Saturday, December 05, 2015

On the eve of St. Nicholas ...

St. Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death - Ilya Repin

St. Nicholas, save us from terror and war.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The last fun blogger ... Crescat is hanging it up.




That makes me sad.

I liked being mean to her.  She was fun too.  Very funny lady.  Now she's quitting the blog.  I can't go back to tormenting Fr. Z.  Well, maybe I can.  I don't know what to do with myself now.

I wonder if I had donated - would she have stayed?

Maybe she could go back to Blogger?  Patheos is annoying because of the ads - I've always hated that.  I don't care that people do ads - it's just too much stuff to look at.  It cheapens a blog - like a hooker hanging outside a liquor store with all the neon beer signs and dayglo sale signs and you can't hear what she's saying and you're afraid to go up to her because the leopard patterned spandex yoga pants and heels with the sparkle bra under her jewel encrusted gold embroidered bolero makes you dizzy and plays havoc with your cataracts.

How can she leave the Blogosterium?  She's the last blogger of a bigoted bunch I used to like - kinda-sorta - or who kind-sorta liked me - and at least didn't drop me from their links or excise themselves from my Followers app...

Oh Kat!

Where's that girl with all the promise?

Did she need a stronger hand?

Did she need a lighter touch?

Was I soft or too tough?

Did I give too little?

Did I give too much?

Did I ever turn away?

Was I silent, was I cold?

Was I quick to scold? 

Was I slow to praise?

Were the years a little fast?

Was her world a little free? 

Was there too much of a crowd? 

All too lush and loud and not enough for me.



Oh Kat!



Thursday, December 03, 2015

Something to think about after San Bernardino ...

It was an office Christmas party.


"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced." - Karol Wojtyla"
We must prepare ourselves to suffer great trials before long, such as will demand of us a disposition to give up even life, and a total dedication to Christ and for Christ... With your and my prayer it is possible to mitigate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only thus can the Church be effectively renewed. How many times has the renewal of the Church sprung from blood! This time, too, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong and prepared, and trust in Christ and His mother, and be very, very assiduous in praying the Rosary." - Karol Wojtyla

Fr. Z on Fr. Anthony Spadaro

Fr. Anthony Spadaro, S.J.


His introduction of Spadaro notes that the Jesuit is deeply interested in the life of an Italian writer...  Why do you think that was important to note?

Recently Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, who edits La Civiltà Cattolica and who is deeply interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli (HERE), made some observations about the recent Synod of Bishops which has caused eyebrows to rise. - WDTPRS

What is Fr. Z suggesting by that?  He did two posts - or posted the same post twice, the final one an update of the first.  He leads with that particular introduction.  Perhaps the update - double posting - gave me the impression Fr. Z was trying to make some sort of statement about the Jesuit?  Although Spadaro is well known in his own right as the editor of La Civita as well as for his exclusive interview with Pope Francis not long after his election - something which seems to me would be much more newsworthy and significant.

It appears Fr. Z's article is in support of Cardinal Burke, who wrote an article correcting observations and misinformation coming from Spadaro's interpretations concerning the Synod.  In brief:
To give the impression that there is another practice in the “internal forum,” which would permit an individual in an irregular union to have access to the sacraments, is to suggest that the conscience can be in conflict with the truth of the faith. Such a suggestion clearly places priests in an impossible situation, the expectation that they can “open a door” for the penitent, which, in fact, does not exist and cannot exist. - WDTPRS
I think that's fairly straightforward from Cardinal Burke - his article is available online at NCRegister and didn't impress me as needing any more obsequities, polishing or editorializing.  Cardinal Burke speaks clearly and understandably, and always charitably.  Cardinal Pell also made statements in anticipation of the final conclusions forthcoming from Pope Francis.  One is free to speculate and interpret these statements of course, and even clarify erroneous statements - nothing wrong with that.  Likewise, Edward Pentin can make of Vatican news whatever he wants - that's his job.  (The Holy Father had some things to say to journalists on his return flight from Africa he might want to make note of as well.  But I digress.)

