Thursday, August 27, 2015

Signs! Pope Francis' stats are down...

No-shows for papal audience.

Leave it to the maestro of stats to pick up on it ...

Fr. Z notes that fewer people are attending the Wednesday General Audience:
Benedict’s audiences exceeded those of John Paul II at times. 
The square is emptier and emptier. 
And it’s not because of the general secularization. 
Romans aren’t going either, so it isn’t the economic slump. - Fr. Z

What does it all mean?
“It must be a sign from heaven,” others hastened to add, and their opinion was adopted at once without protest.
“His teaching was false; he taught that life is a great joy and not a vale of tears,” said some of the more unreasonable. “He followed the fashionable belief, he did not recognise material fire in hell,” others, still more unreasonable, added. “He was not strict in fasting, allowed himself sweet things, ate cherry jam with his tea, ladies used to send it to him. Is it for a monk of strict rule to drink tea?” could be heard among some of the envious. “He sat in pride,” the most malignant declared vindictively; “he considered himself a saint and he took it as his due when people knelt before him.” “He abused the sacrament of confession.” - The Breath of Corruption, Brothers Karamazov, Part III, Bk. VII

I blame the riff-raff.
Homeless people drive away business.

This is interesting. Archbishop Chaput labels Church Militant and Lepanto groups as destructive ...

This is clarity.

We need clarity.  We need to listen to the Church.  Here is what Archbishop Chaput had to say in an email to Matt C. Abbott regarding a story two Catholic groups have been running.  First the story:
The Lepanto Institute and have reported "that the World Meeting of Families leadership team (including the president, Robert Ciarrufoli) is infested with pro-abortion, pro-gay 'marriage' money men and politically influential people."
Archbishop Chaput's response:
Both Lepanto and Church Militant sow division wherever they tread. They do not seem to acknowledge the need to work with civic society and its representatives on a project like the World Meeting of Families. And we are not going to spend/waste time arguing with them. They are sincere, but also destructive. No one on our leadership team supports abortion or Planned Parenthood. - Link

Works for me.

CMTV headquarters.
Larry used to visit just to see the Nun Doll Museum.

Song for this post here.

Steven Colbert. The more Catholics praise him ...

The less interested I am in watching.

Everyone seems to be promoting Steven Colbert.  Why?  Because he's Catholic and 'out' about it?  He's the right kind of Catholic?  Because he reads the same books Catholics do?  Of course he hosts everyone's favorite Catholic celebs such as Fr. James Martin, Cardinal Dolan, and he talks openly about Catholic issues, and as I said, he is himself a practicing Catholic - that's cool.  Right?

So what?

Everything is so hyped.

I miss Geoff.

Bonus:  Guess what?  Pope Francis is coming to the United States!  Who knew?

Song for this post here.

Joe Prever on Catholic World Report - just one more blog-post comment.

Everybody wants Joe on their side.

I said that the other day in my com box - but took it down lest it be misunderstood.  Since his presentation at the Michigan Courage Living the Truth in Love Conference, Joe has been the topic of com box and social media discussions all over the place.  I'm sure speaking engagements are already in the offing.  Nothing wrong with that.  (His latest interview here.)

Joseph Prever is young, attractive, spiritual, intelligent, articulate, and apparently well grounded in Catholic teaching - and pretty normal.  Try as one might, it is appears to be impossible to find any theological or doctrinal flaws in his message.  Except for maybe, he uses the term 'gay'.  Janet Smith found him to be just fine, a young man offering new insight for the pastoral care of same sex attracted persons.  Most official documents use the term homosexual: e.g. when addressing 'Pastoral Care for Homosexual Persons'.

Although Same Sex Attracted is currently the preferred-official Catholic term, "gay" is in common vernacular usage, as well as international usage.   As I always say, the Pope uses the word.  Archbishops and Cardinals use the term.  Priests and religious use the term.  Gays and straights use the term.  Ordinary people use the term.  Cary Grant used the term in Bringing Up Baby. MSM uses the term.  It is the language used today.

To argue the fine points on the term is an interesting academic pastime, and is understandable - even expected in pastoral care conversations emphasizing Catholic teaching, and/or in official Church documents, and so on.  Yet with all due respect, I think most people are bored with the argument over its appropriateness, or turned off by insisting it signals some sort of infidelity to Catholic teaching.

As I said in an earlier post,  I'm an ordinary guy, writing about ordinary stuff. I'm not an apologist, not an evangelist - just a Catholic guy. I use ordinary terminology in common, every day use.  The origins and the development of the term 'gay' has changed over the years - yet general usage today, which is the way Joe Prever uses it - is actually pretty much how it was used originally ... more or less.  Gay was preferred to the more clinical term 'homosexual' or the Biblical based pejorative term, Sodomite, and the homo-hating term 'fag'.

