounded  ...
A Paris police official said there were at least 100 hostages in a Paris theater following shooting and explosions at two cites in the city. - Source
At least 30 people have died in a series of shootings and explosions across Paris carried out by men armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades. The motive remains unknown but many Parisians fear terrorists have again hit their city. - Source
Another terror strike in Paris, evoking prophecies of doom, while Europe is waking up to the immigrant crisis which many are now citing as an Islamic invasion.

Paris! Paris! Your enemies will reduce you to want, to hunger, to fear ... you will fall into the hands of foreigners. Your enemies standing afar off will behold your palaces in flames. Your homes will become a heap of ruins with the blood of your heroes who are no more. - Excerpt of a prophecy attributed to St. John Bosco

Prayers for the victims.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.

People get ready ...

This is interesting: There are three essential groups of LGBT Catholics ...

Don't hold your breath ... they won't let you.

That's according to Terry Mattingly - kind of.

Responding to the recent Washington Post article on the Fr. Charasma coming out story, which claimed, "Not all gay Catholics are pleased about how Vatican priest came out of the closet."  Mattingly asks if the Post delivered on that.  I read the original story after several people emailed me links to it - I'd say the Post did not deliver on it - pretty much because there were no recognizable names quoted as being disappointed by Charasma's over sharing and momentary celebrity as a gay-priest-in-love.

That said - what is interesting in Mattingly's piece is his citation of the "three essential groups of LGBT Catholics involved that reporters need to quote."  Here is the list.
(1) Gay Catholics who are openly calling for change in church teachings, saying (usually) that the Holy Spirit is now moving to correct 2,000 years of flawed Christian doctrines.
(2) Gay Catholics who – often because they are in key academic or ecclesiastical posts – are quietly working behind the scenes to change church doctrines slowly over time. It's kind of the "you do what you can do" approach. Critics would call it the "stay in your church closet" approach.
(3) Gay Catholics who support Catholic doctrines on marriage and sex, including teachings on same-sex acts, even though that is a painful reminder of the sinful, fallen nature of all of God's creation (or words to that effect). Many want the church to do a much better job of listening to the real, pastoral concerns of all kinds of Catholics who struggle with sexuality issues. - Source

Works for me - I think.  Not to leave anyone out, so the question has to be asked: Does #3 include Courage people?  Or are they a fourth category.  Or no category because they are same sex attracted - not gay, lgbtq, homosexual or any sexuality ... ?  Que?

I suppose these distinction are important for journalists, academics, mental health professionals, counselors and therapists or spiritual directors, and of course priests and deacons and gay Catholics who devote their lives to the study of all things gay, same sex attraction, homosexual, non-sexual-orientation (neither homo or hetero), gender, gender queer - okay, I'll stop.

We spend a lot of time writing and discussing these issues, categories, distinctions - whatever academics and statisticians want to categorize it as.  What that means for ordinary people - men and women - guys and gals, if you will, is that a lot of us can spend a lot of time and effort trying to convince others that we are really good people.  Especially if we are chaste and celibate, we seem to be required to make sure others know we really are faithful to Catholic teaching.  We are faithful, we use only the correct terminology, and yup - we are celibate chaste and don't want to have sex - oh, and did I mention faithful?

I also think others in the top three listed groups do some role playing for auditors as well.

This stuff maybe works for studies and reports and conferences - since that's your job, and to be sure, we must study, teach and clarify doctrine for those interested.  In that context I understand one has to insist on appropriate terms and identities - for one another.  For your audience.  For your seminary classes, your family conferences, your RCIA programs - what have you.  I get that.

Personally - the academic discussions get a little boring and set apart from reality - the reality of ordinary life in modern times.  The arguments and discussions gets a little over people's heads I think.  At any rate, it's not an issue for me, not something I feel I have to live up to.  I feel a little sad, maybe a bit more impatient, with and for the people who torment themselves with these debates and struggle to be whatever they think they are or are not or should be.  There are so many voices out there trying to define you or correct you or make you live up to some sort of ideal.

Yeah - well.  Move on. 
Someone will always be there to label you. 

There is a lot of dishonesty which accompanies all of that.   In fact, there is nothing more pathetic than gay Catholics who often weave in and out of doctrine and 'observance'.  Always focused upon sexual inclination/temptation, constructing/de-constructing identity, vain rejoicing in narcissistic efforts involving image, constantly seeking approval, and so on.  The approval/acceptance can sometimes dictate behavior - be it celebrating one's repentance and return to the sacraments, or just the courage to come out or celebrate falling in love like Fr. Krzy.  Everything passes - emotions are fleeting, satisfaction is not lasting.

