Friday, May 03, 2013


The Pope spoke of courage today.
"Jesus - to put it in stronger terms - challenges us to prayer and says this:' Whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son '. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it ... But this is really powerful! We must have the courage to go to Jesus and ask him: 'But you said this, do it! Make the faith grow, make evangelization move forward, help me to solve this problem... Do we have this courage in prayer? Or do we pray a little, when we can, spending a bit' of time in prayer? But that courage, that parresia even in prayer ... "
"When the Church loses courage, the Church enters into a ‘lukewarm’ atmosphere. The lukewarm, lukewarm Christians, without courage ... That hurts the Church so much, because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside, and problems arise among us; we no longer have the horizon, or courage to pray towards heaven, or the courage to proclaim the Gospel. We are lukewarm ... We have the courage to get involved in our small things in our jealousies, our envy, our careerism, in selfishly going forward ... In all these things, but this is not good for the Church: the Church must be courageous! We all have to be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus!"- Pope Francis homily.

You can change.  You can.  I think that is all God wants me to tell you with this blog. 

However, you must ask - and trust.  Sometimes it takes many years.  You fall - you get up.  You fall away - you come back.  You come back, you fall again.  You get up and ask again.  You keep asking, seeking, knocking.  It gets better.  In the process we learn how deeply we are loved and how deeply we are called to respond in love.  We learn from our mistakes that God is a loving, merciful Father... we see Him in the Son.

"Prayer is the trap door out of sin."

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Anti-Obama protests in Latin America.

I wonder when it will catch on in the United States?


Pope Benedict comes home to stay.

I'm happy he is back home at the Vatican, I wish I was there - I could clean the cat box or something.
In style with his own personal manner, Pope Francis left the formalities of a welcoming ceremony to Vatican authorities, who awaited the arrival of the Pope Emeritus at the Vatican heliport. These included Cardinals Bertello - President of the Governatorate, Bertone - Secretary of State, and Sodano - the deacon of the College of Cardinals as well as some bishops.

But Pope Francis was awaiting his predecessor at the entrance to the “Mater Ecclesiae” Monastery in the Vatican Gardens where Benedict will be residing. Together they preceded to the chapel for a brief moment of prayer. - Finish reading here.
Song for this post here

Saint José María Rubio y Peralta

José María Rubio y Peralta shares his feast day with St. Athanasius. 

José María Rubio y Peralta is a little saint however, perhaps a saint after the heart of Pope Francis. St. Jose Maria was a Jesuit who loved the poor.  He was acclaimed by his Bishop on the day of his death in Madrid, in 1929, as the apostle of Madrid

An anecdote from his life.
Father Rubio was a famed confessor. The locals used to queue, having to wait for several hours, in order to be confessed by the Father Rubio.

While hearing confessions one day, a lady came and told him of a man who had to confess soon, as he was dying. That evening, Father Rubio went to visit the dying man, following the directions the woman had given him.  Fr. Rubio had to go to the third floor without a lift. When he finally arrived at the apartment, he knocked and asked for the gentleman.

"It's me" the gentleman said, "but I think that someone has played a practical joke on you, as you see I'm in perfect health. Come in, man! Have a drink and relax after you have had to climb so many stairs." Entering the room, Fr. Rubio noticed a portrait on the wall.  While the man he came to see served him a drink, Fr. Rubio told him that the woman in the portrait was the lady who visited him and sent him.

The host laughed and said that he must be mistaken since that lady was his mother and she died some years ago. Then, the gentleman said; "Look, as long as you are here, I would like to make my confession because it has been years since I even entered a church - this way your journey will not have been in vain".

After making his confession that night, he died. - Catholic Online
 Pray for us, St. Jose Maria, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Now this is good art....

"Virgen renacentista" - Aristides Artal
I just discovered this painter at the Deacon's Bench.  Deacon Kandra posted an image of St. Joseph the Worker by Artal for today's feast day.  I like his work very much.  Artal's Madonna has natural golden hair...
Aristides is a master.

Jason Collins: "Coming out" as political act.

And the approval of the LGBTQ lifestyle.

President Obama recently congratulated Jason Collins for coming out. “Given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who has excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go ahead and say, ‘This is who I am. I’m proud of it. I’m still a great competitor. I’m still 7 foot tall and can bang with Shaq and deliver a hard foul’…I think it’s a great thing,” the President said.
Earlier on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney expressed praise from the White House for Collins. 
"Here at the White House, we view this as another example of the progress we've made and the evolution that has taken place," Carney said. "We commend him on his courage and support him in this effort and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward." - The Hill
"Coming out is the existential counterpart of 'gay is good'."

