Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nothing new. It's happened before. But this time it is on a global scale.

Innocent III dreams of St. Dominic's
reforming the Church.

More famously perhaps, Innocent III
dreams of St. Francis 'rebuilding' the Church.

What is on a global scale?  The scandal and corruption in the Church and society.

Unless you are a cloistered Carmelite without Internet access - yes, they exist - we all hear the rumors and scandals as quickly as they arise.  We also hear the confirmed reports and see photos and videos of clerics, and anyone else behaving badly.  Nearly everything is documented today. 

Over the centuries - the epochs and eras, the Church has needed reform.  At times it has fallen into disrepair, disrepute, decadence, and as Ravasi noted during the Pope's Lenten retreat, "divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies" exist amongst the clergy.  As we all know, the Church has also suffered schism and heretical attacks.

I'm not playing historian here, just making note.

St. Peter Damian

Just today I came across another blog whose author posted about St. Peter Damian(i) and his reforms, which reminded me that the scandals back then were not unlike those we have been experiencing in our time.  St. Peter was born at the beginning of the second millennium, 1007 and died in 1072 or '73, on yesterday's feast, the Chair of Peter.  The decadence during his day parallels our own, especially as regards corruption in the Church, simony and sexual immorality.  (Simony not so much - sexual immorality, to be sure.)   Damiani wrote an explosive treatise on the matter, titled Book of Gomorrah.  The saint's treatise 'caused a great stir and aroused not a little enmity against its author.'  Just as it would today.  Another review of the work can be found here.   (Be advised - not a few people do not 'like' what this author has to say either.)

Some day it will all come to an end.

Song for this post here.  Better version here.

Moynihan is now second guessing himself.

What the...

The story Moynihan wrote, covering the breaking news claiming high-placed corruption and blackmail, was  essentially based on hearsay.
In other words, this article contains no sourced evidence whatsoever, except for the (alleged) statement of “a man close to the man who drafted the Report” that “everything centers on the non-observance of the 6th and 7th commandments.”

That sentence is the only “semi-sourced” sentence in the entire article.

Everything else is assertion.

Like this:
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders. - Hearsay

So anyway.  Yesterday, I was reading - just for recreation - I know!  How nuts is that?  I was reading, searching a few sites for  messages from private revelations concerning popes and the 'end of the era' prophecies.  Seems to me the private revelation circuit and the rumor mill pretty much run along the same lines.

Anyway, I must say how surprised I was to discover so many similarities between Medjugorje and Garanbandal - and discovered that Garabandal actually got picked up by Veronica Leukin of Bayside.  I did not know that before.  The tie in between Veronica and Garabandal?  Poor Joey Lomangino, now in his mid 80's I think.  He is supposed to get his sight back after the miracle takes place in Spain, which will only happen after the warning and the chastisement - I think. 

I get the sequence of events screwed up when it comes to foretold events.  It is hard to keep track - even for the seers.   Especially since so much other stuff is usually included or involved with these 'cults'.  Which is why I have a hard time believing claims made by these people; like the seer from Medjugorje who says Our Lady's messages are written on invisible parchment.  Likewise, all of those secrets which hold simple souls in suspense, year after year after year, waiting for the secrets to unfold.  Garabandal has an intricate timetable for events and dates to announce them - so people can get there to see the miracle as it happens.  It. Is. So. Odd.

I'll stick with John Allen and Rocco Palmo for my Vati-news leaks from now on - and of course the Vatican press office.  As for private revelations - I'll stick with those which are approved. 

As for the faith - I am Roman Catholic.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Conclave drama: "Evidently something has been leaked regarding the results of the Vatileaks investigation carried out by the three cardinals."


A commenter asked: "I wonder, of what would the blackmail consist?"
"If you don't do x, I will publicize that you are having wild sex orgies."
"But what is x?"

Money and power, according to Moynihan's report: "Apparently there is even talk of some curial officials being blackmailed..."

