Saturday, April 23, 2016

Queen Elizabeth Wears the Purple for Prince ...

But is it enough?

Rumor has it Tony Blair finally talked her into coming to Paisley Park to pay her respects to the fallen musician, explaining to Her Majesty:
"I believe the moment for statements has passed. I would suggest flying the flag at half-mast above Buckingham Palace... and... going to Minneapolis at the earliest opportunity. It would be a great comfort to your people... and would help them with their grief."
If she doesn't show up the people are going to revolt.


First Ave. Downtown Minneapolis.
This is bigger than Diana.

Monos - 'one who dwells alone'

I know this monk.

monk (n.)  Old English munuc "monk" (used also of women), from Proto-Germanic *muniko- (cognates: Old Frisian munek, Middle Dutch monic, Old High Germanmunih, German Mönch), an early borrowing from Vulgar Latin *monicus (source of French moine, Spanish monje, Italian monaco), from Late Latinmonachus "monk," originally "religious hermit," from Ecclesiastical Greek monakhos "monk," noun use of a classical Greek adjective meaning "solitary," from monos "alone" (see mono-).

I switched Mass times ... to be more solitary I guess.

Happy feast day Georg and Jorge!

How Good Catholics Kept Michael Voris' Secret ...

I always think of this scene from "In and Out" when someone is outed.

Will good Catholics continue to accept him?

I won't discuss that here, but I've come across a couple of comments suggesting he may be 'unfit' for his mission.  I won't link to these, but I'm a bit confounded by it, to be honest.  Anyway...

As I worked on a project yesterday, I reflected upon Michael Voris' video 'confession' - I also read several posted comments on his admission of past sins, and I was amazed and edified by the support shown to him.  I think I mentioned that I kind of 'knew' he had some sort of 'experience', but I would never have made any accusation, and would have defended him against such insinuations - unless I was speaking privately to a gay friend, perhaps.  Like I said, I've always liked him, 'accepted' him, and certainly have covered him on this blog - sometimes disagreeing, sometimes agreeing, and so on.  Check it out here.

A couple of my friends were not as sympathetic to Voris' admission, and certainly were wary of accusations leveled against the archdiocese of New York.  I have to wonder if the 'paranoia' that someone is out to get him maybe isn't exacerbated by keeping his past such a well guarded secret.  I've recognized the same fears in myself - which helps explain why I'm so private and do not socialize very much.  I have few close friends and have kept a distance from family, friends, and coworkers.  I've kept to myself - a sort of lone wolf - always have.  So I think I 'get it' with Voris.

What is a bit more difficult to understand is the harsh, vindictive, almost mean-spirited tone he has used against the 'Sodomites'.  I've covered some of his expose videos where he really comes down hard on gay people and so-called 'gay-friendly' clergy and Catholics.  Who knows, maybe he was one of the anonymous commenters I used to get who accused me of being too soft on gays, too gay-friendly, or a closet queen, and/or a homo pretending to be faithful?  I don't seriously think that of course - but I did have people swipe at me like that.

I had one older woman commenter who insisted I admit I was gay because otherwise I'd be deceiving people.  She didn't even know me, we never met - evidently she knew people who knew me - or thought they did.  I've had others tell me I shouldn't - or have no right - to write about this stuff because I live with a guy, or because of my past, and I'm a hypocrite for not going public, etc.  Which is why I often say you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.  But I digress.

This morning I reflected on ex-gays and repentant sinners who condemn and judge others without knowing their interior dispositions, what stage they are at in their conversion, and so on.

It's hyperbole to make the following comparison, and probably a bit extreme, but it kind of worked for me this morning.

Everyone knows the Nazis put homosexuals to death during the Holocaust.  Many also know that there was a homosexual presence in the Nazi party, that was not entirely obliterated after the Night of the Long Knives, when Hitler ordered Lutz, to put an end to "homosexuality, debauchery, drunkenness, and high living" in the SA.  Thus, it seems logical to me that some of those Nazis who sent gay people to the camps and their death could have been recognized by the victims ... I imagined how some Nazis - who maybe had a past like Michael's, joined in the persecution of gays, or just stood by while they were sent to the camps and their deaths. I know it's an exaggeration, but it helped me see just what others have been saying about the vindictiveness involved in calling out others for their 'hidden sins'.

That said - late yesterday I came across a beautiful example of charity and discretion in Melinda Selmys.

