Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Centurion and the beloved servant.

Did Jesus approve a same sex relationship?

That's how Today's Gospel has been interpreted in contemporary gay exegesis, based upon translations and meanings of the original Greek words, pais and doulos - used for servant or slave in different accounts - which can have a sexual connotation.  A Roman might have a slave used for sex, or a young male concubine.  The interpretation makes sense, but I'm not sure the Fathers would have understood it exactly in that way.  Even if they had, homosexual acts can never be approved, therefore it could never be interpreted as approval of a gay union.

Regardless of how it is understood, it's absurd to imagine Jesus giving his blessing upon a same sex relationship in either account from Luke or Matthew.  The Centurion prayed for a cure for a beloved servant-slave, no mention is made of their relationship or domestic situation.  Some suggest that the Centurion didn't want Jesus to enter under his roof because he was afraid the young servant would fall in love with Jesus and leave him.  Where do people get this?

When Christ said he would come and heal the servant,

The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed."

We say that before the reception of Holy Communion.  

It is an acknowledgement that we are unworthy to Have Jesus enter under our roof, our soul.  It is an act of faith, a sort of confession of sin, and/or of our unworthiness.  It can't be a pretense or something to hide behind to feign humility.  The faith of the Centurion in the power of Christ is detailed by the soldier as he describes how he commands those subject to him and attributes the same power of command to Christ.   Our Lord healed the servant because of the Centurion's faith.  What their relationship was is never part of the narrative.  Perhaps it was a homosexual relationship - how would anyone believe from the narrative that Jesus approved of it?  In the case of the Samaritan woman, he didn't show approval for her relationship with a man who wasn't her husband.  neither did he approve of the sins of the woman caught in adultery - he told her to go and sin no more.

If anything, Today's Gospel demonstrates that salvation is available to the Gentiles, even those in sinful relationships, and Jesus shows us once again that His mercy is for everyone.  Perhaps the Centurion didn't want Jesus to come to his house simply because he was ashamed?  Maybe he really meant what he said, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof."  Maybe when he returned home and found the servant healed, they both became followers of Christ?  That's a more reasonable interpretation. So imagine what you will, Christ came to call sinners, so it doesn't matter if the Centurion and his servant were straight or gay.  When we follow Christ, we leave behind our former way of life, we repent of our sins.

Anyway.  Today concludes gay-pride month, and I want to try and make this my last post on the subject.  I think I have become more and more irrelevant on this and many other subjects and I need to leave it be.    

Friday, June 29, 2018

How we treat the stranger and the migrant.

This rosary was cut from the wrist of a migrant 
and discarded by the Border Patrol. (Courtesy of Tom Kiefer)

We separate families, and can't reunite them or match the kids with the parents when we send them back.  We strip them of their very meager, very poor possessions, and throw it out.  We dehumanize them, strip them of any dignity, and throw them back like unwanted fish.

A former janitor collected the discarded possessions of migrants, the ever so poor personal property 
"deemed by border patrol agents to be 'non-essential' or 'potentially lethal.'"

When he began rummaging through the bags of trash, Mr. Kiefer was horrified to discover that it contained more than uneaten food and other garbage. He found shoes, wallets, and even rosary beads and bibles. 
“I could not in good conscience let those items remain in the trash,” Mr. Kiefer, 59, said in a recent interview with America. - America
I make retablos and relicarios.  Americans collect such things.  Museums exhibit these devotional items.  They are precious even to non-religious people.  Yet we confiscate and deem as worthless these devotional items carried by the poorest of the poor.  The humble, devout migrant, have their meager possessions taken away and thrown out as so much trash.  We treat their person in the same way, we have deemed them as non-essential and potentially lethal.

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” - Ezekiel 16:49

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Differently ordered friendship.


Revisiting 'Spiritual Friendship' proposals.

I don't know.  The Catechism teaches one thing and everyone else seems to want to load up heavy burdens on top of what the Church asks of gay Catholics - or rather, 'Catholics who experience same sex attraction'.  These people are doing a lot if they abstain from homosexual acts, including porn and masturbation and affectionate embrace - or cuddling-spooning with proteges and friends.  You know, like Cardinal McCarrick liked to do with seminarians.

The Church does not want people to define themselves by their sexual inclinations and so on, and truth be told, many really do not do that, despite the fact they say they are gay.  Don't say gay, just don't, and you are fine.  Many of the Spiritual Friendship leaders-advocates support all of that, though some like to use 'queer' as a cultural differentiation, and others will say 'gay' when they are speaking to anyone outside organizations like Courage or when speaking in front of a strict-observance-pastoral setting.  Fighting those terms of identity is going to get much harder when kids have been taught from pre-school/daycare on that some people are indeed gay or lgbtq.  It's part of the culture - they are everywhere - gay-advocates, if you will.  The culture is 'homosexualist'.

