Friday, June 23, 2017

Spirit Daily Asks: Have Angels Really Been Caught On Tape?



And I say YES!

Once when I was flying to New York I looked out and Della Reese was sitting on the wing of the plane - looking at me with attitude.  I never liked that show.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I'm not going back on that Bridge.



I'm stepping back from the LGBTQ Bridge Building project.

I think it was Dawn Eden who connected PTSD to the effects of childhood sexual abuse in adults.  I've always shied away from using a term like that, since I'm unwilling to diminish the meaning of the disorder for survivors of very severe trauma, such as suffered by wounded vets, victims of torture, and so on.  Nevertheless, there are aspects of PTSD which may be attributed to psychological trauma caused by abuse and other negative experiences.  Maybe that's what is wrong with me.

I always step into it when I write about gay-ssa-lgbtq crap.  It is crap, let me tell you.  Even as I read supportive books and articles - supportive of leaving gay behind and promoting Catholic teaching, offering encouragement for one who has spent many decades integrating oneself into the sacramental life of the Church, it is difficult to deal with all the 'talk' which surrounds it.  You want to move on but the controversy can pull you down.  For me it's like always talking about exorcism and exorcists and demonology and possession - when you handle pitch you get dirty.  Frequently, those engaged in ministry - on either side of the issue can make mistakes and exceed established boundaries when reaching out to others.

You get accused too.  You get talked about.  You get labeled and summarily dismissed.  You carry that weight even though your shoulders have been freed of the burden.  Remember Lot's wife?  I have to remember her.  She turned to watch the Sodomites perishing, while Lot made it across the bridge.  She got stuck there - and turned to stone.  I don't want to go back on that bridge, much less look back.

There are many good people online to help others discern the truth about homosexuality and authentic Catholic teaching - there are also crackpots who deviate from Catholic teaching.  I have nothing to offer anyone on the subject, except to direct people to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and documents on the subject at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.  Courage Apostolate is the best resource for how to integrate oneself into the sacramental life of the Church, as well as the best support for living a chaste, celibate, holy life in obedience to God's will.  One can join a Courage chapter, or simply use the resources offered by Courage.  The Church is enough - the sacraments and spiritual direction in confession or outside the sacrament, prayer and fidelity to the duties of one's state in life is sufficient for salvation.  A Catholic, no matter what his background, should be able to be accepted and able to fit into the ordinary parish community.  One can always trust the Church but remember her ministers are only human and sometimes over-compensate and err on the side of caution, or worse, permissiveness.  Men will always dissappoint you.  Christ is for you and is faithful - even when we or his ministers are not.

That's all I need to say.


The Crucifixion by Altichiero da Zevio c.1380 Detail. 
The angels take the soul of the 'good thief'.


The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice. 
To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one's own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God's redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them. 
Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way. - Letter to Bishops 1986


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Is Mercy "a symptom of a feminized Church"?



Some Catholics seem to think so.

Maureen Mularkey did a post questioning "the integrity of the (Divine Mercy) devotion’s promulgation and the sensibility it encourages." Fr. Z happens to be one of those priests who are not attracted to the DM devotion, promulgated by his hero John Paul II. That's cool - Catholics are not obliged to believe in or follow private revelations or the devotions inspired by them. I know very good priests/bishop who has no attraction for the DM devotion and feast day. Nevertheless, the paintress (to use a Z-ism) who exploits drag queens in her art, has some strange things to say about the 'feminized' devotion.  Fr. Z sums up some of her concerns this way:

Namely… 
  • As anecdotal evidence goes, there seem to be more Catholics uneasy with the Faustina engine—fueled as it is on syrup—than I had expected.
  • My essay said nothing about feminized priests. It mentioned only the painting of a feminized Jesus, cloaked in a gauzy haze and drained of virility.
  • Faustina’s visions conjure a feminized Jesus—a kitchen table Jesus drained of masculinity; one who feels, who talks about his feelings as a woman would. Worse, He Who spoke the universe into existence speaks to Faustina in the phrasings of a dime novel. - Fr. Z

I never thought of devotion to the Precious Blood - and water flowing from the side of Christ as 'syrup'.

