Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Roman Catholic Politics of The Remnant

The Remnant describes this as a
 'Huge Vatican Event: Schneider, Burke speak during Amazon Synod.'

I'm getting burnt out by all of it.

Fr. Z is in the above photo, positioned in the front row, speaking with Cardinal Arinze.  Michael Matt is a friend of Fr. Z.

Calling this a huge Vatican Event is an overstatement, which had nothing to do with the synod.  It's a book launch.  "The launch of a new book-length interview of Bishop Athanasius Schneider that covers everything from the current pontificate, to Vatican II, to Archbishop Lefebvre's role in the resistance, to the Society of St. Pius X and even the role of Freemasonry."

This is politics.  They are contaminated by right-wing, political ideology - and they can be easily manipulated in and through what appears to be an inordinate attachment to big 'T' tradition.  It's as if they are forming a parallel magisterium.  (Not the Cardinals of course, just their 'promoters'.  What?)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Remember when Pedro Arrupe was removed as Superior General of the Jesuit Order by Pope John Paul II?

Servant of God, Pedro Arrupe, S.J.


That's because he wasn't removed.  Servant of God Pedro Arrupe, S.J. was NOT removed by Pope St. John Paul II.  It is not at all true to say that, as some 'self-appointed, lay-authorities and gossips' online tell it.

Truth be told, "Arrupe suffered a stroke on Aug. 7, 1981, and soon after resigned as superior general, as his ability to speak quickly degenerated."

Were there troubles with his leadership?  Yes.  Both St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II had serious concerns with the Jesuit emphasis on social justice issues, as well as questionable doctrinal issues circulating within the order, but neither Pope called for Arrupe to resign, nor attempted to remove him from office.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Cardinal Sarah Corrects the Anti-Papist Catholic Fringe.

Sarah said that whoever is against the pope is outside the Church.

ROME - Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said the people who portray him as an opponent of Pope Francis are being used by the devil to help divide the Church.
“The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the vicar of Christ, that is by the pope. And whoever is against the pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church,” the cardinal said in an interview published Oct. 7 in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily. - Finish reading here.
Hopefully this will help the anti-papist-Catholic-conspiracy-mongers to repent.

I would add that every pope is right for his time.” - Cardinal Sarah

Our friend Mary, the author at Catholic In Brooklyn just posted a great essay contradicting the contentious anti-papist rhetoric originating at Mrs. Kreitzer's blog, Les Femmes, signalling out the post, "Anti-Pope. That's my final decision." Authored by Susan Matthiesen, a contributor to Krietzer's blog.  As Mary notes, "It is a complete and total renunciation of Pope Francis and denies the validity of his papacy."  Please read Mary's entire post, it is very well done.  Mary Ann Kreitzer, Who Are You Serving?

Cardinal Sarah would be proud of Mary for her defense of the papacy and offering fraternal correction to bloggers such as Kreitzer and Matthiesen:
“Those who place me in opposition to the Holy Father cannot present a single word of mine, a single phrase or a single attitude of mine to support their absurd - and I would say, diabolical - affirmations,” Sarah said. “The devil divides, sets people against each other.”
Sarah said it is normal for the Church to experiences difficulties and divisions, but every Christian is called “to seek unity in Christ.”
“I would add that every pope is right for his time,” the cardinal said. “Providence looks after us very well, you know.” - Crux

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur
Dora Holzhandler (1928–2015)

This painting reminds me of the sketch representing the Ascent of Mt. Carmel made by St. John of the Cross.


Today, Catholics read from the Book of Jonah, who happens to be an archetype for Yom Kippur.  In fact, the Book of Jonah is read every year, in its original Hebrew and in its entirety, on Yom Kippur.    Therefore, it seems to me we are spiritually united and can unite with the Jewish people this day in prayer and fasting. 

Al Chet
For the sin which we have committed before You under duress or willingly.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by hard-heartedness.
For the sin which we have committed before You inadvertently.
And for the sin which we have committed before You with an utterance of the lips.
For the sin which we have committed before You with immorality.
And for the sin which we have committed before You openly or secretly.
For the sin which we have committed before You with knowledge and with deceit.
And for the sin which we have committed before You through speech.
For the sin which we have committed before You by deceiving a fellowman.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by improper thoughts.
For the sin which we have committed before You by a gathering of lewdness.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by verbal [insincere] confession.
For the sin which we have committed before You by disrespect for parents and teachers.
And for the sin which we have committed before You intentionally or unintentionally.
For the sin which we have committed before You by using coercion.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by desecrating the Divine Name.
For the sin which we have committed before You by impurity of speech.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by foolish talk.
For the sin which we have committed before You with the evil inclination.
And for the sin which we have committed before You knowingly or unknowingly.
For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us. - More here.

(The Al Chet can be a great source for the examination of conscience before confession.) 

Monday, October 07, 2019

Our Lady of the Rosary

Pray the Rosary everyday.

Today is the great feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, originating in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto - which thrilled me as a little boy, 'knight of the Immaculata'!

Tradition tells us Our Lady gave the Rosary to S. Dominic as a means to evangelize those mislead by the Albigensian heresy. This is appropriate, as the Rosary is meditation upon the Creed - the mysteries of faith - which is what every heresy obscures.

At Fatima, Our Lady identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary - and all that implies for our day - especially her request for the First Saturday devotion - with emphasis upon keeping her company while meditating up the mysteries of the Rosary - which, after long practice, one realizes is meditation upon the Creed. Our Lady, more or less deepening our faith in and through the lights she imparts as we do so.

It is she who conquers all heresies and it is she who obtains every grace and mercy for Christians, as well as those who seek God. There is no grace, nor mercy, ever refused through the prayers of the Rosary. Sr. Lucia went so far as to insist Our Lady wants everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic, to pray the Rosary every day. At every apparition Our Lady urged the Fatima children to pray the rosary every day.

