Saturday, October 26, 2013

The blind, the lame, the disabled.

"I am the man that sees my poverty..." - Lamentations 3:1

My prayer has become more and more like those sick we read about in the Gospel.  Those who prayed for years to be healed.  I think especially of those who lay by the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem:  'sick people lying there blind, lame or disabled waiting for the movement of the water.'  One man had been sick for thirty-eight years, when Christ came along.  Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed and the man said he had no one to help him down to the waters after they had been stirred up.  I imagine that he tried many times to get there, at times he may have found the strength to do so on his own, but in the end he always fell back on account of his weakness.

It occurred to me at adoration.  I try to get down to the waters as soon as the angel stirs them up, but people get in front of me, and I fall back, sometimes I hope someone will help me, but there seems to be no one.  Sometimes I want to see clearly, but I see only in shadows.  Other times I feel like I am on the fringes - like the lepers in their exile outside the gate of the city.  Only when I am brought to nothing can I understand that no one can help me but Jesus.  Sometimes I'm discouraged, by circumstances, by my weakness.  Sometimes I too can be scared off by his disciples, who tell me in so may ways not to bother, God doesn't hear the prayers of sinners, and so on. 

I'm not sure why I am posting this, aside from the fact the Gospel stories give me hope, the courage to persevere, despite falling at every step. 

I knew someone who went to Medjugorje, years ago.  He said as he walked into the church he heard an interior voice telling him, "You will be healed, but it will take time."  I told him I didn't know if the apparitions were authentic, but the interior locution sounded about right - to me at least.  Sometimes God seems to test our faith and doesn't heal us all at once.  Sometimes he allows us to struggle and fall, that we might be more humble after we repent, or because we suffer from our own shortcomings, we may learn to be merciful to others.  Sometimes it seems Jesus ignores us, tells us it is not right to give the good food to dogs - because we desperately need to know our misery.  St. Paul says it takes patience to do God's will.  Jesus tells us it is by patient endurance that we will save our souls.

Sometimes we aren't healed - at least completely - until the very end.  I knew a nun like that.  She had so much joy on her death bed because, as she said,  "I've been healed.  I no longer care what others think of me."  She suffered from depression for years.  Healing takes time - God's time.  It only seems to us that Jesus doesn't come along right away.  Sometimes he helps us up, but we fall back.  Sometimes he will heal us of something, but leaves the wounds to remind us and keep us humble.  We keep praying and trying, hoping amidst great suffering - very often suffering no one else is aware of except Jesus and Our Lady.

"One should seek assurance not in understanding but in faith." - John of the Cross

I'm not sure why I posted this...

I think it's because I need to put things in perspective.  I need to examine why I write, why I'm online.  Why do I think I have something to say? 

Quite awhile ago an anonymous commenter wrote:  "Man, you have a lot of people fooled."  I always think of that.  Whoever wrote it was right.  It could have been anyone who wrote it.  A friend, a former friend, a former co-worker, a family member.  Anyone who knows me, my inconsistency, my hypocrisy.  Comments like that have helped me and continue to help me.

Why do I write?  Why do I criticize others?  Why do I point out the speck in other's eyes when I have that log in my own? 

I can't give advice.  I can't correct errors.  I can't call other people out.  I can't even believe if I'm spending all my time looking for approval from others. 

I've had a lot of people fooled.

"For he who will punish the idle word shall not pardon vain joy." - John of the Cross

Please pray for me from time to time.  Thanks.

St. Bean

October 26 is the feast of St. Bean in the Scottish diocese of Aberdeen.  Sweet.

Friday, October 25, 2013

God really is gravely offended by sacrilege and blasphemy...

Bishop Paprocki.

The Bishop of Springfield recently banned Rainbow Sash people and gay marriage advocates from the Cathedral, explaining that praying the rosary publicly for same sex marriage is blasphemous:
“Praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral,” he warned. “People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral, and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.” - Source
The Shepherd is exercising his right and duty, protecting the sheep - he is also protecting the perpetrators from committing blasphemy, a grave offense against God.  In effect the Bishop is acting mercifully.

God is gravely offended by sacrilege and blasphemy.  We try to make reparation for such sins through prayer and penance.  ["Reparation is a work destined to save society." - Pius IX]  When possible, it seems to me it is even better to prevent the commission of such sins.  For myself, that is the positive side, the merciful aspect of Bishop Paprocki's actions, he not only prevented public blasphemy but he also protected the faithful from grave scandal.  There are consequences to sin.

