Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From Crux: More propaganda against Archbishop Nienstedt...

Archbishop Nienstedt (foreground) 

Theology professors from the University of St. Thomas join the critics of Archbishop Nienstedt.

Warning of a 'pastoral breakdown' in the Archdiocese, the professors add fuel to the contention that the Archbishop should resign, because of the sex abuse scandals and how these have been handled by the archdiocese.  Perhaps there's a personnel problems which acerbates the situation?  In other words, maybe Nienstedt is not the problem?  After all, he is working to restore confidence - maybe his critics don't want it restored?

Right from there were people in this archdiocese who were not happy with the appointment of Archbishop Nienstedt.  Local pastors who call for his resignation included - and now the theologians have joined in.  Is it a conspiracy?  I'm not sure.  Although I'm very much reminded of the anti-clericalism leading up to the French Revolution when I read stories such as this - which resonate with the complaints made by certain pastors within the archdiocese who have already called for the Archbishop's resignation:

A group of theology professors from the largest Catholic university in Minnesota penned an open letter to the archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul, lamenting ongoing revelations of clergy sex abuse and “also to the manner in which these scandals have been handled.” 
Addressed to Archbishop John Nienstedt, under fire for allegedly mishandling reports of clergy sex abuse, twelve tenured faculty members of St. Thomas University wrote, “Recent events have shown how badly the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese has failed” to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics there. 
The group stopped short of calling for Nienstedt’s resignation, writing that they “remain committed to working and praying for the good of the whole archdiocese, including its pastoral leadership.”

“The harsh light now being shone on the inner governance of the Archdiocese makes clear that the problems are not merely personal,” the authors wrote. “They are systemic, the product of a long-standing and deeply entrenched clericalism that does not have to be the corollary of the ordained priestly ministry.” - Finish reading here.

The suggestions for 'recovery' in the archdiocese proposed by the theologians are not at all unreasonable however:
The theologians suggest ways for Nienstedt and his team to “proposals that may open a path toward recovery from the pastoral breakdown we are witnessing,” such as a series of town hall-style meetings at parishes, stepping away from direct involvement in legal proceedings, and engaging more lay people in church governance.
 The Archbishop has started that, employing Timothy O’Malley, the former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to fill a leadership position created by the archdiocese in response to the wave of clergy abuse allegations in the past year.  This is a signal the Archbishop is working to restore confidence - perhaps he's not moving fast enough for his critics?  Give him a chance and support him in his efforts.

That said, I'm not sure "engaging more lay people in church governance" holds great promise.  It seems to me there are plenty of laity involved as it is.  I think we need more priests and religious, but who will be attracted to religious life when they witness such division and lack of support among church people?  And what priest would ever consent to being a bishop in such a negative culture?

Pray.  Pray for the Church and the Archbishop.  Pray for vocations.

H/T Ray and Maria.

The Blessed Virgin and Islam: Two famous Marian shrines in Italy, one in Spain, provide sanctuary for sacred relics rescued from Muslim pillage and desecration.

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.

The Holy House of Loreto and Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Both popular piety and tradition holds that the Holy House and image of Our Lady of Good Counsel were transported by angels away from Muslim invaders. The Sacred Image of Good Counsel was carried from the Turkish onslaught of the Balkans. The Holy House was transported, first from the Holy Land to Croatia, and then, providentially came to rest in Italy.

Translation of the Holy House.

The Holy House.
How this Shrine came to be is a fascinating story. This is the House of Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, which had been brought by angels from Nazareth to the Dalmatian coast, and later, by the same angels, transported to Loreto where it stands today enclosed in the huge Basilica just described. The history of Loreto is based upon a wealth of sound tradition and reliably recorded historical facts. We know from the visits of reliable witnesses to the Holy Land, whose journeys were carefully recorded in documents, that the Holy House of Nazareth was intact in Palestine at a relatively late date. St. Louis, King of France, heard Mass in Nazareth in 1253 in the same chamber where the Angel announced the coming of Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
The Holy Land had seen its last and unsuccessful Crusade in 1291. The last of the Christian soldiers withdrew from Nazareth the same year, leaving behind the holiest of houses unprotected. It was to be dealt with according to the Muslim tradition of pillaging and destruction. It may seem far fetched to think that a tiny clay house venerated by a handful of Christians could merit such vindictive rage. But this was a unique house -- visibly an edifice of mud and straw, but preserving within its framework living memories of its Royal Household -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. 
The first assault was that of the Seljukian Turks in 1090. They rampaged through the Holy Land, looting the treasures left in the churches of the Holy Places by devout Christian pilgrims. They turned basilicas and churches into mosques, and destroyed what was deemed useless for their unholy purposes. Among the last class fell the fate of Santa Casa, home of the Holy Family. Fortunately, when Constantine had the first Basilica built over the holy spot in 312, the house, along with the grotto that was attached, was interred within a subterranean crypt. And so it survived the initial desecration of Islam. - Finish reading here.
"...the fresco has inexplicably remained suspended in the air 
close to the wall of the chapel in the church of 
Our Lady of Good Counsel for over five hundred years."