Today we celebrate and honor the Madonna del Rosario with great devotion and ostentation - yet Caravaggio captured the essence of of Our Lady - Madonna del Popolo - Mother of all peoples, refuge of sinners, especially those most in need of mercy. He showed Our Lady in ordinary life, with ordinary and extraordinary people. St. Therese said she is more mother than queen, and I agree.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Holy Father's Homily to the New Cardinals

Look at who is in the background.

At the heart of the Gospel, we have just heard (Mk 6:30-37) is the “compassion” of Jesus...

Once again, I'm perplexed by all the fears expressed by the Pope's critics, now watching him closely in Rome.  Fr. Z posted a sort of panicked Action Item post, stressing the gloom over-hanging Rome.  To tell you the truth, Z and his cronies, as well as a couple of Cardinals and Bishops, cast a blanket of doom over everything they witness in Rome and the Church.  Especially as regards the Amazon Synod.  They are all stocked up on crazy, fearing Masons and 'homosexualists' and all sorts of boogie men 'infiltrating' the Church to establish the New World Order.  I don't get it?  How did these scare tactics influence and overtake so many?

Yesterday the Holy Father appointed new Cardinals.  A joyous occasion, considering the new Cardinals are not the typical, expected choices - a diverse bunch.  Critics interpret the Pope's appointments the way they assess the Presidents choices for advisers or appointees to the courts.  It is an attitude which lacks a supernatural perspective, judging as human beings, rather than as God judges. 

Jesus goes out in search of the outcast, those without hope. 

The Pope's homily reveals so much about the Holy father himself, and his ardent desire to make known the merciful love of God - his compassion for ourselves as well as the most alienated.  When I read his words, it seems to me I hear the Gospel and then everything falls into place - everything the Pope says or does makes sense in the light of Christ. 

At the heart of the Gospel, we have just heard (Mk 6:30-37) is the “compassion” of Jesus (cf. 34). Compassion is a keyword in the Gospel. It is written in Christ’s heart; it is forever written in the heart of God.
In the Gospels, we often see Jesus’ compassion for those who are suffering. The more we read, the more we contemplate, the more we come to realize that the Lord’s compassion is not an occasional, sporadic emotion, but is steadfast and indeed seems to be the attitude of his heart, in which God’s mercy is made incarnate.

Jesus goes out in search of the outcast, those without hope. People like the man paralyzed for thirty-eight years who lay beside the pool of Bethzatha, waiting in vain for someone to bring him to the waters (cf. Jn 5:1-9).
Jesus’ disciples often show themselves lacking compassion, as in this case, when they are faced with the problem of having to feed the crowds. In effect, they say: “Let them worry about it themselves…” This is a common attitude among us human beings, even those of us who are religious persons or even religious “professionals”. The position we occupy is not enough to make us compassionate, as we see in the conduct of the priest and Levite who, seeing a dying man on the side of the road, pass to the other side (cf. Lk 10:31-32). They would have thought: “It’s not up to me”. There are always justifications; at times they are even codified and give rise to “institutional disregard”, as was the case with lepers: “Of course, they have to keep their distance; that is the right thing to do”. This all too human attitude also generates structures lacking compassion. - Finish reading here.

As the Holy Father said:  "At the heart of the Gospel, we have just heard (Mk 6:30-37) is the “compassion” of Jesus ..."  So - is Jeus going to abandon us then?  Is he going to desert the Church?  What is wrong with those who reject His Vicar, those who slander and calumniate the Holy Father?  There are Catholics online who call him a monster, a pig, and an assortment of other derisive names, even suggesting he is possessed, a heretic, an anti-pope.  Those who reject him, reject Christ.

Pray for the Holy Father.  

Friday, October 04, 2019

St. Francis of Assisi

St, Francis before the Pope

Humility and obedience.

He loved poverty and was poor, wandering about in rough penitent cloth.

He loved chastity, and was chaste, once throwing himself in a thicket of thorns to resist temptation.

He loved obedience, humbling himself before bishops, fallen priests, and the Lord Pope.

He loved Jesus Crucified, sharing in his passion, showing the Holy Wounds to a world grown cold.

He said once unto his companion: “I esteem not myself to be a Brother Minor unless I be in the state that I shall describe unto thee. Lo now, I suppose me to be one set in authority over the Brethren; I go unto the Chapter, I preach unto the Brethren and exhort them, and at the end they speak against me, saying: “Thou mislikest us, for that thou art unlettered, slow of speech, a fool, and simple,” and thus I am cast forth with reviling, little esteemed of all. I tell thee,—unless I can hear such words with unchanged countenance, with unchanged gladness of spirit and unchanged holy intent,—I am vainly called a Brother Minor.” And he added, “In exalted place there is the fear of fall, in praises a precipice, in the humility of a submissive spirit there is profit. Why then do we look for perils rather than profits, when we have had time bestowed on us that we may make profit therein?”
From this same reason of humility, Francis was minded that his Brethren should be called by the name of Minors, and that the rulers of his Order should be called Ministers, that thus he might employ the very words of the Gospel that he had vowed to observe, and that his followers might learn from their very name that they had come to learn humility in the school of the humble Christ. For that Teacher of humility, Christ Jesus, when He would teach His disciples what was perfect humility, said: “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” - St. Bonaventure

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

I get emails.

I have no authority, no office to speak for the Pope or the Church...

A good friend of the blog expressed concern over my recent postings, as well as my post poking fun at Voris.  I share my response publicly, since I know others most likely have similar concerns.

