Thursday, July 27, 2017

I have a theory on President Trump.

The new 'saints' Boris and Gleb.
Restoring moral order?

I think he deeply respects Putin.

Doh! Like we didn't know that already.  Yet we are not completely sure why, are we?

I think it's becoming clearer the longer Trump is in office.  It seems to me his fascination with the Russian leader stems from his desire to emulate Putin's style of governance, and exercise of power.  (Trump doesn't have people killed, he just fires them and shames them by character assassination, to some extent.)

That said, he admires Putin's strength, his sense of command, and most of all, his decisiveness.  I think he sees Putin as a moral leader, and he desires to be respected in the same manner.  Don't freak out, don't jump to point out all of his flaws, don't say, 'but, but, but!'  Set aside all the negative narratives and just imagine him in the way he sees himself, and as his supporters do - some even see him as a Charlemagne, or the savior white knight, riding in on a stately white horse, making America great again.  Kind of like Putin.

Reversal of fortune for LGBTQ?

I started comparing notes a while back, but yesterday's sudden tweet about banning trans-genders from military service signaled to me his determination to be like Putin.  (Perhaps they even discussed it in the secret hour long meeting recently?)  Again, don't freak out - whatever you think about LGBTQ notwithstanding - look at his decision objectively.  He fundamentally betrayed a whole group of people, many of whom supported him, whether they admit it or not.  Trump was supported by many gay Republicans, as well as trans people.  Many means just a certain unknown percentage, to be sure, but they were there.  And he betrayed them.  It's well known that Ivanka and Jared influenced Trump to abandon executive orders that would overturn LGBT rights, and maybe they've stepped in once again this week, but Trump seems determined to restore the moral integrity of the United States - or impose it - even by draconian methods if necessary.  Scrapping previous privileges and rights granted by executive orders to LGBTQ persons.

Consider Russia's treatment of homosexuals and banning LGBTQ rights - even tolerating the Chechen campaign against gay people.  Trump seems to like that sort of power - again, it is what he admires about Putin.  So, yeah, I'm basing my idea on how Trump will govern pretty much totally on how Trump deals with LGBTQ issues, perhaps under the influence of Putin.

S.s Boris and Gleb deliver us.

It may be too early to call it, but I think there will be a backlash - to be sure from LGBTQ activists - but even more so from right wing moderates and more surely, right wing extremists.  The transgender revolution may just be the red line conservatives are not willing to let them cross.  I may be wrong - maybe.  But there seems to be a movement brewing and Trump wants to be the hero.  He wants what Putin has grabbed.  In fact, I think he envies the Russian palaces and pomp Putin restored - to make Russia great again.  This should be no surprise to anyone, since Trump early on had his personal residences designed and embellished in a very regal manner - suitable for a monarch - or at least, an oligarch.

Just something to think about.  I may be wrong - I am frequently.

First Family.  Trump penthouse.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pere Jacques Hamel

Today is the anniversary of his death... some thoughts:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Mark 8:36
For "life is so short, the path leading to eternal life so narrow, and I know the just man is scarcely saved, while the things of the world are vain and deceitful, and all comes to an end and fails like falling water. The time is uncertain, the accounting strict, perdition very easy and salvation most difficult... My life has vanished, I know well I must render an account of everything - from the beginning of my life as well as this later part - unto the last penny, when God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles, and it is already late - the day far spent - to remedy so much evil and harm..." - St. John of the Cross

Pere Hamel, pray for us!
Painting by Neilson Carlin

Apotheosis of Jacques Hamel

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Santiago de Compostela


Today is the feast day of my baptismal patron, St. James.

I did the Franciscan pilgrimage, imitating the early friars, going from Assisi to Santiago de Compostela.  Medieval and modern pilgrims walk to Compostela, I took trains, hitched rides, and walked - at times working for my keep at hostels - I have fond memories of one in particular at Lourdes.

Porziuncola, Assisi

I left Assisi by train, arrived in Lourdes.  From Lourdes it was walking and hitching a ride.  I stayed in San Sebastian before walking to Garabandal, and then on to Compostela.

No pilgrim's shell, no papers were awarded to me - except the Guestmaster was kind of rude ... perfect joy!

I did the northernmost route - I visited
Garabandal on the way.