If there is anything I've learned is this.  Seek God.  Seek to please him alone.  Pray.  Ask him to help you.  Follow what the Church actually teaches on sexuality and marriage.  Keep the commandments.  Go to confession.  Frequent the sacraments - pray.  If you fall, get up again.  Pray.  Surrender your life to God - seek his way of holiness.  If an angel of light or even some fruitcake Dominican theologian appears to you as St. Thomas Aquinas approving homosexuality, do not believe him.

Don't allow others to tell you how to think or how to identify - understand that your life is hidden with Christ in God - strive to identify with Jesus Christ.  Don't get embroiled in the discussions swirling around online - or be tempted to doubt what your conscience - in accord with Catholic teaching - convicts you of.  Do not try to please men - to live for the approval and acceptance of others.  Leave all that behind - consider it so much rubbish.

Remember Lot's wife.

Let the dead bury their dead.

Follow Christ.  Be faithful to Catholic teaching as defined in the catechism and approved Magisterial teachings.  Be faithful to Christ in the Eucharist.  Remember that Church doctrine cannot change and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church - guided by the Pope.

Do not be afraid.  Be careful of reading too much stuff online.


Evidently these two categories no longer exist?

Moving on.

Song for this post here.

Menswear tutorial: How to fold a great kilt.

Men in skirts.

Song for this post here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Pope serves lunch ...

I love this Pope so much!

I saw it here:

Today in Florence Pope Francis spoke to Italian bishops of his vision for the church.
Then, at lunch in a soup kitchen, he showed them. 

This is glorious: What the Holy Father is saying while he visits Tuscany.

At Florence ...
He spoke about the features of Christian humanism and the temptations to which the Church is exposed.
I especially like this latest address since it seems to me it explains much of Pope Francis' vision for the Church, which has thus far confused so many, causing them to feel the Holy Father is always scolding or changing doctrine.  I rarely feel that he is scolding, insulting, but rather exhorting Catholics.  Likewise, I've never believed he desires doctrinal changes or compromise as regards even 'one letter of the law'.  I like especially how the Holy Father described the reform of the Church, citing the character of the Church as semper reformata - always reforming.  The Church is not "a closed system incapable of generating questions, concerns, questions, but it is alive, unsettles, animates. Its face isn’t rigid, its body moves and develops, it has tender flesh: that of Jesus Christ.

"The reform of the church then, and the church is semper reformanda ... does not end in the umpteenth plan to change structures, It means instead grafting yourself to and rooting yourself in Christ, leaving yourself to be guided by the Spirit -- so that all will be possible with genius and creativity."

I'm surprised at people like Janet Smith and Ed Peters and so many other laity and ordained, who keep discussing every statement, every development as if it bodes schism or a more deeply splintered Church - as if the Church has been at peace during recent pontificates and the Franciscan papacy represents some sort of rupture with the past.  Others speak of schism or a divided Church, splitting into the Anglican model of high church and low church, or the Orthodox synodal structure.  These people need to listen more closely to what the Pope is actually saying - perhaps becoming a bit less scrupulous about Latin translations and choir-dress, avoiding what the editors and journalists of Catholic news sources are extrapolating and projecting onto the Pope's allocutions.

That said, the following notes on what the Pope had to say at Florence are very reassuring - at least for me.  I call it glorious - because it seems to me to clarify his teaching and vision for evangelization.

“We can speak about humanism only by starting from the centrality of Jesus, discovering in Him the features of the authentic face of man. And the contemplation of the face of the dead and risen Jesus that recomposes our humanity, fragmented as it may be by the hardships of life, or marked by sin. We must not domesticate the power of the face of Christ. The face is the image of His transcendence. … I do not wish here to draw an abstract image of the 'new humanism', a certain idea of man, but to present with simplicity some features of Christian humanism, which is that of the sentiments, the mind of Jesus Christ. These are not abstract temporary sensations but rather represent the warm interior force that makes us able to live and to make decisions”:
“The first sentiment is humility. … The obsession with preserving one's own glory and 'dignity', one's own influence, must not form part of our sentiments. We must seek God's glory, that does not coincide with ours. God's glory that shines in the humility of the stable in Bethlehem or in the dishonour of Christ's cross always surprises us”.

“Another sentiment is selflessness. '… The humanity of the Christian is always outward-looking. … Please, let us avoid 'remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits that make us feel safe'. Our duty is to make this world a better place, and to fight. Our faith is revolutionary because of the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit”.