Thanks for letting me know your concerns – I removed the Michael Voris post. 
I don’t think I have changed much at all, but I’m deeply disappointed with the numerous critics taking jabs at the Pope and suggesting he is tainted by heresy. Your friend’s post is just fine, I feel sorry she takes offense at what the Holy Father says and feels insulted. I don’t understand how anyone would take what he says as an insult? He speaks from great experience and years of study and discernment, so if a good man reprimands someone, it is indeed a kindness, as one of the psalms tells us. 
I don’t hang on his every word he says, especially if what is said finds no application in my life.  To my knowledge, he has never contradicted the teaching of the Church – or changed any doctrine. He’s obviously shares his experience of opening doors and helping people ‘untie the knots’ of their particular state in life. What he says and does privately is known to him and the soul he is dealing with. It’s private, unless a person discloses something the Pope told him. Then, it is the person’s interpretation being repeated, not necessarily what the Pope actually said. Likewise, it is not any of my business. 
I do get tired of all the attacks against the Holy Father and will post about them, as well as post the good things the Pope does. My moral life, my faith, and my obedience has not changed. I adhere to Catholic teaching and I trust the Holy Spirit guides the Church. We have good bishops who speak about their concerns publicly, which sometimes feeds into a negative POV among the reactionary segments of laity and clergy - who are confused by social media and press reports – esp. concerning the upcoming synod. Yet they are good bishops who have made their concerns known to the Holy Father. The Holy Father knows about these concerns, and in good faith, I trust he is working towards a solution - in his own way.
Good to hear from you! You know I never mind it when people delete me from their links – it’s always a grace – for both parties – I hope. I have no authority, no office to speak for the Pope or the Church - I simply log my personal opinion and experiences.
Wishing you a lovely feast day of the Angels!


I removed a post. 

I featured a photo of Michael Voris in a blonde wig and a muscle shirt working in the cafe of the hotel he was staying at in Rome.  Some people didn't get the humor, others were offended.  So I removed the post.

Michael Voris and Church Militant is not a go-to news source for me.  Never has been.  It's a site structured on gossip and harassment of bishops.  It's a Catholic tabloid.  Now that Voris and crew have turned on the Pope, I think it is fortunate that they were forced to remove the word Catholic from their brand.

I made a mistake, thinking it amusing that the broadcast is anchored by an older guy in a blond hairpiece, with white side-burns, dressed in shirts to show off his physique.  I just do not take the reporting seriously, and when the anchor tries to be so hip, he becomes a sort of parody of  himself. Maybe I'm jealous?  That's probably it.

I will try to be more charitable.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The Essential Therese...

"I am resigned to being always imperfect, and I even find happiness in it.  
I keep an eye on myself to see if I can discover any new imperfections." 
- Therese to Mother Agnes of Jesus

"I will come down..."

I post these thoughts on St. Therese over and over.  For me the secret of St. Therese is her consent to be found at the 'table of sinners'.  She expressed that desire in the depths of her dark night, her trial of temptations against faith before she died. In that abject state, she experienced the faithlessness of the atheist, the bitter taste of rancor of the unbeliever, even the hollow, vacuous, hopelessness of those who hate the faith. Like her Master, "who had not known sin, yet became sin," thus she, who was innocent (as she had been once assured she had never committed a mortal sin), became sin, as it were. Not in the exact same sense of Christ of course, but she shared, or imitated His redemptive suffering in and through that experience... seated with Christ crucified, at the table of sinners.
Even if I had all the crimes possible on my conscience, I am sure I should lose none of my confidence. Heartbroken with repentance, I would simply throw myself into my Savior's arms, for I know how much He loves the prodigal son. I have heard what He said to Mary Magdalene, to the woman taken in adultery, and the Samaritan woman. No one can make me frightened any more, because I know what to believe about His mercy and His love; I know that in the twinkling of an eye all those thousands of sins would be consumed as a drop of water cast into a blazing fire. - Story of A Soul
"While Jesus was at table many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him... " - Mark 2: 13-17

Ordinary people complain that they lack her innocence, that they lack her love, that all they find in themselves is misery and the awful despair of knowing they are too sinful to attain the heights of sanctity. Yet it is precisely for those of us who find ourselves powerless and unfaithful, "miserated" by our selfish self indulgence and sin, who attract Therese and are most fitted to her little way. We do not have to worry about merit or accomplishments to attract her patronage, or much more, to attract the merciful love of God. This is what Little Therese teaches and demonstrates in her little way of confidence and love. It is our misery which attracts the divine mercy. It is our sins and our faults which so attracts God that he sent his only Son to be crucified for our sins. Therefore, who can not trust in merciful love when one is vulnerable enough, humble enough, to be embraced by it? The mystery is so deep, so wide.

Whoever is a little one, let him come to me... seated at the table of sinners.

I have so much trouble trying to express these things, but I'm convinced that St. Therese is much more the patron saint of sinners than she is anything else. It is almost like saying that Jesus Christ is the God of sinners as far as he made himself the bread of sinners, likewise he ate and drank with them, and most certainly, he came to call sinners, not the righteous... the Gospel proclaims that, and so does the life of St. Therese.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Fr. James Martin, S.J. is received in private audience with Pope Francis.

The Argentine Jesuit (Pope) also has spoken of his own ministry to gay and transgender people, insisting they are children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the church. - AP

I'm so happy for Fr. Martin!

Fr. James Martin, SJ3 hrs
Dear friends: Today Pope Francis received me for a 30-minute private audience in the Apostolic Palace, where I shared with him the joys and hopes, and the griefs and anxieties, of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide. I was so grateful to meet with this compassionate pastor.
The only other person in the room with us during our meeting was his translator.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Attraction of Traditionalism.

The Traditionalist Network.

I've been thinking and reading articles filled with ominous anticipation over the Pan Amazon Synod.  Lay people are gathering in Rome to pray for the protection of St. Michael against diabolic manipulation of the synod.  Likewise priests are praying a special exorcism prayer on the eve of the feast of St. Michael - praying at a special time, and priests around the world are invited to join in.  I'm not sure who initiated these things, but it surely can't hurt to pray in this way.  It's a good thing, very similar to Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider's initiative to pray the rosary and fast for the Church before the synod.  Nothing wrong with that.