It was a quiet, prayerful, and poor pilgrimage - albeit unconventional.

St. James on panel in antique frame.
T. Nelson

O glorious Apostle, Saint James, who 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.

I think I'll go on a spiritual pilgrimage now - to live as a pilgrim and a stranger ...

The pilgrim "withdraws from his acquaintance and those dear to him, and keeps his mind disengaged from all temporal comfort, so the blessed apostle Peter beseeches the faithful of Christ to keep themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world." - Imitation of Christ

Monday, July 24, 2017

Thinking things through.

The Gossips
Carol Dameron

Gossip online.

I posted a couple of quotes from Fr. X which I interpreted as a slam against another priest whose professional interest includes the study of a famous Italian writer who experienced conversion and received the gift of repentance before he died.  The repetitive statements by Fr. X seemed to me intended to impugn the character of the other priest, or to suggest something about his sexual orientation.  Why am I talking like this?  When regular readers of this blog know who and what I'm talking about?  (Because even in this discussion I run the danger of unjustly imputing sins or faults to my neighbor.)

I don't know?  Maybe it's because this appears to be a common type of innuendo bordering on detraction, and is exactly why otherwise good priests do not support people leaving a homosexual lifestyle, or are willing to work for, or sponsor a Courage group, and so on.  At least that is what I've experienced in my repentance.  There were many good priests who did not want their names attached to this stuff because they too might be branded - or have it pointed out they are 'gay-friendly'.  Know what I'm saying?

There is also a sense of irony when one person impugns the reputation of another by insinuating homosexual inclination - especially when one's friends or colleagues, or those they support may have struggled with similar issues in their lives.  Life is full of double standards, isn't it.

Scandal and gossip.

I came across a piece last night, written in defense of Michael Voris and as a put down to his critics.  Former priest Thomas Williams was maligned for saying that Church Militant has some crazy right wing ideas.  The author of the blog freely impugns the reputation of the former priest, who is now married to the woman with whom he fathered a child.  I never knew the two were married - I knew the priest married the woman - I just didn't know who it was.  The author was trying to capitalize on the original scandal when it was discovered the priest fathered a child.  The author also went after a priest with a homosexual past.  Long story short, he is publishing all of this stuff, old news to many, in an effort to defame and slander their reputation.

Rash judgement.

I've done that too.  When I first began blogging I went after a couple of Catholic writers, without really knowing who they were.  I followed the lead of former bloggers whose criticism at times could only be described as detraction, defamation and slander.  My criticism was based upon their blog posts, totally ignorant of their personal lives and in one case, the regularization of their relationship and family.  They were, and are, all faithful Catholics.  Just as the former priest and his wife mentioned in another blog post are faithful Catholics.  The husband was laicized, the couple married, and all is well.  This is how the Church works - how it has always worked.

Yet Church militant types, engaging in their spiritual combat, use the weapons of the devil to attack those they consider their enemies.  The author of the blog defended his post claiming:
Dear readers, just this brief post demonstrates to you the intricate and powerfully monied Americanist establishment within the Church in America. It, along with the usual suspects is now joining hands to attack Church Militant. - TC
An anonymous comment (not mine) objected to the content of the post, writing:

I am appalled at this post. I live in Rome, I work with many people who are giving their all here in a very difficult climate, and I know many of them personally whom you have dragged through the mud. - Anonymous

Detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

It was a long comment by an anonymous, which I shortened here because it named names.  The comment hit the mark, defending the reputations of those the author sought to defame.  These posts, so full of gossip and innuendo remind me of a dog chasing his tail.  People just begin to look dumb and dumber as they spew such vomit.

I've brought up stuff to try and fling it back - but that's wrong.  I am wrong to do that.  It's a total waste of time.  It's worse when people agree with you or include their own contentious remarks.  We don't change people with such tactics - we just destroy our own credibility, and often the reputation of others.

Unquestioning conviction about another person's bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made and in the loss of reputation that a person suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely. - Fr. Hardon

My apologies to everyone for my grievous faults.

. . .

UPDATE:  Now there is this poisonous gossip which is repeated here.  They keep repeating the stories, with the intention of destroying the reputations and lives of others.  Spiteful religious people are dirty.

