Friday, February 19, 2016

The Holy Father was asked a lot of questions.

He answered well.

One question mentioned the latest news about JPII's friendship with women.

Question: "The media have referred to the intense correspondence John Paul II and the American philosopher, Ana Teresa Tymieniecka. … According to His Holiness, can a Pope have such an intimate relationship with a woman?"
Pope Francis: "I would say that a man who does not know how to have a relationship of friendship with a woman … well, he is a man who is missing something. … A friendship with a woman is not a sin. It is a friendship. … But the Pope is a man. The Pope needs the input of women, too. And the Pope, too, has a heart that can have a healthy, holy friendship with a woman. There are saint-friends – Francis and Clare, Teresa and John of the Cross. ... But women are still not well considered; we have not understood the good a woman can do for the life of a priest and of the church in the sense of counsel, help and healthy friendship". Source

I'm glad that's settled.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Screenshot: A strange comment.

Don't you wish he was as tired of doing awful things as we are tired of having to write about them? I often think to myself, "My poor audience doesn't want to hear me mention ONE more thing about Francis...but he's done SEVEN of them worth noting since the last time I forced myself to write."
Most likely the worst papacy in history. Certainly the most exhausting.

    • Poor you. :(

      • Reply

        • And yet we have no choice but to write about them, for this is history in the making, and who is more important in Catholic affairs, which we cover, than the Pope? Especially this Pope, who INSISTS on being the most important person in Catholic affairs, reminding us of it with at least (on average) one appearance of the God of surprises per week.

        I found the first comment funny because of the 'poor you' response, and laughed because Skojec complained of this apparent burden - e.g. to point out everything that is wrong with this papacy.  He seems like a nice guy with a good sense of humor, so I wonder if he was joking?  To be sure, Skojec doesn't have to write about the stuff he finds wrong with the pope.  Although Ferrara claims they have no choice but to do so?  Really?

        On another post at the Remnant, there's a screen shot of Ferrara apparently laughing with Michael Matt in their video discussion, and if the text is any indication - they appear to be making fun of Pope Francis.  I suppose they may have been compelled to do it?  No choice in the matter?

        Nothing wrong with that - the Pope also offers Trump the benefit of the doubt.

        In the ensuing discussions which will inevitably take place, please keep in mind how not a few of the Pope's critics accuse him of not even being Catholic - and this from people who claim to be more Catholic than the Pope.  I suspect they will condemn the Pope for having answered the question about Trump the way he did.

        That's unfortunate.

        Happy indeed is the man
        who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
        nor lingers in the way of sinners,
        nor sits in the company of scorners ... -Psalm 1

        Pope Francis back home ...

        Pope Francis visits St. Mary Major on his return from Mexico.

        Song for this post here.

        Today is the feast of Beato Guido di Pietro ...

        AKA Fra Giovanni da Fiesole ...

        Best known as Fra Angelico.

        His miracle?

        His work ... he was beatified on the basis of the angelic, nearly divine beauty of his paintings:
        Angelico was reported to say "He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always". This motto earned him the epithet "Blessed Angelico", because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
        — Pope John Paul II

        Blessed Angelico, pray for us who try to paint heavenly things, pray for us to attain perfect integrity of life.

        Song for this post here.

        "Do you suppose, that God created diamonds only for the rich?"

        Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Cripples.

        A friend once sent me the following anecdote from the life of Dorothy Day:

        "Tom Cornell tells the story of a donor coming into the Catholic Worker and giving Dorothy a diamond ring. Dorothy thanked her for it and put it in her pocket. Later a rather demented lady came in, one of the more irritating regulars at the house. Dorothy took the diamond ring out of her pocket and gave it to the woman.

        Someone on the staff said to Dorothy, "Wouldn't it have been better if we took the ring to the diamond exchange, sold it, and paid that woman's rent for a year?"

