Saturday, September 02, 2017

Thinking of John Paul I


Today doesn't appear to have much significance in the life of John Paul I, but he is very much in my thoughts.  He would have been a pope very much like Pope Francis had he lived.  I loved him.

He reigned from August 26 to September 28, 1978, he was dead in bed on 29 September, he died of heart failure. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

So - Pope Francis really is a psycho?

"Nuttier than a fruitcake, Fawlty!"

Apparently Pope Francis revealed to a journalist he consulted a psychologist when he was 42 years old, to help him clarify a problem. (Story here.)  So far so good.  Although I'm beginning to notice comments on Facebook such as "It's been an open secret in the Vatican that the Pope is on psychotic medications."

The story can only get better going forward, I'm sure.  What?

"Hurry! Get me out of here - I told you he's insane
and has me imprisoned."

I'm just joking about this of course.  Nothing is wrong with consulting a psychologist or taking medication when needed.  The Holy Father's admission may help remove any such stigma.  I imagine those who dislike and mistrust the Pope may use this against him however.

One last post on Joseph Sciambra and Fr. James Martin, S.J.

[Ed.Note: I first posted this on Facebook, then took it down, my Facebook page is not followed by very many people, and few seem to care about stuff like this.  In addition, a Cardinal Sarah letter just broke in the WSJ, pretty much taking down Fr. Martin's book.  Monsignor Pope and others on Facebook are applauding the letter, which should settle any dispute with Fr. Martin's POV for most Catholics.  Likewise, Joseph Sciambra is indeed getting the recognition and kudos he needs with a Church Militant spot covering his interview of Paprocki.  Therefore, it seems to me the increased coverage means Joseph Sciambra no longer needs to be concerned that he is being ignored by the 'Catholic left'.] 

"What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun." - Imitation of Christ

Joseph Sciambra is taking flak on Facebook for his criticism of Fr. James Martin. He has many criticizing him in return. Sciambra is a good man, from a very complex background, and his conversion story is quite remarkable. His apostolate even more remarkable, as it includes evangelizing right in the middle of the Castro - so to speak. His story is pretty extraordinary. Nevertheless, his complaint that Catholic spokesmen for LGBTQ issues working towards some kind of dialogue, albeit ignoring his story and work, just might verge a little on the self-indulgent. Joseph Sciambra has his own forum, a website and he is fairly often interviewed on radio and podcasts, as well as featured in online magazine articles.

Catholics unacquainted with pastoral care of homosexual persons may not know that the only approved apostolate in the Church is Courage - it's a national group with diocesan chapters guided by a priest, established to help gay/same-sex-attracted people live a chaste, celibate life in accord with Catholic teaching. Writers like Fr. Martin already know it exists and is fully approved, has a strong following and so on. Though I'm not aware of Joe being invited to speak at a major Courage conference, his message and life is certainly a good model for the group. In other words, I'm trying to point out that individuals like Joseph do indeed have a voice and their stories are indeed recognized - in the Church and in and through a venue such as Courage.

Catholics, such as Fr. Martin appear to be reaching out to those who are not yet reconciled with Catholic teaching, and or misunderstand what the Church teaches and even reject it. One may agree or disagree on how he does that, what he says in his books, and so on. Just as many may disagree with Joe. Social media is like open-mike night - if one condemns another, the other should expect return fire. 

As the Imitation counsels: "What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun."

Sciambra's Facebook post I responded to:
Joseph Sciambra - 8/31/17 3 hrs · I find it amazing how the gay Catholic Left and their allies bemoan certain members of the hierarchy for judging homosexuality without ever (they claim) knowing someone from the LGBT community – the main point that James Martin keeps making is that the Church must start by “listening to the stories that L.G.B.T. Catholics have to tell of rejection and humiliation by society and by the church…” But then these same teary-eyed hand wringing virtue signaling advocates turn around and marginalize me – Hypocrites. They want an open forum - for themselves.

I still think he needs to beware the temptation to celebrity.