In her recent post on the Problem of Detraction, she reveals that when she was engaged in a 'battle' with Voris, 'informants' contacted her about Michael's past:
When I originally published my criticisms of Church Militant back on my old blog, I had a moderated com-box — nothing got posted unless I had approved it first. There were several comments submitted from gay men who were aware of Voris’ past, including one of his former partners. I didn’t publish them in spite of the fact that the commenters themselves were confused as to why they were being censored, why their story could not be told on my platform. - Melinda Selmys
Anyone engaged in such a debate - Selmys needing to defend her fidelity to Catholic teaching and so on - would have yelled "Jackpot!".  She had the goods on Mike!  She admits she wanted to publish the information.  Instead, she sought counsel, and did the right thing - his secret was safe with her.  She avoided the serious sin of detraction.  My respect for that woman soared.  She ends her essay with an authentically Catholic conclusion:

If I had outed Voris all of those years ago, it would not have been good. His supporters would probably have rushed to insist that my sources were lying. There would have been a firefight. Voris himself would have been placed under horrible stress.
It would also have deprived him of the dignity of being able to tell his own story, in his own words, from his own perspective, when he decided that it was time to do so. It might have prevented the outpouring of mercy and support that we’re seeing today from both his fans and his critics. An opportunity for healing and reconciliation would have been lost in order to score a meaningless victory in a meaningless war — a war in which egos are bolstered at the cost of communion in Christ. - Melinda Selmys

We learn so much from one another when we allow ourselves to love and be loved by one another.

Pope Francis talks about this stuff all the time ...

Be merciful to one another.

Love one another.

Do not judge.

Carry one another's burdens ...

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. - Luke 6

Every day I have so much to repent of.  


Friday, April 22, 2016

Michael Voris Outed

It's always something.

I came online and discovered Voris 'outed' himself because as rumor had it:
“We have on very good authority from various sources that the New York archdiocese is collecting and preparing to quietly filter out details of my past life with the aim of publicly discrediting me, this apostolate and the work here.” - Source
I hate it when that happens.  Poor Michael has been accused of being gay ever since speaking against the so-called gay agenda, gay seminarians/priests/bishops and others.  It always happens when you do that: Speaking out about the evils of homosexuality, contesting the Gay-Catholic Movements,  without a proper certificate of heterosexuality and or some sort of academic pedigree ...

Would the NY archdiocese collect and filter out details of Voris' past life?  Not officially, but maybe a well meaning employee might.  It could happen.   There has to be some truth to the story, for Michael to reveal this stuff before it made 'news' online.

I admire Michael for his courage.  I totally understand why he wanted his past to be behind him.  I admire and understand completely his fight against the evils of homosexuality, challenging Catholic officials and institutions for their support of homosexuality, and so on.  It's 'dirty work' exposing others - what goes around, comes around.

I feel bad for Michael.  I've always liked him and often agreed with him - sometimes I've been a bit shocked by his material - but I think I knew he had some experience - I just didn't care to know and I would never say it out loud even if I had.  I hate it that gay people insist people 'come out' or seek to 'out' others.  Now it has become a social obligation more or less - people think you are dishonest unless you come out.
He apologised to those who were hurt by the revelations, saying: “I want to take a moment to apologise to anyone who is wounded in any way by this. I did not intend to deceive. I just didn’t see the need to provide up-close detail of past sins in order to inform people of the Faith.
“I thought it sufficient to simply state the true and overriding fact that I had led a horrible life, and through my mother’s efforts, been given sufficient grace to come home as a prodigal son.” - Source

I recall telling a guy who worked for me, who knew I shared a house with a friend - a man, that I didn't want to talk about my private life because people would think I was gay.  Yet that knowledge pretty much confirmed for my coworker that I was.  It's a no-win situation.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  You almost have to pass a litmus test to prove you are not gay or sexually active, or, if you do not vehemently speak out against the 'gay' you are somehow supporting it or too soft on the 'gays'.  Voris says: "I did not intend to deceive."  I know he didn't.  I never did either.

Voris wrote of his discovery of “God’s saving power”: “I was restored to life. It is real, every last bit of it. And when you know it, you know it – and you want everyone else to know it. And you want to make sure nothing stops them from knowing it like you know it.” - Source

Like I have said, over and over, I've always liked Michael Voris.  He's a good man.  This will help many to understand his sense of urgency and militancy.  This will help him grow in humility and love and deeper devotion to Christ who 'raised him up'.  I think he may even be more effective now - since it will be difficult for his foes to suggest he doesn't know what he's talking about.  It's clear he does.

My prayers and best wishes to him, and empathy with this unfortunate experience.  Be not afraid, my friend.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Good night, sweet Prince. May hosts of angels sing you to sleep ...

1958 - 2016

“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems... But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them... In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me... You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Song - again - for this post.

Prayers.  So many prayers.

Prince is dead...

+Prince Rogers Nelson+

Prayers for the repose of his soul...

Song for this post here.

Secular clergy are unattractive to the young? Really?

Duluth Diocese

I love Fr. Blake , and I may have misread his post, but I wonder if he might be mistaken?

