Saturday, July 02, 2016

Crackpots Online: Here's something ...

What's in a logo?

You know the saying, "You can't make this stuff up." But people do - they really do make this stuff up, or at least they believe the crap other people make up.

Chris Moore sees something synergistically sinister in the Jubilee logo ...

The work explicitly takes the Good Shepherd iconography and perverts it into this merging of man and God. Second, the logo displays several uses of an almond shape, also known as the mandorla, or vesica piscis. We know this not only because our eyes tell us so, but because the Pontifical Council does as well. In their words, “[t]he scene is captured within the so called mandorla (the shape of an almond), a figure quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human.”
Without a doubt, orthodox Christian iconography is replete with this shape. The Virgin of Guadalupe stands in the midst of a mandorla, and many depictions of Christ throughout the millennia do as well. In this way, the logo does make use of Christian tradition, but it has clearly done so in an odd way. The fact that the image is surrounded by a mandorla is not, to my eye at least, especially noteworthy in any negative way, but coupled with the merging bodies and with the third eye, which is also almond-shaped, the entire piece takes on an occult feeling. - Read more at 1P5
Reading too much into things.

Obviously, the readers of 1P5 agree with the author and go so far as to expand the conspiracy, claiming it is also homoerotic ...
The image's Freemason teasing is so tickling obvious it acts as a distraction. With that, the image - regardless of the artist's intent - is no stealth surfacing signaling Illuminati plans and conspiracies. The Illuminati wickedly attained power shortly before the French Revolution, ran its course, and is now historical debris. Something other (other wicked things have taken its place. I do not give Satan honors of successfully running an "apostolic succession". With the Devil it's hit and miss: of course, hitting and missing with horrific destruction or great sizzle. Let's face it for him; the guy has been defeated, if not yet chained, tossed, and dungeon door slammed. 
The point being, evil's (and the Evil One's) present presence and current ways and means is what matters, which should arrest our own eyeballing the world about us.
Which brings me to this - and I'll say it, since few are - the image is homoerotic.

I'm not a big fan of logos myself - but these people are reading far too much into the design/composition of Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik.*  His work is outstanding and 'orthodox' and it should stand in testimony and proof of his 'Catholicity'.  A logo is a graphic design-symbol to encapsulate the essence of what it is supposed to represent - in this case the Jubilee or Holy Year of Mercy.  Logos are used to brand a product or in this case identify and summarize the meaning of mercy - to be merciful like the Father.

 Christ goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; 
he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. 
He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains,
 he who is God, and Adam's son.

Aside from the Pontifical Council's official description, it seems obvious to me at least, that the image is Christocentric - the so-called X cross the Christ figure stands upon is taken from the Resurrection icons of the Descent Into Hell, Christ tramples the gate of hell and redeems Adam - as Son of Man, Son of Adam - the Son of God is united with the fallen Adam - and he lifts him like the Good Shepherd upon his shoulders.  The symbolism is profound and steeped in Christian tradition - the Good Shepherd, the Descent into Hell, freeing the souls detained, rescuing the sinner like the Good Shepherd or the Good Samaritan: Christ the God-man - Son of God-Son of Man, the Divine Mercy, exhibiting the stigmata of the Holy Wounds, Christ the Image of the Father reconciling man to Himself.

A Freemason around every crackpot.

It is so simple and straight forward, yet crackpots with filthy minds and homoerotic memories are reading filth into an otherwise simple graphic depiction for a logo to be used on pamphlets, letterheads and cards in commemoration as well as to identify events and information connected to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

This conspiracy theory is nearly as crazy as the one promoted by Michael Calace in his documentary titled, Rape of the Soul. Calace billed himself as one of the world's few experts on embedded imagery in art - specifically Roman Catholic religious art.  I wrote about his stuff here.

Some people see the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, others see demons and Freemasons around every corner and in graphic designs which are often not even presented as objects of devotion or veneration - although Calace obviously sees penises in venerable iconography such as the San Damiano Crucifix of Assisi.

