Saturday, February 27, 2016

Where charity and love abound ...

Things people claim pope's have said...

"Pope John the XXIII opened the Secret of Fatima in 1960 and cried all day."

I've heard that one since at least the very early 1970's.  Mrs. Duffner maybe?

The other one, Pope Paul VI wept on Pentecost Monday, when he realized there was not going to be an Octave of Pentecost any more. A bishop stated it as fact in his memoirs.

Then there is the report of what JPII supposedly said in 1980 at Fulda about the Third Secret of Fatima. It was roundly disputed at the time that he even said it - now it is claimed to be historically accurate. Oddly enough, Bl. John Paul never read the contents of the secret until after the 1981 assassination attempt. Yet the Fulda statement continues to be circulated as true.

More recently there is the 'approval of the Apparitions at Akita'.  The local bishop approved them as worthy of belief, yet there is no evidence Pope Benedict affirmed the veracity of the messages as Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the CDF.

Despite claims that Cardinal Ratzinger gave definitive approval to Akita in 1988, no ecclesiastical decree appears to exist, as certainly would in such a case. However, some individuals, such as former Ambassador of the Phillipines to the Holy See, Mr. Howard Dee, have stated that they were given private assurances by Cardinal Ratzinger of the authenticity of Akita. In any case, in keeping with the current norms, given the absence of a repudiation of Bp. Ito's decision by his successors, or by higher authority, the events of Akita continue to have ecclesiastical approval. - EWTN

No doubt the local bishop approved the apparition, writing:
"I authorize, throughout the entire diocese, the veneration of the Holy Mother of Akita, while awaiting that the Holy See publishes definitive judgment on this matter." - Akita
. . .

The Paul VI approval of contraception for African nuns... another rumor?

No documentary eveidence has ever been found - so far.  Yet the story had legs.  After Pope Francis repeated it, I decided to contact one Congregation of Belgian nuns who worked in Congo.  (The Nun's Story nuns.)  So far they have not replied, and I doubt they will.  My thought in contacting them was founded on the persistent rumor/story that some provision had been made.  Perhaps it was an inner-congregation agreement, a diocesan proposal?  Something presented to the Congregation for Religious which may have been seen  by the Holy Father?  We may never know.

Phyllis Zagano  has done some research on the veracity of the statement, but it appears she has only been able to confirm the threat not only existed, but nuns really had been sexually assaulted:

The pope's comment about those missionary women religious in the former Belgian Congo was real. Within of week of Congo's June 30, 1960, declaration of independence, the army threatened mutiny. Its officers were white Belgians; its enlisted men were black Congolese. Removing the white officers only made matters worse, and within weeks 25,000 Belgians fled the country.
The missionaries -- men and women -- stayed. They were in grave danger, but they stayed to serve the poor.
Here is what the Belgian Government Information Center wrote about some mid-July 1960 attacks: " ... the nuns ... were put in jail ... Negro soldiers attacked one nun and after a fierce struggle, raped her. Later, they attacked the second nun. Two men trampled her under foot." - NCR

 What about what Pope Francis and Fr. Lombardi said?

That is documented.  It's an 'off-the-cathedra' response to journalists.  Though it may be troubling, even confusing, perhaps the Holy See will make a doctrinal clarification, or a retraction. (Remember when JPII was elected?  He told the crowds in the square, "If I make a mistake - you will correct me.")  I'm sure Pope Francis has been informed that people are confused.   The incident may also end up being just one of those things I don't understand?

Again, recalling John Paul II, remember when he kissed the Koran?

I know!  What was that all about?

Thoughts to take away here ...

You will find all that in a manner lost, which you have  placed in men apart from Jesus. - Imitation, Bk. II, Chp. 7:2.You will soon be deceived if you only regard the outward show of men. - Imitation, Bk. II, Chp. 7:3
Never take a man for your example - however holy he may be - for the devil will show you his faults. - John of the Cross 

It is a great wisdom  to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, the deeds, nor the lives of others... -
John of the Cross

Pray for the Holy Father.  Some saints used to offer themselves as victim souls for the Holy Father, offering all their prayers and sufferings for his intentions.

Friday, February 26, 2016

This is unbelievably cool ...

I'm driving through the neighborhood on my way to the store and see this young guy walking along with a rosary hanging from his hand.  He looked like a football player - a big guy - dressed in black. I took a closer look, and it was our new pastor, out for a stroll on a warm, sunny, 40 degree day.  Praying his rosary - walking alone through the neighborhood, at least a couple of blocks from the church.

Walking the neighborhood, praying the rosary, all by himself.  Smelling like his sheep.

Just like Ganswein and Pope Benedict.

What a guy!

What a priest!

Thank you God!

This may be the one and only good reason to vote for Trump ...

Rev. Al Sharpton told attendees at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event Thursday he would flee the country if Donald Trump won the election ... - Source

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Holy Father is ill, they say.

