Saturday, November 28, 2015

Back online ...

I tried to touch them to make sure they weren't holograms or anything ...

This is probably the longest time I've been offline in years.  No Internet, no email - nothing.  I caught the news on network TV and PBS - no print news, no radio.  Aside from a bit of television I was probably as unconnected as a Carthusian.  I didn't even follow coverage on Francis in Africa on EWTN.

It was an excellent break.

I got the laptop back today.  I surfed a couple of blogs and Catholic social media portals and realized I didn't miss much.  Just a quick skim at Pewsitters was enough to jolt me into a fresh sense of recognition that the site is corrupted by detraction simply in and through their headline copy.  New Advent struck me as a sort of scolding school for bad Catholics ... the same old, same old Catholic authorities criticizing 'faux' whatever.  Writing faux religious rules in the ethernet.  It reminds me of the Scripture: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world ... and online-evangelists.

The Internet can be oppressive - you think you're in control, but these weird people infect your interior life with bits of malware.  People need to unplug from time to time.  A friend asked if my computer was possessed - in a sense it was - by trojans and malware.   Our brains pick up crap like that as well - our faith gets corrupted - we pick up these negative bits and criticisms, calumnies and detraction, all sorts of filth and we are influenced by all of it - whether we think so or not.

I jokingly emailed my friend, writing:  I just skimmed through blog links - same old same old. I talked to real living people at Best Buy and it was so weird. I tried to touch them to make sure they weren't holograms or anything - but they backed away. I've been sequestered for far too long - I have been living online. The wonderful thing I discovered is that the 'real' people I meet - they do not talk or act like the people online say they do. They are really pretty nice - they don't scream at me or tell me mean things or anything like that.

I may not return next time. I may follow one of them home and ask if they'll adopt me.  You can't do that with online 'friends and followers' - they're not real - they are just online.  When I was offline - no one was there.  No one.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hello friends ...

We'll be offline for computer updates and repairs, reprogramming and rehab ... if I don't get back in time, have a happy Thanksgiving ...

We love you family! - Toonces and Terry

And now, words of wisdom from Fr. Phil:

Song for this post here!

Oh!  And don't forget to send your donations to the Catholic Campaign For Human Development
sponsored by the USCCB.  

Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.

A painting did a long time ago.
I think I should do a new one.

A martyr for our times.

At the time of the killing of Pro, Mexico was under rule of the fiercely anti-clerical and anti-Catholic President Plutarco Elías Calles who had begun what writer Graham Greene called the "fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth." - Source

Today, November 23 is his feast day. It seems to me he needs to be better known - he should have a larger cult in the United States.


God our Father, 
you gave your servant Michael Augustine 
the grace to seek ardently your greater glory 
and the salvation of your people. 
Grant that, through his intercession 
and following his example, 
we may serve you and glorify you 
by performing our daily duties with fidelity and joy 
and effectively helping our neighbor. 
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The extraordinary Image of Christ, the Returning King

The Image of Jesus Christ the Returning King


Solemnity of Christ the King

Almighty ever-living God, 
whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, 
the King of the universe, grant, we pray, 
that the whole creation, set free from slavery, 
may render your majesty service 
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. Amen

"My Kingdom does not belong to this world - if it did - my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over ..." - John 18

I don't get this feast until I pray.  I can't understand it if I listen to Christians who want to engage in armed crusades, or who want to 'bomb the hell out of Syria', or who insist that Jesus would support the 2nd Amendment.  (Palin said that.)  Don't be upset by that - it's just my inability to understand people who rely on weapons and killing.  (I'm not saying nations and people can't defend themselves or their families of course.)

I think I get what the Church teaches though.  I think I understand what the Popes say about Christ the King.  I think I understand what Our Lord meant when he told Pilate, 'my kingdom is not here'.  

This morning I read in Magnificat something Pope Benedict wrote: "God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out, on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways ... The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines."

I immediately thought, I bet if Francis said that, he'd be called out for it.

Today the Holy Father greeted pilgrims saying:

“The kingdoms of this world sometimes build themselves on arrogance, rivalry, oppression; the kingdom of Christ is ‘a kingdom of justice, love and peace’,” he said. The Holy Father went on to say, “[T]o reign as He does means to serve God and the brethren – a service that flows from love: to serve for love’s sake is to reign: this is the regality of Jesus.”

Happy feast day!

What if ... discrediting Bishops is a veiled form of anti-clericalism ...

“To silence the moral voice of the Church, the preferred option has been to discredit its ministers.” - Elizabeth Lev*

Consider the attacks against the Pope, the Magisterium, as well as individual cardinals and bishops.  *Elizabeth Lev made that statement which heads this post during the aftermath of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.  A few years ago she reminded readers of revolutionary France, when propagandists directed similar calumnies to what we hear today against Catholic clergy.  Thus setting the stage for the Reign of Terror and the execution of countless priests and religious, and the confiscation of Church property, and so on.

