Sunday, February 25, 2018

Prayers for Syria



We have school shootings - they have suffered war for seven years, and today many, many children are massacred in Ghouta.
The victims in the Eastern Ghouta include 121 children. - BBC
And now airstrikes resume after UN approves ceasefire. - BBC

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Donations

CM donation banner.

Or profiteering?

I get it it.  I understand that websites cost money and media outlets are expensive to operate - EWTN for instance, like CBN and Jim Bakker need donor support to exist.  Nothing wrong with that.

The other day I left a comment on Fr. Longenecker's FB page promoting his blog post on his review of Michael Voris' new book.  The blog post is available to donor subscribers only, and so I simply commented, "Pay for view".  It was a sort of comment that could be taken any way I guess.  I simply made the comment, as one might in a conversation - a throw out comment.  Online it's difficult to pick up on that, especially if one is accustomed to criticism, or my own 'crack-pot' comments.  I 'liked' Fr.'s response explaining the expenses of operating a website and why some of his stuff is reserved for the donor-supporters.  That's fair, it makes sense, and he's a writer and deserves to be paid.  Not a problem.  It just seemed weird in that particular instance since his was a 'review' of Voris's book - at Voris's request, which is naturally something done as part of promotion and to boost sales.  So one has to pay to read a review as well?  I'm just saying.  I don't get out much.

I know one subscribes to news online, the NYT and WSJ give readers 5 freebies a month, after that one must subscribe to read more.  That's fine if Catholic entrepreneurs follow suit.  It's fine if people support themselves through donor subscriptions and all of that.  Nice work if you can get it.

With Voris - or 'Church Militant' - it seems a bit more like 'war profiteering' at times.  Their attack upon Church officials and at times, detraction of bishops is deliberately incendiary and provocative, it often goes beyond denunciation of clerical corruption.  I think they and others misinterpret the understanding of Church militant, which comprises all of us who struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.  It is not a struggle against fellow Catholics or the hierarchy.  It is not about enforcing canons and interdicts or calling for judgments against ecclesiastics.  That's not the spiritual combat Christ calls the ordinary Christian to.

I would never contribute to sites which promote that sort of thing.

Maybe flaming like Savonarola, but...


UPDATE:  I just got this piece of tabloid crap from CM's Facebook page.  The comments are scandalous and disgusting.





Friday, February 23, 2018

Stop, look, listen and unite - for Congo and South Sudan



Day of fasting and prayer for peace in Congo and South Sudan on Feb 23.
“I invite all the faithful, and all non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace…especially for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the South Sudan,” Pope Francis said on 4 February. - More here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Battle Royal On EWTN Tonight!



Ratings spike!

Spadaro won't be there but the 'Papal Posse' tag team of Arroyo and Murray and Royal will be, I hope!
February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — During a lively segment of EWTN's "The World Over" last week, “Papal Posse” members Robert Royal and Father Gerald Murray weighed in on three segments from papal adviser Father Antonio Spadaro’s lecture at Georgetown University. They also commented on the Bishop Barros scandal and Cardinal Cupich’s planned New Momentum series of conferences. Spadaro’s lecture was entitled “Pope Francis’ Global Vision and his work for a more just and peaceful world.” 
“Pithy,” remarked Arroyo. - LifeSite
I'm waiting for you-know-who to mention Fr. Spadaro's interest in Pier Vittorio Tondelli when he comments on this current wrestling match - I wonder if Zed has ever been on EWTN?  Pity.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An interdict for EWTN?

Arroyo in the studio recording his first hit - listen here.


Nah.

News swirling online about an interdict for EWTN unless they fire Raymond Arroyo?  They can't do that.  Raymond gets all the celebs to come on and they need that kind of thing to attract viewers and fans of Jim Caviezel.  It won't happen.

There's an element of 'fake news' about the story, although LifeSite says Father Antonio Spadaro is tweeting about it.  I only saw that Tony Annett tweeted it and Spadaro retweeted his tweet.  Haha!  Is that enough for a canonical interdict?  C'mon.

