“Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor..." - Evangelii Gaudium

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dads are so important ...

Dad's home!






A boy needs a dad.

Girls do too.

So do poodles.

Dad's need to come home ...

and be there ...

to love their wife and kids.

Don't ever go away ...

stay home.


Song for this post here.




St. Monica

St. Augustine and St. Monica

The virtue of temperance.

Celebrated as patron of alcoholics, St. Monica seems to have had an inordinate attachment to wine as an adolescent, yet she wasn't a drunk.  She's just the patron of alcoholics. Her maid scolded her for sneaking wine - which she enjoyed. She just stopped drinking because her maid called her on it.  Pretty much.

That said, St. Monica would surely be a great intercessor to help one obtain the virtue of temperance.  Temperance can be broader than simply abstaining from, or tempering one's use of alcohol.  One can be intemperate in many things, food, watching TV, reading romance novels, surfing online ... then there is the problem of intemperate speech.  

There's a poem for that.

I RANTED to the knave and fool,
But outgrew that school,
Would transform the part,
Fit audience found, but cannot rule
My fanatic heart.
I sought my betters: though in each
Fine manners, liberal speech,
Turn hatred into sport,
Nothing said or done can reach
My fanatic heart,
Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.

William Butler Yeats


 What?



The word temperance is derived from the Latin temperantia, which was used by Cicero to translate Plato's sophrosune, which meant restraint of the appetites and passions in accordance with right reason. As seen before, temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues, that moralists consider the most fundamental because it is the one on which the other three depend.  In the New Testament, the Greek noun sophrosune, is variously translated as "soberness" or "sobriety" when it occurs in the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul. (1) The adjective sophron, translated indiscriminately as "sober... temperate...discreet," is listed among the attributes proper to people of mature age and to leaders in society. - Fr. Hardon

Crazy Catholic stuff online ...

"Don't you dare try to tell me..."


I've been fascinated with devout Catholic crackpots all of my life.

I really have.  Like the Fatima group organizer from Boston in the early 1970's - a big redhead woman named Barbara - she practically did a background check on anyone who was asked to lead the rosary during the monthly all-night vigil.  She was a big mouth who sounded a lot like some of the whistle-blower types currently harassing the Boston Archdiocese today.  Not that anything is wrong with that.

 
To be fair, she was right about a lot of things that were wrong, but she was just so arrogant and self-righteous - even fanatic in the way she exploded in the listener's face - especially about Fatima:   "Don't you dare try to tell me...".  It was rather off-putting to ordinary Catholics and parish priests especially, and the behavior carried over into all of her relationships.  Mention her name and parish priests rolled their eyes.


“Portuguese, a very complicated language, darling. Four thousand irregular verbs.”

Barnhardt thinks one of the Soros boys could be the Antichrist.
George Soros is the largest single landowner in Argentina, 
owning over 1.2 million acres, and over 150,000 head of cattle. 
 Yore also reports that Soros has massive financial holdings in Argentina as well. 
 Given this, it would be naive to think that Soros and Bergoglio’s 
relationship began in March of ARSH 2013.



These days the very, very pious fishwives are online. Every parish has always had such devout meddlers - not always women either. They read a lot and know all the rubrics and instruct the pastor and new assistants how to do stuff.  Like the mayor in the film Chocolat did.


Mayor of Lansquenet instructing the parish priest on his homily.


As one commenter noted in another post of mine:

"Maybe these lay bloggers missed their vocation to the priesthood?Maybe there should be a synod on married priest so that all these lay bloggers can be the priests that they always wanted to be. After all these lay bloggers are more catholic than Pope Benedict."

He has a point.  A little bit of knowledge/experience can be as dangerous as a lot of knowledge without pastoral practice - you can begin to believe you know more than the Church.  This happens with people who tried their vocations in religious or priestly formation, and or studied theology and maybe even got a degree or two.  I will appropriate a few thoughts from Pope Francis to help explain what I think happens:
When a person feels a a bit more experienced in the spiritual life or religious 'practice', he begins to appropriate faculties which are not his own, but which are the Lord’s. The original awe seems to fade, and this is the basis for a sort of lay-clericalism - in thought and action for those convinced of their righteousness.  What then prevails is a formal adherence to rules and to mental schemes, which seem to them to impart a certain authority - as if they were arbiter of what is right or wrong.  When we see what appears unorthodox or too permissive or lax in religious observance or catechetical instruction, we think we can set things right, that we are the protagonists. And if that person is faithful and devout, he ends up believing that he is separate from ordinary Catholics, that he owns the doctrine, that he not only owns power - but is obliged to wield it." (My edit)


"What new deviltry" is this?