Filth may be in the eye of the beholder ... and that log may not be what you think it is.

Song for this post here.

+ + +

*NB: Fr. Rupnik's work can be seen in the Vatican Redemptoris Mater Chapel, and other major churches in the world, including Fatima.  The article from 1P5 is absurd.

The Redemptoris Mater Chapel
It is a masterpiece.

Luther Vandross

A day late...

Luther died July 1, 2005.

Missing you.

He was a special man.  I pray for him.

First Saturday

"I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge 
and the way that will lead you to God."

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ


From the very outset of our pontificate, in speaking of daily devotions we have repeatedly urged the faithful (often in eager tones that frankly hinted our future design) to cherish warmly that marvellous manifestation of divine mercy toward individuals and Holy Church and the whole world redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ: we mean devotion to his Most Precious Blood.

From infancy this devotion was instilled in us within our own household. Fondly we still recall how our parents used to recite the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during July.

The Apostle's wholesome advice comes to mind: "Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God's Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which he won for himself at the price of his own blood." Now among the cares of our pastoral office, venerable brethren, we are convinced that, second only to vigilance over sound doctrine, preference belongs to the proper surveillance and development of piety, in both its liturgical and private expressions. With that in mind, we judge it most timely to call our beloved children's attention to the unbreakable bond which must exist between the devotions to the Most Holy Name and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus -- already so widespread among Christians -- and devotion to the incarnate Word's Most Precious Blood, "shed for many, to the remission of sins."


Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man's Blood -- just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden,[12] in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church's sacraments. Such surpassing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.

The Blood of the new and eternal covenant especially deserves this worship of latria when it is elevated during the sacrifice of the Mass. But such worship achieves its normal fulfillment in sacramental communion with the same Blood, indissolubly united with Christ's Eucharistic Body. In intimate association with the celebrant the faithful can then truly make his sentiments at communion their own: "I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. . . The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul for everlasting life. Amen." Thus as often as they come worthily to this holy table they will receive more abundant fruits of the redemption and resurrection and eternal life won for all men by the Blood Christ shed "through the Holy Spirit."

Nourished by his Body and Blood, sharing the divine strength that has sustained count less martyrs, they will stand up to the slings and arrows of each day's fortunes -- even if need be to martyrdom itself for the sake of Christian virtue and the kingdom of God. Theirs will be the experience of that burning love which made St. John Chrysostom cry out:
Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church... This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works.

If only Christians would reflect more frequently on the fatherly warning of the first pope: "Look anxiously, then, to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts.

You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the precious blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim." If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: "A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence." Their upright lives would then be the shining ex ample they ought to be; Christ's Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved, for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ. If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened. Life in society would be so much more peaceable, so much worthier of God and the human nature created in his image and likeness. - St.John XXIII

The Blood of Jesus makes fallen souls virginal.

July 1 is the feast day of the most Precious Blood of Jesus, while the entire month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. I can tell you from experience that devotion to the Precious Blood is especially efficacious for obtaining the grace of contrition after falling into sin. Likewise it is a powerful remedy against sins of the flesh. I highly recommend recitation of the Litany of the Precious Blood, especially if you feel bound by a particular sin.

Feast of St. Junipero Serra

St. Junipero, pray for us.

 God, who by your ineffable mercy have been pleased through the labors of your priest Saint Junipero Serra to count many American peoples within your Church, grant by his intercession that we may so join our hearts to you in love, as to carry always and everywhere before all people the image of your Only Begotten Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

La Lobby Tuttzi-Fruttzi Vaticano

Tourist: "Oh Swiss Guard, is this the Gay Lobby?"

Pope Benedict finally speaks.

To Peter Seewald in his new book, an interview with Pope Benedict titled, "The Last Conversations" - and it promises to be a best seller, as well as putting an end to various conspiracy theories concerning his resignation, his emeritus status, as well as the presence of a gay lobby.  Although I think it's safe to say not a few Von Conspirabrandts will still remain unconvinced, but I digress.

