Saturday, July 15, 2017

A lovely condolence from Pope Benedict read at the funeral Mass of Cardinal Meisner Saturday ...

Read by Archbishop Ganswein at today's funeral Mass. 
"What struck me particularly in the last conversations with the Cardinal, now gone home, was the natural cheerfulness, the inner peace and the assurance he had found. We know that it was hard for him, the passionate shepherd and pastor of souls, to leave his office, and this precisely at a time when the Church had a pressing need for shepherds who would oppose the dictatorship of the zeitgeist, fully resolved to act and think from a faith standpoint. Yet I have been all the more impressed that in this last period of his life he learned to let go, and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck."  - Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict noted that Cardinal Meisner was most edified and consoled by how "young people, above all young men, came to experience the mercy of forgiveness, the gift, in effect to have found life, which only God can give them" in the Sacrament of Penance.

Connected to that, the second source of his assurance, "which again and again touched and made him happy, was the perceptible increase in Eucharistic adoration."

Though the retired Pope's comment concerning the Church appearing to be near the point of capsizing is stunning and sobering at the same time, his directing our attention to the Truth that Christ does not leave his Church is all the more consoling, as well as his indication that our stability and salvation is to be found in the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist.  The one is necessary to the other.  That is clear.  And more deeply, "the fact that a person cannot eat this bread as just some sort of nourishment, and that to “receive” the Lord in the Eucharistic Sacrament includes all the dimensions of our existence – that receiving has to be worship, something which has in the meantime become increasingly clearer."

This is a great consolation and assurance.

Stella Maris, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Haifa, Israel
(OL of Arabia is also modeled after this statue.)

While in choir at the Charterhouse in Vermont I imagined seeing Our Lady as she appears in this photo - it seemed to me to be a consolation and assurance of her protection after I was told I didn't have a vocation.  Just Christian.  Once I accepted that, I began to understand myself.

The toties quoties originally began at noon on the 15th of July, extending until Midnight on the actual Feast of Mt. Carmel.  I'm not sure if that remains in effect.  For certain, a plenary indulgence may be gained on July 16 by visiting a Carmelite chapel, and praying the usual prayers for the Holy Father, as well as the Creed, an Our Father, and the Hail Mary. Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is ancient and very much connected to the Prophet Elijah. In later times, the Scapular of Mt. Carmel was given to St. Simon Stock. It is one of the most richly indulgenced sacramentals in the Church and is considered the sign of one's consecration to the Blessed Virgin.

At Fatima Our Lady showed herself as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel during the miracle of the sun.  There are intriguing parallels on that account to the Prophet Elijah in his confrontation with the pagan priests on Carmel, and calling down fire from heaven.  Because of that, it lends an apocalyptic nuance to the final vision of Fatima.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fr. Z says it like it's a bad thing.

No doubt there are Catholics who dislike Jesuits - @AntonioSpadaro, Jesuit-run Civiltà Cattolica ...

Several Catholics seem to be upset with the most recent Civilta article for its criticism of the United States,  “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism”.

Fr. Z obviously does not like Fr. Spadaro, S.J., and more than once has referenced his study of the late Italian author Pier Vittorio Tondelli, as if it was a bad thing.

The vicious attack piece is penned by Fr Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit editor of Inciviltà cattolica. Fr. Spadaro is so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE). - Z

 Tondelli died a holy death - he repented of his former way of life, embraced chastity, declaring it 'a mystic virtue' and died in the Lord - receiving the sacraments and a Catholic funeral.

Speaking about chastity after his conversion, Tondelli called it “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”” - Catholic News Agency

So much could be said about Fr. Z's attitude here.

Although, I have already said enough - I don't need to repeat myself - go here instead:  Fr. Z on Fr. Spadaro.

"There are going to be good responses to this attack on Americans and our nation by the Argentinian Presbyterian and the Jesuit expert on Tondelli."

Huh?  Attack on Americans and our nation?  The Jesuit expert on Tondelli?