Mullarkey and Z-man are smart people.  They know the adage, "what is received is received according to the mode of the receiver."  Or at least they should know it - they seem to know everything. I'd also like to point out that even Faustina disliked the original image, and Christ assured her: "Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace." That said, most private revelations between nuns and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are usually expressed in sweetly emotional terms, if not coupled with somewhat dramatic, heartrending laments. Jesus has often repeated how deeply his heart is wounded because of our lack of trust in his mercy. I'm quite certain even in his colloquies with Margaret Mary he expressed himself in that tone. He certainly did so with Consolata Betrone and Benigna Consolata Ferrero. He may continue to speak this way if the locutions to one priest I know of are authentic. I think of his weeping over Jerusalem and lamenting he would like to gather his people under his wings like a mother hen. I can just image the big eye-roll his disciples gave him then, huh? What about the complaint in the garden because the disciples were sleeping? Geez. Gimme a break!

"The soul gets exactly what it expects of God."
- Therese of Lisieux


When the world has grown cold, people seem not to believe in love and mercy. 

I wonder why?  St. Therese had to contend with those who criticized her little way and especially her confidence in the merciful love of God.  Therese, reluctant to debate or argue a point, once explained to one of the nuns who opposed her 'doctrine' that was just fine,  "Sister, if you want divine justice, you will get divine justice. The soul gets exactly what it expects of God."

For those who want a more manly Church, a more manly Jesus, and a more severe mercy, let them embrace great penance and mortification then.  Let them sell their possessions and live in a dump.  Let them give up luxury and live like an alien, an immigrant.  If they think the Church after Vatican II is all about being 'nice', 'feminized' and 'sentimental', let them think that and let them show the world how hard it is to be a Christian.

It is striking that the man who promoted the Divine Mercy devotion and elevated it to a feast, as well as canonized St. Faustina, was so not a feminized man - the complete opposite.  He was a virile pope and now a saint.  Or are his devotees now tougher on him?  Some traditionalists seem to be rethinking their devotion to JPII and Benedict XVI in light of VII documents such as Nostra Aetate.  Perhaps this mercy stuff can get trashed now as well?

Interestingly enough, there is one mystic Jesus was pretty rough on, although he pretty much just humiliated her and called her names, and yet still appealed for the love and devotion and trust of mankind in his merciful love.

“Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I Love you all... I will wash you in My Blood and you shall be made whiter than snow. All of your offences will be submerged in the waters in which I myself shall wash you, nor shall anything whatsoever be able to tear from My Heart its Love for you." - Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez


A bunch of Mullarkey.

This is curious... Lord Acton may have been gay.

“Power tends to corrupt 
and absolute power corrupts absolutely. "


A virile aesthete-dandy...

It's gay pride month and they are all gathered in Grand Rapids MI for Acton University 2017 ... how ironic.

I was just researching Acton U and Lord Acton and made the discovery, albeit strongly contested, I'm sure.  Acton knew Waugh who wrote Brideshead - which has been a topic of conversation on Facebook of late.  Waugh based his character Anthony Blanche partly on Acton.  Again the homosexual aspect may or may not be true.

Author A.N. Wilson remarked, "To call him homosexual would be to misunderstand the whole essence of his being" and that "He was more asexual than anything else" - Source

Yeah, I'm sure there is no truth to those rumors.

But so what?

Nothing to see here I'm sure - it just strikes me as ironic.  To be sure there could be no connection to the Acton Institute and Acton U.  I mean that.






Acton, I want to get some too ... song for this post here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Pope points out a couple of parish priests: Don Primo Mazzolari and Don Lorenzo Milani

Don Primo Mazzolari and Don Lorenzo Milani


It seems to me the Holy Father is definitely clear when speaks about priests.

