Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Motu Proprio, Traditionis Custodes and Divine Providence

The souls of the just are in the hands of God:

It seems to me that Job's friends are among the commentators and critics of Traditiones custodes, as well as those who support Pope Francis' initiative.  There is so much one could say for and against - for many, the big focus has been upon the Traditionalists who voiced the initial outcry, condemning the 'mean ol' pope' as hating the Latin Mass and being a modernist, heretical, anti-pope.  Pretty much everything they thought of him since his election.  Likewise, so-called liberals cite the trad hostile reactions as proof against them, that they brought it upon themselves.  I tend to agree with that - but after several posts on FB, my opinion doesn't matter on any of it, despite the fact I've witnessed traditionalist hostilities since the early '70's and did my best to navigate through that narrow channel which divided the 'Spirit of VII' crowd and the 'Trad-Remnant-CUFF' zealots.

As I always say, I love Pope Francis and have no problem with what he says or does - even if I don't quite understand how it is reported some of the time.  I trust God.  Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.

Son, when thou comest to the service of God... prepare thy soul for temptation.

That said, I can't help ponder how all of this is permitted by God.  I trust in Divine Providence, I trust in the Divine Mercy.  These intense reactions, from all sides, certainly remind me of the Prophet Job and the testing he went through, the sufferings he endured, the shame before his friends, who afflicted him even more.  St. Therese understood it well, when she applied the Prophet's words to her own suffering, proclaiming, 'even if he should kill me I will trust him.'  Therese at the time, was going through her trial of faith sharing the lot of unbelievers who have no faith, no life, as it were - and certainly no light.  Pious platitudes did nothing to help - the only thing she could do is make acts of faith - unfelt.  Her senses and faculties darkened, accusing her, mocking her, blaming her - like Job's friends.

So the commentary flying around online regarding the Pope's provisions for the TLM is only natural, the criticisms - more accurately, condemnations and calumnies against the Holy Father - are another matter.  God cannot be pleased by them.  Just as God was not pleased with Job's friends.  So that is what I'm thinking about now, along with the scandal of Msgr. Burrill of the USCCB and all the debate that has aroused, along with attacks against Fr. James Martin and those who object to the buying of datamined information used to out him.  I commented on that as well - but it doesn't matter what I think, and I'm better off imitating Job's silence.

That said, I'd like to share a short excerpt on Job from Garrigou-Lagrange, Providence:

The trials of the just serve a higher purpose

chap. 42) Job makes his humble confession: "I know that Thou canst do all things.... I have spoken unwisely, and things that above measure exceed my knowledge." He thus acknowledges that his complaining was excessive and his words sometimes unconsidered. Nevertheless the Lord tells Eliphaz: "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends, because you have not spoken the thing that is right before Me, as My servant Job hath.... Offer for yourselves a holocaust. And My servant Job shall pray for you. His face I will accept, that folly may not be imputed to you." And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job with even greater blessings than before, and he died in peace very advanced in years.
The clue to the whole book is to be found in the first chapter, where we are told how the Lord permitted the devil to try His servant Job. The conclusion, then, is obvious: If men are visited by God with tribulation, He does so not exclusively as a chastisement for their sins, but to prove them as gold is proved in the furnace and make them advance in virtue. It is the purification of love, as the great Christian mystics call it. In the prologue Satan asked (1:9) : "Doth Job fear God in vain?... His possessions have increased on the earth." Now we see how even in the greatest adversity Job still remained faithful to God. That this is the meaning of the trials sent upon the just is shown in many other passages of the Old Testament. - Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Private revelations - more thoughts.

Thus says the Lord God! They shall know a prophet has been among them.
- Ezekial 2:5

Last week I finally talked to a priest friend of mine. It had been well over a year. We didn't discuss why that happened or why I never returned calls. I realized I didn't need to except to say, 'sorry it took me so long to get back to you.'

Whenever we do talk, we are on the phone for at least an hour, if not more. Last Sunday was like that.

I was a bit surprised that my friend seemed to be into private revelations - although not deeply. He rejected most of those I also find questionable and spurious. E.g. the M. Eugenia Ravasio messages, Luisa Piccarreta revelations, as well as others. Yet he mentioned how wonderful the book, In Sinu Jesu is. I mentioned that I knew the author - he had forgotten that. He preferred to think of it as written by an 'Anonymous Benedictine Monk.' It's more romantic I suppose. He mentioned the Bishops plan for a Eucharistic renewal seems to be almost based upon or inspired by that book. No doubt, many priests, including the bishops here, have read, and do use the book. I know the late Bishop Sirba did so. Fr. Mark's book is a spiritual best seller. I've read it, I've also read the blog posts published by Fr. Mark, posted long before the book was conceived. The meditations are edifying, and they are based upon his locutions. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but it had been difficult for me to believe.

We are more than sated with contempt... - Ps 123

Over he years, after encounters with dubious mystics and their very loaded 'locutions' tainted by politics and bigotry, I just find it odd that so many in the Church are attracted to private revelations and seem to some extent guided by them. Inspired is one thing, guided another. I recall Fr. Gobi and how many priests are still a part of his movement, based upon his private revelations - some of which are absurd in retrospect. In my opinion, his messages became part of the many distorted messages now in circulation concerning the Fatima secret - which has been distorted over the years.

I pointed out the 'Locutions to the World' series, at one time promoted by Monsignor Esseff, and how these achieved a certain amount of credibility for clerics and I suspect, cloistered religious - just because they were made available through Esseff, who also happened to be the spiritual director of the anonymous seer.

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place... - Mark 6

When Nienstedt was here, another renewal program was launched based upon Matthew Kelly's 'Rediscover Catholicism' book, a kind of prototype for his Dynamic Catholic Institute, with the mission of "re-energizing the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism." Kelly's spiritual mission is pretty much founded upon his private revelations from God the Father - which are based upon locutions from God the Father. Not a few young priests and seminarians were perhaps formed by Kelly's locutions. Fr. Mark Goring CC, was deeply influenced by Matthew Kelly's private revelations, as I'm sure not a few clerics in my archdiocese were, as well. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, especially since mystics throughout the history of the Church have contributed theological insights, the development of doctrine and liturgical practice, as well as the introduction of numerous devotions, eventually approved by the Church.  So, I may protest too much.

