Saturday, September 06, 2014

Saturday Detention: Alright students, today we'll pick on another 'heretic', Richard Rhor.

Of course, he may not be a formal heretic...

And when we finish here you will all go back 
to the laundries and wash your uniforms.

An emerging church movement.

Personally I have never been attracted to the spirituality of Richard Rohr and his Center for Action and Contemplation.  I have no interest in New Age spirituality - I left that stuff behind when I returned to the Church and sacraments in 1972.  Back then it was better known as the occult or Gnosticism - or more popularly, the Age of Aquarius.  I'm generalizing of course, but it seems to me this is pretty much part of the mystical cocktail involved in the CAC brand of contemplation.  Rohr's center perhaps being the most successful of all the new contemplative movements from the past 40 years.  If you click here, you can see what I've written on Rohr and associates in the past.

I have of course friends and acquaintances who love Richard Rohr and follow the Enneagram and like to get naked and jump over camp fires, but who am I to judge?  To each his own.  There are 'elements' of truth within these strains of spirituality, but that's the nature of heresy - it is always an admixture of the truth.

I'm happy to note that there are others posting cautions regarding the spirituality promoted by Rohr and similar New Age Catholic gurus.  Such cautions always bear repeating.  Dan Burke of Spiritual Direction blog recently posted on Rohr and the spirituality promoted at CAC:
Fr. Rohr is deeply involved in the New Age. On the website for his Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), a “training and formation center” based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that he founded in 1987, he says the purpose of his work is to provide “a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness” (whatever that means). 
The CAC was a well-known hub for the Church’s premier dissent group in the U.S., better known as Call to Action (endorses women’s ordination, homosexuality, goddess worship, etc.). 
Fr. Rohr has also been a long-time teacher of the Enneagram, an enormously popular New Age gimmick used for discerning one’s personality type. A specific warning against the use of the Enneagram for spiritual direction is included in the pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life
Another area where he is heavily involved is in the Emerging Church Movement, which consists of a diverse group of people who identify with Christianity but think its beliefs and teachings need to be “updated” to better conform to modern society (read compromise the faith). 
Fr. Rohr participates in Emerging Church conferences and workshops alongside the leaders of this movement, such as Brian McClaren, a “theologian” who thinks the current version of Christianity only partially reflects the truth. Another player, Phyllis Tickle, recently told an audience that “By eating the body and blood of our God, we are feeding the god within us . . .” - Dan Burke
I'm always happy when someone with credentials addresses these things.  This type of spirituality has very much permeated cloisters, religious communities, catechetical programs in parishes and schools, and many retreat centers.  The influence is annually apparent at the LA Religious Ed. Congress.  Even Jesuits have been known to write glowingly on the merits of The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics.  

Barking up the wrong tree.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Monsignor Pope and the missing post.

I "pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.” - Cardinal Dolan


His blog post, an editorial on the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade (read here) was indeed removed.  A comment left by Monsignor appears to confirm that:

Bless you all for your prayers and encouragement. I hope you will understand if I cannot continue to post your comments on the parade article here. I will read them but cannot post them, I will send you an e-mail gratitude. I ask your charity and understanding for the Archdiocese of Washington which has always generously sponsored this blog and been supportive of our conversations. I also hope you will understand if I cannot explain why it was removed. I am a loyal son of the Church and I love my Archdiocese. - ADW

Monsignor Pope is the best Catholic priest-blogger online.  Keep him in your prayers.

I'm disappointed on many levels.  Catholic autocrats have to wake up and recognize it's an exercise in futility to attempt to erase anything online once it is published.  Be it an errant remark by a Cardinal Archbishop or an affirmation of Roman Catholic teaching by a faithful priest - it's out there.

Keep the faith!

Monsignor graciously commented on the missing post here.

Hot topics: Fighting over the bodies of saints and parades for Irish gay people.

And they both involve Cardinal Dolan.

and the Catholic hierarchy.

Body, Body, Don't you doubt my body, body...

Archbishop Sheen's cause has been held up because there is a dispute over the body.  This is nothing new in the history of the Church and there is even a scriptural precedent for it.  There was a dispute over the body of Moses: "When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." [Jude 1:9]  And yet not a few Catholics online durst rebuke Cardinal Dolan for withholding the body of Fulton Sheen from Peoria.