Addendum:  Once again, it appears I made a mistake in judgment.  It is good to be corrected, and especially so by Mr. Sciambra.  Joseph explained to me what he means when he speaks of his message and outreach being marginalized, and or ignored.  Explaining that in San Francisco, just about every parish with a sizable LGBT presence is frequently subject to the influence of the so-called 'gay-mafia'.  Hence Sciambra is either barred from speaking, or as in one case a speaking engagement was cancelled due to protests.  That's what he meant when he says he is marginalized.  He is not looking any sort of national spotlight.  I apologize I suggested that might have been his intention, it is not.

That said, many are mystified, as is Joseph, as to why the huge blow-back against his outreach, as well as Bishop Paprocki's statements on pastoral care for homosexual persons, not to mention the sometimes hostile remarks made against priests like Fr. Martin.  I think it's because, though their statements are very clear concerning Catholic teaching and are necessary to dispel error,  their statements and POV is sometimes sensationalized on social media and especially in conservative media, which happens to be the only source willing and able to publish their statements, and or stories.  In doing that, the stories are often editorialized and inflamed against those whose approach to the subject is deemed too liberal or conciliatory, and so on.  Therefore their LGBTQ opponents politicize the message, which means they connect Catholicism with the 'alt-right'.  It's happened throughout history, perhaps most notably in Franco's Spain.  Very simply, so-called 'liberals' turned 'leftists' want to silence anyone who opposes a more liberal agenda.  It's a form of censorship not unlike the new iconoclast movement employed to tear down historical monuments and so on.

Anyway - I will ty to be more careful when discussing these matters in the future.  Again, my apologies to Joseph Sciambra.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Worried about losing your faith?

Mad Meg the Blogger*
Pieter Bruegel l'Ancien, Margot la folle, détail.

I noticed someone on Facebook said that about "leftist Catholics" ...

The loss of faith is always a danger, which is one reason we pray not to be led into temptation or hard testing.  St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Theresa of Calcutta lived out the end of their lives in a state wherein they felt as if they had no faith - Therese called it the trial of faith.  It was a terrible ordeal.

Today people question the Holy Father, condemn bishops and priests as heretics, and frequently back up their assertions with references to private revelations; messages associated with apparitions, and extensive locutions to various mystics, and so on.  In doing so it seems to me they attempt to fill in the void created by the 'apostates' and seek consolation to get them through 'the storm' until this pope dies and a new one more suited to their taste is elected to replace him.

I came across something else I had posted a few years ago regarding private revelations and not guiding one's life by them, or basing one's faith upon what they predict.  I'll share that now.

Morbid fascination with apparitions and visionaries can lead one into error and away from the Church, which is why the Church has rules governing discernment of private revelations, in order to guard the faithful from error. Naturally, I'm thinking of the 'consecrate Russia' and everything will be fine theories, as well as blame the apostasy on the bad council/bad liturgy groups who are engaged in a war against so-called Catholic leftists who support the Pope.

"Since the devil apes divine works, diabolical phenomena are known to occur at times among the mystics." (All quotations from Tanquerey.) "A revelation may be true in the main and yet contain some incidental errors." Thus, in private revelations the errors of the times as regards physical or historical science may get included in the interpretation of the revelations. So too the prejudices and training of the spiritual directors of the seers can affect the message. Details involving historical errors may also be introduced, sometimes arising from the seer's meditation or intelligence, often contradicting historical documents or revelations of the saints.

Private revelations may not only be wrongly interpreted, they "may be unwittingly altered by the seer himself as he attempts to explain, transcribe, record, or dictate the experiences to another. St. Brigid realized herself that at times she retouched her revelations, the better to explain them; such added explanations are not always free from errors. It is acknowledged today that the scribes who wrote the revelations of Mary of Agreda and Catherine Emmerich modified them to an extent difficult to determine." (Spiritual Life, Tanquerey, Book III, Chapter III.)

So yeah - we are all Catholics.  Like it or not.  Progressive, conservative, leftist, whatever you think you are - if you think you're standing, watch out.  St. Paul wrote on that.  Don't lord your superior faith over other people whose faith may be weak.

