Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Lady of La Salette

Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of sinners, 
pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to thee.

On 19 September 1851, Pope Pius IX formally approved the public devotion and prayers to Our Lady of La Salette, referring to the messages of the apparition as "secrets".

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Fr. Martin, S.J. defense vs. the Catholic cyber-militia.

They're going after Fr. Z and Church Militant.

Fr. Z proclaims his innocence - he did not instruct readers to voice complaints - he just called out Fr. martin as a homosexualist.  (I didn't see him issue an 'action alert' on this, so I agree he didn't call up the troops to protest.)  But he is definitely being blamed.  I think his status is being questioned, since the LaCroix article identifies him as an "American priest known as “Fr Z” who, strangely enough, is incardinated (that is, belongs to) an Italian diocese, but lives in the United States."
This sort of vitriol is profoundly changing the communion of the Catholic Church. And not just in its ethos, but also in the way it functions. It signals a new kind of censorship that uses verbal violence to intimidate individual Catholics, as well as institutions within the Church – institutions that exist (also) to protect the rights of Catholics. 
The small groups that are behind the campaign that persuaded a prestigious Catholic seminary in the US capital to rescind its invitation to Fr Martin have grown over the last few years. They make up a Catholic cyber-militia that include “news” organizations like the Detroit-based “Church Militant” and bloggers such as Fr John Zuhlsdorf, an American priest known as “Fr Z” who, strangely enough, is incardinated (that is, belongs to) an Italian diocese, but lives in the United States. - LaCroix

Fr. Z is not scared.  I'm sure complaints about him pile up in Rome, but he appears to be safe under Bishop Morlino.  I think the most offensive thing Fr. Z ever does is call out people using labels which often denigrate their authority or identify them with liberal ideologies.  Sometimes he calls for 'action alerts' - and some time ago he used to ask for donors to donate to him instead of donating to NCR.

"I think a good way to show what you think of the NCR would be, first, to talk someone out of a subscription and, then, a spiffy donation to WDTPRS using the donation button below. If every reader here would pitch in $5, that would make a statement, given the number of readers we have." - WDTPRS

 One can't forget his feud with Phyllis Zagano and The NCR which he dubbed the 'fishwrap' and later National Sodomite Reporter a few years back.  Google Zagano and Fr. Z and you get: "I am told that Phyllis Zagano, who works for the National Catholic Reporter, is still calling around in order to make trouble for me and harm my reputation."  Therefore, I think it safe to say, one may assume that kind of thing is most likely happening right now in the wake of the Fr. Martin 'dust-up'.

So as we pray for Fr. Martin, let's keep praying for Fr. Z as well.

The Catholic blogosphere seems to be turning into the vestibule of hell.

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate

A Franciscan and a Dominican Saint for September 18

St. Joseph Cupertino, pray for the unwanted.

I like St. Joseph Cupertino for so much more than his miracles and wonders.  In the account of his life it is noted that even as a child, "nobody wanted Joseph; even his mother did not want him; Joseph learnt this lesson very early and accepted it." - Read more on his life here.

St. John Macias, pray for the simple.

"Rays of light streamed from the blessed's face as he taught the catechism to the poor, or prayed by himself in the gatehouse. He said an amazing number of rosaries and made no less than twenty daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament. He is said to have liberated more than a million souls from purgatory, many of whom came back, while he was at prayer, to thank him for his help." - More on his life here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

So what is 'Modernism' anyway? Or, "What's so wrong with Fr. Martin?"

"You traverse sea and land to make one convert, 
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna 
twice as much as yourselves." - Matt. 23:15

