Saturday, July 27, 2013

Maybe the Pope is an anarchist?

“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord,”
[QUAERITUR: So, young people get into the streets and act up a bit.  Is that supposed to get them jobs?  They could reach out to older people even without jobs.  But, how is "asserting themselves" going to get them work... unless he means "get off your backsides and look for jobs" and "don't be too proud to take a job that pays less because money is not your god"... I'm just asking.  In concrete terms what could he be driving at here? I don't think he is simply uttering vaguely moralistic catchphrases.] - Source
"Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ."

Song for this post here.
Works for me.

In addition to WYD this weekend: The Courage Conference is going on in Mundelein.

Thursday, July 25 - Sunday, July 28 University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois                  

Many high profile commenters to this blog will be there.  I haven't received one update however.  Not a word.  They are so secretive.  I wonder if anyone is sporting a bow-tie?

Prayers for a good conference all around!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Three ages of man: Youth, middle age and shut-up and die.

Three stages of altar servers:
Altar geezer, Altar guy, Altar boy.*
You've heard the terms, Aging hippies, biological solution, save the boomers-save the world.  Age discrimination thrives amongst Catholics, just as much as it does in other sectors of culture.  It may explain why Pope Francis keeps reminding contemporary young people that "dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened,"

A friend sent me an interesting study "by Princeton researchers aimed at measuring age discrimination, one of the toughest forms of workplace bias to prove."
The subjects of the experiment — 137 Princeton undergraduates — were shown a video of a man who would be their partner in a trivia contest. His name was Max, he was white, neither handsome nor ugly, wore a checked shirt and said he was from Hamilton, N.J.  
What the students did not know was that there were actually three different versions of Max, being played by different actors, 25, 45 and 75 years old.
Each Max adhered to the same script with one exception. When describing himself, half of the time the Max character said he was the kind of person to share his wealth with relatives (the compliant Max); and the other half of the time, Max said he felt no obligation to share (the assertive Max).
The students were then asked their opinion of Max. For those who saw the 25- or 45-year-old Max, it made no difference whether he was compliant or assertive. But students who saw the 75-year-old actor gave the assertive Max a high negative rating. - Read the rest here.

I don't want to reprint the entire NYT piece, much less overestimate it, but it really ties in with my observations of how some of the more 'early to middle-aged' amongst Catholic bloggers and cultural critics like to hone in on aging hippies and the boomers, as if their demise will solve all of their problems.  (Although they will defensively correct you and claim that it is not ageism.)  Some of the more vocal critics always strike me as resentful because they haven't the so-called entitlements they believe their seniors have benefitted from, or because they felt themselves to be easily dismissed, ignored or held down.  (Some probably were.) 

It strikes me as odd however, since one would be hard pressed to find such whining from young (or old) immigrants coming into this country, or converts coming into the Church.

Of course, the middle-aged whiners are getting old now too... and they may be expecting your donations to support their inestimable contribution to the New Evangelization in and through their online presence - because they are entitled.


Don't you worry Father!
He doesn't know what he's talking about,
writing a blog is a lot of work,
and the Bible says the worker deserves his wage.

*h/t NS

See! Even Cardinal Burke agrees!

"I see a perfect continuity with Pope Benedict XVI."
Axed whether there are “substantial differences between [Popes Benedict and Francis] on the importance of the sacred liturgy,” Cardinal Burke replied:
I don’t see it at all. The Holy Father clearly hasn’t had the opportunity to teach in a kind of authoritative way about the sacred liturgy, but in the things he has said about the sacred liturgy I see a perfect continuity with Pope Benedict XVI. I see in the Holy Father, too, a great concern for respecting the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and his discipline, and that is what Pope Francis is doing. - Source
There you go you Negative Nancys. 

French women walking her poodle savagely attacked by feral cats...

I'm afraid to leave the house!

French police are looking into rumors that the cats had been trained by PETA.
About six cats pounced on the unnamed dog owner as she walked her poodle in the city of Belfort, in the popular Franche-Comte region, on the Swiss border, dragging her to the ground and mauling her.  - Finish reading here.

Personally, I don't believe the story.  I think disgruntled residents made the whole thing up.  People hate cats and will do anything to eliminate them.  They're haters.

Although my mother's cat Sheba used to attack me.  She would hide and suddenly jump on my leg and bite me.  Vicious.


Great lyric...

"Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness"
- Bob Dylan, "Desolation Row"

H/T Patrick

Thursday, July 25, 2013

After Mother Teresa died, I wondered what saint the Lord would raise up to lead in the reform of the Church.

Every age has its reformers, its moral leaders.

Extraordinary saints have always led the reform, the renewal of the Church in times of crises.  St. Francis for example, as the collect for the Feast of the Stigmata says:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who when the world was growing cold, in order that the hearts of men might burn anew with the fire of Your love, did in the flesh of the most blessed Francis reproduce the stigmata of Your passion: be mindful of his merits and prayers; and in Your mercy vouchsafe to us the grace ever to carry Your cross, and to bring forth worthy fruits of penance.  
So we see the purpose of holy men and women and the charisms given to them.  We think of St. Pio who enkindled such love and devotion in the hearts of the faithful, a simple priest, enclosed in his friary in Italy.  Before him, Therese of Lisieux, a cloistered nun who never left the enclosure, but who reached millions of souls in her 'Little Way'.  Like Therese - and Francis, the very little, but great Mother Teresa of Calcutta, lived a contemplative life amidst the poorest of the poor, uniting, as it were, the charism of Carmel to that of Francis, alive and active in the streets.

Like these saints, today we have Pope Francis.  He combines these spiritual gifts and presents them to the Church and the world.  He has captured the hearts of the most simple and re-presents the Gospel in the cross-cultural, understandable language of the heart.  In the history of the Church God raised up little ones to lead the way, to reform and renew the faith.  However, it seems to me, in our day he has raised a little one to the Chair of Peter to show the way - to lead the way - with authority... albeit refusing to be confined by ancient protocol.

“The Church must be taken into the streets,” he said in the cathedral of Rio de Janeiro July 25.
“This is your protocol for action: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25,” he advised the youth.

Matthew 25 tells of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Last Judgement: “I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.”

“Please, do not water down the faith,” he pleaded. “Stir things up, cause confounding, but do not diminish faith in Jesus Christ.”

Finally, Pope Francis thanked his countrymen for their closeness to him. He lamented that he could not be closer to them.

“At times I feel (encaged) … how ugly it is to be encaged, I would have liked to be closer to you all,” he said, sharing his heart with them.

“Don't forget to make a mess, to disturb complacency. Don't forget the youth and the aged.”
Don't forget the youth and the aged.

The Pope does not marginalize, does not segregate, does not  write off others by expressing confidence in some 'biological solution' or much less, some compromise of Catholic teaching to bring more people 'in'.  He doesn't define and confine Catholics to this camp or that camp, to the left or the right. 

“We do not let aged people speak, and as for young people – it is the same. They do not have the experience and the dignity of work … Young people must be able to go out and fight for their values,” he urged.

“Care for the two extremes of life,” he taught. As youth must be able to stand up for their values, so must “older people be able to speak out, to transmit their wisdom and knowledge.”

“You must not let yourselves be marginalized. Faith in Christ is not a joke. The only sure way, is the way of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus.”

“Faith in God's Son, who became man and who died for me, must make a mess, must disturb us out of our complacency.” - CNA Pope to Argentine youth.

If the Pope makes us uncomfortable, it is because we have been too comfortable, too self-satisfied, too complacent, too convinced of our own self-righteousness, while looking down on everyone else.   

Pilgrims to Santiago Compostela: Prayers for the victims and survivors of the Spanish train derailment.

Most of the victims were pilgrims for today's feast of Santiago:
De todo corazón mi pésame a Galicia por el terrible accidente del tren procedente de Madrid con destino Ferrol, cuatro kilómetros antes de la estación  de Santiago de Compostela.

Precisamente en la víspera de la festividad del apóstol Santiago, Patrón de España.

Mis oraciones por todas las víctimas, heridos y fallecidos, así como mi apoyo y dolor a sus familiares.

Santiago Apóstol, Patrón de España, ruega por ellos
y ruega por España - Source 

A Pilgrim's Prayer

O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we journey in the love of your name to Santiago de Compostela.
Be for us our companion on the way,
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our albergue on the Camino,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.
So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the Road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Apostle Santiago, pray for us.
Santa Maria, pray for us.

Much more on the disaster here

I love what the Pope is saying and doing.