I will repeat this however.  Catholics online can be mudslingers - just like politicians.  This type of jock-seminarian shaming explains why many priests can be less than willing to promote Courage or sign on as spiritual directors. Years ago when I tried to find priests to help persuade the local ordinary to establish a Courage chapter here, the priests I spoke to sought to preserve their reputations and wouldn't get involved. They didn't want to be labeled as gay or gay friendly.

These days there are angry priests online, often with an ax to grind. Perhaps thrown out of 'liberal' seminary, or kicked off the faculty of a Catholic university, they remain angry, often cloaking their bitterness in traditional vestments and clerical-wear they know will goad Novus Ordo bishops. Believe me when I tell you that.  Others may even hide behind traditional piety - cloak and dagger style. It's a great way to legally and boldly one-up their 'liberal' superiors and critics and gain donations and support - and kudos - from the very traditional and influential. When they resort to gossip and mudslinging - they are careful to stop just short of public defamation, detraction and calumny - to avoid reprisal from their local ordinaries. They know who they are.  Do not trust them. Not. At. All.

Vietato Lamentarsi and St. John of the Cross: "He who complains isn't even a good Christian."

"Complaining not allowed," reads the sign, 
found at the door of Pope Francis's private room 
in the Santa Marta residence. (Credit: Vatican Insider.)

Complaining in the lobby?

The Maxims of John of the Cross and Pope Francis - works for me.

I thought of St. John after coming across the photo online showing the sign posted on the Holy Father's door.
A sign recently put up on Pope Francis's door at the Santa Marta residence also warns transgressors, saying that complaining can lead them to develop a “victim complex” with the subsequent “diminution of their sense of humor and ability to solve problems," and advises, "Stop complaining, and act to make your life better." - Crux

I find it interesting, with all the talk of homosexuals in the Vatican, some going so far as to claim they are 'legion', that complaining and feeling victimized has been seen, more or less, as a 'gay' trait - or fault peculiar to gay men.

Complainers are legion.
" especially common view of self (for the homosexual) is that of the wronged, rejected, 'poor me'. Homosexuals are therefore easily insulted; they 'collect injustice', as psychiatrist Berger has so well put it, and are liable to see themselves as victims. This explains the overt self-dramatization of the militants, who adroitly exploit their neurosis to gain public support. Attached to self-pity, they are inner (or manifest) complainers, often chronic complainers. Self pity and protest are not far apart. A certain inner (or overt) rebelliousness and hostility to others who do them wrong and to 'society' and a determinate cynicism, are typical of many homosexuals." - The Battle For Normality

So why are so many attracted to the priesthood?

"Why are so many Protestant and Catholic homosexuals, male and female alike, interested in theology, and why do they not infrequently want to be ministers or priests? Part of the answer lies in their infantile need for sympathy and contact. They view church professions as soft and sentimentally caring and imagined themselves in them as being honored and revered, elevated above common human beings. They see the Church as a noncompetitive, friendly world where they may enjoy high status and be protected at the same time. For male homosexuals, there is the additional incentive of a rather closed men's community where they need not prove themselves as men."
"These interests stem for the most part then from an infantile, self centered imagination and have precious little to do with the objective contents of Christian belief. What some homosexuals see as their calling to the priesthood is an attraction to an emotionally rewarding, though self-centered way of life. These are self imagined or 'false' vocations. Needles to say these ministers and priests are inclined to preach a soft, humanistic reinvention of traditional beliefs, especially of moral principals, and a distorted concept of 'love'. Moreover, they tend to create a homosexual subculture within their churches. There they undoubtedly pose a suitable threat for the orthodoxy and undermine church unity by their habit of forming subversive coteries that do not feel responsible to the official church community (the reader may recall the homosexual complex of 'not belonging'.) Otherwise, they lack the balance and strength of character necessary for giving fatherly advice." - Battle For Normalcy

Subversive coteries ...

Song for this post here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Voris and Church Militant may be headed for some sort of censure?

“There is not a commandment of God 
which dancing does not cause men to break ..."
- St. John Vianney

Banned from Catholic Convocations.