They tried to kill EWTN when Mother was alive ranting against Cardinal Mahoney.  It didn't work.

Anyway - just for fun - here's the LifeSite story: Shut down EWTN until they fire Arroyo.


Song for this post here.


It's interesting what one comes across on Facebook and Twitter.  I bet many users have many regrets.  I'm surprised what some people link to or re-post.  Some influential people I respect jump on the strangest stories.  I asked one academic if she was still teaching at seminary or if she is retired now.  I can't imagine she could continue teaching with some of the more biased links she posts and comments upon.

The nerve!  I'll burn it down before
I'd let the bishops take over.
That's what she said.

Don't shoot the messenger.
Final song here.


h/t BadgerCatholic for the story.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This was an interesting find ...


A letter from St. Teresa...

I was looking for a long lost friend online and happened upon a connection, which led to a story associated with another group of priests, which led to another connection, and then I found a letter from St. Teresa sold at auction.  It was a letter written to a priest I once knew.  Which made me wonder, does he even know it was sold?

Description from the auction site:

Mother Teresa Autograph Letter Signed. Two ruled pages of one leaf, 6" x 7.5", Calcutta, India, December 18, 1989. Bearing a stamp in the upper right corner reading, "Missionaries of Charity / 54A Acharya J. Chandra Bose / Calcutta 700016, India." Writing to Fr. Sergio Demartini, the Roman Catholic missionary attempts to coax the Father to join Br. Angelo Devananda as a member of the Brothers of the Word to work in Calcutta. In doing so, Mother Teresa writes about the charity work being done in Calcutta for "Drug adicts who are in very great number here." Clean paper with no folds. Very bold ink throughout. Mother Teresa's signature and final line of text are written using a different pen than the one she used for the rest of the text. The letter reads in full:
"I write to you to let you know that the 'Brothers of the Word' are being fully established in Calcutta to serve Jesus in the distressing disguise of the Drug adicts who are in a very great number here in Calcutta. Br. Devananda and a few Brothers have started the work. I would be very happy if you wish to join him and share in the beautiful love service to the Poorest of the Poor. I am sure you know Br. Devananda - (Fr. Angelo) He is looking forward to your coming. If it is God's will that you come kindly send me all information about yourself so that I can help you with the Visa to come to India. Let us pray to Our Lady to make this possible if it is the will of Her son Jesus. Please pray for me. Happy & Holy New Year. God Bless you [signed] M Teresa MC."
Mother Teresa founded the Brothers of the Word in 1979 as part of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic Latin Rite religious congregation established by her in 1950. Br Devananda, whom Mother Teresa mentions in this letter for being one of the Brothers, edited a book earlier in 1985 entitled Total Surrender: Mother Teresa

Relics get sold online.  

I just made a 'relic' from the sand taken from the grave of the Trappist Martyrs of Algeria - I would never sell it.  To be sure it is not an 'official' relic, but the sand is authentic and given to me by a Trappist in this country - not too long after the monks death.  The sand I received from Conyer's had a note with the name P. Celestine - so I expect that bit of sand was found around his body.  To be a real relic for public veneration, it needs official documentation from the Congregation for the Saints of course.  I only have notes from monks confirming the sand is from the graves of the martyrs.

Sometimes I make 'relicarios' - paintings.  Sometimes I will include a stone from Sinai or dirt from Chimayo, but they are not relics per se.  It is wrong to sell relics.  Unfortunately I've noticed on Ebay and elsewhere that the actual relic particle sometimes appears to have been removed, but the reliquary or rather the theca remains intact - with the decoration and even the spot where the particle was placed - and is still sold.  That is even worse than selling an intact relic. 

Relics belong to the Church - not to individuals.  Never sell relics.  Relics should be returned to the Church, never sold.  It is a person's responsibility to ensure the relics are returned when we die, and not end up in a thrift store.