I sometimes say 'gay is as gay does' associating it with behavior - not necessarily sexual behavior either.  Though the term used to be politically charged, it also indicated sexual preference and sexual practice or behavior.  Which is one reason why Prever's blog, Gay and Catholic and Doing Fine is especially startling - because he is chaste and celibate.  He explains all that in interviews as well as on his blog.  Nevertheless, it troubles religious people.  Joe Prever tries to explain why it shouldn't.

I sort of like the one definition I read - gay refers to the 'trait' of being homosexual.  Thus it seems to me to be more a personality trait than an identity.  But see - I'm getting sidetracked again - on the meaning and application of a very fluid term.

As I've said before, I don't see Prever as a 'change agent' working to change Catholic teaching.  I see a faithful young man trying to make sense of his life as a Catholic - trying to fit in, as it were, and help others to do so.  It seems to me he's going through a discernment process of self-knowledge that most of us go through.  As Janet Smith made clear, he also has the benefit of a spiritual director to help him.  He supports Catholic teaching, supports the Courage Apostolate, and so on.  Likewise, he holds up very well when challenged and examined.  That's admirable.

In the com box of the CWR article the issue of 'coming out' was also discussed.   Like the 'gay' terminology, the 'coming out' issue was once definitely associated with LGBTQ politics - the more people who came out, the more general acceptance would be assured.  Now however, 'coming out' is seen as psychologically healthy - although USCCB documents suggest it should be avoided - it's a personal choice and a matter of conscience I suppose, though it was never my choice.  Truth be told, I was pretty much outed by family (my parents were nuts) and 'friends'.

It doesn't matter though.  I know who I am.

Song for this post here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Prelates on vacation...

L’Age D’Or - Luis Buñuel (1930)

News travels fast.

I first saw it on Deacon's Bench - about the Cardinal in Hawaii.  Don't know the story?  A retired Cardinal on vacation in Hawaii was arrested for DUI.  He apologized.  It's all over Catholic news and a few blogs.  A couple of snarky innuendos caught my eye - but it's better not to laugh about such things, or point fingers.  Catholics like to drink.

I wonder how these stories concern us?  Why they concern us?

Even reputable bloggers rush to print the stories.

Other bloggers speculate on the Cardinal's private life.

It's creepy.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What we don't know about homosexuality is a lot.

Joseph Sciambra takes the blinders off.

There are real 'victims' who have lost their lives - Sciambra reminds us of that.  I'm always blown away by what Joseph reveals and what is at stake in the blanket approval of all things gay. Please, don't dismiss him.

Read this: Catholicism, Clarity, and the Gay Problem: An Answer to Dr. Janet Smith and the Current Courage Confusion.

Fr. Z is on another trip again ....

"Off I go.  Again."

You may not understand why I bother to post this.

I suppose in part, it's because Fr. Z used to remind me of William Shatner.

Shatner's name came up today in connection with Leonard Cohen.

Still plussing?

I never followed Leonard Cohen or really knew who he was.  Since finding out about him, I realized I've seen him perform once on late night TV.  At the time I stared at the TV wondering who was the old guy who couldn't sing, and I thought he was awful, and had no idea why he was even singing - I thought then that he was worse than William Shatner.  Now I've read about him and I know he's a brilliant man - but I still don't like him.  How uncouth, I know.  Terribly illiterate of me, I'm sure.

So anyway - I thought I'd share something from William Shatner since there is nothing interesting online today.

Unless you want to read why The Anchoress thinks Colbert is just like St. Philip Neri.  She lost me at Steven.

Song for this post here.

(When I first heard the Cohen song covered by K.D. Lang I thought it was the stupidest song I had ever heard since Cat Steven's  "Moon Shadow".)

My apologies in advance to Canadians and people who like that kind of music.

Make me entirely teachable ...

Our Lady of Solitude

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance. - Prayer of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Monday, August 24, 2015

Speaking. The Truth. In Love. (Updated)

Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light.

“Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters with Same-Sex Attraction” And two Gay Catholics too.

Kathy Schiffer, one of the better writers on the Catholic Channel at Patheos, offers an overview of the Courage Conference in Michigan earlier this month.

It's a balanced report on the conference and well worth the read.  I was especially interested in Dan Mattson's presentation.  In my opinion, Mattson is one of the more integrated spokesmen for  SSA persons living the Courage model of holiness and ordinary life.