Vox, please say this is not true. Please.




   I speak from experience.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Today is the anniversary of the election of Albino Luciani, the first John Paul ...



I remember it well.

In hindsight, perhaps there was something propitious about his election on this date, the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen and Protectress of Poland, considering his successor, St. John Paul II would come from Poland.

I think Pope John Paul I would have been very much like our current Pope Francis - his spiritually very much focused upon the mercy of God.  Even back then, I expect he would have been strongly opposed by the remnant Jansenist element in the Church.


Another historical photo
marking Papal devotion to
Our Lady of Czestochowa. 
Pius XII, Castel Gondolfo chapel of
Our Lady of Czestochowa.



I'm happy the Franciscan-papal critics are connecting the spirituality of JPI and Francis, albeit some sites reference the articles rather disparagingly; despite the snipes, they bring to our attention the wonderful humility of Papa Luciani.  I'll share a bit below.



“I once read a homily by then cardinal Albino Luciani, later Pope John Paul I, about Father Leopold Mandic´, who had just been beatified by Pope Paul VI,” Bergoglio says. “He described something that was very similar to what I just told you. “You know, we are all sinners,” Luciani said on that occasion. “Father Leopold knew that very well. We must take this sad reality of ours into account: no one can avoid sin, small or great, for very long. But,’ as Saint Francis de Sales said, ‘if you have a little donkey and along the road it falls onto the cobblestones, what should you do?’ You certainly don’t go there with a stick to beat it, poor little thing; it’s already unfortunate enough. You must take it by the halter and say: ‘Up, let’s take to the road again . . . Now we will get back on the road, and we will pay more attention next time.’ This is the system, and Father Leopold applied this system in full. A priest, a friend of mine, who went to confess to him, said: ‘Father, you are too generous. I am glad to have gone to confession to you, but it seems to me that you are too generous.’ And Father Leopold said: ‘But who has been generous, my son? It was the Lord who was generous; I wasn’t the one who died for our sins, it was the Lord who died for our sins. How could he have been more generous with the thief, with others, than this!’” This was the homily of then Cardinal Luciani on Leopold Mandic´, who was later proclaimed a saint by John Paul II.”
[...]No human sin —however serious—can prevail over or limit mercy. After serving for several years as the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Albino Luciani held some training exercises for parish priests, and when commenting on the parable of the Prodigal Son once said this about the Father: “He waits. Always. And it is never too late. That’s what he’s like, that’s how he is . . . he’s a father. A father waiting at the doorway, who sees us when we are still far off, who is moved, and who comes running toward us, embraces us, and kisses us tenderly . . . Our sin is like a jewel that we present to him to obtain the consolation of forgiveness . . . Giving a gift of jewels is a noble thing to do, and it is not a defeat but a joyous victory to let God win!”” - John Paul I and Francis

How can anyone condemn the popes as they do today, rejecting, resisting, condemning their fidelity to Christ and the Gospel in the proclamation of mercy?  Luciani's successor John Paul II also noted this lack of confidence in modern man:

The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man ... Bl. John Paul II


St. Leopold Mandic, pray for us.


I pray to St. Leopold and John Paul I for the grace of an ever deeper repentance, heartfelt contrition and to find a good confessor.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"They" have now finally turned against Pope Benedict XVI ...



Talk about trolls.

I'm not really surprised.  Catholics against Pope Francis have now condemned Pope Benedict for resigning, based upon excerpts from a new interview and book to be released at the end of August.  In part, Benedict said his retirement was because he was exhausted and couldn't face another grueling trip.  Some sources say that was his sole reason.  Fact is, Pope Benedict felt a need to clarify his reason(s) for retirement to dispel rumors he was forced to do so in the first place.  Read an honest report of what Benedict said he did and why he did it here.  His critics are commenting on pull quotes - even before the book is released.



It's amazing.  One know-it-all asks 'is this the Joseph Ratzinger we know'?  An understanding person with the most minute degree of compassion and insight may have anticipated such a move by Pope Benedict.  Several times he wished to retire as Cardinal Prefect of the CDF, yet stayed on because of Pope John Paul II's example and the Holy Father's desire that he keep working.  Benedict is an old man who has worked extremely hard all of his life, and his frailty became more and more evident as Pope.


