Saturday, September 14, 2019

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Fra Angelico

Pacino di Bonaguida


These images, though historically inaccurate, depict Christ eager to ascend the Cross - even with exultation - to accomplish his greatest work...  

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son ...

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!"

Friday, September 13, 2019

Why do American priests always assume the Pope is criticizing them?

Wondering out loud.

I watched EWTN World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo last night.  Arroyo was agitated and acted like he was responding to personal attacks from the Holy Father.  The 'Posse' were discussing the presser on board the flight from Mozambique, especially this part:
Furthermore, I would like to emphasize an attitude that I do not like, because it does not come from God: rigidity. Today it is fashionable, I do not know about here, but in other parts of the world it is fashionable, to find rigid people. Young, rigid priests, who want to save with rigidity, perhaps, I don’t know, but they take this attitude of rigidity and sometimes – excuse me – from the museum. They are afraid of everything, they are rigid. Be careful, and know that under any rigidity there are serious problems. - Vatican
I am sad when popular priests such as Monsignor Pope, Fr. Murray (papal posse guy), Fr. Z, Fr. Blake, and numerous others all seem to take what the Pope says as if he is insulting them.  I'm not a priest so I can't speak for them.   I just don't believe the Pope is bullying or mean-spirited when he says such things.  It seems to me if I felt insulted, maybe there is something I need to loosen up over.  I do not believe the Pope is asking the priests to dispense with any rules or discipline, much less giving them the go ahead to stop teaching and ministering according to Catholic teaching.  Neither do I get the impression he is trying to outlaw the Extraordinary Form of Mass.  Yet many priests and laity are convinced he is, and it seems their minds are made up that every precaution from the Pope is directed against them.

Not judging.

I don't know the mind of the Pope, but even if he was speaking directly to me, I think I would examine myself and move on - following Christ.  But I'm not a priest, and I maybe don't get it.  To be sure, it's not my place to criticize those who feel slighted.  I would hope they could somehow take their concerns directly to the Pope - I think the Holy Father would embrace them with great love - humbled by their humility.

That said, at my parish we have a young, dynamic priest.  He loves being a priest.  He's solid, 'orthodox', faithful, and devout.  Not a speck of rigidity.  If the Holy Father met him, he would surely say something akin to what Christ said about Nathaniel, 'here is a true Israelite, in him there is no guile.'  At least one divorced and remarried couple came back to the sacraments, inspired by Pope Francis, and guided by our pastor.  The woman spoke about it this past Lent.  I mention it because this priest has also felt a bit bewildered by things the Pope says, yet he continues to minister and reach out to those on the peripheries.  He's a priest who smells like his sheep.  If the Pope met him, he would fall all over him.

If the Pope met Monsignor Pope or Fr. Murray he would most likely do the same thing.

The Pope with the relics of St. Pio and St. Leopold.
These saints are examples the Holy Father holds up.
He certainly doesn't condemn Pio as rigid.

So what is a rigid priest?

When the Pope warns against them, he frequently identifies them as young, newly ordained.  In the past couple of decades, the guys in my diocese are well trained and orthodox, and I don't know any who are 'rigid' - not even the more traditional Bishop Cozzens can be considered rigid.

Over the years, being a big fat sinner, because I went to confession frequently, I have met priests who are rigid.   A few of these are no longer priests - one or two had something to hide, I think.  In my experience a rigid priest is often best discovered in the confessional, or in the office -  often when Catholics who don't go to Mass show up seeking baptism for their newborn, or want to get married.

A friend of mine, shortly after ordination discussed with me, people who came to the rectory seeking a marriage blessing, an infant baptism, even though they weren't practicing Catholics.  I recall being shocked that he refused baptism to one family because they didn't go to Mass.  Opinionated as I was, I told him he should have them call me because I knew priests who would do it.  It was one of our first fights.  He let me know in no uncertain terms just exactly what he was taught in seminary and what was the discipline of the Church.  (He mellowed as he aged BTW.)