“Another of Jesus Christ's sentiments is beatitude. The Christian is blessed. … In the Beatitudes, the Lord shows us the path. By taking it, we human beings can arrive at the most authentically human and divine happiness. … For the great saints, beatitude is about humiliation and poverty. But also in the most humble of our people there is much of this beatitude: it is that of he who knows the richness of solidarity, of sharing also the little he possesses. … The beatitudes we read in the Gospel begin with a blessing and end with a promise of consolation. They introduce us to a path of possible greatness, that of the spirit, and when the spirit is ready all the rest comes by itself”.
“However, we know that there are many temptations we must resist. I will present you at least two of them. The first is that of Pelagianism, which leads the Church not to be humble, selfless and blessed. … Often it leads us even to assuming a style of control, of hardness, normativity. Rules give to the Pelagian the security of feeling superior, of having a precise orientation. In this it finds its strength, not in the soft breath of the Spirit. Faced with the ills or the problems of the Church, it is useless to seek solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism, in the restoration of outdated forms and conduct that have no capacity for meaning, even culturally. Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts and uncertainties, but it is living, it knows how to disturb and to encourage. Its face is not rigid, it has a body that moves and develops, it has tender flesh; Christian doctrine is called Jesus Christ”.
“A second temptation is the gnosticism that leads us to place our trust in logical and clear reasoning that, however, loses the tenderness of our brother's flesh. … The difference between Christian transcendence and any other form of gnostic spiritualism resides in the mystery of the Incarnation. Not putting into practice, not leading the Word to reality, means building on sand, remaining in the pure idea and degenerating into intimisms that do not bear fruit, that render its dynamism sterile”. - Finish reading here.

Here is what I think.  If you don't understand the Pope - you maybe are not listening.  Or you think you know better.  A maxim of St. John of the Cross may help with that:  "Allow yourself to be taught."
Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts and uncertainties, but it is living, it knows how to disturb and to encourage. Its face is not rigid, it has a body that moves and develops, it has tender flesh; Christian doctrine is called Jesus Christ”. - VIS
Works for me.

. . .

Bonus Trivia Question:  "Now class, who said the following?"

"In my view, a Church which seeks above all to be attractive, is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for herself, she does not work to increase her numbers and power. She works for Another. She serves not herself, not to become strong. She serves to make the announcement of Jesus Christ more accessible….. "


Whatever happened to Rosario from 'Will and Grace'?


Monday, November 09, 2015

This is totally nuts: Homosexuals In Washington DC Kidnap Random Man And Force Him Into A Van, They Then Take Turns Raping Him*. The Homosexuals Are Raping Tens Of Thousands Of Innocent People, The Homosexual Agenda ...

Tens of thousands are being raped by Sodomites...

The Homosexuals Are Raping Tens Of Thousands Of Innocent People, The Homosexual Agenda Must Be Destroyed.


Tens of thousands?

Somehow I get Disqus comments from a guy who is a frequent commenter on Crisis and Lifesite articles exposing gays and other queer things.  His comments are usually interesting for their sometimes insightful character, albeit contemptuous tone.  Evidently the author is very familiar with homosexuality and at times he notes he frequents a tavern in rural California, or something to that effect - obviously not a gay bar.  He's also an artist.  He clearly does not like me, and therefore has to be included in that great crowd of witnesses who know far more than I do about the immediate threats against civilization and the end of the age.

That said - sometimes he, and the Shoebat authors he reads, really come up with some crazy stuff ... as noted above.  The following visionary comment is equally as nuts as the article he replies to:

The boundary between homosexuality and cannibalism is more than thin, it is porous. . The readers here need to know why. It is more than the simple observation that Satan is the progenitor of both...  - CadaveraVeroInnumero

Homosexuals in the US military are raping and molesting
tens of thousands of American soldiers. - Mass rape in the military.

Get Barnhardt on the phone
and tell her to get down here, 
and bring her gun.

*Ed. note: Pentagon: APA gay rape story retracted.

The Washington DC abduction/rape story so happens to be true, read more here.

“It represents a change in what's going on out here on the streets that we have a group of people who are specifically looking to target, kidnap and sexually assault men. That is a very, very profound event and it’s a change in what we're used to investigating,” said Delroy Burton, President of the D.C. Police Union.

That said, two abduction/rape incidents have been reported so far in Washington involving civilians - not military men.  Two men.  Not thousands or hundreds of thousands.  Just saying.

Something I said in an email ...

If I pay too much attention to church-talk I notice I begin to feel unsettled, and my devotion withers. Such conversations do not strengthen my faith. I have trouble with priests who encourage the idea that the pope is somehow undermining Catholic doctrine.

