Saturday, January 27, 2018

Comments in moderation.

I checked my comments today and found 131 comments in moderation which I had not known about.  Not sure how or why they went there.  I also do not know why comments are not publishing.  I will continue to check that out.  But!  man are there some crazy comments in that file and in spam.  Holy cow!  And I think I'm nuts?!  Wow!

Working on a project that will never be finished.

I'm finishing a retablo of a saint.  It's a little painting, acrylic on craft shop board which I gessoed.  I like these because it has a laser cut frame to it which reminds me of Mexican retablo frames.  Anyway, I've been doing small paintings again - but they take me longer than they used to.  I'll put them on Etsy as a collection in the next week or so.  I'll be increasing my pricing a little to account for time spent.  Over Christmas I reduced pricing - but since things didn't sell for cheap, I may as well put them back at a fair trade price point.  I think I cheat myself otherwise.

Isn't that interesting?

I know.  I don't have a lot to say.

When I do, I'm usually mistaken or out of step with everyone else.

That's not a bad thing, however.

As a meditation from Madeleine Delbrel reminded me:

 Not only that he will not be valued by others but that even in his own eyes he will seem to have no value.
Not only that he will put all his energy into a task, but he will not know the point of the task; not only will he be unaware of who started the job and who will finish it but he will know nothing of the work of God in which it plays a part.
Not only does he fight but he is also peaceable, for it will always be God—all powerful, all loving as he is—who will complete with his power and his love what he has begun and is continuing. He awaits from God with a boundless confidence that for which he is working with all the powers at his command and which his own power is unable to achieve. It is from God that he asks that his will may be done; it is from God that he expects his kingdom may come; prayer is for him the energy of his deeds. - Madeleine Delbrel

Song for this post here.

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Where are we now? The delegitimization of the event of Vatican II has been followed by delegitimization of the documents of Vatican II."

Where are we now?

I read that question on Fr. Martin's Facebook page.  Massimo Faggioli asked the question in his essay Obsessed with Continuity.

It's an interesting read.  I've certainly witnessed what Faggioli observes - the delegitimization of the Council leading to the delegitimization of the documents.  I think it goes hand in hand with the rejection of Pope Francis and the gradual turning against Pope Benedict XVI.  One comes across that notion on the websites and blogs of the more outspoken traditionalist critics online - be they fringe types or not - their views are shared to some degree by other traditionalists.

When private revelation agrees with the rejection of Vatican II.

Someone who friended me on Facebook posted something about followers of Maria Divine Mercy 'getting possessed'.  I asked where she heard this, she said Fr. Paul Kramer published it.  Fr. Kramer is a former colleague of Fr. Gruner and the nutty Fatima cult.  Need I say more?  My point in mentioning this is the appetite people have for private revelation increases in a time of general confusion and moral ambiguity.

One must be careful of even 'approved' locutions.

Locutions are not necessarily ever approved, but frequently a spiritual director and a person's bishop may give permission to publish the meditations of a person who claims to receive locutions, while the publication would be allowed for the edification of the faithful and to increase devotion.  That doesn't necessarily mean the locution are 'approved' - there is simply nothing contrary to the faith in them.  As St. Hannibal Madia di Francia explained:
My dear father, to consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent! The mistakes could amount to thousands. Poulain substantiates this fact with examples of saints we venerate on the altars. It is not surprising because the visions or the news undergoes some modifications while passing through human channels… Aptitudes and dispositions may not be the same: a psychological, moral spiritual, physical event can modify them, hindering the spiritual enlightenment from shining perfectly in the soul. Thus the person is unaware of circumstances, details or propositions, and is mistaken involuntarily. In fact, everything is received through and according to the subject.
This is proved by experience, by the mystical theologians, such as St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, Castrotevere, Poulain, etc. By prudence and reason we cannot accept all the words of revelations as they were propositions near to the faith; still less when they are contrary to the authoritative opinion of renowned writers and to the simple, beneficial devotion of the saints. - Source

"We cannot consider the revelations and the locutions as words of Scripture."