It just seems strange to me that so many priests and religious are so deeply influenced by private revelations and assorted alleged apparitions and pop-up mystics. It makes me wonder if this in itself is part of a weakening of faith and fidelity to the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him, not to mention, Vatican II?  Or is it filling a vacuum of authentic spirituality and prophetic leadership created by a stagnant, divided hierarchy and its bureaucracy?
I just don't know.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Breaking silence for a moment - a sort of 'bookmark' for later reference.

I'm disappointed in Fr. Z again.

He's dedicated an entire post on 'The question of two popes..." shamelessly questioning the validity of Pope Benedict and subsequently the election of Pope Francis. He deals with it as a response to his followers who have posed challenges and doubts - as well as fears. He presents his theories as a sort of mind exercise to help an already confused group of faithful, sort things out. It's a clericalist parlor game, one might expect to be engaged in while attending some stuffy-old monsignor's dinner party, seated around the the dining table, engaging in after-dinner conversation, as they sip their drinks and chew on their cigars.

Fr. Z is undoubtedly an admirer of Ann Barnhardt, referencing her posts on several occasions.  The woman thinks Francis is an anti-pope and says horrible things about the bishops and clergy - she makes Voris and Niles look like legitimate journalists. If he reads her, he knows all that.  He also must be well acquainted with Taylor Marshall, since he mentions Ed Mazza in conjunction with Barnhardt. Mazza is author of the theory that Pope Benedict XVI may still be Pope with Francis just Bishop of Rome. More or less.

Ironically, those who reject Francis as Pope strike me as the real ultramontanists - a term some use for those who support Pope Francis.  

Among these people, who no doubt hold the Archbishop Vigano crackpottery in high esteem, we can now locate Fr. Z. What a crazy assortment of misfit characters that group has become. Trads are not just traditionalists, I think they are fast becoming Tridentinists - if they are not already. Reject Vatican II and the Franciscan papacy and Magisterium, what are they? Perhaps Fr. Z hasn't sold his soul to all of that just yet - but it could happen if he keeps playing games like this.

Let’s play the mind exercise out a little more and hack through some of the issues which I have heard raised by, for example, Ann Barnhardt, who is without question of the mind that Benedict is still Pope and Francis is a usurper antipope. Along with Ann is a smart fellow with well-articulated arguments, Edward Mazza.
I’ll try to spin out what they have been discussing. I hope I don’t put my foot wrong and mischaracterize their positions. I’m happy to be corrected. - Fr. Z


Corrected by whom? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I almost got a dog today.

But I realized it wouldn't work out with the cat.

I can't try to fill the hole in my heart by doing stuff like that.  I have to let it be.

I also don't want to leave another orphan.

Monday, June 14, 2021

On Pope Francis


Monday, June 07, 2021

Revisiting Eve Tushnet and her message for gay Catholics.

"Sometimes it happens that you feel disappointed, discouraged, abandoned by all: but God does not forget his children, he never abandons them! He is always at our side, especially in trying times." - Pope Francis, 03/2015

I've come a long way, yet I have not veered off the narrow way of Catholic teaching - which BTW, can be manipulated and used to drive people away from the Church.  To understand what I mean by that, one needs to listen to and read what Pope Francis has taught since he became Pope.  His cautions against rigidity and ideologues, and so on.

Years ago I was caught up in some of the interpreters of Catholic teaching as concerned gay-ssa Catholics, and I attempted to make sure I conformed perfectly to what they told me.  I had already adopted the Courage model of life, thinking I was just fine.  Except I couldn't say gay, wasn't supposed to live with a male friend with whom I had been sexually active, until we agreed - mutually - to live a chaste and celibate lifestyle in accord with Catholic teaching.  Our friendship only deepened.  I've written about it openly since my friend died.  He never wanted me to discuss our friendship publicly while he was alive, and especially when he was still employed.  (He was a designer, working in an industry populated with gay coworkers and friends.  The Catholic stuff isn't appreciated in that milieu.) 

Long story short, I regret taking sides in the debates and infighting between gay-Catholics and SSA-Catholics, Spiritual Friendship advocates, including Eve Tushnet's work in the field and those who think they are trying to undermine Catholic teaching.  All along, I could have been 'friends' with most of them - their POV is Catholic - in fact, probably more Catholic than what Fr. James Martin, SJ sometimes seems to be saying. (He's Catholic.)

That said, America published a decent interview with Tushnet, which people still struggling with Catholic teaching and the dreaded idea of 'conversion therapy' really must read.  The title of the article is: "The church has models of non-sexual same-sex love. Why don’t more gay Catholics know about them?"

I'll highlight a couple things, with or without commentary, pretty much stuff I've discerned for myself.  One needs to remember that 'everything is grace' we have only to cooperate with it.  When we fall or fail, we get up and keep going.  To get old and look back - I'm stunned what the Lord has done in my life, even though I always got in the way, or was misled by a few fanatical voices from time to time.

On Conversion Therapy

One of the things that I realized as I began talking to people who had had this experience of formal therapy to change their orientation was how much of it resonated with stuff I and other gay Catholics who had never tried therapy or counseling of any kind has heard. The underlying assumptions are pretty widespread in Catholic circles. And they include things like the idea that people become gay because of negative experiences, especially in childhood. So, if you didn’t get along with other boys or other girls that may have alienated you from them, and later you become gay, or you have a bad relationship with your parent of the same sex. There’s a bunch of different theories that people put forward. 
I think that idea of the origin story is one of the biggest ones because it gives an explanation of how therapy could help, how the fixing might work.
But there’s a deeper underlying assumption, which is that the experience of being gay is purely negative and that there’s nothing that experience can teach you about yourself. There’s no gift that it can offer to you or to the church. If you do therapy and it works for you, you will kind of dissolve into the straight majority. And any gay feelings or experiences you had before, that can be sort of pushed to one side, leaving no trace in what it means for you to be Catholic or your experience of God.

When a gay Catholic goes through conversion therapy, what are they being told about themselves and what are kind of the dangerous effects that that can have on their self-worth?