According to Fr. Nix. 
So why [...], “Leave Fr. James Martin alone!”? Endure this one boring doctrinal paragraph before getting to a whole new battery of overdone similes and metaphors that I’ll hopefully never pull out again. Doctrinally, the heresy of modernism has nothing to do with being a modern Christian in an age of technology. What Pope St. Pius X named as the heresy of modernism is essentially the denial of the supernatural and a religion that is anthropocentric (human-centered) not theocentric (God-centered.) When did it start? 
Some people say modernism influenced the minds of Catholics in the West beginning with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Others will say it started with the Protestant revolt in the 16th century. Others say it started with Vatican II. Others who are very clever will trace it all the way back to Francis Bacon or maybe Adam and Eve at the fall. Or Satan. That debate is unending. But really, from all of my study on this, I don’t believe that the heresy of modernism entered seminaries until sometime just before World War I. Then, Pope St. Pius X first excommunicated Fr. Alfred Loisy (a Scripture professor at a French seminary) in 1908 for denying the divinity of Christ, denying parts of Divine Revelation and overturning the supernatural side of the sacraments and the miracles of the Bible. Notice that Fr. Loisy was not discussing liturgical innovations or challenging the Church’s teaching on contraception. Rather, the root of modernism is a very denial of Divine Revelation. Fr. Loisy himself wrote:
“Christ has even less importance in my religion than he does in that of the liberal Protestants: for I attach little importance to the revelation of God the Father for which they honor Jesus. If I am anything in religion, it is more pantheist-positivist-humanitarian than Christian.”—Mémoires II, p. 397. 
I’m not saying that Fr. James Martin would ever write this. So, don’t jump to any conclusions quite yet. Follow me here: Fr. Loisy did not really believe in the Bible. I know that sounds more like an evangelical sticking-point than a Catholic sticking-point to some, but Fr. Loisy kicked off this modernism thing by implying to many others in the Church that really God did not mean what He said. It started to sound a lot like the enemy of human nature: “‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’”—Genesis 3:1. Notice that Satan weasels his way into the heart of Adam and Eve not by the temptation of the sin, but first by the temptation against Divine Revelation: Did God really say in the Bible? This is the root of the heresy of modernism. - Padre Pelegrino

That explanation shines a new light on the controversy surrounding Fr. Martin, S.J., for me at least.  This whole affair is much bigger than I thought, it's as if everything is coalescing, revealing its true face, as it were.  Or at least I'm able to see the problem in a broader context.  In other words Modernism really is the synthesis of all heresies.  Did I know that?  I don't think I thought about it.  Did I suspect this was the case?  I think I did, but like I said, I chose not to think about it.  For that I'm culpable.  I'm sorry, and I apologize.

Joseph Sciambra is right, he's been right all along.

Listen to me, people of all nations, men, women, and children, all of you who bear the Christian name: If any one preach to you something contrary to what the holy catholic Church has received from the holy apostles and fathers and councils, and has kept down to the present day, do not heed him. Do not receive the serpent’s counsel, as Eve did, to whom it was death. If an angel or an emperor teaches you anything contrary to what you have received, shut your ears. - St. John of Damascus

Art: James Ferringer. 

They got him.

There's going to be a fight.

Fr. James Martin, S.J., that is.

They got him.  Church Militant, LifeSite, Fr. Z, and might as well add Austin Ruse and Crisis Magazine, and those who follow these people and their sites.  Fr. Martin made the announcement Friday evening on his Facebook page:
Dear friends: Theological College, the seminary at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC, today cancelled a talk I was to give on Alumni Day, on Oct. 4, thanks to a campaign by Church Militant, the priest known as "Father Z" as well as Lifesite News. - Fr. Martin, S.J.
Fr. Martin lists a couple other engagements of his that were cancelled, noting the experience of those on the receiving end of the complaints:
That campaign caused a storm of phone calls, emails and messages to Theological College, which included, I was told, people screaming at the receptionists who answered the phone. In the end, they felt that the expected protests and negative publicity would distract from Alumni Day.
This follows the cancellation of another lecture at the Annual Investiture Dinner of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City, scheduled on Oct. 21. The organizers told me that they had received angry emails and calls from several members of the Order, most of whom, they believed, had found out about my invitation from another campaign initiated by Church Militant. - ibid

The power of Catholic social media.

I used to think it was an exaggeration on the part of the more traditionally minded Catholic bloggers who boasted about their victories, but once again, I see how wrong I was.  In the words of one very determined lady when commenting about another priest who got himself in trouble online,  "I doubt Rev. Roscia knows the power of Catholic blogosphere."  I think we all know it now.

