Saturday, May 11, 2019

Tomorrow is Mother's Day ...

One more attempt: Matt Talbot

Matt Talbot
T. Nelson
acrylic on 5x7 panel.

Brighter-light shot:

Matt Talbot
T. Nelson
acrylic on 5"x7" panel.

The top image is a bit colder but closer to the original as it looks in natural light.  The 2nd image is shot using artificial lighting.  I am not a photographer, to be sure.  I wanted make an attempt to do a painting more closely resembling the only known photograph of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pope Francis knows ...

About the homosexuals in the Vatican.

I love this Pope.

ROME - A prominent advocate in the fight against clerical abuse has said that during a recent private audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis told him he’d read Inside the Closet at the Vatican, a book about homosexuality in the Catholic Church, and said that he was already aware of many of the priests mentioned in it who are gay.
“He said he read it. He said it was good and that he knew of many of them. We discussed good gays and the gays who are evil, but because of power,” the advocate said in a text message obtained by Crux. - Source
There are some who would like to throw out every priest who may be attracted to men, or have homosexual inclination, yet live a chaste and celibate life, the Holy Father clearly distinguishes between 'good gays and evil gays', to quote the words of the article.  He doesn't over-react or surrender to inside-outside pressures and 'homobobic' calls to purge the priesthood of all gays, and so on.  I keep seeing signs of his patience and discernment, calling the Church, priests and laity alike to repentance and conversion, and to seek God from whatever reality wherein they find themselves.

It's so simple.

“Giving more importance to the adjective rather than the noun, this is not good. We are all human beings and have dignity. It does not matter who you are or how you live your life, you do not lose your dignity. There are people that prefer to select or discard people because of the adjective - these people don’t have a human heart,” Francis told Stephen K. Amos 

Ed. note:  The Holy Father is on record stating that it is better not to admit homosexuals to seminary/religious life and Holy Orders, in accord with norms already set.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier: Sept. 10, 1928 - May 7, 2019

The saint is dead.

Jean Vanier died during the night at the age of 90.  He has been an inspiration for me, a correction of conscience, and a living witness to the Gospel.  He is, in my opinion, the living embodiment of the Little Way of Confidence and Love as taught by St. Therese of Lisieux.  Jean Vanier, along with St. Mother Teresa, as well as Madeleine Debrel are models and helps to me as I try to follow Christ in ordinary life.  I love what Fr. Martin had to say:
James Martin, S.J., the editor at large at America, said: “Jean Vanier showed us, like few people ever have, the overwhelming power of gentleness. Not only in his ministry with the disabled but in his voice, his demeanor, his very presence. During his life there was no one I thought more deserving of the title ‘living saint.’” - America
"There is strength in weakness, light in darkness and beauty in what the world declares broken."

"Our mission - said Jean Vanier in an interview with Vatican Radio (see video below) - is to encounter a world of extreme weakness, poverty and suffering, people who have often been rejected... L’Arche is a place of reconciliation where people of very different religions and cultures can meet and this transforms the lives of people with disabilities, but also transforms the volunteers. L’Arche, after all, is a place of celebration where the aim is for everyone to be happy (...) We want to be a sign of the importance of people with disabilities, because they have a message to give, but few know it: they, in fact, were chosen to be the great witnesses of God.” - VR
Dear Jean Vanier, obtain for me a portion of the love which animated your life, a portion of your spirit of charity to care for others and not judge or ever again look down on anyone.  I thank God for the grace of your being, the witness of your faith, the love with which you embraced the most abject and abandoned.  You shared your life, your home with strangers, who in turn became your family - your one hundred fold in this life and your eternal reward now in heaven.  You exemplified for the world genuine, disinterested friendship and equality with the disabled, the outcast and marginalized, obtain for me the grace to follow your example.

Each person with his or her history of being accepted or rejected, with his or her past history of inner pain and difficulties in relationships, is different. But in each one there is a yearning for communion and belonging, but at the same time a fear of it. Love is what we most want, yet it is what we fear the most. - Jean Vanier
'You don't need to pretend.
You do not need to hide your weakness.
You can be yourself.
I didn't call you to l'Arche or to another form of community
first of all to help others
or to prove that you were generous or efficient.
I called you because you are poor,
just like the ones you came to serve,
and because the Kingdom of God is promised to the poor.' - Jean Vanier

 I should mention there is already a cause for sainthood for Jean's parents Georges and Pauline Vanier.  Biographer Mary Frances Coady notes:
An incredible thirst for God can be seen in the lives of this couple, who were always striving in spite of (and through) human imperfection. The excerpts from letters and journals in this volume show a rare example of the contemplative life and struggles in prayer of an active and prominent married couple. The Vanier story is unique in that it forms a direct link back to the spiritual teaching that includes St. Thérèse and the Carmelite tradition in its emphasis on simplicity, trust in God's love, and self-abandonment to the mercy of God. - Source

Monday, May 06, 2019

Was the backlash to Paul VI this bad?

I see it as a continuation.

