Saturday, April 12, 2014

What is the Pope really saying?

When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind:
 "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." 
When we do not profess Jesus Christ, 
we profess the worldliness of the devil, 
a demonic worldliness. - Pope Francis

And who is he saying it to?

Sometimes I just don't know.  A lot of people seem to be confused, and many of us point fingers insisting he's calling out this or that group.  I think we are all reading him wrong.  I also think the majority of journalists are blindly misrepresenting what he says.  Trads feel picked on, of course - they've been the persecuted minority since the Council, right?  But so called "liberals" seem to me at least, to be the ones the Holy Father frequently indicates - something he has done right from the start.

Shortly after being elected he said something about prayer and worship.  He said something like, 'if you do not pray to Christ (God) you pray to the devil'.  Many remarked about how he frequently pointed to the existence of the devil - Satan.  Very liberal people do not do that.  Many liberal religious people go beyond Christ and pray ... to what?  The Pope suggested the devil.  Catholic new age retreat centers ring a bell?  Cenacle sisters retreat centers?  The guy always gets naked retreat centers?  Beyond Christ spirituality?  Ommmm, reiki me over the coals for saying it, but I think the Pope might have been talking to New Age Catholics.  (Sorry - bad Phil Dunphy puns, you'd think I write copy for local news.)

So anyway.  The Pope mentioned the devil again.  

That's so not progressive or liberal.
“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ." - Vatican Radio
So, if you are not praying to Christ, who are you praying to?  Somewhere in the Prophet Hosea it says "Turn to the Lord, take with you words."  Human beings communicate using words - Christian prayer uses words.  When you are lost for words, you can use the psalms, the rosary, the Our Father.  When you pray quietly, you are focused on the one you are with.  When your faculties are suspended, it's a grace.  The prayer of quiet is a gift from Christ.  We don't know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit within us intercedes for us.  Christ is the Word, made flesh - get it?  Of course there are artificial states of prayer, induced states - they are not supernatural, despite the 'levitation' of spirit it brings.

I didn't mean to go off on this, but I've come across some stuff online about prayer which I found kind of weird.  One woman said in an emergency with a family member she began praying for God's help, to heal, to help, to remedy the situation - adding a sort of apology, "I know prayer is supposed to be silent, listening, but I wasn't able to do that."  Well of course you weren't.  And that brings me to the next topic.  The pope on intellectualizing the faith.

Too many theologians?

The Holy Father didn't say that, but he's made remarks suggesting he knows that we know so much about theology and canon law and rubrics and social issues, but maybe lack common-ordinary-mysticism.  Even priests.  Perhaps that's why some of their homilies can be so boring - and maybe - just maybe - why they find the new translation so difficult to say/pray.  This kind of ties in with Francis' campaign against clericalism as well - especially of the laity - too many deacons?  He didn't say that, I'm not saying it, but he did kind of sort of praise simple lay people who pray.  But I digress.

Speaking to representatives of the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
The other aspect that I wish to share is that of the relation between study and the spiritual life. Your intellectual commitment in teaching and in research, in study and in the broadest formation, will be that much more fruitful and effective the more it is animated by love of Christ and of the Church, and the more solid and harmonious will be the relation between study and prayer. This is not something ancient, it is the center!
This is one of the challenges of our time: to transmit knowledge and to offer a key to vital understanding, not a cumulus of notions unconnected among themselves. There is need of a true evangelical hermeneutic to understand life, the world and men better, not of a synthesis but of a spiritual atmosphere of research and certainty based on the truths of reason and of faith. Philosophy and Theology enable one to acquire the convictions that structure and strengthen the intelligence and illumine the will … but all this is fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and kneeling. The theologian who is content with his complete and closed thought is a mediocre 'theologian'. The good theologian and philosopher has an open thought, that is, incomplete, always open to the maius of God and of the truth, always developing, according to that law that Saint Vincent of Lerins described as “annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate” (Commonitorium primum, 23: PL 50, 668): it is consolidated with the years, it dilates in time, it is deepened with age. This is the theologian that has an open mind. And the theologian that does not pray and does not adore God ends up in sickening narcissism. And this is an ecclesiastical sickness. The narcissism of theologians, of thinkers does so much harm, it is sickening. Zenit
Traditionalists might believe the Pope is going after them - again.  I'm not at all sure of that.  As a priest and bishop, the Holy Father went through all the changes in the Church that we did.  He was often considered to be too conservative during the course of his priestly life, and I believe somewhat marginalized for a time.  Liberal/progressive dissent is fairly well embedded in the post-Vatican II Church. I think the Pope may be talking to them just as much as he is talking to traditionalists.

