Friday, February 12, 2016

The Pope and the Patriarch

[W]e give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes.

With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity! - Francis and Kirill

In thanksgiving to the Mother of God and for her promises made at Fatima. 

Pope Francis in the Americas ... Again!

Pouring out a thousand graces, 
he passed these groves in haste; 
and having looked at them, 
with his image alone, 
clothed them in beauty.
- S. John of the Cross

When I was little I had a dream that we had an American Pope - at the time I thought it was me, haha, but maybe it was prophetic, huh?  Maybe it pointed to Francis?  (I think it was just a kid's dream.)

Anyway - I am so happy we have an Italian-American Pope from Argentina.

I love what he said about seeing Our Lady:
“My deepest desire is to pause before Our Lady of Guadalupe, this mystery that is studied, and studied, and studied, and there is no human explanation,” Pope Francis said on the plane, adding even scientists say the image is "a thing of God." - VR
In Mexico I will look into the eyes of the Virgin Mary and implore her to look upon us always with mercy. I entrust my journey to her. - Pontifex

and having looked at them, 
with her image alone, 
clothed them in mercy and love.

Obviously the devil is upset - there was a deadly riot at a prison not far from the prison the Pope will visit when he is in Juarez.

Let's be united in prayer with the Holy Father.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The real point of Lent and all the advice you get online about eating Doritos if you are pregnant ... Or, Is Football a gay sport now?

I got nothin'.

Who cares?  No one cares.

So anyway...

Princeton football guy, Mason Darrow came out as openly homo before the big kick off.  Remember when they used to tell you that if you played sports or went to sports camp you wouldn't be gay?

Hindu Sadhus - holy men or ascetics - smear ashes upon themselves.
Cannabis is sort of a sacrament for them.
More information here.

Now, about your Lenten observance...

The ashes are off.  You got nothin'.

That's the way to go.  Pray as you can, stop judging, stop selfishly self- indulging, give to the poor and pray, pray, pray.  Avoid the Lenten novelties that make you feel good or make you feel you accomplished something.  Avoid flattery.  Avoid self-defensive, self righteous arguments and evangelical propaganda that shows how smart you are.

Fail.  It's good to fail.

Lose.  It's good to lose.

If they take your tunic, let them have your coat as well.

It's all good.

What if you read every piece of advice online - including from me - it's too much information.  It has to be overload.  People online just keep writing this pious crap.  It's all mushed up.  Why?

Give it up for Lent.

Throw your electronics in the mud.

Dash your stat counter, your followers app.

It's not real life...


Turn off your locutions and sit alone and in silence.

(Pay no attention to me either.  I had nothing to blog about anyway.  Losing interest fast.)

Song for this post here.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Thou art all fair O Mary
and the original stain
is not in thee.
O Mary
by thy holy and Immaculate Conception
make my body pure and my 
spirit holy.

I wish I could bi-locate to be at Lourdes today.  I'll pretend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Devotions for Pets on Ash Wednesday ...

Cat with ash marking.  The dog head is to remind him of death.
Like the holy cards of St. Francis shown with a skull.
This cat is very strict.

Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, so the reception of ashes for pets is optional - very devout cats usually do something however.

Although they do not have to fast - they should abstain from meat and content themselves with fish.

No catnip today either, hon.

I prefer to be sprinkled ...

I like ashes sprinkled rather than having them marked on my forehead.  (Not that it matters what I like.)

The cross on the forehead is dramatic and is a great witness - but sprinkling reminds me of the ancient penitential custom.  I also like to sprinkle my bread with a bit - like St. Francis... privately of course.

If you sprinkle then you don't have to wipe.  What?

There is nothing wrong with this ...

"And if you cannot give absolution – let us make this assumption – please, do not punish."

