Friday, June 07, 2019

Ninety-four years ago today ... Trinity Sunday ...

Matt Talbot died on this date, June 7, 1925.

Ven. Matt Talbot. (Bio) Matt Talbot exemplified the heroic virtue of temperance. He practiced the Christian life more or less as a solitary, although he was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. The spiritual combat Talbot engaged in was associated with alcoholism, which in his case demanded the renunciation of a behavior, as well as an adjustment in lifestyle.

Talbot overcame his attachment to the disorder through the practice of the virtues, prayer and fidelity to the duties of his state in life, and mortification. He found support in the sacraments, spiritual direction and spiritual reading. Although he 'took the pledge' to abstain from alcohol, he did not have a support group such as AA to aid in his recovery. I especially admire Talbot's fortitude and perseverance, demonstrating that with God all things can be overcome... "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." - Taken from another site no longer active.

"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is."

Today is a good day to share something I posted some years ago.  I was able to cut and paste a post from Ros, aka Shadowlands, before she took one of her blogs down, and before she died of course. It's a treasure.
Shadowlands posted something about a priest Fr Ralph Pfau, known as the "Prodigal Shepherd" from the title of his book by the same name.  Fr. Pfau declared of himself,  "All my life, I will carry three indelible marks. I am a Roman Catholic priest. I am an alcoholic. And I am a neurotic."  Shadowlands says of him,  "He suffered much, but he kept trying."   I think that is key to conversion and the way to sanctity - 'saints are sinners who kept trying'.  I'm reprinting her post here:
Excerpt from the chapter, The Dawn of Truth ( from his book Sobriety and Beyond) by Father Ralph Pfau. (Imprimatur Paul C Shulte D.D Archbishop of Indianapolis March 1955).

"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is. Minus all the sham, the surface and the show, he then stands face to face with truth. Minus the deception of his own self seeking and selfishness, he sees himself clearly outlined in the aura of God's grace as it tears away all the foolish self deceptions and shows a man for what he really is- selfish, deceitful, full of excuses, dishonest, even to himself and full of faults and failings............conts: To most of us, this moment comes at a time when many of life's battles and years have passed, but at a time when there still remains sufficient years, vigor and initiative to "seek truth and pursue it,".in order to make it the motive of our living, the motive of our struggles and the security of our declining years..

This moment may be brought about by the death of a loved one, the loss of worldly goods, or it may be directly occasioned within by the grace of God speaking to the depth of our soul. To most alcoholics it comes at that instant when they face the inevitable choice: death, insanity or absolute sobriety. It often comes with a blinding flash that seems to tear away the very foundations of life and whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, layman or professional, young or old, there arises from the very innermost sanctuary of the soul and heart the cry "My God, what a mess I have made of things! How pitiful is the good done, how sparing my help to others, how innumerable my mistakes, the wrongs-how all pervading my self seeking, how dishonest my every motive! How seamy the finished, but now battered product!"
This "moment" may last for an hour, a day, a month, a year or for years. But whenever, however it comes- it is a dread and fearful moment, because UPON THAT MOMENT AND THE DECISIONS OF THAT MOMENT MAY DEPEND OUR VERY LIFE AND OUR ETERNITY. And from that time on, one can never be the same again.....................conts: It is then that life's greatest decision must be made and then it seems that an angel has him by the hands and a devil by the foot...............he can do one of three things:
First, rush in confusion back to the old surface view of self and try by a thousand and one half remedies to dress up the haunting vision, to explain away the stubborn reality. TO EXCUSE and to attempt forgetfulness by courting the sham fancies of the night and by rushing headlong through the chores of the day. THIS IS THE CHOICE OF THE VAIN MAN.
Second, the shock may be so great, the failure so undeniably real, the disillusionment so crushing that he despairs and in one way or another he seeks to destroy himself- either factually or by the bottle. THIS IS THE PROUD MAN.

Third, this is the way of the Prodigal Son, who dropped on his knees in the swine pen and cried: "Father, I have sinned" or with it's echo "I am powerless... my life is unmanageable"- and perhaps for the first time in his life that man REALLY prays and begins to MEDITATE, THIS IS THE HUMBLE MAN. And day by day he prays and he MEDITATES on TRUTH lest again he fall back into his former life-long HABIT OF EXCUSES. For the LIFE OF ALL IS LOADED WITH EXCUSES-AND SYSTEMATIC, PERSISTENT AND CONSISTENT MEDITATION ALONE WILL DISSIPATE THEM. "With desolation is the land made desolate because there are none who thinketh in their hearts." - Fr. Pfau

Monday, June 03, 2019

The Backlash against Bishop Tobin ...

