Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dark Habits

Nuns on the periphery ...

I just happened upon this, a film by Pedro Almodóvar - I don't know a great deal about him nor have I ever seen this film, but I enjoy this sort of thing.  I love Luis Buñuel and Fellini, and their sometimes satirical treatment of Catholicism, so I wonder how well Almodóvar handles it?

His 1983 "pelicula" is about a cabaret singer Yolonda (Cristina Sánchez Pascual) who is hiding out in a convent of wacky nuns. But let's not confuse the movie with Sister Act because it would eat that 1992 comedy and then apologize sheepishly over a cake and acid dessert...
The nuns are of a renegade order known as The Humiliated Redeemers where the Mother Superior (Julieta Serrano) is a lesbian heroin addict. Her nuns have taken self-deprecating names like Sister Rat (Chus Lampreave), Sister Damned (Carmen Maura), and Sister Manure (Marisa Paredes) and that's just the Almodóvar regulars!
The order is obsessed with the fallen nature of man and Christ's love for sinners. They feel intense nostalgia for the days when their convent was a haven for prostitutes, murderers, and addicts. - More here.

I think the film sounds interesting since it kind of reminded me of Pope Francis' call to go out to the peripheries, so in a strange way, the 1983 film just might be rather 'prophetic' in a weird way.  It could be.

I love films many people quickly assume are anti-Catholic, since they sometimes offer a valuable insight or critique of what is wrong with religious people, or at least it mirrors the impression irreligious people have of strict Catholics.  I think that is why I liked Wolf Hall so much, especially its treatment of St's. John Fisher and  Thomas More.  If traditional Catholics of our day are any indication, I can well imagine these two saints may have made a similar impression upon 'progressives' of their time.  (Of course Thomas Cromwell is treated well, but I'm sure he had some lovable qualities - at any rate, he was more interesting to me than he had been in the past.)  I've read elsewhere that many saints were sometimes difficult to live with.  I like seeing that.

It does nothing to their sanctity, doesn't tarnish it a bit for me.  Saints were sinners and sanctified by the Blood of Christ.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Divine intimacy ...

Altar of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Montreal.
‘Don’t let me forget the moment when You chose me, 
don’t let me forget the moment we met.’ - Pope Francis

And now, Trump's George Costanza moment with NATO leaders ...

Or is it Rodney Dangerfield?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I had to correct Mrs. Rabitowitz.

Mrs. Rabitowitz
Pregnant again.

Formal correction of a rabbit.

I spoke to her face to face, very gently explaining why I did not want her to eat the Hostas, and telling her the lawn is un-mowed and long enough for her to graze.  She seemed fine with that.  I bend over backwards for these critters.

Now, a question for Adrienne...

Why are my climbing roses getting yellow leaves?
They are Canadian grown, winter hardy,
and maybe ten years old.

(Adrienne is a Master Gardener - Just found out it's probably chlorosis.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ma and Pa Trump Go To the Vatican

The Trumps met the Pope today.

Dour and sour formal photos are swirling around online, but if you look more closely - or Google a larger selection, the meeting and greeting with the Holy Father was cordial and warm.  Melania even joked with the Pope.  She looked beautiful as ever.

After greeting the president of Bambino Gesu hospital, 
who accompanied Melania Trump on her visit, 
she laid flowers at the feet of a statue of Our Lady, 
made the sign of the Cross, and paused silently before Mary.

I love her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It seems to me some Catholics can't be convinced of this ...

When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convince the world concerning sin... righteousness... judgment.

The thing about the Roman Catholic Church, with the primacy of Peter - the Papacy and the Magisterium in place - is that the Christian can have confidence that the Holy Spirit leads and guides the Church.

The convincing of sin is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

The emphasis on 'the convincing power of the Holy Spirit' is a favorite source of meditation for me, it is part of my deepest prayer. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces us and the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. How essential this action is, not just once, in a sort of baptism of the Spirit, or confirmation, but ongoing: deep calling unto deep, drawing us deeper into the mystery of the Trinity; the abyss of mercy and love, calling to the abyss of sin and misery, convicting the soul in an embrace of the merciful love of Christ crucified.