One of the things that several of my interviewees said was that part of the power of the conversion therapy narrative is that it often it draws on real experiences that lots of people have had. [But] not everybody. I would not say that I felt particularly in conflict with other girls. I have a good relationship with my parents, but as it happens, lots of people of all sexual orientations have troubled relationship with their parents or with their same-sex peers.
People are told some stuff that often can resonate because it’s drawing on common experiences and one interviewee even pointed out that you can argue that for some people, it’s the timeline that is backward. You began to realize that you’re different from other boys or that you’re different from the model that your parents want for you, and that is what causes the conflict. But the conversion therapy model explains that the conflict is what causes the gayness. And so people hear that and they’re like, well, I do have both of those things. That kind of reinforces an idea of themselves as essentially lacking and the conflicts that they have are unique to them because they’re part of this stigmatized group, which they’re often pressured by their therapist to keep secret. It becomes a focus of a deep feeling of inadequacy.


What happens then? So you’ve done all these things and you’re still “broken.” Where does that leave a person?

Several people said basically the same thing, which was: “I tried all these things. I went to therapy. I dated somebody of the opposite sex. I pursued a religious vocation. I tried developing stronger bonds with people of the same sex, maybe that would help. And like, none of it made me any different in my sexual orientation. I’ve tried everything.” And at that point, people either fall into complete despair and contemplate suicide often, or they kind of give up in the other direction. They’re like, well, whatever is right for me, it’s not going to be what these people are telling me. - Eve Tushnet

The entire article is well worth the read.  One must remain open and in conversation with those who may have different approaches to following Christ, striving to live in accord with the Gospel and Catholic teaching.  Never sell yourself short or allow others shame you.


Wednesday, June 02, 2021

One Holy Sacrifice.

One Mass, two forms.

Mark Shea published an excellent bit of advice from Tolkien for Traditionalist Mass goers - and of course, Ordinary Form Mass goers.  [BTW, I consider myself a traditional Catholic, as if you didn't know.  I attend the Ordinary Form of Mass - which is the ordinary norm of the Latin rite.  I also deeply respect the Pope and Magisterium and strive to adhere to Catholic teaching.  I frequent the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance, when I fail.]

"Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come."

This really works.  Especially if one can acquire the habit of recollection.  Tolkien still comes off a little condescending when he says 'go to communion with them - and pray for them.'   I would just say, 'pray with them' and leave it at that.  It's what I've done for years, since no longer going to St. Agnes in St. Paul - which I believed for a time, was the superior parish for celebrating the NO according to rubrics.  There is a snobbism which creeps in - no matter what, if one approaches Mass with that attitude.  When I first left the monastery years ago, I couldn't stand parish celebrations of Sunday Mass.  I got over it.

They who truly adore God must adore Him in spirit and in truth.

To really prepare for Mass, to assist at Mass, to focus on Christ, the Holy Sacrifice, to adore and worship, while at the end, spending time in thanksgiving, everything is holy.  Even during the chatter after Mass, one can remain recollected and at peace.  Frequently it all becomes white noise, or during Mass, the sounds of children warms the heart.  You no longer pay attention to how others dress or behave, much less attempt to consider who is worthy - or not - to receive the Eucharist.  All of that is out of place for the worshipper.  I've never felt the holiness of Mass more than after the long draught of not having Mass publicly, when we were able to go back, in smaller numbers.  How holy and beautiful were the simplest Masses.

There is one Mass in two forms, or uses. It is one Mass - the same Mass. We have one Faith, one Baptism, one Mass, one, holy, Catholic Church, and one reigning Pontiff as Vicar of Christ. That is not exaggerating his importance, nor is it papalatrous to believe that.

As regards exterior things, he (Editor: one who is attached to the grandeur and pomp of the EF) will become unable to dispose himself for prayer in all places, but will be confined to places that are to his taste; and thus he will often fail in prayer, because, as the saying goes, he can understand no other book than his own village. - S. John, Ascent

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Skojec Reset

When you're down and they're counting...

Steve Skojec of OnePeter5 has encountered a bit of opposition, or friendly fire, if you will, in the form of a rebuke/snub from his FSSP pastor.  Ostensibly for not showing up for Mass during the pandemic, despite the dispensation.  As a result, his son's 1st Communion is postponed, and his soon to be born child may have been refused Baptism.  From Catholic Herald:

The last straw for Steve Skojec was an FSSP priest telling him that his son couldn’t make his first communion, and his soon-to-be-born son would not be baptized, because their family hadn’t been to Mass enough during the pandemic.

The founder of the traditionalist site OnePeter5 was outraged and heartbroken — but even more, he writes in a blog post titled Against Crippled Religion, he was profoundly disillusioned. (He wrote a follow-up post two days later titled An Epidemic of Brokenness.) - Steve Greydanus

This story is worthy of note since Skojec has a long history of calling out the pope, bishops, priests and laity, as well as institutions for  their failures and lack of orthodoxy.  Greydanus offers the job description like this, "For seventeen years, he had been a gung-ho apologist for traditionalist Catholicism..."  I've written about Skojec many times here, so this commentary isn't out of place.  I posted some comments on FB which are more suited in the context of this blog, so I've reposted those here.

When your secrets all found out...

I find Steve Skojec's recent lament ironic.  He almost sounds like how Pope Francis has repeatedly cautioned against such things as rigidity. This type of apparent snub by a priest has happened to many people - traditionalist or ordinary Catholics. Saints have been interdicted and excommunicated and disciplined over the centuries - it's kind of Catholic. I'm stunned that Skojec, who used to come off as more Catholic than the Pope, is now close to giving up the faith.  I very much doubt he will do that, however.

Hopefully this is an authentic awakening. Similar purgation happens to all of us, when our lies are all found out and there is no one to guide us. Excuse me for falling back on pop culture, but the lyrics of this song seem apt:

"When the doctor failed to heal you
When no medicine chest can make you well
When no counsel leads to comfort
When there are no more lies they can tell
No more useless information and the compass spins
The compass spins between heaven and hell." - Sting

This is what happens to us - we think we have found the pearl of great price (and we really did), but we get ourselves sidetracked in trying to grasp it for ourselves. As we go along, more and more of what we think we have, needs to be put in perspective, sometimes even annihilated. Our attachments, our idols may then be taken away. I often think of Edith Stein who explained the purpose of this stripping away:

"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - Science of the Cross
I hope Steve and company - and of course, myself - can continue to allow ourselves to be taught, "To lose always and let everyone else win..." - John of the Cross. To stop looking down on others, to quit pretending we know more than all who teach us because we do everything right, as it were. I used to think like that - because I lived a chaste, celibate life, prayed a couple hours a day, went to Mass daily, and so on. I attributed to myself what the psalmist says, "I have more understanding than all who teach me, because I do your will." Yet only Christ can say that - not me.