Our Lady of Good Counsel

The history of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is available on several websites, so I will not go into great detail here.

In 1467, on the 25 of April, during celebrations for the feast of San Marco in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud was seen covering a 5th century church dedicated to Our Lady. Shortly after the cloud lifted, the townsfolk, summoned by the church bells, discovered a delicate fresco of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, it was painted upon a very thin piece of unsupported plaster, and floated in a small niche of the church. Later it was revealed the image had been transported by angels from Scutari, Albania, because the region was coming under Islamic control.
"One day during the siege of Shkodra (Scutari) two escaping Albanians stopped at the Church to pray to Zoja e Bekueme (Our Lady of Good Counsel) for their safe journey. While praying fervently, they suddenly noticed the painting moving away from the wall.... The two Albanians, Gjorgji and De Sclavis,"followed the painting, as if it were a bright star, all the way to Rome, where the image disappeared. They heard rumors that a miraculous image had appeared in Genazzano. They ran to the nearby town and there discovered the painting of their beloved Zoja e Bekueme." The two "settled down and made Genazzano their home." - Source
Our Lady of Guadalupe Extremadura

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Estremadura)

The shrine houses a statue reputed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist and given to Saint Leander, archbishop of Seville, by Pope Gregory I. According to local legend, when Seville was taken by the Moors in 712, a group of priests fled northward and buried the statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Virgin appeared one day to a humble cowboy named Gil Cordero who was searching for a missing animal in the mountains. Cordero claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him and ordered him to ask priests to dig at the site of the apparition. Excavating priests rediscovered the hidden statue and built a small shrine around it which evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery. - Source
Guadalupe is actually an Islamic name...

As noted, Our Lady's very special statue was enshrined in a nearby Franciscan Monastery next to the "Wolf River." 
The Moslems, during their Spanish occupation, had actually named the river. The Islamic term for Wolf River is "Guadalupe" (Guada = River; Lupe = Wolf). Hence, the famous Catholic image in Spain has been known, since the 14th century, by the Islamic name of "Our Lady of Guadalupe." - Source

Our Lady of Ransom, September 24.

Our Lady requested a a religious order be founded to ransom Christian captives from Muslim slavery.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter Nolassco, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three men established a work of the redemption of captives. She desired the establishment of the Mercedarian religious order. (derives from the Spanish word for mercy - merced) Its members would seek to free Christian captives from the Moors and offer themselves, if necessary, as an exchange. The complete name of this order is: Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Ransom of Captives (OdeM). 
The Order was legally constituted at Barcelona by King James of Aragon was established in Spain and later approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. St. Peter was the first superior, with the title of Commander-General; he also filled the office of Ransomer, a title given to the monk sent into the lands subject to the Moors to arrange for the ransom of prisoners. - Source

Prayer to Our Lady of Mercy
Blessed be Thou, O Mary, the honor and the joy of Thy people! On the day of Thy glorious Assumption, Thou didst take possession of Thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of Thy merciful interventions. The captives whose chains Thou hast broken, and whom Thou hast set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, may be reckoned in the millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of Thy dear Birthday; and Thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief. And yet, what sorrows there are still upon the earth, where Thou Thyself didst drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Thou alone, O Mary, canst break the inextricable chains, in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high-sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole earth, the entire human race, cries out to Thee, in the words of Mordecai: "Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!"(Esther 15: 3)

Four historical examples of devotion to Our Lady in response to militant Islam.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows

In thanksgiving for favors granted.

I want you to read something.

On September 15, 1943, Bishop da Silva went, therefore, to Tuy and he asked Sister Lucy to write down the Secret “if she really wanted to.” But the seer, undoubtedly under the impulse of the Holy Spirit was not content with this vague order. She requested of her Bishop a written order, formal and perfectly clear – that is very important. The final Message of the Virgin of Fatima is, as previously were Her other requests, linked to marvelous promises. It is an exceptional grace offered by God to our 20th Century in order to meet its most urgent needs. But again it is necessary that the pastors of the Church have sufficient faith and docility to the designs of Heaven in order to be instruments of this outpouring of grace that God wants to bestow upon the world through the sweet mediation of His Immaculate Mother. In 1943, God desired that it be the Bishop of Leiria, who demanded of this messenger the writing down of the Third Secret. - Frere Michel de la Saint Trinite
Read more at Unveiling the Apocalypse.  It is very good information regarding the Third Secret of Fatima.