Who are these people to condemn him or mock him in retirement?  Calling his interview 'vacuous' and suggesting it is full of lies inspired by the Franciscan pontificate.  Suggesting  'a donkey is wearing a lion's coat.'  While calling the interview and book 'deviltry'.  Benedict's critics now say he is no longer worthy of respect, that he is a disgrace.  They have pompously declared: Benedict XVI betrayed us. He was a coward who fled.

How do these people get that far out?

The Waiting Room and Online Trolls.



I've been spending a lot of time in waiting rooms...

I take a friend in to the doctor's office for stuff, now that he is old, and I sit and wait because he of course needs a ride home.  Some days the appointments take hours, so I'm able to pray, including saying a rosary and a chaplet - which aids recollection when it's a bit noisy.  It's a very contemplative experience to practice the presence of God everywhere.  Yesterday I was surrounded by Muslims who speak very fast, so I prayed my rosary and hid the crucifix while doing so - but some of them noted the beads, partially exposed, as they slipped through my hands.  No one yelled Allahu Akbar to interrupt my prayer, so I closed my eyes and kept praying.  After I was finished, it seemed most everyone was gone except for one or two others waiting for their relative or friend.

After a couple of hours I decided to read the Joel Stein article in this week's Time on How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet.  I felt 'convicted' and kind of sad afterwards.  I've been a troll - sort of.  I remember when I first started blogging I criticized other bloggers and authors I did not know because other people did it and I thought I'd add my critique.  I had read some of their stuff and didn't really like it.  It seemed to me their writing was an easy way for them to make money from conversion stories, as well as making a living by exploiting pop-Catholicism catering to the youth ministry market, why I thought that was a 'bad' thing I'm no longer sure.  I also got attention by using their name in my posts.  I liked the attention.  When confronted by these writers, I quickly realized they were real people, real writers with purpose, and I was being totally unfair and unkind and a huge A-hole.  I apologized and tried to avoid that type of blogging.

It's good to be always repenting.

Since then I've done my best to avoid that style of writing and posting.  Not always successfully.  When I trip up, I try to make amends, apologize, and or remove the post.  I think I'm only a little better, because I still make fun of some crackpot bloggers or those who seem especially mercenary - but not so much now days - I hope.  That said, I really do continue to screw up.  Sorry Ann Barnhardt and Toronto Catholic Choristers.  My apologies to the Priestly Fraternity of CafePress as well.  I promise to try even harder to do better.

That said, I couldn't help but think of The Shea-Fisher terminations at the NCRegister.  I never thought of them as trolls - they struck me as pretty much the opposite, actually.  Their posts often took those I considered to be trolls themselves, to the woodshed, as it were.  Their response, though at times a bit 'cruel' seemed to me to fit the crimes of others.  (Someone once said "The 'offended' frequently regard honesty as cruelty.")* Their discourse sometimes seemed an appropriate response to the oftentimes coarse condemnations hurled their way.  Know what I mean?  In other words, it was often a fair fight, but I digress.


Why do trolls be trolls?

Why do they do that stuff?  The Time article kind of explains what's behind it all.  I have long thought that some people are just nuts, misfits in life without a voice until social media came along.  I also think there is a lot of drinking and posting that goes on.  The anonymity stuff is especially hypocritical and dishonest - which pretty much demonstrates a genuine lack of self-knowledge, humility, and someone living in denial.  In a way which reminds me the line from Fine Young Cannibals song Johnny Come Home:
"What is wrong in my life
That I must get drunk every night?"

At least Johnny knew something was wrong - I'm not sure a lot of troll types could admit something is actually wrong with them.  The 'hell is other people' thing, I suppose.


Finally we have a platform that’s democratizing and we can make ourselves heard, and then you’re harassed for advocating for yourself, and that shuts you down again.” - Lindy West


So anyway - here are a couple of excerpts from the Time article I thought were especially insightful ...