First, the reason for the Conference:
The specific objective of the gathering was to assist the 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in its deliberations regarding pastoral outreach to families that include persons with homosexual tendencies.
The Courage Approach
Participants also heard the moving testimonies of men and women who experience same-sex attraction but who have been helped by the Church and by chaste friendships as they journeyed toward greater chastity and sanctity. Conference faculty also included experts on Christian anthropology, natural law, the psychology of homosexuality, Scripture and chastity.
Dan Mattson discussed the problem of loneliness in the life of the homosexual person, but considered his own loneliness as a single man to be part of God’s permissive will for his life.
“If it is God’s will that we don’t share in the particular form of love or intimacy that is proper in marriage, we do well to accept this lack as a gift from him,” he said. “Even if we are sexually continent, trying to find a semblance of the intimacy of marriage through a ‘chaste celibate gay relationship’ is running away from that which God has deemed as good for our souls.
“But, most importantly, by attempting to run from the pains of loneliness through such a relationship, we cheat ourselves from the great storehouse of riches that God in his divine providence desires to give us through the loneliness he permits us to feel. We are settling for far too little love from God if we choose a path away from the scalpel he desires to use to shape us into the image of his Son.” - NCRegister

Dan Mattson is a pretty incredible guy.  He must have a very deep spirituality, a mature faith to understand the efficacy of loneliness - to see it as God's loving will for the soul.

To arrive at that point is to 'go beyond strong men and frontiers, to wrestle with wild beasts, to trudge through lonely wooded valleys, strange islands, turgid rivers, the whistling sound of love-stirring breezes amidst sounding solitude' - to borrow the language of St. John.  It is a dark night which many flee from to find consolation in and through the satisfaction of their appetites, longing for the fleshpots of Egypt - referring to something Archbishop Vigneron spoke about at the conference, comparing the exodus from the gay lifestyle to the Israelites leaving Egypt.

"It is lonely when you're among people, too." The Little Prince

For Dan Mattson to understand that so well, indicates a great grace, something not everyone who experiences homosexual inclination can be convinced of.  Many go away sad.

Yet I can tell you from experience, even if you try to flee the darkest loneliness through inordinate affection and unlawful attachments, if you continue to pray in your discontent, the necessary purification comes eventually.  One can be lonely in the closest relationships.  Loneliness is a call.  Lovers can become friends, friends can become brothers, and they can, if courageous, support one another in the way of perfection.  It seems to me this is why the apostolate Courage is so very beneficial to those who strive to live in accord with Catholic teaching to sanctify their lives.  Chaste - 'disinterested' same sex friendship is essential to the process.

The Conference was praised by Father Sean Kilcawley, director of the Office of Family Life in the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.:
... calling it “an amazing gathering of people with different perspectives, all trying to find a solution.”  
“For people experiencing sexual brokenness of any kind,” he believed, “healing comes when we see ourselves as loving sons and loving daughters of a loving Father. The conference reinvigorated my motivation to return to my diocese and focus on teaching adults and young people about the beauty of the Church’s sexual ethic.” - ibid

I believe that sums it up quite well.

UPDATE:  3PM CDT 8/24/15 - Janet Smith live with Al Kresta - discussing the Conference and why Tushnet and Prever were invited.  Works for me.  Next they will be discussing Deacon Jim Russell's objections to Joe Prever.

Janet Smith's response: very reasoned and accepting and understanding.  Good to hear her response.

The entire controversy is good - it is promoting discussion and understanding.  It is opening pastoral care to a variety of experience.

Ed. note:  It is the very first time I ever listened to Kresta and the first time I heard Janet Smith speak - she's very personable and down to earth.  Thanks Diane for the heads up.

Update II:  And then I discovered this at OSV: Joseph Prever's talk and Janet Smith's reply to Deacon Russell.

All-rightey then.  I still think Deacon Russell's concerns were fair and did much to clarify issues related to the conference.  Janet Smith revealed that Russell was not alone in his concern, writing:

Several of those involved in the planning process objected strenuously to the invitations extended to Joseph Prever and Eve Tushnet, both participants in what has become known as the “spiritual friendship project,” a project that some portray as a rival or critic of Courage. Some elements of their work raise some important concerns and other elements are very promising. Since the contributors to the spiritual friendship project are committed to living chaste lives, to seeking holiness and to being faithful to their faith communities (in the case of Prever and Tushnet, that is Catholicism), we wanted to be in friendly dialogue with them. We thought those who attended the conference would benefit from hearing Prever and Tushnet and that they (like the rest of us) would benefit from hearing other speakers at the conference. We knew there was a risk of some confusion arising, but we thought the risk worth it. We were not trying to lay out some uniform, fixed template for pastoral approaches. Again, we wanted to establish the nonnegotiable foundational principles of Christian anthropology, to report on some successful pastoral approaches and materials, and to listen to those whose voices we absolutely must hear if we are going to be truly pastoral. - JS at OSV

"Several of those involved in the planning process objected strenuously to the invitations extended to Joseph Prever and Eve Tushnet..."

Best keep that in mind before anyone goes after Deacon Russell.  I certainly wasn't aware of it, and as I said originally, I concluded initially that their inclusion in the conference amounted to a sort of endorsement of their position.  I'm glad it's all been sorted out now.

That's all.

Behavioral modification device 
to help homos avoid using the term 'gay'.
Now available at Walgreen's.