I just do not understand the sense of panic which seems to underlie these efforts.  It seems to me many are projecting fears and suspicions onto the synod based on the working draft, or proposals to be discussed.  It seems to me all the conspiracy theories and contention since the Vatican Council is reaching a crescendo these days.

I'm always curious as to how and why this came to be.  I've been reading some of the rad-trad sites and linking together much of the post-conciliar-anti-papal propaganda.  What attracts faithful Catholics to these 'movements'?  They are movements within the Church, not schismatic groups, but rather close to schism.  They are well funded in both North and South America.

Traditionalists forming a remnant.

I think people - even people like me - are attracted to the traditional devotions these groups embody.  I have gone to some of their websites to get information on saints and the Blessed Virgin under her various titles.  Their literature is very good.  They also supply prayers and devotionals no longer in usage among contemporary Catholics.  Their devotion to Fatima and the Rosary is a sort of imprimatur that their apostolate is indeed faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium.  They also attract many devout Catholics because they are actively pro-life and against such things as same sex marriage.  They demonstrate and are often more aggressive in these apostolates than some other groups.  They are also very much - even literally - cloaked in religion.  It is related to clericalism, which Pope Francis so often warns against, stating more recently:  "Clericalism confuses priestly 'service' with priestly 'power.'"  (Therefore, is it any wonder these types resist the Holy Father?)

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira 1968

Christopher White, writing for Crux covers it better than I could, although thanks to his article, I've researched sources I've long been familiar with, connecting the dots of conspiracy theory and anti-papal propaganda.  In covering the resistance, White identifies one source for the anti-synod propaganda:  "The Pan-Amazon Synod Watch, which was created by the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute (IPCO) and its “sister organizations,” the right-wing Societies for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)."

Before reading his article, I wasn't aware of the site - Pan-Amazon Synod Watch.  The name of the site is reminiscent of the sede site, "Novus Ordo Watch" - a site I believe many of the rad-trad sites are in agreement with.  TFP and its 'affiliates' is a network which has been operating since the Council, and the influence of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira cannot be underestimated.

The Godfather of the Synod Resistance
Oliveira is in many ways the godfather of the resistance to the Amazon synod; he was just as much a critic of Pope John Paul II’s outreach to the indigenous communities of the region as his organization is of Pope Francis today.
At age 24, Oliveira became the youngest congressman in the history of Brazil. After creating the Catholic Electoral League to mobilize traditionalist Catholics, he was a trenchant critic of the pan-continental bishops’ organization created in the 1950s, the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).
Oliveira was in Rome in the 1960s during the Second Vatican Council and described it as “a point in history as sad as the Death of Our Lord.” In 1985, the Brazilian bishops rejected the movement for its “lack of communion … with the Church in Brazil, its hierarchy, and the Holy Father.”
Father Dário Bossi, provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Brazil, who has worked in the Brazilian Amazon region of Maranhão for over a decade, told Crux that Oliveira had a “fascist ideology” and that TFP is “an elite movement, which has never been in communion with the Brazilian episcopate.”
In particular, Oliveira did not hide his disdain for indigenous Catholics, whom he saw as incompletely converted pagans. - Christopher White

Restoring the aristocratic.

It's a bit disconcerting, since some Cardinals and Bishops are persuaded by the ideology underlying many of these groups and movements.  For instance, the Fatima Crusader founder, Father Gruner and those linked to him, promoted ideas concerning Fatima and the infiltration of the Vatican which have almost become mainstream these days.  Even Cardinal Burke seems to be influenced by some of the more radical ideas these groups have promoted over the years - such as the need to do the Consecration of Russia over again..  How many people follow TFP and Tradition in Action, or who read The Remnant and their contributors, have any idea what a propaganda machine these sites have become.

Tradition In Action and Fr. Gruner's movement promoted the absurd claim Sr. Lucia had been replaced by a double.  Similarly, Bayside and other fringe groups connected with it, promoted the incredible story of Pope Paul VI replaced by a double.  Fake news reigns with these rad-trad groups and has influenced and corrupted good priests and religious, as well as bishops. I think we are witnessing that today.

Anyway - I've spent too much time on this, but perhaps others more capable can expose the 'network' behind all of this - hidden behind the baroque facade of traditional devotion, splendid vestments, and the Extraordinary Form.

Mgr João Scognamiglio Clá Dias.
Founder of Heralds of the Gospel,
an off shoot of TFP.
(All photos are Heralds of the Gospel images.)

Friday, September 27, 2019

The little seminarian martyr and the saturno...

Blessed Rolando Rivi.

After reading about the young saint, I felt a deeper appreciation of the traditional garb of priests, the cassock and saturno. In 1944 after the German invasion of Italy, the seminaries were closed. A young seminarian Rolando Maria Rivi returned home, yet continued to wear his cassock, insisting "I am studying to be a priest and the cassock is the sign that I belong to Jesus.”

Despite anticlerical sentiment in his area, Rolando wore the outward sign that he was still a seminarian and candidate for the priesthood. The cassock with the saturno was the ordinary form of dress for seminarians at that time. [Bl. Rolando's example reminded me of another young martyr, Bl. Isidore Bakanja, the Africa Scapular martyr - when his persecutors ordered him to remove his scapular, Isidore refused and was severely flogged.]

I continue to have a deeper respect for priests and seminarians who choose to wear the cassock, or wear it because it is the custom in the diocese they serve. It is a wonderful witness.

It seems to me when the Pope expresses criticism of some of those who adopt the traditional clerical garb, he is warning against 'vain rejoicing' in the clerical status, if you will. For instance, if a priest layers expensive clothing upon his ordinary clerical-wear, and models and parades about to impress others with his taste and style and the expense of fine tailoring, that's vain and narcissistic - not unlike the ostentatious behavior of a Pharisee. When the Pope is critical of such things, he's not unlike the spiritual director who offers precautions against vain rejoicing in natural and spiritual goods.