A 2014 study published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.
But maybe that’s just people who call themselves trolls. And maybe they do only a small percentage of the actual trolling. “Trolls are portrayed as aberrational and antithetical to how normal people converse with each other. And that could not be further from the truth,” says Whitney Phillips, a literature professor at Mercer University and the author of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. “These are mostly normal people who do things that seem fun at the time that have huge implications. You want to say this is the bad guys, but it’s a problem of us.”
A 40-year-old dad and lawyer who lives outside Tampa, he says he has become addicted to the attention. “I was totally ruined when I started this. My ex-wife and I had just separated. She decided to start a new, more exciting life without me,” he says. Then his best friend, who he used to do pranks with as a kid, killed himself. Now he’s got an illness that’s keeping him home.

Marty says his trolling has been empowering. - Time

Think about that.  Makes you wonder about some of those bloggers who are really part-time trolls, some even brandish guns to display their 'power' and toughness.  I'm thinking many are pretty much normal people who let themselves go online, venting and ranting and raging.

“The Internet is the realm of the coward. These are people who are all sound and no fury.” - Megan Koester

Actually, I think they have the fury, and though they feel empowered - they experience their powerlessness as soon as they go offline.


Read the article - if nothing else it may be helpful as an examination of conscience.


George Tooker


*Actually Cary Grant said women think a man's honesty is cruelty - or something like that.

Song for this post here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pope Francis leads the Rosary for Italian earthquake victims ...



Much to pray for.

The victims of earthquakes in Italy and Myanmar, as well as those suffering from the floods in Louisiana, those suffering loss to the wild fires in the west.

So many to pray for.



Madonna delle Grazie, Amatrice

"The town is no more." - Sergio Pirozzi, Mayor of Amatrice

Pray the rosary every day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Isabel Flores de Oliva ... Santa Rosa de Lima




The saint who fascinated me from my youth.

I wanted to do penance like St. Rose.  But I couldn't.  Saints like Rose and Martin de Porres did horrible penance.  I sometimes wonder if they did so in union with the slaves and indigenous people who suffered so much brutality in colonial times?  St. Martin used to have a servant scourge him bloody in the cellar of the convent bell tower before the friars awakened.  Today the devil mis-characterizes these 'excesses', which in some strange sense of inversion, may excite an erotic fascination with pain.  Sometimes I wonder if it could account for the tendency towards S&M, B&D sex some gay priests and religious seem to be more tempted to when they fall from grace these days?  (I wrote about that once before here.)

But I digress.  Sorry for tainting a post on the lovely Santa Rosa.



Originally it was St. Rose depicted receiving
the rosary from Our Lady.
The Italians designated Catherine of Siena 
for the Pompeii image instead.





Shea and Fisher taking it on the road ...

BREAKING:


I bet they go to the Remnant now.

What?

Just kidding.

NCR maybe?

So.  They are writers.  Writers usually don't stay in one place forever - especially if they 'rock the boat'.  As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing!"

Congratulations and best wishes to both Simcha Fisher and Mark Shea ... Amy Welborn is living proof there is life outside the EWTN universe.  (LarryD too - look how his career took off after leaving Patheos.)  Not to worry ...

Who can turn the world on with their smile? 
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? 
Well it's you guys, and you should know it 
With each glance and every little movement you show it 
Love is all around, no need to waste it 
You can have your own sites, why don't you take it 
You're gonna make it after all 
You're gonna make it on your own!

What?

I only read Fisher once or twice, maybe even, thrice, but I'm not all that interested in mommy-blogs or women's issues (not that there is anything wrong with that) - which is one reason why I don't often read Aleteia Keys, except to harass Fernandez occasionally.  That said, Fisher will do fine - it's a woman's world these days.

Mark Shea will do well also - I think he's a good writer, I like his calling a spade a spade and his honesty.  Someone has to call those people out when they fasten their phylacteries a bit too tight and swing their tassels around the blogosphere threatening excommunication and hell fire.


Song for this post here.


All Catholics who owned books by the accused 
are asked to burn them “effective immediately.”


H/T Badger Catholic

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ave Regina Caelorum


Ave, Regina Caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

A voice crying out, a light shinning in the darkness ...

Monsignor Pope**

Msgr. Pope is beginning to sound like Dietrich Bonhoeffer* and Alfred Delp*.

A friend sent me a link to an article Pope wrote for the NCRegister, Comfort Catholicism Has To Go; It's Time to Prepare for Persecution.  What a wake up call!  Seriously.

Be sober.

Darn.  I love the alternative to that - but it's the wrong approach to things, as Monsignor points out so convincingly that I think I have to go back to confession.  (I wish he was my confessor.)