Now Voris and Church Militant have caught the attention of Rome - Voris and CM were barred from the recent July 1-4 “Convocation of Catholic Leaders” sponsored by the U.S. bishops in Orlando, Florida.  Now they are accused of “Catholic Integralism.”  Kinda, sorta.
Since the election of Francis, Spadaro has often been seen at his side, and has published interviews with the pope and transcriptions of some of the pontiff’s private encounters with members of religious orders. Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor, is an old friend of the pope, and was personally chosen by Francis to head up the new Argentinian edition of the L’Osservatore Romano, which began publishing in December 2016. 
In the article, the authors directly attack Church Militant, a conservative digital media company covering Catholic issues run by layman Michael Voris.Spadaro and Figueroa claim the organization favors “shocking rhetoric” and “uses Christian symbols to impose itself.” (Voris and other personnel from Church Militant were recently asked to leave a July 1-4 “Convocation of Catholic Leaders” sponsored by the U.S. bishops in Orlando, Florida, based on conduct convocation organizers regarded as disruptive.) 
In the article, the authors give a brief history of American fundamentalism, as well as other conservative evangelical movements such as proponents of the prosperity Gospel and “dominionism,” which seeks to establish government based upon “biblical law.”
The article says these fundamentalist groups see the United States to be a nation blessed by God, and in recent years have “demonized” their enemies. - Crux

In the last few days 1P5 has also been called out for fake news on Cardinal Müller.

The cardinal was "flabbergasted to read this description of his meeting with the Pope", Horst writes, quoting Cardinal Müller as stating: "This is incorrect". In fact, the whole meeting had run very differently Cardinal Müller asserted, and the claims made by the "anonymous German source" were quite false. The comments echo a brief email sent by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, to both One Peter Five and Marco Tosatti yesterday. In it, Burke states that the claimed "reconstruction is totally false" and requests that the story be updated. - Source

Unfortunately 1P5 is now claiming that Müller is covering up - in other words, lying.  They've accused Ganswein and P. Benedict along the same lines, lying about resignation and the Fatima secret and so on.


Bonus link: More on 1P5.

Fr. Martin, SJ on why homosexual clergy don't 'come out'.

"'Several reasons,' replied Martin.'

Sr. Jeannine Gramick said similar things as Fr. Martin a few years back, claiming at least 50% of the clergy are gay.  (I think she might have said 80% and Michael Voris said 50%.)  Unfortunately, Martin and Gramick seem to agree on a lot of LGBTQ stuff which is filtered through New Ways Ministry.  I'm against it.  (I love saying that.)

Anyway - the 'several reasons' Fr. Martin cites ...
“Several reasons,” replied Martin. “One, their bishops or religious superiors ask them not to come out. Two, they fear reprisals from parishioners. Three, they fear it would be divisive. Four, they are private people. Five, they are not fully aware of their sexuality. And lastly, people have mistakenly conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and so priests don't want to come out because they fear they'll be labeled a pedophile.” - Source
I can agree with that reasoning to some extent.  (Fr. Martin would know better than anyone - being a priest, confessor, and spiritual director.  Which is why he may be hitting a little to close to home for some of his critics.)  Not being fully aware of their sexuality seems like a problem to me - in the sense that it shouldn't be.  One would think that by the time a man is ordained, he would be aware of his sexuality.  So that strikes me as a little nuts.  I can understand it in terms of dealing with his sexuality, as in the case of Monsignor Charasmsa who said "his partner had helped him come to terms with his sexuality" which led to his leaving the priesthood.

On the other hand, the fear of being labeled a pedophile is not all that far out.  Neither is reprisal from parishioners - which would most likely take the form of mistrust.  No matter the credentials or how many degrees a priest may have, his credibility would be damaged if he suddenly came out.

That said, Fr. Martin misses perhaps the biggest reason priests who have homosexual inclination do not come out: They accept and believe Catholic teaching on sexuality - or at least say they do.  Specifically:
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.

Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life. - CDF

In fact, that may be the number one reason why priests do not come out, or publicly identify themselves as gay - they cling to that exact definition provided by the Church, one's "fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life."  He cannot be so callous to identify otherwise.  In a twisted way, it could become a convenient cover-up as well - for a more dishonest personality type.

However, these priests can and often do reveal their inclination to close friends, confreres, even penitents, but they will use the correct terminology saying, "I too have SSA."  They usually won't identify as gay, unless of course they are with sympathetic confreres, where they may be more comfortable, and can be themselves.  I remember reading about a priest who lived in community and a prospective candidate was put off by the 'campy humor' which created a sort of gay-atmosphere.  If you've ever lived in community or have gone through seminary - you would know what I mean by that.  Especially if 'former' gays are present.  (These days gay humor is more accepted, so it isn't a guarantee you are immersed in a gay enclave.)

I think there can be a sort of loosely connected network even with those who use the Church's terminology.  It's interesting how many individuals can be linked - at least on social media.  Even among the most traditional and thoroughly orthodox - it's a small world online.  Perhaps it is a form of support, but it makes me believe that the Gramick-Martin estimate of a large population of gay priests may not be as exaggerated as I once believed.  Gramick and Martin simply over look those who refuse to identify as gay, and to whom coming out would contradict their 'fundamental Identity'.

In researching this post I came across another post which included something from Michael Voris expressing his conviction that gay priests are bad for the Church - that post came after Michael revealed that he had homosexual experience - so I'm thinking he was compensating a bit, and maybe attempting to reinforce his orthodoxy after the shock absorbed by his followers, I may be wrong.  Another priest commented on CM in defense of priests who may have homosexual inclination, and in some strange way - it supports the Gramick-Martin theory that many priests are gay.
Yes, but as a priest I would want to broaden the discussion to include the way God's grace does work in the lives of those "gay" priests who seek to follow the celibate life and are prayerful and loyal to the Church's teachings. I am not one of them, but I know some, and they are exemplary priests. In other words, God works through them because they have chosen to follow His way and not the way of the world. Nor are these men few in number and we should not bracket them with others who will not or cannot remain faithful. You said before, "do not limit God". That applies even here. Whether they should have been ordained or not is another question. What is clear in their lives is that God is working through them and within them to bring them to holiness. - Fr. Abberton

Anyway, all I'm doing here is to expand on Fr. Martin's interview response as to why gay priests do not come out.  I don't know what Fr. Martin is doing, I don't agree with his approach - but at least he is being honest and dealing with contemporary realities.  He may indeed be more faithful than many of his critics who just might feel he's hitting a little too close to home.  Unfortunately, there are Catholics who hide their inconstancy behind Catholic teaching on their "fundamental Identity."

Thank God for the sacrament of penance.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is amazing: Catholics do not understand Motu Proprio “Maiorem hac dilectionem”?

Cardinal, Francis Xavier Van Thuan
may be another example 
of 'the offering of life'.

A few Catholics online seem to be questioning the new Motu Proprio.

It's fine to question, to delve into the reasons for it, but as a Catholic, it doesn't seem to be a great mystery to me.   I don't understand why Catholics online are so sceptical.  (It reminds me of those who reject the notion that as Pope, JPII could add five new decades of the rosary.)  Maybe the skeptics aren't cradle Catholics?  Maybe they don't really understand mystical theology?  Maybe it's the influence of Protestant teaching on One Mediator and so on; even though, as we read St. Paul's testimony in his own case, he clearly embraced, and even rejoiced in his sufferings, declaring, "in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church."

FYI on the motu proprio from Zenit:
Pope Francis opened the possibility of a new way for the processes of Beatification and Canonization: “the offering of life,” which is added to the martyrdom and heroic virtues. Here is our complete translation of the Apostolic Letter in the form of the Motu Proprio “maiorem hac dilectionem,” published on this matter on July 11, 2017. - Text here.

