Saturday, February 10, 2018

In your dreams.

I had a dream last night that I was swimming naked in a public pool.  All the swimmers were naked.  When I emerged, I couldn't find my clothes and tried to find something to cover myself with.  I entered a tavern and the proprietor told me he had something to put on.  It was a dated leather jacket and huge pair of workman's pants - which I did my best to make them look stylish, but the jacket had to go.  The proprietor looked at me approvingly and handed me a cool t-shirt.

So what does it mean?  I knew immediately.  I have pretty much bared all on Facebook and blogs - and I'm poorer for it.  But I look good thin, wearing baggy trousers and a tight t-shirt. 

[Once again, I think I need to remove some posts.]

Friday, February 09, 2018

Busy connecting dots, are you?

Then connect them all the way back...

back to JPII.

The hermeneutic of continuity.

Dare we join the dots?

When the circus performers are in town, they sometimes perform for the Holy Father at the General Audience - in costume.  Circus performers are itinerant workers.  In the top photo with Pope Benedict XVI, "the event was organized by the Vatican office that looks out for the welfare of migrants, refugees, seamen as well as prostitutes and street children — people who by force or choice live without stable homes."

I used to make fun of these things as well, and it was easy to insinuate a gay theme to it all, but it is also feeding spreaders of calumny and detraction who love playing connect the dots and hunting down homo-heretics and demons.

Mark Shea's remarks about Cardinal Marx's remarks about gays...

Mark asked me what I thought, and I responded - spontaneously - as follows, albeit edited to complete my thoughts for this post.
Sure - drag me into this. Haha! I had posts up which I removed [on Cardinal Marx].  [Because] I have gay friends and relatives [on Facebook] I don't want to alienate. Heck - I have a childhood friend whose daughter is legally married to a woman. So what can I say?
Except I'm not ashamed to say 'I'm against it' but I accept the civil reality of it.  [It's legal.]  I know [or think] the Church in Germany is compromised because they benefit from State tax - [people familiar with the system] know the legal ins and outs of that. So I was disappointed - to say the least - at how Cardinal Marx was quoted by media, evidently he's tried to correct that?  [Not sure.]  Most people will not be convinced by that [If he did retract it, since both sides of the issue want it to be what he said in the first place].   Be that as it may, I can't see the Church blessing any union which simulates sacramental marriage. I can't see any gay Catholics wanting that. I certainly don't. Civil unions/marriage is best left to the State, and those who accept that are fine with me. I would bake them a cake if asked - [it doesn't mean I approve of gay marriage, nor am I acting as a witness to theirs]. (Two friends of mine were married a couple of years ago but I didn't attend - though I don't agree with gay marriage, I didn't attend because I don't like weddings. I sent a card though.)  [It was a blank card and I simply signed it.  They know my position on the matter.]
The real point here - as I understand it - is Sacramental Marriage - the Church can't do that for same sex partners - the state may/can - but the Church can't. It doesn't have the power to do that - much like ordaining women to the priesthood.
However.  The Church can welcome gay people and their families [if they come to inquire, and for those already there] - they don't have to kick them out. They can baptize and confirm their kids, educate them, bless their homes - treat them like any other couple - even bury them. But it can not bless same sex marriages. (Marriage suggests marital/sexual relations - the Church is clear on it's teaching that it in no way can condone homosexual acts.) Now if the partners mutually refrain from sexual-romantic activities and live together chastely, I suppose a friendship blessing could [theoretically] take place - but why? I know no one who lives in fidelity to Catholic teaching who would want that sort of 'recognition'. Once again - I would not. [Incidentally, the two guys I know who married would never expect a Church blessing, nor even desire it.]  
The recent death of a famous actor who kept that part of his life and his faith quiet - he is one of many I think - [ he just may have kept his private life private to avoid condemnation by Catholic inquisitors]. (I also remember your friend from church you got in trouble for - Perry I think?)  [My point here is that many faithful gay Catholics live discrete, quiet lives, and do not expect special recognition or approval - likewise they don't expect to be condemned or ostracized because of who they are.]  
Anyway, good people may disagree with me on this - but I suspect this is the way the German episcopate may be thinking - although some undoubtedly would accept same-sex unions/marriage and bless them. I'm against it. - Facebook response to Mark Shea's Patheos essay here.