We just don't seem to have that problem in Minnesota...

The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis is blessed with many good candidates for the priesthood as well as many good priests - younger guys and the young at heart.

We also have St. John Vianney College Seminary and St. Paul School of Divinity - filled with young men attracted to Diocesan priesthood.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If this was my cat ...

I would name him Monsieur Jourdain.

Disinterested Friendship

Who are you?

Happy Birthday Luther ...

+April 20, 1951 - July 1, 2005+

When people like this die, you realize how irreplaceable they are.  And this remembrance serves to remind us - each of us are likewise irreplaceable, each life is unique, each soul individually called, created and loved into existence by God ...

Missing you Mr. Vandross.  Prayers forever.  Oh please be there ... Are you gonna be? Say you're gonna be ...  Say you're gonna be ...

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

There but for the grace of God.

But for the grace of God ...

I never got 'into' porn.  Not sure why.  Perhaps I learned about custody of the eyes at a young age?  I recall confessions when young how priests always said, never look at porn, later, never have it in the house.  I'd reply, "I don't."

I suppose the closest I got to it would be books on anatomy or select photo collections by photographers such as Bruce Weber - the man famous for Abercrombie and Fitch fashion images.  To be sure much of his work is homo-erotic/soft porn - but I avoided that and used his milder commercial work.  (Later I determined it would be more prudent to dispose of Weber's stuff.)

I resorted to some of these sources in the early '90's to teach myself how to paint the human figure, specifically for compositions I was working on at the time.  For years I avoided life drawing classes fearing temptations against chastity.  The photography books helped me work through that.  Whenever I noted any sense of arousal, I resorted to prayer while working.  In fact, that is where the rosary came in.  I used a tape of the rosary to pray along with as I worked - it became a habit, and I still do it no matter what I'm painting.  I pray along as I drive as well.  I never listen to the radio or music or have television on, I just pray the rosary - over and over.  I learned not to objectify.  Porn was always unreal to me anyway - but I knew its attraction, and so looked away immediately whenever I came across it.

I'm not trying to sound holier than thou with this, as I always say, there but for the grace of God.  I suspect some might claim life study and nude photography is not the same and was an occasion of sin.  That wasn't my experience.  I do know many people are really into porn however - and when trying to avoid it, a man in a swim suit, or a Victoria's Secret ad could be a turn on.  I never knew how deeply into porn people have become until recently.  Joe Sciambra, a former porn actor writes about it all of the time.

Today I came across an article at CNA regarding the problem, which I think people should read.  I simply was not aware of how pervasive porn use has become, especially online and with new technology.  It must be a terrible addiction.

An evolving problem.

In the earlier days of the Internet, before the boom of smartphones, a 2004 study from an internet traffic management company saw porn sites grow by 1,800% between 1998 and 2004. At the time, Nielsen/Net ratings estimated that about 34 million people visited adult websites every month.
Today, those numbers seem almost laughable. PornHub, one of the world’s largest adult sites with explicit video streaming, reports that it averages 2.4 million visitors per hour. In 2015 alone, the number of hours streamed from the site was double the amount of time human beings have populated the Earth, according to TIME Magazine.
The amount of content is not the only thing that has changed either. Because of the constant availability of pornography, many users find themselves seeking more and more extreme forms of content, and the Internet has kept up with the demand. - CNA

Fr. Sean Kilcawley

I'm not familiar with this priest, but I like his approach to pastoral care, and he praises Pope Francis for his teaching as well.

“Pope Francis has talked about pornography more than any other pope in history, I guarantee it,” Fr. Kilcawley told CNA.
Pornography is also important for priests to address with their parishioners in order for them to feel comfortable enough to seek healing, Fr. Kilcawley said.
“It’s just giving people permission to be wounded, which I think is what Pope Francis has been trying to do,” Fr. Kilcawley said. “You have permission to be wounded, and so it’s ok to come and tell your priest that you have this problem in your life. He’s not going to run away from you, he’s not going to scold you, he’s not going to condemn you, he just wants to help you heal.”
“The most shameful sins in our life, we need permission to talk about them,” he said. - CNA
One of Fr. Kilcawley's best pieces of advice is this:
Fr. Kilcawley said he also encourages people who are addicted to abstain from receiving the Eucharist unless they have gone to confession. Even though they may not be in a state of mortal sin due to the compulsive nature of the behavior, not being able to receive the Eucharist unless having gone to confession is an added incentive in the recovery process. - CNA

I believe that is great advice, and true for any habit of sin - especially compulsive, habitual or addictive sin.  I think this attitude is correct and in line with what Cardinal Schönborn has said regarding Amoris Laetitia as well - stressing access to the sacrament of penance before the Eucharist.