I also think the Pope recognizes the crisis in [Catholic] education.
He said that it is every child’s right to grow up in a family “with a father and a mother” capable of creating “a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity”. The Pope also called for an end to what he termed as “educational experiments” with children and young people, pushing a “dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them in the name of a pretended “modernity”. 

The Pope noted that the “horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals”. 

To counter this he urged the BICE members to foster a true anthropological formation of the child respectful of the reality of the person, to enable children and young people to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media. - Vatican Radio

 I bet he knows kids are being screwed up in Catholic schools.
"What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.” - Pope Francis

Just saying.

What's wrong with that? Is there something wrong with that? 
Why, why, why is that something wrong to do? I don't understand that. 
Why are you pointing the finger at other people all the time? 
Why don't you point the finger at yourself? 
Do a little more reading, maybe? 
Some time in court - maybe that would be effective for you!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Since you brought it up.

Felt banner design studio.  Who designs and makes these crappy miters and vestments for bishops?

Churches and vestments do not have to be ugly.

The Pope said there could be married priests if bishops of the world decide it is okay.  Deacon K wrote about it, using this photo.  I'm thinking the priest's wife in this photo might want to rethink her wardrobe choices.  In the absence of grace and beauty, modesty and decorum is a virtue.


Police State.

Family Vacation.

I commented on a news item about a family in Ohio, who while visiting an Air Force Museum on vacation were stopped by AF Security, Grandma and Mom were forced out of the van at gun point, while the kids were screaming.  It was all a big misunderstanding of course...
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (CBS CLEVELAND) – A spring break vacation turned into a nightmare for a Columbus family visiting the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force when four police officers in three cruisers drew guns and forced a grandmother and a mother to the ground as two young children screamed in fear from what authorities thought was a “stolen” vehicle.
Alice Hill, 65, her daughter-in-law Wendy Hill, 31, and Hill’s two children, Aaron, 8, and Brooke, 5, were pulling out of the museum parking lot after Aaron and Alice had counted the number of out-of-state cars on the way to their family minivan.
Unbeknownst to the family, an anonymous onlooker had called 911 and reported that the family was burglarizing vehicles in the parking lot.
On their way out of the lot, police pulled the vehicle over as one officer stood behind his door and drew his gun on Alice Hill, who was driving. - Read the rest here.
I know!  It's so not funny, kids traumatised, the U.S. is turning into a police state, freedoms are curtailed, and so on.  It's horrible.  I'm actually afraid to leave the house.

So anyway, I left a comment on the news story post: "Gee!  This is just like 'National Lampoon's Family Vacation'"!  And someone got pissed and responded, "Idiocy is still well represented in our commenters, it seems."

Yes.  Yes it is.  

All's well that ends well, Grams and mum and the kids were not trying to break into cars in the parking lot after all and the informer has been fired by Homeland Security.  (I made that last part up.)

I'm thinking lawsuit/settlement.

Someday they will all laugh about it.

On Veiling

BTW - Archbishop Wilton Gregory wants a new Missal - again.
“We’ve tried it, we’ve lived with it, we think it needs correction,” Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory. - Story here.
 What is wrong with these priests?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I told you so. Fr. Z seeking nomination...

Fr. Z's latest 'call to action'.

Some people in my native place, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, have a project to nominate the next Archbishop. 
If you want to help them nominate a priest to become the next Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis… my native place, I’m just sayin’… they have an online form HERE
I’m saying that you should nominate anyone in particular but… well… it is my native place, after all… I’m just concerned for their welfare.


Seriously, don't have a SFN, - Fr. Z is just being facetious, (and so am I), but Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is seriously delusional.