"Sell your will, give it to the poor in spirit, come to Christ in meekness and humility, and follow him to Calvary and the sepulcher." - John of the Cross

I keep repeating the same maxims because they can be easily forgotten, but I love to recall what St. Therese taught her novices:

"Therese believed that God frequently allows us to experience in ourselves the same weaknesses which we deplore in others,,, [Thus] when we see ourselves fallen into those faults we are then more prompt to excuse them in others." - My Sister St. Therese, Sr. Genevieve

Purification, purging, even the collapse of our spiritual 'domicile' so to speak (built on sand) - to the loss of everything - are trials to purify our faith. Sort of like what happened to Job. We also need to remember Job's friends, who offered their bad advice - perhaps like my commentary here.
We need to let the dead bury their dead and we need to follow Christ alone. Christians are not approved by the world - indeed, Christians often do not approve of one another - all the snark online verifies that much. But how does that concern us when our job is to follow Christ? St. Seraphim of Sarov assures us, "Keep yourself in peace and thousands around you will be saved."
So there you have it - that is what I understand by the words, 'let the dead bury their dead'. It is in reality a going out, of sorts - outside the city gates, bearing the insult Christ bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come. Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name. Our life is hidden with Christ in God and I know I need to fix my eyes on him, who inspires and perfects my faith.

May God grant us the grace, that "former pride disappear, and that we can no longer find in our self anything that might cause us to look down on others." 
God have mercy on all of us.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

“Keep thy friend, under thy own life’s key.” - All's Well That Ends Well.

"Everyone can master a grief but he that has it." - Much Ado About Nothing

I keep thinking of ending the blog - which almost seems I have, as well as getting off social media entirely.  I would be a better hermit for it, I imagine.

This past year I've written too much about grief and regret and sorrow - and I always end up removing the posts, especially if they are too sentimental.  I don't know how to do this, if you will.

Memorial Day weekend.

Two years ago - it seems longer than that - Darold had his first stroke. Typically, he insisted it was nothing, refused to go to the ER. Until the following Tuesday after Memorial Day. He had very little damage, thank God. Afterwards however, the early signs of dementia worsened - but it was on and off - and his personality was very sweet. In retrospect, I came to understand the dementia preceded the stroke, and was only exacerbated by the trauma. I wish I could do it all over again - caring for him, and this time, do it better. The only time I've known love is when I've exercised it in caring for another.  We both learned that many years ago as we cared for his mom and dad.  

Acquaintances online may think I 'could have gone to purple by now' - as Vera asked about Auntie Mame - but it doesn't work like that.  Keeping my thought's secret, as Bertram's mother advised, is wise advice, I suppose.  Advice I shall try to honor.

If I say, “Let the darkness hide me and the light around me be night,”

even darkness is not dark to you,

the night shall be as bright as day, and darkness the same as the light.

I think my main purpose of sharing my thoughts has been to reveal what disinterested friendship, love between friends, can be.  When self-control and serving other(s) for the love of God and neighbor, in fidelity to one's state in life - chastely and celibately - it is a means to sanctity.  Yet it seems futile to try and convince anyone of that, and completely unnecessary, since it is God who knows my heart and knows my thoughts - and that is enough.

This coming month, the last cycle of Gregorian Masses for Darold will be celebrated in Poland, at Our Lady's shrine, closing out the year of mourning and prayer for the repose of his soul.  I should try to do a mini-Lent, while trying to keep my friend under my own life's key.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

In the evening of life, when the day was far spent...

French painter Arcabas.

Happy Easter to all my friends who have come so close to me in and through this blog.  

Let us say to Him, 'stay with us'!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Grand Silence of Great Saturday


He is not here ...

Did you not know
He must be about His Father's business?

He is not here ...

Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
To feed in the gardens
and to gather lilies...

My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.
do not awaken or stir up love
until it is ready!

He is not here ...

For Love is strong as Death,
longing is fierce as Sheol.
Its arrows are arrows of fire,
flames of the divine.

He is not here ...

Return, my lover,
be like a gazelle or a young stag
upon the mountains of spices.

Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor rivers sweep it away.
Wait ... be stouthearted
and wait for the Lord.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Conversion of Milo Yiannopoulos

Who is he?

I don't know him.  I've heard of him, but I don't now a lot about him.  Never read his books, never heard his voice, I don't know him.

I know he grew up gay, had sex at an early age - otherwise molested, I guess.  At one time he defended man boy love, suggesting it was helpful to young lads.  Then he was denounced, fired from Brietbart, yet still maintained a following.  I called him a provocateur, others a fabulist, he's a writer, journalist, political celebrity, etc..  His celebrity is the result of sensationalist editorial-opinion, with a bit of white supremacist propaganda; politically he was the gay-Trump supporter, a Bannon cohort and so on.  Nothing about him I'd be interested in.  Not long ago he gave an interview to Michael Voris, who is credited with inviting Milo back to the sacraments and a chaste life, while Milo, invoking St. Augustine, said he wanted to - but not yet.

It appears the time has come.  (And Voris will get a crown.) In a sense Milo has always been a faithful Catholic, since he believes and accepts Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality - and never expected the Church to change Her teachings just to make him feel comfortable and accepted. That's a faithful Catholic who lived in sin. Numerous gay/SSA men and women felt exactly the same way, and eventually returned to the sacraments.  Thus, instead of a conversion in the classic sense, it is more accurate at this point to say Yiannopoulos has returned to the sacraments.  The conversion thing is something time will reveal.  Saying, "I'm ex-gay, or quitting the life(style) doesn't necessarily mean 'conversion'.  Of course, in the monastic sense, there is the conversion of manners - therefore, this is a beginning.  In the gay sense that means to stop acting out, quitting the behavior and so on.  

Many are actively splitting hairs on what that means, but as the Church teaches, "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." - CCC Therefore, this latest development in Milo's life can be understood as a 'conversion' - but apparently, he has a long way to go.

