Saturday, October 06, 2018

Friday, October 05, 2018

PSA for Superstitious Catholics... That ain't no 'Stang'

Nope - not a 'Stang'!

So the Pope carried a 'Stang'? Crazy, superstitious Catholics seem to think so.

Forked crosses have been with us and used in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries - as early as the 13th century. The forked cross represents the Tree of Knowledge and follows pious-mystical tradition Christ was crucified on the same wood as the Tree in the Garden of Eden.

Many fork crosses are found in places run by 
the Dominican and Franciscan orders, especially in Italy. 

Dominican example.

Robber's cross of Schächerkreuz - later the
Latin cross was used or a straight bar was added
to differentiate Christ's cross from the
robber's cross.

(I've since discovered Deacon Kandra posted on the subject in much greater detail here.) 

Confidence and poverty.

Then Job answered the LORD and said:
Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again;
though twice, I will do so no more. - JB 40: 3-5

"Confidence is theological hope wholly impregnated with love; abandonment is confidence which no longer expresses itself solely through distinct acts but has created an attitude of soul: '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.'" - P. Eugene-Marie, OCD

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

St. Francis' Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament

St. Francis' love for Christ expressed itself in a special way in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Fonti Francescane (Writings of St Francis) one reads such moving expressions as: "Let everyone be struck with fear, let the whole world tremble, and let the heavens exult, when Christ, the Son of the living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest. Oh stupendous dignity! O humble sublimity, that the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation he hides himself under an ordinary piece of bread" (Francis of Assisi, Scritti, Editrici Francescane, Padova 2002, 401). - Pope Benedict XVI

This Evening Is the Transitus of Our Holy Father St. Francis


This evening some of us devoutly recall what is called the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi.  St. Francis died just after sunset on October 3, 1226, at St. Mary of the Angels in the valley below Assisi.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Call me by your name ... do you know your angel's name?

The Holy Father asked if we know our angel's name.

I always thought we were discouraged to ask his name, although some saints named their angel, or believed they knew his name.  I like calling him, my angel.  I suppose he could tell me his name, or ask me to call him by whatever name I was inspired to do so - my name for him.  But I wouldn't be sure my name would suit him.  Although I'm not inclined to worry about it.

St. Mary of Jesus Crucified called her angel George.  I think she saw him, and she was once nursed to health by a woman one might think was Our Lady.  I'm not sure she ever confirmed the woman's identity.

I think I experienced similar things, and I'm sure it was my angel.  The mysterious nun I encountered in St. Peter's so many years ago, and the mysterious young man who accompanied me from Avila to Bayonne on my way back to Lourdes.  Then of course I've had little miracles saving me from minor and serious accidents. I always thank my angel for that.

Incidentally, the angels I encountered were never expected and neither were they the type of person I would imagine or be attracted to.  Many people like their angels to look like an ideal person, an attractive romantic type.  That's not what I experienced.

Anyway, whether we see him or not, we have at least one Guardian Angel who is always with us and who always sees God - face to face.  (I did that last evening when I was able to kneel really close to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.)  We don't really know what that means because I think we would die of love if we could see our angel as he is - or see God face to face in this life.

About the name thing.  When Jacob wrestled with the Angel, he asked his name - after the Angel gave him the name Israel: Jacob then asked him, “Please tell me your name.” He answered, “Why do you ask for my name?” With that, he blessed him.  Jacob named the place Peniel, “because I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared." - Genesis 32

Peniel literally means, "face of God".  What wonderful mystery is revealed in that.  Why do we need to ask our angel his name?

Thank you my Angel.

Monday, October 01, 2018

“Chiamami col tuo nome… Call Me By Your Name”

This weekend I finally watched the film ...

Today, Fr. Z posts about it.  It's being hailed as poetic in Italy.  Dolci.  Fr. Z calls it 'highly morally offensive '.  I agree that it is.

I had the film on DVD for months, but I wasn't too eager to watch it, not sure how graphic it was.  I didn't finish watching it because it was not only somewhat graphic, but creepily suggestive and almost seductive.  There were a couple of parts which reminded me of what happened to me in my youth, and I felt ashamed.  Therefore, if something happened to you in your youth, I would avoid the film entirely.

Sets and cinematography are indeed poetic, or artful.  The film moves very slowly and ponderously ... yet it the portrayals strike me as trivial - even boring.  The characters are not engaging and have little depth.  They spend a lot of time engaging in heterosexual flirting and recreational sex with women before the two men come together.  The older one supposedly showing the other one how to do it?  