You learn something new everyday. The Duggar Family.

Who are the Duggars?

I may have heard of them.  I may have run across the name online - but I never paid any attention.

Then I came across a blog post mentioning the Duggar family in connection to the Ashley Madison hack.  I did hear about the Ashley Madison deal on the news - but I never paid any attention.

What does that have to do with anything?  I guess it's about not putting people on pedestals?  Projecting perfection upon so-called role models?  Then being scandalized when they maybe don't measure up?

Who does that?

I never put anyone on a pedestal ... can't do it anymore.

So anyway Poodles, a few words of advice for when the going gets tough:

"Never take a man for your example in the tasks you have to perform, no matter how holy he may be, for the devil will set his imperfections before you." - John of the Cross

"Perfection does not lie in the perfections the soul knows it has, but in the virtues our Lord sees in it. This is a closed book, hence one has no reason for presumption, but must remain prostrate on the ground with respect to self." - John of the Cross

“To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda or even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery; it means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” -Cardinal Emmanuel Célestin Suhard, Archbishop of Paris 1940-1949

It gets better.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This is a great mystery ...

Holy Communion ...

"For this reason ... a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one ... This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church." - Ephesians 5:21-32

Holy Communion ...

"For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." - John 6:60-69

This is a great mystery.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

More thoughts on the errors of Russia ...

Marge Sanger, 1961
Hillary Clinton's hero.

Nearly 100 years ago, Our Lady of the Rosary warned at Fatima that Russia would spread her errors ...

How clearly do we see that now?  I was re-reading Roy Schoeman's book, Salvation Is From The Jews the other day - looking for references on Nazi Germany and abortion, and once again ran across Margaret Sanger's name in connection with Nazi eugenics, birth control, and so on.  Sanger's sympathies were very much in line with Nazism.  Interestingly enough, her views dovetailed with Theosophical thought as well (another error promulgated from Russia) - which in turn influenced the ideology of neo-pagan Nazism.  Sounds convoluted and theoretical - but we shouldn't be so dismissive because of that.  I mention these connections to point out the influences which formed Margaret Sanger and the foundation of Planned Parenthood ... the lavishly endowed, gilded lily of the eugenics movement.

Margaret Sanger and Russia.

I came across an interview at Catholic World Report with Dr. Paul Kengor, author of "Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage".  Whose name pops up?  Marge Sanger.  A couple of excerpts from that interview:
CWR: You show how the Bolshevik revolution took direct aim at both marriage and Christianity. What were some practical ways in which Lenin sought to destroy both? Is there a direct correlation to how both are being attacked and undermined today in the U.S. and the West?
Dr. Kengor: Lenin and the Bolsheviks immediately went after God/religion, private property, and marriage and family. They radically liberalized all divorce and abortion laws. You weren’t free in Bolshevik Russia to have freedom of religion, press, assembly, speech, or property, but, wow, if you wanted a divorce or an abortion, you were the freest person on the planet! The sky was the limit. And in very short course, Russia soon had divorce and abortion rates unseen in the history of the world. In fact, the abortion rate got so bad that it astounded Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who took a fact-finding trip to the Soviet Union in 1934, and even stunned Stalin, who, in 1936, was forced to ban abortion out of fear that his country would soon cease to exist. Russian women were annihilating the future generation. This madness had to be stopped or there would be no communist Russia.
As far as the correlation to America and the West today, our rates of divorce and abortion have never been as bad as communist Russia, but they’ve certainly been bad enough. We’ve seen divorce rates near 50% and experienced the extermination of nearly 60 million unborn babies in America since Roe v. Wade in 1973. And in other areas, such as birth control and the condemnation of those who oppose birth control and abortion on moral-religious-political grounds, we in America today stand where Bolshevik Russia stood eight decades ago. In the book, I have a full chapter on Margaret Sanger. Sanger wrote this upon her return from communist Russia in 1934: “Theoretically, there are no obstacles to birth control in Russia. It is accepted … on the grounds of health and human right…. We [in America] could well take example from Russia, where there are no legal restrictions, no religious condemnation, and where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.”
What really strikes one about reading this assertion today is how modern liberal Democrats in America have arrived at Sanger’s Bolshevik ideal, where Planned Parenthood’s services have become, in their mind, “part of the regular welfare service of the government,” just like in Stalinist Russia. If you disagree with today’s “progressives” on funding Planned Parenthood or the Obama HHS mandate or whatever, they accuse you of favoring a “war on women.” In many areas, as I show in the book, today’s liberals are just a few decades behind the communists. - Read the entire interview at CWR

Here's the deal, as I'm seeing it.

To quote John Lennon, "You say you want a revolution?"  It happened.  It's now.  Progressivism.  Change.  Constant revolution. 

You are waiting for a sign?  A miracle?  A heavenly intervention?  It happened.  In 1917.  We were warned and now we are reaping the effects of ignoring the warning.