That said - it doesn't concern me, but I think it's weird how people get so offended by what the Pope says about these things. Perhaps there is something for them to be learned from it, that is if they feel so insulted by it?  Why do they think the Pope is talking about them?

Some priests seem to want to use the saturno as a sort of assault weapon in reaction to the Pope and the ordinary form of things in the Church. E.g. Fr. Z has teamed up once again with a Catholic supply company to offer saturnos to seminarians and priests, as well as providing information on how to fund the project, urging seminarians to order now. It's a harmless little protest - but it's part of the resistance and rejection of Pope Francis.

Blessed Rolando, pray for us, pray for the Pope.

An account of the martyrdom of Blessed Rolando.

On April 10, 1945, Rolando was taken by a group of Communist insurgents, who forced him to go with them into the woods.
Friday, April 13, 1945, after three days of torture and humiliation, the insurgents brought him to a forest in the village of Piane di Monchio, where there was already a grave dug. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon. They hurled him to the ground and then forced him to kneel on the edge of the grave. Before they killed him, Rolando asked for – and was granted – a moment to pray for his parents. Even then, he reaffirmed his belonging to Christ. The Communist insurgents then murdered him with two shots of the pistol. He was fourteen years old.

A Thought From St. Vincent De Paul

[M]ost people offend God by passing judgment on the things others do, especially important people, not knowing the reasons why they are doing what they do; for when one does not know the primary cause of some matter, what conclusions can he draw from it? - Vincent De Paul

Thursday, September 26, 2019

This! This is the Pope's definition of clericalism, which many refuse to accept and understand.

"Clericalism has a direct consequence in rigidity." 

I'll just reprint the following section from the Holy Father's Q and A with the Jesuits of Mozambique and Madagascar.  How anyone could possibly misinterpret the Pope's teaching is beyond me.  It seems to me, those who do so may be caught up in the clericalism Pope Francis cautions against.

Fr. Joachim Biriate, the provincial’s socius, asks a question: “How can we avoid falling into clericalism during formation for priestly ministry?”
Clericalism is a real perversion in the Church. The shepherd has the ability to go in front of the flock to show the way, stay in the middle of the flock to see what happens within, and also be at the rear of the flock to make sure that no one is left behind. Clericalism, on the other hand, demands that the shepherd always stays ahead, sets a course, and punishes with excommunication those who stray from the flock. In short, the very opposite of what Jesus did. Clericalism condemns, separates, beats and despises the people of God.
I once went to confess in a sanctuary in northern Argentina. After Mass, I left in the company of another priest. A woman approached him with pictures and rosaries, asking him to bless those objects. My friend explained to her: “You have been to Mass and at the end of Mass you already received the blessing; therefore, everything has already been blessed.” But the woman kept asking for his blessing. And the priest continued with his theological explanation: “Is Mass the sacrifice of Christ?” And the woman said “Yes!” “Is it the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ?” And the woman said “Yes!” “And you believe that Christ with his blood saved us all?” And the woman said “Yes!” At that very moment the priest saw a friend of his and was distracted. And the woman immediately turned to me, asking, “Father, will you give me the blessing?” The poor people should not have to beg in this way for a blessing! Clericalism does not take into account the people of God.
In Latin America there is much popular piety, and it is very rich. One of the explanations given for the phenomenon is that this happened because the priests were not interested, and therefore could not clericalize it. Popular piety has aspects needing correction, yes, but it expresses the sovereignty of the holy people of God, without clericalism. Clericalism confuses priestly “service” with priestly “power.” Clericalism is rise and rule. It’s called “climbing” in Italian.
The ministry understood not as service but as “promotion” to the altar is the fruit of a clerical mentality. I can think of an extreme example. Deacon means “servant.” But in some cases clericalism paradoxically affects precisely the “servants,” the deacons. When they forget that they are the custodians of service, then the desire to clericalize and be “promoted” to the altar emerges.
Clericalism has a direct consequence in rigidity. Have you never seen young priests all stiff in black cassocks and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads? Behind all the rigid clericalism there are serious problems. I had to intervene recently in three dioceses with problems that expressed themselves in these forms of rigidity that concealed moral problems and imbalances.
One dimension of clericalism is the exclusive moral fixation on the sixth commandment. Once a Jesuit, a great Jesuit, told me to be careful in giving absolution, because the most serious sins are those that are more angelical: pride, arrogance, dominion… And the least serious are those that are less angelical, such as greed and lust. We focus on sex and then we do not give weight to social injustice, slander, gossip and lies. The Church today needs a profound conversion in this area.
On the other hand, great shepherds give people a lot of freedom. The good shepherd knows how to lead his flock without enslaving it to rules that deaden people. Clericalism, on the other hand, leads to hypocrisy, even in religious life.
I often tell the story of a Jesuit in formation. His mother was seriously ill and he knew that she would not live much longer. He lived in another city in the same country, and so he asked his provincial to be moved closer to his mother so as to be able to spend more time with her. The provincial said that he would think about it before God and would answer him before leaving early in the morning the next day. The young Jesuit stayed in the chapel that night for a long time, praying that the Lord would grant him grace. But the provincial, since he had to leave early, did not really think much about it and wrote all the answers to the petitions he had received and gave them to the minister of the community[7] to hand them over the following day. Among them was the answer to this young man. The minister, since it was late and he thought that everyone was sleeping, put the letters at the doors of those concerned. The young man, who returned to his room from the chapel late at night, saw the letter from the provincial and opened it. He realized it was dated the next day. It said, “After reflecting, praying, celebrating Mass and making long discernment before the Lord, I think you should stay in this place.” This is clericalism, it is the hypocrisy to which clericalism leads. The young Jesuit did not lose his vocation, but he never forgot that hypocrisy. Clericalism is essentially hypocritical. - La Civita Cattolica

Yes!  This is exactly why I love Pope Francis so much.  He understands very well what is going on in the Church and the needs of the people of God.  I stand with the Pope!