Yesterday after Mass I talked to a very holy priest, a man I've known since his seminary days, and I asked him what he thought of the latest Letter and accusations against the Holy Father.  He strongly disapproves of it.  He is sometimes baffled by how the Holy Father handles things, but he acknowledges he is not in the loop, the curia, if you will to know more details and above all, he respects the office of the papacy as well as the experts who counsel the Holy Father.  He didn't use those exact words, but that was the gist of it.  He is a very humble priest.  I wish I could tell you more about him.

Providentially I heard from another friend, whom I got to know at the same time I became friends with my priest friend.  He was in seminary as well, and finished his studies at St. Thomas.  He has a strong religious past, a father of a large family, husband to a wonderful woman of deep spirituality and wisdom.  I wish I could tell you more about them.  I just want to give a little background on my friend, because I asked him what he thought of the letter and he responded as follows.  I asked:  "So what do you think of the latest letter by Catholics united for the faith calling Francis a heretic?"

Friend:  "Nonsense. I'm for the dear sweet Christ on earth...always. Period. The letter was poorly executed and in bad taste. Christ is silent before his accusers. Ask yourself, what would the likes of Dorothy Day or even the Baroness make of this Pope? I think most of the obstinate resistance to this man quite frankly is politically motivated. I know. I work with many of them-- immigrants are taking over the country...Donald Trump will make America great again...don't take away my guns...etc. Even a child can read and comprehend Matthew 25: 32-46 and Luke 16: 19-31. The heart of the Gospel is mercy. And Francis exemplifies this for me. People who don't like him do so because what he says makes them squirm, makes them uncomfortable. I find no Christian charity or humility in that letter. How does that letter measure up to 1Cor. 13:4-8? Not very well, I'm afraid. I'm all for theological dialog, etc. But the measure must always be love and respect and humility. Otherwise, I'd say it's from the devil, not the Holy Spirit."

I'm glad I ask other people.  These guys are a mere ten or twelve years younger than me, smarter than me, and more faithful than me.  Our friendship was arranged by a Carmelite prioress I got to know after my conversion, she wisely understood I needed good spiritual friends upon my return to the Church.  They have never failed me or rejected me, and I'm grateful for their friendship today.

The Holy Father will have much to suffer. - Our Lady of Fatima

That said, in our exchange, St. Paul VI came up.  One friend said he wondered if it was this bad with Paul VI.  Earlier I mentioned to Fr. that we should be used to this because it is similar to what went on with Paul VI.  Fr. didn't remember, except to note the dissent in response to Humanae Vitae. 

It wasn't just progressives who reacted against Paul VI.  The reaction by conservative-traditional Catholics happened simultaneously.  They reject the 'Novus Ordo', resisted Vatican II and so on.  To be sure the changes that went into effect were corrupted by progressives; priests, religious, academic, liturgists and laity.  It is why groups such as CUF (Catholics United for the Faith) formed and publications such as The Wanderer often condemn any and every innovation in the Church.  When they were right, they were often uncharitable and mean-spirited in their response to liturgical abuses and 'liberal' prelates.  Truth be told, it was not at all different from the right wing rhetoric we encounter today.  The resistance to VII was immediate, but not widespread.

Private revelation and uber-conservative religious groups made it worse.  Then, as now, the far right promoted distortions of the Fatima message and the 'Secret' of Fatima.  Subsequent false apparitions attracted a huge following of old and young alike who were confused by a changing morality brought about by the sexual revolution.  Sites like Bayside, Neceedah, and San Damiano were curiously united in promoting several conspiracy theories indicating that Freemasons had infiltrated the Vatican, and  were responsible for the changes brought about by VII, as well as having created the Novus Ordo.  These same conspiracy theories are circulated today, and most recently by Canadian based Fatimists who claim the Third Secret hasn't been revealed and so on.   In the 1970's through the 1980's these same groups promoted the absurd theory that the real Pope Paul was replaced by a double, and that Sr. Lucia had been as well.  Their followers believed it.

Fake news about the Pope came from secular news sites as well.  One should never discount the fake news propagated by the Soviet Union, now Russia.  If the Russians influenced our elections, it would be extremely naive to imagine they are not influencing division in the Catholic Church.  The papacy of Pope Paul was marred by vicious rumors that he was a homosexual, something he emphatically denied.  One might say he was likewise taunted by the kidnapping and murder of his friend Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades.  Pope Paul VI suffered greatly - physically, spiritually and morally.

My point here is to convey that this current dissent and condemnation of Pope Francis (not to mention VII and the Ordinary Form of Mass) has its roots in these earlier examples of far right conservative propaganda against the Magisterium.   Today it has become more open and widespread - to some extent - since it is repeated and promulgated on and by conservative, right-wing Catholic websites.

"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." - Matthew 24

"In terms of what we today can discover in this message (of Fatima), attacks against the pope or the church don't come just from outside the church. The suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin exists in the church. This too has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way. The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside, but is born in sin within the church. The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. Forgiveness does not exclude justice. We have to re-learn the essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues. That's how we respond, and we can be realistic in expecting that evil will always launch attacks from within and from outside, but the forces of good are also always present, and finally the Lord is stronger than evil. The Madonna for us is the visible maternal guarantee that the will of God is always the last word in history. - Benedict XVI at Fatima