Blackmail... what is it?  "Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information."
What could one possibly gain besides money or power?  I have some suggestions.
Twenty Two plus one Reasons for Blackmailing Naughty Churchmen
  1. Control.  I want you to do what I say.  Bark like a dog.
  2. Lobby for gay marriage, gay rights.
  3. Lobby to relax the rules on marriage and divorce.
  4. Lobby for more liberal teaching on contraceptives.
  5. Promotion - the culprit wants to be ordained bishop and given a nice diocese.
  6. Ordination.  The guy with all the impediments wants to be ordained a priest.
  7. I'd like a nice condo in Rome.  Get it for me.
  8. My sister needs an annulment - push it through.  In fact I may start an annulment business and I need a guarantee of success.
  9. I want my mother and dad to have a private audience with the pope.
  10. Indulgences.
  11. Promote women's ordination, married priesthood.
  12. Art and antiques.
  13. Grant Basilica status for my parish.
  14. Papal seal of approval for my product.
  15. Permission to do whatever I want, live where I want.  (For a priest)
  16. Get on the A-list for social events.
  17. Access to important personages in the Holy See.
  18. Win all the bids for work to be done inside the Vatican.
  19. Canonization of my cat.
  20. Push for the destruction of the SSPX, or its promotion.
  21. Ban the traditional Mass, or not.
  22. Let Cardinals wear ermine again.
  23. Money, money, money.

"How 'bout rights to use
'Catholic' in my business name?
Along with endorsements?"


Vatileaks ... "Blackmail and betrayal at the highest levels of the Church"

This is so Angels and Demons.

I'm not sure the Vatileaks deal and subsequent investigations explain Pope Benedict's early retirement - because I really do take him at his word - but it surely must be a source of deep spiritual pain for the Holy Father.  I believe it was St John of the Cross who said the holier the confessor the less he would be shocked by grave sins, likewise, I very much doubt the Holy Father was so 'freaked out' by the betrayal of his butler, or corruption in the Vatican that he decided to renounce the papacy.

Nevertheless, reports suggesting a homosexual network within the Vatican does come close to some of the intrigue associated with a Dan Brown conspiracy-theory-novel.  Yet 'we' kinda, sorta knew this right?   At least we suspected something like this.  It wasn't that many years ago a gay priest scandal broke out involving Roman priests, and one or two of them worked and lived in Vatican City.  If 'we' knew or suspected this stuff, so did Pope Ratzinger - or at least he heard the same rumours we did.  So all I'm saying is, he couldn't have been all that shocked... and he certainly isn't 'fleeing the wolves'.

From Robert Moynihan  2/21/13
Today a veil of secrecy was shredded in this eternal city.
Today therefore marked the beginning of a difficult, important struggle for the purification of the government of the Church desired for so many years by Joseph Ratzinger.
We were given a glimpse today into some of the reasons, previously unknown, that prompted Pope Benedict XVI to announce his resignation on February 11, to take effect February 28, in seven days, reasons that apparently "overwhelmed his spirit within him" and "made his heart desolate."
It is a story that in many ways seems the plot of a novel.
It is a story of blackmail and betrayal at the highest levels of the Church, and, allegedly, of a homosexual lobby organized within the Vatican to influence and obtain important decisions. - Moynihan Report
The news story as it broke yesterday:
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".

In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.

It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."

La Repubblica's report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican. In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a "sting" organised by an Italian television programme while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man.

In 2010 a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting. A few months later a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.

The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals. But it teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered". Pope Benedict has barred sexually active gay men from studying for the priesthood. - Source
I've been talking about these things on this blog.  Over and over.  Noting especially the cliques?  People have friends in high places...  friends turn out to be support groups...  Kind of like a network - not monolithic maybe, but it's there.

Art: Angels and Demons helicopter scene.

Disclaimer:  Just remember details of the report have not been released and specualtions by the press have not been confirmed.  Keep in mind both the right and the left use rumour and innuendo to their advantage.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marian locutions revealing the next Pope...

"He will be the pope of Fatima and bring to fruition all of the gifts of Fatima."