It means for most gay people, accepting, celebrating, and sharing their truth about who they are sexually.
"[T]he coming out process is important politically as well as personally.  Studies have shown that in those areas where people have had to vote on gay rights, those who knew a gay person were more likely to vote affirmatively than a person who didn't.  It's difficult to vote against the rights of someone you know." - Brian McNaught.
Coming out is a pop-culture term originating in the 20th century.  It is very much a political act or statement and is useful for propaganda purposes.  It goes beyond mere self-acceptance and establishes a new identity for the person.  For a wiki history, go here.

This is why I objected to Fr. Barron's recent statements on 'coming out':
"Over roughly the past 25 years, many gay people have “come out of the closet,” and this is indeed welcome. Repression, deception and morbid self-reproach are never good things. The result of this coming out is that millions have recognized their brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, uncles, and dear friends as having same-sex attraction.
The homosexual person is no longer, accordingly, some strange and shadowy “other,” but someone I know to be a decent human being. This development, too, is nothing but positive. The man or woman with a homosexual orientation must always be loved and treated, in all circumstances, with the respect due to a child of God." - Fr. Barron

The online definition of gay pride is as follows:
Main Entry:  gay pride
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a sense of dignity and satisfaction involved in the public admission of one's homosexuality

Be careful boyz and girlz.

There's a new statue for the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin.

I don't know what to say.

Badger Catholic posted on it, but I'm not sure if he is serious.  I suppose I could have followed the links to find out for sure, but I'm going to take him at his word and believe what he wrote in the post.  Go here for Badger's post and more photos. (His site is a 'nuclear-free zone' as well!)

Quick history - off-the-cuff.

Bishop Ricken gave 'canonical recognition' to the shrine not long ago.  In the 1800's Our Lady appeared near Green Bay and asked a young woman, Adele, to teach catechism to the local children; she did, and became a nun as well.  Then fire broke out and burned the entire area except for the area Our Lady appeared, and miracles happened ever since.  Bishop Ricken approved the apparitions and established the chapel as an official shrine.  (I wrote this from memory and without taking a breath!  I know!  Like I'm talking real fast to get the history out of the way so I can rip on the new statue.)

Original statue of Good Help

The new statue.

So the statue is really - not a masterpiece.  That's all I really wanted to say.  It strikes me as too sensuous and reminds me of  some of the resin Chinese statues you'd find in a Catholic bookstore.  My first thought was 'kitsch'.  The figure seems to portray a sort of popular culture idea of beauty.    Which was why I thought Badger wasn't serious with his post - I thought he was pulling a fast one.  No Bishop would ever commission or accept a statue that looked like that.

Or would he?

Another image of Our Lady I have difficulty with is OL of America.  Two thoughts:  Maybe some images are too literal?  Maybe religious statuary companies need better artisans? 

I'm not that familiar with the messages of Our Lady of America, perhaps the Blessed Virgin asked for a statue to be made exactly as she is depicted - although I wonder if a fine artist might have executed it more delicately, more subtlety?  There's a lot going on with the image - although it strikes me as  more suited to public veneration than the new Good Hope statue.

On the other hand, if the new statue for OL of Good Hope was done according to Sr. Adele's description, perhaps the craftsman who did the new image would have done better to rely more upon the archetype already at the shrine.  Sacred images made for devotion ought to move one to devotion, not excite the senses, or the emotions in the sense pop-culture does. 

I believe the artisans were sincere and no doubt they are talented. God reward them.  Our lady must be pleased with their efforts.

OL of America


St. Joseph, the Worker

In thanksgiving for favors received.

"Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love." - Furrow, 489 JoseMaria Escriva
"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God." - St. Philip Neri 
Art: John Collier

Fr. Z: Talk like a Desert Father.

You are fair and comely, O daughter of Jerusalem:
terrible as an army set in array. - Little Office

Fr. Z has an excellent piece on the Devil - seriously.
Angels, the holy angels and the fallen, have missed nothing of your life since the instant of your conception. And they never forget anything.

Fallen angels, the enemy, the Devil, can’t literally get into our heads or thoughts or touch our will, but they don’t have to in order to know us really well.

And they hate you. They hate you. They hate you.

