Saturday, November 04, 2017

If you are concerned about gaining a plenary Indulgence ...

But don't want to pray for the Pope or his intentions ...

Fr. Z tackles the question here:
ASK FATHER: How to “pray for the Pope’s intentions” if I don’t like them or him?
Yeah.  Read his response there.

I'm no expert, but I wouldn't worry too much about gaining any sort of indulgence with that attitude.  It seems to me the proper disposition to receive a plenary indulgence maybe more or less lacking if a person is governed by such animosity.  I may be wrong of course, and only God knows the soul.

I just think charity should be the guide here.  You don't have to like someone to pray for them - in fact we are told to pray for our enemies - not that the Successor of Peter is our enemy.  The counsel that one doesn't pray for the person of the Pope but for his intentions seems to me to be much broader than limiting one's prayer to those intentions the Holy Father designates.  As Fr. Z makes clear at the end of his response, there are traditional general intentions, which he lists:
1. Exaltatio S. Matris Ecclesiae (Triumph/elevation/stablity/growth of Holy Mother Church)
2. Extirpatio haeresum (Extirpation/rooting out of heresies),
3. Propagatio fidei (Propagation/expansion/spreading of the Faith)
4. Conversio peccatorum (Conversion of sinners),
5. Pax inter principes christianos (Peace between christian rulers).
 Fr. Z also mentions praying for those intentions the Pope designates in accord with God's will.  For a Catholic, one would expect that to be a given, the proper disposition necessary.  One doesn't have to know the intentions of the Vicar of Christ to pray for him or his intentions.  Praying for the head of the Church is prayer for the Church - it is our duty, it is God's will.

Something is off with that sort of miserly attitude towards the Pope.  I don't get it.  Jesus taught us how to pray, and we pray for the coming of the Kingdom, and that the Father's will be done.  It seems to me the Holy Father's intentions are necessarily summarized in that prayer.

Anyone devoted to Our Lady would know that she has asked those who pray the Rosary to pray for the Pope - she never said 'pray for his intentions' - she asked the children at Fatima to pray for the Holy Father.  She did not differentiate.  Just saying.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Friar Weinandy

A Friar's Letter to His Lordship the Pope.

When I first skimmed the letter I thought it was a humble, thoughtful, respectful petition, which echoed, more or less, many of the concerns Catholics online post and comment on in com-boxes.  I thought to myself, someone reasonable has written a good letter to the Pope.  I initially hoped the Holy Father might respond in kind.  Then I read it more closely, as well as some honest criticism of the piece, and discovered otherwise.  Now I'm not sure if the Holy Father needs to respond.  Some say the letter is a letter of dissent and calumny.  I have no response to that except to say, I'm less confused by the Holy Father than I am by his critics and detractors and the gossip.  That said, it looks as if Fr. Weinandy writes from that perspective.

Msgr. John Strynkowski, former executive director of the Secretariat for Christian Doctrine at the U.S.C.C.B. responded to Fr. Weinandy's letter.  He does a good job addressing the problems with it, beginning first with a reference to Sandro Magister's introduction to Fr. Weinandy's letter.
I am writing this open letter to you in response to your open letter to Pope Francis in which you address what you describe as a “chronic confusion” that seems to mark his pontificate. 
According to Sandro Magister’s introduction to your letter, you had asked Jesus for a sign as to whether you should write your letter, you received that sign and thus “no longer had any doubt that Jesus wanted me to write….” I cannot enter into the subjective conditions that inspired you to write, but I need to note that “Amoris Laetitia,”toward which you express great concern, was the fruit of two synods and broad consultation throughout the church, is widely recognized as an act of ordinary Magisterium, and thus enjoys presumption as having been guided by the Spirit of the Lord. - Finish reading here.
Online you will hear and read criticism of the USCCB because Fr. Weinandy was asked to resign* after his letter was made public.  Don't fall for it.  The letter should have remained private as made clear in Donum Veritatis, which Monsignor cites at the end of his crituque:
"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urged that dissent from ordinary Magisterium should be disclosed privately to church authority—see “Donum Veritatis” (No. 30). In a world and even an ecclesial environment of sound bites and facile partisanship, that becomes even wiser advice." - ibid
Anyway, be careful of falling for this form of propaganda.  Not Fr. W's letter per se, but its public release and the editorializing which accompanies it.  This feeds the appetite of those who wish to discredit the Magisterium and contributes to the spread of more doubt and confusion, leading to greater division in the Church.  That's just how I see it - it doesn't matter what I think.

*In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, James Rogers, chief communications officer of the bishops’ conference, said that, “after speaking with the general secretary of the conference today, Father Thomas Weinandy, OFM, Cap., has resigned, effective immediately, from his position as consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. The work of the committee is done in support of, and in affective collegiality with, the Holy Father and the Church in the United States. Our prayers go with Father Weinandy as his service to the committee comes to a close.” - NCRegister

Thursday, November 02, 2017

All Souls

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine; Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio. 
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


I like the idea of Purgatory.