NB: I only publish this because Catholic inquisitors will find my response to Mark's post and accuse me of being too soft, too liberal, what have you.  I'm over this stuff and I find these discussions do more harm than good - I'm not a pastoral advisor or spiritual guide - this is just my position after years of hypocrisy.  I may be wrong - but it is simply my personal opinion.  That said, I firmly believe and support what the Church teaches, I trust the convincing power of the Holy Spirit, and I believe in the Gospel.  

And when I am lifted up from the earth, 
I will draw everyone to myself.

O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons,Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because you have revealed them who are eternal truth and wisdom, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. In this faith I intend to live and die. Amen.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Andy Warhol - just an ordinary homosexual.

Warhol's Vatican Exhibition

Many are discussing and reporting about the Warhol exhibit scheduled for next year at the Vatican Museum.  Since his death Catholics have been claiming him on account of his 'secret piety' which was only revealed after his death.  Warhol lived with his mom, prayed with her, went to Mass nearly every day and often sat alone in church.  He kept it secret. 

His secret piety is becoming legend now. I think at one time I disputed his 'celibacy', and or chastity. Maybe he was successful at living like a monk - maybe not. Most people are not 'without sin' therefore I expect in his endeavor to remain celibate he may have not been perfect. Which is kind of my point in calling him an ordinary homosexual.  Most people living in a secular milieu face difficulties in living a celibate life, especially those who work in the arts.   I like what Michael Davis wrote regarding Warhol:
Religion kept Warhol from going over the brink. He attended Mass almost daily. Other days he would just slip into St Vincent Ferrer on Lexington Avenue, drop into the back pew and pray. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters volunteering at a soup kitchen, and befriended the homeless and poor whom he served. He put his nephew through seminary. Though openly gay, he endeavoured to remain celibate throughout his life. When he refused to support the gay rights movement, many of his friends blamed his faith. - CH
Religion keeps us all from going over the brink.

I'm not sure Warhol actually thought of himself as 'openly gay' - even though that was his reputation.  I'm not suggesting he was into the identity politics we are today, I'm sure he knew he was gay.  Just like anyone else - any other guy attracted to guys.  He didn't have to join a movement.  I doubt it was his religion which dictated that attitude, it was simply ingrained.  Like his faith was ingrained - or confirmed - hence his attraction, devotion to Christ.  It's actually very typical, or ordinary.

Another famous actor died this past week.  I won't mention his name because nothing in his obituaries mentioned he was gay, nor did they cite a partner-survivor, though he had one.  I admire his discretion - and yes, his honesty.  How is that honest?  Warhol sneaked to Mass, slipped out for visits to the Blessed Sacrament.  The actor who just died never came out publicly, he kept his private life private, and in an interview talking about his faith, he revealed he was indeed faithful.  Perhaps he kept his personal life private because he was faithful and didn't want to politicize his 'orientation'? 

I believe there are many people like that.  Hidden, ordinary people who often lead difficult lives, falling and rising, whose hearts are fixed upon the Lord. 

I'm not so harsh in my analysis of Warhol as I once was.  I think he was just an ordinary homosexual, unfortunately getting a lot of attention for his Catholicism and asexuality - now interpreted as celibacy.  He can't be dismissed so easily.

Redux - Andy Warhol - a celibate Catholic?

That said, I'll re-post some comments I've written before:
Andy Warhol - a celibate Catholic? He sure was - he never married, and remained a Catholic all of his life. Warhol had a lot of problems - none beyond the reach of divine mercy, that is for sure, but he had issues.

Andy wasn't a model Catholic, but he seems to have been a 'faithful' Catholic.

Fact is, he really was gay and Catholic, before the hairsplitting on what all of that means began to be taken seriously, and subsequently sanitized and legitimized and normalized. Pier Vittorio Tondelli was a gay Catholic too - faithful by the time he died - before, not so much.
People: gay people who are Catholic, remain Catholic, even if they do not practice the faith or live in sin. Those whose conscience has been formed correctly do not try to say a sin is not a sin. Homosexual orientation is not a sin of course - but the behavior is. Some people who are active homosexuals are like that - hence they stay away from the sacraments. In doing so they do not say the behavior is not sinful - they know it is - and they know that they cannot act out and be a faithful Catholic. And in a very real way - they are faithful for that. Tondelli was like that until his actual conversion, and so was Warhol - to an extent. For all of the issues within the manufactured reality and public persona of Warhol, he remained Catholic - and most likely 'unintentionally' celibate. But chaste? Like a virgin? That may be what he said.
Perhaps what may be most notable about Warhol is that he did not try to promote homosexuality as something good or equal to heterosexual love and marriage. He did not try to promote sinful behavior as virtuous. In that respect he perhaps can be called a 'proud sinner' - although sitting at the back of the church during Mass pretty much cancels out any pride aspect. - Warhol

It's kind of strange how much Warhol is gaining so much attention for being Catholic, while today gay Catholics are marginalized for simply saying gay, or two men sharing a house pose a scandal to others, or a Lesbian can be denied communion at her mother's funeral, or a priest is labelled for promoting a gay-Catholic author who famously converted before he died.  The ironies could be developed into a new litany - for private use of course. 