John the Baptist pointed out a method of discernment for the penitent, "Give evidence you mean to repent."  Yiannopoulos still appears to hold some crazy ideas which link him to a very alt-right mindset. After all, he wrote "Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me—and Why He Has To Go" and along with Bannon, not only disagrees with the Franciscan Magisterium, but opposes it.

Currently, Milo's supporters have rallied to defend him against the 'leftists' and LGBTQ, who oppose the language of ex-gay and conversion therapy, a campaign Yiannopoulos seems to be promoting with his new image.  The more cynical simply see his conversion as a way to re-invent himself - which I would say could be part of a counter-Great Reset by ultra-right conservatives to grow their base.  I'm skeptical.  

Truth be told, I'm also hopeful, for Milo's sake.  Entrusting himself to St. Joseph is a good way to go.  I did that.  I begged St. Joseph to arrange things, which he did.  So, his dedication to St. Joseph is a good sign, although I still recommend caution.  Attacking liberals and Francis-Catholics is not a sign of peace, especially for a penitent.  Trials are sure to come, but they need to be be received with humility as purgative and reparative. Just today I read that Fr. Calloway's book on Consecration to St. Joseph, promoted by Milo, is apparently receiving negative reviews on Amazon as homophobic, due to Milo's assertion that he is now ex-gay because of it - and Calloway is concerned that his book may be banned.  I checked Amazon and saw no such thing - therefore even that story may be fake - to do damage to Calloway, or Yiannopoulos?

Yesterday I cautioned people supporting Milo, or better yet - those Catholic militants who wait for any and every opportunity to enter into battle with 'leftist-LGBTQ-Catholics' who question the conversion story, not to rush to canonize Yiannopoulos so fast.  On the other hand, there are those who really do question the announcement, the 'coming out' as ex-gay, because he still lives with his partner.  That's not at all unusual in conversion stories - but it creates a problem when people make the arrangement public.  The busybodies claim 'scandal' and don't know what they are talking about, even though they cite age old moral theology and spiritual direction manuals.  Some of the very best 'disinterested friendships' result from a partnership that was once intimate.  Conversion is about repentance and a reformation of one's life - a break with sin and sinful relations.  But I digress.  Unfortunately, Milo has literally thrown his pearls before swine, so he better be prepared for trials from both sides of the choir.

I hope for his sake - that is, the sanctification of his soul and eternal salvation - that he doesn't sensationalize his conversion, doesn't take it on the road, as it were, nor use it to gain a platform promoting his brand.  There is great gain in religion, provided one is content with a sufficiency - not star status.

Don't forget, Milo earns his living as a provocateur-sensationalist.  As I said on FB yesterday:

Just be careful - this is exactly the kind of story that could end up being one big hoax - to embarrass the Church, discredit proponents of Catholic teaching on sexuality, as well as the variety of pastoral ministry to LGBTQ-SSA persons - approved or unapproved by conservative Catholics. Late 19th Century France witnessed a scandal which rocked the Church and society. 

It's the story of Leo Taxil and Diana Vaughn.

Many had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil.
Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those duped.
"This alleged conversion of Mr. Léo Taxil’s, which justly touched the Catholic world and the Free Thinking world, was but the prologue of a comedy, of an enormous farce in many acts, conceived and constructed by a hoaxer more inventive than concerned about his own dignity. This was the first step in that scenario:

"Act One: Simulations of repentance and of penitence, pious practices proper to edifying the clergy and to capture it’s full confidence. Diffusion of small books directed against FreeMasonry."

FreeMasonry was the boogie man then and still is - along with the homosexualist-panic.  I've often thought these scares could well be generated by enemies of the Church - within and without, and not always the most obvious suspects.  For instance, who is behind the Qanon conspiracy theories?  The far-right Trump movement?  The anti-Francis movement?  How about all those locutions and prophecies about diabolic delusion, huh?  Even the elect can be led astray.  Have we learned nothing from the Maciel case?  The Jean Vanier case?  The wonderful conversion and priesthood of Fr. Corapi?

As for Milo, as I said elsewhere, I hope he perseveres. The desire to be chaste may start out weak - or even just a prayer we hardly understand - but our desire grows as we pray. So I hope he understands the necessity of prayer to sustain him. Prayer is what conforms us to Christ and he is the one who restores and repairs our fallen nature. That's why I'm encouraged he consecrated himself to St. Joseph. Hopefully, like St. Joseph, he can avoid sensationalizing his conversion, and refrain from drawing attention to himself on account of it.  As if he's now all cleaned up and respectable and deserving of honor and praise.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Persecuted priests.

St. Jerome had a reputation: "In Rome, Jerome never really got on with other clergy. He was somewhat irascible, dipping his pen rather more often into vinegar than honey. Jerome loved nothing so much as a good squabble, and argued bitterly and at great length with his critics and adversaries." - Don Marco.

On the other hand.

It isn't my fight, but for years I've followed Fr. Z with some interest, finding his apostolate rather mysterious - especially now since he is even more a free agent without an assignment.  Monks like that are considered gyrovagues and were not held in great esteem by stable monastics.  Fr. Pavone is apparently in the same situation.  Fr. Z seems to feel he was targeted and is a bit 'persecuted' - did he say persecuted?  Not sure, but it is my impression, esp. since he lost his position in the Madison diocese.

Recently Where Peter Is did a post pretty much in response to a challenge Fr. Z threw out, to come up with some sort of compendium in defense of Benedict's assertion there is only one pope, along with "a defense of all that Francis is, has said, and has done."  The WPI post: Fr. Z, Challenge Accepted.  Fr. Z thought the author was 'nasty'.  I didn't.

This after devoting his time online urging readers to go to Canon212 to participate in a poll regarding the question of 'one pope and who it is'.  An unscientific poll on a site at enmity with Pope Francis and mockingly critical of the Pope Emeritus.  Fr. Z apparently follows, endorses sites like that - as well as mad/rad-trad,  Ann Barnhardt.  He claims others call his attention to sites like these, and or articles which mention his blog, otherwise he wouldn't know about their existence.  Knowing how hands on he is with his online connections, or network, he knows who links to him and/or writes about him.  In his response to the Mike Lewis piece, he claims he never heard of him - yet he mentions him by name in a post dated 14 August 2020.  Just saying.