The Church in the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance, assures us - guarantees that the sins we confessed have been forgiven, our guilt removed, and so on.  This exemplifies what I say about the assurance we have that the Holy Spirit leads, guides, and vivifies the Church.  As the Catechism explains:
The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation. - CCC
Reading Catholic blogs, and most especially the comments on particular posts, such as those at 1P5 and The Remnant has become a bad habit with me, one I need to temper.  Reading such posts and comment, or simply reviewing news aggregated sites such as Canon 212, give me the impression that many Catholics are no longer convinced of the promises of Christ and that the Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery."

The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit." - CCC

‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ - Luke 16:31

I wrote that passage in another post, taking into consideration how a 'Protestant', or 'cafeteria Catholic' mentality has taken hold among those people who write and subscribe to those extreme conservative sites - which secular groups have gone so far as to identify with hate groups due to some of their extremist claims.

Thus, wondering to myself, I concluded that even if the Blessed Virgin appeared again at Fatima to support the Holy Father and affirm the canonization of Jacinta and Francisco, many would probably reject her.  Critics already have suggested the recent canonizations have been politically motivated, or accomplished to bolster Vatican II and the 'new' Mass.  Therefore, it perhaps may be said about them, "If they will not listen to the Pope and the Magisterium, if they reject the Councils and the Liturgical books, if they even reject the emerging recognition of the SSPX and Bishop Fellay, if they reject the authenticity of the election of Pope Francis, then they will not be persuaded if the holy Virgin appears here or there, or if the SSPX is united with the Pope, or the consecration of Russia is repeated every day - word for word - until the end of the world."

These people, with their groups, blame the Church for not promoting Fatima, for not 'responding to Our Lady's call'.  They claim educated, liberal Catholics are embarrassed by apparitions - and never more so, than about Fatima.  They just don't get it it however - those who feel persecuted for their devotion and promotion of the Fatima message.  My first impulse is to say they are stupid people - but they are really not... and of course, who am I to judge?  Therefore I apologize for having done so, or called them out as 'stupid people' - only some of their theories are stupid - I think I covered that already.

However, if these groups and their followers really want to understand why many normal Catholics - well educated or not - reject private revelations and the fringe Fatima cults, it is because of the nuttiness they have layered on top of the authentic message.  So many adherents to Fatima, and other approved/unapproved apparitions and private revelations involving a garden variety mystics, come out with parallel messages, crazy interpretations of secrets, infighting about this or that detail, absurd claims, and just very strange superstitious analysis of every sort of unusual phenomenon - be it weather related or political.  What reasonable person would be interested in that stuff?  So don't blame reasonable people for having doubts or not paying attention to you.

So anyway.  As Doris Upson said about Gloria's ping-pong story, "Well, it was amusing."  And that's why I will read and comment on such nuttiness from time to time.  It's amusing.  If it annoys you, please don't read me, I have no interest in promoting my blog.  I like to write because it helps me think and come to terms with issues which trouble me.  In real life, as online, I find religious people nearly impossible to carry on a conversation with.

Just yesterday, a high school friend on Facebook, whom I haven't even talked to for over 50 years, and who happens to be a minister/preacher, took offence at some satirical comments I made about VP Pence, President Trump, as well as those traditional Catholics who support Trump as chosen by God -  yet reject the fact that Pope Francis really was/is the Successor of Peter - and for that matter, successor of Benedict XVI.   It strikes me as beyond irony how easily they can compartmentalize these things in their head.  Nevertheless my Evangelical brother took it personally and posted a couple of anti-papist videos on another friend's blog, in response to the comment I made.  I removed my comment and his offensive response left with it.  I don't want to be cluttering up other friends walls.

The upshot?  I'll try to be more sensitive when writing about Protestants and protestant Catholic Traditionalists on Facebook or in the com-boxes of others.