I haven't heard about these two priests before, but the fact Pope Francis singles them out seems to me consistent with what he says when he speaks to priests and seminarians on the vocation to the priesthood.  Many criticize the Pope, and claim he is not supportive of priests, but his pilgrimage to the tombs of these priests suggests to me he very much loves priests and seminarians.

Don Mazzolari, the Pope said, conceived the Church going forth into world in the firm belief that that is the only way to reach out to those who do not come to Church any more.
“He was rightly described as ‘the parish priest of those who are far’ because he always loved those on the peripheries and to them dedicated his mission.
Pope Francis concluded his speech with an exhortation to all priests to “listen to the world”, to “step into the dark areas without fear because it is amongst the people that God’s mercy is incarnate.”
He urged them to live in poverty and said that the credibility of the Gospel message is in the simplicity and poverty of the Church and he reminded them always to treasure the lesson of Don Mazzolari. - VR

Recently some priests seem to have stepped into 'dark areas' and have been roundly criticized and condemned.  I often think of some of the Jesuits who did so courageously throughout the history of the Society of Jesus.  I think of St. Peter Claver, often criticized and the focus of suspicion, when he went to the docks and holds of ships to minister to slaves.  This seems to me what is meant when the Pope calls priests to step out of their comfort zone.

Lorenzo Milani, a man he has described as “a believer, enamored of the Church” a “passionate educator” who used “original ways.”
Milani, who died in 1967, is universally acknowledged for having been an optimum interpreter of modern and contemporary pedagogy, a priest attentive to formative methods for young people, and especially alert to the needs of the poor and the rights of workers.
Milani, the Pope said, taught the importance of giving the poor the capacity to speak up for themselves, because “without the word, there’s no dignity and therefore no justice or freedom”. 
A pilgrimage the Pope himself said was undertaken in the footsteps of two parish priests whose legacy he described as “scomodo” which means challenging or inconvenient, but that has left a radiant trace in their service to the Lord and to the people of God. - VR

My archdiocese is blessed with many generous, faithful priests - old and young.  Priests who have sacrificed their lives for the good of the Church and salvation of souls.  

Just try ...



Just try to love others.

Some thoughts from St. Therese ...
"You are wrong to criticize this or that, to desire that everybody should adopt your view of things. Since we want to be little children, little children do not know what is best. Everything seems right to them."
"We must never refuse anyone, even when it costs us much pain. Think that it is Jesus who is asking this service of you; how eager and friendly you will then be in granting the favor requested."
"I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors' defects--not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues."
"There is nothing sweeter than to think well of one’s neighbor."

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Bridge




A bridge has already been built ... stay on it.

I love the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.  When we are lost or confused we can turn to study the only book on earth worth studying, Jesus Christ crucified.  Everything is contained therein.  He is the Bridge ....

How this Bridge is built of stones which signify virtues; and how on the Bridge is a hostelry where food is given to the travelers; and how he who goes over the Bridge goes to life, while he who goes under It goes to perdition and death.