"But you Capuchins have this special gift of the Lord: forgiveness. I ask you: never tire of forgiving. …There are many languages in life: the language of words, and there are also languages of gestures. If a person comes to me, to the confessional, it is because he or she has a burden they want to remove. … If they come it is because they wish to change, to be another person, and they say so through the gesture of coming. It is not necessary to ask questions: 'But you...?'. If a person comes it is because in their soul they do not want to continue. But very often they are unable to stop, because they are conditioned by their psychology, their life, their situation". - Pope Francis on the occasion of the translation of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Leopold Mandic.

My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of thy most holy wounds.
Jesus, I trust in you.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

It's all good ...

This guy reminds me of our new pastor ...


I heard this song on a fitness ad and thought it was Kool and the Gang - I know!  I searched and searched, but no - it's a guy known as Thomas Rhett - the song: I Feel Good.  He reminds me of the new pastor at my parish ... maybe before his conversion ... kinda sorta.

 Of course it could be Badger too.   ;)

Disclaimer: This post is supposed to be funny.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tierra Santa - Holy Dirt

I use 'holy dirt' in my art.

I mix it with gesso and modeling paste.  I have some from El Santuario Chimayo as well as from the original graves of the Trappist Martyrs of Atlas.  I have not used the martyr's sand for a long time now - but the Chimayo holy dirt I use in my retablo art.

Read more about the holy dirt here.  It is known as the Lourdes of the United States - a place of miracles.  If they put sand in your holy water fonts this Lent, offer it up, recalling Chimayo.  Christ said even the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40) - sand and dirt is comprised of micro sized stones.  I hope they don't do that any longer - sand in the fonts - holy water is very important.  That said, nothing can separate us from Christ, and he can work miracles even through dirt ... dust to dust, ashes to ashes ... God formed man from the dust of the ground, don't forget.

Everything is a grace.

Chimayo is so poor, so simple and noncommercial - it would be a good pilgrimage for the Year of Mercy.

This is art.

(Image by Daniel Alonso)

“Previously, I wanted everything to go my way, but seeing that nothing was done as I wanted, I began to wish that everything be done as it is done; so it was that everything started to be done as I wanted.” - Elder Joseph of Optino

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Now that makes sense...

Charles Martel
checked into a hotel
and suddenly grew hostile
and that is how
the word hostel

Kirill is the same as Cyril.

Charles is the same as Carl, Carlos, Karol, and Chuck.

Kyle and Kala had nothing to do with any of them.


Books are awfully decorative, don't you think?

There was something I wanted to say - or do a post on ...

But it will have to wait.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Autoeroticism ... it too is intrinsically and gravely disordered

Dali - Temptation of St. Anthony
I may be wrong but I think early moral theologians
used the word voluptuousness when writing about
this particular vice.  It is also known as self-abuse.

Fr. Charles OFM Cap has a very good post:  On Masturbation

A lot of people have difficulty with this habit, also popularly known as, self-pleasuring, a sexual practice which in the 'world' or secular-pop-erotic culture, is considered healthy and normal and necessary.  (I never knew women did it, much less taught it, until I watched Oprah.)  That's not Catholic teaching however.

It's a habitual sin one can overcome with the help of grace:  By the practice of prayer, recourse to the sacrament of penance as often and as frequently as needed, amid calm, peaceful struggle - which for some means constant struggle - but it is important to have confidence in God - to keep yourself in peace.  Agitation and stress often complicates and confuses one in the heat of battle, as it were, and is therefore not helpful.  Never give up.

Fr. Charles concludes his post with these helpful counsels...