The way Fr. Z phrased his introduction made me curious.  What if someone writing about Fr. Z always pointed to his enthusiasm for the Acton Institute and his admiration for Fr. Robert Sirico with embedded links to Sirico's homosexual past?  (I have written about Sirico's past - without linking to Fr. Z of course. My bad for bringing it up again.)

What if every time someone wrote about Cardinal Burke, someone always noted the approval he gave to a transgender woman to make religious vows in a secular institute, only to rescind the permission after a concerned member of the faithful went to the Vatican over the issue?  (That's very public, BTW.  It was once a bit of a local scandal and I too posted on it.  My bad - again.)

Pier Vittorio Tondelli

Just for the record - Pier Vittorio Tondelli was an Italian gay writer who converted and returned to the sacraments not long before he died - he praised the virtue of chastity as a mystic grace.  He's a wonderful example of conversion and reconcilliation for gay/ssa persons seeking to return to the sacraments.  I've written about him many times, and his photo is in my sidebar.  I pray for the repose of his soul, while admiring him for the reformation of his life.

Passive aggressive, suggestive innuendo flies in the face of Christian charity, perhaps even implying the mere association or interest in the life of a former homosexual indicates that person's sexual orientation or interest.  Think I'm over-reacting?  I am ashamed to admit I have done the same in the past.  Nevertheless, it remains a Pewsitter tactic, a Remnant tactic of discrediting or impugning the character of another.  If Fr. Z is doing that, I'm not saying he is, that is too bad for him.

The phrasing, the 'tone' if you will, sounds a bit familiar to me.  What it says to me is that despite what Courage Apostolate promotes, despite what the Catechism teaches, once a homo - always a homo.  You can leave it all behind - but someone - even wearing a collar - is there to remind people of your reputation, or suggest something is wrong with you because you are 'too soft' on gays.  One local priest famously told a group of people - I was among them - that in this archdiocese alone, well over 50% of the clergy are gay.  At the time his inventory included the local ordinary.  This type of jock-seminarian shaming explains why many priests can be less than willing to promote Courage or sign on as spiritual directors.  Years ago when I tried to find priests to help persuade the local ordinary to establish a Courage chapter here, the priests I spoke to sought to preserve their reputations and wouldn't get involved.  They didn't want to be labeled as gay friendly.

These days there are angry priests online, often with an ax to grind.  Perhaps thrown out of 'liberal' seminary, or kicked off the faculty of a Catholic university, they remain angry, often cloaking their bitterness in traditional vestments and clerical-wear they know will goad Novus Ordo bishops.  It's a great way to legally and boldly one-up their 'liberal' superiors and critics.  When they resort to gossip and mudslinging - they are careful to stop just short of public defamation, detraction and calumny.  I do not trust them.  Not. At. All.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Today's Shootings Update: San Bernardino, California



Details unfolding ...

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Police on Wednesday confirmed there had been a shooting incident at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. Officials initially reported there were up to 20 victims and that up to three shooters were at large.
Lt. Richard Lawhead told MSNBC the incident is at Inland Regional Center. According to its Facebook page, the Inland Regional Center assists individuals with developmental disabilities. It has nearly 670 staff and provides services to more than 30,200 people.
At about 1 p.m., more than two dozen staff members, some of whom were in wheelchairs, were being escorted out of the building and loaded into school buses. Law enforcement vehicles from a number of agencies surrounded the building. - Huffington

It will be all over the news, so details will be coming in.  No known motive at this time.
It happens a lot, doesn't it.  

The Jubilee Year - an Extraordinay Holy Year of Mercy.

He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy 
must pass through the door of My justice. - Jesus to St. Faustina


Something neo-Albigensians seem to see no need for ...