I think progressives and traditionalists have many things in common these days. Strange bedfellows.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Today would be her memorial if it wasn't a Sunday.

She died on the 9th of November 1906, the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.  I always get her feast day mixed up with that, because the readings for the Dedication of a Church coincide nicely with the spirituality of Bl. Elizabeth, who understood herself - her soul - to be the Temple of God, as St. Paul taught, especially concerning the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the soul of the baptized, and so on.

Every November I think much about Bl. Elizabeth and always forget her feast day - thinking it is the 5th or 6th because she died in 1906, or mixing it up with the 7th, 8th, or 9th.  Now that I'm older I think - what if this is early onset of ... then I realize I've always done that.

My devotion to Elizabeth is rather detached in so far as I have no desire to emulate her life or follow the minutia of her daily activities, as a young girl or as a nun.  Her mission is quite unique I think.  She strikes me as a very mature spirit for both men and women - the attraction is neither her religious life nor her secular life of anticipation for the monastery.  Rather it is her understanding and experience of herself as the tabernacle of the Holy Trinity and her vocation as well as identity as 'the praise of his glory'.

Her spirit penetrated the deepest mystery of the Christian existence, the Christian vocation - it seems to me.  She opens the treasury of Catholic prayer and devotion in a very simple and direct way - in that she is perfectly Carmelite of course - St. Teresa and St. John, Therese and Lawrence of the Resurrection all were gifted with that simplicity.  Elizabeth seems to me to unlock the mysteries these saints lived and practiced and taught - for the most ordinary person - the most spiritually inexperienced.  Likewise, she seems to have distilled the doctrines of Catherine of Siena, Angela of Foligno, Tauler - as well as other early mystics, into practical, understandable terms.  I think her greatest gift was the grace to grasp and assimilate the mysticism of St. Paul and to translate his teaching for the most ordinary person to appreciate and grasp.  Her way of prayer is in effect the most 'common mystic prayer' there is - I think.

No need to number the steps of a stairway of perfection.  No need to calculate the rungs on the ladder, or distract oneself with the stages of one's prayer - one simply plunges into the depths of one's soul, and swims as it were, in the light of God's merciful love, allowing Him to draw you deeper and deeper into the abyss of his Immensity.  As Elizabeth might say - allow yourself to be fascinated by His light which elevates the soul - allow yourself to be drawn by His mystery - even in and through the darkest moments - travelling without moving into the deepest reaches of the unreachable until, as Elizabeth prayed 'until I depart to contemplate in your light the abyss of your greatness.'

Janua Coeli - Gate of Heaven
For me it is an image of a soul in Our Lady
-faintly - at the center is a light
reminding me of the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity.

We can have our Heaven - or at least begin it - here on earth.

Go to confession and receive Holy Communion.  Stay awhile after communion and Our Lord will teach you how to pray this prayer of recollection.  You will see cares and attachments fly away like the tiles from a rocket that is launched amidst great fire and emotion - traveling deeper and deeper into the silence and solitude of the soul, which expands like the universe - and soon - in God's time - you will see that spring-like-crystal, that light in the center, which draws you, fascinates and suspends you in love, peace, and joy ...

Bl. Elizabeth explains it better than I can: 
 "Always love prayer and when I say prayer, I don't mean so much imposing on yourself a lot of vocal prayers to be recited every day, as the elevation of the soul toward God through all things that establishes us in a kind of continual communion with  the Holy Trinity by quite simply doing everything in their presence."

I share this with you because if God has been so good and merciful to give me this prayer - he will do it for you.  It is very easy for people who are much better than I am.  I have deluded myself for years and thought I was doing just fine - but I look back and see so many sins, so much hypocrisy - and yet without prayer, I could never have recognized any of that.  I'm not pretending when I say that.

"A praise of glory is a soul that lives in God, that loves him with a pure and disinterested love, without seeking itself in the sweetness of this love, that loves him beyond all his gifts." - Bl. Elizabeth
Look at that!  You not only find out about prayer - but you get a better understanding of disinterested friendship as well.  Prayer is a sort of self-emptying as well, a process of detachment - again like the rocket - the tiles fall away, the booster falls away and we enter the immensity of space - our soul, and God is present at it's deepest center.

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity pray for us that we may become the praise of his glory, with you and Our Lady 'Janua Coeli' - for all eternity!

Elizabeth with her statue of 
Janua Coeli - she carried it with her
everywhere.  It depicts The Immaculate Conception
as she identified herself at Lourdes.
The Immaculate Conception - Gate of Heaven.