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

On little faults and imperfections and 'little sins' ... A saint speaks.

So I don't have to.

I don't have to be right either.  I don't have to please people, much less 'correct' people.

However, today these words of wisdom from a sainted Jesuit seem to confirm my intuitions on a related subject.
Nothing makes more visible how much The Son of God hates sin than what he has done to destroy it. Is it not too much to say that he wanted to descend from heaven and die himself to wipe it out?… The Son of God has hated sin as far as to want to die in order to destroy it…. 
I speak of the faults that Christians who live in half-heartedness are accustomed to commit deliberately and of which they make for themselves habits that they hardly bother to correct. Such are the minor angers, the minor swipes, the words of contempt, the slight gossip, the mockery, the lies, the irreverence and the voluntary distractions in prayer, the desire to please people, the humorous talk that can produce nasty thoughts, the curious looks, too great a love of neatness in dress, laziness, the minor overindulgence in drinking and in eating, the negligence in things that pertain to duty, as in the instruction of servants and in the education of children; in a word, all sins of whatever kind they may be, when the issue is slight or there is more lack of consideration than malice. I say…that these faults, above all when they are actual—when one often falls back into them, when one neglects to mend one’s ways from them, when one counts them for nothing—I say that these are the greatest evils. 
Of many reasons that present themselves in order to prove this, I choose not but one sole of them, which will be the whole subject of our discussion. The little sins are great evils because they are great dispositions to the greatest sins; they are all mortal in this sense that they lead to the death of the soul, that they dispose to mortal sin; they dispose to it, both from the side of God whose graces they deplete, and from the side of the individual whose forces they exhaust. - St. Claude La Colombiere

Thou hast placed men over our heads. - Rule of S, Benedict

In closing, I want to share something else to consider ...

The judges chosen by God to save Israel were not always holy people. Some of them did not come to a very brilliant end. We observe in them all kinds of faults. Yet God saves Israel through them and assures them of victory.
There can also be, and will be in the New Testament, apostles, persons who have accomplished great things and were not themselves holy when at the height of their mission and works.
In the Life of Teresa of Avila we come upon a remark which is somewhat terrifying for priests, or apostles in general. She writes: 'At the Last judgment, how many of these trees will we see who appeared like beautiful oaks, branches extending far and wide, sheltering birds of the air that take refuge in them, yet when the come to the Last Judgment we see that tree with its trunk eaten away by the worm of pride and vanity.' They have achieved some good works - but their work has not profited them, and may only gain them condemnation. - Where The Spirit Breathes,  Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

This gives me hope ...

The 2018 Lenten Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold.” (Mt 24:12)

Amid so many rumors and gossip and news reports concerning the Pope, the Vatican and Cardinals, I welcome the Holy Father's Lenten Message.  It gives me hope.  Therein - it seems to me - is the convincing power of the Holy Spirit.

“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold.” (Mt 24:12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”.[1] Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.

With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time. They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many. - Finish reading here.

It seems to me the Holy Father's Lenten message is prophetic. 

It is now important for me to avoid giving too much credence to the controversial news reports and editorials on this or that scandal concerning the Church and the episcopacy, and rather to re-focus upon the one thing necessary. 

Today's responsorial psalm ends with one of my favorite verses, which I often repeat in my prayer:

I had rather one day within your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie (abject) at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. - Ps. 84

S. Roch, pray for us.

"Listening to sermons failed to give me what I wanted, and having had my fill of
them without gaining understanding, I gave up going to hear public sermons. I settled
on another plan—by God's help to look for that teaching about unceasing prayer which drew me so urgently. For a long time I wandered through many places. I read my Bible always, and everywhere I asked whether there was not in the neighborhood a spiritual teacher, a devout and experienced guide, to be found." 
- The Pilgrim continues his way.

Monday, February 05, 2018


"Even if [the Pope were an incarnate devil], we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom... He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope." - S. Catherine of Siena