        Dorothy replied that the woman had her dignity and could do what she liked with the ring. She could sell it for rent money or take a trip to the Bahamas. Or she could enjoy wearing a diamond ring on her hand like the woman who gave it away. "Do you suppose," Dorothy asked, "that God created diamonds only for the rich?"" - What I Learned About Justice From Dorothy Day

        Charity has no strings.  A Missionary of Charity sister once told me that.

        I used to think Dorothy Day was a Communist.  I used to think Oscar Romero was too.  At one time I thought many Jesuits, Maryknoll-ers, and Little Brothers of Jesus were too.  Their type of religious poverty, their closeness to the genuinely poor and marginalized scared me.  It made me uncomfortable - they identified and lived with the poor and served them, sharing their outcast state.

        After my conversion, I wanted to be a contemplative.  Yet these religious- priests, brothers and sisters, were contemplatives in the street, closer to the model Jacques Maritan predicted would emerge one day, than I was.

        A meditation from Blessed Mother Teresa which showed up in Magnificat this week, may help to illustrate what I'm trying to say.

        One of our novices had come from a far-off country and a well-to-do family. She was sent right away to our home for the destitute who are dying, just like the rest of the novices. Before they left, I told them, "During Mass you have seen with what care and tenderness the priest touched the body of Christ changed into the Bread of Life. Do the same in the home for dying destitutes."

        Three hours later, the novices returned. The newly arrived novice came up to me and said full of joy, "Mother, I have been touching the Body of Christ for three hours!" I asked her, "What have you done?" She said that she had rescued a man lying in the gutter, half eaten by worms. "I really felt that I was touching the Body of Christ as Jesus said, 'I was sick...,'" she continued.
        That young sister was a contemplative. She had been touching Christ for three hours and offering her love to him. To be able to do the same, it is necessary to know the poor.... - M. Teresa of Calcutta

        Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

        Charity has no strings.

        Pope Francis is demonstrating these things.

        I will say it again, every single day he makes me want to be a better man.  

        h/t to my long lost friends, DJ and Stephanie.

        Wednesday, February 17, 2016

        Pope Francis ...

        In a moment which will surely reverberate across the border, 
        Pope Francis paused at the border fence between Mexico and the United States
        to pray for migrants who have lost their lives making the perilous journey north.
        [Those] fleeing their homelands are often victims of the worst forms of exploitation.

        Reading the Holy Father's words in context ...

        I have been waiting all week for this visit.

        Now back to regular posting...

        "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign - but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah." - Luke 11

        What he says comes from the heart, in this he reminds me of the saints - especially the paternal saints - Jesuit fathers, parish priests who were fathers to their parishes, missionary priests and bishops who mingled and shared the lives of the poor.  I think many of the old ladies online are being led astray by some of the specious clerical commentaries, as well as the incessant criticisms made by former seminarians and theological students who seem to adhere to a strictly legalistic interpretation of what the Pope says and does.  There is a conservative element entrenched in right wing politics unable to see beyond their own agendas, fearful of counter political agendas, always judging by American human standards, that which is God's providential action in our midst.  They 'pull-quote' papal allocution's to give the impression the Holy Father is unfaithful to Catholic teaching.    As today's Gospel affirms (for me at least), in this particular Apostolic visit to Mexico,  "there is something greater than Solomon here, there is something different from Jonah here."

        Pewsitter and RomeReports pulled the following quote from the Holy Father's address to families - as if to suggest the Pope is approving irregular marriages:
        "I prefer wounded families because they are the result of a true love." - RR

        Yet what follows is what the Holy Father actually said about his love for those who struggle, even though they may be in irregular circumstances and even illicit marriages:

        The meeting began with testimonies from a young couple; a family made up of divorced parents in a new relationship; Manuel, a disabled adolescent; Beatriz, a single mother, and various other couples from the diocese of Tapachula who had been married for many years.
        "Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned. It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favour a model based on isolation. … It is true that family life is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a family and society that is sick from isolationism or a habitual fear of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a family and society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort. … I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to a family with 'made up' faces that know nothing of tenderness and compassion. I prefer a man and a woman, don Aniceto and his wife, with faces that are wrinkled due to the daily struggles over the fifty years of strong married love; and here we have them". - VIS