The key thing about any struggle with a sinful habit is just that, to struggle. Even given all these considerations and the probability that a small percentage of acts of masturbation are mortally sinful, it's still a sin and worth struggling against for the sake of blessedness and peace in this life and the next. So be about the struggle. Do the detective work on yourself to find the occasions of sin, the times of the day or the week when you are vulnerable to temptation, the negative emotions that set you up for falls. Look for opportunities to treat others with chastity, that is to say according to their dignity as God's creatures and not according to any use they might have for you. Avoid, as much as is practical, the world's unchaste entertainments and advertising. Receive Holy Communion devoutly and know that in that sacrificed Body your soul is made clean in the righteousness of Christ. Go to confession regularly. Pray your rosary and ask Our Lady to pray for you for the grace of chastity. Read books that encourage chastity and give practical advice on obtaining it, like Benedict Groeschel's The Courage to be Chaste.
When dealing with sinful habits the real moral and spiritual danger is perhaps not the occasional slip or fall into the behavior, but giving into discouragement, despair, or the doubt that God's love is abiding that can lead to scruples. The question of being a Christian is not whether to be a 'saint' or a 'sinner,' but of deciding what kind of sinner you want to be; the sinner who lets sins lead to discouragement and an increasing selfishness, or the sort of sinner who allows the experience of sin to lead to humility and an abiding awareness of the immense mercy of God, a mercy which one can then radiate to others. - Read the entire post here.

Find a good confessor.
St. Leopold Mandic, pray for us.

Friday, February 05, 2016

The importance of being earnest ...

Cappa Magna Cat

This bears repeating: Something from Bishop Athanasius Schneider ...

Expressions like "development of doctrine" and "pastoral compassion" are in fact usually a pretext to change the teaching of Christ, and against its perennial sense and integrity, as the Apostles had transmitted it to the whole Church, and it was faithfully preserved through the Fathers of the Church, the dogmatic teachings of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Popes.
Ultimately, those clerics want another Church, and even another religion: A naturalistic religion, which is adapted to the spirit of the time. Such clerics are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, often flirting with the world. Not courageous shepherds – but rather cowardly rabbits. - Bishop Athanasius Schneider

I agree.  This especially applies to what is going on at Holy Redeemer in the Castro district of San Francisco with Pizzuto and the promotion of 'queer spirituality'.

Humility ... Honesty ...

In this world, only those people who have fallen to the lowest degree of humiliation, far below beggary, who are not just without any social consideration but are regarded by all as being deprived of that foremost human dignity, reason itself -- only those people, in fact, are capable of telling the truth. All the others lie. - Simone Weil

Why this is difficult ...

Very often - or so it seems - every time I find an understanding spiritual director - something happens.

He goes away.

He's taken away.

He leaves ... he dies.

Please pray for a friend of mine ... he's very little - therefore he is very good.

We need to pray very much for priests.  They have this strange notion they are like ordinary people - but that's a sort of luxury they can't hold onto.  That's not a bad thing to say.

Refuse all honors.  Never ask for a position.  Account yourself nothing, and a servant of all.  If you want more ... you are in the wrong business.  Flee.  *

*But who am I to judge?

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Joseph Sciambra unearths the foundations of Queer Spirituality

In his post regarding Rev. Vincent Pizzuto

Joseph Sciambra calls the priest a schismatic - that may be true, yet perhaps a better term explains it better, Celtic Christian.  Joe explains what that means in his post, nevertheless, it is a serious New Age challenge to Roman Catholic doctrine, with rather ancient roots.

For instance. Pizzuto's community, New Skellig is steeped in pagan tradition.  A description of the community is found at their website:
New Skellig takes its name from the ancient monastic settlement, “Skellig Rock,” located twelve kilometers off the South West Coast of County Kerry, Ireland. The island, more formally known as “Skellig Michael,” served as a monastic outpost for Celtic Christian monks who built their monastery there in 588AD and remained until they were forced to abandon it – largely due to Viking raids – at the turn of the twelfth century. The island was chosen for its isolation, much as that sought after by the Egyptian monks (by whom the Celts were deeply influenced) who fled to the desert in the fourth century AD in search of contemplative solitude. As best as can be known, the community of Skellig was rarely larger than twelve to fifteen monks at any given time – and often smaller.

The Celts, whose origins are obscure, are believed to have been the natives of the European continent, traces of whose culture can be found throughout much of Europe as far south as Italy prior to having been driven out or assimilated by the expansion of the Roman Empire. ... - New Skellig
The movement is corrupted by association with New Age Neo-Paganism, Theosophy, and Gender Ideology. In theory, there are many commonalities with contemporary gay Christian movements and and pastoral practice in Catholic circles.  It is a fundamental change to traditional Catholic theology, spirituality and anthropology.  A friend sent me some background information on the errors and danger associated with this heresy.  Dialogue with heresy is pretty much impossible - and dialogue with false teachers is a lie and therefore untenable.