With relentless malice the “prince of this world” will work to trick you into letting him have some control in your life. Demons will cleverly and with perfect timing stimulate appetites and passions based on how well they know your proclivities. They strive to twist your heart and mind away from God in order to diminish even by a little the love everyone will share in heaven as they shine in the magnified glory of the Trinity.

The Devil and other demons are always held in check by God. They cannot simply have their way with us or the material cosmos around us unless God permits it according to His plan. But they are devious and tireless. - Read the entire post here.

As a remedy and protection, Fr. Z encourages the Sacrament of Penance - regular confession, as well as devotion to Our Lady and St. Joseph, the angels - especially St. Michael.

+ + +

In addition to the sacraments, as Father mentioned,  devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament accompanied by devotion to Our Lady and her Rosary, seems to me to be an assured source of consolation, courage, and hope of perseverance.
“Mary, until the end of time, will always uncover the evil of the infernal serpent and of his infernal plots; she will make his diabolical counsels vanish and will free his loyal servants from his cruel clutches. The power of Mary over all the demons will shine particularly in the end times, when Satan will strike at her heel, that is to say, on the humble slaves and poor children of Mary, who are called to battle against the gates of hell”. (De Montfort, True Devotion, no.54) 
Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, you alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world. - Little Office

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Minnesota Wild!

Beat the Blackhawks.

Never mind.

St. Pius V and ... you know ... Horrendum illud scelus.

And now class, a chapter from gay history.

I enjoy posting this on the feast St. Pius V, recalling his pastoral care of homosexual clergy. A priest from San Francisco who once read the blog dropped me a few years ago because I posted on this subject.  For some reason, I don't have a huge readership amongst gay people - is it something I said?  Or just my delivery?  Truth be told, I prefer that people avoid this blog, that way I may be more inclined to quit it, I say that with the greatest sincerity, BTW.  

The Church must do better for gays.

A few weeks ago in an interview Cardinal Dolan said the Church has to do better for gay people.  The Church certainly has become much kinder and gentler since the 16th century, that is certain.  Nevertheless, I wonder how much more the Church needs to do?  How much more can she do?  I sometimes think of that verse attributed to Abraham in the Gospel story of the Rich Man and Lazarus: "‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”  To me it seems the Church offers the gay person more than enough:  Reconciliation, grace, community, pastoral care in and through the sacraments, eternal salvation.  Just as she accords to all.  Of course there is Courage for those who want it, otherwise, there is the ordinary means of salvation, traditional spirituality for the single/married person ... what more is needed?  But I digress and shouldn't generalize...

Now, without further ado, Pius V's version of  pastoral care for the homosexual person...

St. Pius V

That horrible crime, on account of which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.

Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: "Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature, given that the wrath of God falls over the sons of perfidy, be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery" (chap. 4, X, V, 31).

So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.

Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss. - Tradition in Action

He was so strict!

However, it is worth noting the Church has done better in modern times.


What's needed today
is discipline.

Bonus factoid:

Pius V wasn't the fashion plate others claim.
Although Pius V is often credited with the origin of the Pope's white garments—supposedly because after his election Pius continued to wear his white Dominican habit—this claim must be regarded as legendary on account of the great number of contemporary portraits of earlier popes wearing the same white cassock he supposedly inaugurated.  Much more likely is that his Dominican predecessor, Blessed Innocent V, was the first to give the Popes their white.

Burning sodomites.  I've always thought this  
practice most likely led to the
 use of the pejorative term 'faggot'.

 Disclaimer:  I do not think burning people at the stake for any reason is funny nor warranted.  That's about it for today.

Pope Francis: Shame is a virtue...

To be ashamed is a virtue of the humble.
Confession "is an encounter with Jesus, with this Jesus who waits for us, who waits for us just as we are. “But, Lord, look ... this is how I am”, we are often ashamed to tell the truth: 'I did this, I thought this'. But shame is a true Christian virtue, and even human ... the ability to be ashamed: I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country to those who are never ashamed are called “sin vergüenza’: this means ‘the unashamed ', because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble. "
Pope Francis continued: “ we must have trust, because when we sin we have an advocate with the Father, "Jesus Christ the righteous." And He "supports us before the Father" and defends us in front of our weaknesses. But you need to stand in front of the Lord "with our truth of sinners", "with confidence, even with joy, without masquerading... We must never masquerade before God." And shame is a virtue: "blessed shame." "This is the virtue that Jesus asks of us: humility and meekness". - Pope Francis, morning homily, 4/29/13
I've written about shame numerous times.  Shame is considered to be a bad word in contemporary culture - especially if it is connected to homosexual acts.  Gay pride - 'coming out' is offered as the antidote.  But Gay pride is a maquerade.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another huge WTF moment...