I have a feeling much of my art will end up in a thrift store or the garbage - so I think I will stop adding rocks from Sinai and earth from Chimayo.

Monday, February 19, 2018

On the abuse of minors by priests and religious ...




The battle against sexual abuse will last for a while, so we must not delude ourselves into thinking that the solution simply lies in introducing new rules and guidelines. - Hans Zollner, S.J.

I came across one of the best articles I have ever read on the issue of sexual abuse in La Civilta Cattolica, which I discovered thanks to Fr. James Martin's Facebook page.  I skimmed through the article at first, and then read select sections more closely.  One thing I noticed is that it does not get sidetracked by the old argument that it's a homosexual problem and not a pedophilia problem.  I once insisted that was the case, agreeing with many who pointed out how flawed the John Jay Study was for its ideological reluctance to deal forthrightly with the role of homosexuality.  I disagree now.  It may indeed be part of the problem, but there remains a deeper, more profound problem of 'corruption' if you will.  Perhaps this is one positive result of viewing sexual orientation issues through a sexual equality, gender neutral lens - at least in theory.  The homo stuff just gets in the way of that ever so illusive, deeper problem.

Anyway, the following section from the article seems to me to nail one of the more fundamental problems behind the ability to deal with these issues: The bunker mentality.  (So typical of an armed and defensive 'Church Militant' mindset, where everyone and everything else is the enemy.)

We should briefly mention that many perpetrators of sexual abuse manage to elude or even manipulate their superiors so that the latter are too prone to believe whatever the former promise them (“I won’t do it anymore”). The result is that they exercise a false mercy. This also leads them to the erroneous reasoning that they need no outside help because they believe they have all the means and strategies necessary to solve the problem themselves. In this way, they dig themselves into their own bunker and fail to see that they have constructed a closed system as we saw in Ireland or in the Catholic communities in the United States and Australia, all places that have seen a string of frighteningly frequent and longstanding abuse.
The same is true for some religious congregations and new spiritual communities founded around the time of the Second Vatican Council and which for many years, particularly for the number of vocations they were attracting, held out great hope for the Church. In the last few years, however, we have seen that several of these religious groups – some of which assumed strongly conservative ecclesial positions tied to traditional forms of liturgy and theology – ended up being centers of various forms of serious abuse. Among the more notable cases are the Legionaries of Christ (Mexican foundation), the Community of the Beatitudes (French), the Comunità Missionaria di Villaregia in northern Italy, the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (primarily in Peru), as well as the group that gravitated around Fr. Fernando Karadima in Santiago de Chile.
Such cases did not always involve the abuse of minors but rather of protected persons, including male and female novices and students. Under the pretext of vows of obedience and strict religious observance, extreme relationships of dependence were formed. Criticism was not allowed and fundamental norms of the spiritual tradition were simply ignored, like the separation between the internal and external forums, not to mention abuses of sacramental confession (the seal of confession or the absolutio complicis, that is, the absolution of someone with whom the priest-confessor himself broke the sixth commandment).
We could write entire chapters on the personalities of the founders of the above congregations. Some of them, because of sexual abuse, financial irregularities or plagiarism, were expelled from their own communities or sanctioned with ecclesiastical penalties, even including excommunication. Often they were able to boss others around and lord it over the operations of their congregations for decades, and no one would dare question their absolute power and demands, which were speciously justified in a spiritual way. Since there was no control mechanism and no system of checks and balances, they were able to do whatever they wanted.
Not all of these founders were or are priests, and this unveils an even more basic problem: when an (ecclesial) environment isolates itself and shuns open communication or an adequate process of formation and human development, the risk of abuse increases exponentially. - Finish reading here.

The Church as field hospital.

Friday, February 16, 2018

I just don't know what to say.

Battle Between Carnival and Lent by Jan Miense Molenaer



Yet I do a post.

Many people are angry and trying to come up with reasons for the latest mass killings.  They want to claim this or that reason for why and how it happened.  People who think they have the solutions and all the answers - until the next one.