Monsignor writes:

We are at war for our own souls and the souls of people we love. We are at war for the soul of this culture and nation. And like any soldier, we must train to fight well.

I knew that.  But I've gotten a bit bored with the idea ... call it acedia, apathy, sloth ... I've succumbed - or come very close to it.  I've been so tempted to give up.  Monsignor's article helps me to see that.

There is a growing consternation among some Catholics that the Church, at least in her leadership, is living in the past. It seems there is no awareness that we are at war and that Catholics need to be summoned to sobriety, increasing separation from the wider culture, courageous witness and increasing martyrdom. 
It is long past dark in our culture, but in most parishes and dioceses it is business as usual and there is anything but the sober alarm that is really necessary in times like these.
Scripture says, Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1). Preparing people for war — a moral and spiritual war, not a shooting war — should include a clear setting forth of the errors of our time, and a clear and loving application of the truth to error and light to darkness. 
But there is little such training evident in Catholic circles today where, in the average parish, there exists a sort of shy and quiet atmosphere — a fear of addressing “controversial” issues lest someone be offended, or the parish be perceived as “unwelcoming.” 
But, if there ever was a time to wear soft garments, it is not now. [...] It is zero-dark-thirty in our post-Christian culture. And while we may wish to blame any number of factors for the collapse, we cannot exclude ourselves. We who are supposed to be the light of the world, with Christ shining in us, have preferred to hide our light under a basket and lay low. The ruins of our families and culture are testimony to the triumph of error and the suppression of the truth. - Finish reading here.


*Alfred Delp, S.J.
Executed for speaking in open opposition 
to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.



*Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Evangelical minister and theologian executed 
because of his opposition to Hitler.


**Pray for Monsignor Pope.




Sunday, August 21, 2016

Donald Trump's new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway ...


Trump has "expressed his regret publicly and said,
 'If I have caused you personal pain 
-- that can include me, that can include you'
 -- that he regrets that," Conway said. - CNN

No way out for Nienstedt?

Archbishop John Nienstedt leaves the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas 
following a funeral Mass for Monsignor Lavin

It's none of my business, but ...

A friend sent me an article from the Minnesota Post by Tim Gihring entitled, Does it matter whether or not Archbishop Nienstedt is gay?  My friend is straight but he was thinking the article was too gay to print, so he sent it to me, haha!  Yet the article is by a straight man - I think he's married with children as well - so why the author's interest in Nienstedt's sexuality?  Actually, my friend probably would have posted on the article, but he later told me he wanted to know what I thought of it.  This is what I told him in my reply email, now slightly edited for readers here:

I missed this piece. Sounds like a smear job to me - I can't even imagine Nienstedt doing the things mentioned - buying poppers?! That's nuts. Following a guy to his car?! Crazy. Nienstedt is obviously so straight that type of behavior wouldn't enter his mind - I'm sure of it - unless he watched porn or something - I doubt he would.  Of course he could be a Jekyll and Hyde, or get turned on by poppers like Jerry Lewis' character in The Nutty Professor.  He just doesn't exhibit signs of that kind of double life.
To some extent, it would matter if he was gay - but I strongly doubt he is. He could suffer from sexual temptations to any type of sexual behavior - it doesn't mean he is that way.  Did he ever 'act out'?  He says he didn't - so I suspect the stories saying he did are calumny.  If they are true, they are detraction and slander - but again - I don't believe they are true.
Maybe I'll post on it - but I doubt that many are interested any longer.
It's horrible how they are destroying his good name.  
Personally, I never was that fond of Nienstedt, but I've never been very fond of his predecessors either.  I honestly don't believe he did what they've accused him of here. He would have shown other signs of decadence, drinking, some show of outward vanity, entertaining and living the high life, and so on. He's not gay. I doubt he'd even know what to do. - Terry

Obviously, I decided to post on it.

I reread the article and noted Nienstedt supposedly went to a gay bar - possibly frequented it?  Alone or with others? it didn't say, and I am not interested.  I agree with the Archbishop when he insists these calumnies are brought forward in retaliation for his anti-gay marriage policies.  The Archbishop has publicly stated “I am a heterosexual man who has been celibate my entire life.”  Though I commented in another post what that could mean, I absolutely believe him.

I hate those hats.  See - if he was gay he would at
least wear it backwards and get some decent glasses.
What?