FYI:  A 54 Day Rosary Novena, 27 days of petition, 27 days in thanksgiving, begins today asking Our Lady of the Rosary for the defeat of radical Islam.  Details here.  The novena ends on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  It seems to me the intentions of Our Lady of Fatima may be a better way to phrase the intention of the novena.  Our Lady asked that the children 'pray the rosary every day for the end of the war and for peace in the world.'  

Here's a thought: As long as we're talking about a "piecemeal" World War III...

How about recognizing a piecemeal schism?

How about recognizing a piecemeal great apostasy?  

How about a piecemeal Islam?

I agree with the Holy Father's observation that we are in a piecemeal WWIII - I have no problem whatsoever with what the Pope says...

Just with the rest of you.

Last night I caught a rerun of Bill Donohue on EWTN.  What a load of _____.  He and Arroyo were discussing the St. Pat's parade and Donohue was explaining why he decided not to march.  The whole thing boils down to the fact he was kept out of the loop and felt betrayed.  Who cares.

Betrayed, bewildered... wrong response?

So many of our arguments online are just ego jousts, self promotion and "I'm more Catholic than you" popularity contests.

Some of these conflicts betray something deeper, more divisive.

There really is a piecemeal schism.  This weekend I noted on one 'news' portal (and elsewhere) a few not so subtle little digs over the announcement of the feast days for St.s John XXIII and John Paul II.  I got the impression they were more than pleased that the feast days were not obligatory memorials. What is so schismatic about that?   It is an attitude shared by those folks who reject Vatican II, the Ordinary Form of Mass, and just about everything Pope Francis says.  (Not to forget "all those Fatima 'crazies'.." whose comments will be removed if she keeps posting her crap.)

Yeah, but, a piecemeal great apostasy?   Look around:  Closing churches.  Bad catechesis.  Unfaithful Catholic colleges and universities.  Christians who claim to be spiritual but not religious.  The general population disagrees with Church teaching on contraception and abortion, homosexuality and marriage, and so on.  While religious leaders seek to accommodate teaching to be more welcoming.  It's piecemeal, of course.

Maybe - but a piecemeal Islam?  Really?  Islam is a major religion, a religion of peace.

That is what I get so tired of hearing and reading.  Be it President Obama or some Cardinal claiming Islam is so much like Christianity.  Everyone bends over backwards to say ISIS is not Islamic.  That ISIS can't just decide on their own to form a caliphate.  As if the claims made by ISIS don't count because they don't play by the rules.  To say they are not Islamic is like saying the Nuns on the Bus are not Catholic, or Pro-choice politicians like Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden are not Catholic.  They certainly believe they are.

People are pretending.  Either that, or they are deluded.  Or.  Schismatic?  Piecemeal of course.  Apostate? Piecemeal to be sure.  Embracing Islam, the religion of piecemeal?

“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate
 - that's just like the sign of the cross!"
Watch your neck...

So anyway...  Cardinal McCarrick.
“In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself to the audience at a meeting arranged by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. That praise of the Islamic deity is an important phrase in Islam, is found more than 100 times in the Koran, and is akin to the Catholic prayer, ”In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of the human person… [and] as you study the holy Koran, as you study Islam, basically, this is what Muhammad the prophet, peace be upon him, has been teaching.” - Story here.

That sounds fairly piecemeal to me.

I may be wrong of course.

"Never in the history of New York’s 
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 
have homosexuals been barred from marching."
Bill Donohue

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chapel in Espanola New Mexico burglarized - but no money was taken.

Ex-voto wall, Sanctuary of Chalma in Mexico State. 
Even these can be stolen for resale.

Chapels and churches in New Mexico - and elsewhere - be on guard:

Not just to protect sanctuaries from anti-Catholic desecration and sacrilege either ...
It’s a low-blow, even for a burglar. Española Police said someone broke into an old chapel and made off with all kinds of religious items, even some artifacts. The quaint chapel in Santa Cruz near Española has been a place of worship for the Catholic group, Las Carmelitas for years. 
“There’s a lot of history,” said Tania Bustos, a member of Las Carmelitas. 
Over the weekend, it’s members found someone broke in through a window and stole loads of religious items. Among stolen items, are statues of the Virgin Mary used in prayer processions, an old banner of the blessed mother and pictures from the wall are missing. There are empty spaces on the alter, religious relics are gone. 
“They took several saints, a set of curtains, several retablos, wood carvings,” said Detective Corporal Solomon Romero, of the Española Police Department. 
Even a set of embroidered curtains were stolen. Bustos said much of the items are centuries old, some from Spain. Other items were donated. 
“It’s very meaningful, they’re priceless items, they cannot be replaced,” said Bustos. But the burglar didn’t get any money from the break-in, which is all the more puzzling for members of Las Carmelitas. 
“I can’t imagine why they would want to take them,” said Bustos. “I was just saddened by that.” - Source

Scavenging for art and antiquities thieves.