Does God get angry?

People like to say God doesn't get angry, that he doesn't punish.  I'm not a theologian, but I think that may be a mistaken notion.  After all, aren't there sins that cry to heaven for vengeance?  Doesn't every sin carry with it some sort of chastisement?  In the Old Testament there are numerous examples of God's 'wrath', likewise, private revelations in recent times have indicated that God is not pleased - to say the least - by the increase of sin throughout the world.  In her apparitions Our Lady frequently calls Christians to amend their lives and stop offending God, who is already gravely offended.

Pondering the purposeful actions of Bishop Paprocki, I searched St. John of the Cross for examples of prayers which might displease God - the type which could be considered blasphemous or sacrilegious.  I searched for scriptural references I knew St. John used to illustrate God's anger over similar things.  St. John points them out by way of his teaching on prayer and the purification required in preparation for a soul to arrive at union with God. 

God has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.

I couldn't really find anything directly related to God's anger because someone prayed for something illicit or against his will.  We know of course that God punished the Israelites for complaining and demanding the food they craved as they wandered in the desert.  We also know how Christ rebuked the disciples when they asked if they should call down fire from heaven on those who rejected their preaching.  Although vivid examples of Christ's anger are those directed to the money-changers in the Temple, as well as the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Though I couldn't come up with anything specific, St. John of the Cross does cite several instances of God being angered, which may help us understand the grave offense of sacrilege and blasphemy.

In Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John writes that God is displeased by the request for revelations and locutions, despite the fact that some believe their curiosity to know these things is good because God has revealed himself in this manner in the past.  St. John asserts that God is not pleased, saying not only is he displeased, he is 'frequently angered and deeply offended.'  Explaining:
The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the natural boundaries God has established for the governing of creatures.  He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.  A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful... consequently, God who is offended ... is displeased.
"He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.  A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful ..."  Imagine how 'unlawful' it is to transcend God's plan for marriage and family?

I may be overworking this, but...

St. John goes on to cite several examples of God's displeasure from scripture.  Now of course St. John is speaking of the illicitness of seeking knowledge of God through revelations and locutions, and in the cases he cites, these requests run contrary to God's will and are therefore sinful.  As St. John explains why it was lawful to request signs and wonders in the Old Covenant, and why it is not expedient to do so in the New, I think he also helps us understand why praying for Divine approval or a change in doctrine upon something as illicit and sinful as same sex marriage, is so offensive to be regarded as blasphemous.

We must be guided humanly and visibly in all by the law of Christ the man and that of his Church and of his ministers.  This is the method of remedying our spiritual ignorances and weakness; here we shall find abundant medicine for them all.  Any departure from this road is ... extraordinary boldness ... one must ever adhere to Christ's teaching. - John of the Cross

Of course there are other sections of the Saint's writing which describe God's anger, but I'm not sure it's worth the time to try and manipulate them to illustrate something so obvious.  I'm not even sure why I even worked on this?  At any rate,  Bishop Paprocki's statement is enough:  “Praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous..."

More importantly, Bishop Paprocki prevented the blasphemy from taking place, and he also offered pastoral consolation when he counseled:
"Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God's forgiveness."
I believe God is always pleased by our repentance, and prayers for forgiveness - no matter where we are at.

Then he wrote this and that and the other thing, and I knew he was wrong, and, and I yelled at my lap top: "What? Are you kidding me?"

Wrong on the Internet!

I thought of that last night after catching something actress Lizzy Caplan said regarding her role in the Masters and Johnson Showtime series, Masters of Sex. The series tells the story of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.  Caplan was attempting to explain to Letterman what was 'wrong' in the lives of 'sexually repressed women' back in the '50's and said something like:  "If women didn't have an orgasm they were considered frigid and they had to go to therapy, they had to spend years and years in analysis."

If one did not know better, one might think the actress was an expert on Masters and Johnson - after all, she plays Johnson in the series.  Her statement not only sounded dumb, it begged questions such as, 'Who forced them into therapy?  It was mandated then, huh?'  Or,  'Years of analysis?  Really?  Who could afford that except the very rich?  So all women were forced into therapy to learn how to have an orgasm?'  It was such a dumb thing to say - especially for those of us who get all of our information from late night comedians.  I clicked over to Jimmy Kimmel, at least he knows people don't know what the hell they're talking about.

I knew that.


It reminded me just how frustrating it is when someone is wrong on the Internet.  I've got to move on.