Notice the Detail, Terry Nelson, 2010
8' x 8" acrylic on canvas

I especially love the following excerpt - and I believe I understand it from my own experience, because for years I focused upon sins against chastity while ignoring many other sins, which I didn't consider all that bad - primarily sins against charity and justice.
"One dimension of clericalism is the exclusive moral fixation on the sixth commandment. Once a Jesuit, a great Jesuit, told me to be careful in giving absolution, because the most serious sins are those that are more angelical: pride, arrogance, dominion… And the least serious are those that are less angelical, such as greed and lust. We focus on sex and then we do not give weight to social injustice, slander, gossip and lies. The Church today needs a profound conversion in this area." - Pope Francis

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

St. Hildegarde and Dr. Marshall and Fr. Z's Theories On the Katechon

 Representation of Antichrist in Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias

“'The last act of the Holy Spirit', the discovery of its constructive mystery in history." 

Many today, even Fr. Z, are thinking about the Antichrist. I mention Fr. Z because he recently wrote a post wondering who or what the restrainer is, which restrains the Antichrist.
St. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2 about an eschatological concept, “the restrainer”. 
According to Paul, before the “Day of the Lord” comes the “Son of Perdition” or “Antichrist” must show up. Hence, if we haven’t seen the Son of Perdition, then the end is not upon us. Therefore, we must conduct ourselves not as if the world is about to end, but rather as if we are in it for the long haul. 
But wait, there’s more. Paul says that before the Son of Perdition comes, that which restrains him must be removed. The word Paul uses for this “restrainer” is katechon. Paul uses this in two forms, masculine and neuter. 
Alas, Paul doesn’t describe the katechon. We are left to speculate. What is “that which restrains” or “the restrainer”? - Fr. Z
Fr. Z seems to think the traditional liturgy may be the 'restrainer', as well as the contemplative life of nuns and monks.  You can read his post, but I was fascinated by the concept of the 'restrainer'.  Most Christians would probably say it is the Holy Spirit, and therefore the life of the Spirit living in the Church, with all his gifts at work in those who believe.  I think.  I don't know much about it, except for what the catechism teaches.

It also seems to me the Blessed Virgin might well be the restrainer.  As spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother of the Church, she seems the likely candidate to me, especially since in numerous private revelations she is alleged to have stated 'I cannot hold back the hand of the Lord much longer' - or something to that effect.  In the last book of the Bible we read, "The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!'"  This is the Church, isn't it?

St. Hildegarde's Vision of the Church
Giovanni Gasparro.

"The katechon is a biblical concept which has subsequently developed into a notion of political philosophy."

Some people - perhaps many traditionalists, see the restrainer in terms of the Church and Western Civilization.  I came to that conclusion with regard to Bannon and his political philosophy regarding the rise of militant Islam and its threat to European culture.  To a great extent it is a politicized, ideological point of view, which is very rad-trad - a place many of the end-timer theories tend to lead - if not originate from.  I'm not well read on the subject and believe it to be a distraction from trying to lead a devout life, so I'll leave it to scholars to figure out.  Just beware those who with no authorization from the Church make claims that they have figured it all out.

I was curious to read what others may have said regarding the identity of the 'restrainer'.  Searching online, I came across a comment on another blog, taken from the Scivias of St. Hildegarde, describing some details of her vision of the Antichrist, which are quite weird, BTW.  After reading Hildegard's vision of the Church and the imagery she used, I was reminded of Dr. Taylor Marshall's vision of the Church, thinking to myself - maybe he wasn't so crazy? Or maybe Hilde was bingein'? Just joking.  Although, perhaps it's possible that Marshall was influenced by the imagery in St. Hildegarde's writings?  I don't know.

Below is a section from St. Hildegarde, followed by Dr. Marshall's account of his vision.

"The image of the woman before the altar in front of the eyes of God that I saw earlier was now also shown to me again so that I could also see her from the navel down. From the navel to the groin she had various scaly spots. In her [genitalia] there appeared a monstorous and totally black head with fiery eyes, ears like the ears of a donkey, nostrils and mouth like those of a lion, gnashing with vast open mouth and sharpening its horrible iron teeth in a horrid manner.
From that head to the knees the image was white and red, bruised as with many a beating. From the knees to the two white transverse zones which crosswise seemed to touch the bottoms of the feet from above, the image appeared to be bloody. Lo, the monstrous head removed itself from its place with so great a crash that the entire image of the woman was shaken in all its members. - (Scivias 3:11; Translated by B McGinn, Visions of the End, pp101-102) - Source

"I was doing an examination of conscience before bed. and I was thinking on that point of being worried… about the Holy Catholic Church, Mother Church."
And as I was, suddenly I saw this beautiful woman. She had blond hair, she was perfect, no wrinkles, no spots, and I immediately discerned that this was Holy Mother the Church.
And she was writhing in pain. She was in a bed, there were sheets on her, and she was very sick. And I noticed that her breasts were engorged with milk, tons of milk. And there were babies and children crying out to her that were hungry. And she wanted to feed them, and she was upset, but she was so sick she could hardly sit up from her bed.
And then I thought to myself, ‘Oh she’s poisoned, she doesn’t want to nurse the children because then she’ll give them the poison.’ And then there was this voice, it was like God or an angel, I don’t know, and it said, ‘No, the milk is still pure.‘
“And so I saw her there in all of her beauty, but so sick and struggling and loving those children and seeing all that milk stored up there. And I realized that the sacramental graces, the dogma, the doctrine, the morality, all of that in the Church is pure.
There’s poison in the Church, the Church is hurting, there’s always been some poison in the Church. And Mother Church still loves us and Mother Church still wants to give us milk, and she will, but it’s a difficult time. But the milk is pure. The sacramental graces of Holy Mother Church is pure. She’s still beautiful, she’s still immaculate, there’s still nothing sinful, wrong, or broken with Mother Church. But there has been introduced something into her that is poisonous, and so she’s struggling a little bit.
So we just need to love Mother Church, and we need to be fed by Mother Church, and be patient, and know that any incorruption that enters the Church does not affect the milk flow. The nutrition that Mother Church gives us is always pure, it’s always unadulterated, we can always trust that until the end of time." - Taylor Marshall
"With a number of the ancients, many of God's prophecies and locutions did not turn out as they had expected, because they interpreted them with their own different and extremely literal method." - John of the Cross