Oddly enough - the occult connections in some strains of Cletic spirituality just may well substantiate some of Sciambra's claims regarding his experience of evil spirits within the realms of seriously deviant homo-erotic activity.  Having said that, the gay-spirituality proposed by Pizzuto is indeed ant-Catholic.

[To contact the Archdiocese of San Francisco about the Reverend Pizzuto being given a teaching forum in a Catholic parish: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, 415-614-5500.]

Gay Marriage and God, Dara Molloy

Dara Molloy

Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality: Globalization of God - Celtic Christianity's Nemesis

Alternate States of Unreality, Fr. Angelo Mary (Faithful teaching)

h/t to P

My retablo-shrine of St. Martin De Porres ...

Check it out on the Etsy shop:

I like my bunny rabbit peeking around the corner.

Will there be a showdown in San Francisco?

Most Holy Redeemer Church in the Castro: Entertaining angels?

Joseph Sciambra did a story about Holy Redeemer - San Francisco's equivalent to St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis - in the sense of its being a parish home for dissenting Catholics.  Holy Redeemer isn't just a gay friendly parish, it's pretty gay.  Like many dissenting Catholic communities, Holy Redeemer scheduled a controversial speaker - As Joe identifies him, he's an anti-Catholic schismatic priest who performs gay weddings, and he's scheduled to speak. The venue is all wrong.

Queer Spirituality
Mount of Transfiguration, 
Edward Knippers

Embodying Christ: Scripture and the Contemplative Life?  

Really?   That's the topic - sounds innocent enough, right?  There are so many variations on gay spirituality today and so much of it is so new age, pagan.  I've heard it since the early 1970's and now it is embedded in contemporary, progressive, Catholic spirituality.  One recognizes this immediately in this statement from Pizzuto: "the entrenched patriarchalism found within much of our biblical literature must be recognized here, and contextualized historically-critically."

That said, Joseph calls attention to the problems associated with this particular speaker, Vincent Pizzuto.  By now the Archbishop should know about it - and hopefully the situation will be addressed.

An introduction to Sciambra's article.

On February 13, 2016, the Rev. Vincent Pizzuto, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of San Fracisco, Episcopal priest, and founder and vicar of New Skellig Christian Community, will speak at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the Castro District of San Francisco. Pizzuto, who is openly “gay,” was raised a Roman Catholic, but left the Church over his disagreement with Magisterial teachings on homosexuality; Pizzuto is honest about his current aims: he recently described efforts to change the Church’s teachings as a “battle very much under way” and said that “the Bible, as we understand it really does not address current issues…what we need to change is not so much the scriptures, which of course we cannot change, but the interpretation that has been given to them.” Over the years, Pizzuto has presided at same-sex weddings, and his published works —including “God Has Made it Plain to Them: An Indictment of Rome’s Hermeneutic of Homophobia,” in the Winter 2008 edition of Biblical Theology Bulletin—is explicitly critical of Catholic teachings. In a discussion, “Is it Ethical to be Catholic? – Queer Perspectives,” given at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco in 2006, Pizzuto said that ethical questions have “driven faithful Catholics beyond the confines of the Roman church where they might more faithfully live out their catholic faith elsewhere. And I count myself among them.” He continued: “On this at least (homosexuality) the teaching authority of the Church is given no credence by so many gay men and lesbians because it does not demonstrate its own credibility. To the contrary, its teachings on homosexuality are so disengaged from reality as to render them utterly ridiculous.” - Finish reading here.

As of this writing, I think Joseph Sciambra is one of the most honest, courageous, and authentic voices online writing on topics related to homosexuality and Catholic teaching.  He cuts through all the gay-pastoral-rhetoric which tends to intimidate or silence Catholics determined to defend the truth about the homosexual condition.