Friday, October 26, 2018

The Jesuit Pope

Pope Francis.

A dear friend sent me a note from the Spiritual Exercises which I found very helpful when it comes to reading editorialized news reports online: "that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor's statement than to condemn it."  I take it to heart as advice to myself. 

It seems to me that Ignatian spirituality is the key to understanding the Holy Father, and perhaps why I find his teaching so appealing.  The Spiritual Exercises bolstered me in my conversion many years ago.  Shortly after returning to the sacraments I made an Ignatian retreat - not the long one - but the Ignatian method of prayer was how my prayer was initially formed and directed. 

That said, I came across some good stuff the Holy Father recently told the Jesuits in Vilnius:  "Meditate on the Passion, he tells his brothers, and be not afraid to go into the terrain of the devil..."

What?  I know!  But I totally get what the Pope means - it explains so much about this papacy.  It even corrects many of my misconceptions about the ministries of a few controversial figures.  What does the Holy Father mean? 

Listen... or rather read with the heart.
As the spiritual support of their flocks, the Jesuits must not fear to descend into other people’s “hell,” Pope Francis told his spiritual brothers.
We must not be afraid to go down into “people’s hell,” said the Successor of Peter on this occasion. Upon entering the “terrain of the devil,” one touches human and social sufferings, he said; that is to say, people’s “wounds,” and, through them, those of Christ. It helps, said the head of the Catholic Church, to “meditate on the Passion of the Lord.”
This mission, however, should not be undertaken “on one’s own,” but with the help of the Lord and the “beautiful mafia of angels,” he jokingly recommended.
Difficult situations must be confronted with the Lord, he assured, and in dialogue with the whole community, especially the superior. “The provincial is a brother,” said the pope, who himself held this position for the Jesuit community of Argentina between 1973 and 1980.
In addition, Pope Francis discussed the role of the confessor. According to him, it is “to embrace the prodigal son.” The confessor must therefore act with “paternity” and never chase away a penitent. If not, he warned, his bishop must question whether this priest should have the faculties to confess. It is not a question of granting “sweeping” pardons, but of acting like a “merciful father.” - Source

As St. Therese wrote: "a soul in the state of grace need never be afraid of the devil, who is such a coward that even the gaze of a child will frighten him away.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

I know I'm no good ...

The Holy Father speaks directly to me today...

His words today seem to sum up everything I have been thinking lately.

“The first step in knowing Christ, in entering into this mystery, is the knowledge of one’s own sin, of one’s own sins”, in recognizing that we are sinners, Pope Francis insists. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he adds, “we confess our sins” but “it is one thing to tell our sins”, it is another thing to recognize our nature of sinners, “capable of doing anything”, “recognizing ourselves as dirty”. Shame, in short, to feel the need to be “redeemed”.
“[Jesus] is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine”. He has the power to do it.
“Christians of words, we have so many words; we too, so many words. This is not sanctity; sanctity is being Christians who work out in life what Jesus taught and what Jesus has sown in our hearts”. - Source

That has always been my way, my confidence:  “Jesus is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine - by his power at work in us."  He knows that by myself I am no good.  He knows I can't be trusted.  He knows everything I touch, do, or say is tainted.

Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Vigano Backlash

The Neo-Savonarola Movement

It didn't start with Archbishop Vigano, he just shed light on the problem after the McCarrick scandal became public.  What's the problem?  Catholic teaching and homosexuality - some want it changed, others simply want it 'enforced'..  In a way, Fr. James Martin, S.J. started the fire with his Building A Bridge 'campaign'.  Reaction was almost immediate.

Aside from groups like New Ways Ministry and other gay acceptance groups dissenting from Catholic teaching, the existence of homosexuals in the clergy has been denied by most in the hierarchy - until Vigano.  Of course there was Michael Voris at Church Militant and others who have devoted their journalistic talents to exposing the homo-network, but they were pretty much considered to be part of the right-wing-nut-fringe.  Now Archbishop Vigano seems to have unleashed a revolt, and it's almost beginning to look like the Westboro Baptist protest - see the photo above, TFP folks protesting Fr. Martin.

Monsignor Pope reflects upon the letters of Archbishop Vigano, particularly the third letter, which I too found compelling because the Archbishop's message is a sober reminder of of sin, Hell and judgment.  Monsignor quotes the Archbishop:

In this letter Archbishop Viganò writes as if he never got the memo to obfuscate and speak in cloaked and guarded ways; to speak in such hazy terms that no one really has any idea what you are saying.  Instead the Archbishop comes right out and says,
[T]his very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it.… the evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming. …To claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry. - Pope

I see nothing abusive in the way Monsignor Pope reflects on Vigano's letter.  I personally dislike any suggestion the Holy Father is being deceitful - which is what I get from the Archbishop, however it is his affair to answer for.  Personally, I have great respect for Monsignor Pope and I am not at all criticizing him here - though I can't endorse Archbishop Vigano's allegations against the Holy Father.

There is a growing backlash which seems to me to be getting out of hand.  There is a direct confrontation between LGBTQ/Gay Catholics/SSA Catholics and normal/straight/hetero/chaste-celibate/married Catholics.  (Sorry, I have no other terms.  LOL!)  It's one extreme against another in many cases.