People shouldn't be surprised - especially folks living in New Mexico, where art galleries and shops deal in such antiquities, in addition to a healthy market in contemporary works of traditional religious art.  New Mexico is well known for Spanish Colonial treasures, mission churches and chapels, as well as the retablos and santos they contain - antique and new.  Religious artifacts, paintings, carvings, textiles, relics, and sacred vessels and crowns and accessories, continue to be highly collectible items and demand high prices.  Over the years I have gathered a modest personal collection from reputable dealers and collectors, but the cost grew to be prohibitive.  I have also shown and sold my own art work in Santa Fe.

Just like Europe, Mexico, Central America, and South America have suffered religious art thieves for decades, it appears that now the United States, especially the Southwest and California may expect the same.  Years ago I had dealers tell me that Mexico and Cuzco were already picked clean, and today prohibitions are in place to prevent the loss of national treasures of a certain vintage.

Obscure art and antiques that are stolen can be sold at estate auctions or to small antique dealers who buy and sell at such venues as flea markets and antique shows.  Such treasures also find their way onto websites which specialize in religious artifacts and art.  If a church or chapel suffers such losses, those responsible, and/or curators of such sites should scour the Internet, especially sites such as Craig's list, Ebay, 1st Dibs, Lofty - any website which would sell arts and antiques.  I would also alert dealers and galleries to be on the look out for the stolen items.

Chapels and churches in New Mexico - beware. Catalog and photograph your relics, santos and retablos, textiles, and so on.  Document and protect precious antiques, as well as contemporary acquisitions and furnishings.  And do install some sort of security system.

The Holy Father demonstrates how the Church supports marriage and family ...

"Pope Francis married 20 couples on Sunday, some of whom had already lived together and had children..."
- Source

It seems to me all that secular media and papal critics take from these stories is that the Holy Father married couples already 'living in sin.'  They seem unable to comprehend the act of reconciliation which occurred, the blessing it brought to couples - especially those with children.  It demonstrated nothing is impossible with God - there is always a way back.  The Pope blessed these couples, dignified and sanctified their love, uniting them to Christ and the Church.  Surely the couples had been properly prepared beforehand to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony.  

I like very much what the Holy Father had to say in his homily.  An excerpt:
The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not “fiction”! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross. - Pope Francis

Saturday, September 13, 2014

O my God, I am heartily sorry ...

The Pope said it again...

World War III
Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction…
The shadow of Cain hangs over us today in this cemetery. It is seen here. It is seen from 1914 right up to our own time. It is seen even in the present. - Pope Francis' homily at Redipuglia

It is at least the second time the Holy Father called the current global crises WWIII.

Here's a thought.

Since I was born, the United States has been involved in some sort of 'peace keeping' mission, advisory status - with troops stationed on foreign soil, and even engaged in all out war in one region or another around the globe.  Saying nothing of the Cold War and covert operations to defend American interests in foreign countries already engaged in revolution or civil war.

Providentially, on this date in 1917: 

Words of Our Lady of Fatima, alluding to that same war the Holy Father journeyed to Redipuglia in remembrance today:
Our Lady: Continue the Rosary, my children. Say it every day that the war may end. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.

God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to wear the cords to bed. Keep them on during the day. 
Lucia: "I have the petitions of many for your help. Will you assist a little girl who is deaf and dumb?" 
Our Lady: She will improve within the year. 
Lucia: "And the conversions that some have asked to have brought about? The cures of the sick ones?"

Our Lady: Some I will cure, and some I will not. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe. - Source

I have an idea for the Pope.

Perhaps the Holy Father could do something for October 13, the anniversary of the Miracle at Fatima - as a way of preparing for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in 2017.

What if the Holy Father made the following request to all the Bishops of the world:

"I know brothers that the Consecration that Our Lady of Fatima asked for has been accomplished. 

Nevertheless, considering the precariousness of our times, let us join together on October 13, 2014 to renew that consecration, and let us do so exactly as Our Lady requested.  

Considering the dangerous situation in Ukraine, let us join together collegially and consecrate our beloved Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother.  Let us also, together with every diocese of the world, begin the devotion of the Five First Saturdays of reparation asking for peace throughout the world - in addition to a worldwide rosary crusade."

I wonder what would happen?