"Well, it was ghastly. Well, it was just ghastly."



The Princess of Luxembourg visits Pope Francis for the first time...

"How do you do..." - Princess Stéphanie de Lannoy
Pope Francis then escorted the royal couple to the door of his office. - Video here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church."

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller on remarried divorcees.
God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church. Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfill them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father. - On the indissolubility of marriage, Archbishop Muller
Failing an annulment, a divorced and remarried Catholic could be admitted to the reception of communion, if...
Where nullity of marriage cannot be demonstrated, the requirement for absolution and reception of communion, according to the Church’s established and approved practice, is that the couple live “as friends, as brother and sister”. Blessings of irregular unions are to be avoided, “lest confusion arise among the faithful concerning the value of marriage”. A blessing (bene-dictio: divine sanctioning) of a relationship that contradicts the will of God is a contradiction in terms. - ibid

It seems to me that this practice could apply to same sex friends who decide to live chastely and celibately in fidelity to Catholic teaching on sexuality.  Catholic teaching on marriage can never be changed to permit same sex marriage or the blessing of civil unions for this very reason:
Blessings of irregular unions are to be avoided, “lest confusion arise among the faithful concerning the value of marriage”. A blessing (bene-dictio: divine sanctioning) of a relationship that contradicts the will of God is a contradiction in terms. - ibid
As for the appeal to Christ's mercy, it may help to be understood this way:
A further case for the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments is argued in terms of mercy. Given that Jesus himself showed solidarity with the suffering and poured out his merciful love upon them, mercy is said to be a distinctive quality of true discipleship. This is correct, but it misses the mark when adopted as an argument in the field of sacramental theology. The entire sacramental economy is a work of divine mercy and it cannot simply be swept aside by an appeal to the same. An objectively false appeal to mercy also runs the risk of trivializing the image of God, by implying that God cannot do other than forgive. The mystery of God includes not only his mercy but also his holiness and his justice. If one were to suppress these characteristics of God and refuse to take sin seriously, ultimately it would not even be possible to bring God’s mercy to man. Jesus encountered the adulteress with great compassion, but he said to her “Go and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church. Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfil them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father. - ibid

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst: "The Holy See considers it appropriate to authorise a period of stay outside the diocese."

Rush to judgment? Limburgers protested the
renovation of the bishop's residence.

MSM headlines claim the Bishop was suspended.*

Ousted? Run out of town?  Exiled?  Secular reports here and here.

Why?  Because he spent a lot of money and an investigation is under way.  But according to the Vatican website, it doesn't say he was  suspended, it appears he is just on a break, 'a period of stay outside the diocese'.  (It is reported the Bishop waited 8 days to finally meet with the Pope.) 
The Holy Father has been continually informed in detail and objectively on the situation regarding the diocese of Limburg. In the diocese, a situation has arisen in which Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst cannot, at the present moment, continue to exercise his episcopal ministry.

Following Cardinal Lajolo's 'fraternal visit' in September, the German Bishops' Conference, in accordance with an agreement between the bishop and the Chapter of Limburg Cathedral, has constituted a Commission to carry out a detailed examination of the matter of the building of the bishop's residence. Pending the results of this examination and of an analysis of responsibility for the matter, the Holy See considers it appropriate to authorise for Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst a period of stay outside the diocese.

By decision of the Holy See, Stadtdekan Wolfgang Rosch is today appointed as vicar general, an appointment that had previously been announced by the diocese of Limburg as taking effect from 1 January 2014. Vicar General Rosch will administer the diocese of Limburg during the absence of the diocesan bishop, within the sphere of competence associated with this office”. - Vatican News
That's all they wrote.

Bling Bischof-nacht.
A new tradition for German Catholics.

 * When a suspension is total, a cleric is deprived of the exercise of every function and of every ecclesiastical right. When it is partial, it may be only from the exercise of one's sacred orders, or from his office which includes deprivation of the use of orders and jurisdiction, or from his benefice which deprives him of both administration and income. When a suspension is decreed absolutely and without limitation, it is understood to be a total suspension. A partial suspension deprives a cleric of the use of that power only which is expressed in the sentence. - Source

Paging Dr. Peters.

Fr. Pablo Straub: How they used to do it.

May the souls of the faithful departed
rest in peace...

Fr. Straub died on October 21, he was 81.
A member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, colloquially known as the Redemptorists, and a priest for 55 years, Father Straub was easily recognized and well loved from the numerous series he hosted and the retreats he gave over the years.

