Saturday, June 10, 2017

This is beautiful ...

Confirmation at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Confirmations in the Traditional Rite followed by a Pontifical High Mass at the Faldstool took place June 7th, 2017, at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, MN celebrated by the Most Reverend Andrew Cozzens. The music, featuring Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli, was provided by the Chorus Omnium Sanctorum. Confirmands from five area parishes participated and nearly 700 were in attendance. - Fr. Z

It's soooooooooooooo Catholic! 

Mattson's Book - I got it in the mail Friday.

In this frank memoir, 
Mattson chronicles his journey to and from a gay identity, 
finding peace in his true identity,
 as a man, made in the image and likeness of God... more here.

Why I Don't Call Myself Gay

Dan Mattson contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in his book.  I said yes and he had a copy sent to me.  I'm so excited to read it.  I have so much respect for Mattson.  He has so much to offer to the discussion on being 'gay and Catholic' and those well-intentioned, albeit sentimentalist pastoral care-givers hoping to build bridges with the LGBTQ community at large.

I've followed along Dan Mattson's writings and speaking engagements online and have great admiration for him.  He deeply understands Catholic moral teaching on sexuality and marriage, and paging through this book I see he is very well grounded in Catholic spirituality and theology as well. I often felt he is gifted with a rich mystical insight into the phenomenon.  I look forward to reading the book, and I hope to comment as I go along.  My anticipation of the book is the only reason I returned to this subject lately.

Now that I am older, and more mature, I've gained a better perspective and overview of my life and the 'gay' experience - which means I too have concluded it is not an identity which defines me.  It just can't.  Perhaps I can explain that more deeply as we go along.

Fr. James Martin has his new book as well.  I'm not into choosing whose is best, or which gospel according to which Reverend Jim is best, but I'm not all that interested in Fr. Martin's book for myself.  I understand the bridge building concept of course, at one time I too felt alienated, but I wonder if that wasn't more my fault?  So, if I said I didn't fit into a practicing Catholic parish setting?  I don't think I really wanted to.  So I felt unwelcome?  Maybe - or was I just personally uncomfortable?  You've heard unwed single mothers, or unmarried couples say similar things - we feel out of place.  It's a feeling.  Hang around and you fit in.  If you are at church to worship, to pray, you fit in.  If you believe Catholic teaching, you fit in.

I often generalize and oversimplify - or at least I'm accused of doing so, but it seems to me those who lobby for greater inclusion and acceptance tend to over-complicate matters as well.  For instance the debate on what to call 'homosexual inclination' - though not sinful in itself - it is an inclination to sexual acts which are gravely sinful.  The Church says 'objectively disordered'.  Morally it works for me - I always knew homosexual acts were sinful, therefore, disordered.  I always knew sins against chastity are disordered.  I also knew what inordinate affection meant.  I was raised-educated Catholic.

... [A]n overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not. - CDF

I totally 'get' what Fr. Martin is trying to do - to remove the stigma language appears to impose on a condition which people today consider a natural variant, I just disagree that the language itself is offensive.  Saying someone is 'differently ordered' isn't especially redemptive in my opinion.  I certainly think it can come off that way in the manner it is taught, or when used pejoratively.  To call homosexual acts unnatural is also taken offensively.  Yet language is precise in order to convey the reason why homosexual acts are considered sinful.  It's difficult for younger people to grasp this notion because authentic Catholic catechesis is often lacking and our contraceptive sexual culture equalized non-reproductive sexual acts between anyone or anything.  It is also said younger people are much more sensitive to negative terminology.  But I digress.

I may eventually read Fr. Martin's book - which in many ways seems to me more like a synthesis of every thing I ever read on how to make gay okay and still be Catholic - no offense Fr. Jim.  In the meantime, I will focus my attention on Mr. Mattson's book - simply because it is a more 'mature' perspective based upon his lived experience.  Fr. Martin's concerns seem to me to be sympathetic to be sure, yet based upon a sentimental understanding of the contemporary insistence that everything be ordered to a subjective perception of well-being and happiness.  (Not sure I expressed that very well.)

However, one thing I do agree with in what Fr. Jim says is that terms like gay and lesbian, since they are in general usage, are just fine.  To insist upon saying 'same-sex attracted' or 'suffers from' throws up an artificial barrier for people who experience themselves as gay, and or fit into some category under the LGBTQ umbrella.  You accept people where they are at and believe them when they tell you how they identify.

I also will never say anything against Fr. Martin since I am convinced he is faithful to the Church and Catholic teaching and is courageous in his efforts to reconcile LGBTQ persons and their families with the Church.  He meets them where they are at - not where he or anyone else wants them to be.

That is not meant as a contradiction to Dan Mattson's book however.

In the meantime, I will be posting on Mattson's book - since of all the people I have ever read on the subject - his views very much accord with my own.