Editor's note: If any reader has contact with the Pope will you please give him my suggestion?  Monsignor Ganswein, if you're reading...  Tell him not to call me though - I don't like talking on the phone, and I rarely answer it - of course you already knew that.  Thanks!

Rob Ford drops out of Toronto mayor's race...

Story here.
"My reasons for withdrawing 
have nothing to do with Cardinal Dolan or with the gays."

I love Rob Ford.  I love Toronto.  I love Canada.


Friday, September 12, 2014

I love this story: Best Mates get married in New Zealand.

The newly weds: Messrs Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick
They're bears too!

And I say, "Why not?"*  

Narrow minded, bigoted, LGBTQ activists have condemned the marriage.  I know!

Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick wrote their wedding vows yesterday, brimming with"nervous excitement" about their big day. 
The Dunedin men will marry tomorrow (today), but their move has horrified gay groups. 
The pair are heterosexual best mates. 
Engineering student Mr McIntosh, 23, and teacher Mr McCormick, 24, will tie the knot to win a The Edge radio station competition and a trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. 
Mr McCormick said from Auckland yesterday opposition to the wedding was understandable but the pair never intended to offend anyone. 
"We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path." Mr McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage.
The pair said their wedding vows would touch on their friendship and recall their time playing rugby together at King's High School in Dunedin. 
Mr McCormick, a teacher at Musselburgh School, said the friendship began after the two met at Pirates Rugby Club in Dunedin when he was aged 6. 
His family, like Mr McIntosh's, was excited about the wedding.
"They're backing us 100 per cent," Mr McCormick said. - Source

Their parents must be so proud.  I'm thinking it will be a Josephite marriage, which is quite edifying.

Gay groups claim the pair are trivializing marriage ... actually making a mockery of it.

Imagine that.

I wonder if they'd be available for St. Patrick's Day?

*Just kidding - kinda - I'm against same sex marriage. 

H/T Ray and Joel

Bill Donohue got the memo: "We will not march!"

Bill Donohue issued the following remarks yesterday:

The Catholic League, which has marched in 
New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 20 years, 
will not do so in 2015. - Catholic League

No, no, no, Mike!
My reasons for withdrawing from the parade 
have nothing to do with Cardinal Dolan or with the gays.

Editor's note:  BTW.  I think there is a strong possibility this just might be a way of creating an 'out' for Cardinal Dolan.  The Cardinal can now say, "The Catholic League made me aware of this oversight and in conscience I have to back out as Homecoming King/Grand Marshall of the parade."  When the going gets tough, play the pro-life card and you are so off the hook.  Not that anything's wrong with that.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Introducing The 'cyber caliphate'...

In memoriam - thirteen years after.

"Jihad and the rifle alone ... No negotiation, No conferences, No dialogue."

IS is planning to establish a cyber caliphate.
Islamic State militants are planning the creation of a 'cyber caliphate' protected by their own encryption software - from behind which they will launch massive hacking attacks on the U.S. and the West. 
Both Islamic State and Al Qaeda claim to be actively recruiting skilled hackers in a bid to create a team of jihadist computer experts capable of causing devastating cyber disruptions to Western institutions. 
They are now boasting it is only a matter of time before their plan becomes a reality.


We are in it.  The world has been at war all of this time and many of us only now realize it.  Those anti-depressants are good aren't they?  We never even noticed what was happening.

A large local company recently announced their computer system has been hacked.  According to local news, it is the same Russian hackers that took down Target and other systems.  Notice how no one ever mentions the Chinese cottage industry of hacking and online surveillance?  As Edward Snowden revealed, government agencies and small time hackers can do a lot.  And now aimless, anarchist - yet highly skilled young men and women are being recruited by the Islamic State.  Cool, huh?

It is only a matter of time.

It seems to me the collapse of the towers on 9/11 was prophetic.

Song for this post here.

But Father! But Father! - That's what the Pope said.

 Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light...

What the Pope said.  (He's just like Fr. Z!)