The tip off the stories are false is the poppers.  LOL!  Are they serious?  Look at Nienstedt.  He is so not a swinging-Mr. Goodbar, bathhouse-popper type guy.  Marcel Maciel had more style than he does.  I mention Maciel because yes, some people can fool you, but I've been just a few feet away from Nienstedt and 'no gaydar' went off - in fact I kind of felt a chill - he's so passionless.  (I exaggerate - but he's just not a warm guy.)

The article goes on to talk about how heartbreaking it would be for gay Catholics if Nienstedt were gay yet came out so strongly against gay marriage/marriage equality and or approving homosexual behavior.  That's a little dramatic.  If it were true he experienced same sex attraction, was inclined to homosexual affections, he does exactly what every other Catholic man does - or should do.  He strives to enter the narrow gate - as Today's Gospel tells us.  He experiences his temptations as the discipline of God, as the Second Reading teaches.  He is not going against nature by insisting on Catholic teaching as regards sexuality and marriage - quite the contrary.  He is being faithful, he is a faithful son of the Church either way.

"They" want him to be gay to shame him, and to shame the Church.  Again, his detractors seem to be analogous to those mentioned into Today's Gospel who are locked out by the Master of the house, standing outside the door protesting "Lord ... we ate and drank in your company, and you taught in our company ..."  How come he's okay and we are the bad guys?

How is that, you ask?

The persons doing the condemning and defaming the character of Nienstedt have all been pretty much locked out of any active work in the local Church - and their agendas aren't helping them get their jobs back, as it were.

At the top of that list is Jennifer Haselberger - a woman scorned, I suppose, and one who protests way too much.
Haselberger, who worked closely with Nienstedt in the archdiocese office as an adviser on church law, believes his proclivities help explain why he coddled abusive priests — he may have been attracted to them. And the so-called Delegate for Safe Environment, a priest overseeing child-abuse prevention in the archdiocese, came to the same conclusion about Nienstedt two years ago: being gay “affected his judgment.” - source

That seems to be a rather unfair statement by an officious former employee now turned 'canonical consultant.'  Nienstedt screwed up in the way he handled abusive priests, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't because of any gay protectionism, as Haselberger suggests.  Perhaps there is a problem of 'clericalism' - but that is not dependent upon sexual preference.

Homosexual activity is considered a sin and I think the error resulted in viewing it as simply that - a forgivable sin one may control through mortification and prayer - without consideration as to how far same sex proclivities can take a person of weak moral character.  Individual cases may be more complex than that of course, and it doesn't excuse the mishandling of abuse cases - to be sure - I'm just saying.

I do not believe Nienstedt's sexuality affected his judgement - his pastoral outreach to Wehymeyer during and after his conviction seems to me to show a bishop concerned with his priest - nothing more.  The idea there was some sort of lust-love connection is absurd.  I've met Wehymeyer, kind of an unlikable fellow, in my estimation.  (BTW - I'm just expressing my opinions here - I'm going by the things I've read and hearsay - just like these people are.  I'm no authority.  I just want to point out that I think these accusations are part of an old fashioned, anti-clericalist smear campaign.)

The other shoe dropped.

Gihring also pulls in Michael Bayly and CPCSM - Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, a group seeking to promote understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ Catholics, which formed at the time:
A different era... 
When gay Catholics in the Twin Cities first came together, in the late 1970s, they asked to meet with then-Archbishop John Roach. They were looking for compassion and understanding, if not acceptance — and to a remarkable degree they got it.
With Roach’s blessing, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) — an independent group of local Catholics based in St. Paul — introduced a sort of sensitivity training in parishes and in nine of the 11 local Catholic high schools. It was intended to help priests, teachers, and administrators better serve gays and lesbians, and it lasted for nearly 20 years.
“During the peak of our work,” one of the group’s co-founders told me several years ago, “we became almost mainstream.” In 1989, the archdiocese awarded its Archbishop John Ireland Award to another CPCSM co-founder for his social-justice activism on behalf of gays and lesbians.
The efforts paid off: “If it was okay to bash someone in the past, it isn’t now,” reported the director of Catholic Education and Formation Ministries in 1998. “We’re trying to teach kids what’s right.” When conservative activists objected that same year, the archdiocese defended the Safe Schools initiative.
Michael Bayly, a gay Catholic who until last year headed up the CPCSM, began compiling this history in 2009, shortly after Nienstedt became archbishop. He worried at the time that “there are some who would like to downplay or even deny such a relationship.” - source
That was around the same time I was trying to get a Courage chapter established in this Archdiocese - with no takers.  The only real program the Archdiocese offered was a more or less pro-homosexual group headed by a deacon and his wife, who also had a gay son.  It was very 'liberal' and pretty much ignored every decree made on the subject of homosexuality that was ever issued by the CDF.  All that changed when Archbishop Flynn was installed and suddenly, Courage was indeed welcomed.