Well, that does it for today I guess.

Lord Paddington: "Now don't get excited, old boy...
Come now Fatty, do try to calm yourself.
One doesn't have to be coarse."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Something Cardinal Caffarra left out in his address to the Rome Life Forum.

Divorce and contraception.

Before she died, Our Lady of Fatima told St. Jacinta, "Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God." That was nearly 100 years ago in Portugal. If it was that bad then, what is the state of marriage today?

About a year ago, Pope Francis stated, “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null...” The statement was revised for the transcript, perhaps due to complaints from conservatives. With the Holy Father's approval of course, his statement was edited to read, “a portion of our sacramental marriages are null.” A 'portion' - or perhaps 'many' as Our Lady said in 1917.  (I've written about all of this before here.)

Perhaps that explains why divorce has become so pervasive, and easy - many marriages were bad to begin with. You think? It used to be that Catholics seeking a civil divorce had to get permission from the local ordinary. That was before no-fault divorce. Divorce itself was discouraged, except for very grave situations, like extreme abuse, abandonment, and so on.  That said, St. Rita of Cascia, whose feast we celebrate today, was often hailed as a wife and mother who endured abuse and remained married, and presented to Catholics as a spouse who remained faithful despite a difficult marriage.  (The stories of her abuse may be exaggerated.)

Cardinal Caffarra focused upon two grave sins against the family, abortion and homosexual relationships as equal to marriage.  He skips what I've always referred to as the 'original sins' of our time: artificial contraception and no-fault divorce - the great sexual equalizers, if you will.   Roman Catholics embraced both, and subsequently many accepted, if not approved, cohabiting couples and gay couples as equal to married spouses, and likewise approved childlessness, as well as the right for women to make their own decisions 'reproductive health'.

Cardinal Caffarra's two points:

*The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well. I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.
*The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage. - Focus On the Family

The Cardinal is absolutely right of course, grounding his  address in the Fatima message, especially as conveyed by Sr. Lucia (who he undoubtedly believes was the real Lucia, not an impostor, etc.), who let it be known in a letter dated either 1983 or 1984 that the devils final battle will be over marriage and the family:

“Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.” - Aleteia

‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ - Luke 16:31

Sr. Lucia said that in 1983-'84.  Our Lady told St. Jacinta in 1918.  Since 1918 contraception and divorce became socially acceptable.  Even more significantly, Bl. Pope Paul VI accurately prophesied in Humanae Vitae, the consequences of artificial contraception - evils we are living through today.  Dr. Janet Smith wrote about these prophecies back in 1988.  It's astonishing to me that we are now suddenly taking note, but I digress.

First Prophecy
The Pope first noted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”
Second Prophecy 
Paul VI also argued that “the man” will lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium” and will come to “the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”
Third Prophecy 
Paul VI also observed that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon…in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.” The history of the family planning programs in the Third World is a sobering testimony to this reality.
Fourth Prophecy 
The final warning Paul VI gave about contraception is that it would lead man to think that he had limitless dominion over his own body. Again, the Pope did not specify what he had in mind, but his worry seems well-grounded. - Paul VI as Prophet, Janet Smith

That last one has turned out a bit differently since Dr. Smith wrote that.  Who knew in 1988 the transgender issue would become mainstream.  "Man believes he has legitimate dominion over his own body."  He can change sex, become sexless, turn himself into a cat, a dog, and alien, tattoo his entire body to resemble whatever he wants, and pierce and scar himself into whatever he wants.

So you see, dearest Fatimists and apparition-private-revelation enthusiasts, all along the Church has taught and warned and prophesied, the weeds and the tares have grown among you while you were seeking counsel from dubious soothsayers and locutionists, and now even the most traditional Catholics prefer their idiosyncratic cafeteria-style of Catholicism.  Save the liturgy-save the world.  The pope is an anti-pope.  Cardinal against Cardinal.  Benedict was forced to flee the wolves.  While ignoring the fact the Church has never changed her teaching.