Rather than take time to write or review, here are a few links illustrating what I mean:

Michael Voris:

Then of course, the infamous Barnhardt whose diatribes make Randy Engels sound like Mother Teresa:
We are at war with sodomites, whether we like it or not, because sodomites are at war with us. We are in a war with execrable faggots like James Martin, Ethh Jay, and really all unrepentant sodomites. Given that sexual perversion is a derivative of Diabolical Narcissism,sodomites, exactly like the demons they emulate, prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. They want to drag as many people as possible down into hell with them, and it all begins with the hell-on-earth that they wallow in.
The above writers are among the extreme, following closely are writers for The Remnant, 1P5, LifeSite and a few other bloggers.  Things are heating up, as witnessed in the resignation of a San Diego parish worker.
In an Oct. 19 email to friends and associates, Aaron Bianco, who submitted his resignation to Bishop Robert McElroy, said he had "endured physical and emotional violence from groups like Church Militant and LifeSite News for the past year and a half." The harassment included slashed tires, death threats, attacks outside Mass, and "hundreds of letters, phone calls and emails." - NCR
Bishop McElroy is accused of being gay by some pundits online, as well, so there's a 'witch-hunt' mentality going around as well.

In one article, Randy Engels casts doubt about Fr. Harvey and Courage Apostolate, questioning his spiritual direction allowing for priests with SSA in active ministry.  

Which leads me to a little more balanced critique, albeit rather provocative, written by Deacon Russell for Crisis:
Homosexuality is “normal”—the psychological professionals tell us so. 
Until it comes to what happened in the Catholic Church. Here is what I mean: the landscape of life in the Church and particularly at the parish level is and was absolutely easy for a homosexual priest to just slightly modify in order to achieve a dynamic very similar to that which I describe above, straight out of the history of homosexuality’s “coming out.” The despicable “grooming mentality” was employed in both landscapes. A priest who hides his homosexuality can enter a Catholic universe in which he had at one time unmitigated access to adolescent teen boys who, through immaturity, their own sexual confusion, or perhaps in some cases “consensual” (ones never reported as abuse), find themselves sexually compromised by the priest’s willingness to “do” the acts that are associated with “being” homosexual. - Crisis
That's a tough read, to be sure.  In his closing remarks Deacon Russell concludes:
Tragically, young people everywhere are now urged to “come out” as an act of liberation, when in truth it is a participation in a now-venerable form of subjugation, oppression, and even possible victimization.
And our twisted mob culture wants us all to take “pride” in this? - ibid
Ironically, some of the more virulent critics of homosexuals endorse their own venerable version of subjugation, oppression and victimization, while endorsing a sort of mob-culture of their own.

From Barnhardt to Fr. Z there is a great deal of fear mongering, especially when they write about Sodomites as the most dangerous and evil people alive:

They are some of the most evil and dangerous people alive. It would be completely irrational to NOT fear a person who is so incredibly warped and depraved. “Phobia” has nothing to do with it, and the term “homophobia” should never be permitted. - Barnhardt

Fr. Z echoes Barnhardt when he wrote this in one of his recent posts:
"Again, Viganò has uncovered the root of The Present Crisis: homosexuals and homosexual predation – with the sodoclericalism that results. 
I think we have to make a distinction between clericalism and sodoclericalism.
Do make regular prayer for Archbp. Viganò part of your daily routine. When he issued his first piece, he went into hiding. Some might think that that is a little melodramatic. However, I know for a fact that homosexuals and mafiosi and all manner of dangerous actors run together, for their interests overlap. In Vatican circles, people can turn up dead. HERE It also happens far out of Vatican circles but within the Church when it comes to unmasking the powerful and their homosexual depredations. HERE When it came to McCarrick, one person was afraid of winding up at the bottom of the Potomac. HERE Archbp. Viganò has good reason to be afraid. Homosexual crime is among the most brutal that law enforcement and medical responders see." - Fr. Z
The paragraph in italics demonstrates the extremist positions feeding into the crisis in the Church.  Barnhardt especially is downright hate filled, condemning both Pope Francis and now St. Paul VI, whom she viciously calumniates and slanders in a manner too scandalous to repeat.  I know people say she has no credibility but many of my readers, former blogger friends, and even priests read her and praise her for her honesty, while several 'news' sites print her rantings.

Beware the anti-papists and religious zealots.

Monday, October 22, 2018

"I gotta get goin' around here!" - St. Gertrude of Sorens

Crazy Weather

What next?

Hailstorm in Rome ...

A wave of extreme weather bringing hail, floods and strong winds has brought parts of Italy to a standstill.
After a long spell of hot weather, Rome suffered damage from a major hailstorm and torrential rains overnight.
Firefighters were called out nationwide, from Milan in the north to Sicily in the south. - BBC

Earthquakes off Vancouver ...

The U.S. Geological Survey says several powerful quakes were reported Sunday evening. The of the depth the largest is about 6 miles (10 kilometers) and it struck about 149 miles (239 kilometers) west of Tofino, Canada. - Source

Cat 5 Hurricane bears down on Mexico ... 
Hurricane Willa, an "extremely dangerous" storm heading to Mexico's Pacific coast, was upgraded to Category 5 by the National Hurricane Center on Monday.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, is about 135 miles away from Cabo Corrientes, a municipality in southwest Mexico. It is moving north at 7 mph, according to the NHC's latest advisory. - NPR

Have a nice day! 

St. John Paul II

St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II

It occurred to me this morning that Pope Francis is following closely in the footsteps of his predecessors, not only St. John Paul II but his predecessor St. Paul VI, and of course, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.