Heaven help us.

Saturday August 22, Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady and Nationwide Protest Against Planned Parenthood.

In St. Paul Minnesota:

St. Paul 
Planned Parenthood, 671 Vandalia Street (map)
When: This protest will be held Saturday, August 22, 2015 
Sponsor: Pro-Life Action MinistriesContact the local leader

Other locations in Minnesota and across the country here.

If you are unable to attend, pray, fast, or do some sort of penance, but pray.  Attend Mass and adoration, into the night, if possible.  Pray for an end to abortion, lobby and petition for the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, and please try to spread the news of the atrocities committed by the abortion industry.  The dissection of living newborns and the selling of body parts and 'tissue' for medical research is intolerable. 

Don't let these crimes continue to be assimilated into the culture, taken in stride, or denied and simply ignored.  These are living infants destroyed through abortion, including partial-birth abortion, as well as newborn infants, kept alive to harvest intact specimens.  We now have documentary evidence - the most recent example here.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

This is definitely a sign.

Yes it is.

Those are seraph wings on a pillar of cloud suggesting an angel and the Old Testament account of the pillar of cloud-pillar of fire in the Exodus.  No doubt about it.

The chair?  I think we're looking at sede vacante there.

. . . 

Happy Friday!

Joseph Prever and same-sex friendship.

You've got to have friends.

Friends of Joe Prever feel he was 'picked on' for his tweets at a recent Courage sponsored conference in Detroit.  I wrote about that here.

That is what happens when we discuss same sex attraction, gay and Catholic stuff.  Clarity on Catholic teaching is a necessity.  Perhaps that was mentioned at the conference - I'm sure that was the expectation.  Candid, albeit public tweets by participant and invited guest Joe Prever concerned some people and an online discussion ensued.  That's good - because, as I say, clarity on Catholic teaching is a necessity.  (As for infiltration of the Church by gay activists - that already happened and has been the case for decades.  Dignity, New Ways Ministry, and others have influenced Catholic teaching and pastoral care on the parish and scholastic level for years.)

The Spiritual Friendship model has been invited to the table.

Joe Prever is a work in progress, as we all are.  There is nothing wrong with challenging a public speaker.  That said, his message is out there.  What it amounts to is very similar to discussions within Courage groups - honest, forthright, discussion regarding the difficulties involved in dealing with same sex attraction, isolation, loneliness, temptations against chastity and so on.  Prever discusses the need for friendship and support - disinterested friendship - meaning without inordinate attachment or affection.  Not mixing it up with sexual fantasy or neurotic fears of 'an occasion of sin' in having a 'guy' as a close friend and confidant.  When we talk that way - sometimes it sounds like we are trying to find a way to have a lover, or boy friend friendship, or partner-type intimate friendship.  And so that is why public speakers and authors find themselves challenged.

Prever's presentation is getting more press, which affords a different perspective on the intent and purpose of his presentation at the conference.  It's helpful to consider his POV within the context of his experience.
True friendship is vital in helping young people who are struggling with same-sex attraction but trying to live a chaste lifestyle, said a prominent gay Catholic blogger. 
“We love when we make ourselves vulnerable,” said blogger Joseph Prever who writes under the pseudonym Steve Gershom for a blog with the tagline, “Catholic, gay, and feeling fine.” Prever was speaking at an international conference on pastoral care for those experiencing same-sex attraction, organized by the Catholic ministry Courage.
In his talk titled “The Curse of the Ouroboros: Notes On Friendship,” he explained how close, chaste friendships can help young people experiencing same-sex attractions escape a self-destructive cycle that can result from an excessive inward-focus.
“A lot of people struggle with being sort of inward-turned, sort of self-enclosed, sort of unable to engage people in actual person-to-person relationships, because you’re so concerned with maintaining your own self-image, maintaining your image in other people’s minds,” he said in an interview after his talk.
“So for me, the struggle has always been learning to sort of unknot that knot, and a large part of the way that has happened in my life has been via friendships, both in learning to let other people see into my interior and to sort of help me when I was not quite willing to be helped,” he said.
“And also learning to reach out and help other people who are in even worse, or just different, spots.” - CNA
They're here ... and you know ...

The Spiritual Friendship Movement has achieved recognition by many Catholics, and their representatives are invited to speak here and there, while their writings are being read by Catholic clergy and laity.  So I'll reiterate, it is entirely appropriate for Catholics to challenge these spokesmen whenever there may be some confusion regarding Catholic teaching, pastoral care, or conscientious objection to the notion that gay is a third way.  Nothing wrong with that.  God bless those courageous enough to act as 'devil's advocate' in these contentious times.

These people are criticized right and left - as most gay people are.  In September Ron Belgau will be speaking at Philadelphia's World Meeting of Families.  LGBT activists do not think it's enough, nor do they think Belgau is relevant since he represents the tiniest minority of LGBTQ Catholics in this country.