"This Bridge is built of stones, so that, if the rain come, it may not impede the traveler. Do you know what these stones are? They are the stones of true and sincere virtues. These stones were not built into the walls before the Passion of My Son, and therefore even those who attempted to walk by the road of virtue were prevented from arriving at their journey's end, because Heaven was not yet unlocked with the key of the Blood, and the rain of Justice did not let them pass; but, after the stones were made, and built up on the Body of My sweet Son, My Word, of whom I have spoken to you, He, who was Himself the Bridge, moistened the mortar for its building with His Blood. That is, His Blood was united with the mortar of divinity, and with the fortitude, and the fire of love; and, by My power, these stones of the virtues were built into a wall, upon Him as the foundation, for there is no virtue which has not been proved in Him, and from Him all virtues have their life. Wherefore no one can have the virtue given by a life of grace, but from Him, that is, without following the footsteps of His doctrine. He has built a wall of the virtues, planting them as living stones, and cementing them with His Blood, so that every believer may walk speedily, and without any servile fear of the rain of Divine justice, for he is sheltered by the mercy which descended from Heaven in the Incarnation of this My Son. How was Heaven opened? With the key of His Blood; so you see that the Bridge is walled and roofed with Mercy. His also is the Hostelry in the Garden of the Holy Church, which keeps and ministers the Bread of Life, and gives to drink of the Blood, so that My creatures, journeying on their pilgrimage, may not, through weariness, faint by the way; and for this reason My love has ordained that the Blood and the Body of My only-begotten Son, wholly God and wholly man, may be ministered to you. The pilgrim, having passed the Bridge, arrives at the door which is part of the Bridge, at which all must enter, wherefore He says: 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he who follows Me does not walk in darkness, but in light.' And in another place My Truth says, 'That no man can come to Me if not by Him,' and so indeed it is. Therefore He says of Himself that He is the Road, and this is the truth, and I have already shown you that He is a Road in the form of the Bridge. And He says that He is the Truth, and so He is, because He is united with Me who am the Truth, and he who follows Him, walks in the Truth, and in Life, because he who follows this Truth receives the life of grace, and cannot faint from hunger, because the Truth has become your food, nor fall in the darkness, because He is light without any falsehood. And, with that Truth, He confounded and destroyed the lie that the Devil told to Eve, with which he broke up the road to Heaven, and the Truth brought the pieces together again, and cemented them with His Blood. Wherefore, those who follow this road are the sons of the Truth, because they follow the Truth, and pass through the door of Truth and find themselves united to Me, who am the Door and the Road and at the same time Infinite Peace. - Dialogue 

"Manfully, then, should you follow this road, without any cloud of doubt, but with the light of faith which has been given you as a principle in Holy Baptism."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mass Chat: Fr. Jim Martin and his critics ...



And where do I fit in?

I don't.  His book isn't written for me.  What a relief.  That said, poor Fr. Jim has many critics condemning him - viciously in some comboxes.  Friendly fire takes aim because he doesn't talk about sex - homo-sex.  He talks about persons and people and how they define themselves and are rejected for that.  Pretty much.  (I just glanced outside and two sparrows are copulating.  Sex, sex, sex.  It's all about sex.)  Just to give Fr. Jim another break, I think he assumes the reader knows homosexuality is about sex - forbidden love, and all that entails, no pun intended.  I also think he assumed that the reader would know exactly what the Church teaches on homosexuality and that the Church doesn't approve of homosexual acts.  Just saying.  I can't read his mind like his critics seem to be able to do, but I think it reasonable.

Like I said, his book is not for me.  My interest in gay today is more about wondering why people are like that, and more to the point, why they are content with that - or not.  I'm very happy with Catholic teaching and I firmly believe all that the Church teaches, and I know that it can't be changed because it is truth.  The Church is my ark, my salvation, Christ is truly present, the sacraments ... it is and always has been enough for salvation.  Christ crucified is the only bridge I cling to.  I repeat that often.

It's even more interesting to me in view of the controversy which has brewed since Fr. Martin's book went out to reviewers, and by way of response (denunciation) to his promotional videos, lectures and signings.  I'm fascinated when reading the exceedingly judgmental comments, in addition to the usual hostile condemnations of Fr. Martin the priest, not just his book, but his POV, the Jesuits, with all of it dumped back on the laps of the wickedly gay friendly Vatican gay lobbyists, or whatever group one links to them.  It never gets old for the conspiracy theorists.  Everyone reacts and jumps to conclusions and get themselves all Church Militant about it.  Yeah, that's not for me either.