I guess I have even more reason to pray for Fr. Martin now.

This will escalate, I'm sure.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some advice regarding the perfidious ...

“I write these things not wishing to cause distress to the heretics or to rejoice in their ill-treatment — God forbid; but, rather, rejoicing and being gladdened at their return. For what is more pleasing to the Faithful than to see the scattered children of God gathered again as one? Neither do I exhort you to place harshness above the love of men. May I not be so mad!
I beseech you to do and to carry out good to all men with care and assiduity, becoming all things to all men, as the need of each is shown to you; I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it hatred towards man and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, so that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.”
+ St. Maximus the Confessor, Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c

Thursday, September 14, 2017

In Sinu Jesu ...

Something for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

At adoration earlier this evening I opened the book, In Sinu Jesu at random and came upon a remarkable passage which was meaningful for me.  I set it aside and prayed as I normally do at adoration.  I stayed longer to read more of the book.  I've rarely encountered a book which speaks to me, as if I were hearing Our Lord's own voice.

I want to share an excerpt which I was also able to find online.  It is Our Lady who speaks, and is fitting for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The 8th Sorrow of my maternal and Immaculate Heart is that my Son is so offended in the Sacrament of His Love.
This sorrow of mine will endure until the end of time, when the Real Presence of my Son in the Most Holy Sacrament
will give way to the sight of His Divine Majesty.
Then will faith give way to vision,
and hope to possession. Then will love be secure and everlasting for all who will have died in the embrace of His Divine Friendship. Until then, know that my maternal Heart suffers and grieves
over the irreverence, the coldness, and the ingratitude of so many souls towards the Sacrament of my Son’s undying love.
It is in this Sacrament that He loves His own, loving them to the end — to the end of every created possibility and to the end of this passing world. His Eucharistic Love surpasses all the laws of perishable nature: there is no greater miracle on the face of the earth than the Real Presence of my Son in the Sacrament of the Altar. Even so, He is forsaken, neglected, and handed over to sinners to be betrayed again and again, and this by His chosen ones, His beloved priests, the men whom He chose to be the consolation and joy of His Heart. - In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of A Priest

What is so amazing for me is this is a priest who converses with Our Lord and Our Lady. We are so accustomed to female mystics writing their experiences, but rarely do we have a priest's conversations available to us in this way - heart to heart, man to man, as it were. The priest remains anonymous and hidden, and thus the Lord's work - his voice - can be discerned without distraction. As most people who read here know, I'm a terrible skeptic about such things, yet what I have read so far has touched me deeply. Reading it in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is especially edifying. I loved the following appeal - not just to priests, but to sinners.
It is sinners that I call into My presence. I want sinners to come to Me in the Sacrament of My Love, and to expose themselves to the healing radiance of My Eucharistic Face. My Heart will communicate to them a spark of the fire of My love, and they will find themselves warmed inwardly and saved from the cold of sin that threatens to freeze their hearts in a state of separation from Me.
If more sinners came simply to be with Me in the Sacrament of My Love, there would be more confessions, more true conversions, more healings of body and of soul.
The effect of sin is that it puts a distance between the soul and My love; my presence here in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar closes that gap, and allows me to work, silently and secretly, in the souls that come near to Me. Countless conversions began in My Eucharistic presence. Sin is never a reason to stay away from Me; it is a reason to approach Me.
I came to save sinners. I abide in the Sacrament of My Love for sinners. The light of My Face and the fire of My Heart are for the illumination and warming of sinners threatened by the terrible cold of a life far from Me. It is from the Sacrament of My Love that I breathe forth the Holy Ghost to melt the frozen and to warm the chill.
Sinners may object that they know not what to do in My presence. It is enough for them to remain close to Me. I will do all the rest, and they will perceive, after some time, that their hearts have changed and that they are ready to confess their sins and begin to walk in the light of My presence at all times. - In Sinu Jesu, The Journal of a Priest


Arezzo. San Francesco. Crucifijo del Maestro di San Francesco.

Traditionally the monastic fast begins today.