Another priest friend of mine refused to allow a couple have their marriage blessed because, as a civilly married couple they already lived together and would have to live separately before the sacrament of matrimony.  I asked why, and he looked at me like I was nuts and told me, 'It's a scandal.  They need to live chastely, I don't trust they can do that."  I told him about couples I knew who lived as brother and sister because one had been divorced, as well as friends who lived with each other without sexual relations, and so on.  Nope.  Too scandalous.

As for my own experience, as a kid I was yelled at in confession, and the entire church heard the priest when he shouted: "You're going straight to hell if you do that again!"  Another time, as an adult a newly ordained priest questioned me, "Why would you even do that?!"  Then he told me to go to the office and get a pamphlet on how to make a good confession, because I said more than I needed to - in other words, he wanted just the sins, number and kind.  Around the same time I ran into a priest in the adoration chapel, and as he was leaving I asked him to please hear my confession as I was in mortal sin, he dismissed me telling me when confessions were scheduled at the parish.   As a penitent I received these rebukes with in peace, taking them to heart with a deeper sense of contrition.  I only mention these situations to shed some light on what I think the Pope may be talking about regarding rigidity.

I may be wrong.  It's not my place to criticize a priest for how he feels after something the Pope has cautioned against.  So I have to let this stuff go, simply because it none of my business.  As Today's Gospel says:
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,'
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? - Luke 6

The holier, more prayerful the priest, the less rigid will he be.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Holy Name of Mary

Pope John Paul II restored the feast of the Holy Name of Mary one year after the events of 9/11 in 2002.

I love this ... the official text from the Apostolic Trip of Pope Francis to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius...

In this document I see no “alarming manifestation of the confusion, error and division which beset the Church in our day.”

Furthermore, I would like to emphasize an attitude that I do not like, because it does not come from God: rigidity. Today it is fashionable, I do not know about here, but in other parts of the world it is fashionable, to find rigid people. Young, rigid priests, who want to save with rigidity, perhaps, I don’t know, but they take this attitude of rigidity and sometimes – excuse me – from the museum. They are afraid of everything, they are rigid. Be careful, and know that under any rigidity there are serious problems.
This effort must also extend to the vast world of the lay faithful. They too are sent out to the harvest, called to cast their nets and devote their time to their own apostolate, which “in all its many aspects, is exercised both in the Church and in the world” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 9). In all its breadth, its problems and its varied situations, the world is the specific area of the apostolate where they are called, with generosity and a sense of responsibility, to bring the leaven of the Gospel. For this reason, I express my appreciation for all those initiatives that you have undertaken as pastors to provide training for lay men and women – thank you for this – and not to leave them alone in their mission to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In this way they will be able to contribute to the transformation of society and the life of the Church in Madagascar. 
And please, make sure you do not clericalize the laity. Lay faithful are lay faithful. I heard, in my previous Diocese, proposals like this: “My Lord Bishop, I have a wonderful lay person in the parish: he works hard, he organizes everything ... should we ordain him a deacon?”. Leave him there, don’t ruin his life, let him remain a lay person. And speaking of deacons, deacons often have the temptation of clericalism; they see themselves as presbyters or pseudo-bishops ... No! The deacon is the custodian of service in the Church. Please do not keep deacons at the altar: let them do their work outside, in service. If they have to go on a mission to baptize, let them baptize: it’s ok. But in service, let them not be pseudo-priests. - Apostolic Trip of Pope Francis to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius

And yet traditionalists are shaking in their boots over the Amazon Synod.

I read a claim somewhere that Pope Francis approved of deacons celebrating Mass in the Amazon.  He just said - very clearly in this very document: "And speaking of deacons, deacons often have the temptation of clericalism; they see themselves as presbyters or pseudo-bishops ... No! The deacon is the custodian of service in the Church. Please do not keep deacons at the altar: let them do their work outside, in service. If they have to go on a mission to baptize, let them baptize: it’s ok. But in service, let them not be pseudo-priests."

