Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Return of the Spanish Inquisition ...

Archbishop Luis Ladaria SJ

Very good news.

A Jesuit is named to head the CDF.  Yay!  Him loves Jesuits.
Born in Manacor, on the Spanish island of Majorca, Archbishop Ladaria is known to be a kind, affable and theologically conservative prelate who has a special interest in patristics, the branch of theology that deals with the lives, writings, and doctrines of the early Christian theologians. 
On being appointed by Benedict XVI as Secretary to the CDF in 2008, he gave an interview with the magazine 30Giorni in which he said “it doesn’t take much effort to find out the relevance of the Fathers of the Church” whose work we must “read and savor” to be “better able to approach the freshness of the Gospel message, Jesus.” He said that is of “permanent value rather than something tied to what is topical, which by its nature is variable, changing minute by minute.” 
He also said he does not like “extremisms, either progressive, or traditionalist ones” but believes “there is a via media” which is the “correct path to take, even if each of us has his own peculiarities, because, thanks be to God, we do not repeat, we are not clones.”
In the same interview, he underlined the role of the CDF which is first about “promoting and then, if necessary, protecting” the faith. He added that the Congregation “always moves with discretion and speaks exclusively through its acts.” - Pentup Edward

Summer In The Forest. Lose yourself to find your heart ...

‘Jean Vanier is a man who loves us very much. 
He loves me very much. He taught me about calm.’
- Michel Petit, L'Arche

Living with loss...
‘We all live with loss. It’s inevitable. We begin, most of us, by being loved totally when we’re born — then we enter into a world of loss, a mystery of loss. Every time you lose a job, or something precious, or there’s death, there’s loss. We cannot live without this movement of loss and gain. But some people are so frightened of loss, they are just scared stiff of loss.’
‘You can’t escape it,’ said Jean Vanier, gently. ‘In the end, you even lose what you feel is yourself. We all do. There’s a beauty in that. There’s a beauty even in something like Alzheimer’s, because it is a cry. It’s not a disaster, it’s a cry for a one-to-one.’ - Jean Vanier interview on the documentary, Summer in the Forest.

Today I am reminded of my experience last Sunday at Mass.

“If we are to grow in love, the prisons of our egoism must be unlocked. This implies suffering, constant effort and repeated choices.” - Jean Vanier

SUMMER IN THE FOREST (2017) OFFICIAL TRAILER from Summer In The Forest on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why bother? AI Art.

Art for the AI generation
Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Rutgers University

Why bother?

I was going to do a post about art after coming home from Target the other day.  They sell art - paintings - painted in China.  At least I think it's China.  You can have anything copied in China, and online retailers can arrange that or simply sell knock offs, while others like Pier One Imports and Target sell original art - sofa size paintings at affordable, even cheap prices.  

In fact, recently I saw a piece painted by an acquaintance which reminded me of some of the Target and Pier One original paintings I've come across lately.  His work would sell for much more than the 'designer' art which seems to be flooding the market.  Designer catalogs offer similar art comparable to emerging and famous artist's paintings found at an art show or gallery.  Which means, some day there will be a lot of art floating around which may or may not be anything more than 'decorator art'.

Now there is Artificial Intelligence work to compete with.

Why bother?  I wonder how much of my stuff has ended up trashed or in a garage sale, or gessoed over for someone else to paint for a school project?  I saw a piece at an antique dealer once - an icon being sold as a Russian work.  Then of course, there is my Fatima icon that looks to have been painted over and claimed as an original by the 'icon writer'.  

Why bother?

I may burn everything I have left.

This is good ... something about sentimentality and the approval of ... you know.

The sentimental fool don't see ...

Some people question my responses to issues related to LGBTQ.  That's fine.  It can get frustrating because people on the right and left and in the middle seem not to trust anyone who doesn't condemn or endorse or say what they are supposed to say to those who want to hear what they think you should say.  Does that make sense?  Many ssa-gay people go through life conflicted about Catholic teaching in relation to social acceptance anyway.  Some make it through that labyrinth, some think they have made it through, only to be pulled back in.  That's life.