So many cradle, revert, convert Catholics are willing and able to lay aside their convictions to benefit themselves, how many of us have repeatedly sold our birthright for a meal?  To get married outside the Church, to move in with a lover, to go down any path of pleasure - to enjoy a greater freedom, only to become a victim of our miserably bad choices.  It's good to examine ourselves on how well we have done with Catholic teaching, especially before we condemn everyone else, or look down on those Catholics in the officious manner one Catholic blogger with a degree in theology said about them, that they are 'too stupid to know better.'

For your consideration, think about the original sins Cardinal Caffarra neglected to mention.  Faithful Catholic priests and bishops have been teaching this all along, and many faithful Catholics who educate their kids in Catholic schools have chosen to ignore it.

“One habit that has taken hold of many marriages is the use of artificial means of contraception,” Bishop Soto wrote. “The prevalence of the practice in and outside of the Catholic community has made contraception the unquestioned default mode of marriage. As a consequence, sexuality and relationships are misunderstood and misused; and their true purpose is misplaced.”
“The habit has shaped the hearts and minds of many, especially the young,” he continued. “Marriage is no longer understood as the covenant of love between a man and a woman that creates life, because procreation is no longer associated with sexual intercourse,” Bishop Soto, Sacramento

That's all for today poodles.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Renaissance Garden Affair for Mrs. Rabitowitz ... Or ...The 3 Days Darkness Envelopes Dogwood Cottage.

Once upon a time an old gardener took advantage of the Global warming phenomena in Minnesota and decided to plant his pots early in the season. 

One sunny Saturday, when the temperature rose to tropical levels, 70 degrees, and the garden center said the last average freeze is Mother's Day, Mr. Nelson bought Plumbago vines for the trellis and pots in the back garden.  The potted vines were so tall, they became twin towers.  Several days later the ice age returned.  Of course I blame the mothers because it happened a few days after Mother's Day, and everyone knows what they say about a witch's ....

So anyway.  It grew dark and cloudy and blustery cold, with continuous, tempestuous rain.  The poor Pulmbago plants shivered and wilted, branches drooped, as if dead.  Old man Nelson called the garden center - Bachman's On Lyndale - and was told by an expert that although the culture listed on the tags from Monrovia states that the plants can endure temps down to 20-30 degrees, the expert said they do not do well under our conditions - when it's below 50, and windchill is at 40.

Mr. Nelson and his cat set out to fix things, creating tents to cover the susceptible plants, which were well planted, and too tall to remove indoors.  Voila - the back garden was turned into a fairy land of Renaissance tents, lighted from within by candles in lanterns, meant to warm the enclosure for the duration of the attack from the wicked witch of the North.  (Notice I'm letting my hedge grow tall to hide the scrap yard mess next door.)

If you look closely at the photos, you can see the cat looking out the door, watching old man Nelson document the garden in preparation for the lawsuit against the garden center.  What?  It could happen if Mr. Nelson flips out.

Gratefully - the three days darkness is almost over - today the covers come off, and Mrs. Rabitowitz and friends can eat once again and celebrate Yom Yerushalayim this week. 

The South tower.
Gabs said it looked more like a Dementor at first glance.
She was scared.

The North tower.
If you click on the photo you can see 
the damage done to the lawn by the voles and grubs,
which is why I put down repellent for the grubs.  
I will be seeding as soon as I can
rake and add some compost.  
Mrs. Rabitowitz told me 
I should have done that before planting the pots.
She's such a kvetch.

The Madonna trellis.
I actually built a little frame and roof for it.
The top is roofed with a folded winter cover
for the bench.

Since everyone wants to see a recent photo of me,
this is my foot.

My kitty watching me work.
She has nightly news on in the background.

Did you see this?  I have Christmas lights inside
to create warmth.  St. Joseph is still in his 
winter location.

My messy garage with sensitive plants brought in
to escape the cold - my pollarded myrtle in the window.

More Plumbago plants - these little ones 
are intended for the front of the house.
Can you see leg and foot on the snow blower?!