FROM rash judgments proceed mistrust, contempt for others, pride, and self-sufficiency, and numberless other pernicious results, among which stands forth prominently the sin of slander, which is a veritable pest of society. 
 I entreat you never speak evil of any, either directly or indirectly; beware of ever unjustly imputing sins or faults to your neighbour, of needlessly disclosing his real faults, of exaggerating such as are overt, of attributing wrong motives to good actions, of denying the good that you know to exist in another, of maliciously concealing it, or depreciating it in conversation. In all and each of these ways you grievously offend God, although the worst is false accusation, or denying the truth to your neighbour’s damage, since therein you combine his harm with falsehood. 
Those who slander others with an affectation of good will, or with dishonest pretences of friendliness, are the most spiteful and evil of all. They will profess that they love their victim, and that in many ways he is an excellent man, but all the same, truth must be told, and he was very wrong in such a matter; or that such and such a woman is very virtuous generally, but and so on. Do you not see through the artifice? - Francis De Sales, Introduction, Chapter XXIX

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Who will play Cardinal Muller in the new tell-all film on the Vatican?

Mr. Pitt - Ian Abercrombie
He died though.


Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace

Octave of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Mother of Divine Grace

God of eternal wisdom, in Your providence You willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should bring forth the Author of Grace, and take part with Him in the mystery of man's redemption. May she obtain for us grace in abundance and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

He's absolutely obsessed ...

Once again, Fr. notes ...
Spadaro, who is so focused on the life and works of Italian homosexual writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE).
It is at least the third time he mentioned it in as many days.  This time Tondelli is actually identified as a homosexual - I expect in case his readers did not know.  Earlier Fr. simply wrote:
The vicious attack piece is penned by Fr Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit editor of Inciviltà cattolica. Fr. Spadaro is so interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE). - Z

What does it mean?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Here it comes ... "I’d be happy if the Novus Ordo were just suppressed. Why do we need it anyway?" - Random comment.

The reaction to Cardinal Sarah's statement begins.

Why Cardinal Sarah’s liturgical ‘reconciliation’ plan won’t work“.  HERE

I didn’t agree with everything the Cardinal suggested about the future path of Benedict’s desired “mutual enrichment” of the two “forms” of the Roman Rite.  However, I have prayerfully engaged them. - HERE

It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. [...] I can't say I'm too worried by these proposals. They revive discussions on liturgical matters, which is positive, but opposition by progressive and - let's be honest - middle-of-the-road Novus Ordo priests and faithful to the Reform of the Reform makes the implementation of Cardinal Sarah's programme by fiat from Rome unimaginable, even if he were to become Pope tomorrow. - Shaw at Rorate HERE

Actually it's all well reasoned and mild commentary.  I'm told the discussion is always good ...

What I detest is the claim the Ordinary Form is evil.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. . .The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness. - Pope Benedict
I do think rad-trads will turn on Cardinal Sarah, sooner than later.  (Maybe they already have?)

I'm sick of it too.

UPDATE July 23:

And they're off!

....Cardinal Sarah's CDW permits nun to do weddings?!
....Does Cardinal Sarah Want the Tridentine Mass to Disappear?

When you feel a bit underappreciated ... just remember ...

"Our porpoise is to please God, not people"

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cardinal Sarah is in favor of the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Roman Rite ...

Will ultra traditionalists go for that?

Or will they turn on Cardinal Sarah now, just as some of the more radical among them turned on Pope Benedict?  Cardinal Sarah speaks in the same vein as Benedict XVI - the EF hopefully will enrich the OF - not replace.  The Ordinary Form is celebrated throughout the Latin rite globally - it is the ordinary form of the Mass.  Cardinal Sarah's proposal for a reconciliation sees a shared calendar and lectionary between the two forms.
Moving towards Cardinal Sarah’s vision begins, though, not with practicalities but with a change of heart. That is likely why he chose the term “reconciliation”. Reconciliation requires a change of heart, a willingness to see the good in the other, and an openness to make things different in order to accommodate that good.
For the 10 years since Summorum Pontificum, those who prefer the EF have expected such an attitude from the OF. Cardinal Sarah now suggests that it is required of both clans, united in one Church, around one altar. - Read more here.

Works for me.