One very sane voice in the discussion is Dan Mattson - whose book I am still reading.  I found a post online where Dan discusses How Sentimentality Leads Young Catholics Astray - some of them at least - and their Catholic parents and friends too - but parents especially.  Citing sentimentality is also something I had written about Fr. James Martin's new book Building A Bridge - his point of view, or offering of pastoral care seems to me to be motivated by genuine charity, yet somewhat tainted by an inordinate affection more or less rooted in a sentimental concern for a person's material happiness and emotional well being, rather than the truth about authentic love and God's plan for mankind.  I have written that his book is not for me, it doesn't speak for me, and so on.  A woman online more or less called me a hypocrite for that.  I can't win for losing.  LOL!

What a fool believes ...

I'm not a moral theologian, but the acceptance of ss marriage and the approval of homosexual acts, which I am against, is a sentiment often expressed by parents or friends who say they just want their loved ones to be happy, not lonely, and so on.  Nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to the approval of homosexual acts and ss marriage, that's not love.  In our day, sexual freedom and choice - e.g. lust, is mistaken for love.  Anyway, this is what I meant when I wrote that the conversation Fr. Martin started with his book is based upon a sentimental concept of love.  As Cardinal Sarah has said, "we mistreat souls by depriving them of the true teaching of the doctrine regarding God, regarding man, and the fundamental values of human existence."

When lust is mistaken for love, it has very unhappy consequences, as Garrigou-Lagrange notes, "From lust proceeds: Spiritual blindness, poor judgment, impetuosity, inconstancy, love of self even to hatred of God, attachment to the present life which destroy hope of eternal life."

Dan Mattson expresses it more intelligibly than I can - but I expressed my thoughts above to try and explain myself - to at least one blogger who believes my critique of Fr. Jim Martin's book was a condemnation of him.  It's not.  Though I disagree with him, I still respect him and would go to him for sacramental care.  As I have said before, his POV is a sort of rehash of Fr. John McNeil's works, and as we know, falls in line with the erroneous opinions of Jean Gramick and New Ways Ministry and so on.  I feel bad about that.

What's so bad about sentimentality?

The problem here, I believe, derives from a failure in catechesis. 
In the fight for the right to life, emotional appeals have proven invaluable, yet appeals to emotion are insufficient guides to moral truth. Many attribute the increase in young people’s pro-life sentiments to advances in ultrasound technology that clearly reveal to the eyes of young people that the child in the womb is, in actuality, a child. 
Here, they see reality clearly, and many young Catholics embrace the pro-life movement because they rightly see abortion as snuffing out the life of an innocent baby. The same sentiments, however, guide many of them in their consideration of the Church’s teaching on same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption.
Many pro-life teenagers at my talks have questioned the Church’s teaching on same-sex adoption for the same reason they hold pro-life views: they believe it is cruel and mean to children when the Church is opposed to adopting children to same-sex couples.

Why would the Church deny children loving parents, and keep them in foster homes, when two men or two women desire to love them and provide a home for them? And why would the Church deny two people from sharing their lives together? 
They cannot imagine that the Church’s invitation to chastity for men and women with same-sex attraction is an invitation to a better quality of life than same-sex relationships.
Man is a curious creature: he can only imagine ever being happy in the way he’s ever imagined he could be happy. For most young people, happiness looks like some form of marriage, or family, and they have a hard time understanding the stories of men and women like me who found the promises of the “gay rights” movement to be empty mirages. - Mattson

Tears of Our Lady of Sodak.

I went out to pray my rosary and the chaplet after a rainstorm and noticed Our Lady's icon had drops left upon it that looked like tears.  One tear on her cheek, one in her eye, one upon the cheek of the Infant Jesus.  The tears were dried after I finished my prayers, except for the tear which filled Our Lady's eye.