Supposedly Fr. Lombardi - spokesman for the Holy See said the following:
"[I]t is a good thing for the child to know that he has a father and a mother"; [it must be] "made clear that matrimony between a man and a woman is a specific and fundamental institution in the history of mankind. This does not prevent that other forms of union between two persons may be recognized". - Source
A couple of Cardinals and some Archbishops apparently agree with him.

I hope this is not true.

UPDATE:  4/30/13 - As it turns out, there seems to have been problems with the translation - of what Lombardi really said.  Please see the com box for Catholic in Brooklyn's take. 

Thank you.  Watch your sources people. 

Nudity in the Borgia Apartments.

Experts amazed!  "This pre-dates Theology of the Body!"  "Naked ...  men!"

Vatican City, April 26 - What appear to be the first depicted images of Native Americans have been found in a painting by Italian artist Pinturicchio at the Borgia apartments in the Vatican after a recent renovation, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has reported. Experts, including Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci, believe a detail in the artwork refers to the natives explorer Christopher Columbus found when he travelled to the New World for the first time. Paolucci points to a detail contained in fresco of the Resurrection that was made clear by work carried out by art restorer Maria Pustka. ''Just behind the Resurrection, behind a soldier who is enthralled by the incredible event he is seeing, you are able to discern nude men wearing feathers who appear to be dancing,''  - Source

St. Peter Martyr

Today is the feast of one of my patrons, the great Dominican martyr, St. Peter of Verona.

St. Peter was canonized just one year after his martyrdom by Cathar assassins.  As a young boy I was deeply impressed by his story - his head split open by an ax, he began writing the creed in his blood on the ground.  I was so thrilled by his heroism, that I pricked my fingers several times so that I had enough blood of my own to write Credo on a piece of paper, which I then gave to Our Lady.  Peter's story here.

It is also the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, another saint I seem to have always been devoted to.  I enlisted her patronage when I was little mainly because my family always made fun of me and criticized me for my piety.  In my naivete I likened my situation to Catherine's, who endured great opposition from her family for her determination to consecrate her life to Christ. 

As is obvious, I never measured up to either saint, but I hope they will remember me now and pray for my conversion.  I also hope Our Lady kept that piece of paper.

Happy feast day!

Art: Circle of Bernardino Cesari (Arpino 1571-1622 Rome)
The Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Verona

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mass Chat: The Norms for Holy Communion in the United States.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do...

I do wish that my parish used the Communion rail and had clergy distributing the sacrament, but we process forward in lines, receive Holy Communion standing and in the hand.  Certainly people may receive on the tongue, but the practice at my parish is in the hand.  First Communicants are formed this way, and that is the custom.  I accept that and I am fine with that.  If I received from the priest I'd receive on the tongue, but since we have lay ministers handling the Blessed Sacrament, my experience is they tend to fumble when someone sticks out his tongue, and so receiving in the hand is less complicated. 

When Communion in the hand was first permitted, I was thrilled to actually touch with my hands the Sacred Species... I mentioned before how, at every Communion I continue to remind myself of what the Apostle writes in 1 John 1:1 ... "which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, the Word of life..."  Though I suppose I would prefer to receive kneeling and on the tongue, I do not wish to 'singularize' myself, and disrupt the flow, as it were.  Like I said, I'm just fine with receiving in the hand.  After consuming the host, I check my hands for particles, "cherishing even the dust" [Ps. 101: 15] - although I never find any.  I remain quite awhile in thanksgiving after Mass, grateful to be able to receive Holy Communion at all - and grateful for the grace to attend Mass.  I do not communicate every day, so when I do, I am grateful and try to prolong my prayer - even amidst the noise and chatter after Mass.  It becomes a wall of white noise and is not a hindrance in the least.  When I'm interrupted by someone, I am happy to speak to them and then go back to my thanksgiving.

Once again, I know I'm out of step with many Catholic bloggers who see Communion in the hand as an abuse.  I love their devotion and would be happy if kneeling and reception on the tongue was the norm - but reception in the hand is permitted, and there is nothing wrong with that.  For the sake of those who do follow the established norms, I hope they will know they are certainly not committing a sin or sacrilege, or receiving unworthily in the hand while standing.  The prayer before Communion, "O Lord, I am not worthy..." makes it clear none of us are worthy, nevertheless one is free to receive in the hand or on the tongue.  