See.  That's part of the problem folks... LGBTQ activists will tolerate those who choose celibacy - but don't force it or even propose it for the rest of them.  Hence the confusion.  Which is exactly why concerned Catholics and clerics need to clarify what 'gay-Catholics' are attempting to 'teach' and 'propagate'?  Oh - so you are worried such discussions will turn people away and not attract them to the Church?  It doesn't deter me.  Anyway - the Holy Spirit attracts people - not to worry.

Don't forget, LGBTQ and gender issues are huge issues threatening the Church and family and they should be the concern of parents and clergy alike.

Yeah, so toughen up.

I'm Blocking Monsignor Pope Too - Just Like Facebook Did.

Yeah.  That's right.

Mons. Pope is blocked from commenting here.

I'm sick of it.

Song for this post here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Planned Parenthood documentary videos and serial killings.

The child in the womb, the newborn has no choice.

Don't abandon them.

The latest horror story of cutting through a newborn's face to access and remove the brain while the infant is still alive reminds me of FBI crime scene profiling accounts of how serial killers disfigure and dismember their victims.  The PP story here.

Please do not avoid these stories - do not let them go - do not shield yourself from the truth.  Please pray and sacrifice in reparation for these heinous crimes against babies and children.  Feel the pain - pray and do all in your power to remind people of what has been happening, and work to eliminate PP and the abortion industry.

+ + +

I'm in the middle of the monthly novena to the Infant Jesus, and yesterday I considered the mystery of the Holy Name of Jesus and His Circumcision.  Jesus suffered and shed His blood the first time when He was circumcised.  Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph, I offer the merits of His most Precious Blood for the little ones who suffer the cruelty of abortion and infanticide.  Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Deacon Jim Russell senses something may be off with gay-Catholics ...

Allow yourself to be taught. - S. John of the Cross

"And even being a “chaste, celibate, gay Catholic” is not enough."

Deacon Russell asks an interesting question after attending the “Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters with Same-Sex Attraction” conference last week.  Actually he raises several points, one I consider rather important:
Does Having SSA Make You an Expert On SSA? 
Having said all that, here is the deeply essential point: Organizers of the conference and book—and even Prever himself in an above comment—place a real premium upon the value of “testimonial” voices of those who live with same-sex attraction. But there is an inherent danger with this approach that must always be vigilantly addressed. Not everyone who has SSA adequately understands SSA. And this includes some (I’m inclined to think many) Catholics with SSA who are seeking to live chaste lives through continence. - Deacon Russell
Deacon Jim says something important - "Not everyone who has SSA adequately understands SSA."  First let me say that I write pretty much for myself here, as well as for ordinary people - like my friends, acquaintances, and so on.  Ordinary guy, writing about ordinary stuff.  I'm not an apologist, not an evangelist - just a Catholic guy.  I use ordinary terminology in common usage.  I use the term gay.  SSA is a great term - if you 'have it' it sounds as if you have an illness.  There is no good term to use.  That said, common usage is how I write.  My apologies.

I hate writing about this stuff because you can never please everyone, and the subject always ends up being so contentious - but here goes.

"To be a credible public witness, one must both “embody” and articulate the “truth-love” of Church teaching and pastoral care related to same-sex attraction from a position of confidence, clarity, and certainty, with an undivided mind, heart, and purpose."

Yup.  Deacon Jim is right - not everyone who is gay adequately understands the why and wherefore of being gay, having SSA, or engaging in homosexual behavior.  He is absolutely correct.

When I first ran across some of the challenges the Deacon raises on gay-Catholic blogs (at least those which still permit him to comment), I'll admit I found him somewhat annoying.  This unknown Deacon, married with children, from the Midwest, what would he know about same sex attraction and being gay?  I initially thought he was sort of a nuisance, an agitator.  But as I read him more closely and considered his POV - or, as I'd say now - his teaching, I changed my mind.  My feelings of discontent suggested to me I may have been too self-opinionated and even self-righteous about my personal POV.  I realized Deacon Jim is completely orthodox, as well as an excellent catechist.  In fact, he helped me understand chaste same sex friendship - especially for former 'partners' if you will.

So yeah, chastity, continence, celibacy is not enough - Deacon Jim is absolutely right.  Of course, it may be enough for salvation, and it is enough to receive communion and the sacraments - but what Deacon seems to be saying - it's just not enough to be a spokes-model for heroic virtue - nor an idealized, specialized, spiritual order or 'vocation'.

Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way. - Letter to the Bishops ...

One of my favorite movies is The Nun's Story.  There is a moment in the story where Sr. Luke says she thought there would be some point, some plateau where there would no longer be a struggle - her Mother Superior assured her that there will always be that struggle, which tries and perfects our faith. It is the same with the struggle to integrate one's life, to live in fidelity to the Gospel - we really need to sell all we have (our will) if we wish to follow Christ, who calls us to be perfect just as his Heavenly Father is perfect.  Deacon Jim reminds of this truth.