Then they fall in love, and the parents don't mind, nor did they mind their 17 year old engaging in sex with girls.  They were very evolved parents, permissive and accepting of anything their son chose to do.  They appear to be completely amoral - albeit not debauched.  

Fr. Z says the film is basically about pederasty.  I suppose it is a romantic pederasty story - they fall in love - more or less initiated by the younger man, the 17 year old, who appears much more boyish than his age.  One can call it pederasty - but that also lifts it out of the LGBTQ labeling system.  It separates it from homosexuality, if you will.

How?  First of all, the long build-up to the passionate romance between the two males is peppered with heterosexual encounters - flirting and dating and recreational sex.  Slowly the younger man's interest focuses upon the older man's presence.  He's curious about him, but Armie Hammer's character appears completely uninterested in the younger boy-man.  In fact he is rude to him.  Yet suddenly the boy-man expresses his desire as curiosity about male to male sex.  Then it happens after some resistance on the part of the older male.  Almost immediately they fall in love - surprisingly comfortable with kissing and fondling one another afterward.

So normal, huh?  Not gay at all.  His parents have gay friends the family adores yet make fun of them.  The son calls them Sonny and Cher.  So they are gay, but the son and his older male lover are not.  They are normal because they were interested in girls but just happened to fall in love experimenting in male on male sex.  They aren't queer like the parent's friends.  It took about an hour and a half to make that clear, while the audience is expected to feel the passion, feel the love, between otherwise straight men having sex.   It's a dishonest attempt to normalize such same sex relationships, which somehow aren't gay.  (Because all gay men are not interested in young men and boys.)

My point is that it is a film about man-boy love - not just pederasty, as academics or moral theologians would describe it.  It is of course about that - but pederasty has almost become an archaic term pretty much describing an act or status rather than a relationship.  Man-boy love is about gay men and boys in a relationship.  Like "Christopher and Don" - the love story between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.  The film is strange propaganda for man-boy love as something entirely different from lgbtq life.

I never finished the film.

The Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

What would Therese say?

I was wondering what Little Therese would say to her novices if she was alive today, especially as it concerns the crisis in the Church and the more or less open rebellion against the Holy Father.  To be sure she would reprimand those under her charge if they lost their peace and recollection - abandoning prayer - over the controversies swirling in media.  Of course, the novices wouldn't be permitted to be online or any of that.  However, I was thinking of Therese and how she would act, and even wondered if the Holy Father, who is very devoted to her, may be following her direction in these difficult times.

Everyone knows that St. Therese and the Carmel of Lisieux had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil... The realization of which led to Therese writing in her memoirs, "I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith... [but] Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, the source of the only real and pure joy.".

Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those initially duped. Yet it did not disturb her peace, rather it lead her to an even deeper understanding of her vocation.  

As the stories continued, Therese discerned that the whole thing was a hoax.  Her only reason for rejecting the stories was the fact that Diana Vaughan once spoke against episcopal authority. 'That kind of thing cannot come from God, ' she said."  One can be certain she would reject every attack against the Pope, recognizing that kind of thing cannot come from God.

Having said that, even St. Pope John Paul II and others were deceived by Fr. Maciel, just as St. Therese was for a time deceived by Leo Taxil.  Nevertheless, she prayed, prayed for Taxil's conversion.  She prayed for sinners, seated at the table of sinners, as she described her trial of faith.  She prayed for fallen away priests.  She prayed for criminals condemned to death.  I suspect she would pray very much for former Cardinal McCarrick as well.  

That realization is what helped me in all the questions and concerns which have contributed to this crisis in the Church, fueled by speculation and gossip and demands that we know all of the details as to how and why this happened.   

So what would Therese do, or say?

I'm not sure, but the following story works for me.

"The thought that there were some religious communities who were submitting to unjust laws against the Church promulgated by the anti-Catholic secular power, filled me (Celine) with indignation. One day in Therese's presence I exclaimed, 'My entire being rises up in in rebellion when I witness such a spirit of cowardice. I would be cut into a thousand pieces rather than belong to any of these communities or to assist them in any way.'

The Saint answered: 'We should not be concerned about such matters at all. It is true that I would be of your opinion and act perhaps in the same way had I any responsibility in the matter. But I have no obligation whatsoever. Moreover, our only duty is to become united to God. Even if we were members of those communities which are being publicly criticized for their defections, we would be greatly at fault in becoming disquieted on that account.'" - "My Sister, St. Therese" - Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face

The Holy Father recommends penance and prayer, not to become disquieted, and especially now, in Our Lady's month, to pray the rosary every day, for the protection of the Church from the evil one.  This strikes me as very Theresian. This strikes me as coming from God - God's will on how to conduct ourselves in this dark night.   I think Therese would direct her novices in the same way.