Protestants would reject the idea as well:  You don't need a holy year to show mercy.  All you have to do is ask for forgiveness, confess Christ, welcome him into your heart, and you'll be saved.  We are all saved, right?  Catholics don't think like that - or do they?  Some seem to be heading in that direction - kinda sorta.

I read a post on the Pope's visit to the mosque in CAR.  Within that post, a blogger I can sometimes appreciate, commented, or more or less questioned the 'need' for a Holy Year of 'mercy':
Mercy! What that adds or expresses about the mercy always available from the Church is unexplained. It is like if I told my wife, "Starting December 8, for a whole year, I'm going to love you!" She would be justified in wondering what that implies about the "normal" time outside of the Year of Love. One suspects more PR: focus the people's attention on the mercy of the Church. The Bear supposes this is not such a bad thing, but it does make it sound "new and improved!" Still, the Bear is inclined to withhold judgment until we see it in action. - Source
I think he's an attorney as well.  Attorneys are smart.  I know some attorneys - they are really smart.

So anyway.

So here's the deal.  I wonder if some of the Catholics who see no need for a Holy Year of Mercy maybe just do not realize the significance of a Holy Year in Judeo-Christian tradition?  Then, I wonder if they are unfamiliar with the Devotion to Divine Mercy, as revealed to St. Faustina and promulgated by St. John Paul II?

The Jubilee Year is an entire year wherein the faithful may receive 'the Great Pardon' or plenary indulgence - the full remission of the penalties of sin through confession and firm purpose of amendment.  As the Holy Father points out in Misericordiae Vultus:

A Jubilee also entails the granting of indulgences. This practice will acquire an even more important meaning in the Holy Year of Mercy. God’s forgiveness knows no bounds. In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God makes even more evident his love and its power to destroy all human sin. Reconciliation with God is made possible through the paschal mystery and the mediation of the Church. Thus God is always ready to forgive, and he never tires of forgiving in ways that are continually new and surprising. Nevertheless, all of us know well the experience of sin. We know that we are called to perfection (cf. Mt 5:48), yet we feel the heavy burden of sin. Though we feel the transforming power of grace, we also feel the effects of sin typical of our fallen state. Despite being forgiven, the conflicting consequences of our sins remain. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God forgives our sins, which he truly blots out; and yet sin leaves a negative effect on the way we think and act. But the mercy of God is stronger even than this. It becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin. - Holy See
[One really ought to read the entire document, Misericordiae Vultus - the Holy Year is much more than the indulgences attached.  For a more complete catechesis on the Jubilee Year go here: USCCB.]


The Second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy and is privileged day to gain a plenary indulgence on, as is the Franciscan feast of the Portziuncola and the Carmelite Toties Quoties of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  All Catholics know there are designated days and seasons for liturgical rites, as well as opportunities to gain special indulgences - even Traditional Catholics know of these - I say it that way because some seem to reject the Devotion to the Divine Mercy and its liturgical Solemnity.

Devotion to the Divine Mercy seems to be well known to most Catholics, although I suspect the Holy Year will be a time to promulgate the devotion and practice even wider - throughout the world. I find these quotes from the Diary of St. Faustina helpful in understanding the need we have for a Jubilee Year of Mercy - and Extraordinary Holy Year.

You will prepare the world for My final coming. (Diary429)
Speak to the world about My mercy ... It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)
Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (Diary 965).
I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation. (Diary 1160)

Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146).

For more information on Devotion to the Divine Mercy go here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Disappointed with Pope Francis? Can't figure him out? Maybe think he's an anti-pope? Or worse? There may be a place for you ...

( Pope in parenthesis. )


No, not the SSPX - they accept Pope Francis as the legitimate Pope.

Novus Ordo Watch will take you in.

Escape the Novus Ordo - leave the modernist sect behind!  Become a Sedevacantist.  All of your problems will go away - who needs a pope anyway?  Reject the impostor church.  Resist Peter to his face.