I think it was the com box of Church Militant where the subject of married priests for the Amazon arose - one woman said it was 'an abomination which will surely call down fire from heaven'.  Another said 'the pope is possessed'.  These people aren't rigid?  These people aren't driven by fear?  These people aren't tainted by ideology?

It seems to me a synod is a place to discuss these things - the pope wants to allow everything to be brought to the table - in the open - to discuss, dialogue.  A few cardinals and archbishops are telling Catholics the Pope is out to make a new Church.  They are fear mongers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Speaking of discernment.

Pope Francis tells journalists: "to inform the audience of an event and to distinguish these facts from narrative...

"It is extremely easy to move from the facts to narrative," he said, "and this damages the news industry. It's important to stick to the facts."
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church and its media are not exempt from that danger. "Within the church, when there is a fact, it goes around the corner, and then it gets adorned, it gets embellished. Everyone adds their own contribution, and not even in bad faith."
But "the mission of the journalist is to always stick to the facts: 'The facts are these. My interpretation is this. I was told this.' It distinguishes you from the storyteller." - CNS

Yep.  Good advice. 

Lifesite, CM, The Remnant, many blogs and social media aggregates should take the advice to heart.  One of the most misleading practises is editorializing headliner-links, like Canon 212 does.   Echoing the Holy Father, I would say, especially regarding the sites I mention here: "Everyone adds their own contribution" oftentimes even in bad faith.  It's opinion and unverified claims and gossip - presented as fact.  It's deceptive and manipulative.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

And this is where Vigano goes off the rails ...

Jesuitism is alive and active in our day.
It flowered in the English Reformation
and thrives today.

A 'new' Church?

I don't care which academic posts links to the Vigano interview, or which devout commentator finds it credible and enlightening, it all reads like a chapter out of Anna Katherine Emmerich to me.  It's pretty much all conspiracy theory and unverified gossip.  Vigano cashes in on the ageless Jesuit-Masonic plot to overthrow the Church.  No wonder people who follow this nonsense are locked up in their own Windswept House phantasies, scared to death, stockpiling house scapulars and blessed candles.

"This is described in the book Infiltration by Dr. Taylor Marshall, so you may find some indication of this process there.
Then, I think it would be very much opportune to remind readers on this subject of the new Church what was published in April by Emeritus Pope Benedict on the project of founding a new church.
He said this would be a catastrophe. He was very severe on this point.
So what happened after Vatican II ended in 1965 was absolutely the opposite of a policy of continuity, which would have been the correct interpretation of the Vatican II documents.
Instead, there was another interpretation, of discontinuity, promoted by all the huge machine of media propaganda.
And, in a similar way, during this present pontificate, a similar media machinery, including photos of Pope Francis with Emeritus Pope Benedict, and so forth, has been used to argue that the “new paradigm” of Pope Francis is in continuity with the teaching of his predecessors.
But it is not so, it is a “new church”…
This phrase “new paradigm” is a strategy to cover up the true goal, because they do not want to say what exactly is covered by this word. For many, this word “paradigm” is something exotic, something sophisticated. Everyone is using it. But it is used to mislead, to deceive, suggesting a continuity without revealing that they are seeking a discontinuity… " - Vigano, Moynihan Letters, #48

Vigano even mentions - credits - Taylor Marshall's book, Infiltration.  Doesn't say much about Vigano's credibility for me.  Some day everyone is going to be surprised when the masks come off and the real conspirators are revealed in this farce.

Monday, September 09, 2019

A Synthesis of All Catholic Conspiracy Theories ...

Contained in Taylor Marshall's book, Infiltration.