It seems to me the new consideration in the process of beatification is not all that 'new', since there are saints who have exemplified this aspect of a total gift of self who have already been canonized.  I'm thinking of Edith Stein, Maximillian Kolbe, and so on.  Perhaps the Trappist Martyrs of Atlas would also fit this category?  And certainly Cardinal, Francis Xavier Van Thuan.

I may be wrong on the victim soul thing, but ...

However, it seems to me "maiorem hac dilectionem" may also open the way for so-called victim souls.  I'm not sure, but the 20th Century seemed to have plenty of them.  Adrienne von SpeyrMaria SielerConsolata Betrone, and Josepha Menedez immediately come to mind as holy souls who made a heroic offering of their lives as victim souls.  Never forget, the saints are not canonized for their spiritual gifts, such as stigmata, but for heroic virtue.  The women mentioned made the heroic offering of their lives for the sake of souls, especially priests, and so on.  It has traditionally been understood as 'white martyrdom'.  In that respect, I would think countless Carmelites and Poor Clares could be considered for beatification.

It is terribly important to understand the vocation of victim souls and those who make 'a heroic offering of charity' - specifically the theological and mystical definition.  To help in this, I reprint something from another post I did on a similar topic.  It's reprinted from the comment box of the post and is from Jordan Aumann, OP:
Offering Oneself as Victim. 
It would seem that it is impossible to go further in love of the Cross than to prefer sorrow to pleasure. Nevertheless, there is still another more perfect degree in the love of suffering: the act of offering oneself as a victim of expiation for the sin"s of the world. At the very outset, we must insist that this sublime act is completely above the ordinary way of grace. It would be a terrible presumption for a beginner or an imperfectly purified soul to place itself in this state. "To be called a victim is easy and it pleases self-love, but truly to be a victim demands a purity, a detachment from creatures, and a heroic abandonment to all kinds of suffering, to humiliation, to ineffable obscurity, that I would consider it either foolish or miraculous if one who is at the beginning of the spiritual life should attempt to do that which the divine Master did not do except by degrees." (14)

The theological basis of offering oneself as a victim of expiation for the salvation of souls or for any other supernatural motive such as reparation for the glory of God, liberating the souls in purgatory, attracting the divine mercy to the Church, the priesthood, one's country, or a particular soul, is the supernatural solidarity established by God among the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, whether actual or potential. Presupposing the solidarity in Christ that is common to all Christians, God selects certain holy souls, and particularly those who have offered themselves knowingly for this work, so that by their merits and sacrifices they may contribute to the application of the merits of the redemption by Christ. A typical example of this can be found in St. Catherine of Siena, whose most ardent desire was to give her life for the Church. "The only cause of my death," said the saint, "is my zeal for the Church of God, which devours and consumes me. Accept, O Lord, the sacrifices of my life for the Mystical Body of thy holy Church." She was also a victim soul for particular individuals. Other examples of victim souls are St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Gemma Galgani, and Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity.
In practice, the offering of oneself as a victim for souls should never be permitted except to souls of whom the Holy Spirit asks it with a persistent and irresistible motion of grace. It should be noted that, rather than contributing to the sanctification of the individual (although it does add something), this particular act is ordained to the spiritual benefit of others. The soul that would give itself in this way for the salvation of others must itself be intimately united with God and must have traveled a long way toward its own perfection in charity. It must be a soul well schooled in suffering and even have a thirst for suffering. Under these conditions the spiritual director could prudently permit a soul to make this oblation of self as a victim soul. Then, if God accepts the offering, the soul can become a faithful reproduction of the divine Martyr of Calvary. - Jordan Aumann, OP

Thinking with the Church.

It seems to me the problem of accepting anything from the Vatican these days is because people have been confused by what is reported and what is taught.  Some are mistrustful because "ambiguity seems deliberately written into documents" even though they read their own fears and suspicions into the so-called tainted documents.  They make snap judgments based on "a quick reading" adding fuel to conspiracy theories regarding papal teachings.  The lack of study into criteria for canonization, or understanding the reason so called 'ordinary souls' are elevated to the altars, as well as a lack of sound Catholic training in mystical theology, may account for their own confusion.  Criteria for canonization in Orthodox churches differs from out own, just as their lack of acceptance of Roman Catholic proclamations concerning the Virgin Mary, not to mention the Christological differences with the Copts especially.

