Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Vatican and Courage

Vatican Radio published an interview with Executive Director of Courage, Fr. Philip Bochanski.

Cardinal Cooke began the apostolate in 1980 ... going out to the 'peripheries' 40 years ago.

Courage apostolate has developed and remains the premiere organized ministry to persons with homosexual inclination in the Catholic Church.

The Church knows about Courage.  The Pope knows about Courage.  There has been and is support and direction for those who are willing to go there.

I seriously do not know what Catholics are complaining about feeling rejected and excluded from Christ's Church.  A sense of alienation in a particular group or parish community is understandable - especially if one remains outside looking in.  That is surmountable however.

If a person does not want to join a group or seek support from a group such as Courage, the Sacraments are enough - the Church is enough.

Along with all Christians, people with homosexual tendencies are called to live chastely, each according to his condition and state of life, and by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - VR

You can trust the Church.  Just be careful who you trust in the Church.

Frère Jacques

Love your powerlessness. - St. Therese

We can have no genuine hope of peace and salvation apart from Christ crucified. - Jacques Fesch
“Do not ask God to save such and such a person, or to help this one or that, but ask him that you may love him, and that his will may be done. You must talk with him familiarly, and explain to him that you want to love him well, but that you can’t do it, that many things seem obscure and illogical to you, and that you would like to understand them a little better … and do not hesitate, all day long, to invoke heaven.” - Jacques Fesch

Little Therese, pray for us who are weaker than you.

H/T Eugene

Friday, June 16, 2017

Don't worry too much about the salvation of others ... if it means you neglect your own.

The importance of 'shame'.

Don't let others shame you though.  A healthy sense of shame comes in recognizing, as Pope Francis says, that we are weak, vulnerable and in need of healing - in need of mercy.  Not 'fixing' - but healing.  We discover that in the light of God's love, wherein we recognize our absolute need, dependence upon Christ's merciful love.

I like what the Pope said this morning at Mass...
In order to be saved and healed by God we must recognize that are weak, vulnerable and sinful like earthen vessels ...
"All of us are vulnerable, fragile, weak, and we need to be healed,” the Pope said. But recognizing our vulnerability is one of the most difficult things of life. At times, we try to cover this vulnerability with cosmetics in order to disguise it, pretending it does not exist. And disguises are always shameful, the Pope said. “They are hypocrisy."
Pope Francis explained that besides being hypocritical towards others, we are also hypocritical within ourselves believing "to be something else”, hence not needing healing and support. This, the Pope pointed out, is the path to vanity, pride and self-reference of those who do not feel themselves made of clay and thus seek salvation and fulfillment in themselves. Instead, as St. Paul says, it is the power of God that saves us because of our vulnerability. Hence we are troubled but not crushed; we are shaken but not desperate; we are persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not killed. There is always this relationship between clay and power, clay and treasure. But the temptation, the Pope said, is always the same: to cover, conceal and not believing we are made of clay. This is the hypocrisy towards ourselves.
It is shame that broadens the heart to allow the power of God in - the shame of being clay and not a silver or gold vase. - P. Francis

Don't worry about the salvation of others, or removing the speck in your neighbors eye without tending to the log in your own.  Don't be a hypocrite.  Don't pretend to be concerned about the salvation of others, going to the ends of the earth to make one convert who in turn embraces the same hypocrisy of looking down upon everyone else while claiming to be better than everyone else - in some cases even better than the Pope.   There are people who tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and attempt to lay them on the shoulders of others, but they will not help them except to condemn and discredit and shame them if they fall short.

That is not the shame the Pope speaks of.

Some people use the canons, the rubrics, even the catechism to beat up on other people.  They pound the truth over people's heads because they love them so much.  Watch out.  I often recall Pope Francis saying, "I will tell you sincerely, I'm scared of rigid priests. I keep away from them. They bite!"  Speaking of those who follow them or imitate their zeal, the Holy Father added, "There are often young men who are psychologically unstable without knowing it and who look for strong structures to support them. For some it is the police or the army but for others it is the clergy."

If you really seek God, don't go to strangers.  Go to Christ, to the Church.  He is living and present in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  Peter points the way for the Catholic.  The Pope is Christ's vicar on earth.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Catholic teaching cannot change.  God's mercy is inexhaustible.  If on your way you see it differently, keep praying, keep trying, keep seeking, the Holy Spirit will correct you.  Be close to the Blessed Virgin and trust in the Divine Mercy.