Over the years that I've been blogging I'm often surprised over the diversity of opinion on the homosexual condition and contemporary culture's acceptance and approval of it, and how all of that affects Catholics.  I thought I was the only one willing to give things up to be Catholic, then people came along to say otherwise, that I haven't given up enough, and the others insisting you can't even say gay, and that those who do can't be trusted, and so on.  The upshot has been - for me - that I can't really trust any single voice on the subject, and especially those who are gay - because they always seem to be changing their stance or allegiance to this author or that.  I'll return to that later.

"An overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good.” (CDF 1992 Letter)

There are some decent critiques on Fr. Jim's book BTW - good reviews on the whole, but the writers disagree with Fr. Jim on a couple points he 'left out'.  I mentioned it at the beginning of the post - sex.  Fr. Longenecker sums it up here:
Martin is right that people with same sex attraction should be met with compassion, respect and sensitivity, but it is surprising that he doesn’t mention the difficult call to celibacy that Catholicism expects. Eve Tushnet, herself a gay person, points this out in a sensitive and thoughtful review of Martin’s book. - Crux
I'm not going to list all the positive reviews which also criticize Fr. Martin's oversight, except to say that at one time poor Eve Tushnet was ostracized or nearly condemned because she says gay, she says queer - and seems to like that special world.  I'm over simplifying that - but those who know who she is, as well as those acquainted with the Spiritual Friendship group and their writings, know what I'm talking about.  They were given the name the New Homophiles.  Perhaps Eve's critique of Fr.'s book will now endear her to those who have spent a fair amount of time and ink criticizing her.  Homophiles aren't particularly focused upon the origins of homosexual inclination, which, as the catechism says; 'Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.'  They have no need to know.

Now that I don't understand, except for the fact that to study the question necessarily connects one to the language the Church uses to explain why homosexual acts cannot be approved.  Language is the obstacle and the point of contention in every discussion on the subject - pro or con.  Once again, I want to affirm, the language in the Catechism is not offensive to me, nor do I understand how it can be to others - if and when they are used correctly.  I don't know that it's a sin to be uncomfortable with the language, and I never heard it was a sin to use terms like gay or queer.  It is my understanding the Church simply calls people to live chastely.  Again, open your catechism and read what the Church teaches:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - CCC

Taking risks: "Moving forward on this road is somewhat risky, but it is the only road to maturity, to leave behind the times in which we are not mature." - P. Francis


Then there is Dr. Janet Smith.  She's been criticized as being 'too soft' on gays as well.  Remember Joseph Prever's talk and her support of him?  Maybe you don't.  She was challenged and though not exactly condemned, very much criticized - and she's a 'good guy'.  One can be tossed around online depending on the which way the wind blows, which makes the gay vs. ssa debate so tiresome and downright creepy at times.  I have often said one can't trust gay people, because of their changeability and more pointedly, because their loyalties tend to vary.  Especially if they are religious and try very hard to live up to the expectations of others.  My experience with gay friends has been disappointing at best.  As for 'gay-Catholic' friends, I'm not sure I have any.

I found something really fascinating today on Facebook - Janet Smith linked to an essay by Joseph Sciambra commenting on Brideshead Revisited.  At one time Sciambra was kind of weird to many online, his story is rather bizarre and far from the experience of most gay people I've ever known.  (BTW - Sciambra criticized and pretty much has taken down Tushnet, Janet Smith, Joe Prever, et alia over the years.)  Nevertheless, Joseph Sciambra is an excellent writer - I always say to myself when reading him, 'is this the same guy who wrote about demons flying out of his butt?'  He amazes me, he really is a profound thinker and excellent writer.