"The most shameful sins in our life, we need permission to talk about them."

Recently some bloggers have created a controversy over a video of Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez presiding over a Mass wherein a gay couple - two dads and their child were part of the group who brought forward the gifts at the Offertory.  The critics provided the commentary, claiming the Archbishop gave approval to same sex marriage  in the process.  I didn't quite see it that way.

I don't know the story of course, nor the situation of the two men.  It appears they have a child.  I don't know anything else.  It seems to me a great leap to assume that the Archbishop was condoning gay marriage at that Mass.

What if the men were living chastely, as brothers, and they had a son, for whom they are responsible for?  What if they are fulfilling an obligation to raise that son a Catholic?  What if these guys are chaste and celibate, disinterested friends, going to confession, receiving spiritual direction?

I do not hear Archbishop Gomez promoting gay marriage.  I do not hear Pope Francis or Cardinal Schönborn doing so.  Each has affirmed gay marriage is not possible and cannot be considered analogous with traditional marriage and family.  Nevertheless, inviting people to reconciliation, to prayer and worship together as Catholics is not condoning a sinful situation or lifestyle.

As Kilcawley said:
“You have permission to be wounded, and so it’s ok to come and tell your priest that you have this problem in your life. He’s not going to run away from you, he’s not going to scold you, he’s not going to condemn you, he just wants to help you heal.”

That's what it's all about. 

If this was my cat ...

If this were my cat his name would be

Disinterested friendship ...

Song for this post here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, Barbe Acarie

She was instrumental in introducing the Discalced Reform to France, 
and later entered as a sister of the white veil after the death of her husband.

Wisdom is vindicated by her works...

I recall this feast day every year since it is on this day I 'fled' the Discalced Fathers novitiate.  In my great fervor and ascetical judgment, I was scandalized by their laxity.  Interestingly enough, all the friars that were there persevered in their monasteries - some have gone to their reward, others are still alive, serving God.

And here I am, my life a pattern of inconstancy, instability and infidelity.  It's just so damn ironic.

I'm thinking of these things - especially when I read Catholics online today, vehemently condemning others for not being as Catholic as they themselves are.  They condemn those who are too lax, too liberal, too whatever.  Yet the 'condemned' follow Christ, they have a real vocation to do so and they remain faithful to it.   They bring the sacraments to those who would otherwise not have them ...

Yesterday at Mass a friar from Holy Hill celebrated Mass - his visit was a mission appeal.  Their seminary in Kenya is booming and they need adequate housing.  The priest was around my age, wearing his habit.  He may have entered seminary around the time I left the novitiate in another province.  He's a good priest.  He persevered.  I avoided trying my vocation in his province because they were considered too liberal, too lax - their observance so unlike the friars of yore.  They weren't like the nuns ...

“To what shall I compare this generation?  It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” - Matthew 11

Just saying.

"It's constancy God wants." - Matt Talbot

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Disinterested friendship

Song for this post here.

Hope of the hopeless ...

This photo looks better on Tumblr.

When all is lost, you still have Our Lady.  She's refuge of sinners.  I think she must have a company of sinners with her - a huge company in this vale of tears.  People not completely cleansed - some who keep falling into sin, but also keep praying to her, maybe just lighting a candle.  I think it was Anthony Bloom who wrote about the prostitute who kept a candle burning before the icon of Our Lady in her apartment - a sign of prayer which eventually saved her.  I also seem to recall a myth about Our Lady going to hell to save sinners - or even setting hell free at the end of the world.  I'm told some Orthodox subscribe to that notion.  I don't know anything about that, although I believe what the Catholic Church teaches on hell - so I don't think too much about the myths.

Although, in a metaphorical sense, I can imagine something closer to reality - Our Lady descending into our misery - freeing sinners from their suffering.  Years ago, before my return to the sacraments, I used to dream - daydream or hallucinate perhaps - that I saw Our Lady, always dressed as she was at Fatima, but I could never see her face.  Her back was always to me.  Sometimes she seemed to be a statue, appearing to turn towards me, as if someone was turning the base of the statue towards me, but she never turned enough for me to even see her face - perhaps just her hands folded in prayer.  (I use that image frequently in my art.)

Anyway, I look back on that experience as a sign and a call.  A sign that Our Lady was with me even when I was far away.  I see it as an invitation to follow her, to strive to see her, and the only way was prayer - as she showed me by only revealing a glimpse of her hands folded in prayer.

Later, after I returned to the sacraments - I no longer tried to see her face - it wasn't necessary.

So anyway - never give up hope.

Now I'm old and I still have nothing except my confidence, my hope, in Our Lady of Mercy, Hope of the hopeless, who welcomes sinners and gives them refuge.

Disinterested friendship ...