Priests will have to be re-ordained however - if you were ordained in the new ritual, your ordination doesn't count.  No Sodomite clergy either.  (You'll just have to wait it out.)

Novus Ordo Watch is pleased to be the sponsor for Escape from the Novus Ordo.  Donations always welcome.  No mercy though.  No communion without a Traditional baptism/confirmation and/or marriage certificate.

Just remember however:  All are not welcome - unless they are worthy.  You'll be tested.

Who was the last Pope?
Do you want to bomb the hell out of Syria?
Who was the last reigning pontiff?
Do you renounce communion in the hand?
Can you pray the Pater Noster in Latin?
Are you relaxed? Happy? You can't be happy and Catholic.
What is a maniple?
Can you say the Latin name of the last Pope?
Can you admit NFP is contraception?
Will you burn all books printed after 1960?
Are all non-Catholics going to hell?







Song for this post here. (Substitute words in the chorus with Novus Ordo.)

Pope visits mosque, removes shoes, bows, and prays. OMG!

It appears Francis has his shoes on in this photo.


Unprecedented?  Not so much.

Catholics are turning on Pope Francis in a big way since he returned from Africa.  The venom against the Holy Father is something one might expect from Novus Ordo Watch, or the enemies of religion and the Catholic Church - but it is coming from the so-called 'remnant' of faithful Roman Catholics who miss Pope Benedict and John Paul II and are apparently convinced Pope Francis is trying to overturn everything 'they' set in place.

When Pope Francis visited the mosque of Koudoukou, the Christian world reeled - that is, if you believe what some are saying about it.  Pope Francis is not the first pope to visit a mosque, remove his shoes, or bow his head in prayer - or seek peace between the two faiths.

A disabled JPII - First Pope to visit a mosque.
No shoes.  Prays.


A very able Benedict XVI visits mosque,
removes shoes ...


Inclines head in prayer...



“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace”. The Holy Father addressed these words to the Muslim community of the Central African Republic this morning in the mosque of Koudoukou, a few kilometres from Bangui. Francis was received by five imams who accompanied him to the podium situated in the mosque, a short distance away from the area reserved for prayer. The event was attended by around two hundred people. - VaticanNews


May 14, 1999

April 17, 2008
The day after his birthday, 
Benedict received a silver-plated Koran.




Monday, November 30, 2015

The Pope from the camps ...



Pope Francis often seems to me to echo those who were imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps in WWII.

His message reminds me of the Christian witness of people like Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom, Fr. Delp, Bonhoeffer and others, such as Fr. Walter Ciszek, imprisoned by the Soviets.  In those desperate situations there surely seemed to be a deeper ecumenism of blood.

"How could the Father refuse the grace of unity, albeit still imperfect, to His children who suffer together and, in different situations, join in serving their brothers and sisters?”
“For all too long, your people have experienced troubles and violence, resulting in great suffering. This makes the proclamation of the Gospel all the more necessary and urgent. For it is Christ’s own flesh which suffers in his dearest sons and daughters: the poorest of his people, the infirm, the elderly, the abandoned, children without parents or left to themselves without guidance and education. There are also those who have been scarred in soul or body by hatred and violence, those whom war has deprived of everything: work, home and loved ones”.
“God makes no distinctions between those who suffer. I have often called this the ecumenism of blood. All our communities suffer indiscriminately as a result of injustice and the blind hatred unleashed by the devil." - Pope Francis

Something so right... Pope Francis visit to the Koudoukou mosque in Bangui.

Pope Francis arrives at the Koudoukou mosque in Bangui.


The Holy Father risked his life to go out to the peripheries.

I was really concerned for the Holy Father's safety while visiting Central African Republic.  I'm so happy he was willing to go, despite warnings.  God is with him.  Prayers in thanksgiving.