“Father Pablo was a longtime host on EWTN and a friend to many of us here at the network,” noted Michael Warsaw, of the EWTN Global Catholic Network.
Over the years, anyone who heard Father Straub was immediately drawn by his devotion to the faith, his enthusiasm for it and his eagerness to share it with everyone. These traits were his hallmarks, along with the sense of humor he was apt to show.

Warsaw recalled a recent meeting: “I was with Father Pablo just a few weeks ago in St. Louis, and though he was physically slowed by the symptoms of his previous stroke, his voice and his preaching were as powerful as ever. We will miss that voice here with us, but we are confident that God the Father will welcome home this holy and faithful servant.”

In addition to his service as a retreat leader, Father Straub founded two religious congregations, which combine the contemplative and the missionary, one for men becoming priests and one for women religious: Los Consagrados (and Consagradas) del Santisimo Salvador — the Consecrated of the Most Holy Savior. Their convent and seminary at Mount St. Alphonsus is located near the Coyuca Lagoon on the Pacific Coast just north of Acapulco.  - Catholic Register

Why do I say, "How they used to do it"?

The old fashioned Parish Mission, is an excellent reminder that evangelization isn't new - it's kind of the way they used to do it.  Redemptorists, Passionists, and Franciscans were known for giving parish missions - which were held every few years in parishes around the world, and conducted very much in the style of how Fr. Straub did his presentations on EWTN and on video.  Fr. Straub was often shown speaking, holding a crucifix - preaching Christ crucified - just like St. Paul and the missionary saints who followed.

The effects of parish mission were enormous.  The churches were over crowded - generally not because of the speaker - but as a response to a call.  Confessions - reconciliation - happened, in great numbers.  The confessional lines were long, the confessors busy.  Devotion was increased, sometimes vocations resulted, many people would reform their lives, change their lives.  Alcoholics stopped drinking, unfaithful spouses became faithful, little kids wanted to be saints.

The missionaries were sent by their religious order, at the request of the pastor or the local bishop.  It had little to do with name recognition, celebrity status, even clerical status of the missionary - the crucifix he held up echoed the Apostle, "While I was amongst you I preached Christ, and him crucified."  It wasn't an opportunity to advance book sales for the missionary, much less to schedule more speaking engagements.  The missionaries didn't have a lifestyle to support, they weren't evangelizing for profit.  It wasn't a speaking engagement or a pep rally, and as far away from a business deal as you could get.

"The Church is not a shop... the Church’s mandate is to bring Christ and the gospel." - Pope Francis

I read elsewhere how Evangelical Protestant books apparently outsell Catholic authors/books, as if it was a sign something is wrong with Catholics who some how refuse to grow in their faith. 

Traditionally, ordinary lay Catholics read the classics, the writings of the saints, then they'll read guides for the spiritual life and sanctification.  Prayerful reading, Lectio Divina, has a long tradition amongst Catholics.  Francis De Sales did well with his pamphlets and books on the devout life.  Not too long ago there were magazines devoted to evangelization.  My point is, evangelization shouldn't be about book sales, royalties, bookings, ratings, and so on.  I think it is more about seeking out the strayed and the lost.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Next Year: California.

Or maybe sooner.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Oarfish are denizens of the deep and are rarely seen at the surface, or on the beach. However, within the past few weeks, two oarfish have washed up on California shores.

In Japan, there is a traditional correlation between oarfish and earthquakes that dates back for centuries. Traditional Japanese folklore says that oarfish beach themselves as a warning to the people before an earthquake. The normally elusive fish, which can be up to five meters in length, are said to be messengers from the palace of the Sea God.

Although scientists have not properly studied the matter, there does appear to be an anecdotal correlation between oarfish sightings and major earthquakes. Most recently, in the year before the massive March 11, 2011 earthquake in Fukushima Prefecture that took some 18,000 lives, Japanese fishermen reported a rash of oarfish sightings. These reports were made as early as March, 2010, following a major 8.8 quake in Chile. - Catholic Online
I just watched BBC news and a scientists said there is no scientific proof of that...


Blessed John Paul II

A sobering reminder on his feast day.
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up. 
 We must prepare ourselves to suffer great trials before long ...
We must be strong and prepared and trust in Christ and in his Holy Mother and be very, very assiduous in praying the holy rosary. - Blessed John Paul II, Meditation for the day from Magnificat. 
“Anyone who complains or grumbles is not perfect, nor even a good Christian." - John of the Cross


This is so amazing ...