During the great monastic fast, which lasts from 14 September to Ash Wednesday, except for Sundays and feast days, dinner is an hour later, and supper consists of a glass of wine and a crust of bread ne potus noceat (Carthusian Statutes).

When I stayed with the Carthusians I noticed they also fasted from dairy products from now until Easter.  In my experience, the suppers were not as frugal as the statute above indicates.  I'm not sure what other monastics do these days.  I know Discalced Carmelite nuns observe the monastic fast, I'm not sure what they do however.  

I love this feast since it always reminds me of St. Francis and so many Franciscan saints, whose only book was Jesus and him crucified.

History of the Feast of the Exaltation.
To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim. - Read more here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Fifth Apparition at Fatima

“From the pale but cloudless sky there came a shower of white petals, 
resembling snowflakes, but melting before they touched the ground, 
or the bodies of the astounded people.” - Marvels

September 13, 1917

One month before the great miracle, Our Lady of the Rosary seemed to grant 'signal graces' to those who were at the Cova that day.
“The sun suddenly lost its splendor. The hue of the surrounding atmosphere changed to a yellowish gold. Then a delightful cry went up from the multitude: ‘She comes! Look! There!! There! How beautiful!’” 
“A small luminous global cloud was recognized immediately as the footstool of the invisible Lady. It moved in from the East toward the West slowly and majestically. Slowly it descended to rest, hovering above the holm oak, the tree of wonders.” 
Something similar happened on August 13 when the children were whisked off to jail while up to 18,000 people waited in the Cova for them. Learning the children were imprisoned, the crowd grew angry but were quickly calmed by heaven. Many described hearing what they thought was an explosion or thunder coming from the cloudless blue sky, and after it, a flash of brilliant light. Then the “sun paled,” the atmosphere turned “a yellowish gold, and a small cloud, most beautiful in its ethereal form, came and hovered over the forlorn looking holm oak…’Look! Look! It is a sign from Our Lady’” the August crowd shouted. Now they again saw the phenomenon. 
On September 13, present again, “The kneeling, ecstatic figures of the children were transfigured in a light that seemed to change the spot into a Holy of Holies, filled with the majesty of God.” 
Of course, only the three children saw Our Lady. - Joseph Pronechen

The September message:

Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolors [Sorrows] and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.” - OL of Fatima.  Read more here.

Looks like Fr. James Martin, S.J. got Catholic Vote shut down ...

Saint Dominic dispute with Albigensian heretics 
subjecting their books to a trial by fire.
Pedro Berruguete 

Actually CV has only been suspended.

For 12 hours.  Is that a big deal?  Not really - unless 12 hours off Twitter means loss of income?  Loss of what else?  I don't know.  Don't care.  I'm not on Twitter and I don't read Catholic Vote.

Did Fr. Martin feel threatened by a tweet suggesting a Dominican beat him up?  Maybe.  But maybe he just got tired of the attacks against him and chose this 'threat of violence' as one threat he could take to the censors?  The Dominican versus Jesuit thing was obviously an academic/scholastic type of jib-jab, nothing to really feel threatened by.  Yet in our PC climate - even kids in kindergarten can be suspended for terroristic threats if they say something mean or 'homophobic'.

The thing about this story is it demonstrates the mean spirited climate online and in our discourse in daily life, and how everyone seems to be waiting to be offended and all too ready to lash back.  Everyone seems to be ready for a fight.  Everyone is ready to retaliate.  Everyone is blaming others.  Everyone is on the defensive.  I've done that.  It has no reward.  In my case, I just ended up looking like a nut, or a disgruntled employee.

In the James Martin battle, everyone involved is looking pretty desperate.  Fr. Martin's defense seems reasonable to me when he is constantly under attack and labelled - pro-gay, homosexualist, heretic, perfidious, out-of-the-closet, and so on.  His critics who rage are actually helping him to sell his book.  In fact, they are probably the best ads he and his publishers could hope for.  In some cases they actually demonstrate the need for a book like Fr. Martin's.