Anyway.  I'm not sure priests like this are persecuted per say, except to say they can be wounded in the culture wars, which they so vigorously engage in, and in some cases, profit from. (Polling and fund drives seem to be quite profitable for them.)  Fr. Z and others like him, go after priests and women religious they don't like or whom they deem liberal-progressive-heterodox-heretics, with a vengeance.  When the winds of criticism blows their way, they claim persecution and suffering verging on 'white martyrdom'.  It seems a bit disingenuous.

That said, Fr. Z more or less responded to the Mike Lewis post(s) on Where Peter Is, who took up Fr. Z's challenge for supporters of what Benedict said, as well as the fact that Francis is Pope, to "put together their own compendium as a defense of all that Francis is, has said, and has done."  Fr. Z didn't accept Lewis' response, because it wasn't a compendium - in book form.  Writing:

"Lewis: “Fr. Zuhlsdorf, we [sic] respond to your challenge with the work of this website.” “…with the work of this website”. Okay. But that isn’t a response to the challenge I issued." - Fr. Z Of gauntlets, spaghetti wall art, and St. Robert Bellarmine

We shall see what WPI's response is, but Lewis is correct, his entire website is dedicated to the support of the papacy of Pope Francis and the legitimacy of the retirement of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI.  An endeavor conducted by faithful Catholic laymen in a time when some clerics have more or less rejected the legitimate authority of the Pope and Vatican II.  

Friday, March 05, 2021

A new image for St. Nunzio Sulprizio

Terry Nelson


St. Nunzio, pray for us.

I was attracted to Nunzio Sulprizio many years ago, since he led a difficult life and suffered abuse in his childhood and teen years. I first heard Fr. John Horgan speak of him on Mother Angelica sometime in the 1990's.  His story and example of patience in suffering is remarkable. Go here for an overview of his life.

In this study, I based his looks upon the canonization image and early prints of the saint as to how he looked in life.  This image is so farunvarnished, since I just finished it - the exposure is a bit light saturated.   

He's been my companion all winter, spending a couple hours a day working on the painting.  We have a few things in common, I think.

A mystic worth noting...

Saint Marguerite Bays

This woman's holiness is notable, not due to her mystical gifts, but to her charity and ordinary life.  Saints are never canonized for mystical gifts or phenomenon, but rather their heroic virtue and fidelity.

She is the ideal mystic, since her mystical gifts went unnoticed for a long time, not interfering with her daily duties, nor attracting attention to herself.  She never developed a cult following, nor allowed herself to become a local celebrity and so on.  There was nothing morbid about her spiritual life.  

Her family, a place of holiness

Remaining in the paternal domicile, she made sure to participate well in the household tasks which fell to her. Her sister-in-law Josette did not make her life easy : a severe and rude woman, she humiliated Marguerite and did not spare her. Marguerite did not hold grudges against her. And, when Josette arrived at the end of her life, struck down precociously by an illness, Marguerite took care of her and prepared her for death. She was in fact the only person she accepted near her.

Her sister Marie-Marguerite, called « Mariette », suffered from the dissolution of her marriage, and came back to live at home. Her brother Joseph, who remained a bachelor, with a rather violent character and sometimes loose morals, ended up serving a short prison sentence! And her elder brother Claude had a child outside wedlock, the little François. Marguerite asked him to recognise the child officially. She took charge of his education. On the other hand her brother Jean understood better the mystical life of his sister and sometimes worried about her health.

Faced with her brothers and sisters, victims of difficult situations in their life, Marguerite would never have judged them in a moralist manner. On the contrary, through her testimony of a life filled with love and charity, each in their turn felt attracted by Christ to then undertake through love a true path of conversion. - Biography St, Marguerite

"Each Friday, Marguerite relived the Passion of Christ in her flesh. United with Jesus, she offered up the suffering she endured in the silence and privacy of her bedroom, sheltered from public eyes."

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Spring is here

I saw a group of 5 robins this morning.  They were on the hill across the street, which faces south and the lawn was exposed.  They were eating or harvesting material for nests.  I've never seen them in groups like that before.

When I went online, FB messaged me that my account was restricted due to a meme I post a long time ago, which they found offensive.  It was a joke.  They also didn't like a gif from 3rd Rock that I posted of Dick choking Mary.  I signed onto MeWe for now.  It's a blessing to be censored from FB, I recently deleted my Tumblr account as well.  I still have Twitter, but do not use it much.  Social media is the Big Brother of our age, so it is better not to allow oneself to be so enslaved to it.  

Cancel culture and censorship is nothing new - it is simply the manner in which it is executed these days, and by whom.  The Church and Christian denominations have always performed this function.  Excommunication, interdict, the index of forbidden books, and so on.  Other denominations have the tradition of shunning and other types of sanction.  Christian communities always had their outcasts whom they marginalized and excluded.  Of course, the same dynamic is seen in parishes, religious groups, and among 'friends' - who will unfriend someone for a simple disagreement.  Today secular entities have assumed that role - in a concerted effort to control behavior, enforce social standards, and achieve a level of thought conformity.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Checking in after nearly a month.

I've been on FB, only posting rather neutral posts, so as to remain at peace.  Sort of.

I intend to keep this blog and will continue to post, I just have entered a strange silent phase.  I keep thinking of the prophecy, 'the hearts of many will be revealed.'  That's what we do online.  But why?

I don't want to argue or defend my point of view and opinion on this or that.  I know who and what I am and I have faith in God.

Today is the Chair of Peter and I am so grateful we have a Pope - Pope Francis.  I am so grateful to be Catholic.

I just don't have much to say these days.

Abba Moses said: “The one who makes a show of his good works and publicizes them is like the one who threw seeds on the ground, ‘and the fowls of the air came and devoured them up’ [Matt 13:4]. But the one who conceals his way of life is as one who sows in a furrow in the ground and who will reap an abundant harvest.

I probably never should have written so much.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Pope Francis to those who reject the teaching of the Second Vatican Council...

Ecumenical Council, Dali

They are placing themselves outside the Church.