Monsignor Essef's spiritual child provided Marian locutions about the next conclave, as well as prophetic details how an unknown would be elected, someone hidden until now.  Likewise he is supposed to be a Marian Pope, connected to Fatima...
Now I will come to the central point so there will be no mistake. The Cardinals will meet to elect a pope but an extraordinary intervention of God will occur that will alert the whole world to the special nature of this office. They will seek to discern this intervention, to grasp what is the will of God, but everything will not be clear at first. Some, however, will speak in divine wisdom and the search will begin to find the one whom God wants to raise up. He will not come forward at first, even though he knows that he is chosen by God. He will wait until the discussion is concluded and the Cardinals are settled. Then new manifestations will occur which will signal clearly the one whom the heavenly Father wants as his Pope. This will be a complete surprise to the world and to the Church but not to the one upon whom the mantle falls. This is my chosen son, the one whom I have picked. I want all of this to happen in a startling manner so the world and the Church know that this one was chosen by heaven, by God and not by men. He will be prepared because I will have prepared him. He will be the pope of Fatima and bring to fruition all of the gifts of Fatima, just in time to prepare the Church and the world for the Satanic onslaught. - Source

So.  What if it is Dom François Marie Velut O. Carth., the former Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite?  His story here.  

The last pope to resign was a hermit-monk - what if the successor to the latest pope to resign is a hermit-monk?  Especially one so closely connected to Our Lady and Fatima.


This just in: Expecting a new Motu Proprio before the Pope leaves office.

Papal departure rehearsal.*

"To elucidate the question of the opening date of the conclave."

That's what Fr. Lombardi said.

I hope the Holy Father get's a chance to check in with all the Catholic blogger experts as he composes it.

Fr. Lombardi's statement:
"I don't know if he will deem it necessary or appropriate," he added, "to elucidate the question of the opening date of the conclave. We will have to see if and when a document is published. It seems to me, for example, the clarification of some details in order to be in complete agreement with another document regarding the conclave, that is, the Ordo Rituum Conclavis. In any case, the question depends on the Pope's judgement and if this document comes about it will be made known through the proper channels." - VIS

Oh the details!

  • Ban this and that Cardinal from attending the conclave.

  • Convene the conclave the night of departure of the former Pope.  

  • Instruct the Cardinal electors to do background checks on candidates to insure there are no sex abuse scandals.

  • Ensure the next Pope selects a name that is meaningful.

  • Forbid the re-election of the resigning Pontiff.

  • Forbid computers, cell phones, ipads, all electronic recording devices.

  • No campaigning.

  • Provide for open bar during breaks.

H/T Archbishop GG

*Art: Angels and Demons scene.

Cardinal Mahony: Should we call down fire from heaven? Redux.

Sometimes I think we know not of what spirit  are...

Mahony has never been a hero for me, but in his 'disgrace', he has helped me understand the depths of my own disgrace.  Some time ago now, I did things in my life that were very wrong.  I'm a big sinner.

I returned to the Church and the sacraments, and received many graces - some extraordinary.

My soul, once cleaned and tidy, became besieged by temptations, more terrible than before my conversion.

I fell and got up - helped by the sacraments and prayer.

I continued to struggle, falling and rising.

Sometimes the struggle was so intense, I compromised my faith.

I lived faithful to the Church but didn't remain faithful to prayer, and though I continued to 'practice' my faith, go to Mass and frequent the sacraments, there was set aside in my heart a reserve, if you will. I wasn't growing in virtue or love of God and neighbor. I wasn't as vigilant about the occasion of sin, and I was more than tolerant of the sinful lifestyles of others.

When your secret is all found out...

Eventually, Our Lady grasped me - once again, she is Mother of Mercy and Refuge of Sinners you know - and little by little I continue to recover.

However, with every sin there is some chastisement.

Old friends fell away, some scoffed at me.  Enemies I had made pointed out my sins, my dissolute life, and my dishonesty. They called me a hypocrite.  I am.

Yet remarkably, all along I believed I was doing God's will. Especially after my last 'recovery' - yet people still called me out.  While deep down, I am fairly certain I expected to be received like the prodigal son - esteemed for 'coming to my senses'... embracing a faithful Catholic life.   