It's a shame how Catholics can wreak such confusion by what they post online.  The fake interview comments by former CDF Cardinal Mueller and the rumors of a commission to redo Humanae Vitae are clear examples of the misinformation generated on social media by those who distrust Pope Francis.  

Having said all of that, the criteria for beatification and canonization still includes the necessity of a posthumous miracle for each step; beatification, canonization.  (So don't worry about Bill Gates getting canonized.)  Likewise, veneration of the saints takes nothing away from Christ but adds to it.  People need to go back to thinking like a Catholic - not just worrying about some arcane outward identity.  If you think like a Catholic, you think and act with the Church, One Holy and Apostolic.  If you want to be Russian Orthodox, Greek or Copt, or you want to be Anglican - do that.  If you want to be Catholic - think and act in accord with the Church.

* * *

Update: I just noted Fr. Z has an excellent post on heroic virtue and ordinary virtue as it fits into the process for canonization.  Go here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Walking with a limp the rest of your life.

Ludovit Chochol

Jacob wrestles with an Angel ...

It's one of the most meaningful Biblical accounts for me.  It is for me, a metaphor of the spiritual combat, or struggle.  Persevering in faith, in prayer, and ongoing conversion.  It's related to my conviction that 'things do not have to be fixed' or, things 'do not need to be prayed away' or, my sense of a sort of 'spiritual stigmata' effect after childhood sexual abuse, and so on.  Jacob is an example to us, of one who "contended with divine and human beings and prevailed."  Though he was slightly disabled in the struggle, he walked away with a new name - a new identity.

That is very meaningful for me.  I often reflect upon it - especially when confusion distracts me from the 'one thing necessary'.  These days, I can still be plagued by that.  Being online doesn't help.  The wrestling, though difficult - often in total darkness and solitude - is important however.  It is the engagement in struggle which is healing, if you will.  It is most important to keep struggling, to persevere, and with resolute determination to pray, imitating Jacob: "I will not let you go until you bless me."  We must not let him go until he shows us who he is, and what we are.  It's about perseverance.   The wound, the disability is like the stone with the new name Christ promised the victorious:  
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it. - Revelation 2:17
No one needs to know save the soul and Christ who knows the soul - even as he is known.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Top Gun: Priest Arrested in Florida - Road Rage With A Glock 22

Take firearms training
to improve situational awareness
and get pointers about avoiding
and deescalating conflicts
that could potentially erupt in violence.

I see the headline.  I think: Fr. Z's mom lives in Florida.  Fr. Z has a Glock ... OMGosh!

Turns out the priest in the story is an Episcopal priest, from North Carolina, and his Glock was not loaded - so he said - although he grabbed it from under his seat and pointed it at a couple who were yelling at him as they attempted to pass him after tailgating on the road.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Adams was driving a red Chevrolet Corvette when he attempted to brake check a Chevrolet Silverado pickup that was closely following his vehicle.
The driver of the pickup attempted to go around Adams’ vehicle, prompting Adams to point the weapon, authorities alleged.

Online records show that Adams is the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher, N.C., just south of Asheville. Troopers pulled over Adams’ vehicle in St. Lucie County shortly after his accusers called police.

He reportedly told investigators the truck pulled alongside his vehicle when someone inside rolled down a window, started screaming and threw a drink at his vehicle. Adams confirmed that he had a weapon, but said the gun was not loaded and had been kept under his passenger seat the entire time, according to the FHP report.

A 24-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman from St. Cloud told troopers Adams pointed a gun in their direction, causing them to fear for their safety.

The gun, a Glock 22, was taken to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and submitted as evidence, the report said. - Story

Oh!  Thanks be to ... he wasn't a Catholic priest!