And Francis pointed out that although some do not like to admit it: those who are closest to the heart of Jesus are sinners, because He goes to look for them, calls them and heals them, while those who are in good health do not need a doctor: “ I have come to heal, to save." - Pope Francis

I'm reminded of John Paul I when the Holy Father says such things.

Today lay people are better catechized, more involved in Church affairs - parish activities such as RCIA and social outreach, they are pedigreed with Religious Ed certificates, as well as theological degrees, and so on.  Stop and think how many husbands and wives working ordinary jobs with academic degrees in philosophy and theology or religious studies - just from Steubenville alone.  A priest friend made note of that in a conversation last summer, when he told me he was going to have some meetings with his teachers and would give them  Sherry Weddell’s book “Forming Intentional Disciples”.   He praised his people for their knowledge of doctrine and Church teaching, but expressed the fear they do not pray... that the faith was perhaps too cerebral.  He said pretty much what both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have said.

We can argue and debate about the faith.  We can blame one another for the crisis.  We can gage one another's orthodoxy and liturgical practice.  We can spot liturgical abuse.  We can make ourselves inquisitors and reveal the errors of others - day in and day out.  We can stand our ground, go to the wall when we are attacked.  But do we know what the Pope is talking about?

A lot of people on line say they don't.

The Pope concluded his homily reflecting on how some saints say that one of the ugliest sins is distrust: distrust in God. “But how can we be wary of a God who is so close, so good, who prefers the sinful heart ?" . This mystery – he said - is not easy to understand with intelligence, but with the help of these three words: "contemplation, proximity and abundance” because God "always wins with the superabundance of his grace, with His tenderness ", with His wealth of mercy." - Vatican News

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mark Shea and Michael Voris - The Debate: On Tape...

A real manicure

Or, what not to wear to a crisis in the Church?

Go here to find out. 

The Bishop of Limburg, Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst...

Saw the Pope today:
“The meeting went well...”. This is all the Bishop of the German diocese of Limburg,  Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst, had to say about his meeting with Francis this morning." - Source 
Reminds me of the story of a local priest who over a decade ago, upon his first assignment in a working class parish, renovated the rectory, installed a hot tub, and so on. He was relieved of his duties and sent away.  Though still a priest in this archdiocese, he teaches in another city these days.

Song for this post here.

Mark Shea's mystical experience...

Mark She Saw Gravity!

Miraculo!  Most people can only see or experience its effects.

I know! 

Pope Francis and Medjugorje

I can't wait for him to say something...

Did you know that representatives from Medjugorje were included at the Marian Day of Prayer and Pope Francis’ consecration of the world on October 12-13?
The representatives from Medjugorje were invited to be present though Medjugorje is still not offically recognized, neither as a shrine, nor as a place of apparitions. This did not happen to representatives from any other such place. Furthermore, the group were seated very close to the Pope on both days.
“It is noteworthy that among the Marian shrines officially recognized, like Fatima, Lourdes, Banneux, Guadalupe, etc., the Pope also wished for the presence of the representatives of Medjugorje! In fact, Medjugorje was the only Marian shrine unrecognized (or “not yet recognized”) among all these shrines with a glorious past!” - Source
I've been told the Holy Father has a photo of the famous image of Our Lady, associated with Medjugorje, on his Facebook page - posted since the Marian Day.

I await the decision of the Church on Medjugorje.

The Pope on greed...

“That’s what does harm: greed in my relationship with money. Having more, having more, having more... It leads you to idolatry, it destroys your relationship with others. It’s not money, but the attitude, what we call greed. Then too this greed makes you sick, because it makes you think of everything in terms of money. It destroys you, it makes you sick. And in the end – this is the most important thing – greed is an instrument of idolatry because it goes along a way contrary to what God has done for us...
The Lord teaches us the path: not the path of poverty for poverty’s sake. No! It is the way of poverty as an instrument, so that God may be God, so that He will be the only Lord! Not the golden idols! And all the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world, to advance humanity, to help, to help others. Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: 'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.'" - Pope Francis.   Christopher Wells, Vatican Radio

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Transgendered saints ...

Kind of.

The issue of a transgendered nun came up in a small corner of Blogwarts last week, which reminded me of a few saints stories.  It's very possible there is some precedent for the curious case of a transgendered woman becoming a nun.  Kinda.