I thought to myself, "They mocked Christ. They rejected the woman caught in adultery.  And they call me out." I pondered the narratives of the Suffering Servant, finding some comfort, imagining I was 'meritoriously' sharing in Christ's sufferings. Not yet understanding that it was He who took on my sufferings - not I his. It was an almost impossible lesson to learn - then and now - since self-love is so blinding, so relentlessly fixated on justifying ourselves.

Nevertheless, it was in and through pondering the rejected, wounded, Suffering Servant - who first identified himself with me, even while I imagined I was identifying with him - it was in and through that prayer, deluded though I had been, that I came to understand something of what the good thief may have finally understood. I was getting what I deserved. Christ though innocent, suffered all the same things, and much worse - before me and for me - and he deserved it not.

Repentance and conversion is a process... 'long and as hard as life.' 

Christ was mocked and scorned and condemned - and died.  Even upon the cross 'he was made a fool of before all whom he loved.'  That in our repentance we may acquire humility and not lose hope in his mercy.  Angela of Foligno said the book of Christ Crucified is the only book we need study for our complete conversion.  Even in the depths of our sin, we can see Christ, already descended there, waiting for us right there.

I can't help but wonder, even hope, that this is what Cardinal Mahony is doing now...  Charity hopes all things.  The Cardinal expressed the need to forgive those who attack him.  Wrong or right, when attacked, our human nature is angered - we all need to forgive as much as we hope to be forgiven.

That said, the Cardinal answers to God and the Pope in religious matters, and civil court in legal matters.  The fact is, the Cardinal continues to teach, and I suspect he continues to learn as well.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
- Psalm 139

Cardinal Mahony

Lord! Should we call down fire from heaven?

I wrote a post in response to the outrage over Mahony's latest ...

But I decided not to post it.

And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Graffiti fresco...

In Barcelona.

A Barcelona priest commissioned street artists - graffiti artists - taggers, to paint the apse in his church, L'Hospitalet's Santa Eulalia.  It is magnificent - a fine example of contemporary Catalan iconography.
“Even though the press is scandalized by graffiti artists,” he said, “for me graffiti is just another artistic technique.”

The result is a spectacular splash of colors – rich blues, bright reds and greens, on the rounded ceiling dominating the main sanctuary. But don’t think street art. In fact, the style of the painting is faithfully Romanesque, with static, two-dimensional renderings of Saint Eulalia, the Virgin and Baby Jesus and the congregation. Borr says he sent his two young graffiti artists to school before he let them near the place.

“I told them they couldn’t start until they visited a museum in Barcelona to study the Romanesque style I was interested in,” he said. “So they went, and studied, even took out some books.”
Only after that could the project come together.

One of the two ‘graffiteros’ was Raul Sanchez, who’s tag, or signature for street art, is House. House said that when Father Borr hired him he was surprised, and nervous, and thrilled. 
“Only a graffiti artist can tell we used aerosol cans to do the work,” he said by telephone from Alicante. “We tried to conceal that. In the Roman period spray paint obviously didn’t exist.” 
House said that if the spray-paint style had been too obvious it would have been away from what Father Borr wanted.

Not that House completely conformed. - Full story here.

This story supports for me what I've always said about iconography:  It is painted, not written.  Likewise, medium and technique is not a magic formula to transform a work into sacred art. 

It is wonderful to see this accomplished within an architecturally traditional church. 

The Pistorius Story

Isn't it weird?

She should have hidden his legs and left. 

Story here.

Catherine of Siena: Fearless and fiery...

But not a Savonarola.

Catherine wrote a lot of letters, but they were private - not for public consumption. Raymond of Capua wrote her biography. He was also her spiritual director and knew her soul. She never acted on her own. She never had a bonfire of the vanities. She never was able to ascend a pulpit to condemn or deride the evils of the day. She didn't walk about Siena or Avignon, or even Rome, trying to make a name for herself.