"It was the Lord Himself who was knocking at the door, 
so that this man would open his heart and mercy would be able to enter. 
But no, he did not see, he was simply closed:
for him, outside the door there was nothing.” - Today's homily.

He cancelled appointments for the day because he has a fever.  

I wonder at his stamina - how he never stops, never takes a vacation - at his age!  I wondered how he avoids getting sick, being in daily contact with so many?  Today he has a fever and must rest - I pray he recovers quickly.

He still gave his homily this morning at S. Marta.  He was very much in my thoughts as I prayed this morning, reflecting on the readings at Mass.  I had hoped he would have had something to say on them, and I wasn't disappointed when I finally came online to check.

The beggar Lazarus, personifies for me the verse from Psalm 84, "I would rather lie abject on the threshold of the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."

Pope Francis sees him as one on the peripheries ... Perhaps Lazarus represents those outside the wall the rich man builds to enclose or protect himself within, to pile up the riches and hoard the possessions he needs to make him feel 'great again'?  Those are my thoughts, not the Pope's.

I think the Pope sees or speaks of the Rich Man from an ecclesial point of view, from within the context of the Church:

“But he was a closed man, closed in his own little world – the world of banquets, of clothes, of vanity, of friends – a closed man, truly in a bubble of vanity. He didn’t have the ability to see others, only his own world. And this man did not recognize the things that happened beyond his closed world. For example, he didn’t think of the needs of so many people, or of the necessity of accompanying of the sick; he though only of himself, of his wealth, of his good life: he was given to the good life.” - Pope Francis

The Rich Man had the appearance of being religious - I consider that in the context of the Law.  Rituals of washing and cleansing, keeping away from the unclean - all the laws. The Pope says the Rich Man couldn't see a way to help the poor man, or those on the peripheries because of his being closed in on himself.

Carl Dobsky,The Lotus Eater

It makes me wonder.

The Pope often speaks about the exclusion of those on the peripheries by clergy, bishops and priests ... 'the teachers of the Law' - very much interested in advancing their careers.  This consideration reminds me of Luke 11:46 - “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."  This is why I love the Holy Father so much, because he consistently goes out to lift those heavy burdens from those most in need, and he encourages us to do the same.

We are in Lent, the Pope noted, and it would do us good to ask ourselves what path we are travelling on:
“‘Am I on the road of life, or on the road of lies? How many ways is my heart still closed? Where is my joy: in doing, or in speaking? In going out of myself to meet others, to help them? The works of mercy, eh? Or is my joy in having everything organized, closed in on myself?’ Let us ask the Lord, while we’re thinking about it – no, throughout our life – for the grace of always seeing the Lazarus at our door, the Lazarus who knocks at our heart, and [the grace] to go out of ourselves with generosity, with the attitude of mercy, so that the mercy of God can enter into our hearts. - Pope Francis

The Holy Father always makes me want to be a better man.

How tortuous the human heart?

He has made me eat gravel ...

trampled me into the dust ...

I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie abject at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. - Ps. 84

To put one’s mouth in the dust
there may yet be hope ...
To offer one’s cheek to be struck,
to be filled with disgrace. - Lamentation 3

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This is cool...

Try this:

Rub your 'f-u' finger against your top front teeth until it makes a sound.  Then rub it against these two teeth back and forth in random starts and stops really fast, alternating with slower jerky movements - the room must be very quiet - soon you will discover it sounds a lot like people talking - perhaps in the another room, slightly muffled, but the pitch raises and lowers, and you can manipulate the effect, causing it to sound like women in the next room arguing or speaking excitedly.  You hear the chatter, sense the emotion, but can't figure out what the hell they are talking about.

It even woke the cat up.

NB:  Tomorrow's home-school project will involve rubbing the rim of your stemmed crystal wine glass to make it 'sing'.  It is also 'wear-periwinkle-blue day' - so dress accordingly!  We will also be reviving our fairy-tale-high stories for pre-school children.

I will never understand the herd...

I. Can't. Believe. It.

Go Trump go!


And the Pope is a heretic?


More 'Things I Don't Get"

Look at their faces! 

As Basil Fawlty said:

"This is exactly how Nazi Germany started. A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than  ..."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Interesting factoid concerning Adolf Hitler and why, when the couple got into arguments, Eva Braun would call him "little-man" *


I'm glad you asked.

Hitler 'had tiny deformed penis' as well as just one testicle, historians claim ...
Hitler suffered from a condition called hypospadias which left him with an abnormally small manhood, according to historians Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie - Read more here.
This brings to mind a couple of related stories.

In high school I had a friend whose brother only had one, we called him 'one-ball-Paul'.