Stuff like that ... Archbishop Chaput and other stuff.

Catholique intégriste ... like it's a bad thing.

My original interest in La Civiltà Cattolica article by Spadaro was because it it a nerve with Catholic fundamentalists.  I was thinking mostly of the anti-Francis types who contribute to LifeSiteNews, 1P5, and all the really crazy little sites - Ann Barnhardt , a contributor to The Remnant believe it or not.  Likewise, it was no surprise people at Acton U would come undone - and that is always interesting, because when they open their mouths you know money is involved.

I'm not political, I do not have a degree in theology or philosophy, so I'll admit I jumped on the superficial message from La Civiltà Cattolica article.  Ignoring, if you can the misinformation embedded in the title of the article: “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism”, especially any connection to ecumenism - since the very traditionalist are more or less against it.  Thus, when you look closely at some of the more extreme traditional Catholic sites, Spadaro's contention really makes sense.  Read the com boxes of these site, as well as the articles - which on some level is not too far off sites like Novus Ordo Watch - and you will find evidence of Catholic Integralism.  If I catch it, under-educated, crack-pot blogger that I am, it certainly has to be obvious to others who know more than I do.

That said, Archbishop Chaput's article is very well stated - as usual, and he clarifies many important points, uniting Christians, rather than dividing.  I love it when Chaput intervenes in the discussion - what an incredible contrast are his words compared with the reactionary invective from angry Catholics online - priests as well.  He calls out error without attacking the character of the authors (he did the same with Fr. Martin, SJ).  Unlike me, and unfortunately other commentators online, Archbishop Chaput addresses the real problems within the article itself - without any veiled criticism of the Pope Francis, or ad hominem suggestions of sexual orientation of the authors.  The Archbishop's article is well worth the read and his words need to be pondered.

Catholics are called to treat all persons with charity and justice. That includes those who hate what we believe. It demands a conversion of heart. It demands patience, courage and humility.   - Archbishop Chaput, A Word About Useful Tools

I wish the Archbishop could, or would, address the hateful rhetoric and gossip in many places online, which is leveled against the Pope and the Magisterium, as well as the liturgical rites of the Church.  The conspiracy theories and wild interpretations of secular news stories is spun in a way to discredit the Church and her ministers.  It should be more than obvious in the way Michael Voris and Church Militant has been rejected as a legitimate Catholic news source, yet continues to exercise influence upon vulnerable Catholics who are confused by disparate messages from clergy and bishops.  It is one thing to challenge Jesuit publications, but mom and pop Catholic bloggers do not help matters, rather they more or less foment fear, mistrust, and in many cases hate.  To verify that, all one needs to do is read Catholic social media and skim Catholic news aggregator headlines.  If anyone in the Vatican reads that stuff - they would have to find the Civiltà Cattolica article a bit more credible than we in the United States like to believe.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Attention L'intégrisme ...

Archbishop Gänswein has something to say to you.

ROME - Responding to interpretations of a recent reference by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI to the Church being near “capsizing,” the retired pontiff’s closest aid on Tuesday said it’s a “fantasy” to set him up against Pope Francis.
“They’re trying to use the pope emeritus in an anti-Francis tone,” said German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, speaking to the Italian daily Il Giornale.
“Stupid people,” Gänswein said. “The emeritus pope was deliberately exploited, he wasn’t alluding to anything specific with that phrase, but talking about the situation of the Church of today and that of the past as a boat that doesn’t sail in calm waters. Francis also says this.” - Crux

[I nearly fell for the fantasy story as it broke last weekend as well ... not in the same way as the anti-Francis detractors - nevertheless, their interpretation is one more reminder to avoid Catholic fake news sites.  Take a look at this however, the comments at 1P5 here are so full of conspiracy theories and innuendo, it's not funny.]

Here you go Fatimistas ... Exactly what I have been saying ... all ... along!

The nuns cringed when Fr. Gruner's name came up.

The Apartment ... and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone ...

Housekeeping and renovation news ...

Former president of the 'Bambino Gesù' foundation, Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer, Massimo Spina, are charged with illicitly using money to renovate an apartment belonging to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican secretary of state. They stand accused of paying over 422.000 euros of hospital funds to Gianantonio Bandera, owner of the Castelli Re construction company. - Vatican Radio


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On the necessity of good friendship.