I'm no longer surprised by this stuff - my only surprise is that it wasn't worse.

So let's do Lent.

Oh.  I just want to mention that I'm also surprised by those priests - who hear confessions and have heard them for years - complain that they don't understand Pope Francis and what some Cardinals are saying about discernment, and so on.  Sinners get it.  The sacrament of penance is for sinners - people who sin and keep trying.  I can't over simplify that enough.  Nor can the Pope.  I don't have a lot to say about it.  One simply has to ponder it deeply.

We're all sinners. 

Those who don't admit it and those who feel themselves justified and judge and condemn others, are assassins.

I've been thinking of what the Pope said last year on Ash Wednesday:
It is the time to reflect and ask ourselves what we would be if God had closed his doors to us. - Pope Francis 2017
I can't stop thinking about it.  How much worse would I be?  What would I be if God had not allowed me to receive him in Communion when I was still so far away from him? What would I be if he didn't allow me to confess my sins, sometimes day after day, repeated sins - over and over and over?  How much worse, how much more corrupt and hypocritical?  Yet His mercy endures for ever.

So far I'm not doing so well with Lent.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Holy Father will have much to suffer.



The Holy Father's conversation with the Jesuits in Chile.

Online, I noticed some photos of a near-empty piazza at the Vatican yesterday for Ash Wednesday.  I understood it as an attempt to show how unpopular the Holy Father is, as well as to contrast the size of the crowd with the large crowds who attended Pope Benedict's audiences and liturgical celebrations.  That's a very worldly way to judge this pontificate, it is very much how we treat politicians and celebrities - it is not how God judges.  Clearly, it is an attempt to shame Pope Francis.  Shame is good, however, especially for a Jesuit Pope, as Francis made clear: "we must also remember that shame is also a very Ignatian grace." 

The Holy Father's message to the Jesuits in Chile is very revealing of how aware he is of all the hostility there is towards this pontificate. 

There are doctrinal resistances. But for my mental health, I do not read the websites of this so-called “resistances”. I know who they are, I know the groups, but I do not read them simply for my mental health. They tell me when there is something very serious, so that I am informed about it. It is regrettable, but we need to move forward. When I perceive resistance, I try to talk, when dialogue is possible; but some resistance comes from people who believe they have the true doctrine and accuse you of being heretical. When I find no spiritual goodness in these people, for what they say or write, I simply pray for them. I feel sorry, but I will not dwell on this feeling for my mental health. 
On Amoris laetitia, the exhortation dedicated to marriage and the family, the Pope said, “I believe that one of the things the Church needs most today - and this is very clear in Amoris laetitia’s pastoral perspectives and objectives - is discernment. We are used to “you can or cannot”. I, too, have received during my formation this way of thinking “so far we can, so far we cannot. I don’t know if you remember that Colombian Jesuit who came to teach us morals at the Collegio Massimo; when he talked about the sixth commandment, one dared to ask the question: “Can fiancées kiss each other? If they could kiss each other! Do you understand? And he said, “Yes, they can! There is no problem!They just need to put a handkerchief between them. This is a mindset of “doing theology” in general. A mindset based on limits. And we bear the consequences of this”. - Vatican Insider

As an aside, the Holy Father's anecdote regarding fiances kissing through a handkerchief to illustrate a theology based on limits - or how far you could go without sinning, is something people my age are probably familiar with.  For example, as a kid, our pastor always asked the boys in confession if 'touching ourselves' resulted in 'complete self-abuse?'  I had no idea what that meant and I asked one of my friends - he said that Father explained it to him pretty much as follows: 'If you have an orgasm, it's a mortal sin, but you can do it up until that point, and it's only a venial sin.'   It seems pretty ridiculous now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ashes sprinkled or marked?



I prefer sprinkled.

Outside of the monastery, I have never seen it done that way in the United States.  When on the forehead, I wipe them off once back in the pew.

Happy penance!