Author D.C. Lyons, writing on Crisis seems to be revisiting the issue where Austin Ruse left off.  He goes after Spiritual Friendship writers, beginning his essay:

It seems the “Spiritual Friendship” think tank cannot catch a break among fellow Christians. Militant homosexualist Catholics say they don’t go far enough, and magisterially faithful Catholics think they go too far. And now Protestants from various backgrounds are challenging and criticizing their plan to hold a summer conference. Can’t we all just be spiritual friends? Why the push back?
Crisis readers may recall other writers taking on this group, which seeks to avoid the “doing” associated with homosexuality but embraces the “being” associated with our culture’s subhuman taxonomy of identifying certain individuals as part of the “LGBTQ community.” “Spiritual Friendship” writers also seek to make room for forms of so-called “same-sex friendship” that are raising legitimate concerns among lots of fellow Christians. - Crisis

Granted, there may be legitimate doctrinal concerns chiefly because the SF movement strikes many as an attempt to rewrite the Catechism, redefine friendship into a civil union, kinda-sorta, although that is never really articulated.  I think Mark Shea used to refer to their 'legitimate concern' as worried the group is a sort of fifth column movement to change Catholic teaching.  I have sometimes considered it as a means to develop an unique, gay spirituality, such as early homophile movements attempted, and so on.  The author has a good point when he gets to the focus of his opposition,  regarding the identity issues, which really are at the root of the movement.

It’s particularly self-contradictory for Belgau—or anyone—to suggest that “sexual orientation should not be the basis of an all-encompassing identity” while simultaneously stating that some sort of central calling or vocation arises from the “gay experience” that must be discerned because of that experience.
Seriously, if something is so central as to shape one’s vocation, does it not split a hair or two to also claim it’s not a big part of your identity? - Crisis

That right there seems to get to the heart of all discussions on the subject of gay=ssa, or lgbtq----, labeling and identity.   For me it is why all these discussions verge upon the disingenuous when you shake them out, or to use Lyons words describing SF literature, one gets lost in the "complex, convoluted, and often-sophistical landscape of years of written output from this group."  To be sure, I don't have the same fears as Lyons or Ruse for that matter, but it is all too complex and convoluted for ordinary Catholics concerned with keeping the commandments and living in fidelity to Catholic teaching to spend much time worrying and debating about.  The Catechism and CDF documents on all of this are clear and unambiguous, and to take that 'no' and somehow twist it to a 'maybe' or an 'yes' is never going to work.  As for gay people who are out and comfortable with their 'identity', they have little or no interest in religion, much less the Catholic faith, or any Christian denomination other than Episcopalian, which means they have no interest in the SF movement whatsoever.

Lyons seems to think that same sex friends who were once lovers or actively gay, can't really form a close, virtuous friendship.  He goes back to Genesis with the reference to seeking "a suitable partner" for the man, in a legitimate attempt to point out how it would be impossible for same sex friends to find that in one another.  I have no problem with that, and I doubt anyone else would.  Chaste, celibate, same sex friends would necessarily have rejected such a spousal understanding of their friendship - if they ever thought of it in those terms - knowing it is simply unachievable for same sex friends.  Virtuous friendship is necessary for people with inordinate same sex attraction - the 'spousal' dimension just doesn't fit.

One must never discount the power of grace and particularly the grace of conversion, aided by the sacraments, prayer, good works and good spiritual direction.  Remember ...
But for those who live in the midst of the world and yet strive for true virtue, it is necessary to ally themselves to one another by a holy and sacred friendship through which they stimulate, assist and encourage each other toward good.
Friendship is a virtue, and the greatest saints have had friends without harm to their advancement along the road of perfection. Perfection does not consist in abstaining from friendships, but in having only those that are good and holy. - S. Francis De Sales

Disinterested friendship McCarrick style.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Such a lack of civility!

I was watching the World Cup and couldn't help but notice how rough the game is.  Goalkeepers push players out of the way, players push and shove and kick other players.  Even the referees are rude.

It's a lot different from kick ball.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Penance, penance, penance.

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life ...

Thinking of the penitent saints - their example is always a good correction.

I have to try to figure things out.

Be patient with me, Lord.

I have tried very hard to understand what is going on and I have tried to be charitable and accepting ... especially of myself.  I know I've been wrong about many things, too trusting and all of that.  I feel like a sheep without a shepherd, and no one is calling my name.  Maybe I don't recognize their voice, or worse maybe I don't want to.

I need to try and figure out what is happening.

I wonder if our times are simply more like the 11th century rather than the 'Great Apostasy' or the final 'end times'?  I was reading an older article in CWR on The Book of Gomorrah and thought it must be more like the 11th century than anything else.