I left the makeshift arch which supported
frost covers for the young plants in early spring.
Morning Glories should cover it
and create a sort of grotto.  
All the flowers in the garden
are blue this year for OL of Fatima.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Okay then - I didn't say it, Bishop Paprocki said it.

CWR: Fr. James Martin, SJ, has complained (on his Facebook page) that this decree is “discrimination” against people with same-sex attraction because it does not include heterosexuals who commit sin or non-sexual sins. Additionally, relating to people in same-sex “marriages” receiving Holy Communion, he recently told The New York Times, “Pretty much everyone’s lifestyle is immoral.” How do you respond?
Bishop Paprocki: Father Martin gets a lot wrong in those remarks.  Everyone is a sinner, but not everyone is living an immoral lifestyle.  Since we are all sinners, we are all called to conversion and repentance.  He misses the key phrase in the decree that ecclesiastical funeral rites are to be denied to persons in same-sex “marriages” “unless they have given some signs of repentance be­fore their death.”  This is a direct quote from canon 1184 of the Code of Canon Law, which is intended as a call to repentance.  Jesus began his public ministry proclaiming the Gospel of God with these words: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  Applying this biblical teaching to the specific issue of funeral rites, people who had lived openly in same-sex “marriage,” like other manifest sinners that give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they have given some signs of repentance before their death.
Father Martin’s comments do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion.  He is right that the Church’s teaching does not apply only to people in same-sex “marriages.” According to canon 916, all those who are “conscious of grave sin” are not to receive Holy Communion without previous sacramental confession.  This is normally not a question of denying Holy Communion, but of people themselves refraining from Holy Communion if they are “conscious of grave sin.”  While no one can know one’s subjective sinfulness before God, the Church can and must teach about the objective realities of grave sin.  Speaking objectively, one can say, for example, that all those who have sexual relations outside of valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.  This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment, as is well known from all the recent media attention on that issue. - Full interview here.

Crazy mood today ... and every thing cracks me up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Oh - now I get it. Sorry Maureen Mullarkey.

I have to shut up and do more homework before I post.

I mentioned last week that painter, Maureen Mullarkey exploited drag queens in her art.  I thought she really liked the Pride parade and its carnival atmosphere.  Today I went to her blog to read in context her much touted quote, seemingly in praise of the Gay Pride parade: "an erotic celebration loosed for a day to keep us all mindful that Dionysus is alive, powerful and under our own porch."  Yep, she said it, and it was used against her in the court of public opinion, when gay activists went after her (in a mean, threatening way) because she was a contributor and supporter of Prop 8 and very much against gay marriage.  I should know what that's like BTW - which explains why I no longer have gay friends, but I digress.

Mullarkey, as I've said before, has some very interesting thoughts on art, and I do like her work.  I've said that already.  Her interest in the Pride event, and all things celebrating gay is explained on her blog, an excerpt reprinted for the reader's convenience here:

To make sense of this, backspace to the early '90s and a series of paintings I exhibited called Guise & Dolls. It was a singular body of work based on images from New York's annual carnival, the gay pride parade. I could have used a New Orleans Mardi Gras or Munich's Fasching, but Manhattan was closer. At times funny and poignant, the parade was also—in the age of AIDS—tinged with sexual danger. The spectacle of it made a splendid analogy to the medieval danse macabre.
Festive misrule and the politics of carnival, deeply rooted in cultural history, are a compelling motive for painting. Think of Bruegel the Elder's Fight Between Carnival and Lent. The flamboyant Dionysian heart of the gay pride parade was the subject of Guise & Dolls, not homosexuality itself and certainly not any policy agenda. A public event free for the watching, it is staged to provoke audience response. I responded with a suite of paintings; they bore no relation to my prior or subsequent work. All suggestion that I "make a living on the back of the gay community," as my mail insisted, was a hysterical fantasy brewed in the grievance industry's fever swamp. - MM

I totally get that and appreciate her homage to medieval danse macabre, the fight between Carnival and Lent, or if I can phrase it in more contemporary terms, "conflict between neo-Calvinism and Catholic reform."  It makes sense now.