Today it is especially important to keep this in mind, and to be especially careful of any locution which casts doubts upon the teaching Magisterium of the Church.  'Heavenly' complaints of actual liturgical abuses may be one thing, but to controvert the will of all the Popes since the Council regarding the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite could indicate a subjective prejudice for the Usus Antiquior, as well as a more human point of view in keeping with the personal preference of the mystic.  In other words, if Our Lord or Our Lady are making known a heavenly predilection for the Extraordinary Form over the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, I'd say something may be off with the locutions and one needs to discern very carefully.  The meditations may be spiritually rich and nourishing, but like the Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, though inspired, they may be the author's own words and not actual locutions.

Keep in mind, all the Popes since Vatican II have celebrated the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and have supported Vatican II while endeavoring to interpret and implement its Constitutions and decrees.  Beware of those Catholics who suggest or claim the Ordinary Form is a bad Mass, and that Vatican II was a bad Council.  If you fear apostasy, consider what such claims really mean.  If you put private revelation above Catholic teaching, you may end up like Fr. Paul Kramer and other sedevacantists who reject Pope Francis and Vatican II.

Something else to keep in mind.  2017 and the many prophecies and fears expressed by devout Fatima enthusiasts ought to demonstrate the unreliability of private interpretations of God's revelations and warnings, coming true at a specific time and in a literal manner.

"[...] Souls are misled by imparting to God's locutions and revelations a literal interpretation, and interpretation according to the outer rind. As has been explained, God's chief objective in conferring these revelations is to express and impart the elusive, spiritual meaning contained in the words. This spiritual meaning is richer and more plentiful than the literal meaning and transcends those limits."

[...] "Anyone bound to the letter, locution, form, or apprehensible figure cannot avoid serious error and will later become confused for having been led by the literal sense and not having allowed for the spiritual meaning which is divested of the literal sense. ('The letter kills, the spirit gives life' - 2 Cor. 3:6)" - Read St. John of the Cross, The Ascent, Bk II, Chapter 18 and 19

Song for this post here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Pope Francis Addresses the Issue of 'Fake News'.

Orwellian times.

The Holy Father has certainly been a victim of fake news, no doubt - but in this document, he addresses the more pervasive problem as it infects every aspect of social media and mainstream media.  Not to mention its effects.  Below is an excerpt.

What is at stake is our greed. Fake news often goes viral, spreading so fast that it is hard to stop, not because of the sense of sharing that inspires the social media, but because it appeals to the insatiable greed so easily aroused in human beings. The economic and manipulative aims that feed disinformation are rooted in a thirst for power, a desire to possess and enjoy, which ultimately makes us victims of something much more tragic: the deceptive power of evil that moves from one lie to another in order to rob us of our interior freedom. That is why education for truth means teaching people how to discern, evaluate and understand our deepest desires and inclinations, lest we lose sight of what is good and yield to every temptation.
Constant contamination by deceptive language can end up darkening our interior life. Dostoevsky’s observation is illuminating: “People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others. And having no respect, they cease to love, and in order to occupy and distract themselves without love they give way to passions and to coarse pleasures, and sink to bestiality in their vices, all from continual lying to others and to themselves.” (The Brothers Karamazov, II, 2). - Pope Francis’ message for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fr. Rutler asks: "Where are the Churchmen with chests?"

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” - C.S. Lewis.

From Fr. Z:

Where Are the Churchmen With Chests? [“Chests”… a great image.  It was famously used (as Rutler mentions, below, by C.S. Lewis in his Abolition of Man. For Lewis “chests” are the “indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.”  Hence, “chest” allows a man to face reality and act with confidence.]


Monday, January 22, 2018

Watchman Joe

Some thoughts on Joseph Sciambra's apostolate.

I have deliberately refrained from writing about homo stuff, simply because one cannot really do so without either supporting pro-homo religious men and women, or condemning them - the division is becoming so clear these days.  I just don't want to engage in that kind of discussion anymore.

Nevertheless, I've been following Joseph Sciambra's work - his coverage of Catholic efforts to welcome gay Catholics - and in some alarming cases - approve homosexual acts, is very important.  Joseph catches these stories and discusses them.  I may not see it in exactly the same way as Joseph does, but he has a unique vantage point and is exposed to much more than I am.  What he does cannot be  a fun job, in fact it has to be an exhausting job - especially now as opposition to Catholic teaching is increasingly promoted by Catholic priests and laity.  It is disheartening for those who struggle to live in accord with Catholic teaching - many times it feels like a betrayal, and many can be discouraged and left feeling even more abandoned and alone in their struggle.