This is one of the most interesting and relevant aspects of the book for the modern reader. Damian sees “sodomitic vice” as not only including homosexual acts (which he holds to be the most grievous kind of sodomy) but any form of sexual perversion, which notably includes contraception and masturbation, which he regards as closely related. In chapter four he notes that God “struck Onan, the son of Jude, with an untimely death because of this nefarious offense,” that is, spilling his seed upon the ground rather than completing the sexual act in the natural way.
I believe that by placing contraception and masturbation under the heading of “sodomy” Damian is recognizing a truth that seems to be all but completely forgotten among Catholics today, and that is that the sexual revolution and the rise of the social acceptance of unnatural sexual behavior is rooted in a contraceptive mentality that divorces the sexual act from its natural procreative purpose, and tends to make it into an act of selfish, narcissistic lust. Given the almost universal acceptance of contraception in our society, is it surprising that we have become so numb and unconcerned about the rise of more perverse forms of the same fundamental vice, and even applaud them? - Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Today may be much worse because men in the Church promote sodomy as a virtue, not a vice - hence the general confusion and falling away.  I've been rather dismissive of that.  One must be careful lest one lose one's soul.

The reason it is important to me to figure this out should be obvious, though the damage has been done.

Fixing a hole.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Innocence of Fr. Phillips ... A Mystery

It seems we'll never know what happened at St. John Cantius, Chicago.

So says New Catholic at Rorate Caeli:  "After months of speculation, the Congregation of the Resurrection (C.R.), the order to which the founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, Fr. Frank Phillips, belonged, issued a final statement on his situation..."

Something happened. What happened? The Congregation of the Ressurrection and the Archdiocese of Chicago have an obligation to make public those parts of their conclusions that can be made public (that is, with names or other information that could identify specific persons blacked out). Otherwise, the removal of Fr. Phillips will be seen as a persecution motivated not by his "improper conduct" (what was it?), but actually by his good work at St. John Cantius. The people have a rightful expectation to know what actually happened. - New Catholic

Something happened.  Of course something happened.  Cardinal Cupich obviously felt he shouldn't return.  He has no obligation to explain himself - they never do - unless some legal suit develops.  If Fr. Phillips hasn't been silenced - then perhaps he can explain what happened.  If there remain credible allegations perhaps someone can bring forth a civil suit of inquiry?  But the original allegations involved adult men.  Maybe it was consensual?  I'm way out of my league here. 

I seriously don't know and I'm not interested in the answer - unless it involves a sort of Catholic #Metoo development.  After the Cardinal McCarrick story broke, I'd be interested in cleaning up the scandal that keeps giving.  Now that it's safe to point out that the homosexuals in the clergy are not limited to the Novus Ordo, perhaps men will come forward and Catholic teaching, as well as Catholic discipline on the admission of homosexuals to seminary and religious life can be clarified.  (Or at least get rid of the hypocrisy and cover up surrounding it.  Maybe Fr. Martin could take the lead here?)

I hope it all gets sorted out.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The stench.

I was praying and thought of how some of the saints referred to sins of the flesh as the stench of sin.  Pope Benedict called it the 'filth in the Church'.  St. Catherine of Genoa called it a 'contagion'.  In St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogue Our Lord referred to it as the stench.  I returned to my archives and found the following post from 2006.

Still troubled by events in the Archdiocese and deceptive clergy, I returned in prayer to the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena. She wrote about the troubles and scandals of her own day, not in order to spread scandal but to reassure the faithful that Our Lord was aware of what was going on and was going to remedy it. She spoke that her words might bring to repentence those who offend God and give scandal to the faithful. That we might listen to her discourse again, I will quote from the Dialogue concerning homosexual priests.
"I am telling you this to make you see what great purity I demand of you and them, and especially of them (priests), in this sacrament. But they do just the opposite to me, for they come to this mystery wholly impure - and not simply with the sort of impurity and weakness to which all of you are naturally inclined because of your weak nature (although reason can calm its rebellion if free choice so wills). No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weakness; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. As if they were blind and stupid, with the light of their understanding extinguished, they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench even reaches up to me, supreme Purity, and is so hateful to me that for this sin alone five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin. The stench displeases not only me, as I have said, but the devils as well, those very devils these wretches have made their masters. It is not its sinfulness that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature is angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. It is true that it was they (the devils) who shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they flee..." - Dialogue

The evil of forming false friendships, inviting seminarians to sleep with you, to call you uncle Ted is so corrupt and disgusting.  To corrupt a seminarian, a priest, and to elevate these men to positions of honor and respect - is wicked and vicious.

"Spiritual deception is the state of all men without exception, and it has been made possible by the fall of our original parents. All of us are subject to spiritual deception. Awareness of this fact is the greatest protection against it. Likewise, the greatest spiritual deception of all is to consider oneself free from it". Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov

I could pretty much have said the same thing...

I honestly thought the rumors were invented by disgruntled, traditionalist-fruitcakes.

The first time I ever heard the truth about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., finally exposed as a sexual predator years into his retirement, I thought I was listening to a paranoiac rant.
That was before I realized that if you wanted the truth about corruption in the Catholic Church, you had to listen to the extreme-seeming types, traditionalists and radicals, because they were the only ones sufficiently alienated from the institution to actually dig into its rot. (This lesson has application well beyond Catholicism.) - Douthat, #Metoo Comes for the Archbishop

This is the painting I did of a dream I had
shortly after my return to the sacraments
in 1972 - today it makes more sense than ever.

The Nativity of John the Baptist

I need you today.