These days, otherwise faithful Catholics, accusing cardinals, bishops, and priests of infidelity and conspiracy to change Catholic teaching, or just living lavishly, may be inadvertently helping the enemies of the Church who seek to silence the 'moral voice' of the Church.  No doubt there are 'progressive' clergy in the Church - even those who would have the Church change its moral teaching, but not every "Francis-bishop" is necessarily guilty by association.  And that is where I'm in agreement with Bill Donohue when he suggested:
The crazies on the Catholic right have set their sights on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Why? Because he is close to Pope Francis, and they hate the pope.

Nevertheless, critics from Donohue to Voris to writers and pundits from the 'other side', are all cut from the same cloth, and I'm not sure the infighting and mudslinging is all that helpful.  Though they proclaim themselves defenders of the faith and orthodoxy, their invective tends to further alienate those whose confidence in the clergy is already badly shaken.  Calling out a cardinal, accusing him of a lavish lifestyle is a direct smear, a gutter-snipe attempt to discredit his character, just as it was to infer homosexual tendencies.  It's gossip and scandal mongering.

In some ways it's funny - as Donohue brings up the 'drag name' given to Cardinal Wuerl in seminary days.  If he went to an all boys Catholic high school, he would know girl's name were given to the more aesthete among the students.  Seminaries were no different.  I knew several students and what they called others, and vice versa.  They had names for the Archbishop and other bishops and cardinals in the Church.  Often unflattering girl's names or stereotypical effeminate titles.  Cardinal Spellman had his, as did Archbishop Sheen, and so on.  Donohue calls out Voris for referencing Wuerl's name.  Voris uses the name to speculate upon Wuerl's sexuality.  It's cheap, Catholic TMZ- style gossip. Homosexual in the UK called Pope Benedict Pope Betty - it doesn't mean Benedict is gay.  They are the flip side of the same coin.

You know what makes me sad?  You do.

I apologize I cast a slur upon Niles yesterday - I removed it.  I especially apologize to my friend who was offended by it.  To be honest, I'm more sad by the character assassinations which come out of Catholic social-media 'news-sites'.  As I noted yesterday, neither Church Militant or the Catholic Defense League speaks for me - and I'm not sure either organization is deputed to speak for the Church.  As I said, what makes me sad are the attacks and dirt digging people seem to devote their time to, attempting to uncover further scandals.  This happens on both sides - I've heard of Catholic defense people acting as spies to report back to chanceries as well.  This intrigue and and political maneuvering doesn't strike me as anything Christ would approve of.

It seems to me many online debates and condemnations may have the same effect upon ordinary Catholics as do false apparitions and locutions, suggesting this or that innovation in Catholic practice since Vatican II is evil.  I've frequently reminded readers of the false apparitions from the early 20th century, the effect of which certainly helped to foment mistrust of the clergy and the authority of the bishops.  Just as modern apparitions and private revelations have affected the confidence of believers in Catholic teaching and more especially, the authority of bishops.

I'm willing to bet Church Militant and their 'journalists'  have the same impact on faithful Catholics foolish enough to follow, or rely upon their 'newscasts' and exposés, sometimes based upon dubious conjecture and innuendo, resulting in statements frequently just a hairsbreadth from calumny and outright detraction.

I am amazed that Catholics cannot discern the problems associated with and created by people active in Catholic social media - the biased reporting and gossip perpetrated by popular sites, often based in dubious MSM reporting or leaks of what was purported to have been said, threatens to undermine the confidence and faith of many.  Nor would it appear it attracts anyone to the Church.

Media manipulation

Sometimes I wonder if anti-Catholic elements in mainstream media deliberately print provocative snippets from what is said in the Church, by the pope or bishops, in order to incite 'right wing' Catholic bloggers and independent social media news sites?  If that 'conspiracy theory' is correct, I'd say it's working.

Yesterday, I mentioned in a comment, now deleted, that I watched Charlie Rose Friday night.  He interviewed Peggy Noonan, a writer, a journalist who never lets you forget she's Irish-Catholic.  She's an incredible witness in the marketplace and in media.  She's a great writer - surpassing most contemporary Catholic bloggers and writers.  Highly professional and well spoken, not given to gutter-snipe or character assassination - many so-called social-media-journalists would do well to study her.

To be sure, this discussion and outing of bishops and cardinals is beyond my expertise, likewise the subject of French revolutionary ant-clericalism and its parallel to what is going on today, is over my head.

Fortunately few people read me and what I have to say is inconsequential.  It's just a mystery to me how people can remain faithful Catholics while tearing down the hierarchy by engaging in detraction, calumny, and scandalous gossip. It's especially sad considering the state of the world and the persecution of Christians and terrorism.  What are we doing to one another?

Moving on now - talk amongst yourselves.