"What the devil can't do himself he does by using other people. He takes up his position on the tongues and in the hearts of his servants and before their mind's eye. He makes them see what doesn't exist. So they conceive within their hearts all sorts of evil thoughts and resentments regarding their neighbors - often regarding those they most love." - S. Catherine of Siena

Read the Scriptures, the New Testament.  Go to adoration - it doesn't matter if the Sacrament is exposed - Christ is in the tabernacle.  Visit him.  Pray deeply, hidden with Christ in God.

It is the will of God, even if you were living among devils, you should so live as not to turn back in thought to consider what they are doing, but forget them utterly. You are to keep your soul wholly to God, and not to suffer the thought of this or that to disturb you. - John of the Cross

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The moderation queue is ON.

"Christ is mine and all for me." 

I just grabbed that declaration from Fr. Z.

I don't have a moderation queue - I just delete stuff.

In fact I'm deleting several posts in my archives which accused others of promoting error, and/or impugned the integrity of other Catholics, especially those struggling with issues related to same sex attraction and identity.  It seems to me to be a matter of justice, as I mentioned in an email to a friend concerning Fr. James Martin's recent book.  It bears repeating.

Thanks for letting me know your concern about my statement concerning Fr. James Martin's book. I always make it clear to him and anyone else publicly, that I disagree with this approach, and I totally disagree with New Ways Ministry's agenda and the organizational dissent from Catholic teaching. Yet I try to do so with respect. Recently I made a Go Fund Me contribution to a gay-Catholic man who claimed to have been harmed by articles written against him which not only may have lost him a job, but plunged him into severe depression. I made the donation in restitution/reparation for any detraction I may have committed when writing about him or others associated with the 'gay-Catholic' group. I'm not in the habit of broadcasting my contributions to charity - but this was a matter of justice. I now try to be very careful with what and how I say things about this subject so as not to cause harm, or any suggestion of scandal.
Including detraction and rash judgment. 

Fr. Martin has long been supportive of reaching out to gay Catholics who feel themselves alienated from the Church.  Recently he has made it clear he has the approval of his superiors to publish his book, Building a Bridge.  Recently Cardinal Tobin hosted gay-Catholics in his Cathedral, welcoming them at Mass, explaining he was following the Catechism's exhortation to welcome such persons, adding that he felt it would be inappropriate to bang them over the head with Catholic teaching against homosexuality at that time.

It is indeed an unusual form of outreach, especially considering that just a decade or so ago, Rainbow Sash people were denied Holy Communion in archdioceses across the country.  Forty years ago, the Minneapolis/St. Paul archdiocese was instrumental in blocking a gay-rights ordinance dealing with employment and housing.  (I'm writing from memory, but I was never part of any gay-rights or anti-gay movement in the Church or in politics.)  How things have changed in the Church is amazing, yet I know Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage cannot change, I am nevertheless amazed at how the Church is now reaching out to gay Catholics.

Fr. Martin is not alone, to be sure.

As for myself, I've been there, tried that, and in conscience could never reconcile the two.  These days, the atmosphere in the American church reminds me of when I lived in Boston in the mid-1970's when Dignity was gaining popularity - I was never attracted to it and never participated in the group since it conflicted with my conscience and call to chastity.  It struck me as compromise.  Only after learning of Courage and Fr. Harvey was I encouraged to accept any form of organized spiritual support as a person who experienced same sex erotic attraction and same sex emotional desire.

My home archdiocese wasn't responsive to my (and Fr. Harvey's) attempt to establish a Courage chapter at that time, since the archdiocese was more or less pro-Dignity.  Long story short, it was providential and remained content to live a chaste, celibate life with the help of prayer and the sacraments and good spiritual direction.  In my experience, the Church was, and is support enough, in and through the sacraments - the ordinary means of sanctity and salvation for the layman.  The Church is more than enough for me.  It doesn't make me better than others, it is just a matter of temperament.

I have no other inclination or agenda.  "No servant can serve two masters."  Therefore I belong to Christ, and I am a son of the Church.
"Take courage therefore, and be valiant as well in doing as in suffering things repugnant to your nature.  You must put on the new man and be changed into another man.  You must oftentimes do that which is against your inclination, and forego that which you are inclined.  That which is pleasing to others shall go forward, that which you would have shall not succeed.  That which others shall say shall be hearkened to, what you say shall not be regarded.." - Imitation Bk III, Chapter 49:4

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Hearing things ...