On the other hand, Fr. Martin's complaints and reports to the censors, strikes me as protesting too much.  He's too close to the fire and it's only to be expected he's going to get burned.  He writes one thing, but seems to say another - and good people worry that he's contradicting Catholic teaching or suggesting a change in Catholic teaching.  Although Catholic doctrine can't change, if that is what he is trying to do, his efforts compromises the faith.  Faithful Catholics need the truth.  Like it or not, Fr. Martin needs to respond to his critics, and not try to silence them.

Having said that, the entire affair tells me that behind the scenes, people are working to take down others; making calls, writing letters, calling people out, trying to get people fired, or taken offline.  You can be sure Fr. Martin's superiors and the Vatican is getting letters on him.  I'm sure Fr. Z has enemies writing letters about him.  People are watching and reporting.  The problem for the 'watchmen' is this, their lives are disrupted and preoccupied, and even obsessed with this stuff.  Egos are involved.  Status and prestige and reputation is involved.  It goes beyond righteousness, it goes beyond who is right, who is wrong.  There is a danger of corruption, of dishonesty involved in these battles.  Not that it is any of my business, but they all seem to be worried about 'saving souls' with their tactics, or worried about leading others to perdition.  I wonder about that.

Finally, there is the danger of scandal.  Scandalizing the faithful.

Lately I've been more scandalized by Fr. Martin's opponents than by him.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Darkness is not dark for you ...

The dead are not dead for God.

It must be my age - but it seems to me that a lot of people are dying or have died.  We all will have to die one day - so it is good to pray for a happy death.

This morning I was thinking, praying for the sick, the dying and the dead.  I read, "In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mankind." - Job 12:10  And so I thought to myself, the dead are not dead for God.  If, as the psalm say, 'darkness is not dark for you' - then the dead are not dead for God.  As Jesus explained to the Scribes, "he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." - Luke 20:38

Prayer really is our consolation and means of inseparable union.

When St. Elizabeth of the Trinity died, her last words were: "I go to Light, to Love, to Life."  Her life became her heaven on earth, living in God:  "The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our 'home', the Father's house that we must never leave." [...] "It is there, right in the depths, in the Heaven of my soul, that I love to find Him since He never leaves me. God in me, I in Him, oh! that is my life!"

Therefore, we never have to be afraid. We are never alone. We are never lost.  In God the dead are not dead.  No matter what others say or do, all is well, so long as we, by faith, "remain in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls." - St. Elizabeth

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another Cardinal dead ... the third in two months.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, President Emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See ... dead at 81.

Cardinal De Paolis died on Saturday at the age of 81 in Rome after a long and painful illness, which the Pope said he endured “with a serene spirit and a trusting surrender to the will of the Lord”. - Vatican Radio

19 September 1935 – 9 September 2017

May the souls of the faithful departed...
rest in peace.

Vocations ... and ambition.

Pope Francis prays in front of the icon of 
Maria Salus Populi Romani in Rome's Basilica 
of St Mary Major at the end of his 
apostolic visit to Colombia.

Why so many ----- may not like this Pope.

The Holy Father once again speaks to priests and religious about the supernatural character of consecrated life.  I was just re-reading the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena and was impressed with how the Father spoke about those in consecrated life as those 'I placed there' - in other words, the vocation is His gift.  In speaking of the greatness of the priesthood, [Then said the Eternal God:] "I will first, dearest daughter, speak to you of the dignity of priests, having placed them where they are through My Goodness, over and above the general love which I have had to My creatures ..."

I revisited the Dialogue to find some light to help me understand why some Catholics online feel they are obliged to condemn priests, insulting them by calling them pansies, labeling them perfidious priests, or claiming they are closet homosexuals, and so on.  Such name calling and libel against consecrated persons is scandalous, I'm not sure St. Catherine of Siena would approve or recommend such behavior, especially from laity.

That said, the opposite is also dis-edifying, the idea that a priest or religious would fail in charity to admonish the sinner, to warn against wickedness, especially that "accursed sin against nature."