Maître d': "Monsignore, a lobby of 4 or 5 is now available."

Pope Benedict admitted that he broke up a small lobby or 'power group' in the Vatican, which sought to influence Vatican decisions.
Italy's Corriere della Sera daily, which has acquired the Italian newspaper rights for excerpts and has access to the book, ran a long article on Friday summarizing its key points. 
In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a "gay lobby" made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to "break up this power group". - Source

Works for me.

I've always contended it is not exactly an organized underground pulling strings, but a loose affiliation not unlike what some might call a good ol' boys club. It seems reasonable to me a small group as Benedict describes, would try to influence views they held in common with other gay people - including gay priests and bishops. But not all of them, to be sure. Many accept Catholic teaching exactly as it is and would never try to change it. In other words, not all gay or ssa clergy can be lumped in there with those who dissent and want to develop doctrine into meaninglessness.

"Oh Butler ..."

A comment I posted at Aleteia

The discussion actually turned about to be about apologizing to gays...

And I chimed in:

No offense but this is kind of nuts.  Asking for forgiveness and making apologies can't be a knee jerk reaction to something the pope said in an interview on the plane.  It seems to me if someone feels the need to apologize it would happen in some sort of context - you just can't go up to gay people and say 'please forgive me for how other homophobic Catholics have treated you - or I beg your forgiveness because I thought you were a pervert but now I realize just the way you have sex is perverted.'  I'm exaggerating, but if you do that you are still placing yourself on some sort of higher plane - it strikes me as condescending on some level.

I'm convinced the Pope is talking about a change of heart, I don't know why that's so confusing to people.  He's not at all saying homosexual acts are now okay - but that the person is just like the rest of us - all of us are sinners.  For instance, if I offend you, I can come back and apologize and ask your forgiveness - for a specific offense - and hopefully show you more respect in the future.  If you don't accept it and won't forgive and counter with insults - then and there I can turn the other cheek.  As the Gospel suggests, and the examples of the saints have shown us.  If he asks me to give him my shirt, I can then give him my coat as well - that sort of thing demonstrates one's sincerity.  

But don't stand on the street corner with a sign saying I apologize to my gay brothers and sisters and ask their forgiveness for the way religious people have treated them.  If some stranger came up to me in church and said something like that I'd be so embarrassed - for him and for myself.  You also can't ask forgiveness for stuff other people have said and done.  Likewise, some gay people may not want an apology.  

This whole matter has been exaggerated to the point of silliness.  People are getting upset and going online and upsetting others.  They are misrepresenting what the pope said.  First of all, the pope said some of the things gay people do are not easy to accept - and he reaffirmed Catholic teaching by citing the catechism, directing his listeners to the entire passage on homosexuality in the catechism.  The asking forgiveness part was included within context of a short litany of things Christians/Catholics - not the Church - need to apologize for.  His words always echo what Christ teaches in the Gospel: 'Quit judging, quit condemning, love one another, associate with the lowly, let no one think they are better than another', and so on.

The pope isn't asking us to compromise teaching - but I think he's suggesting we quit banging people over the head with it or using it to put people down.  

Treat people with respect.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Rome burning.

Emperor Nero was suspected of starting the fires which set Rome ablaze, yet the Christians were blamed and targeted for persecution as the criminals who started the fires.  The first mass arrests and executions took place in the year 64.

After the Orlando shootings, not a few people attempted to place blame upon Christians for the homophobia that supposedly motivated the shooter terrorist who committed the massacre.  I was immediately reminded of the First Martyrs and Nero's Romans who scapegoated the Christians.