The Cardinal is doing nothing wrong in this case.  He is also showing great sensitivity to the family of the deceased, as well as abiding by the rules in the process.  As soon as I read the 'reactions' to the announcement of delay I knew there had to be more to the story.  Cardinal Dolan also wants to avoid dismemberment of the body for relics.  This happened in the case of Pier Giorgio Frassati as well - the body was not violated because it was uncorrupt during the recognitio.

In earlier times the bodies of the candidates for canonization were dismembered for relics - and their bodies were fought over.  St. Teresa of Avila is a perfect example, the body was fought over and subsequently dismembered.  It happened to other saints as well.  In fact the body of St. Francis had to be guarded and hidden lest it be stolen by factions within the order.

This stuff happens and it is simply a delay.  It's not a conspiracy.  Strange as it seems, in this case it appears Cardinal Dolan is actually willing to be faithful to the letter of the law.

UPDATE:  More on the transfer of relics here.

Did I ever mention I hate parades?

I think they are dumb.  Having come from shanty-Irish stock - nasty when they are drunk - I have never liked celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  My dislike for holidays and parades can be linked to what I experienced as phony celebration - an excuse to call in sick and get drunk and fight.  Therefore, the fact Cardinal Dolan is taking a place in the St. Pat's Day parade in NYC isn't really a big deal - for me.  However, the participation of the gay group from NBC and Dolan's imprimatur taints my perspective - even though it is just a stupid parade.

I think it would be better if Dolan dropped out - I'm not scandalized that he consented to be Grand Marshall gig - I just think it's stupid - however, I am disappointed that he endorses the participation of the gay marching unit.  Pope Francis didn't take part in the Corpus Christi procession in Rome because he didn't want to be the center of attention...  So I think it might be better for Cardinal Dolan to stop making himself the center of attention, and drop out of a much more vulgar procession.

As for the participation of a gay group?  To me it has become a more secular event - and as I said, I don't like parades or the boisterous celebrations of St. Patrick's day.  As a secular event, I really don't care.  However, in my opinion, it could have been-should have been, an excellent opportunity for the Archdiocese to bow out.  Nevertheless, on account of the fallout after these announcements, there is still time for Cardinal Dolan to drop out and for the Archdiocese to no longer support or participate in the parade.  Sadly, I doubt that will happen.

That said, it seems to me that Cardinal Dolan's participation and his attitude towards the gay marching unit participation, at the very least, dishonors the memory of his predecessor, Cardinal John O'Connor.

Cardinal O'Connor was very clear on the issue of gay participation in the parade.
In 1993, Cardinal John O'Connor opposed the campaign by the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization for permission to march under their own banner. More than 200 gay rights protesters staged a countermarch that year and were arrested.
"Irish Catholics have been persecuted for the sole reason that they have refused to compromise church teaching," O'Connor said. "What others may call bigotry, Irish Catholics call principle." - abc
In 1993, then-Cardinal John O'Connor, facing gay protesters who staged a sit-in during the parade, vowed that he "could never even be perceived as compromising Catholic teaching" by entertaining their admission as an identifiable group in the event. "Neither respectability nor political correctness is worth one comma in the Apostles' Creed," O'Connor declared in his homily at a Mass for St. Patrick's Day that year. - NCR
I'm sorry to say it, but I think Cardinal Dolan has betrayed not only the patrimony of the Archdiocese of New York and traditional Irish Catholicism, he has betrayed faithful Roman Catholics - especially Roman Catholics who strive to live chaste and celibate lives in obedience to Catholic teaching.

So what's the big deal?

This is exactly what Cardinal Dolan's imprimatur means to the LGBTQ collective:

Catholics and LGBT advocates are welcoming both the parade committee’s decision and Dolan’s acceptance of it.
Lifting the ban on lesbian and gay organizations in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (front page, Sept. 4) is one more step toward the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Catholic circles. Too often, Catholics are told that the church cannot change its practices and policies about lesbians and gay men. The parade committee’s decision shows that even long-held and deeply entrenched prejudices can be overcome.
This decision is a victory not only for lesbian and gay groups but for all Catholics, and indeed for all Americans. - FRANCIS DeBERNARDO

All I can say is that I have to agree with what one priest wrote:  Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! - Source

Ancient Icons.

Portrait of young boy.

Painted, not written.

I love to point out how Christian iconography - notably, the technique of using tempera and or encaustic on gessoed wood panels - originated in pagan antiquity.  Before Christ.  Yes.  The images were 'painted' by painters back then.  Often on wood panels - with brushes.  They weren't windows - they were paintings.  Paintings.  P-a-i-n-t-i-n-g-s.