I would recommend Catholics keep their catechisms and the Scriptures close by, and pray - especially the rosary.  Cardinal Sarah writes realistically and quite well about our times, with no need to cite visionaries and doomsday speculation.  I especially like this quote from him:
I believe that we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. Yes, the Church needs a profound and radical reform that must begin with a reform of the way of being and the way of life of priests. The Church is holy in herself. But we prevent this holiness from shining through our sins and worldly concerns. - Cardinal Sarah
These matters are far above my competence to discern or interpret.  I think we need to be cautious, especially when one uses visions and speculative interpretation of scripture to denigrate the Novus Ordo and Pope Francis.

I always keep the following in mind when reading about private revelations and apparitions, especially regarding the end times - from St. Annibale Maria de Francia:
“Being taught by the teachings of several mystics, I have always deemed that the teachings and locutions of even holy persons, especially women may contain deceptions. Poulain attributes errors even to saints the Church venerates on the altars. How many contradictions we see between Saint Brigid, D’Agreda, Emmerich, etc. We cannot consider the revelations and the Locutions as words of Scripture. Some of them must be omitted, and others explained in a right, prudent meaning.” - Source

Friday, September 20, 2019

Bishops Being Bishops

See.  This is how it works.

Archbishop Chaput wrote a most charitable critique of Fr. James Martin's, S.J. book and apostolate to LGBTQ persons.  He even notified him first and Fr. Martin responded on Facebook.  The Archbishop began his column:

Father Martin has also, at times, been the target of bitter personal attacks. As I’ve said previously, such attacks are inexcusable and unChristian. 
In reality, Father Martin has sought in a dedicated way to accompany and support people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Many of his efforts have been laudable, and we need to join him in stressing the dignity of persons in such situations.
At the same time, a pattern of ambiguity in his teachings tends to undermine his stated aims, alienating people from the very support they need for authentic human flourishing. Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues, I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims. - Source

Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church.

One Bishop has affirmed the Archbishop's precautions regarding Fr. Martin's work.  Bishop Paprocki released a statement:

“Archbishop Chaput has provided a helpful caution to Catholics about Father James Martin. On the one hand, Father Martin correctly expresses God’s love for all people, while on the other, he either encourages or fails to correct behavior that separates a person from that very love. This is deeply scandalous in the sense of leading people to believe that wrongful behavior is not sinful.
“Father Martin’s public messages create confusion among the faithful and disrupt the unity of the Church by promoting a false sense that immoral sexual behavior is acceptable under God’s law. People with same-sex attraction are indeed created and loved by God and are welcome in the Catholic Church. But the Church’s mission to these brothers and sisters is the same as to all her faithful: to guide, encourage, and support each of us in the Christian struggle for virtue, sanctification, and purity.
“This matter is not one of opinion, it is our Lord’s own teaching, as we hear in Luke’s Gospel: ‘Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.’” (Luke 17:3) - Source
So yeah, this is what Bishops do.

They have the authority to speak on behalf of the Church.  They have the authority and mission to shepherd their sheep.  Some may complain about the pope or upcoming synods, and all sorts of other stuff, yet all they have to do is stand up and speak - teach the Catholic faith.  No one is stopping them. 

I'm grateful when a Bishop speaks up and clarifies Catholic teaching - especially now when there is so much confusion circulating.  I for one have always faced criticism, which why I often say, damned if you do, damned if you don't.  On one hand, for supporting and adhering to Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage, religious and non-religious have said I was too extreme.  On the other hand, some faithful Catholics have insisted I haven't done enough, that I should do this or that; I should say this or that, in fact I was told I needed to 'condemn' Fr. Martin's book, and so on.  Fortunately they do not speak with authority on behalf of the Church - be they followers of Fr. Martin, or authors representing Courage Apostolate, or columnists from Crisis.  At times, a few of them have reminded me of those St. Paul cautions Timothy about in Today's first reading:
If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. - 1 Timothy 6: 2-12
I'm grateful for the Pope and the Bishops in union with him.  I actually left a comment on Fr. Martin's page suggesting he crash the Holy Father's Mass, or his dinner at Santa Marta, to ask him what he thinks of his book.  Pretty much how St. Francis went to Rome for the Pope's approval of his rule.  Fr. Martin will be in Rome for official business the first week of October, so he may have the chance to speak personally with Francis.  He asks for our prayers.

As for Fr. Martin's book and work, he doesn't speak for me, nor do I accept his direction for LGBTQ persons.  I had a priest friend recently tell me maybe Fr. M was right about more liberal teaching on sexuality.  I disagree.  I could never reconcile that sort of compromise with my desire to live chastely and celibately.  I tire of having to explain that all of the time - especially to priests.

“Fr. Martin is a man of intellect and skill 
whose work I often admire. 
Like all of us as fellow Christians, 
he deserves to be treated with fraternal good will." 
Archbishop Chaput.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, developmental disorders, behavioral disorders, learning disorders...

I've been reading about fetal alcohol syndrome recently.  It's been discussed on news programs lately and piqued my interest.  I may have mentioned once or twice - or a million times - that my parents loved to drink.  If the example of my mother's drinking during her pregnancy with my little brother is any indication of her drinking when she was pregnant with me, it would be a miracle if my brother and I were not affected.  My mother always said she never drank as much as she did after she met my dad, so my older sister and brother may have been preserved from FAS.  Maybe.  My mother might have been mistaken about that claim.