"We are placed in the same arena, and the same contest lies before us. Hence we ought to put aside vain and useless concerns." - Clement I

Don't you know that?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How cool is this: Evidence of Rave Culture in Medieval Europe

Pick up a textbook on abnormal psychology and in the first chapter you are likely to find a discussion of the dance manias. 
Also known as St. Vitus’s dance, between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries, manias swept across Europe 
as tens of thousands of people participated in frenzied public orgies and wild dances lasting for days and sometimes weeks. 
It is little wonder why psychiatrists and medical historians classify such episodes as group mental disorder 
affecting those overwhelmed by the stresses of the period. 
During outbreaks many immodestly tore off their clothing and pranced naked through the streets. - Source

Sounds like a rave to me.

Dancing Mania

Six-hundred and forty two years ago today, citizens in the German city of Aachen started to pour out of their houses and into the streets where they began to writhe and whirl uncontrollably. This was the first major outbreak of dancing plague or choreomania and it would spread across Europe in the next several years.
The "disease" spread to Liege, Utrecht, Tongres and other towns in the Netherlands and Belgium, up and down the Rhine river. In other times and other forms the mania started to be called St. Vitus' dance. During the Middle Ages, the church held that the dancers had been possessed by the devil or perhaps cursed by a saint. Called Tarantism in Italy, it was believed the dancing was either brought on by the bite of a spider or a way to work out the poisons the arachnid had injected.
More modern interpretations have blamed a toxin produced by fungus that grew on rye. Ergot poisoning, or ergotism, could bring on hallucinations, spasms and delusions thanks to the psychoactive chemicals produced by the fungus Claviceps purpurea, writes Steven Gilbert for the Toxipedia. - Finish reading here.
Oratorian method dance-trance-rave.

Just like Rave culture can be connected to drugs and spiritual-religious experience, apparently Dance Mania was too - unwittingly, of course.  Maybe not - but - the Church of the Middle Ages "held that the dancers had been possessed by the devil or ... cursed."  Some scholars dispute the hallucinogenic effects of the fungus on rye bread - nevertheless - in some case the connection seems reasonable.

On the other hand, the Dance Maniacs could have been an early sect of Charismatics, or a Medieval form of liturgical dance-trance.


"Dance at Molenbeek," Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638) 
depicts pilgrims dancing to the church at Molenbeek.

Song for this post here.

h/t Tea at Trianon

I don't understand anymore.

I bet I'm just too dumb - I'd like to think I'm too little - but I'm pretty sure I'm just too dumb.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Who is driving this car?

My mother was very inebriated one night and asked "who is driving this car?"  My dad was in the front seat and her first husband was driving, and my mother was in the back with my brother.  They had been out to dinner with my brother's dad because his dad needed to sign some papers for my brother to enlist in the Air Force.  Needless to say, the night ended badly.

If I remember correctly, my brother left for basic training shortly after and my mother disappeared for several days.

Song for this post here.

I love this painter.

Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham

Our Lady, Mother of Perpetual Help ...

I knew it was your feast day yesterday, but I wanted to let others post about you, and praise you.  I hope you will help me, and all of those who sing your praises, understand how ordinary your life on earth was ... how completely ordinary.  Which explains why you are our mother, and remain for us our perpetual help,  You are indeed our mother of perpetual help - especially for those of us most in need of mercy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Leaving Armenia: What the Pope said.

The in-flight interview. 