“‘But Father’ [one might say], ‘I don’t feel like behaving that way’. ‘Well’, [one might reply], ‘if you don’t feel like it, that’s your problem, but that’s the Christian way.” This is that way that Jesus teaches us. ‘And what can I hope?’ [one might ask]. Go on Jesus’ way, which is the way of mercy. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Only with a merciful heart can we do all that, which the Lord counsels us to do – all the way. The Christian life is not a navel-gazing [It.autoreferenziale] one. It is a life in which one gets out of oneself in order to give oneself to others. It is a gift, it is love – and love does not turn in on itself, it is not selfish, but self-giving.”
The Lord asks us to be merciful. He asks us not to judge. Often, said Pope Francis, “It seems that we have been named judges of others: engaging in gossip, talking behind people’s backs, we judge everyone.” The Lord, however tells us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. “Do not condemn [others],” said Pope Francis, “and you will not be condemned.” The Lord asks us to forgive, that we might be forgiven. “We say it every day in the Our Father,” noted the Holy Father, “forgive us as we forgive others – and if I do not forgive, how can I ask the Father to forgive me?”:
“This is the Christian life. ‘But Father, this is folly!’ one might say. ‘Yes’, one might answer, ‘it is’. We have heard in these days, though, St Paul, who said the same: the foolishness of the Cross of Christ, which has nothing to do with the wisdom of the world. ‘But Father, to be Christian is to become some sort of fool?’ [one might ask]. ‘Yes’, [I would say], ‘in a certain sense, yes. It means renouncing the cunning of the world in order to do everything that Jesus tells us to do and that, if we do the sums, if we balance the ledger, seems to be against us.” - Vatican Radio

Do not judge.  Do not condemn.

Some days I think this is a harder saying than the Discourse on the Eucharist, when many of the hearers went away sad.

Don't go away sad.

I have friends who have left the devout life, the sacraments and even the Church because they found many of the sayings/teachings to be hard, saying they couldn't accept this or that - or even the scandal given by clergy.

Don't go away sad.

Not in this time when martyrs' blood flows from the temple refreshing the the parched vineyard of the Church.  Not now when saints are rising up all over the horizon, heads held high, awaiting the Bridegroom!  

Don't go away sad.


 The sound of my lover! here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.

My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
See! He is standing behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.

My lover speaks and says to me,
 “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come!

For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come! - Song of Songs

See! He is standing behind our wall,
gazing through the windows...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Something else Dorothy Day said - about martyrdom...

An exhortation.

Dorothy Day was aware of the many priest and religious martyrs in Spain during the Civil War, which prompted her to write:
"We must prepare now for martyrdom–otherwise we will not be ready. Who of us if he were attacked now would not react quickly and humanly against such attack? Would we love our brother who strikes us? Of all at The Catholic Worker how many would not instinctively defend himself with any forceful means in his power? We must prepare. We must prepare now. There must be a disarmament of the heart."
Dorothy Day's concern reminds me of what Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona said this past summer:
“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future.” - Source
This morning I read about the murders of the Italian nuns in Burundi.  Following that, I saw a headline that Muslims, somewhere, massacred 1000 in one day.   I stopped looking at the news.  Just for a day, perhaps.

Sometimes the violation against consecrated persons, the violence against innocents, is almost too overwhelming to take in.

"We must prepare now for martyrdom–otherwise we will not be ready." - Dorothy Day

Today I need to pray, to "sit alone and in silence."

Bl. Charles de Foucauld

"Live as though you were going to have to die as a martyr today." - B. Charles


I beseech you to remember in all your present contest the great reward laid up in heaven for those who are persecuted and reviled for righteousness' sake, and to be glad and leap for joy on account of the Son of Man (cf. Matt. 5:10-12; Luke 6:23), just as the apostles once rejoiced when they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for His name (cf. Acts 5:41). And if you should ever perceive your soul drawing back, let the mind of Christ, which is in us (cf. Phil. 2:5), say to her, when she wishes to trouble that mind as much as she can, "Why are you sorrowful, my soul, and why do you disquiet me? Hope in God, for I shall yet give Him thanks" (Ps. 42:11). I pray that our souls may never be disquieted, and even more that in the presence of the tribunals and of the naked swords drawn against our necks they may be guarded by the peace of God, which passes all understanding (cf. Phil. 4:7), and may be quieted when they consider that those who are foreigners from the body are at home with the Lord of all (cf. 2 Cor. 5:8).

I think that just as he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her (1 Cor. 6:16), so the one who confesses some god, especially in the time when faith is being tried and tested, is mingled and united with the god he confesses. And when he is denied by his own denial, which like a sword cuts him off from the One he denies, he suffers amputation by being separated from the One he denies. - Origen, Exhortation to Martyrdom

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Neilson Carlin is a Master of Fine Art

Official image for 2015
World meeting of Families
Artist's website here.

Neilson Carlin has works at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin as well.

Neilson Carlin

For more on the 2015 World Meeting of Families go here.

“Of all hostilities,” Dorothy Day once wrote, “one of the saddest is the war between clergy and laity.”

I've been thinking of Dorothy Day the past few days.

The Cardinal Dolan scandal is the reason why.

Over the years, Dorothy Day had her troubles with the hierarchy - especially Cardinal Spellman and Cardinal McIntyre.  The quote I use for the headline is from an article by Michael Garvey.  It is a short article addressing the perennial conflict between clergy and laity.  The conflict is nothing new.