        How can we, in our cozy homes, living with abundance, luxury, and comfort, paying millions to support corrupt politicians in their ambitious campaigns of false promises and bitchy rhetoric, even begin to understand the plight of the marginalized, discriminated against people the Holy Father speaks to.  He mingled with these people throughout his ministry, as priest and bishop, how can we judge the fatherly concern, the pastoral care shown by the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, towards these truly, really poor - not just temporally, but deeply poor in spirit?

        How do we dare to do so?

        Gossip monger priests online waste their time, their vocations nit-picking what the pope says or does, writing articles defending financial institutes, or pointing out flaws in politicians supposedly on their side, not mention their connections, as one priest does in his latest political writings for the Republican political franchise.  Is that his job?  Recently, another online priest affiliated with the Acton Institute, promoted a new exposé titled, Poverty Inc. - all about exposing the big business that is involved in the ending poverty game.  He calls it an 'action item'.  Is anyone surprised?  Surely inquiring minded, militant Catholics can't be surprised at this news.  I'm talking about those who rail against the USCCB campaigns and fundraisers, and expose Catholic Relief services and tell people not to donate.

        Though there may be a place for the filthy business of exposé, that is not the Church in action.  The mission to the poor is an apostolic, evangelical vocation - not a business.  Neither is it about dollar-barometers on your website, selling tickets to an event, pre-ordering books and films, counting and adding up your contributions on your sacrifice beads or for your tax accountant, nor is it about hawking Bible-banger verses about how expensive it is to receive or show mercy to sinners or those who call you out.

        There's big money to be made in religion as well - obviously.

        Yet as the Holy Father said to the inmates: "No one is beyond the reach of God's mercy."  So there is hope for us too.

        Just friends: When LarryD met Betty Scalia.

        Castro looks like ...

        Padre Pio.

        I think Castro looks like Padre Pio in the photo above.

        Some think Padre Pio is reflected in the photo shown below:


        Tuesday, February 16, 2016

        I. Love. This.

        The Pope and the Indigenous People

        Eight representatives from different Indigenous communities 
        sat down for lunch with the Holy Father. 
        They included an indigenous priest, 
        who was dressed as a normal indigenous man, 
        rather than in any particular clerical dress. - VR

        I love how the Holy Father goes out to those who have been excluded and exploited, praising their culture and heritage, showing them off to the world, as it were - restoring their dignity.

        I'm impressed with this story from Mass with the priests and religious:
        Pope Francis referred to Bishop Vasco de Quiroga (1536) in his homily as ‘the Spaniard who became an Indian’. One who spoke of these indigenous people “as being sold, humiliated and homeless in marketplaces, picking up scraps of bread from the ground“. And one the Pope went on to say who far from being tempted to resignation succeeded in kindling the faith in the midst of so much ‘paralyzing injustice’.
        [Pope Francis on Tuesday celebrated Holy Mass at a stadium in Morelia, capital of Michoacán, urging Mexican priests, religious and seminarians not to be resigned to the paralyzing injustice of violence, corruption and drug trafficking. - VR]

        I hope we all take these things to heart, and strive to avoid complacency and resignation, as well as the 'measuring' out of mercy - or trying to put some sort of 'price' on it.  Those who show mercy, receive mercy - those who analyze it and measure and weigh it receive the measure by which they measure.  We need to open our hearts and not only quit accepting praise from men, but quit being afraid of them.

        Pope John Paul II was no mysogynist.

        "One day Poodle - you will be wearing white just like me."

        Pope John Paul II showed deep friendship with women ...

        NYTimes has an article here.

        LarryD has an excellent post on the subject here. (He knows what he's talking about too.)

        I have to go now because I'm having lunch with all my girlfriends!


        Something to ponder.


        Song for this post here.