A childhood friend of mine has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

I think I owe a great deal to him for making virtue attractive.  He was always so good, and I had the greatest respect for him - all through life.  I think I was always careful to be a better person around him. In fact all of my friends at that time were good, and a couple even devout.  It's a wonder their parents permitted them to be friends with me, but my friend once told me his mother felt sorry for me.  Thinking of our friendship and my troubled home life, I thank God for having such close friends at such a difficult age.  Their families became a sanctuary for me at a time which was particularly troubling at home.  Thinking of all of this last night, I was reminded of something Teresa of Avila said regarding her own experiences at that age.  I think it good advice even today.

If I should have to give advice, I would tell parents that when their children are this age (middle school) they ought to be very careful about whom their children associate with. For here lies the root of great evil since our natural bent is toward the worst rather than toward the best. - Teresa of Avila
Please pray for my friend Larry.  Thank you.

When he was younger my friend
bore a striking resemblance
to Dirk Bogarde.

"I ask you never to slander anyone, either directly or indirectly." - S. Francis de Sales

"Above all, avoid false accusations and the distortion of truth regarding your neighbor." - Francis de Sales

When one keeps repeating an apparent innocuous, albeit factual statement about another - to suggest something untoward about that person's character - it amounts to innuendo, bordering on detraction, and dangerously close to slander.  

"Refraining from imputing imaginary faults to your neighbor, from revealing those which are secret and from exaggerating those which are obvious." - S. Francis de Sales

To do this in retaliation for an offense - real or imagined - doesn't make a wrong right.

Many of us online have been guilty of this.  It is better to avoid giving any credence to such writers - myself included.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Please pray for a young mother to be ...

Our Lady Undoer of Knots
hear our prayers.

This is important. My friend Angela sent me the following request for prayer:

"Please join us in prayer - young mom of one who just split with husband scheduled to have abortion Wednesday even though she knows there is a group of us in Town that will provide clothes, diapers, babysitting, support. Ex husband says he will not support new child. Please pray he and she change their minds. Fasting encouraged too. I don't know her name but God knows who she is. Please pray - thank you. Please spread the word and if you feel it's something that you could put on the blog then please do so! Attaching my name to it is OK

Sr. Cecilia Maria, OCD
Pray with us and for us.

 Sr. Cecilia Maria, OCD, pray for this young mother and her ex-husband to have a change of heart - to recognize the gift of life as a sign of God's love, and to accept this child and allow him to live. Console their hearts, let them experience the joy of God's love. Help them to forgive one another and to find that love which once brought them together. Thank you for praying with us in Jesus name!

So you think the Barque of Peter is in danger of capsizing?


Remember when the disciples were freaking out as they were tossed to and fro during the storm at sea, and Jesus was asleep in the boat?

Yeah.  Jesus was right in the boat, all cuddled up, sleeping, and the disciples were out of control and imagining the worst.  Jesus was left all alone - until they woke him up - turned to him in prayer.  Get it?

Anyway, something from Catherine of Siena sounds remarkably like something the Popes today might have said once or twice ...

Take heart in Christ gentle Jesus.

But it seems supreme eternal Goodness is making us do under coercion what we haven’t done for love. It seems he is permitting his Bride to be stripped of prestige and luxury, as if to show that he wants holy Church to return to being poor, humble, and meek as she was in those holy early days, when she was concerned only with God’s honor and the salvation of souls, taken up not with material things but with the spiritual. For ever since the Church has paid more attention to the material than to the spiritual, things have gone from bad to worse.
This is why you have seen God in his just judgment permitting the Church to suffer so many persecutions and trials. But take heart…and don’t be afraid, no matter what has happened or may yet happen. God is doing it to make the Church perfect once again, so that lambs may feed in this garden instead of the wolves who are devouring the honor that belongs to God by stealing it for themselves. Take heart in Christ gentle Jesus, for I trust that his help, the fullness of divine grace, will come soon to your support and aid. If you do as I’ve told you, you will emerge from war into the greatest peace, from persecution to complete unity—not by human power but by holy virtue—and you will defeat the devils we can see (evil people) as well as those we cannot see—though they never take their eyes off us. - S. Catherine of Siena