*Mad Meg reminds me of some of the bloggers online who rant about heretics and apostates and leftist Catholics.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Circular on Sr. Maria Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, O.C.D.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. - 2 Cor. 3:17

Our Memories of Sr. Lucia

I don't know if a lot of people have read the little book, which is in effect the circular all Carmels send out on the life of a nun who dies in Carmel.   This book and another little book by Sr. Lucia titled "The Message of Fatima" was sent to me by a friend.  When reading these books all the foolish speculation regarding Sr. Lucia, being silenced, being replaced by a double, and even her dissembling over the secrets, is shown to be what they are:  Complete and utter nonsense and mere human speculation and exaggeration.  Like deciphering the Da Vinci code - the people doing that waste their time on fiction.

Lucia's memoirs are simple, uncomplicated and mystically lofty - full of light and peace - completely the opposite of what others have said and interpreted to be the 'authentic' message.  Her witness is invaluable for the insight she provides regarding the Blessed Trinity and the mystery of light.  She continually describes it using words such as 'immensity', 'the immensity of light that is God', or 'Our Lady wrapped in light'.  This is prayer, this is about God with us, dwelling in our soul.

It is a mistake to take the message of Fatima and twist it as some soothsayer deciphers omens and astrological signs to foretell the future and link disasters and issue false hope regarding some sort of sudden rescue from suffering and persecution.

We are his tabernacle ... God dwells in our soul.  The Immaculate Heart of Mary is our refuge and way that leads us to God.  Why is that not enough for the curious to know?  The message of Fatima is about God, eternal life - eternal salvation, devotion and love - God first loved us - he asks for our love in return.  How can we expect the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary if and when we remain in our sins?  When we don't even try to make reparation?  When we make up stories about Our Lady and the popes and the secrets?  When we are more concerned about distinguishing signs and disasters as chastisement for this or that and the others we imagine ourselves better than?

I don't get it.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.   
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Locutions to the Internet

Did heaven warn about floods in China?

So many mystics are out and about since Harvey and the floods in Texas, and now that the coming chastisement when the stars align on September 23, 1917 is less than a month away, many dire warnings concern the United States should be emerging.  Likewise, old locutions will be republished showing how accurate they are, now that events are unfolding.  The Great American Eclipse pretty much guarantees it.  BTW - Charlie Johnston is back online, and Jim Baker continues to offer refuge for the apocalypse, and the Fatima secret is unfolding as I write this.  What?

So yeah.  In July China had some really bad flooding.
The 2017 China floods began in early June 2017. More than 14.9017 million people in 10 provinces and municipalities and regions were affected. Hunan was the hardest hit. A total of 18,100 houses were destroyed, and more than 9,821-square-metre (105,710 sq ft) of crops were inundated. - Source
It didn't happen here in the USA, and the people weren't Catholic.  Which may explain why it wasn't included in the locutionary pipeline.

I'm being facetious of course.


[Ed. Note: I heard from Joe Sciambra, he was not attempting to 'out' Fr. Martin at all, he simply copied and pasted the story from The Bay Area Reporter interview with Martin – he did that with the title of the blog post which came right from the interview.  Joseph said if people want to take issue with the article, they should go after The Bay Area Guardian. Sciambra offered no personal commentary in the blog post, nor did he intend it to be an outing.  My apologies for believing that was his intention.]

'Most of the vicious stuff has been from the far right.' - Fr. James Martin

Last night Scott Eric Alt posted a link on Facebook regarding Joe Sciambra's blog post "James Martin prefers not to make public his own sexuality."

I was annoyed and spontaneously posted a critical comment, which I removed after Melinda Selmys graciously posted a rather sympathetic comment regarding Sciambra and why he might do a post most readers consider an attempt to out Fr. Martin.

Why do people want to out others?

In Fr. Martin's case, I believe it may be connected to the 'gay-lobby' theory of gays infiltrating the Catholic Church.  I think they believe if they can reveal Martin's sexuality - sexual preference - sexual inclination - whatever they want people to call it, they can somehow prove he is trying to undermine Catholic teaching and is part of the 'gay-lobby' intent upon doing so.