Portrait of man.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

In Memoriam

Joan Alexandra Rosenberg (née Molinsky) June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Nun's Real Story ... Marie Louise Habets

Sr. Xaverin, Marie Louise Habets

Marie Louise Habets [1905-1986]

In the film The Nun's Story, Audrey Hepburn's character, Sr. Luke was based upon Marie Louise Habets.  It is one of my favorite films of all time.  I was searching a bit of trivia* on the story and came across details on the life of Marie Louise Habets, whose name in religion was actually Sr. Xaverine.  She had been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, entering in Ghent.  At the time the nuns were 'enclosed' or semi-cloistered, as shown in the film.  The book by Kathryn Hulme and the film follow Marie Louise Habets' experience closely and accurately portrays religious life as it was at the time.  Her post-convent life is also rather interesting.  I especially enjoyed the photos I came across.

Marie Louise as a nurse
after leaving the convent.

She became attached to the Belgian army which in turn served with the British forces. She aided the wounded and dying when the first V-bombs were fired at Antwerp by the Germans. Scarcely had the tide of the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge been blunted and turned than she was nursing the American wounded who held Bastogne and survived. - The Boston Globe, 1957

Kathryn Hulme and Marie Louise met during the war
and became lifelong partners.  Both remained Roman Catholics.
A brief note on their life may be found here

Author Kathryn Hulme and former nun Marie Louise Habets, 
pictured in 1956. Chez Moune nightclub.

The bar photo surprised me, I'm not sure what the occasion was.  Nevertheless, as noted on the Wikipedia page:
Anyone who, inspired by the integrity, rebelliousness and self-assertion of Gabrielle van der Mal, goes to the Hulme papers looking for signs of Habets as a religious or sexual revolutionary, will search in vain. Comments attributed to her in interviews show her as socially conservative (though tolerant) and a staunch admirer of nuns, her one regret being that she herself was not strong enough to remain one. If she and Hulme had any criticisms of the Catholic Church or convents, they kept them out of their archive. If they were aware of or interested in women’s liberation or lesbian/gay liberation, they show no sign of it, though clearly they lived openly as a couple, and were acknowledged as such by friends and business associates. Numerous letters to Kathryn Hulme, from friends and business associates alike, contained among the Kathryn Hulme papers, include greetings to Habets, enquiries about her health and activities, plans for social events in which she is to be involved as Hulme’s partner - the normal stuff of communication among friends who are relaxed about each other‘s status. A handwritten note from Habets to Hulme dated 3 November 1975, begins "darling" and ends "I love you. Warmest kisses." - Source
Audrey as Sr. Luke

*So.  What piece of trivia was I looking for?  I couldn't recall if her number/habit number in the convent was #1072 or #1078.  Although I'm fairly certain she inherited Sr. Polycarp's number - correct me if I'm wrong.  Needless to say, I didn't find what I was looking for.

Wondering if there may be a connection between Fatima and ISIS.

Fatima. Apparitions of the Angel (1915—1916)

I'm not sure how and Our Lady never mentioned Islam at Fatima, but it seems to me what is unfolding in the Middle East today must be related to the Fatima revelations.  I just don't know how exactly.  The Blessed Virgin appeared in 1917 promising WWI would end soon, but a worse war would follow - if people did not amend their lives.  After WWII things got worse - especially after 1960.  At least twice the world came close to WWIII - nuclear war - in the 1960's and early 1980's.  Now we are left with a world in chaos.

Sometimes we can forget there were 'pre-apparitions' at Fatima.  The first event occurred in 1915.  The children saw the figure of an angel.  Later, in 1916 Lucia and her cousins saw the angel again.  This time he spoke, teaching them how to pray.  These events were in preparation for the apparitions of Our Lady the following May.  Each year, the encounters began in the spring.
Apparitions of the Angel
Although I cannot give the exact date, it seems to me that it was in 1915 that the first Apparition took place. As far as I can judge, it was the Angel, although at that time he did not venture to make himself fully known. From what I can recall of the weather, I think that this must have happened between the months of April and October in the year 1915.
My three companions from Casa Velha, by name Teresa Matias and her sister Maria Rosa, and Maria Justino, were with me on the southern slope of the Cabeço. We were just about to start praying the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent. My companions asked me what it was. I replied that I did not know. This happened on two further occasions, but on different days.
This Apparition made a certain impression upon me, which I do not know how to explain. Little by little, this impression faded away, and were it not for the events that followed, I think I would have forgotten it completely.
The dates I cannot set down with certainty, because, at that time, I did not know how to reckon the years, the months, or even the days of the week. But I think it must have been in the spring of 1916 that the Angel appeared to us for the first time in our Loca do Cabeço. - Source
I recalled these apparitions while researching ISIS, when I came upon the sect's intentions and purpose to establish a pure Islamic State.  Reportedly, their immediate goal is to eliminate the modern borders which exist in the Middle East.  These borders, which divided the Ottoman Empire, were established in May of 1916 by the Sykes–Picot Agreement:
The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom andFrance,[1] with the assent of Russia, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The negotiation of the treaty occurred between November 1915 and March 1916.[2] The agreement was concluded on 16 May 1916.[3]
The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire* outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.[4] The terms were negotiated by the French diplomat François Georges-Picot and Briton Sir Mark Sykes. The Russian Tsarist government was a minor party to the Sykes–Picot agreement, and when, following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the Bolsheviks exposed the agreement, "the British were embarrassed, the Arabs dismayed and the Turks delighted." - Source
[Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a July 2014 speech at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul vowed that "this blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes–Picot conspiracy"] 