What is needed: "A sufficiently settled “expertise” regarding the authentically Catholic anthropology and theology associated with homosexuality."

I don't think he's condemning Joe Prever or Eve Tushnet in his latest essay - I think he is qualifying the importance of their 'testimony' at the event.  He's making it clear that the other SSA persons who spoke have pretty much stabilized themselves in and through their acceptance of Catholic teaching.

Gay people do not like to be 'told' about themselves, they don't like to be 'told' how to define themselves.  They don't like to be told how to live.  They don't even want other gay people to speak for them.  As I commented on Deacon Jim's post:
Deacon - I'm glad you were there and have written on this. You are absolutely right in your observation - there is nothing gay-Catholics hate more is listening to others discuss them - as Prever pretty much noted in his tweets. I agree very much with what you wrote here:
"Simply said, being “gay” is not enough; being a “gay Catholic” is not enough; being a “celibate, gay Catholic” is not enough. And even being a “chaste, celibate, gay Catholic” is not enough. To be a credible public witness, one must both “embody” and articulate the “truth-love” of Church teaching and pastoral care related to same-sex attraction from a position of confidence, clarity, and certainty, with an undivided mind, heart, and purpose." 
Thanks for your vigilance and always steering us back to authentic Catholic teaching - seriously - because there are few who do it on such a consistent basis. You are an excellent Deacon and catechist. - Me
Deacon and catechist.

I'm totally serious.  There are other very good 'gay-ssa' faithful Catholics online.   They all want to be heard, they all want to be published, and they all are convinced they have the right direction, the right advice, and so on.  Gay people want to drive the bus - they are convinced they know all there is to know about gay ... because having come through the trenches, they're the expert on SSA.  Especially if they 'heroicly sacrificed' themselves to live a chaste and celibate life - or in 'continence' with a friend.  Ordinary straight Catholics - some married in civil marriages, some just single, some widowed, do exactly the same thing.  It's called being a faithful Catholic.  A good example of fidelity - but not necessarily sanctity.

That said, the gay Catholics are up in arms over Deacon Jim's concerns expressed in his latest essay.

Fundamentally, as a few comments pointed out, the concern centered upon the inclusion of gay-Catholics who have a different POV from the Courage model, and who may still be 'evolving' in their thinking regarding gay and Catholic.  That's fine - everyone is at a different stage in their journey.  Yet the concern which readers expressed was that their inclusion in the conference was a sort of endorsement of their position.  I liked what Archbishop Vigneron said, comparing the journey to that of the Israelites leaving Egypt.  It's a classic analogy of the soul's spiritual journey.  As we know, once in the desert, the Israelites longed for the pleasure of Egypt, they fell into sin and debauchery, some perished through mortal sin.

There is no final resting place ... it is about getting to the place of finally seeing God's love. - M. Christoph, Nun's Story.

I have - at this time - friends who have halted on their journey - who are now longing for the pleasures and intimacies of a lover, and who are entertaining themselves with 'idols' and revelries.  It's exciting for them.  They are Catholic - they know Catholic teaching, and 'suffer' in conscience.  BTW - that's the real suffering 'gay' people feel - the spiritual conflict of conscience.  I told one of my friends to keep praying - to keep trying and not to give up.  To tell Our Lord what's going on.  He's a good man.  He's a Catholic man and always my brother.  He told me he's afflicted in conscience - I told him of course he is.  I am no one to judge - to be sure.  He will always be my brother though.

The point is, that neither he, nor I, are models for gay people - we both know that.  I think that is the point Deacon Jim makes.  It doesn't seem that the testimony of either Joe Prever or Eve Tushnet is especially exemplar.  Though it is valuable as an example of the journey gay Catholics may take - it is incomplete and not necessarily ideal.

I don't think it was a mistake to include Prever and Tushnet - but their differences should have been clarified ... and perhaps debated.

Deacon's essay opened that venue.  Although I have to admit that I too thought the inclusion of Prever and Tushnet was a sort of endorsement on the so-called gay-Catholic, Spiritual Friendship Movement - perhaps even a proposed middle way.  Deacon Russell's essay cleared that up for me.  Nevertheless, the take away on their inclusion will most likely go down that way, and they'll get more invitations to speak elsewhere.  Which is why Deacon Russell's essay is an important piece of documentation, which helps us understand and appreciate the disparate views that were expressed.

BTW - Gay people can be snippy and sarcastic and scornful - it's negative humor oftentimes - and when it is made public, like Joe Prever's was on Twitter - people are going to respond.  That's what Deacon Russell did.  (I do it all the time - which is why no one reads me.  And that is good!  Because I am so not a good model of anything.  No-thing.)