That's all for today.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Domesticating Gay

Stepford embraces the LGBTQ.

Fr. James Martin's new book, Building a Bridge is out this month, which according to press releases - seems to me at least - on some level, an effort to normalize gay relationships within the Catholic Church.  So far I haven't read that Fr. Martin rejects Catholic moral teaching on the issue, but I haven't read the book either, so who am I to judge.  New thinking on the subject is a trend gaining greater momentum.  Just as Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna has unofficially lent his support to a homosexual group within his diocese that recently draped a rainbow flag over a Catholic altar as part of a prayer service to end “homophobia.”   What can I say?

I'm not sure who said it, but a long time ago someone once boasted "being gay was exciting because you didn't have to be drafted and you didn't have to get married."  That's all changed.  Now that gay people are out and some so far out they are even way beyond gay, they enjoy equal rights in employment, marriage, and child adoption.  I suppose some areas of Western society are not as free, but generally, in Europe and the US, in metropolitan areas to be sure, it makes no difference if you're gay or straight, black or white, married, living together, or single.  Yet that in itself is weird.  "If loving you is right, I don't want to be normal."

I was looking for something online about Boston in the 1970's and came across a photo of an old gay bar near Copley Square.  The bar is gone now.  Evidently the scene has become so gentrified these days that all the fun places have been closed, and the 'community' has been more or less domesticated.  I'm puzzled by that.  Why would anyone want be gay if their life is no different from the Upson's living in Montebank, summering at Upson Pines in the Adirondacks?

Several years ago author-playwright Larry Kramer called out gay people to clean up their act, and on some levels they certainly have achieved a sort of homogenized image of LGBTQ domesticity, which, as one old lesbian stated in an article on the changes since Stonewall that "life may be easier now, but it might have been more exciting then."  That is an understatement even for 9 years ago when the article was published.  Today it's spectacularly abnormally normal.  Generally speaking that is.  Many will disagree with me, I'm sure.

Looks like the last thing left for the LGBTQ crowd is to get the Church's blessing.  To be accepted, affirmed and canonically approved.  Which has me wondering, is it possible for sin to become even more boring?

It makes me wonder, who would even want to identify LGBTQ these days?  It has become so ordinary, superficial and even uncreative.  Church approval?  It's happening before our eyes.  Why?

I never really fit in before and I surely 
wouldn't want to fit in now 
with the church-approved-gay.

at our camp in the Adirondacks.
We call it Upson Pines.

Read more:
We adore Montebank.
Of course, we always spend summers
at our camp in the Adirondacks.
We call it Upson Pines.

Read more:

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I didn't know 'liberals' were attacking Benedict XVI ...

For his preface to Cardinal Sarah's book that is.

I never paid much attention to any attacks on Pope Benedict, because I am rather devoted to him, I love him - just as I do Pope Francis.  The attacks upon Pope Francis seem to me worse that anything Pope Benedict suffered - except of course for the heavy criticism for having resigned, but I digress.

Fr. Z writes about an address from Cardinal Sarah on his recent book, and the attack against Benedict XVI in his preface to the book.  I also have great esteem for Cardinal Sarah, and thank God for his work in the Church.  I can't help but think he is very saintly and will be venerated as such after his death.  I like his defense of Pope Benedict, which Fr. Z shared:

“I pray devoutly”, Sarah said at the beginning of his talk, “for those who have the time and the patience to read this volume closely [The Force of Silence]: that God will help them to forget the vulgarity and the baseness used by some people when they referred to the “preface” and to its author, Pope Benedict XVI. The arrogance, the violence of their language, the lack of respect and the inhuman scorn for Benedict XVI are diabolical and cover the church with a mantle of sadness and of shame. These people tear down the church and her profound character. The Christian does not combat against anyone. The Christian does not have enemies to crush.” - Cardinal Sarah
Without knowing what was said, without having read the Cardinal's book, I am impressed with his defense of Pope Benedict.  I would suspect he would be equally as supportive in defense of those who attack Pope Francis.  I think his statement works as well for Francis as it does Benedict; "The arrogance, the violence of their language, the lack of respect and the inhuman scorn for Francis are diabolical and cover the church with a mantle of sadness and of shame."

I especially like this statement regarding Christians - in the Church Militant, if you will ...

"The Christian does not combat against anyone. 
The Christian does not have enemies to crush.”

There is so much to learn from Cardinal Sarah.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

He who flatters you deceives you ...

Like when they 'Like' you on Facebook maybe?

That is why Facebook is so addictive I think.  "They like me, they really, really like me!"  You tell yourself it isn't true - that it's just a thing - but deep down, you believe it.  Yes you do.  What?

I was happy the Holy Father mentioned flattery in his homily for today.  Flattery is lethal - for me especially.  I fall for it all of the time.  I do better with scorn and contempt.  But I digress.