I thought Tobin quit Twitter?

As most people know, this past weekend, Bishop Tobin made a statement warning Catholics not to support Pride events, calling them immoral and contrary to Catholic teaching.

"A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ 'Pride Month' events held in June," Tobin tweeted on Saturday. "They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children." - Source
Nothing wrong with that, right?

Nuh-uh.  The culture has changed completely, and rejects Catholic teaching on homosexuality and marriage - completely.  Just ask Catholics in the public square.
"This practicing Catholic will be supporting and attending LGBTQ Pride events," tweeted The View co-host Sunny Hostin. "And so will my Catholic children. You should be ashamed @ThomasJTobin1." 
Actress Mia Farrow also had a lot to say in response to Tobin, remarking that "kids are in far more danger at a catholic church than at a gay pride gathering." - Source
Yup.  The backlash is picking up on the sexual abuse crisis to make a point - the safety of children.  According to most of the research, safety was negligible in rectories and sacristies throughout the United States.  Archbishops like Nienstedt may have deflected accusations against him by calling for a boycott of a gay themed film, Brokeback Mountain, and claimed accusations of homosexual activity were in retaliation for speaking out on faith and morals.  That didn't work out too well.   In retrospect, I think the backlash against Nienstedt was about hypocrisy.  Transference will take place onto any bishop who protests too much.  Hence the contempt for Tobin - but don't blame the laity - though Bishop Tobin was only doing his duty as a pastor, his brother bishops have provided the ammunition used against him, and any other Catholic who lives in accord and witnesses to Catholic teaching.

Pride events are frequently indecent.  

The impression I got from what the Bishop said was that he most likely have based his warning upon the fact Pride events are frequently indecent.  Depending on the city, parades and gatherings are peppered with exhibitionists, fetishism, drag, and sometimes testicles hanging out of ripped jeans.  In the 1980's I went with a friend downtown and saw enough.  I'm not a prude, but it certainly isn't family entertainment, if you ask me.  I've never been a fan of drag, BTW.  Likewise, I've never been a fan of Pride.

Last week, I came across something online which was LGBTQ sponsored warning people about Pride events, if they do not know what they are in for, or they may not like what they might see, to stay away.  I also saw a meme on a friend's site explaining that Pride is about recognizing the dignity of the LGBTQ person rather than a celebration sexual activity and behavior.  Sorry, I didn't save the meme or the links, but they are out there someplace.  The fact is, Pride, for many gay people is a safe-place where they can express themselves and feel accepted and affirmed, without fear of being shamed or attacked.  No one who disagrees with the LGBTQ life needs to attend the celebrations.

"Twitter has become a major distraction for me..." - Bishop Tobin
What can I say?  Bishop Tobin expressed his concern for Catholics and warned against the moral and cultural changes which have impacted contemporary life.  When the backlash came - almost immediately - he retracted and rephrased his statement.  But it wasn't enough - Tweets are 'captured' and never go away.  LGBTQ people and supporters want him to approve homosexual behavior.  People want him to recognize that gay people have families of their own, with children.  It's a different world - the West has pretty much recognized the equality of LGBTQ persons.

We have a homosexual running for the presidential nomination of the United States.  He's a nice guy.  Maybe too nice for a lot of gay people who would prefer he and his husband were less Stepford - but he's a candidate.

There is a need to recognize the dignity of the person in our day.  As Pope Francis stated recently:

“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 

I don't think that means a bishop or priest cannot caution faithful Catholics against participating in Pride events.  (I wouldn't do it on Twitter though.)  Bishop Tobin attempted to make his position more agreeable and more understandable, but it looks like it remains unaccepted by gay people, as well as some Catholics who appreciated and supported his first comments.  Bishop Tobin was more conciliatory in his formal response.  Nothing wrong with that - it demonstrates he's not out to hurt people, or condemn them.
Tobin said that the Catholic Church has "respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I ... As a Catholic bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues." - Source

Providentially, today is the feast day of Blessed Charles and Companion Martyrs of Uganda.  The king who had the martyrs slaughtered - burnt alive, for refusing to go along with his fetishist-homosexual predation, had absolute power.  Our government is governed by elected politicians and laws - it's unlikely Christians will be burned alive for witnessing to their faith - unless the burning of churches continues, this time, with people in them.  Although it is clear you'll be burned online, by critics on both sides of the issue.  If you support Bishop Tobin in his first statement, then you need to support him in his second, more conciliatory statement as well.