"There is no room for righteous wrath today.” - Dorothy Day

A good many saints have gone through such conflicts.  Once when the local Bishop placed his diocese under interdict, St. Catherine of Genoa simply went to a neighboring diocese for daily Mass and Communion.  Like Dorothy Day, she could be quite outspoken as well.

Dorothy Day, like the other great Catherine - St. Catherine of Siena - though she may have 'opposed' positions taken by her 'sweet vicar of Christ', nonetheless did so discreetly and respectfully.  In fact, Dorothy Day never resisted her 'sweet Cardinal, the vicar of Christ' to his face, much less did she publicly and directly criticize or condemn him.

Dorothy Day always acted and spoke respectfully of her Cardinal.  In fact she went out of her way to find things she admired in him.  I especially like this anecdote from The Catholic Worker site:
I arrived at the Worker shortly after Cardinal Spellman had sent McIntyre down to read the riot act. What was apparently bugging Spellman was that the paper was called the Catholic Worker. What he was angling for, and didn't get, was for [Dorothy] to drop the word "Catholic." He believed [the name] was an attempt to indicate that this was a Catholic position, and he didn't want anybody else speaking for the church. This was the famous occasion when McIntyre said to her, "What would you do if the cardinal told you to shut down the Catholic Worker?" 
She said, "If our dear, sweet cardinal, who is the vicar of Christ in New York City, told me to shut down the Catholic Worker, I would close it down immediately." She was dead serious. That's what drove me crazy. Dorothy really did go around referring to Spellman as "our dear, sweet cardinal" and "the vicar of Christ." - Michael Harrington
We do not know of what spirit we are.

I think Dorothy Day may be a good example for for us these days when tempted to anger and discouragement over recent issues within the Church.  In fact, Monsignor Pope's action in removing his original post reminded me of Dorothy when he said, "I am a son of the Church".  Dorothy said the same thing: "I am a daughter of the Church".  The proof is in their obedience and love for the Church and their superiors.  As St John of the Cross said:  "To lose always and let everyone else win is a trait of valiant souls..."

Michael Garvey closes his article with a thought that resonated with me today:
But those of us, like me, who don’t mind finding fault with the leaders of church, state and opinion, ought to remember that the need to be right can become idolatrous, that the savor of high dudgeon can become every bit as poisonous as any heresy arousing it, and that, well, we do not know of what spirit we are. - Michael Garvey

I'm thinking Michael Voris might have jumped the shark on the Cardinal Dolan scandal ...

Editor's note:  Never post or tape news coverage in anger.  Mike still looks really good though - I like the dark jacket.

The best thing to do if you disagree with the choice made by Cardinal Dolan is to write a respectful letter expressing your disagreement/confusion politely and intelligently.  One may even request he reconsider his choice to participate in the parade.  If necessary, write a similar letter to the Papal Nuncio, Congregatio pro Episcopis, the President of the USCCB, and if you must, the Pope.  Avoid condemnation and judgemental terminology or quotes - humbly present your position.  Then pray.  Pray very much.

I have a feeling that by the time March rolls around Cardinal Dolan will decide not to participate in the parade and that his runner up, Whoopi Goldberg will act as Grand Marshall instead.


H/T LarryD  Song for his post here.

So, what are you saying?

Monday, September 08, 2014

On the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Often Ignored Statements on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

Who is next?

Often ignored.

An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church's teaching.

Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. 

The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.

The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination. - CDF 1986 Letter to Bishops
Often criticized.

In reference to the homosexual movement, the letter states: “One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination”

Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be “either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing” (cf. no. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to “manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws” (cf. no. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that “any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination”  - CDF 1992 Some Considerations
Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. - Benedict XVI

To quote Fr. John Harvey from his 1996 book, The Truth About Homosexuality, The Cry of the Faithful:

The point is that at the present moment the public, in general, does not understand the gay rights movement.  (Addressing a situation in 1994 where gay activists protested outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, shouting insults against the Pope, Cardinal O'Connor, the Church, while some men and women danced nude without intervention by law enforcement or protest from MSM.)   "This however, is only one more manifestation of cultural relativism in the area of sexuality, marriage and family.  In the public square, then, there is a need for education on the moral issues involved in the gay rights movement." - Chapter 8; page 220
Irish and queer.

Just an FYI:  June 18, 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the private sponsors of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade had a constitutional right to exclude GLBTQ marchers - that is any marchers whose ideology/message they disagree with or reject.  Obviously the sponsors of NYC's parade now accept, agree with, and approve - the GLBTQ rights movement

Cardinal Dolan sees nothing wrong with GLBTQ winning admission as marchers in the NYC St. Pat's parade.  