Likewise, when a priest 'comes out' - credibility is shot.  Orthodoxy is questioned.  How?  By the mere fact he would dare identify as gay or homosexual.  Even if he said he had SSA - doubts would pop up.  Is he celibate?  Is he chaste?  Does he like young men and boys?  What if ...?  See how that works?

Last night I said gays like to out people - frequently, even SSA Catholics do - at least in my experience.  Politically, revealing the sexuality of otherwise closeted people helps to demonstrate that even upstanding, well respected, accomplished individuals can be and are gay.  The more people out, the more acceptable society needs to be.  Ex-gays, SSA Catholics can also want to out people for various reasons.  They don't want to be left behind, ignored, or missed?  I don't know?  They want to be acknowledged for their fidelity to Catholic teaching?  Perhaps there is a vindictive motivation?  I'm not sure.

When I first began blogging a gay Catholic reader and a Courage member, told me that another popular blogger with whom he corresponded wanted to know if I was 'one of them' - and the consensus was 'yep - he's one of us'.  Whenever I wrote about chastity or gay issues, I had comments that I was gay, in the closet, this or that, and that if I was honest - I'd reveal all of that to readers.  Gay activists and gay Catholics wanted me 'outed' - and of course straight readers wanted me outed as well.  I laughed because I thought, well, if it's so obvious, why should I say anything at all?  It's no ones business.

They lay up heavy burdens hard to carry.

Nevertheless, it still amazes me, especially since many Catholics love to bang the theologically correct rules over the heads of anyone who uses LGBTQ terminology or dares to say 'I'm gay - but celibate' - in other words, they live a chaste life in obedience to Catholic teaching.  Yeah but!  You can't say gay, you can't be gay and Catholic.  Then, you can't have gay friends.  Once Fr. Z asked, "Why would anyone want gay friends?"  There seems to be an entirely occult list of protocols one needs to adhere to in order to be a good Catholic suffering from same sex attraction.  The language on both sides of this coin is so convoluted and dissociative, it's frustrating as hell.  Who wants that sort of identity in the first place?  Why would you even tell anyone you have same sex attraction - like it's a disease - what does that even mean to anyone outside the confessional?  I certainly do not suffer from same sex attraction - I've suffered temptations against chastity, but attractive people do not in anyway cause me to suffer.

The Church proclaims that she cannot be so callous as to identify someone by their sexual preferences, inclination, or attraction.  Therefore, these religious folk who want to out everyone else should be ashamed of themselves.  In a strange way, they actually contradict the Catholic teaching they lay on the backs of others when they insist someone should “make public his own sexuality.”

That said, I admire Fr. Martin, who like Pope Francis respects the person who chooses to identify in the way they experience themselves to be.  To accept people where they are at - right now - in the present moment.  I disagree with Fr. Martin on several points, I don't believe people are necessarily 'born that way', and I believe chastity is necessary in gay friendship/partnership, and so on.  I also would never endorse New Ways Ministry.  Yet Fr. Martin's sexuality should not be an issue here, he is a Jesuit priest, celibate and vowed to chastity.

The stigma of being gay friendly.

There is a long standing problem with this entire project of outing a priest - it's a contradiction.  When I was working to have a Courage group formed in my diocese, Fr. Harvey wrote a letter to the Archbishop, I asked numerous priests to help - no one would touch it.  "You are on your own Terry." In the 1980's, and probably today, any priest who ministers to gay people is immediately suspect, or at least considered 'gay friendly'.  Even when it involves Courage, no one would touch it unless they were assigned by the local ordinary - otherwise there might be talk - that was the stigma attached.

These types of posts by Sciambra and others are not helpful to anyone.  It quickly feeds the gossip mill and may come close to detraction - and borders on slander.  No matter how deeply we are hurt, or have been hurt through abuse or sexual degradation, we have no right to impugn the character of another.  With all due respect to Joe Sciambra, he needs to be careful not to allow himself be exploited by those religious people who use his testimony indiscreetly.  Likewise, he needs to be more discreet in his apostolate and the repetition of his pre-conversion story, which others seem to love to sensationalize.  He's a good man, no doubt, and his message is important.  He needs to beware the temptation to celebrity.