The Pope believes in it too.

Don't listen to those who say he doesn't.

As I examine my conscience and look over my life, I see how necessary purgatory is.  It is certainly nothing to fear, since the soul knows he is saved and loved.  It seems to me the souls would desire this purgation with great love.  I don't know.

I pray for the souls in purgatory nonetheless, since the Church asks us to do so, that no one may suffer alone or without compassion.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Just some thoughts.

High church Lutherans look and celebrate the Eucharist just like Catholics do.  Or, the liturgical reforms of Vatican II conform to the high church celebrations of Lutherans and Anglicans.  Sadly, some Catholic churches look more Protestant than the Protestants.

I don't like that.

I never liked Lutheranism, high or low.  My dad was Lutheran and his mother was a die hard anti-Catholic, so I grew up with a lot of tension and a lot of hostility.  My Lutheran cousins told me I was going to hell because I 'worshiped' idols, while my Catholic cousins told me my dad was going to hell because he was Lutheran.  Since I was devout as a kid, I got it from all sides.  I also never liked the interiors of Protestant churches because they lacked images and did not have the Blessed Sacrament - which they didn't believe in.  So I couldn't imagine why they even went to church.

As an adult, I grew more optimistic about Protestants, yet never felt inclined to Ecumenical Services, much less attend their Eucharist.  That said, I was always hopeful high church groups could easily unite with Rome - especially to receive Christ in the Eucharist.  Yep, I know their understanding of the Eucharist is different - and apparently today some Catholics adopt the Protestant understanding as well - but I'm against it.

So.  I don't get the rehabilitation of Luther, or reconciling the upheaval caused by the Reformation, or, as some suggest, the Holy Spirit guided Luther.  I have no attraction to that kind of ecumenism.

It also saddens me that the Catholic Church has become so Protestant after Vatican II, in some cases, bringing to completion what the Protestant reformers began 500 years ago: Whitewashing churches, removing the Blessed Sacrament, turning altars around, and so on.  Likewise, the loss of vocations, priests leaving to get married, nuns secularizing, and so on - everything that happened 500 years ago.

No wonder younger people are so attracted to Traditional Catholicism and the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

Just my opinion - it doesn't change anything.

Happy Halloween.

I knew there was a reason I hated Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Online petition to remove Bishop Morlino.


I'm against it.
Madison (WKOW) -- There's an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison.

Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community. Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the diocese saying that they could deny funeral rights for those in same-sex partnerships.

The diocese released a statement that said the communication is not official policy, but does meet the approval of Bishop Morlino.

The petition was posted on Thursday and has thousands of signatures. - Read more here.
It turns out it isn't even official policy.  

So why was the email sent out and why did it go viral?  Why did I waste my time commenting on it? (I know - why do I do that stuff?)  Why did some people leave the Church over a non-binding policy communicated by the Vicar General to parish priests in an email - not even an official communication?  Why start this kind of trouble in the first place?  Are there a lot of gay spouses looking for church funerals in Madison?
The communication, which took the form of a weekly e-mail to priests from the Vicar General of the diocese, was a result of pastoral questions asked by the priests themselves, and was to serve as a tool to provide some framework and considerations, in this confidential setting. Without a policy, and as the communication itself states, the priests are asked to “think through the issue thoroughly and prudently,” and this was a response to those who asked for assistance in their task – as well as other priests who might have similar situations and questions. - Brent M. King, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Madison
Nothing better to do I guess.  Or maybe they felt they needed to issue a call to arms against hysterical homosexualists and their abettors clamoring for EF Requiems?  According to Fr. Z there is a Judas in the diocese ... maybe that's why?   Sounds like there is an informant in the diocese as well.  That's too bad.  I didn't realize that was part of 'say the black, do the red'.  Just kidding.

Oh well, let the dead bury the dead.  It's none of my business.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Worried about the end? Worried that Pope Francis has abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven?

Let the dead bury their dead.

Does Francis believe in universal salvation?

Sandro Magister seems to think so, and picks up on what Francis omits in his homilies to prove it.  'They' are all out 'to test him' and sift his homilies for heresy and error.  Magister also seems to think Eugenio Scalfari of 'la Repubblica' is an accurate source for what the Holy Father actually believes, claiming Francis has changed Catholic teaching on the 'end things' - eliminating purgatory and hell, suggesting the damned will simply cease to exist.  Why would anyone believe the Pope said that or even thinks that?

Yet people do.  Magister sifts through recent homilies and papal addresses to find evidence.  He believes since the Holy Father leaves off references to judgment and punishment in a homily, instead emphasizing the mercy of God, he somehow denies the existence of hell.  It's quite a stretch, really.  Especially for a Pope most noted for his many references to the Devil and the dangers posed by the diabolical.  He calls gender theory diabolical, as well as same sex marriage.  He cautions Catholics to frequent the sacraments - to examine their consciences and to go to confession.  He urges priests to be available for confession.  For someone supposedly not believing in hell, why bother?  So you see, it's fake news, detraction bordering on calumny.