Post-Communion prayer ...

"I am coming soon."

One Hundred Years Ago Today, June 13, 1917 Fatima

The second apparition of Our Lady ...

Lucia and the Marto children proceeded to the apparition site to keep their noon day rendezvous.
When they arrived they found a small crowd awaiting them.
After having said the rosary with Jacinta and Francisco and other people who were present, we saw again the reflection of light nearing us, (we used to say it was lightening), and following, Our Lady on the holm oak as in May.
"Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?"
"I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you." - source

Our Lady also showed the children her Immaculate Heart for the first time in this apparition.  It is a mystery of light - the light of the Blessed Virgin engulfed the children, and in that light she manifested her Immaculate Heart.   She consoled Lucia saying, "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and way that leads you to God."

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of thy mercy.

St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony loved the Infant Jesus so much, Jesus thought he was his dad.

St. Anthony, much like St. Joseph, can obtain anything he asks from the Infant Jesus.

St. Anthony, much like St. Joseph, is a very special patron and protector of chastity - especially for those who desire to recover the virtue.

That's what I think anyway.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The problem is sentimentality... Fr. Paul Check

Fr. Paul Check

Fr. Paul Check writes the Introduction to Dan Mattson's book Why I Don't Call Myself Gay.  If the introduction could be made into a pamphlet, it would be great catechesis on Catholic teaching regarding SSA.  Everything about this new book is a treasure, a work to be pondered.  For those of you worried about Fr. Martin's book - let it go - read Dan Mattson's book first, and then respectfully respond to Fr. Martin if need be, or simply offer your witness to truth in love as the Holy Spirit inspires you.

What I'm reading so far is what I believe, even though at times I've not been able to express it very well - that is, put into words.  It's such a joy to have this confirmation and edification at this point in my journey.  Fr. Check traces the current permissiveness back to the sources of sexual revolution, artificial contraception, no fault divorce and so on.  (Not to pat myself on the back, but I've often pointed out the same thing.)  "The widespread use of contraception, including among Mass-going Catholics, has paved the way for the acceptance of same-sex unions."

Fr. Check goes on to explain the problem surrounding the approval of same sex sexual relations and unions in opposition to Catholic teaching on sexual ethics is related to sentimentality.  Sentimentality trumps compassion.  It is perhaps exactly what Fr. Martin's response is based upon.  That's a problem.  As Fr. Check explains:

The problem is sentimentality.  Sentimentality looks like compassion - there is a pleasing gentleness about it - but it lacks the truth that gives compassion its substance and strength. [...] Sentimentality grants permission for people to continue in sinful and self-destructive behavior because they feel it is 'right' for them.  It gives primacy to passions over reason and to emotions over the teaching of Christ and his Church, because we give too much weight to personal experience. - Fr. Check, Introduction, Why I Don't Call Myself Gay

And I would add, in other words, we give too much weight to feelings.  Fr. Check (and Dan Mattson) speak with compassion - without anger or contempt or peevishness.  This is truth in charity.  It is a joy to read.

Here's another interesting quote which I never heard before:

"Very soon it will not be possible to state that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence." - Cardinal Ratzinger, 2005

I belong to Christ

For no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ ...

While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving in an ordinary human way?  Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? - 1 Corinthians 3

I have no control over what other people do or write or say, or what kind of accommodations they make with their consciences to make it through this earthly pilgrimage. I can't live their lives, and I can't tell them how to live their lives.

No matter what happens, what is said, what is done - the Church can never change her teachings. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am Christ's and Christ is mine...
"Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me." - St. John of the Cross

So anyway - just so you understand ... I'm against it.

I never met a bad Jesuit ... ever.

But evidently not enough.

Someone thought I was too indulgent?  Er ... I don't know what - when I spoke about Fr. James Martin, S.J. and the mention of his new book - so I tried to explain in an email response.  I'm posting it here for those who always, always think I'm 'too soft on gay people'.  I don't 'get' that - who am I to be tough or soft on anyone?  But listen, I'm no one's judge.  (BTW - most gay friends think I'm an asshole for accepting and living and promoting Catholic teaching on sexual morality and marriage - but I'm not complaining that I 'suffer' from that - if you know what I mean.)  Below is my letter.