Thank God the Holy Father said it.  Seriously, for at least 2 decades I have listened to the greatest Catholics of all time - their opinion, not mine - that the Council was evil, non-binding, non-magisterial. That it was a pastoral council, it did not affirm any dogma, etc..  It was corrupted and bore rotten fruit - case in point the OF Mass.  Opponents went so far as to say the Novus Ordo was Masonic, heretical, and no Mass - I used to respond 'you can't be holier than the Church, you can't be more Catholic than the Pope' and so on.  In no uncertain terms, not a few responded, 'but I am more catholic than the Pope.'  Stunning claim, to say the least.

These folks, following mentors among the hierarchy and clergy, as well as a few self-serving mystic monks, pretty much condemned everything Novus Ordo - save for their sacramental ordination - as well as Vatican II.  Apparently, this alone makes them holier than the 'post-conciliar'* Church and more Catholic than the Pope.  Not.

The Dubia Brothers, Vigano, and many priests in their 'Holy League', along with a growing Remnant of mystical  authorities, who have set themselves against the Council, The Ordinary Form of Mass, and the Papacy, now have something to deal with.  Are these folks ready to follow the post -Vatican I schismatic Old Catholics?  Because the Pope has spoken.  

“Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the council, or you interpret it in your own away – according to your desire – [and] you do not stand with the Church,” the 84-year-old Jesuit Pope told members of the National Catechetical Office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.  - The Tablet

Works for me. 

*"Unfortunately, it is not only the progressives who have adopted this individualistic spirit. Even in the name of Tradition, some today speak of a pre- and post-conciliar Church, thus creating a rupture between the past and the present. In this way, they submit everything the magisterium has to say to a test that ultimately sets the Church against itself." - Fr. Angelo Geiger

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Just a thought on what 'may have' happened to Fr. Z

Fr. Z relocating.

Those who know of Fr. Z now know he is relocating, a priest without an assignment in search of bishop to sponsor him, as it were.  A link to that story:

"A prominent priest-blogger Fr John Zuhlsdorf who performed exorcisms against “fraud” in the United States presidential election is leaving his diocese.

The priest, who runs the popular “Fr Z blog”, has been living in the Diocese of Madison, in Wisconsin, although he was ordained for the Diocese of Velletri-Segni, near Rome.

News of his departure from Madison comes after The Tablet reported that Fr Zuhlsdorf had been carrying out live-streamed daily exorcisms against possible electoral fraud. In at least one instance, the priest claimed he had the authority of Madison’s bishop, Donald Hying, to perform the exorcisms, something the bishop denied." - The Tablet

So, there is lots of speculation as to why, where did he go wrong?  What will he do?  All I can say is thank God he didn't become corrupt or fall into any sort of moral scandal.  Though his political discourse is totally alt-right, his disenchantment with Vatican II, the Ordinary Form of Mass and love of the EF Form pulled him closer and closer to the rad trad, anti-Francis faction in the Church.  He blasted people like Fr. James Martin out of the water, so to speak.  Celebrated excommunications of liberal priests and was downright vindictive in his condemnation of liberal nuns and anyone who came out in favor of women deacons.  He ran his own version of cancel culture on his blog, calling for boycotts of Catholic journals, letters to the Vatican and nuncio, and so on.  Now he's on his own and protesting the 'cancel culture' which celebrates this setback in his career-vocation.

Some well meaning people seem to agree with the idea that Fr. Z's enemies were on a campaign to silence him and seek his downfall because he is a 'good guy', faithful and true.  I think he really is a good priest.  What has happened will turn out for his good, I think.

He started out well, he began writing for Catholic journals, and then engaged in an online apostolate which was effective in catechizing Catholics on liturgical matters and Catholic teaching.   I just think, whatever his apostolic intent, early successes may have led to a bit of presumption, sparking an ambition for fame and a drive for promotion. 

He had a brief stint as a commentator on Fox News during the transition from JPII to Benedict XVI,  and that bit of stardom might have awakened a greater desire for media fame - it wouldn't be unthinkable it aroused his ambition for recognition and esteem.  After all, he had credentials of working in the Vatican, reporting to important figures, running into Ratzinger, rubbing shoulders with journalists and influential clergy, and definitely prided himself as being in the know with all the court gossip, etc.. His work there allowed him to assume a certain level of status and influence. Then the immense success of the blog and the revenue it generated really propelled him, I think. 

I recall him almost bragging to a UK priest on how much money his Donate app made.  In one blog post, he urged the priest to get one and even offered his own donations as a fund-raiser incentive for the priest. I'm no longer able to find those posts, nor my commentary on them, but they existed at one time.  If I'm wrong, I'll retract.  He prized stats and links to his posts, and delighted in the growing number of his followers - restricting critics and those who sought to dispute with him.  In his hey day, he was posting photos of the frequent UPS deliveries he received, in between posts on the feeder feed, along with travelogue photos and visuals of fine dining trips. It was entertaining - and profitable - and his fans loved it - and I have to imagine his ego expanded accordingly.  He obviously felt called to support the Trump administration - for God and Country.  And then, just like that, it suddenly became too much.

In conclusion, that's what I think happened to the public figure of Fr. Z.  God bless him and this new chapter in his life.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My apologies


I'm sorry I haven't responded to comments, and more especially, to friends who sent Christmas cards.  I have no excuse.  

I'm still not myself - and don't know who that is.  

I'm living like a monk, alone and afflicted.  I pray the Office and rosary, and I'm united to the prayer of the Church in and through the prayers and readings of daily Mass.  

Thank you for your prayers.  My every thought, word, deed, penance, prayer and action is for my friend Darold.  

Please pray for my friend Darold.  Thank you.

(I'm closing comments - prayer is better than comments.  I feel your prayers.  Thank you.)

Saturday, January 09, 2021

"Children, be on your guard against idols."

We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
- 1 Jn 5

This past week, Josiah Colt was one of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol and broke into Congress. He has since apologized profusely, begging forgiveness for violating the 'sacred ground':

"While in the Chamber I told the other protesters that this is a sacred place and not to do any damage. Some of them wanted to trash the place and steal stuff but I told them not to and to leave everything in its place. We're still on sacred ground." - source

I was a bit cynical about his apology, perhaps he's hoping for a pardon from Trump?  More likely, he understands that he can be charged and prosecuted, or at best, find himself unemployed for a long time, after potential employers see his social media activity and current media exposure.  