My sincere apologies to Ms. Mullarkey for misunderstanding her intentions and work.  I regret having criticized her for that.

Although I still think Jim Gaffigan deserves a pass as well.  Perhaps he thought of the event as 'entertainment' or 'performance art'?

Caution: Due to the graphic nature of Mullarkey's art, I'm setting a break so that her image will appear only after the break.  It's a fine painting, but the subject matter is extremely disturbing and not suitable for children or persons suffering from SSA or gender dysphoria.  It could cause violent reactions in people suffering from PTSD and/or very manly men.

Should Catholics Boycott Jim Gaffigan?

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Should Gaffigan and his wife be denied Communion?

Canon 915 and all.  It must be enforced.  Maybe their kids should be removed from their care, many are aghast because their kids wore Pride shirts and carried Pride flags which mean serious intent to defy Catholic teaching and publicly dissent by attending a Pride parade in NYC?  Maybe not though.
There has been a discussion on Facebook, and evidently Catholics cannot support Jim Gaffigan any longer.  I'm not a fan or follower - but I guess many Catholics have been big fans of his humor because he's Catholic, and like Colbert, that's part of his schtickt.  Just like Fr. James Martin wished everyone a happy Pride day - these comedians did too.  Vincible ignorance or outright dissent?  I don't know.

A Catholic theologian in a bubble took great offense at the Gaffigan tweet.  Mothers with children are once again afraid to leave the house and condemn parents who bring their kids to Pride.  I really do get that.  I'd never go myself and if I had kids I wouldn't dream of exposing them to that.  Actually, I wouldn't let them watch Disney films or television, or take them to Disney World either.

I've never been to a gay Pride parade.  I do not like parades.  I never liked parades or the circus, and that's kind of what Pride is anyway.  I went to a Pride celebration in a park downtown with some friends years ago, but it didn't interest me and seemed really tacky.  To be honest I am a great big homophobe - I hate myself.  I have never been happy with any label, and I especially hate the gay label - so I'm definitely homophobic.  However, people who use those terms don't scare me - those who call me gay or homophobic - that doesn't bother me - well, maybe a little.  People that do so usually want nothing to do with me - or the Catholic Church.  I have been, can be, or could be friends with them, but they don't like it when I don't socialize with them.  I know - so how is that being a friend?  I don't know.  Stealing a line from Carlo Carretto, all I can say is: "Those who believe that they can speak of what is in the depths of their own soul betray their own inexperience."  I'm helpless.

You can't say gay or identify as gay, but you can say Jesus Loves Gay People.

Same sex attracted evangelical Catholics can do that, because they are quick to tell them they are not really gay.  I guess.  But Jim Gaffigan says gay and jokes about his 'gay children' and he must be condemned - or at least be held accountable and explain himself because he was at the Pride parade.  I doubt he sees it that way.  But I don't know him.

We all know that in major urban areas Catholic parishes actually participate in Pride parades - many Catholics in the pews think it's just fine, as do their pastors.  Gay friendly parishes exist and bishops say nothing.  Cardinal Tobin recently celebrated Mass with New Ways Ministry.  James Martin just wrote a book on building a bridge.  (See why people are confused?)

In NYC Catholic Militants went nuts when gay participants were permitted to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade.  They condemn that, and condemn gays when they get their own parade, and condemn Catholics for attending.  Gaffigan is an entertainer, an ordinary Catholic, Catholics see the welcome wagons out and yet they're condemned if they extend a welcoming hand?