I especially love what he had to say to the patients in recovery at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital.
To embrace someone is not enough, however. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to. Dear friends, I wish to say to each of you, but especially to all those others who have not had the courage to embark on our journey: You have to want to stand up; this is the indispensible condition! You will find an outstretched hand ready to help you, but no one is able to stand up in your place. But you are never alone! The Church and so many people are close to you. Look ahead with confidence. Yours is a long and difficult journey, but look ahead, there is “a sure future, set against a different horizon with regard to the illusory enticements of the idols of this world, yet granting new momentum and strength to our daily lives” (Lumen Fidei, 57). To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope! - Read the full text here.
It is so good to hear the Pope affirm that.

You can change.

"It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to."

Let's pray especially for those who relapse.

“The young Francis abandoned the riches and comfort of the world in order to become a poor man among the poor. He understood that true joy and riches do not come from the idols of this world – material things and the possession of them – but are to be found only in following Christ and serving others”. - Pope Francis

St. James the Greater ...

The Moor-Slayer.
O glorious Apostle, Saint James, who by because of your fervent and generous heart was chosen by Jesus to be witness of His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in Gethsemane; you, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory:
obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life,
that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus, we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor's crown in heaven.    Amen.

Prayers for Spain after yesterday's tragedy.  Story here.

UPDATE:  It appears most of the victims were pilgrims for today's feast of Santiago:

De todo corazón mi pésame a Galicia por el terrible accidente del tren procedente de Madrid con destino Ferrol, cuatro kilómetros antes de la estación  de Santiago de Compostela.

Precisamente en la víspera de la festividad del apóstol Santiago, Patrón de España.

Mis oraciones por todas las víctimas, heridos y fallecidos, así como mi apoyo y dolor a sus familiares.

Santiago Apóstol, Patrón de España, ruega por ellos
y ruega por España - Source

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turning off the Patheos channel for awhile.

Looking for new programming. 

Don't get me wrong - there are really nice people at Patheos - good writers, good Catholics, good promoters. 

It's headline news and repetitive views - all of the time.

It's all good, believe me - believe them - they will tell you.  Go back in the archives of each blogger and read the same old same old repetition - today.  Go to anybody on any blogomerate and read the same old same old repetition - many were picked for that reason.  Granted, some talent had a unique take on being Catholic in the modern world, until they went corporate and therefore commercial.  However, they soon get pasteurized, Stepfordized, industrialized.  EWTN is like that.  Sunday Visitor is like that.  I don't know what happens - but something changes.  I can't put my finger on it.  They go professional, which means they go commercial, which means they market themselves.  Nothing wrong with that BTW - everyone needs to earn a living - but it ends up being about as interesting as a diocesan newspaper or a parish Sunday bulletin.

It really hit me this week.  The factionista approach to Catholic blogdom dominance; networking, syndicating, just like Network TV.  It's a business.  It's politics.  It's ratings.

The Catholic channel at Patheos is one of the leading examples of what happens because they've been around just long enough for everyone to remember the honest, untampered writing style of the pre-draft talent.  Back then the same old same old wasn't old - it was fresh.  Until it became a marketed commodity.  Nothing against my friends there - but the Catholic channel isn't that interesting.  I read Kat because she somehow retains a certain candor - most everyone else strikes me as more or less 'canned' or, processed.  I check out other posts only when one of their buddies in another Catholic news portal links to a particular post, or when another blogger maybe jumps on one of their 'come to the defense of this beleaguered blogger' bandwagon.  It's simplified my life online, to be sure.

Two writers in particular helped me 'elucidate' my thoughts on the matter.

'Peace and Justice Catholics' - a tiresome replay ...
There seems to be an undefined group of Catholics who some call “Peace and Justice Catholics”. They are typified as aging hippies.
On the other side of the fence are what might be called Piety and Purity Catholics. They are the conservatives who are all for the authority of the Church, family values, high standards of sexual morality. 
I hope and pray that these sad divisions in Catholicism are fading away.

Really?  What would you write about then?

Please Ignore the Attention Whores, in particular sums it all up:
It’s simply attention whoring. In the internet age, it’s link-bait. It’s a ready-made thought virus, sure to be shared by supporters. There is no downside to this kind of low-class behavior for either side: supporters get the thrill of shock, and foes get the thrill of outrage.  
I don’t know why we do this. We don’t need to react, but we do react, just like dogs drooling for the dinner bell. In contrast to what leftists like to think, conservatives are not, in fact, “reactionary.”
No one needs to know what goes on at MSNBC or on Rush Limbaugh or react to the outrage-du-jour. It’s all irrelevant. It vanishes into the ether, leaving only the smell of sizzling ozone as it goes, while we move to the next outrage, becoming complicit in a self-sustaining media-outrage cycle. 
These aren’t skirmish in a culture-war with a victory in sight. This is World War I trench combat: a fixed line that wavers and consumes casualties and never moves.