Cindy Wooden, CNS: Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a large conference in Dublin which is very important on the Church in the modern world, said that the Catholic Church must ask forgiveness to the gay community for having marginalized these people. In the days following the shooting in Orlando, many have said that the Christian community had something to do with this hate toward these people. What do you think?
Pope Francis: I will repeat what I said on my first trip. I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally. One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior ... Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no? ... But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well ... this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism. Then there are traditions in some countries, in some cultures that have a different mentality on this problem. I think that the Church must not only ask forgiveness — like that “Marxist Cardinal” said (laughs) — must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended. But she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners! — Christians must ask forgiveness for having not accompanied so many choices, so many families ... I remember from my childhood the culture in Buenos Aires, the closed Catholic culture. I go over there, eh! A divorced family couldn’t enter the house, and I’m speaking of 80 years ago. The culture has changed, thanks be to God. Christians must ask forgiveness for many things, not just these. Forgiveness, not just apologies. Forgive, Lord. It’s a word that many times we forget. Now I’m a pastor and I’m giving a sermon. No, this is true, many times. Many times … but the priest who is a master and not a father, the priest who beats and not the priest who embraces, forgives and consoles. But there are many. There are many hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, many saints. But these ones aren’t seen. Because holiness is modest, it’s hidden. Instead it’s a little bit of blatant shamelessness, it’s blatant and you see so many organizations of good people and people who aren’t as good and people who … because you give a purse that’s a little big and look at you from the other side like the international powers with three genocides. We Christians — priests, bishops — we have done this. But also we Christians have Teresa of Calcutta and many Teresa of Calcuttas. We have many servants in Africa, many laity, many holy marriages. The wheat and the weeds. And so Jesus says that the Kingdom … we must not be scandalized for being like this. We must pray so that the Lord makes these weeds end and there is more grain. But this is the life of the Church. We can’t put limits. All of us are saints, because all of us have the Holy Spirit. But we are all sinners, me first of all! Alright. I don’t know if I have replied. - NCR

Works for me.

The Holy Father just clarified Catholic teaching, citing the Catechism.  He also elaborated somewhat, pointing out the differences between political behavior and the individual person of good will who seeks God - and again, he emphasizes the Catechism.  What is new for me is how the Holy Father concedes there is a need to apologize - not for Catholic teaching, but for how the homosexual person has been treated - as I mentioned in another post - by people and groups in the institutional Church.  

For me, he has clarified teaching in this impromtu interview, and helped me see there is a need to apologize and more especially seek forgiveness.  Personally, I think a great apology is due to the Spiritual Friendship Movement, Ron Belgau, Eve Tushnet, Melinda Selmys, and so on.  It should be so obvious they are persons of good will, who identify as gay and seek God.  Not only that, they accompany many LGBTQ persons who seek God and reconciliation.

This latest statement from Pope Francis heralds a certain freedom of spirit, further removing the burden of fear and suspicion from my heart.  I love what he said here:
"(The Church) must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended. But she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners! [...] We Christians — priests, bishops— we have done this. - ibid
If a good man reproves me, it is kindness.

Since I began blogging I have come across many stories of how sincere men and women, even those in  celibate, same sex  relationships-friendships-partnerships, living chastely, had been active in parishes, until a concerned parishioner(s) complained they should not lector, or help at communion time, or lead the choir - because their mere living together was a source of scandal. [ I can understand that those who contract civil marriages would by that fact contradict Catholic teaching and be considered unsuitable for a 'leadership' position in a parish, but not those who have good will and who seek God, and remain faithful to Catholic teaching.  Nor those who wish to have their children baptized and/or attend Catholic school to be instructed in the faith.]

Just four years ago Mark Shea did a post about a man in Seattle who had died, Perry Lorenzo - and Mark Shea was roundly condemned for citing this gay Catholic man who lived with a friend as "one of the people I admire most in the world, who I regard as an inspiration and, very likely, as a saint".

In 2009 a Canadian case lit up the blogosphere over a man who was banned as lector because he lived with another man - both were gay, yet living chaste, celibate lives together:

Jim Corcoran, was asked by his bishop to no longer act as lector at Mass because of his living arrangements with another man. The difference between Barbara Johnson and Jim Corcoran is that Johnson evidently rejects Church teaching on sexuality, while Corcoran accepts it and lives in accord with it. Two members of the same sex living together is not a sin.
PETERBOROUGH, ON, July 7, 2009 ( - Jim Corcoran, the owner of one of Canada's largest and most lavish spas, has launched a human rights complaint against the Bishop of Peterborough Ontario for refusing him permission to continue to serve as an altar server. Corcoran admits that he is homosexual and lives with another homosexual man, but says that he follows the Church's teaching and lives a chaste lifestyle. According to the Catholic Register, Bishop Nicola De Angelis asked Corcoran to accept his decision that he not serve on the altar based upon the bishops' desire to avoid public scandal. -Source