After removing his shoes on entering the Koudoukou mosque and bowing towards the holy Muslim city of Mecca, the pope told several hundred men inside that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters”.
“Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace. Salaam,” he added, using the Arabic word for peace.
Francis said his visit to CAR “would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community”.
The chief imam at the mosque, Tidiani Moussa Naibi, thanked Francis for his visit, which he said was “a symbol which we all understand”.
Some Muslims are living in the mosque after being forced out of their homes by the violence. “We are very proud to welcome him. The pope is not only for the Christians, he is a servant of God for all Central Africans,” said Ibrahim Paulin, a spokesman for the displaced. - Guardian

 I noticed this amazing comment on Fr. Martin's Facebook page:

Saadia Ahmad As a Muslim engaged in and studying interfaith dialogue and outreach and within the post-9/11 context, it can get exhausting feeling as though we're doing so much outreach and not getting much effort back (partially to get our religion back from those who use it to justify and motivate their violent actions), and often encounter hostility and anger instead. It's so heartening to see our Pope be active in playing the role we all need to for interfaith dialog and reconciliation. Subhan'Allah (Arabic phrase meaning "thanks be to God") for him and the blessings, reminders, and gifts he brings all of God's children, regardless of faith or creed.
921 hr

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Romantic notions ... on the heart of a monastery.



Someone recently wrote a sweet little meditation on the 'cloister' as the heart of the monastery.

People have romantic notions of monastic life - which may explain why many come away from it sad.  Some monks and nuns have no physical cloister in the classic sense.  Some houses do not have a structural quadrangle around which the physical cloister is formed.  Cloister is a term for enclosure used by enclosed religious, monks and nuns.  Some communities have strict Papal enclosure.  It's technically about separation from the world.  There used to be semi-cloistered religious who maintained enclosure with a separate convent or house, including refectory and living quarters - often attached to the facility in which they worked.  They still exist of course in orders such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, or active Dominican congregations, as well as friaries and priories.  Again, it's a practical matter, as well as a canon law requirement I think, and it's about separation from the world.

The lovely architectural enclosure found in traditional monasteries and great abbeys is only part of the cloister - but it is not the heart of a monastery.  The heart of the monastery is the Opus Dei, the work of God - hence the location of the heart of the monastery would most likely be the choir, the monastery chapel or church.

Unless the monks make ale - then it could be the brewery for some.

When I was in the monastery there was a funny novice who liked to go to the quadrangle, his hood up, arms beneath his scapular, pacing meditatively.  None of the monks used the quadrangle except to tend the garden.  The cell was the normal place for meditation and prayer.  Some of the brothers would snicker about our little brother playing monk.  He had very romantic notions of monastic life, and he soon left, rather disappointed.  Monastic life is completely ordinary - no drama - ever.

What? 

The Holy Year of Mercy ... Just can't wait any longer.

"The Year of Mercy is inaugurated not in Vatican City, 
but in one of the poorest and most war-torn countries in the world."


From Fr. James Martin S.J.

Honestly, this is just amazing to me, and amazingly moving. The Holy Door is not at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, but at the Cathedral in Bangui, in the Central African Republic. The Year of Mercy is inaugurated not in Vatican City, but in one of the poorest and most war-torn countries in the world. The Prince of Peace comes not to the wealthy but to a poor family in Nazareth. Jesus goes first not to the powerful but to the powerless. God is a God of surprises--always going beyond our boundaries and always inviting us to the margins. Amen. - Fr. Martin's Facebook page

The Spiritual Marriage of Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J.



Holy Communion is like that ...

There is a young saint - recently beatified, whose devotion led him to the most exquisite union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus ... the spiritual marriage. Yes. It is no less strange however, that the Word, left his Father, to become one with man, to become Bread from Heaven.

Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J., First apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain.