I wish this and other issues would be put in their place however - especially since ISIS and the abortion industry are so consumed with slaughtering innocent babies and children - while we discuss 'feelings', emotional disorders, and sexual intimacies and how they make us feel bad about ourselves.

God help us!

I don't know what to do. I can't stop thinking of the Planned Parenthood videos and the slaughter of innocents. I keep coming across new stories.

Planned Parenthood may be keeping some babies alive after the abortion procedure in order to better collect their organs for harvesting — such as their hearts. - Finish reading here.

Then, a new video ... aborted baby's heart was beating as the brains were harvested ... LifeSite news.


O my God,
I am heartily sorry
for having offended
you my God!
I detest all of my sins,
because I dread the loss 
of heaven and the pains of hell.
But most of all -
most of all, because they 
offend you my God
who are all good
and deserving of all my love.
O my God.
I firmly resolve
with help of your grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
and to amend my life.

O my God,
I cry to you, O Lord.
I have said: "You are my refuge
all I have in the land of the living."
Listen, then, to my cry
for I am in the depths of distress.

Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep?
Arise, do not reject us for ever!
Why do you hide your face
and forget our oppression and misery?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Purging the Psalter of all those 'mean' psalms and verses.

Help, O Lord, for good men have vanished; 
truth has gone from the sons of men.
Falsehood they speak one to another, 
with lying lips, with a false heart. - Ps. 11

Otherwise known as the 'hostile' psalms.

Years ago when I was a novice the issue was discussed at Chapter.  Several of the monks wanted a deeper purge of all the negative, hostile, 'violent' verses and psalms from the monastic office.

I always thought that was wrong.

I've always thought that these psalms and those verses which called on God to destroy the enemies who oppress his people, were spiritually and psychologically healthy to pray.  I've often wondered if that is why we have become so soft on sin, and passive in the face of those sins which cry to heaven for vengeance?

I find these psalms especially helpful in times of temptation - especially temptation to discouragement.  The words can express our deepest frustration - with ourselves and our soul's enemies.  In a sense, they can be a sort of exorcism, a spiritual defense in the spiritual combat.  They also inform us, remind us of God's justice.

I find such psalms especially helpful when praying for Christians facing martyrdom, and the oppressors who persecute them.  Similarly, I have found consolation in praying these psalms in defense of the defenseless innocents killed by abortion and infanticide.

Rather than expunging these verses from the psalter, I think they need to be reinstated, in the Liturgy and  Offices.

"Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you." - Ps. 5

Once again, Rorate Caeli brings the changes to our attention in a very good post revealing the effects of the liturgical reform and the editing of the psalter - purging the more difficult psalms from the Ordinary Form and the Divine Office.  Though rather critical in tone, I want to include a couple excerpts here:

For 2,000 years, Christians Eastern and Western had been praying the psalter of David in its integrity, and now, Catholics were handed an expurgated or abridged version, with verses removed by “experts” who knew better than the Holy Spirit, knew better than the Israelites, knew better than the Church Fathers and Doctors, knew better than Tradition. But of course they knew better: this was the Age of Enlightenment breaking in at last upon a fortress-like Church, an age in which we should shake ourselves free from the shackles of unenlightened piety, with its gnarled, enigmatic, sharp-edged, implacable expressions, and its archaic, earthy, tribal atmosphere. Razing the bastions, making the world safe for democracy, and all that good stuff.
This observation dovetailed with another talk given at the Sacra Liturgia conference about the reform of the lectionary, in which the speaker looked at how the Novus Ordo lectionary for Mass also suppresses “difficult” verses from both Testaments—verses that had always been present in the traditional Roman lectionary but were excluded from the new lectionary, in spite of its boast of being so much bigger and better.
Catholics who attend the Ordinary Form are not merely getting “more” Scripture, they are also getting different Scripture—and the principles of selection are politically correct, ecumenical, sensitive, excluding much that is dark or difficult. In other words, the principles are rather unlike Scripture itself. The modern principles and the premodern text to which they are applied sit uneasily together. - Posted by Benedict Constable

Arise O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered.

Perhaps such revisionism is why the Catholic hierarchy can seem so banal at times, the liturgy so effeminate in the touchy-feely sense, and Catholics so complacent and compromised by moral relativism?

I appreciate the following verses - especially when I pray for those who slaughter the innocent:
O God, break the teeth in their mouths,
tear out the fangs of these wild beasts, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
let them wither like grass that is trodden under foot:
let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;
like a woman's miscarriage that never sees the sun. - Ps. 57

Upon waking, my daily prayer always begins this way:

Let God arise, let his foes be scattered.
Let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is blown away so will they be blown away;
like wax that melts before the fire,
so the wicked shall perish at the presence of God. - Ps. 68

I keep thinking of St. Paul's admonition: Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.

So anyway ...

On the street ... The Sartorialist

Song for this post here.