Just yesterday, a friend who has a couple of websites and her own news aggregator site, posted a bit of fake news about the discovery of discarded ballots in Georgia.  There is a fair amount of documentation refuting that story.  I didn't comment but left a link to an AP article contradicting the story.  I'm not getting into linking all of these threads, I just want to note that my friend said she doesn't believe anything from the AP.  Trump campaigned on fake news - repeating claims that MSM was totally and completely fake news, implying that he and a few rightwing news outlets was the only source for truth, Trump picked up on every conspiracy theory and used them to promote his lies and half truths.  The result was a huge success with his followers and supporters.

“People were willing to die for this man and he just threw them all under the bus. That’s the only thing that’s shameful about the events of the past 36 hours,” Nick Fuentes.

Until, faced with the blow back after the assault on the Capitol, wherein 5 people lost their lives - for him (yet as of this writing, I haven't heard or read if he even extended sympathy for the deceased and their families) Trump turned on his supporters.  The last I heard, his last ditch effort to save his 'legacy' by denouncing those who attacked the Capitol, some of the MAGA people have turned on him. 

"After years of fidelity, Donald Trump's most ardent online fans have finally turned on him.
All it took was for the president to acknowledge the reality of his loss a little over a day after they, the MAGA faithful, stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.".- Politico

Yet that won't deter his pro-life militia and Catholics for Trump, inspired by such luminaries as Archbishop Vigano, followed by Catholic sacerdotal-personalities Fr. Pavone, Z, Heilman, et al - along with the EWTN Night Gallery network of dark fantasies and pro-Trumpsters and anti-papists.

Children, be on your guard against idols.

Seemingly unrelated, yet returning to the title of this post, the final words of today's first reading at Mass made a deep impression upon me - a sort of wonderful reprimand after engaging with people online over the past few days, and watching news coverage almost non stop: "Children, be on your guard against idols." I've pondered it all morning, so now I would like to offer a couple of thoughts which compliment my own.

“Once capital becomes an idol that presides over a socioeconomic system, it enslaves us, sets us at odds with each other, excludes the poor, and endangers the planet we all share.”
- Pope Francis, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future

"As Francis also says in Fratelli Tutti: “We need to learn how to unmask the various ways that the truth is manipulated, distorted and concealed in public and private discourse.”
Post-truth journalism is not just about narratives for financial profit; it can also be for political or ideological ends. Whole media organizations can degenerate into “an association of individuals united against a perceived common enemy,” as Francis puts in Fratelli Tutti referring to “digital campaigns of hatred and destruction.” - Austen Ivereigh

“Whoever takes refuge in fundamentalism is afraid of setting out on the road to truth. He already “has” the truth, and deploys it as a defense, so that any questioning of it is interpreted as an aggression against his person.”
- Pope Francis, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future

Happy New Year as we return to Ordinary Time.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Approaching Jesus

From today's Gospel.

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray...

When Jesus sent the disciples away, and while he dismissed the crowd - that is the time to approach him.  When no one can prevent you from approaching him - no one to condemn or scold you.  This is the moment of genuine prayer and healing.  

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Matt Talbot.

A new painting by Nico M. Peeters.

It is a wonderful painting.  The narrative posted here, written by Nico Peeters, was sent to me by a friend of his.

“ Matt was a common laborer, working most of his life at a timber factory on the quay of Liffey River in Dublin, where ships used to discharge their cargo of timber. What makes his life special and at the same time very recognizable, is his struggle to get rid of his addiction to alcohol. He regularly fell back, but strengthened by the grace of God, he at last conquered himself. He attended Holy Mass whenever he could and nurtured by the Holy Eucharist, he grew in living a decent life and self denial. He has always been loyal to his patron and kept working until he died at the age of 77 in 1925.

This painting depicts, at the left, the always latent present temptation of reaching out to alcohol again, when things become difficult. Liquor may provide some relief, but at the end it always leaves one in darkness and loneliness. From the right the light of Christ illuminates life and gives strength to withstand temptations. The log in Matt’s hands symbolizes Christ’s cross, which acts as a barrier between him and temptation. We are not able to redeem ourselves, only Christ delivers us from evil.

At the quay a typical timber ship from the twenties and a lorry. The fellow laborer behind Matt shows the solidarity by his colleagues, who relieved him, when he became older, from too heavy labor and provided him a small burlap sack to prevent logs sliding off his slightly sloping shoulders. Still Matt accepted all hardships from life in a cheerful mood, being aware of the glory awaiting all those, who are not afraid to surrender to Christ, Who is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end of all times.” - Nico Peters

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Following up

I was looking over some old posts, regarding gay Catholics and the differences of opinion regarding the topic.  Over the years I bent over backwards defending Catholic teaching - because it worked for me.  The more public I became, the more I heard from critics, gay and straight.  Some telling me that my life wasn't good enough - since I lived with a man - my longtime companion.  Over and over again, I had to assure my accusers that I was faithful to Catholic teaching.  Frequently, some would say I couldn't be.  Amazing since my spiritual directors and confessors all agreed that I was.

I'm not portraying myself as a saint or some sort of example, I'm just pointing out how outsiders, those who only know me superficially were so willing to judge me.  Foolishly, I ventured into the gay Catholic controversy with so many people, I can't believe I felt obligated to explain myself.  Some would have me denounce this gay group or that group, this priest or that writer for their support of lgbtq issues.  Sometimes I was told I was risking my immortal soul for not condemning so and so, or some new movement.  Sometimes other bloggers would 'out' me based up nothing factual - just that I was too soft on gay issues.  Many online are always on the hunt, ready to expose gay people - accusing them to be infiltrators.  And I fell for all of that nonsense.

I'm embarrassed for some of the posts I've written, often critical of the diversity of Catholic opinion regarding gay Catholics.  I'm embarrassed that I jumped on that bandwagon myself, so many times.

Now that I'm alone, I have no need to engage on this subject, nothing to prove to anyone.  No one to answer to save Christ. With a heart full of gratitude, I thank our Lord for his grace, his fidelity and his mercy over the years.  He is the one who sanctifies and saves - unmerited by me.  When we cooperate with God's grace which comes to us in Jesus, whose power at work in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.  We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.