The Sykes-Picot agreement was negotiated between 1915-1916 - and concluded in May of 1916.  We should keep in mind that with Fatima, dates are significant.  Most people seem to be aware of the fact the October Revolution took place in October of 1917 - the month of the promised miracle of Fatima.

It seems to me the dates of the preparatory apparitions line up with the planning and implementation of the Sykes–Picot Agreement  - is this significant?  The establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq to undo the Sykes-Picot Agreement was formally announced on 13 October 2006.  Does it demonstrate a connection between Fatima and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire along with current attempts to restore an Islamic State?  I don't know.

*The history of the Ottoman Empire is too complex and involved to go into here, but it was in steep decline at the turn of the 20th century, ultimately collapsing in 1918.  A concise history can be found here.  Nevertheless, it is only a superficial glance - as is this post - which is mere speculation at best - and I may be way off.   I have no expertise in these areas and such musings need the proper discernment of qualified historians and Fatima experts.  I'm not convinced there is anything significant to my theory - except maybe to remind us to pray the rosary every day for peace.

"War is a punishment for sin."  Our Lady to Bl. Jacinta

UPDATE 9/4/14:

A friend sent me a link to a post on "The collapse of the Sykes-Picot borders".  The article offers some perspective on what is going on politically.  H/T PML.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Another journalist beheaded...

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) release video apparently showing beheading of US hostage, Steven Sotloff - more here.

The other big story today seems to be that Hollywood celebs were hacked and nude photos/selfies have been made public.  WHO CARES!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Muslim Leaders insist there is no caliphate...

Thinking about the terrorists.

Muslim leaders reject ISIS's claim.

Muslim leaders reject Boko Haram's claim.

Yet terrorists are being recruited from mainstream Islamic communities in the United States as well as Europe.  These people are eager to join the new caliphate.

Muslim scholars/leaders insist they can't form a caliphate.  But they did.

It's kind of like the Reformation - Protestants formed their own catholic church - and today we want Christian unity.  Perhaps it's similar to schism?  Fundamentalist reform?  Heresy?  It doesn't change the reality - they exist.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Boko Haram* call it a caliphate and will behead anyone who disagrees.

*It's what they do:  Boko Haram has targeted Christians in areas the group controls in Nigeria, reportedly beheading all Christian men and forcing the widows into sexual slavery.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Weekend - Another USA International Holiday...

Families across the globe are returning home from the lake!

The Larry Mondello family.

Yes Poodles, it's back to school for the kids.

No more whites for mom.

And back to blogging for dad.

Something about Fr. Z ...

He's a good confessor.

Actually, he's a very good priest.  I especially love a priest who loves the Sacrament of Penance.  Father can rightly claim good success for his blog because he has used it to encourage so many to go to confession - and it appears not a few have, some after many years of being away.  I've known priests who were not that dedicated to confession.  I've known priests who weren't especially good confessors.  Fr. Z is both dedicated and good.

Today he has another very good post on confession.  It's very encouraging, especially for anyone who struggles with habitual sin or addiction.
Finally, don’t be discouraged.  God works wondrous things through fragile and erring priests: you obtained absolution for your sins!  Now, be of good cheer.  Even though you have a long road ahead, you are pointed in the right direction. - Read the post here.
As St. John of the Cross once said: "[T]he holier the confessor, the gentler he is, and the less he is scandalized at other people's faults, because he understands man's weak condition better." (Source)