Do go vote - I'm going to.


I voted for Fr. Z noting these qualifications: pastoral experience in Rome, Catholic Internet leader, Augustine scholar, liturgist.

Go towards the light ... go towards the light ...

Story here.

Mysterious light on Mars!

Seriously, how weird is that?  Remember last week I saw a green ball of light fall to earth?

Next week the first of four 'blood moons' occurs.  Tetrad.  I know!
 "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes," [Joel 2:31].

The ball of redemption.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

This is an interesting meme.

I just mentioned to a friend that I am battling discouragement.  I told him after what happened to Sr. Jane Dominic in Charlotte, I'm even less convinced the Spiritual Friendship crowd is helping the Church.  It seems to me Catholics are willing to accept ss marriage and all things 'gay' in the exact same way they have embraced contraception.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Temptation of Susanna

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. 

I don't usually think of Susanna as being tempted when confronted by the two men who would take advantage of her.

Today's first reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel recounts the story of the two elders appointed judges who falsely accused Susanna in retaliation for her refusal to give in to their lustful demands.  They propositioned her.  She refused.  She did not consent.  Though she was vulnerable, naked before two men aroused to assault her.  Trapped she could not flee the temptation, thus she reasoned;
“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned.“If I yield, it will be my death;if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guiltthan to sin before the Lord.”Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,as one of them ran to open the garden doors. - Daniel 13
She suffered the consequences of resisting their advances and the lies they told, tarnishing her honor. She did not consent to the temptation and was falsely accused.  She was without sin and only later justified, delivered from death, her accusers condemned.

I also never considered the elders as being tempted, albeit by their own lust, rather I've always considered them as evil perpetrators, dirty old men, potential rapists.

The story of Susanna is all about that which seems so commonplace today.  Sex-lies-videotape: Lust, voyeurism-porn, covetousness, infidelity, hypocrisy, lies.  How seductive is grace and beauty, vain rejoicing in natural goods.

The men lusting after Susanna were old, respected elders and judges, reputed to be religious.  Their story helps to understand the 'stages' of temptation and sins of the flesh;
Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments. - Daniel 13
They suppressed their consciences - they wouldn't look to heaven, that is - they did not pray, pray in the midst of temptation - while no fear of just judgment for sin could deter them from following their lust.  As the Prophet Daniel exclaimed: beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience.  That is exactly how we fall into sin - young men and old.

Susanna prayed and was delivered.  Never discount the power of prayer.  Unceasing prayer, persevering prayer.

Lead us not into temptation.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Gay Mafia - Homo-Fascists: They do exist after all? Bill Maher said so.

Vetting applicants.

On the Mozilla firing of CEO Brendan Eich:

"I think there is a gay mafia," Maher said. "I think if you cross them, you do get whacked." - Bill Maher
We (certain Catholic bloggers) have been saying this for years - to great opposition, mind you.

I imagine Maher will be forced to apologize now.


When I was little, the Fifth Sunday of Lent was known as Passion Sunday.

A very solemn time begins.

Writing about things we know nothing about.

Covering statues.
Everyone knows they are there.

Like Charlotte Catholic.

I wasn't there.  I only know what I read.  And formed an opinion.  And wrote about it.

I don't write for a living - I don't get paid to keep up posting for ad revenue.  Why do I do it then?

Evasion.  Attention.  Looking for a reaction.

Seriously meddlesome.

One could even imagine they know enough to be the spiritual director of priests.  I say that because I came across a blog post by a lay person pretty much doing that - even suggesting remedies for what ails a priest.  Well intended, no doubt.  Convinced of one's good intentions, to be sure.  Qualified?  Not so much.

Convinced of our own self righteousness?

Especially when we think we are.

Reading bloggers I don't like helps me to see my faults.

This is the guy who invited Sr. Jane Dominic to speak?

This is the guy who is too Catholic for Charlotte Catholic?


Charlotte Catholic is fortunate to have such a fine priest as their chaplain.

What is wrong with those people?

Prayers for Fr. Kauth and Sr. Jane Dominic and faithful Catholic educators like them.