My parents met at a bar in St. Paul, frequented by my mother's parents, in fact my dad knew her parents before he even met my mom.  The bar was called The Chatterbox, and that is where a fortune teller told her she was pregnant with me.  Not only was she drinking, but she was consulting a fortune teller.  So if you're superstitious - who knows?  Maybe I was cursed? LOL!

At any rate, reading about FAS, autism and even dyslexia, I discovered these are considered spectrum disorders.  There is a wide range of symptoms and effects which require professional analysis to discriminate from behavioral and learning disorders, but it is interesting to read about the symptoms.  I have no physical characteristics, except for a barely noticeable tremor, a symptom slightly more noticeable in my brother.  He BTW, was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but it never seemed to be  an actual impairment.  He's my brother, so I shouldn't write about him without his permission.  I'm also just guessing here, regarding symptoms.  I may have ADHD as well as dyslexia?  I've never been diagnosed.  I'm fairly certain I'm dyslexic, especially when it comes to math.  I was never good at balancing my checkbook, and I'm always confused by numbers.  Although I'm really good at recalling dates.

Anyway - maybe there is a reason for my disordered life after all?  What?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

St. Joseph Cupertino and autism.

St. Joseph was called Brother Ass by his companions in the monastery.

In childhood he was made fun of and called the gaper - or 'open mouthed'.  He was unattractive - so not like the actor Maximilian Schell who portrayed the saint in the bio-pic, The Reluctant Saint.  In fact, he was pretty much considered good for nothing - yet he was favored with many mystical graces and rapt in 'the mystery of devotion' throughout his life.

I often think of him when recalling kids I knew in school, kids who were bullied because the were different, unattractive and slow.  I pray for them now, but as a kid I made fun of them at times as well.  We didn't know about autism as kids, but at least two classmates of mine demonstrated the same characteristics as St. Joseph Cupertino.  I found a piece written about him on Aleteia, which I'll share.

One of three saints who may have had autism.
Throughout his life, Joseph was highly misunderstood and ridiculed by everyone. His frequent visions and sudden outbursts of anger made him an object of mockery. Additionally, Joseph was very absent-minded, awkward and extremely sensitive to his surroundings. When the school bell rang, Joseph would jump and drop his books on the ground.
In school, Joseph earned the nickname “open-mouthed” because his mouth was always open. He could barely read or keep focus and often would forget to eat his meals. However, even though he barely progressed in education Joseph didn’t seem to mind or notice and sought to gain entrance into a monastery despite this deficiency. Joseph figured that at least he could beg for bread as a Franciscan.
This also did not go well for Joseph. The community did not understand him and his inability to complete simple tasks without breaking something, and the experiment proved too difficult to handle. He was expelled from the monastery, but with nowhere to turn, Joseph came back and begged the community to at least hire him as a servant. The Franciscans consented, enrolled him in the Third Order and assigned him the task of taking care of the monastery mule.
Joseph’s joyful demeanor was infectious and over time they gave him a second chance and allowed him into the community. Joseph was eventually ordained a priest and is most famous for his ability to levitate while saying Mass (they tied a rope around his leg so that he wouldn’t fly into the ceiling). Despite his lack of education, awkwardness in social situations and inability to complete basic tasks, Joseph was widely known for his extreme piety, simplicity and humility. - Aleteia

It was not 'his' ability to levitate while saying Mass.

I'd also like to include some solid mystical theology regarding supernatural graces such as levitation. It is a grace, a charism-gift, not an ability, the saints have no control over it.  Many people today discount these accounts, which were well documented by eye witnesses in the case of St. Joseph, and other saints such as the Discalced Carmelite, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, The Little Arab.
By levitation is understood the phenomenon of the elevation of the human body above the ground without any apparent cause and in such a way that it remains in the air without any natural support. This phenomenon is also called ascensional ecstasy, ecstatic flight, or ecstatic walking when the body seems to run rapidly without touching the ground. 
The Bollandists relate numerous cases of levitation. They cite particularly those attested in the lives of St. Joseph of Cupertino (September 18), St. Philip Neri (May 26), St. Peter of Alcantara (OctoBer 19), St. Francis Xavier (December 3), St. Stephen of Hungary (September 2), St. Paul of the Cross (April 28), and others. It is related that St. Joseph of Cupertino, seeing some workmen having trouble in trying to put up a very heavy mission cross, took his aerial flight, seized the cross, and without effort placed it in the hole destined for it. 
In contradistinction to levitation, they cite cases of extraordinary weight of the bodies of certain saints: for example, when an attempt was made to violate and drag St. Lucy of Syracuse to a place of debauchery, her body remained fixed to the earth like the pillar of a church. 
Suggestion or autosuggestion of hysterical persons has never been able to provoke levitation. After an examination extending over several years, Professor Janet of Paris was able to establish that the body of the person was never raised, even a millimeter, even sufficiently to slip a cigarette paper between his feet and the ground.(21)
Rationalists have tried to explain naturally the levitation proved in the case of several saints by the deep breathing of air into the lungs; but, in the face of the manifest insufficiency of this reason, they have had to have recourse to an unknown psychic power ­ an explanation that is merely so many words. 
Benedict XIV states the traditional and reasonable explanation.(22) He requires first of all that the fact be well proved in order to avoid all trickery. Then he shows: (I) that because of the law of gravity, well-proved levitation cannot be naturally explained; (2) that it does not, however, exceed the powers of angels and the devil, who can lift bodies up; (3) that consequently the physical, moral, and religious circumstances of the fact must be carefully examined to see whether there is not diabolical intervention; and that, when the circumstances are favorable, one can and must see in it a divine or angelic intervention, which grants to the bodies of the saints an anticipation of the gift of agility which is proper to glorified bodies. - Garrigou-Lagrange

St. Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.