Saturday, June 02, 2018

The online comedy club has a lot to answer for ...

2475 Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."274 By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander."275

2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it becomes false witness.276 When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused.277 They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.280
2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior.

Friday, June 01, 2018

God made you that way.

Created in the image and likeness of God.

Of course the Holy Father knows and teaches that. 

“The Devil is behind every persecution, both of Christians and all human beings. The Devil tries to destroy the presence of Christ in Christians, and the image of God in men and women. He tried doing this from the very beginning, as we read in the Book of Genesis: he tried to destroy that harmony that the Lord created between man and woman, the harmony that comes from being made in the image and likeness of God. And he succeeded. He managed to do it by using deception, seduction…the weapons he uses. He always does this. But there is a powerful ruthlessness against men and women today: otherwise how to explain this growing wave of destruction towards men and women, and all that is human”.
We must not be ingenuous. In the world today, all humans, and not only Christians are being persecuted, because the Father of all persecutions cannot bare that they are the image and likeness of God. So he attacks and destroys that image. It isn’t easy to understand this. We have to pray a lot if we want to understand it”. - Vatican Radio
Pastoral care.

I was blessed to experience the pastoral care of patients in hospital, administered by priests and deacons this past week.  Of all the ministries in the Church, this is one which most clearly demonstrates the Holy Father's image of the Church as 'field hospital' and going out to the peripheries.  Every time a Eucharistic minister or EMC carries the Blessed Sacrament through the halls, in a very unique manner, Christ is passing by ... some are able to touch the hem of his garment, others can ask to be brought to him - in the most stealthy manner - like the paraplegic lowered through the roof tiles.  Sometimes loved ones ask him to visit those who may think they are not worthy to ask for him.   Others he blesses with his gaze, his touch, his presence - imperceptible to the senses.  There are so many ways God comes to us, oftentimes unexpectedly.

I intend to pray for priests, deacons, religious and laity who minister to the sick, the dying, the imprisoned and the fallen.  I also think we need to pray for the sick and dying and elderly daily - and those who care for them.  Hospital workers are extraordinary people - from care-givers, to housekeeping, to dietary staff.  Though they are close to God in their mission, I think they too very much need our prayers.  Every day must be a challenge, no matter how much they love their job.  A priest once told me the devil tries to disrupt hospitals and hospice especially, in order to destroy the good being done, and drag souls away from God.  It makes sense. 

That said, none of us know the day or the hour.  Even the good - not just 'sinners' - need prayer and the sacraments to accompany them in their last days and moments.  "God can do infinitly more than we can ask or imagine."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Libelous: constituting or including a libel : defamatory a libelous statement

Fr. Z, like the Pope, doesn't need me to defend him.

But ... I just want to comment on his post: Wherein Fr. Z responds to a libelous cheap-shot from @MichaelSWinters

Winters appear to be trying to defame Fr. Z as being homophobic, and as all gay-political slurs against clergy go, it sounds like there is a subliminal suggestion that the Fr. may have other issues when he says:   “I half-expect Zuhlsdorf to start 'praying away the gay' any day now.”   That's a cheap shot of 'double-speak'.  It is used by many to defame or discredit Catholics and others who do not accept the political narrative about homosexuality, which is vehemently opposed to Catholic teaching.  It works both ways of course when traditionalists insist Fr. Martin, SJ has to be gay because he supports changing Catholic teaching to the extent gay couples can be affirmed, which implies changing Catholic teaching that homosexual acts can in no way ever be approved.  Any properly catechized Catholic knows that Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual morality cannot change.

That said - there is nothing gay about Fr. Z., nor is there anything homophobic about him.  Go to confession to him.  I did years ago, shortly after he was ordained.  He wouldn't remember me, but I was in the 'thick of it' and had serious falls into sin - he was one of the most remarkable and memorable confessors I ever encountered.