Couldn't have said it better.

Disclaimer: No links here, I didn't want to be cited for 'attention whoring' or labeled 'link bait'.

I think it's time to take Terry down!

The Little Prince: George Alexander Louis


The Royal baby is named!

George Alexander Louis, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.


Some background on the name:  Prince William and Kate are known to be huge fans of 'Seinfeld' and named their baby after Jason Alexander and his character 'George' with a h/t to Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Yeah.  That's right.

Archbishop Chaput: Right wing Catholics 'generally not happy with the Pope'?

Archbishop lost in woods. - Botero


What are right wing Catholics?

Are there left wing Catholics?

Middle of the road Catholics?

Is Catholicism a political system?

Was everyone happy with former Popes?

I have a lot of respect for Archbishop Chaput.  But why would he speak this way about Catholics?
During an interview in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, for instance, Chaput bluntly stated:
[T]hat members of the right wing of the Catholic church "generally have not been really happy" with some aspects of Francis' early months and said the pope will have to find a way "to care for them, too." - NCR

I'm so not fond of politicians and political terms when it comes to the Faith.  What does that mean, right wing of the Church?

Is the rest of the Church something else?  Is there a liberal wing that has it's own set of rules and teachings and liturgy.  What is Chaput really saying?

Are bishops called to segregate and politicize the Body of Christ?  Are some Catholics labeled, and then so easily dismissed that they are neglected?  That there needs to be a special way 'to care for them too'? 

I don't get this kind of bishop-speak?   Like Dolan saying, "We have to do more for gay Catholics."  What the hell are all of these political designations doing to the Body of Christ? 

Bishops should not do interviews.

Bishops should avoid photo-ops.

Bishops should stop labeling people.

Bishops should tend their flocks.


I thought Carnival was over?

KIDDING!  I'm just kidding!  Love the photo though.

Obama cheering the Pope in Rio?

He kind of looks like him.  Squint.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Public sinners... by their fruits you will know them.

Giving scandal:  "Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion."

Respect for the souls of others: scandal (read and memorize):

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."86 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.87

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible."88 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,89 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!" - CCC

Homeschool activity-project:

Discuss and list all the ways people scandalize one another.

Suggested topics:
  • promotion of civil unions and same sex marriage 
  • public parades promoting sinful behavior
  • public nudity
  • cross-dressing-up for Mass
  • improper/immodest fashions
  • immoral entertainment
  • priests shooting guns in church
  • women in pants ;)  what?
  • public drunkenness while on pilgrimage in Rome
  • Catholic politicians endorsing evil
  • dirty liturgical dancing
  • gluttony and over-eating at adoration 
  • tight clothing if you are old or fat
  • blogging
  • talking on the phone in church, texting
  • performing on SNL
  • laughing at anything on SNL
  • priests and religious breaking their vows and destroying marriages

By their fruits...

Exclusive: Entrance Hymn in Rio.


Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace


Mother of Divine Grace (Mater Gratiae) Feast Day: July 23


In thanksgiving for favors granted.
For more information on the feast day go here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Heard Mentality

Gay-Catholic John Heard capitulates ...*
"After many long years of discussion and consideration, and whereas I previously held a different view, it is important now to state clearly that I no longer oppose efforts to reform the [Australian] Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to provide for same sex civil marriage. I have always believed in the value of marriage and family and I have come to believe that the benefits and rigours of civil marriage and adoption should be extended to same sex attracted men and women.

Inasmuch as some organisations and individuals continue to refer to my previous statements on this matter, and some persist in doing so despite written clarification from me, I now reiterate publicly what I have communicated privately. No one should use my name, image, or previous statements to promote an anti-reform campaign or agenda.

I acknowledge with gratitude those interlocutors over the years who challenged me to reconsider civil marriage reform." – John Heard

What did I tell you?

Song for this post here.

*Available for speaking engagements at your parish or religious education conference!

Acknowledgment to  Wild Reed for the JH quote.

Pope go to Rio.

"I don't give interviews, but I enjoy your company."

Reportedly the Holy Father told reporters that on the plane. 