Interestingly, on the post I referred to from last night, he was more or less attacked and criticized rather severely.  One commenter dismissed him as a 'minor blogger' while others said, 'who is Joseph Sciambra' - all little ways of diminishing him, of discounting his credibility, while reducing his person to a sort of caricature.  Melinda Selmys pointed that out in her commentary, which was removed when the thread was deleted by the originator of the discussion.

This isn't really a huge issue for me any longer.  Although I can get myself pulled into a discussion, I don't think it's as important as I used to.   People need time and maturity - and faith - to work things out.  The key is perseverance.  Don't be afraid.  So many people online are afraid and they strike fear in others.  Don't be afraid.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Martyr for Purity, Blessed Teresa Bracco

Bl. Teresa, pray for us!

Victim of war crimes and terror.

This virgin-martyr is especially important today, when rape is increasing once again, perpetrated as a war crime and an act of terror.  Though her feast day coincides with the great St. Augustine, Bl. Teresa needs to be recognized more widely and devotion to her needs to be promoted.

On 28 August 1944 she attended morning Mass at 7:00am and then went to work in the fields with her two sisters Anna and Adele when the three heard gunshots all of a sudden. At 9:00am partisans on the run warned them not to return to their home because the German soldiers were fast approaching and would pose a significant danger to the women though she wanted to return to help her mother hide and to take several possessions with her including a photograph of her late father. 
The Nazi soldiers who had pushed back partisans entered her hometown of Santa Giulia and began to terrorize the residences while parading the partisans as their prisoners. At 3:00pm the soldiers arrived and she hid behind a rock though was soon discovered. The Nazis kidnapped several other women in addition to Bracco. In the procession of those taken prisoner she met her cousin Enrichetta Ferrera and her infant – Ferrera gave her child to Bracco for a brief moment but Bracco handed the child back when it began to wail and anger the soldiers.
One soldier took her into the woods to rape her and she tried in vain to run to find help though was caught. The angered soldier strangled her – despite her best efforts to resist – and then shot her twice in the heart. He then stomped on her skull. Father Natele searched the woods and discovered her remains on 30 August alongside Bracco's sister. It was found that the murdered Bracco was on her back with her hands crossed over her chest – a bullet went through one hand and was lodged in her upper chest and there was a pale mark on her throat in addition to bruises on her face and bite marks across her arms and chest. Olivieri hurried to cover her remains and Doctor Scorza was summoned to confirm the death and examine what had occurred. Her funeral was celebrated on 31 August. - Source

Teresa Bracco was from Dego, a comune in the
Province of Savona, Liguria, Italy.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The death of unknown saints ...

The discovery of the body of St Alexis or the death of St Alexis, 
by Georges de La Tour (1593-1652)

I often think of St. Alexis, as a special patron for single men.

My friend Ray Marshall has died.  Apparently alone, in his apartment.  He used to get mad at me because I'm so reclusive.  Not too long ago - around our birthdays he said we better get together quick because he doesn't have much time left.  I said okay - but never did anything.  Now Ray has died.  Alone, in his apartment.

Found the following notice on his Facebook page from a friend of his ...

Thursday August 17 Ray did not show up at the VA. VA officials called the police to check on Ray and they found that he had passed at his home. I understand that It took a while for officials to connect with Ray's family so the announcement to the public of his death was delayed. I have heard that there will be funeral services for Ray in Duluth but have no details. All of this information is second hand so I can not vouch for complete accuracy. He was a special soul. God Bless you Ray Marshall. - Matt Gulseth

I'm so sorry.

For my neglects, but so edified by Ray and his good example.

Ray was a good, kind man.  He was very accepting of me.  He reminded me of my older brother Skip in many ways - they shared the same birthday.  He was a devout man, frequented the sacraments - loved confession, prayed, and spent his free time serving others.

He died alone.  Like St. Alexis, like Matt Talbot, like so many other single guys ...  although, I don't believe they died alone - nor are they alone now.

Ray volunteering at OL Lourdes.
Ray is in the blue apron.