To help convince you of this, I refer you to Deacon Kandra who posted on the updated Norms from the GIRM. I'll note the essential part here, and if you are interested, you can finish reading at his blog. 
What does the Missal say about the posture of the faithful when receiving Holy Communion? What about Communion in the hand?

Both of these questions are covered in no. 160 of the GIRM. It states clearly there that the “norm” established for the United States for reception of Holy Communion is standing. In the 2003 GIRM, it stated that no one should be refused Communion if they kneel, but that afterward they should be properly catechized. In the current edition, the exhortation to catechesis is removed and the exception to the norm of standing is left to the discretion of the faithful: “unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.” [emphasis mine] The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 91, is then cited.

With regard to receiving Communion in the hand, there is a significant development from the 1985 GIRM to the 2003/2011 edition. Whereas in 1985, Communion in the hand was granted by virtue of an indult received in 1977, in the Roman Missal, Third Edition, Communion in the hand is now ordinary liturgical law for the United States, [emphasis mine] though every communicant retains the equal right of receiving on the tongue. - Deacon's Bench

Personal piety not withstanding, when in doubt, check with your parish priest, the chancery and or the Bishops' Conference of your country for the norms and standards.

As for me, I am just fine with receiving Communion in the hand.

Mass Chat Bonus:

I almost forgot.  After Communion an older lady came by to talk - she had been injured and not doing to well and so she wanted to let me know she was doing better.  I try not to ask questions of people, but I couldn't help ask if she was able to get around okay and she told me, "My room-mate helps me."

I froze.  "Room-mate!"  I thought.... "Gay - she must be gay!"


Fr. Robert Barron on 'coming out'...

Forgive me!

"[M]any gay people have “come out of the closet,” and this is indeed welcome."

Fr. Barron writes about same sex marriage and the breakdown of moral argument in this week's edition of The Catholic Spirit.  It's quit good. 

He noted that the problem developed pretty much because there no longer exists a 'coherent conversation about ethics'.  He goes on to name another important draw back in the discussion:
"Still another indication of the breakdown in moral argumentation is the sentimentalizing of the same-sex marriage issue."
That is very true.  Interestingly enough, Fr. Barron discusses the benefits of 'coming out' as a same sex attracted person.
"Over roughly the past 25 years, many gay people have “come out of the closet,” and this is indeed welcome. Repression, deception and morbid self-reproach are never good things. The result of this coming out is that millions have recognized their brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, uncles, and dear friends as having same-sex attraction.

The homosexual person is no longer, accordingly, some strange and shadowy “other,” but someone I know to be a decent human being. This development, too, is nothing but positive. The man or woman with a homosexual orientation must always be loved and treated, in all circumstances, with the respect due to a child of God.

Nevertheless, it does not follow that everything a decent person does or wants is necessarily decent. Without a convincing argument, we cannot simply say that whatever a generally kind and loving person chooses to do is, by the very nature of the thing, right.

This is why I am never impressed when a politician says that he is now in favor of same-sex marriage because he has discovered that his son, whom he deeply loves, is gay. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am sincerely delighted whenever a father loves and cherishes his gay son. However, that love in itself does not constitute an argument. - Fr. Barron
To come out, or not to come out?  To identify as gay or ssa, or not to identify as such?

What to do?  What to say?  Fr. Barron's statements pretty much turn my opinions upside down, don't they.  (That wasn't a question.)  I can't say his POV matches my experience however.

Looks as if I've been wrong - about everything.

I'm so embarrassed.  My sincere apologies to all of my readers for writing about my personal experience, trials and errors.  It's not as if I didn't warn you though.  I've always told you to seek advice and direction from the proper Catholic sources, and to ignore what I say - whether you agree or disagree with me.  I'm no expert.

That said, possibly my worst advice has been to tell people what I have repeated in the past few days in my writing about Carla Hale.  Pay no attention to the man behind the...  I was wrong to suggest that you not seek employment in the Church, volunteer or serve on committees, and so on.

Yeah.  So.  Come out, come out, and apply for work in the Church, teach CCD, coach, whatever you feel called to do.  All are welcome.
The Church loves, welcomes, and respects a woman or man with a same-sex attraction . . . while reminding him or her of our clear teaching that, while the condition of homosexuality is no sin at all, still, God’s teaching is clear that sexual acts are reserved for a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, loving bond of marriage. - Cardinal Dolan
Mea culpa!

Works for me!