I've been thinking about the Pope and how he does things.  For instance, 'the I don't do interviews' quip means to me - "This is not about me."  His mission is about Christ.  That's what bothers the Pope I think, when evangelization is more about the person, the personality and the business, than about Christ.  Think how people such as Maciel, Euteneuer, Corapi, and other online Catholics make everything about 'me'.   The Pope doesn't do interviews.  He doesn't do a lot of stuff one expects from 'celebrities'.

For example, he doesn't worry about security.  It's maybe a Jesuit thing - sort of a de Caussade/Walter Ciszek style of abandonment to Divine Providence; so he doesn't ride around in a bullet proof pope mobile.  Maybe he thinks of the priests killed on the street in Muslim countries?  Maybe he thinks if it be God's will...  It is the vulnerability of Christ.  He doesn't carry a gun to defend himself, he walks in peace amongst the crowd - just like the Master. 

Like Mother Teresa, it is obvious - to me at least - that his mission is not about him, or the 'office of the papacy' - it's about Christ and the Gospel... love and mercy.

So.  When we do something, post something, and someone calls us out about it, and we feel personally insulted - that's a sign it's all about you - me.  We aren't doing it for Christ then.

In these days, I think that is what this Pope is teaching us.

Song for this post here.

I will not be dismissed so easily!
I've been insulted by better people than you!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sad but true: A Father who is a father and worked on the diocesan marriage tribunal...

Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed:  The Fr. Dan Conlin story now public knowledge.

A friend emailed me today and asked if I knew about the story.  I did.  I knew shortly after it happened.  I worked in a religious goods store at the time - which was a hotbed of gossip.  I found out.  I was sort of surprised, probably because I had seen the same priest as a seminarian at Carmel years before.  Anyone assisting at Mass at Carmel had to be holy, I thought - but hey, we're not saints yet. 

I still maintain he is a good priest.  I've been to his Masses, he's heard my confession.  He doesn't know me, but I know him - as well as his friends.  he is well liked and respected.  I'm so sorry the story broke, I'm so sorry personal details are revealed.  I don't know what will happen with him now.  Please pray for him.  His name and story has been made public here.

He fell into serious sin, adultery, and atones for it.  I pray he will remain a priest.  I'm not sure he can however.  As the article points out:
Before he became Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio said a priest who fathers a child "must leave his ministry and take care of his child, even though he might decide not to marry the woman." 
In his 2010 book, "On Heaven and Earth," published in English in April, he wrote, "Because just as the child has a right to have a mother, the child also has the right to the face of a father. I commit myself to do all the paperwork in Rome, but he must leave everything. ... The double life does not do us any good, I do not like it; it means sustaining deceit."
So, I don't know. 

Archbishop Nienstedt doesn't exactly come off well in the sad story - according to the article he told the husband of the woman:
"(Nienstedt) is the one that's responsible for monitoring this priest's behavior," Doyle continued. "And he's the one that's responsible to provide the proper kind of pastoral care or justice for the ex-husband," as well as avoiding "serious scandal and destruction to the children, if it's not already happened." 
Nienstedt told Bill in an email last year that he did not believe a meeting with Bill "would be helpful." 
That's cold.

I've never been impressed with bishops.

H/T Poodle Van Skor and Pewsitter


Conversion stories: "You could practically write a whole book about what happened to me." - Gloria Upson

It's a good thing.

Though I can sometimes be rather critical of what sometimes looks like a marketing campaign, memoirs are a highly honored literary form. Memoirs and conversion stories told in the first person are often fascinating representations of personal memory and experience.  In the case of conversion stories, they not only document and relate significant changes in one's life and perception, but the action of grace as well.  The conversion story gives glory to God and witnesses to God's merciful love: "that power in us which can do for us infinitely more than we can ask or imagine."  In other words - the conversion story is more about what God did for you, than you.

On another level, it is even God's will that we speak or write of such things, tell the story of what happened to us. 
The man that Jesus healed begged to go with Jesus. But Jesus sent the man away, saying, "Go back home and tell people what God did for you." So the man went all over town telling what Jesus had done for him. - Luke 8: 38-39
Did he write a bestseller, I wonder?  Licence action figures of himself?    Just kidding.

Seriously, congratulations!  It's all good.  You'll be in print, like Edna Ferber!  Perhaps boxed sets, like Proust!  On the cover of ... err ... a religious seminar brochure?


What?  I didn't say anything.

Mass Chat.