So Jesus loves Gay People, but Catholics don't?  I know what's going on.  I really do.  We hate the sin but love the sinner.  And you can't say gay after you get them in church.  You can go to the Pride parade if you hand out holy cards and evangelize.  Pope Francis would even approve.  I see how that works.  Nevertheless, what I'm saying is, see how that looks to non-religious people, or fallen away people who already think God hates them even though you tell them he loves gay people but they are not gay and can't use the word?

I know.  I'm wrong.  I'm all over the place on this and I don't even know why I join in on these conversations.  And it doesn't matter what I say.  


Thomas Peters has a very good post on why it is wrong for Christians to participate in these activities, or endorse the events themselves, pointing out how they tend to be inherently anti-Christian, and especially anti-Catholic.  Frequently drag queens portray Our Lady in an offensive manner, or they perform some sort of sexualized simulation of Christ, while 'gay' saints can be represented in the 'festivities'.  Peters acknowledges that many ordinary people may not be aware of these activities, or simply naive about how participation in the outward show of support is ignorant of the fact the Pride phenomenon is in effect an out and out protest against Judeo-Christian moral teaching.

Some Christians are, I grant, unaware of the full implications of what they are doing, but whether they mean to do something contrary to the faith or not, it is still a public act that implies endorsement of several anti-Christian positions. - Peters

See, that's a reasonable, sensible, calm approach to the issue.  It's why I said people need to give Gaffigan a break in the first place.

That said, Thomas Peters short essay makes the best point for not waving a Pride flag I've read in long time.  I hope everyone reads it - especially the bishops and priests who have an all too benevolent attitude upon the homosexual condition itself:

Today, something similar, I suggest, is being tried with the “rainbow flag” of the LGBT movement. Waving the flag, identifying with it, and participating in the public parades staged by gay activists all convey an agreement with an agenda that, at its heart, contradicts and denies, among other things, the teachings of Christ and His Church about the nature and destiny of the human person. - Thomas Peters

Waving a rainbow flag is no longer a neutral act.  Works for me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

"We are fools on Christ’s account, but the super Catholics are wise in Christ; we are weak, but they are strong; they are held in honor, but we in disrepute."

And what are bricks worth anyway? 
What matters is the promise of Christ, 
what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, 
which is the Holy Spirit. 
Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church 
with such poorly molded bricks as are we. 
- Carlo Carretto

Brick by brick ...

After Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and the writings of John of the Cross, one of the first contemporary spiritual writers I read after my conversion was Carlo Carretto and his book, The God Who Comes.  The book literally seized me and ignited a great devotion to prayer, while remaining in the world, as they say.  The urban desert.  Fortunately, I had a wonderful spiritual director at the time, a very practical man.  He warned me away from the 'Wanderer' types and those who rejected everything written after 1960.  He watched me make mistakes, and was there to help me learn from them.  But anyway.

Little Brother Carlo sounded a lot like Pope Francis.  Back in the day I was told to 'be careful' of his writings.  His little book was like my very first "Philokalia" on my pilgrimage.  Today's readings reminded me of that: "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land I will show you."  I'm still on that journey.

Carretto was a prophet in my life - in my journey.  His words, so completely simple echoed God's will for my life.  Yesterday at Mass I experienced a sort of epiphany, I suppose.  Hard to explain.  I like to think, 'I found my place - at the end of the line.'  I'm reminded of St. Paul's admonition, "'Associate with the lowly' - because that is what you are."
“We often fail to realize the depth of evil, terrifying as it is. I am not speaking only of the selfishness of the wealthy, heaping up riches for themselves, or of those who sacrifice to achieve their self-selected goals. Or of the dictator who breathes in the incense due only to God. I am speaking of the selfishness of good people, devout people, those who have succeeded through spiritual exercises and self-denial in being able to make the proud profession before the altar of the Most High, “Lord, I am not like the rest of men.” Yes, we have had the audacity at certain times of our lives to believe we are different from other men. And here is the deepest form of self-deception, dictated by self-centeredness at its worst: spiritual egotism. This most insidious form of egotism even uses piety and prayer for its own gain.” - Little Brother Carlo

Echoes of our Holy Father Francis.

"Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father's house." - Psalm 45

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mass chat: What a bunch of Mullarkey ... redux.

"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."

I wrote that after reading Maureen Mullarkey's ridiculous essay on Divine Mercy as an effeminate devotion.  The very manly gun-toting Fr. Z chimed in with his two cents which didn't help.  Another feminist lady took offense to Fr. Z's POV, but pretty much gave Mullarkey a free pass.  What is wrong with these people?  What is wrong with me that I respond?

The Catholic feminist to whom Z-man actually responded to, made one very good observation  - that the Church herself is feminine since she is the Bride of Christ.  That is true - read John of the Cross and you understand the soul is referred to in feminine terms as well - male mystics even speak in those terms - as the bride.  Even in the Old Testament God reveals himself as Israel's husband.  The thing is, there is a difference between feminine and effeminate.  Effeminacy is a vice.  Which makes Mullarkey's point of view that the Divine Mercy devotion is effeminate perhaps even worse.  But I digress.  If only Mullarkey could savor and abide by - with the same determination of donning a mantilla for Mass - St. Paul's admonition that women should not be teachers or have authority, seeing she is so concerned about an effeminate Church.  (Actually it surprises me that a consistently misogynist cleric such as Fr. Z would give Mullarkey any credence at all.)

Is the vice of effeminacy pervasive in the Church?

Who am I to judge?  Yet the abandonment of one's vocation comes to mind as one major sign of effeminacy - even more significant than the wearing of lovely capes and living with comfy furnishings, delighting in delicate food and drink, luxury and leisure.  An “effeminate man is one who withdraws from good on account of sorrows caused by lack of pleasures, yielding as it were to a weak motion.”  And some priests leave ministry because it's hard to be a priest and persevere until death.

It has nothing to do with conversing at a kitchen table with a woman, speaking about things of the heart - and the role of Divine Mercy in our eternal salvation.  The Medieval mystics such as Julian of Norwich enjoyed homely and familiar exchanges with Christ.  Yet Mullarkey makes fun of St. Faustina's visions, claiming they "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."

They want tough Church Militant types then?  Manly combat rosaries?  A severe judge?

Then what about corporal penances - how do we do with all that sort of manly stuff?  Perhaps the holster for one's gun is too tight or digs into your fatty side and causes discomfort?  That's a good one.  Offered up, it maybe helps to combat the vice of delicacy.  How about living as a refugee or immigrant when you vacation or travel?  Just for a day, maybe?  Or just for one flight delayed, how about not bitching about it?  St. Faustina lived a life of obedience and constant mortification, according to a somewhat rigid horarium in a convent.  That was not an easy life in Poland.

Mullarkey complains, "A feminized Church is a weak institution. It puts soft devotions ahead of the Cross."  Really?  The devotion to DM is devotion to the Passion and Death of Christ.  She's really screwed up in her thinking here.  She just doesn't know.  So the Church is a weak institution?  Well who wants to live in an institution?  Seriously, I'd say that is actually a good thing, since the Church more closely resembles her spouse.  As St. Paul said, "Christ's power is perfected in weakness."

The effeminate doth protest too much, methinks.

Saint Faustina: "Oh, how sweet it is to toil for God and souls! I want no respite in this battle, but I shall fight to the last breath for the glory of my King and Lord. I shall not lay the sword aside until He calls me before His throne; I fear no blows, because God is my shield. It is the enemy who should fear us, and not we him. Satan defeats only the proud and the cowardly, because the humble are strong. Nothing will confuse or frighten a humble soul. I have directed my flight at the very center of the sun's heat, and nothing can lower its course. Love will not allow itself to be taken prisoner, it is free like a queen. Love attains God." - diary, p.199