I'm hearing of people leaving the Church because of the scandals, so we need to pray very much.  Some leave because they disagree with Catholic teaching, others because of the scandals and the failure of clergy.  What is necessary is patience, even with ourselves, and confidence and love - and perseverance.  Perseverance in prayer, real prayer. 

Happy feast day to all my friends.  Let's be like Therese and surrender ourselves to merciful love.

"Little Therese never failed to help the most simple souls, the little ones, the poor and the suffering who prayed to her, but she also illuminated all the Church with her profound spiritual doctrine."
Speaking to her witness of heroic faith amidst suffering, the Holy Father said: 'The faith she showed through this great suffering was "faith at its most heroic, as the light in the shadows that invade the soul," observed the Pope. "In this context of suffering, living the greatest love in the littlest things of daily life, the saint realized her vocation of becoming the love at the heart of the Church."' - Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, September 30, 2018


Shortly after 7 PM, little Therese died on the evening of September 30 in 1897. 

She died much like Our Lord, suffocating in great agony; the weeks and days leading up to her death, St. Therese suffered an ineffable darkness, "the trial of Faith". Neither her own words, nor those of any other living person, can describe what it was like to share so intimately her Beloved's death. Not even her sisters could comprehend it.

Therese is little, and yet great. Nevertheless she is always little...very, very little. I sometimes lament she has been declared a Doctor of the Church, resulting in many academics, intellectuals, and masters of theology and spirituality making a science of her "little way." Many times they miss. They miss her "littleness" - her insignificance ...

The only great theologian or mystic that I know of who best writes of what comprised her spirituality is St. John of the Cross, the writer whose works Therese's spiritual doctrine most perfectly embodies. John of the Cross was a little soul as well. One person living today whom I believe understands the spiritual doctrine of St. Therese - and seems to actually live it - is our Holy Father Pope Francis.

Of course, the person who most closely exemplified Little Therese's "little way" was even more little and insignificant than Therese herself - Saint Teresa of Calcutta. 


O Lord, Who has said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

Out of my control ... The Crisis.

What is Truth?

Who is telling it?  I'm not sure these days.  That's the crisis - who to believe?

Kavanaugh or Ford?  Haha.  It's not up to me.

McCarrick or Viganò or the Vatican?  Again.  It's not up to me.  (Don't get me wrong - I believe the Holy Father and support him.  When I reference 'the Vatican' I'm nor specifically referring to the Holy See but rather the so-called Vatican 'spokesmen' and/or those speaking for the Pope, albeit unofficially and off-the-cuff.)

A friend sent me the story on the most recent letter from Viganò.  I started to read it, but stopped.  It's against Pope Francis and unverifiable, so I can't read it.  I have a hard time believing any attack upon the Pope's credibility - especially from anyone as arrogant and as contemptuous as Viganò seems to be.

Crux has a couple of articles on what editors think is going on or not going on.  It's more or less an opinion by journalists, I haven't noticed any bombshell evidence that has been unearthed.  Nor have I come across any documentation as to how McCarrick rose to the top.  We may never know.
An expert on Church law in Rome says there's no precedent for bishops' investigation other bishops, and that only the authority of the pope can release the documents likely needed to get to the bottom of the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. - Crux
This is pretty much what I have concluded as well. Only the Pope can authorize a visitation and he has so far decided against this. So the McCarrick case is pretty much decided, the Cardinal title has been removed, he's in a Capuchin friary doing penance. The rest is private - obviously. That is because ...
"Puig also noted that most of McCarrick’s misconduct happened with adult priests and seminarians, and while there was certainly an abuse of power at play, there were only two cases of minors who alleged having been abused, meaning the congregation, which deals only with delicta graviora crimes, or “serious offenses,” would not oversee the bulk of McCarrick’s misbehavior, perhaps making the case less urgent than others that could also be waiting for trial." - Crux
It seems to me Cardinal Maradiaga actually revealed how the McCarrick thing is being handled and will be treated: As private matter of a homosexual nature, the rest - his progress through the ranks - is an internal administration concern. McCarrick will die soon and even if the USCCB was able to get into the archives, they would not be able to reveal what they found out.
It's out of my control, and there is nothing I can do about it. If I read the gossip and debates, I risk losing my faith.  I risk seeing the Church as a purely human institution, a social justice organization.

I'm happy the Pope asked for the daily rosary and prayers to St. Michael during October "to protect the Church from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and from each other."  What is happening is truly diabolical.