Though I sometimes get pissed at his style now days, or disagree with him on this or that - usually because he sometimes takes a rather imperious tone when criticizing others, there's nothing wrong with him.  He's a solid, faithful priest.  Like Pope Francis, he is a son of the Church.  If something was truly wrong with him he wouldn't remain in ministry, much less have a website.

Readers may think I'm schizoid about certain conservative, traditionalist Catholics online, sometimes 'liking' them as a person, at other times reacting negatively to what they write or say.  I refuse to hold grudges and try to avoid 'shunning' - in the Quaker sense of the term - those who write or say something we may disagree with.  Fr. Z is no Michael Matt or Christopher Ferrara, and to be sure he is not a Skojec, Voris, or Barnhardt-style sensationalist.  Not. At. All.

Though he leaves himself wide open for criticism, his travelogue and cooking posts, along with social commentary is really very fun to read.

So anyway.  He's a good man, a very good priest.  Believe it or not, I actually think he's more 'liberal' than he appears, and to be sure, his beloved mentor, the late Mons. Richard Schuler would be considered a liberal by most rad-trads today.  Mons. Schuler implemented the 'Novus Ordo' exactly as it was supposed to be.  The Ordinary Form was always celebrated at St. Agnes - and that's what Fr. Z did and still does.  Since Summorum Pontificum he also enthusiastically offers the Extraordinary Form.

Pray for priests - especially for Fr. Z.

BTW: My label for this post is 'humbly proud to be homophobic'.  I'm not sure fearing or despising mortal sin is a bad thing.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Death before mortal sin.

Another interesting discussion on Facebook.

A friend posted a commentary on something a spiritual-director woman online posted about preferring that one's child die rather than commit a mortal sin.  (She did a poll.)  The comments were 'against it' or rather censorious, to put it mildly.  I love little exchanges like that.  There are so many examples of the saints, even in the Old Testament, who would rather die than sin against God.  The most classic example is from the Book of Maccabees about the mother and her seven sons she urged to die rather than eat pork. One by one they were tortured and killed, rather than offend God.

At first I responded with my idea of where people get these ideas from - the examples of the saints.  I wrote the following comment to be a bit tongue in cheek, making light of their 'piety':
Francis de Sales quotes Bl. Blanche of Castile, the mother of St. Louis King of France: "My son, I would sooner see you die than guilty of a mortal sin." Similarly, St. Rita prayed that her sons wouldn't take revenge upon her husband's murderers, and they died before they could do anything. These examples are meant to instill great fear of God - in a good way, that is, their devotion be so great, their greatest fear would be offending God. Traditional piety has always been full of drama of course. Consider that the modesty and chastity of St. Aloysius moved him to avoid looking at his mother. Pious folks seem to want to repeat these examples and are very good at trying to scare the hell out of apostates, heretics and libertines. Although it seems to me the notion of mortal sin is pretty much lost on us these days - this strategy doesn't work especially well.  
It's good to remember that the children of the saints weren't always well treated or coddled, as we do today.  We try to shield children from all sorts of evils and send them to counsellors whenever tragedy strikes. Just imagine Margaret of Cortona's son, what he had to go through with her penitence and poverty, only to be sent to a monastery when he was old enough? Then of course all of Angela of Foligno's kids died and she was free to pursue the penitential life. Jane de Chantal walked over the body of her (adult) son who laid on the threshold in his attempt to keep her from founding a convent. There are so many examples of saints doing crazy stuff. LOL! Religious people are rather queer, haven't you noticed? - My comment  
I took my comment down, pretty much because contemporary people seem to regard this sort of 'heroic detachment' as mere hyperbole, and one is more or less forbidden to even suggest such a horrific example to others.  I was also ashamed that I made light of another person's piety.  The original objection on Facebook was that it somehow contradicted pro-life ideology.  To be sure that's beyond my competence - so I thought I better back off.