These things are very important to men, gay or straight.  In the monastery my novice master wanted to know why I dressed and undressed for work and showers, while keeping my tunic on.  He wondered if I may have had issues with my manhood.  Now I realize it may not have been such an indiscreet question, since the article cited above mentions that Hitler would never let people see him naked.  Now I'm mortified and wish I had exposed myself to my father master and fellow novices so they would know I had no problems that way.  I thought I was simply being modest - I was also anorexic.


*Sorry, sorry, I may have that wrong.  My mother used to do that to my dad when he was about to strike her or pop her lenses out of her glasses, she would say in her most dignified voice: "Unhand me, little man!"  It never turned out well.

Got a match?

Song for this post here.

I also read somewhere that Hitler may
have been a gay prostitute when he was younger.
Could simply be a rumor - unless he was a drag?

The Peace of Christ

Troubling and confusing condemnations of Pope Francis

The Chair of Peter
The gift of the Papacy.

Online pundits react.

I find it very troubling that people online who insist they are devout Catholics and defenders of orthodoxy call the pope an imbecile, a malignant thug idiot, an addle-headed Argentine, not to mention that in their humble opinion he is a heretic, anti-pope and so on.

I'm not trying to defend the pope and his personal comments responding to journalists - he has made statements I don't always understand from the get go, but I don't hang onto every word he says either.  I like him and his style because he is down to earth and understands ordinary men and women - he understands ordinary life.  To be sure, I certainly do not support those who publicly and scornfully attack him.  Neither can I be supportive of those who say The Holy Father and Fr. Lombardi. are telling lies, spreading false information, or are duped into accepting lies as truth.

I tried to see something humorous in some of the many over the top responses online, until I realized something is very wrong with these people.  They are seriously disturbed by this pope and what he says to journalists - many of whom seem to be asking practical questions about serious threats to the well being of ordinary people.  Some of their responses, albeit, verging on hysteria, indicate a serious crisis in faith.  That can't be mocked or made fun of, much less dismissed.

Catholics and non-Catholics alike can reasonably disagree with off-the-cathedra statements made by a pope or a bishop, but to launch into a smear campaign and going far beyond ad hominem remarks is completely off the rails - as John of the Cross said about those who grumble and complainer - they're not even good Christians. (Minor Works, Other Counsels, #4).  I can't judge their souls.  They certainly appear to be good Christians.

That said, there may be disagreements on what the pope said, what he meant, and so on - especially when he goes off-cathedra.  Inappropriate reactionary responses are as bad as my inappropriate humor lampooning the less stable online.  I apologize for that.  It seems to me, a more tempered objection can be expressed by those confused by what the pope says in interviews, conversations and personal letters.  Humility and patience seems to be what is needed - and giving others the benefit of the doubt would help maintain their peace as well.

This may help.

Amy Welborn has an elegant, well written essay on these issues, aptly titled, "Against Popesplaining" - she begins:

Guess what.
You don’t have to defend every word the Pope says.
Even if you consider yourself an enthusiastic and faithful Catholic of any stripe you are not obligated to defend every utterance in every papal interview or even every papal homily or declaration.
Popes – all popes – can say things that are wrong, incorrect, ill-informed, narrow, short-sighted and more reflective of their personal biases, interests and limitations than the broader, deeper tradition of Catholicism.
Which is why, traditionally, popes didn’t do a lot of public talking. - Welborn

I'm not sure that's why 'popes didn't do a lot of public talking', they, like the royals were simply removed from casual contact and/or interviews - and they didn't have social media.  The papacy was very much held to protocols associated with monarchy, which prevented them from personally entering into discussion on popular culture or trending social issues.  Likewise, audiences were always formal, allocutions prepared and checked by attendants, and so on.  Francis has changed all of that - which is why he lives in a hotel - fewer handlers to keep people away.

That said, Amy never impressed me as being a huge fan of this pope, and that is just fine, no one has to like a pope, you don't even have to pay him any attention - unless you want to gain a plenary indulgence.  Amy definitely has her head on straight and makes a fine presentation in her current essay.  I highly recommend it.

As for me, I have yet to find anything Pope Francis has said to be disturbing - if I don't understand it immediately, I ponder it and reflect upon it, and sooner or later, I understand.  But I love the Jesuits and I think this helps me to get it whenever he says something uber-Catholics get upset about.  The Holy Father's example - his devotion and charity - is evidence for me of his fidelity as a Son of the Church, the successor of Peter.   Of course, I'm just an ordinary Novus Ordo, Vatican II loving, Catholic old man who will soon be dead - so I know my opinions don't count.  Besides, as my confessor told me a few weeks ago, the pope doesn't need me to defend him.

So true.

Happy feast of the Chair of Peter.

NB: I want to call your attention to this post from Monday Vatican - I especially like the following observation:

Pope Francis’ press conferences on the plane are becoming a good occasion to understand his thought more deeply. Some things are clear, others must be read between the lines. However, there is a whole world behind Pope Francis that must be understood, and there are at least four issues that must be highlighted. - Source

Works for me.

h/t Ray for Amy's link