Crackpot theories abound in Marshall's book - theories I've heard and even witnessed develop for years. Gratefully D.W. Lafferty writing for Where Peter Is, posted the first part of a series of articles more or less exposing the often dubious claims made by Marshall in his book.  It's great to read his interpretation of what he calls his summary of the grand conspiracy of Infiltration.
I am quite confident in asserting that, whatever Marshall says to the contrary, there is a grand conspiracy set forth in Infiltration, and the whole book is a contrived attack on Pope Francis. For the benefit of those who have not read the book—and I don’t recommend purchasing it unless you absolutely have to for the purpose of verifying its contents—I will provide a summary of the grand conspiracy that Marshall sets forth. I will be as generous as I can in my summary and not attempt to debunk any of the claims Marshall makes, since it is crucial to understand exactly what Marshall is saying before considering if it has any basis in truth. - D.W. Lafferty
As Lafferty states, he is providing a summary of what Marshall is saying - before considering if it has any basis in truth.  Whenever I've posted critiques, I often get friends responding with documentation and links to substantiate some of the claims made by the sources Marshall exploits in his book.  For instance, former Cardinal McCarrick and his association with the St. Gallen Mafia, sometimes cited  to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Pope Francis' election.  So Cardinals and bishops had confidential exchanges - before recent synods as well as in the past.  That's based in truth.  Statements made by the participants, if documented, are based in truth as well.  If and when they are incorporated into the conspiracy narrative - they get distorted and misleading, not to mention sensationalized.

I have trouble trusting most sources online.

Along with others, I've noticed many people buying into all of the anti-Francis stories online, as well as in books which purport to reveal the real Francis and his agenda.  A lot of the literature might be based on fact and/or personal experience, yet it is biased and contributes to the growing anti-Francis propaganda.  Now days, it is inevitable for many faithful Catholics to derogate Pope Benedict, and even St. John Paul II - just as they always did with St. Paul VI.  This type of propaganda has been circulated repeatedly until now.  Now it is considered true, simply because it has become embedded in the collective memory.  Not surprisingly, the conspiracies are sometimes repeated by fake locutionists, visionaries, and those who follow private revelations. 

Last evening I came across a post by Fr. Z on Pope Francis and his connection to Leonardo Boff.  He cites a Lifesite article: "The article drills into Boff’s view of Francis, and what Boff thought and thinks Francis is going to do to the Church. LifeSite cites and links various interviews Boff has given over the years."

Going to do to the Church?

Once again, an article might be based on facts - Fr. Bergoglio knew Boff, worked with him, and as Pope, evidently remains in contact with him.  In turn, Boff reveals their conversations along with his interpretation on what the Pope had to say.  Amazingly, Fr. Z considers this a great insight into understanding 'Bergoglio'.  The Lifesite article, again adds to the literature suggesting the Pope is a far-left heretic, and Fr. Z manages to confirm such suspicions with his endorsement.  Last night I was angry and posted on FB that the article is a faithless piece of crap and someone should report Z to his bishop.  Upon a more careful reading the post I noted everything is pretty much presented in an editorial manner by Fr. Z.  He never goes so far as to accuse the Holy Father, yet the commentary reveals the underlying 'hermeneutic of suspicion' - especially along the lines of the narrative, 'Francis is out to destroy the Church'.

Once again, nothing has changed in the conspiracy theory culture over the decades - connections are revealed to fuel the political agenda of many, to impute guilt, as well as to resist the Pope(s) and Vatican II. (E.g. Baysiders claimed Paul VI had a double - Fatimists claimed Lucia was replaced by a double as well.)  I'm not an expert, and to be sure, I don't personally know all the writers, but I've been around a very long time and I see bits of history repeated.  St. Oscar Romero for instance - the same doubts and accusations against him are repeated today, just as much as when he was alive.  It errodes trust and fidelity.  

It leads me to believe most North Americans and Europeans have little understanding of people in the Southern Hemisphere, especially Africa and Latin America.  Many resist the Pope's reaching out to the poor and accommodating migrants and refugees.  They justify doing so by calling him a Communist heretic - or at least insinuating as much.  It's evil. 

Crackpot theories.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Our Lady's Birthday

Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Mediatrix of all grace!  Have mercy upon me a sinner!  Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!
"I am all thine, and all that I have is thine, O most loving Jesus,
through Mary Thy most holy and Immaculate Mother."