To non-Catholics, the Church appears schizophrenic in dealing with gays.  Gays get fired from Catholic institutions, yet when someone like Michael Sam comes out, they are congratulated.

The mixed messages can be just as confusing for practicing Catholics - especially Catholic families.

Some may leave the Church or simply abandon the practice of the faith.

Some gay Catholics will simply quit trying.

That's what scandal does.

Links to a couple of great editorials:

When Catholic Leaders Abandon the Faithful
Dawn Eden on Dolan criticism.
An Open Letter to Cardinal Dolan
Letter From Delegate Bob Marshall

Our Lady's Birthday ...

Holy Child Mary of the royal house of David, Queen of the angels,
Mother of grace and love, I greet and praise you with all my heart.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

I can't tell you why...

Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart ... He plots the defeat of goodness as he lies on his bed ... - Psalm 36

That psalm struck me this morning.  It provided new insight into the Gospel of the wheat and the tares ... "But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat ..." [Matt 13:30-40]  It is not an exact parallel of course, since in another passage Our Lord tells us that what comes out of a man is what defiles him.  [Mk 7:14-23]  In other words, from the deep recesses of the heart comes avarice, malice, deceit, lust, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, an obtuse spirit, and so on.  Though fallen nature shares in the blame and we ourselves are often the source of our temptations, the enemy does his part as well, with suggestions which appeal to our concupiscence.

For instance, we can be praying and a temptation arises.  We can be quiet and a thought enters - a suggestion.  Sometimes we call these things distractions and calmly redirect our attention to our prayer.  That is where I connect the scripture of the wheat and the tares to the psalm.  It seems to me that sometimes our prayer proceeds amid distractions ... even gross distractions.  John of the Cross mentions that impure movements of the flesh can happen within the deepest recollection, hence it follows, that temptations to impurity can spring up in ordinary prayer, ordinary recollection - even at times such as the thanksgiving after communion.  In an exaggerated sense, we may so 'flatter' ourselves in our prayer that we no longer know our weakness or propensity to sin.  In other words, our propensity for sin lurks in the deepest recesses of our heart.  It is lodged in our affections - it resides there with our 'holy' thoughts, our prayer.

Which may help explain how one can leave adoration, or Mass, or mental prayer and head straight away into the occasion of sin, or even right smack dab into sin.  That pop-up suggestion or temptation to a particular sin may have turned into a strategy to act out.  Rather than humbly admitting the inclination as part of our prayer, recognizing it and confessing our need for grace - we simply dozed in natural recollection.  We didn't pull the tare up lest we disturb our sense of peace - our prayer time...

And yet we can still wonder why we fall so easily, and beat ourselves up for it.  (Often that initial regret is not out of sorrow for sin but wounded pride and self love.)  I think we sometimes fall so easily because we aren't convinced that we are sinners - that we need God's grace.  Likewise, I think it may be why God allows us to fall repeatedly, sometimes into serious sin.  Our temptations and even our falls serve a purpose, they teach us who and what we are.  They try us, they test us, they prove us - even when they show up in times of prayer, when we 'feel' ourselves to be good.  We must never believe we are okay or that we are immune to falling - or that we have reached some plateau of invincibility.  Perhaps the perfect can do that - but sinners need to understand that they can not trust themselves any more than God trusts us.  He knows us through and through.  We need self-knowledge at every stage of our pilgrimage.

When we fall from grace - Jesus already knew we would.   He wasn't at all surprised.  Therein lies our hope - our confidence in his merciful love.  The scriptures seem to reprimand or rebuke us, possibly increasing our guilt and shame.  Yet it is Christ who speaks to us - lovingly, mercifully.  He gently explains, 'sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart' - he knows our hearts - and he calls us to cast our cares, our sins upon him - thus 'if we cling to him in love, he will free us and protect us'. [Psalm 91]  We will understand the fear of the Lord as love, and we will no longer flatter ourselves in our mind, because we will know ourselves even as God knows us.

Hence, we will no longer trust ourselves but we will place all our trust Jesus.  Confidence and love.

When we fall, we need to get back up.  We need to keep trying.  We need to keep praying.  Only the blood of Christ can purify our hearts, can remove all the tares - but we need to persevere in prayer and frequent the sacraments.  Thus we cooperate with God's grace that comes to us in Jesus, whose power at work in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.  In the end the tares will be purified and removed - some things only God can do, but nothing is impossible for Him.

Since he clings to me in love, I will free him;
protect him for he knows my name.
When he calls I shall answer: "I am with you,"
I will save him in distress and give him glory. - Ps. 90

(I'm not sure if this makes sense - so don't pay any attention to it if it doesn't.)

Art: Fallen angel by geosotal