I read someplace that Bl. Bernardo's intercession is especially helpful to those who struggle with the vice of impurity. I think Bernardo's devotion to the Sacred Heart - the complete surrender of all his affections - is an antidote to all impurity. The grace of espousal seems to me to be similar to the consummate love of Jesus in the Eucharist for us, wherefore he gives us his body, blood, soul, and divinity at every Communion. Isn't it like that? Isn't that total union what we are called to? I like to think so at every Communion - even when I feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing - it seems especially then that faith supplies.

I'm sure I would rather not have experiences such as those Bl. Bernardo participated in - I prefer to love in deepest obscurity... silently recollected after each Communion. Knowing he is there and I am with him. I like the way Bl. Bernardo put it: “I see that everything in my heart is moving towards God, drawn like iron to a magnet. It desires only God, searches only for God, and longs only for God….” For Bernardo, that was his constant state - and he remained faithful to the graces he received. For me, perhaps this desire is only imperfectly experienced in the thanksgiving after Communion. Which is why I never want to waste those moments of recollection.

Always holding my right hand, the Lord had me occupy the empty throne; then He fitted on my finger a gold ring.... “May this ring be an earnest of our love. You are Mine, and I am yours. You may call yourself and sign Bernardo de Jesus, thus, as I said to my spouse, Santa Teresa, you are Bernardo de Jesus and I am Jesus de Bernardo. My honor is yours; your honor is Mine. Consider My glory that of your Spouse; I will consider yours, that of My spouse. All Mine is yours, and all yours is Mine. What I am by nature you share by grace. You and I are one!” - The Visions of Bernard Francis De Hoyos, S.J. by Henri Bechard, S.J. (Ed. note: I am unable to verify this quote.)

Gay/SSA Catholic men  seem to be especially taken by this particular image of spiritual betrothal.  It shows how carnal or sexualized our understanding can be.  The Blessed Virgin takes care of such romantic misunderstandings regarding union with Christ and the spiritual marriage in those devoted to her.  Other gay Catholics, male and female, sometimes see in this incidence some significance for the cause of same sex marriage, which strikes me as rather absurd.

In the ascetic-mystical life of the saints, God himself purifies the soul of disordered passions in and through purifying trials and temptations.  Thus proving true Christ's words, 'what is impossible for man is possible for God.'  Blessed Bernardo was no exception.
Apart from being favored by mystical graces, heavenly visions and saintly visitations, Bernard also suffered excruciating attacks from demonic forces. As happens to those who arrive at the threshold of mystical life, he was not spared “the dark night of the soul”, through which he struggled for five months. 
During this period, the devils began to taunt him: “Now you will see, you sanctimonious hypocrite, what it is to trifle with God when you fall into His hands!” His mind was filled with images of God as a Just Judge, Who was displeased with him. Bernard became despondent. His meditation, Mass, Communion, penances… instead of assuaging his sufferings, made him feel more wretched. The great graces and favours he had received in the past months now appeared as objects of ridicule. He could not find comfort in his companions, either. The periods of recreation after meals degenerated into pure torture.
In despair, he felt a furious urge to beat his head against a wall, to gnaw his lips or tear out his hair, or even jump out the window. More, he was violently incited to blaspheme God, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and his most beloved saints. Whenever he begged God for assistance, the devil would taunt him by saying that he had become unworthy of any grace because of his degenerated behavior. Bernard’s biggest harassment was in the temptations regarding impurity; he was bombarded by obscene thoughts and his reactions brought him to tears and made him gnash his teeth. Worst of all, he was getting more and more convinced that all the divine favors he had presumed he had received in; the past were merely illusions and only snares set up by the devil to drag him to hell.
Through it all, the power of Christ stayed with him and prevented him from going to extreme measures. Thus, in reality, he did not ever say the least word or do the slightest action that would have surprised or shocked his companions. Nonetheless, he suffered continually day and night, especially during his prayer and while going to Communion. He was facing a period of the dark night of the soul”. - Source

Blessed Bernardo died on November 29, at the age of 24 in 1735.