Dear Friend: 
Thanks for letting me know your concern about my statement concerning Fr. James Martin's book. I always make it clear to him and anyone else publicly, that I disagree with this approach, and I totally disagree with New Ways Ministry's agenda and the organizational dissent from Catholic teaching. Yet I try to do so with respect. I just made a Go Fund Me contribution to a gay-Catholic man who claimed to have been harmed by articles written against him which not only may have lost him his job, but plunged him into severe depression. I made the donation in restitution/reparation for any detraction I may have committed when writing about him or others associated with the 'gay-Catholic' group. I'm not in the habit of broadcasting my contributions to charity - but this was a matter of justice. I now try to be very careful with what and how I say things about this subject so as not to cause harm, or any suggestion of scandal.

As of this writing, I have never heard (or read) Fr. Martin claim same sex sexual relations and or partnerships or ss marriage are able to be approved by the Church. I'm not sure I caught that he said people were born this way - but these are matters I have always made clear I personally disagree with. Although he may believe people when they tell him they are born this way. I also know people who think they were, I never thought I was, but they seem to think they were. Contemporary culture supports that theory - so, Fr. Martin meets them there - as they present to him or society.

I haven't read his book and have pretty much glossed over his other writings - I get he writes for people who dissent or are looking for some way to reconcile with the Church - which is what I mean when I explain he meets them where they are at. Much like Fr. Judge who died in 9/11. I can't condemn them as unfaithful Catholic priests - I think they have an apostolate for those with a foot in the door. I think of Peter Claver and Vincent de Paul who went to the galleys and ministered to slaves and prisoners - people not in the state of grace - likewise, priests in NYC encounter many people not in the state of grace, as well as those who feel they could never be in the state of grace - and who believe 'God hates them'.  They at once tell them God loves them.
I know Fr. Martin is close to people in the arts - he approaches them in his unique way. He eats with these people and welcomes them. Other saints also had ministries pious souls questioned. I don't know if Fr. Jim is outside the lines or not - he may hold erroneous opinions or, in his experience the way he reaches out has just worked for him - maybe he has devout souls living in accord with Catholic teaching? He seems to be taking risks, risking making mistakes - but it's clear to me he is trying to reach others who maybe won't respond to the literal prescriptions with any immediacy.
Sometimes mistakes are made, but they get corrected. Even Pope Benedict recognized that. I trust it will all work out.   

Many online are saying Fr. Martin is a heretic - that's a canonical determination and not mine to make, and so far he hasn't been charged. I'm very much put off with those who express themselves that way.
In the meantime, I'm reading Dan Mattson's book and find it refreshing in it's fidelity and witness to Catholic teaching. I'll be posting on it going forward. Cardinal Sarah's foreword is especially good - he also mentions those in the Church who disagree and contradict Catholic teaching in this regard. We are all aware of that fact. I from experience. People like Mattson witness to truth in love. - End of letter.  I edited it slightly for clarity.

I'm older now - older than my critics in most cases - I know what drives people away and makes them hate religious people and the Church. I've alienated many friends and family members in my life. We must be careful how we communicate the love and mercy of God in truth.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The draw to adoration ...

This was so incredibly meaningful to me around the time of my conversion - it was a sort of draw towards the Eucharist which only made sense later, after I returned to the sacraments.  Before that I used to stop in churches - and look at the tabernacle.  No one knew about it.  Sometimes I sat there, all tricked out - shades, bracelets, long hair ... just looking at him ... looking at me.  Just looking ... something was going on, but I didn't know what it was.

The Feast of the Holy Trinity

Our Life ... our Heaven ...

When you are troubled, accused, confused, and are looking for Him ... God ... retreat into your inner most hiding place, the depths of your soul.  Follow Him there - He who came to you in Holy Communion to lead you to the Father ...  the Son ... the Holy Trinity ...
O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. 
May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. 
Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.
O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness. - Elizabeth of the Trinity

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. - St. Teresa of Avila

My God, I’m so persuaded that You watch over all who hope in You and nothing can be lacking to those who await from You all things ... let others expect happiness in their richness and talents; some may lean on the innocence of their lives, or the rigor of their penitence, or above all on the amount of their good works, or the fervor of their prayers. As for myself Lord, all my confidence is my confidence itself. Because You Lord, only You have secured my hope. - Saint Claude de la Colombiere

I protect the robins in my yard ...

The sign I made to alert intruders.

I shot this through my screen so the nest is difficult to see.

Song for this post here.