The Corcoran case has since been settled and I believe the bishop apologized. I'm not sure what happened next. However, as I noted back then, it appears that Corcoran had fallen prey to the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'reality, zealous religious types can sometimes subject sincere people to. It is a difficult fact of Christian life. While it is true one must avoid giving scandal at all cost, the ecclesial action probably called more attention to the situation than it warranted. It is a tough call - sometimes people suffer for righteousness sake even at the whim of fellow Catholics. The lives of the saints are replete with such examples, founders of religious orders falsely disgraced and dismissed from their congregations, former prostitutes alienated and denied entry into religious life, and so on.
Likewise, these days, there is little consistency from diocese to diocese, parish to parish, as to how such matters should be handled, complicated by a sort of holy vigilantism of some to catch and expose all the sinners - reformed or unreformed. These folks not only hate the sin, they pretty much hate the sinner as well. - Source

I'm thinking these anecdotes may just be a couple of examples the Holy Father believes Christians need to apologize for and ask forgiveness.

I also think people like Elizabeth Scalia and Mark Shea and Fr. James martin, S.J. deserve an apology - they seem to have always understood the so-called 'New Homophiles' and Spiritual Friendship folks much better than I ever did.

The foolish cruelty.

Mark Shea is a better Catholic than I am - and I'm grateful for his faithful witness.  Some time ago he demonstrated this in the following post:

Damon Linker on a truly appalling piece that ran in Crisis recently, treating faithful same-sex attracted Catholics who are in full obedience to the Church’s teaching as though they are enemies or fifth columnists or half-breeds. What is *wrong* with with some people? We say we want people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then when they seriously attempt to obey him, we *still* make clear that they are not good enough and should be treated with contempt and punished, not for their sins, but for their temptations.
Is it any wonder that many gay people conclude that Christians simply hate them? God bless Eve Tushnet, Joshua Gonnerman and all SSA folk who are trying to be faithful to Jesus and his Holy Church, despite the best efforts some Catholics make to drive them away. - Mark Shea
I agree.

Something to think about.

I post this in jest, but there's an element of truth to it.
I've lived most of my life a stranger to family and friends,
to avoid giving scandal - not that I've been living in sin,
but because of the 'stigma', so to speak.

After the Orlando shootings I came across a lot of mean spirited, if not hateful comments about gay people, sodomites, and so on.  This thinking, this contempt lays dormant in many good people - it erupts when something bad happens that is difficult to grasp - especially when it happens to 'bad' people.  Like the gays.  I got an email from a friend, who was also conflicted and confused by how to 'accompany' gays.  Below is the edited version:

It's not that straight people don't want them in our neighborhoods, but that we can't consider their relationships as equal. How can we allow the casual mingling of families, block parties, dinners, and all the typical neighborhood stuff encompasses to be extended to gay couples?  True, we're tolerant of divorced and remarried couples, or couples cohabiting, since objectively speaking, their arrangements could be made right under the right conditions.  One wouldn't have as much problem inviting an unmarried cohabiting couple down the block to a yard party as one would have inviting a cohabiting gay couple or two gay guys living together. 
My friend went on to explain the difficulty of knowing what to do, explaining, "It's not bigotry so much as it presents a moral dilemma."

I don't have the answer.  I don't know.

However, his comment helped me understand why I no longer hear from married with children Catholic friends who know that I live a chaste, celibate life - although I live with a friend.  His comment reminded me, if not confirmed my reason for living as a stranger to family, friends, and coworkers.  I didn't want to send the wrong signals or create scandal.  Likewise, the other stories I cited above, explain why I never got involved in parish activities.  I'm fine with that.  I've always been fine with that.