In another reply I had also cited Dominic Savio who at seven years of age vowed: "Death before sin!"  I noted I made the same promise when I was about Savio's age, but it didn't work for me.  I tried to make light of the whole thing, but it was wrong for me to play games like that.  Gratefully I suddenly remembered something St. John Paul II wrote regarding this very same issue - which confirmed my reluctance to add more to the conversation.
The Church proposes the example of numerous Saints who bore witness to and defended moral truth even to the point of enduring martyrdom, or who preferred death to a single mortal sin. In raising them to the honor of the altars, the Church has canonized their witness and declared the truth of their judgment, according to which the love of God entails the obligation to respect his commandments, even in the most dire of circumstances, and the refusal to betray those commandments, even for the sake of saving one’s own life. - Veritatis Splendor, 91
Of course, this leads one to consider the 'virgin martyrs', especially in modern times, with Maria Goretti at the lead.  Parents are loathe to consider such an end for their kids.  I'm thinking this must be the pivot of the argument.  It seems to turn the tables and becomes a pro-choice argument against pro-lifers?  I'm not sure, but I think I need to stay away from these online battles.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Teach us to pray.

Rublev's 'Trinity'
It is not the Trinity represented here,
it is the 'mystery' of the Holy Trinity.

Something about the Trinity.

I want to share a comment I left on another website about 'the forgotten person of the Holy Trinity'. A sacred mystery words and images are inadequate to express. And we all keep trying to explain it - often leading us into many errors and bogus devotions based upon locutions and imperfect private revelations.  We keep writing, talking, reading - but we can only know these things by faith, in mystery, in silence. There is no forgotten person in the Holy Trinity, rather I think it is the Trinity who is forgotten.

Oddly enough, authentic Marian devotion leads one to a deeper understanding of the Holy Trinity - it is inseparable from it - just as devotion to the Sacred Humanity leads one into the very 'bosom of the Trinity'. (I like St. Elizabeth's terminology better - 'plunges us!') The rosary is a decidedly Trinitarian prayer, and the Fatima revelations clearly exemplify what I am trying say about that.

The initial prayer the angel taught the children is the epitome of Trinitarian prayer. "My God I believe, I adore, I hope in and I love you ... I pray for those who do not, etc. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, etc." (What follows demonstrates the Trinitarian dimension of the Mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament as well.)

All Catholic spiritual teaching on prayer and recollection is traditionally embedded in the mystery of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity, and it seems to me the epistles of St. Paul are a sort of gospel of the Holy Spirit. So this talk of forgotten persons in the Trinity strikes me as misleading. The Mass and Eucharistic devotion is incomprehensible without a correct Trinitarian devotion.  This may be the real reason for why fewer attend Mass or observe Sunday as a holy day.

Roman Catholic devotion has been corrupted by silly novelties and false revelations, which leads to major theological error - and apparently, apostasy.  As the Catechism says:  Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

Fatherhood icons of this type 
may be good, but they aren't a solution
or an adequate understanding of the mystery.

That's why I love this song, 'Living for the love of you':

Love to be
Ridin' the waves of your love, enchanted with your touch
And it seems to me
We could sail together in and out of mystery, well
I wanna be livin'
For the love of you, alright now
All that I'm givin'
Is for the love of you; you got me, 
I wanna be livin'
For the love of you, alright now
All that I'm givin', givin'
Is for the love of you, oh, yes, I am
Paradise I have within
Can't feel insecure again
You're the key, well
And this I see, for I see
Now and then I lose my way
Usin' words that try to say
What I feel, yeah
Love is real, oh, love is real, oh
I know that I'm livin'
For the love of you, oh, yes, I am
I know that I'm livin'
For the love, love of you
Every, every day I'm livin'
For love of you
I'm livin' for the love
Each and every day
I'm, oh, whoa, I'm, oh, yes, I am
I wanna say it one more time
Said I'm livin'
For the love of you .... - Ron Isley