At best, it is a misrepresentation of what the Pope may have actually said, taking into consideration Scalfari is an atheist and spins things in the manner he perceives them. As for Francis leaving out parts of the Gospel in his homilies - we all know they are still there - so his emphasis seems to me to be upon mercy until our dying breath, confidence and love - and hope. So?  For me it echoes the intimations of St. Therese who once said 'little children cannot be damned.'  She wasn't contradicting Catholic teaching, since she already understood the disposition of a 'little child' who surrenders with complete trust and love to the merciful love of God.

I don't believe what Magister is trying to convince us of. The Pope believes in the last things, as I pointed out earlier, if he did not, why would he always warn us against the devil?   Anyway - I'm not an expert, to be sure.  Yet I'm well aware both Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul experienced similar criticism and suspicion when they spoke of purgatory and limbo of not being a place as we think of things, but rather a 'state of being', or something like that.  While still a Cardinal, Benedict even speculated that limbo was "only a theological concept" and "never a defined truth of faith."

The Holy Father seems to have a very deep understanding of the passion, the sufferings of Christ and him crucified - which is really the image of the Father's love, the very love of God. At the moment of death Christ surrendered himself into the Fathers hands.  At his very last breath - justice and peace kissed, mercy and truth embraced.

Therefore, as the Holy Father stated, "judgment is not to be feared, because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus,” and therefore “everything will be saved. Everything."  How can that be?  Again, I think of Therese who said: 'We can never have too much confidence in the Good God, He is so mighty, so merciful. As we hope in Him so shall we receive.'  Little Therese understood the happiness of the blessed and rejoiced even in God's justice, explaining to Mother Agnes of Jesus:
St. Therese of Lisieux "expected as much from God's justice as she did from his mercy. 'How nice it is to think that God is just!' she said. 'It means he takes our weakness into account and knows full well how frail we are by nature.'" - Mother Agnes of Jesus
I like to think this is the same vision Pope Francis has, and he shares it with his patroness.  I think of Julian of Norwich who said, "All will be well".  We know the saints in heaven rejoice in God's justice, even though they have knowledge of the souls of the damned, even knowing loved ones may be among them.  Mercy and truth have embraced.  God is love, all the blessed are steeped in charity, united in this love, adoring all of God's perfections and rejoicing - in Everything - even his Justice.

Why would anyone assume the Holy Father is denying the Justice of God when he exhorts us to plunge ourselves with confidence into the Mercy of God?  It seems to me those who know theology and Catholic doctrine, the learned and wise, surely understand this better than I do.
"Even if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into the flaming furnace of God's love." - St. Therese
I am equally convinced the Holy Father speaks in the same sense as Our Lady when she declared, "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph."

Of course I could be wrong.  I don't know what the Holy Father thinks, but I certainly would never interpret what he says as contrary to faith or morals or contradicting doctrine.

"On the way to perdition?"

Let the dead bury their dead - you follow Me.

Credit: DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI De Agostini Picture Library Getty Images

"You who pass by ..." - 1 Lamentation 1:12

There was some debate on Facebook concerning the recent news from the Madison Diocese, reiterating guidelines for Christian Burial when it involves manifest public sinners.  People who read this blog know what that's all about, if you don't, not to worry - it doesn't affect you.  I wrote about it this past week and readers know I'm fine with it.

That said, a Catholic man online was distressed by the instruction.  Other gay Catholics felt singled out as well.  The man I'm thinking of chose another church to attend because he felt alienated as a gay man.  One of his readers responded with a comment saying, 'They hate us.'  In other words, she was saying the Church hates gay people.  We all know that is the perception.  We all know that people who speak out against that notion, that impression, are frequently labeled 'homosexualists' and the response to them is hostile because they're perceived as hostile to Catholic teaching, and all that stuff.

The scorn and derision shown to those people who have difficulty understanding Catholic teaching, by some priests and laity, is very hurtful.  Especially for people who have struggled with issues of sexuality, identity, and friendship for much of their life.  We are all wounded people - straight or gay.  I grew up in a rather abusive family so I learned early on not to expect much from others, and to be grateful for small kindnesses.  Not everyone is able to do that.  Especially people who have expected some form of understanding and sympathy as they struggle to accept and assimilate Catholic teaching in the face of outright contempt.

I may be wrong, but I think the insensitivity of some clergy, not to mention their vindictive, sometimes hostile defense of Catholic teaching - in your face correction - is far from the Catholic standard of 'truth in charity'. 

If we are indeed out to save souls, we ought to endure patiently and kindly with the opposition of those we deem 'manifest sinners' - Christ did that.

Psalm 132 comes to mind, 'Remember David and all the hardships he endured ...'  which reminds me of how the king took no offense at the curses uttered by Shimei, and told his guards to leave him alone and let him curse. 

So why do we attack those who are already hurt?  Some may be more damaged than we can know.

How is the Christian supposed to treat his enemies? 

The Good Samaritan made sure the man left for dead was treated with kindness and care, with great  dignity.