First of all, the man discussed extensively yesterday here, went through sexual reassignment procedures and lived as a woman, formed a pious association of the faithful with another woman and intended to live as a consecrated woman.  This after abjuring his former way of life - or something to that effect.  The aspiring religious found approval, but a devout lay woman, concerned about scandal, appealed to the Vatican and the nascent  little community was disbanded.  It's over and done with, the poor transgendered person cast out onto the existential periphery.

Nevertheless, the revival of the story reminded me once again that stranger things have happened, that the road to salvation, the way of holiness is indeed open to all.  Even transgender persons.  Recall, if you will, what Jesus said in the Gospel when speaking of celibacy, how some men were made eunuchs by men, while some were from birth, and so on.  Likewise, it was to a eunuch the Apostle Philip was sent and baptized in Acts.  As far as I know, eunuchs were not transvestites, neither were they made so with the intention of becoming a woman, but their condition was not an impediment to conversion.

Make of that what you want, but there is evidence in history that women posed as men to enter religious communities.  I doubt anyone way back when would have been so foolish as to want to be a woman - women had no rights or freedoms in those days.  It used to be good to be a man - before American entertainment media and advertising emasculated him, but I digress.

Once upon a time.
Long ago, there was a little girl named Marina.  Her dad wanted to be a monk but was responsible for the little girl's welfare, so he took her to live as a monk with him - disguised as a boy.  (Nature-nurture?)  The little girl-disguised-as-a-boy grew up to be disguised as a man.  After Marina's father died, she remained living as a monk - undetected by the other monks.

One day, an innkeeper's daughter became pregnant and accused Marina of fathering the child.  Marina never defended herself and was sent to do penance.  After five years of expiation, she was received back into the monastery.  Once again, the fact that she was a woman went undetected.  At her death, her sex as well as her innocence was discovered.  Today her story is regarded as simple legend by some scholars, although there are feast days set aside for her, one on February 12.  Her cult remains active in the Orthodox Church. - Adapted from Attwater, Dictionary of Saints

Then there is St. Hildegund...

There once was a very big girl named Hildegund.  The boys of the village all called her Bruno.  She loved to chop trees in the forest and play log rolling on the Danube.  She was also very pious and wanted so much to be a monk and write pretty hymns and make Liebfraumilch wine.  Hildegund was never very attractive, and a bit manish, so it wasn't at all difficult to convince the abbot of Schonau to accept her as a novice.  The monks believed she was a he until her death in 1188.  Partly edified, partly disgusted by the sight, the majority of the monks were grateful God had made them men and granted them the grace of celibacy.

Actually, I made that up - about Hildegund that is - the St. Marina story is accurate.

More seriously, the real story about Hilde:
Hildegund (died 1188) was a German woman who lived under the name Joseph disguised as a male in a monastery. She is often described as a saint (feast day April 20), though her cult has never been formally approved.

Her father, a knight of Neuss in Germany, took the 12-year-old Hildegund on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land upon her mother's death. For her protection during the voyage, he dressed her as a boy and called her Joseph. The father died on the way back, and Hildegund was robbed and abandoned in Tyre by the man charged with her protection. Still dressed as a boy, she managed to return to Germany, where she became servant to an old canon of Cologne. The two began a voyage to visit the pope, who lived in Verona at the time. Accused of being a robber and condemned to death, Hildegund was saved by undergoing the ordeal of red hot iron, only to be hanged by the true robbers' companions. She was cut down in time and survived. After having returned to Germany, she joined Schönau Abbey as a Cistercian novice. She attempted to run away two or three times and never took the vows.

She had described her adventures (though not her cross-dressing) to the monk charged with her instruction. Her true sex was discovered upon her death. An abbot of a nearby monastery wrote an account of her life in 1188, the year of her death.

Hildegund should not be confused with Saint Hildegund (c. 1130–1178), whose feast day is 6 February. - Wackipedia

So you see poodles, anyone can enter the Church, but religious life?  Maybe not so much.

The End.


  Song for this post here.

Mass Chat... Everybody is resigning.

Now Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn has resigned from the University of St. Thomas board of trustees, just a day or so after Fr. McDonough's resignation was announced, and little more than a week since Fr. Laird resigned his position as vicar general of the Archdiocese, and, and, and...

I read in Saturday's paper that a Boston firm may be under consideration to help restore confidence in the Archdiocese.  It doesn't look good.

I still think getting out of the chancery and offering public prayers and penance in reparation would do wonders for the Archbishop and his men, as well as the faithful of the Archdiocese.