I'm not bitter.  Neither do I want, nor do I expect any apologies.  I'm happy to seek God in solitude.  Which is why I love living alone among people.  As Madeleine Delbrel has described it:

"There are some people God calls and sets apart in convents and monasteries. There are others God calls and leaves in society, the ones God does not `withdraw from the world.'

"These are the people who have an ordinary job, an ordinary marriage or an ordinary celibacy. The people who have ordinary sicknesses and ordinary sorrows. The people who live in ordinary houses and wear ordinary clothes. These are the people of ordinary life. The people we meet on any ordinary street. - Madeleine Delbrel

It is why I like to cite the example of St. Margaret of Cortona, and did so the other day.  After her conversion she was held in suspicion and gossiped about until her death.  That gives me hope.  It is as if I can say with St. Margaret, and St. Paul: "Don't bother me now, for I bear the stigma of Christ!  I am his and he is mine - I go to him, outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore."  It is a great grace.

Sounds grandiose perhaps - but it's not meant in that sense at all.

I don't ask for any apologies - but I do apologize - and I ask forgiveness for being self-righteous and judgmental to those people who are much better Catholics than myself.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Be a good dog then ...

St Dominic sending out a pack of hounds 
against the wolves that attacked a flock of sheep.


When the Pope called people 'animals' ...

Seminarians gathered in Rome for the Pope's talk.

He might have meant to say, 'Don't treat people like animals' ...

Monsignor Pope, whom I admire very much, appears to be offended by the Holy Father's remarks.  It seems to me he may think, as do other priests, that the Holy Father doesn't like priests.  That's sad.

I hope the Holy Father will respond to Monsignor's concern:
Please, Holy Father: Enough of these ad hoc, off-the-cuff, impromptu sessions, whether at thirty thousand feet or at ground level. Much harm through confusion has been caused by these latest remarks on marriage, cohabitation, baptism, confession, and pastoral practice. Simply cleaning the record in the official transcript is not enough; this is an era of instant reportage and lots of recording devices, tweets, and Instagrams. 
Just this priest’s perspective. But I can assure you, dear reader, that the impact hits priests hard, and I cannot deny a certain weariness and discouragement at this point. I realize that such remarks of the Pope are not doctrinal, but just try and tell that to gleeful dissenters and the morally confused or misled in this world. 
Let us pray for our Holy Father and for the universal Church. - NCR

It is what it is I suppose.

Obviously several priests feel this way.  It is really unfortunate that they do.  I sincerely hope the Holy Father will respond directly to the concerns Monsignor expressed.  (I would go to Rome and speak to him personally if I felt that way.)

However, I keep wondering about the Church in Latin America and South America - what is different?  North Americans seem to have difficulty understanding other cultures.  Maybe that's part of the problem?

Locally, in this archdiocese, I've heard of priests treating people badly.  Pastors talking down to the pious seeking spiritual direction, turning the not so faithful away because they won't baptize their little 'bastards', mocking and degrading parishioners and visitors for kneeling-not kneeling-what they wear-holding hands-etc-etc-etc.  Some of these priests who blew female penitents off but doted on the big contributors or offered preferential treatment for teen boys from single parent households have been suspended, others left ministry, a couple have been sent to jail - not for treating people like animals necessarily - but acting like animals and abusing them in other ways.  If you've ever lived or worked in a parish, a rectory, or a Catholic institution, you know what I'm saying and you also can understand the Pope's hyperbole concerning brother priests.  I suspect the Holy Father speaks from experience - and that he himself has been guilty of the same clerical-isms.

But what do I know?  I know nothing because I'm just a layman, steeped in sin since birth.

Here's a thought: Just imagine if a priest called a person an animal, or worse,  a rat-bastard-queer. 

Would that be bad?

"'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?'  Jesus turned and rebuked them ..." - Luke 9:51-62

I pray for the Pope several times a day - and I pray for priests too.  Especially those most in need of mercy.

The Holy Father welcomes animals and eats with them.