So what's my point in this discussion?

The so-called corroborated evidence against Nienstedt is used simply to out him and shame him - even though he is safe and sound, far away from this Archdiocese.
The evidence that exists, in the form of corroborated witness accounts, suggests that Nienstedt spent his time in Minnesota, from 2001 to 2015, living a precarious double life: indulging his homosexual tendencies, even as he railed against them. - source
It's yellow journalism.

Ironic as hell since these people want to normalize LGBTQ  life and integrate it into the Catholic Church.  They object to outing others against their will, but they attempt to out people who refuse to be identified by such labels.  They seek to shame them - they always have.

Before I ever discussed my past openly, Bayly was one of my readers who insisted I was gay and simply a closet case and frustrated.  We've all seen how such tactics work with discrediting people who speak against homosexual politics and gender ideology.  It's meant in part to silence or discredit them.

These folks preach against shaming others, but they use shame to disgrace their opponents.

So.  Does it matter if Nienstedt is gay?  It shouldn't by their standards.

It does matter by Catholic standards however.  The Archbishop says he is not gay, and I believe him.

Talk among yourselves.







Saturday, August 20, 2016

Facing East ...Ad Orientem



There are always great discussions about this ancient custom prevailing over how Mass ought to be celebrated.  Recently Cardinal Sarah suggested that priests return to the practice of celebrating Mass facing east, as the Extraordinary Form is traditionally celebrated.  I grew up with Mass celebrated like this, and when I returned to the sacraments in 1972, a few local parishes had not turned their altars around yet.  St. Agnes in St. Paul, a parish I frequented, still celebrates Mass ad orientem.  I actually prefer it - but I accept the other - facing the people.  (I prefer kneeling for communion on the tongue as well, but I accept the other.)

That said, this morning's first reading at Mass seems to establish the reasoning behind the ancient practice quite beautifully - actually, quite gloriously.

The angel led me to the gate which faces the east,and there I saw the glory of the God of Israelcoming from the east.I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters,and the earth shone with his glory.The vision was like that which I had seenwhen he came to destroy the city,and like that which I had seen by the river Chebar.I fell prone as the glory of the LORD entered the templeby way of the gate which faces the east,but spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court.And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the LORD.Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple,while the man stood beside me.The voice said to me: Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,this is where I will set the soles of my feet;here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever. - Ez 43:1-7AB

Hebrew illumination of Ezekiel's vision.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Escalation of violence in Congo


I only learned of it today.

Christians hacked to death, villages obliterated.

The persecution of Christians has escalated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), prompting fears that a jihadist group is gaining strength in the region. 
At least 36 people were killed in the North Kivu region on Saturday. It is the deadliest attack there since November 2014, with some saying that casualties might be nearer to 50. The victims were reportedly tied up and hacked to death. 
The Islamist Allied Democratic Forces-National Association for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) have targeted Christians in the north-east of the DRC for several years after their attempt to overthrow the Ugandan government failed.
The United Nations has urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the massacre. A statement from the UN’s high commissioner on human rights said the death toll from the group since 2014 had risen to 645. 
On Monday the Pope condemned the “shameful silence” over the violence in the region.
At his Angelus for the feast of the Assumption, he said: “My thoughts go to the people of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have been recently hit with fresh massacres, which have for some time been perpetrated in shameful silence, without attracting even as much as our attention. Unfortunately, they are part of the too many innocent people who have no weight on world opinion.” - source

 
August 19, 1917
Our Lady of Fatima:
"Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. 
Many souls go to hell,
because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice."

Looking at art ...

Tribute to an unknown Flemish artist.

See - people look the same today.

What?

Sometimes I imagine they didn't.

But they did.

Savonarola

Kind of.


Here's looking at you ...





I have to get back to painting. I'm not happy with anything I've done. So I'm going to continue to work on Matt Talbot.  I'll never be finished.