She wrote letters. She met with important personages who sought her counsel, she was a spiritual guide for many, and she even reprimanded, albeit charitably and privately, the Pope and civic leaders.

If she had a blog or wrote books would she have been like us and publicly condemn and deride and scoff like we do? I don't know. I doubt it very much. Would she approve of some of our more searing posts against others? I doubt it even more. All I know is that she rarely if ever went public with her rebukes and condemnations, she wrote in confidence, moved by divine inspiration. As she wrote to one of her spiritual sons, a priest:

“I am ignorant and not very insightful. Everything else is from supreme eternal Truth: give him the credit, not me.” - Catholic Exchange review of Fearless and Fiery, Letters of St. Catherine

Perhaps if any one of us aspires to be like Catherine, we should first pray for the grace to imitate her penance, her solitude in the cell of self-knowledge, imitating her prayer, which lifted her soul in heroic charity - intense love of God and neighbor.. - then those of us who dare, may try to reform the Church.  Remember, perfection lies in union with God through charity...

The ongoing apparitions at Lourdes in 1858...

Recalling them today...

Yesterday, February 18 marked the third time Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858.  It was also the first time Our Lady spoke to Bernadette:
"The third time was the following Thursday. The Lady only spoke to me the third time. I went to the grotto with a few matured people, who advised me to take paper and ink, and to ask her, if she had anything to say to me, to have the goodness to put it on paper. I said these words to the Lady. She smiled and said that it was not necessary for her to write what she had to say to me, but asked if I would do her the favour of coming for a fortnight. I told her that I would. She told me also that she did not promise to make me happy in this world, but in the next."
Rene Laurentin translates Our Lady's request this way: "Would you have the kindness to come here for fifteen days?"  Adding, "I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next."

Since the Holy Father made his announcement on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I cannot help but connect his final days as Pope with the sequence of apparitions at Lourdes.  The 28 of February marks the 11th apparition.  The 16th apparition and final of the fortnight ended on March 25, the date Our Lady reveals her name, proclaiming solemnly, "I am the Immaculate Conception."  Our Lady appeared twice after that, the last apparition occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16, 1858.

Our Lady's fourth apparition took place today, February 19.

NB: Bernadette prayed her rosary at every apparition, while the Blessed Virgin fingered the rosary she held along with her as Bernadette prayed.  Though Our Lady did not explicitly ask us to pray the rosary, it was implied.  However, Our Lady did make an urgent request, calling for "Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners..." 

Photo: Pope Benedict at Lourdes, 2008. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quote of the day... a take-away from a homily by Bishop Morlino

"And, he (Bishop Morlino) tells the converts that they are going to enter the Barque of Peter… which is a ship… a battleship, not a cruise-ship."  - Fr. Z


The Pope's Pension...

According to this, Pope Benedict will receive a pension of about $3,340 per month.

That is just a little more than what Fr. Z gets in monthly donations.

Of course the Pope probably has book royalties coming in as well, so I doubt he will  request donations - not that there is anything wrong with that.

Down with Downton!

He can't be!  I refuse to accept it. 

Ducking the meteors on the way to the conclave...

There's a lot of rancor out there...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts on the Three Temptations

To self-indulgence and satiety.
Disordered satisfaction in sensual gratification.  Or, the inordinate love of sensual pleasure.

To be as gods.
To redefine for ourselves all the laws, customs and traditions which conflict with our personal preferences, so-called rights and pursuit of happiness. 
To presumption.
To control and command and order our lives according to our own will and desire... to non serviam.  To make oneself an idol, a star, presuming all the while it is God who exults us.

Concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Art: Temptation of Christ, Sandro Botticelli.  Note the devil dressed as a hermit/desert father.  Think about that.

Mass Chat: Nothing about the Pope...

Not even in the prayers of the faithful.

Although one of the intentions was a prayer for guidance in electing a new Pope.

Of course the Holy Father is always prayed for in the Eucharistic Prayer.

This Pope deal is really disturbing at times...  It has opened a lot wounds I think.

It reminds me not to put my trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save...