I especially liked what he wrote about Brideshead, and Sebastian Flyte.  His insight to Sebastian's character and defects, and even the genesis of his homosexuality, is brilliant.  His commentary on the fickleness of the homosexual temperament is something I have always tried to put into words in my writing.  Joseph nails it.  It's some of the best stuff I've ever read on Waugh's novel.  I'll reprint an excerpt:

"When we realize that we have once again been duped ...
In many ways, I have often thought of myself, and many of those who once believed in the false succor of homosexuality, as a kind of Sebastian Flyte. It’s as if hunger and thirst, and our wandering in the desert, heightened our sense of smell and we could then sniff out the presence of buried water. We had vainly sucked at the dry tit of men and our incessant screams for nourishment brought with it an essential appreciation for the full bellied satisfaction we receive from the hearty words of truth. Without it, we know that we are once again reduced to scrambling for crumbs. Hence, we tend to huddle about certain priests, religious, parishes, chapels, and shrines where the fare is bountiful.
However, in many of us, there is an incessant draw back towards the empty promises of homosexuality. It’s the well offering water that leaves us thirsty, but we keep returning to it. For some, this setback from chastity takes place when we seek out the enveloping warmth of another man’s arms. In others, it’s the temporary intoxicating effects of gay pornography. When we inevitably return to partial sobriety, we come to our senses and begin to stumble back towards Christ. As Cordelia predicted would become a cycle in the life of her brother, we collapse at the gate of the monastery and ring the bell hoping the porter will hear us; sometimes we are laying unconscious, yet our bodies are discovered and dragged inside to the infirmary. Every time, the doors is always opened to us. Often, I have experienced this unwillingness to stay within the cloister garden of God. Although, my wounds are tended to and healing, from the monastery window I can see the expansive desert beyond the wall and for a few moments the blistering undulating heat-waves of a mirage bend into the image of an oasis. And I go there. We stay for awhile, blissfully splashing in the imaginary pool. Then, we dip our hands into the crystalline blue water only to taste hot sand upon our lips. The flesh begins to burn, our tongue swells and we long for the comforting refreshment of home.
Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for many years, we hear a whispering voice tumbled upon the wind and dust slightly pushing up against the outside walls of our sanctuary. Unable to resist, we open the doors and proceed to follow it; wherever that may go. When we realize that we have once again been duped, we rush to bath ourselves and rinse the dirt of shame from our body. We beg forgiveness and begin again. It seems as if we are trapped, between two worlds.
When Christ saved me from the near inevitability of death, He found my abandoned corpse on the wayside. He threw me over His shoulder and carried my near lifeless body to a place of healing and safety. Less than a year later, I was staying at a Benedictine Monastery in France. - A Twitch Upon a Thread
Aloysius with Sebastian and Charles.
Aloysius thought Charles was an opportunist.
He was quite jealous of Charles. 
What?


Conclusion.

Isn't that wonderful writing from Joseph Sciambra?  His insight is so profound here, I'm really amazed.  I am not flattering him nor seeking any kind of affirmation from him or others for myself - but it is a worthwhile consideration, and I hope people will read this essay.  I never studied Brideshead in school, I'm simply acquainted with the films and the novel, so maybe all of this has been researched before?  I don't know.

For me, I like trying to understand myself and others.  Where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going?  That stuff.  I tend to be very trusting, which is ironic since I'm always disappointed in others, and I in turn always tell people to be careful who they trust.  But I know from experience we can never put our trust in men, as the Scriptures tell us repeatedly.  Men are easily seduced by flattery and praise and become blind to their own faults, and when down and out, they will listen to anyone who is kind to them - or agrees with them.

In conclusion, I want to repeat something I posted a day or so ago, concerning our zeal in trying to persuade others to come into the Church, to accept Catholic teaching, or to use threats to correct others:

“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

Today is the feast of Matt Talbot.  He worked out his salvation reliant on Christ.  He's a great example for those of us who are alone and afflicted and have no one but God.

A single man.
Chaste and celibate
and sober.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Giovanni Gasparro


"The Son of man will be given over into the hands of sinful men."


I think I mentioned once or twice how I often ponder those words of Our Lord when I approach Holy Communion, which is why I always ask Our Lady to receive Him for me.  In thanksgiving, I also think of 1 John: "... what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have touched... the word of life."  What a thrill it is for me to be able to touch our Lord - the word made flesh - and to receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.