        Monday, February 15, 2016

        I like this: “amigo Francisco, Papa de la libertad”!

        The Pope and Our Lady visit Chiapas.

        The mystery of indigenous culture - reflected in the Tilma.  I think of that all of the time.  What a thrilling experience to have the Pope come to you - as he does in every Apostolic pilgrimage, to strengthen the faith of believers - to confirm them in faith.  He goes where Our Lady, as well as his predecessors, went before him.

        The Pope had chosen to be with a people who have long been used and misused by the local ‘ladinos’, those of Spanish origin and the ‘mestizos’, those of mixed race. To put you in the picture not so long ago the indigenous people were only allowed into town for the market but had to return to their homes in the pine forests at night. - VR
        The caste system still exists.  I remember from my youth a Mexican man who was definitely a mix of indigenous and mestizos, yet he insisted he was Puerto Rican instead of Mexican and therefore more Spanish.  I was too young to know the differences at the time, but it awakened in me a deeper interest in Latino culture, caste, and class systems.   I'm so glad the Holy Father goes beyond these divisions.

        Your peoples, as the bishops of Latin America have recognized, know how to interact harmoniously with nature, which they respect as a “source of food, a common home and an altar of human sharing” (Aparecida, 472).
         And yet, on many occasions, in a systematic and organized way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society. Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them. How sad this is! How worthwhile it would be for each of us to examine our conscience and learn to say, “Forgive me!” Today’s world, ravaged as it is by a throwaway culture, needs you! Exposed to a culture that seeks to suppress all cultural heritage and features in pursuit of a homogenized world, the youth of today need to cling to the wisdom of their elders! - Homily

        He embraces  the people as a father, as the Mother of God first did in 1531.

        The Vatican says Pope Francis has presented a decree to Mexican indigenous peoples approving the use of the Aztec language Nahuatl in Mass.
        Francis celebrated a Mass in three other indigenous languages Monday during a visit to the southern state of Chiapas — Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chol. Official approval for those languages is still pending.
        Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, tells reporters that the fact that Francis celebrated a Mass in which readings, prayers and the Gospel were read out in those languages is a sign that they are allowed to be used. - Story


        Niño Dios with basket of flowers, 
        Templo Santo Domingo, San Cristóbal.

        Interesting piece on St. John Paul II

        I saw it on Fr. Martin's Facebook page.

        Fr. Martin introduces the story with the following caveat:

        First, everyone falls in love, including men and women who have made a vow of chastity in a religious order, and priests who have made a promise of celibacy. It's part of the human experience. As my novice director said, "If you don't fall in love, there's probably something wrong with you."

        Second, it doesn't seem that St. John Paul ever broke his promise of celibacy (he was not a member of a religious order, so did not take a vow of chastity) or led her on in any deceitful way. - James Martin S.J.
        Pope John Paul II was definitely a man's man - he was a manly man - and this friendship, as other friendships with women, seem to me to be confirmation of this.  My first thoughts led me to consider the friendships I've known of between some priests and women friends - as well as with men.  Chaste friendships, but close.  This is so natural - although many lay people might consider it inapropriate, I don't at all.

        As Fr. Martin noted; most people don't have a clue about what it means for a person who has promised celibacy or who has vowed chastity to fall in love. For most people, even falling in love in that "state of life" is seen as some sort of hypocrisy.  I agree with Fr. Martin, that these things are very often misunderstood.  The falling in love most likely differs from what is experienced in courtship and more pointedly, falling in lust.  For me, the story reinforces my convictions regarding close chaste friendships.  It can happen.

        At any rate, the article is interesting and gives us a glimpse into the personal life of the saint.

        Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was a great hoarder, and she seems to have kept everything relating to her 32-year friendship with Saint John Paul. After her death, a huge cache of photographs was found among her possessions. We are used to seeing John Paul in formal papal clothing amid the grandeur of the Vatican, and yet here he is on the ski slopes, wearing shorts on a lake-side camping trip, and, in old age, entertaining privately in his rather sparse-looking living quarters.
        When the two met in 1973, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla - as he then was - was the Archbishop of Krakow. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was Polish by birth, and, like him, had endured the searing experience of the Nazi occupation during World War Two. After the war she left to study abroad and eventually pursued an academic career as a philosopher in the United States, where she married and had three children. - Finish reading - Secret Letters, BBC

        Wojtyla was a good looking guy.

        Anyway - the Vatican issued clarifications to the story:
        "John Paul II was surrounded by a circle of friends – including clergymen, nuns and laypeople - with whom he stayed in close contact. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was within this circle of friends – John Paul II’s friendship with her was neither secret nor extraordinary." - Source

        Works for me.

        *I'll post my camping trip photos from the '70's.


        Song for this post here.

        Confidence in God

        Something to think about.

        “Across that threshold I had been afraid to cross, things suddenly seemed so very simple. There was but a single vision, God, who was all in all; there was but one will that directed all things, God's will. I had only to see it, to discern it in every circumstance in which I found myself, and let myself be ruled by it. God is in all things, sustains all things, directs all things. To discern this in every situation and circumstance, to see His will in all things, was to accept each circumstance and situation and let oneself be borne along in perfect confidence and trust. Nothing could separate me from Him, because He was in all things. No danger could threaten me, no fear could shake me, except the fear of losing sight of Him. The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in His will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring. The past, with all its failures, was not forgotten; it remained to remind me of the weakness of human nature and the folly of putting any faith in self. But it no longer depressed me. I looked no longer to self to guide me, relied on it no longer in any way, so it could not again fail me. By renouncing, finally and completely, all control of my life and future destiny, I was relieved as a consequence of all responsibility. I was freed thereby from anxiety and worry, from every tension, and could float serenely upon the tide of God's sustaining providence in perfect peace of soul.” ― Walter J. Ciszek, He Leadeth Me

         I highly recommend reading Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J..  For a long time he thought he was in control and that God would act in such and such a way that he imagined he should or would...

        Sunday, February 14, 2016

        When the Holy Father speaks about the “the mestizo threads of our people”

        Luis de Mena, casta painting, c. 1750. Museo de América, Madrid.
        For more information go here.

        He's speaking - in part - about that which is depicted in the painting shown above.

        The Blessed Virgin appeared as a mestiza to an indigenous man, now venerated as St. Juan Diego.

        For more on casta paintings go here.

        Ed. note: When I was little, my grandmother visited Guadalupe and Mexico quite often.  She lived in San Francisco and often visited the California Missions as well.  She sent books and artifacts and devotional items from each of these places - just for me, which probably accounts for my love of Spanish Colonial and Santero art, including a great love for Latino and indigenous people... and now our beloved Pope.  :)

        Papal Coronation of the Queen, Empress of the Americas

        Look with kindness, O Lord, on these your servants
        who, in placing a royal diadem
        upon the image of the Mother of your Son,
        recognize in your Son the King of the universe,
        and invoke, as Queen, the Virgin. - Pope Francis

        Pope Leo XIII was the first pope to authorize the Coronation of Our Lady of Guadalupe on October 12, 1895.  Pope Francis is the first pope to officiate at the Coronation in person.  Several sacred images of Our Lady throughout the world have been canonically crowned, some have been crowned more than once by succeeding popes.  Significantly, Salus Populi Romano, the icon Pope Francis visit before and after each Apostolic journey, was crowned by Popes Gregory XVI and Pius XII successively.  Since 1987 there are new official rituals for the coronation of the BVM.

        “As the wonderful Guadalupana tradition teaches us, la Morenita gathers together those who contemplate her, and reflects the faces of those who find her.”
        Who is unable to hear within themselves that voice, ‘am I not here, I who am your Mother’?” - Pope Francis

        So far I haven't seen any news footage or reports on television covering the Holy Father's visit.  I haven't been watching - but at news time I scan to see if there is anything and I see nothing.  I feel very united in prayer nonetheless.