Flattery, the Pope said, is triggered by “bad intentions” as in the case of the doctors of the law in today’s liturgical reading. They put Jesus to the test, flattering him first and then asking him a question with the intention of making him fall into the wrong: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”

[Flattery] the Pope continued “is that the language of hypocrisy is the language of deceit, it is the same language the serpent used with Eve.”

It begins with flattery, he said, and ends up destroying people: “it tears to pieces the personality and the soul of a person. It destroys communities”. - VR

I've had blogger friends who just loved me at one time, complimented me, even praised stuff I wrote. One in particular corresponded with me extensively by email, this former friend used to call me to talk - about stuff I used to write about more often than I do now.  I was always honest with him, and when I would say something critical - or question him about something, he took offense.  Over time, he dropped me from his links and followers, all that stuff one does on social media to unfriend a person.   As Pope Francis might say, 'he maybe had something to hide' - for a time, I was deceived by his flattery.

There is a meditation from Thomas Merton I wanted to reflect upon, but for now, I'll just post the following. Merton speaks about the 'false self' saying, "Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person."  On some level, this is who we project online, especially when we put our best self out there. Or, those looking at us, may view us from the perspective of their 'illusory self' - seeing in us, reading into our posts, what they want us to be, or want to hear. Maybe. Kinda/sorta. It's a complicated thought ... but I think it's related to flattery ... kinda/sorta.

"But there is no substance under the things with which I am clothed. I am hollow, and my structure of pleasures and ambitions has no foundation. I am objectified in them. But they are all destined by their very contingency to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left of me but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me that I am my own mistake." - Thomas Merton

That really hit me over the head.  A vain man seeks approval from others.   For what?

John of the Cross quotes Isaiah saying, "He who praises you deceives you." It seems to me that is always true - for me at least. Vain praise has caused me so much harm in the past. Though the one who flatters or praises may be sincere, I remain the one deceived. No matter how much I would rebuff these things, there is always some level of unconscious satisfaction or sense of approbation which often leads to a certain presumption, or at least complacency.

You will soon be deceived if you only regard the outward show of men. - Imitation, Bk. II, Chp. 7:3

Song for this post here.

Monday, June 05, 2017

New Feast Day For the Monday After Pentecost.

His Holiness queried, 
The sacristan responded,
"Who wants to know?
You or the other one?"

The Tears of Blessed Pope Paul VI  (Red vestments permitted)

This feast commemorates the morning Paul VI went to say Mass and green vestments were laid out in the sacristy and he burst into tears.  He had been so excited, expecting to wear red vestments for the Octave of Pentecost - which was suppressed in the new ordo.

The priest sacristan said, 'You only have yourself to blame, santita."  Through his tears, Pope Paul said it wasn't his fault - "the impostor pope did it."

The Baroness, Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine de Hueck Doherty was inconsolable when she found out about it.  She yelled for her husband, "Dat's it Eddie!  Ve go to Greek Melkite Kirk now - you be priest - wear red cape too!"


Baroness vear red too.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The 'other' prayer of Pope Leo the XIII - no longer in official use ...

On June 11, 1899, in communion with the bishops of the world, Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart. 
Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. 
Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. 
Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. 
Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life. 
Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever." Amen.

If others wish to express Blessed Ramadan greetings to Muslims, I can certainly pray such blessings may draw them out of darkness into the marvelous light of the kingdom of God. 

I felt bad, but I'm better now. What?

Remember how dumb I used to be?

Proto-Martyrs of 21st Century Islamic Terrorism ...

I am aware of the scorn which can be heaped on the Algerians indiscriminately. 
I am also aware of the caricatures of Islam which a certain Islamism fosters. 
It is too easy to soothe one's conscience by identifying this religious way 
with the fundamentalist ideology of its extremists. - Dom Christian o.c.s.o.

The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas

Once again I have been thinking much about the Trappist martyrs of Atlas, the monks who were beheaded by terrorists in Algeria in the 1990's. I'm looking to these martyrs as special patrons to the Church in these days of bloody persecution and increasing terror attacks by Islamic radicals.  I'm hoping they can be models and examples to Christians on how one ought to conduct oneself in the dark night of terrorism and war.

How far to follow?

Fr. Christian

A martyr's testament to charity.