So often those who struggle are told to simply accept themselves as they are - not a bad idea in and of itself - however, the suggestion implies one needs to follow their inclination, find a partner, and settle down.  What that implies is an active sexual relationship - in opposition to Catholic moral teaching which states very clearly 'in no way can homosexual acts' be approved.  Men and women who accept that teaching need support, they can find it in and through Courage Apostolate, yet not all bishops and priests promote that apostolate.
I will run the way of your commands;
you give freedom to my heart. - Ps. 119:32
Because the struggle can be difficult, especially for younger men, living chastely doesn't always mean the individual does not experience falls.  (Hence, people are told that it is their 'nature', they need to stop fighting it, and so on.)  Indeed, frequent recourse to the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance is a deep and profound expression of fidelity, it is the will of God, the antidote to a sinful life.  Thus, in all humility, the individual can pray with Christ, "I have more understanding than all who teach me, because I do your will." [Ps. 119]  Those who teach that homosexual acts are good, are in fact wrong - hence the individual 'has more understanding' than these false teachers.  The individual is faithful to God's will in and through his commitment to persevere - frequent confession is his best weapon.  In time, God will deliver him from the struggle, and save him from making the mistake of rejecting Christ and His commandments.  (That's the only way 'it gets better' BTW.)
Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him." John 14:23.
In the past I've criticized Joseph Sciambra - he seemed a bit extreme at times, but I've definitely changed my mind about him and just want to recommend his website to readers.  I just checked it out recently and I was rather surprised at some of the stories of priest and bishop promoting the idea that homosexual acts are not sinful.  Like I said - Joe is doing a good job covering these stories, and I don't envy him in that.  He needs prayer, because the 'struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.'  [Ephesians 6:12]

Of all of those who 'go out to the peripheries' Joseph Sciambra is one of the most courageous and loving man I have ever heard of.  God bless and protect him.  Hopefully he can avoid being exploited by conservative voices on social media.  His message is important in and of itself and shouldn't be sensationalized, or be used to support conspiracy theories.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

As we near the end of the Christmas Season, I'd like to share this with all of you who did not send me a card.

The Holy Father in Peru

Pope Francis meets with the contemplative nuns.

I love what he said to them, and how close he is to them.  The Holy Father has a contemplative vision, and I am convinced these contemplatives understand that.  Others will disagree however.  That is fine.

It's what I have come to know however.  Though I risk being presumptuous, it is why I love everything to do with abandonment, obscurity, and so on.  It's why I keep returning to this prayer.  I love repeating my posts on abandonment, to remember and not forget what it means.  "From the time that a soul becomes firmly established in abandonment, it will be protected from the opposition of talkers, for it need not ever say or do anything in self-defense."

Online talkers, pundits, canonists, teachers, academics, clerics ... everyone online and off seem to rebuke and use so-called rebukes to discredit and shame - and more subtly - silence.  They are like the teachers of the Law who scolded the man born blind:  "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!"  Every day I come across something these people have said in their own defense.  They flash their credentials, "I'm a canon lawyer - how dare you call me out."  Let them do that.  That is fine.  There is no need (for me) to say or do anything in self-defense.

Anyway.  I'm convinced that the Holy Father, like the Carmelites he loves so much, is completely animated, vivified by love.  Quoting St. Therese, the Pope encouraged the nuns gathered to see him at the Shrine of the Lord of the Miracles:
Missionary prayer makes us one with our brothers and sisters in whatever situations they find themselves, and asks that love and hope will never fail them. This is what Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus said: “I understood that it is love alone which prompts the members of the Church to act and, if there is no love, neither would the Apostles proclaim the Gospel, nor would the martyrs spill their blood. I recognized clearly and I was certain that love subsumes in itself all vocations, that love is everything, encompassing all times and places, in a word, that love is eternal… in the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love”. - Address to Cloistered Nuns, Lima

“Seeing you all here an unkind thought comes to my mind, 
that you took advantage (of me) 
to get out of the convent a bit to take a stroll,” he said, 
drawing roars of laughter from the nuns, many of whom were elderly.