I was thinking about some of my older stuff, wishing I could rework much of it.  Wondering where it is now.  Did people throw it out?  Did it get destroyed in floods or storms or fires?  Has it changed hands?  Is it in a second hand store?  Did someone gesso over it?  Do they add it to their kitsch collection and decorate it with sparkle dust?

I'm a fool.



Song for this post here.







What?

The Suicide of Danny Fitzpatrick

Staten Island boy who took his own life.
May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

He gave up.

I facetiously posted on bullying yesterday, and a friend alerted me to the suicide story of a 13 year old Brooklyn Catholic schoolboy and was shocked by my ill timed post.  Rightly so.  Suicide is not an appropriate solution to bullying, especially the kind that is ignored and allowed to continue by school officials.  The story of Danny Fitzpatrick is truly heartbreaking.

At Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, Daniel Fitzpatrick’s biggest test had nothing to do with academics. 
The 13-year-old seventh-grader — like so many young people in schools across the country — was the target of relentless bullying because of his grades, his weight and his sweet disposition, family members told the New York Daily News
This summer, Daniel detailed some of his toughest struggles in a letter that accused classmates of turning on him — and school officials of ignoring his pleas for help.
Then, just days before his 14th birthday, he decided he’d had enough. On Thursday, he wrapped a belt around his neck and hung himself inside the attic of his family’s Staten Island home.

“I gave up,” he wrote in the letter that preceded his death by several weeks. “The teachers . . . they didn’t do anything.” - WP - The parents story here.

There appears to be more to this story.  From the Washington Post:
Documents obtained by The Washington Post offer a more complicated picture of Daniel’s life and reveal that some believe the teenager’s struggles extended beyond the bullying he faced at school.
The boy’s father, also named Daniel Fitzpatrick, told the Daily News that he had been at odds with Holy Angels ever since officials there recommended that Daniel repeat the seventh grade at another school. The suggestion was offensive, Fitzpatrick told the paper, because he attributed Daniel’s academic struggles to the merciless bullying he suffered, noting that the boy’s “confidence was completely shattered.”

[...]

Last fall, in a report filed with New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services and obtained by The Post, an investigator wrote that Daniel was failing his classes and engaging in angry outbursts in class.
“Danny said mom being drunk affects him in everything and makes him angry,” the report stated. “He said dad also drinks, but controls himself more than mom. Student can’t remember a time when mom was not drunk often.”
The report continued:
Danny denies physical abuse by mom and dad, but says Kristen, his older sister, hides him in the attic or his room when mom is drunk. He says his dad and Kristen protect him.”
Danny denies suicidal thoughts, but feels angry, sad, has thoughts of wanting to run away. Mother is blaming his teachers for his failures and has written several accusatory letters to school. Student is afraid of both parents anger. - Washington Post

My apologies for my insensitivity.

I don't approve of bullying.  I was being facetious in my original post.  Danny Fitzpatrick's situation appears to be completely different from what I was talking about, although I know how 'mean' it must have come off.  Again, I apologize.

That said, I was never bullied by playmates or schoolmates.  My family and the nuns did that.

Like Danny Fitzpatrick, my parents were drinkers and abusive - Danny said his parents weren't abusive - but his sister hid him whenever his mother was drunk.  I wonder if his surviving family members, especially a sibling still at home, is going to be honest about mom's abusive behavior?  I doubt it.   It took many years for me to admit it, but my older brother was abusive as well.  I grew up thinking my family pretty much despised me.  Suicide was never an option for me, since I was actually raised Catholic and taught about mortal sin and hell.  Knowing how deficient Catholic religious education can be, I wonder if Danny was taught that.

These days, suicide is discussed openly and is becoming all too commonplace.  Danny 'chose' that awful option.  Something was wrong somewhere: With his religious formation, his teachers, and his family?  Perhaps he suffered from some sort of unrecognized, undiagnosed clinical depression?  I have no idea.  If the stories are true about the parent's drinking, that in itself is often problematic.  Drunk parenting is often marked by some sort of emotional neglect.

Suicide is very complex.  Bullying probably contributed to it, even though Danny was able to defend himself: He states he fought back.   Nevertheless, bullying played a role, but there has to be more to the story - I can't know all of the details, only what I've read in the news and documented here - so I'm simply speculating.  I'm neither attempting to defend bullying or promoting it.

My ill-timed and inappropriate post not withstanding.

+


Prayers for Danny Fitzpatrick and all kids tempted to suicide.