Testament of Dom Christian de Chergé (opened on Pentecost Sunday, May 26,1996) 
Facing a GOODBYE.... If it should happen one day - and it could be today - that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to engulf all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church and my family to remember that my life was GIVEN to God and to this country. 
I ask them to accept the fact that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure. I would ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering? I ask them to associate this death with so many other equally violent ones which are forgotten through indifference or anonymity. My life has no more value than any other. Nor any less value. 
In any case, it has not the innocence of childhood. I have lived long enough to know that I am an accomplice in the evil which seems to prevail so terribly in the world, even in the evil which might blindly strike me down. I should like, when the time comes, to have a moment of spiritual clarity which would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of my fellow human beings, and at the same time forgive with all my heart the one who would strike me down. 
I could not desire such a death. It seems to me important to state this. I do not see, in fact, how I could rejoice if the people I love were indiscriminately accused of my murder. It would be too high a price to pay for what will perhaps be called, the "grace of martyrdom" to owe it to an Algerian, whoever he might be, especially if he says he is acting in fidelity to what he believes to be Islam. 
I am aware of the scorn which can be heaped on the Algerians indiscriminately. I am also aware of the caricatures of Islam which a certain Islamism fosters. It is too easy to soothe one's conscience by identifying this religious way with the fundamentalist ideology of its extremists. For me, Algeria and Islam are something different: it is a body and a soul. I have proclaimed this often enough, I think, in the light of what I have received from it. I so often find there that true strand of the Gospel which I learned at my mother's knee, my very first Church, precisely in Algeria, and already inspired with respect for Muslim believers. 
Obviously, my death will appear to confirm those who hastily judged me naïve or idealistic: "Let him tell us now what he thinks of his ideals!" But these persons should know that finally my most avid curiosity will be set free. This is what I shall be able to do, God willing: immerse my gaze in that of the Father to contemplate with him His children of Islam just as He sees them, all shining with the glory of Christ, the fruit of His Passion, filled with the Gift of the Spirit whose secret joy will always be to establish communion and restore the likeness, playing with the differences. For this life lost, totally mine and totally theirs, I thank God, who seems to have willed it entirely for the sake of that JOY in everything and in spite of everything. 
In this THANK YOU, which is said for everything in my life from now on, I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today, and you, my friends of this place, along with my mother and father, my sisters and brothers and their families - You are the hundredfold granted as was promised! And also you, my last-minute friend, who will not have known what you were doing: Yes, I want this THANK YOU and this GOODBYE to be a "GOD-BLESS" for you, too, because in God's face I see yours. May we meet again as happy thieves in Paradise, if it please God, the Father of us both. AMEN ! 
Algiers, 1st December 1993 Tibhirine, 1st January 1994 Christian +

My prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come O Holy Spirit, convict me of sin, of righteousness, of judgment. Teach me and make me entirely teachable, let me remember your presence in my soul, in the Church, in the Blessed Sacrament, and in my neighbor. Bear witness in and through me, guide me to all truth, grant me the graces you will for me, convincing me concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. Holy Spirit come and make reparation in and through me - pray in me for I know not how to pray as I ought. Holy Spirit come and have mercy upon me and the whole world. Convince the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. Convince the world that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, He who is in the Father and the Father in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit. O my `Three', my All, my beatitude, infinite solitude, immensity in which I long to be annihilated, I surrender myself to you as your possession. Immerse yourself in me so that I may be immersed in you until, through the merits of the most Precious Blood of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I may go to contemplate in your light the abyss of your infinite splendor! Amen.

I want to love, to go out of myself, to find ways to practice charity, to do good ... where there is hatred, I want to put love.   As John of the Cross wrote: "Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out."

Song for this post here.

Mass Chat - Does your priest omit things from the Canon or Eucharistic Prayer?

I went to a different parish for Mass - I have been there before.  The priest is very good, very solid, very faithful.  However, I've noticed he neglects the intercession for the Pope in the Eucharistic prayer, he says, "for your servant" and then "and your servants gathered here".  This is the third time I noted the omission.  I'm thinking he may not like Pope Francis, but I'm not sure.  I just got that impression though.  He is a young priest, very faithful as I said - 'says the black, does the red' except in the part of the Eucharistic prayer I mentioned.

Over the years, I've accustomed myself to priests omitting parts of the Mass and the Eucharistic prayer, as well as editing the readings to suit their personal devotion and or political causes, but I've not encountered this before.  I've always adhered to the advice, 'so long as the words of institution are accurate, the Eucharist is confected' - and that was how I could maintain my peace in the face of liturgical abuse.  I've been through a lot of it in my life, believe me.  That said, it's not a big deal to me - neglecting to include the Pope, although it is disconcerting, but it seems to me it may be a deliberate deletion.  It's especially ironic for the Solemnity of Pentecost, which is about unity on so many levels.  Though barely noticed, it interrupts the flow of the prayer - I personally find it a momentarily arresting distraction to recollection and my focus upon the Eucharistic mystery.

It seems to me if a priest is faithful to the 'say the black do the red' deal - he should pray the Eucharistic prayer accordingly.  I hesitate to ask him directly because I don't want to give the impression I'm part of the liturgy-police-patrol, or that kind of thing.  I get the feeling many priests dislike the Holy Father.  I may be wrong.  I wish we had one form of Mass that no one deviated from.

So.  Any ideas on why he neglects the intercession for the Pope?