Obviously, we know there are religious who embrace errors and approve of lifestyles which offend God, and we know that there are the 'good guys' ready to condemn the obvious, yet they too may be susceptible to other forms of corruption, as the Holy Father points out:
Sadly, consecrated vocations “die when they love to be sustained with honors, when they are driven by a search for personal reassurance and social advancement, when the motivation is 'to climb the ladder,' to cleave to material interests and to strive shamefully for financial gain,” he said.
As he has done frequently in the past, the Pope said the devil “enters through the wallet.” And this doesn't just apply to the early stages of the vocation, but “all of us have to be careful because the corrupting of men and women in the Church begins in this way.” - CNA

I see this more clearly the older I get.  I have seen this in even the recently ordained.  The desire to please the bishop, to find favor with the bishop, to be admired, to be popular.  Therefore, the Holy Father does well to call everyone back to their 'early love':
“There can be no place for deceit, hypocrisy or small-mindedness if we are branches of this vine, if our vocation is grafted onto Jesus.” - CNA

I have a good friend who is a priest.  So faithful and constant in his fidelity, so charitable and humble, and yet so hidden.  He never had ambition for honors or promotion - ever.  I am so grateful for his friendship.

Anyway - whenever the Holy Father speaks like this, we are reminded how fervently we must pray for priests and religious.   

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pope Francis ... taking it to the streets.

h/t Paul Stilwell

Song for this post here.

Prayers for the Holy Father in Colombia

The Holy Father slammed the side of his head against the frame of the 'Popemobile' while standing and waving.  He's alright but blood spattered on his mozetta.  He continued on in good spirits.  God bless him.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

My disgust over sectarianism and radical heresies ...

Dave Armstrong has a timely article on Luther's disgust over Protestant sectarianism ...

It's weird, but I was thinking along these lines myself.  I was thinking the division on Catholic social media and among traditionalist Catholics is veering close to a similar sectarianism and buffet of claimed 'heresies' which ultimately reject infallible authority.  Armstrong doesn't make such a comparison in his article, although I wonder if he may have had it in mind?

Protestant founder Martin Luther's radical change of the rule of faith from an infallible Bible and Church and tradition to private judgment and sola Scriptura (Scripture as the only infallible authority) and comments about plowboys being able to interpret Scripture without the checks and balances of that Church and tradition, naturally led to excesses of individuality and sectarianism.
People reasoned (consciously or not) that since Luther felt free to break away from Catholicism and gave the example of an ongoing smear campaign of propaganda and calumny against the existing Church, that there was little reason why they could not reject both the Catholic Church and him. - Dave Armstrong

Seems to me we have a lot of protestant Catholics vigorously critiquing other protestant Catholics these days.

Bunch of flamers.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Our Lady's Birthday

Birth of the Virgin
Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo 

Sweet Child Mary, destined to be the Mother of God and our sovereign and loving Mother, by the prodigies of grace you lavish upon us, mercifully listen to my humble supplications. In the needs which press upon me from every side and especially in my present tribulation, I place all my trust in you.

O Holy Child, by the privileges granted to you alone and by the merits which you have acquired, be merciful to me this day. Show that the source of spiritual favors and the continuous benefits which you dispense are inexhaustible, because your power with the Heart of God is unlimited. Deign through the immense profusion of graces with which the Most High has enriched you from the first moment of your Immaculate Conception, grant me, O Celestial Child, my petition, and I shall eternally praise the goodness of your Heart.

Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Full of grace!  Hail Mary!  Mediatrix of all grace!  Have mercy upon me a sinner!  Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!

"I am all thine, and all that I have is thine, O most loving Jesus,
through Mary Thy most holy and Immaculate Mother."

Thursday, September 07, 2017

When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because ...

Your redemption is near at hand. - Luke 21:28

That's it.  The reason for my peace.

I like this translation better, "when these things begin ... hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand."

Fear is useless.

I've read several people saying things like, "The only thing keeping me in the Church ..."  Then they go on to cite this or that priest or bishop, this or that parish.  I have no faith in men.  As the Imitation points out:
"On the other hand, every man is a liar, infirm, unstable, and subject to fail, especially in words; so that we ought not readily to believe even that which in appearance seems to sound well.  
How wisely did you forewarn us to beware of men, and that a man's enemies are they of his own household, and that we are not to believe, if anyone should say, 'Behold here! or Behold there!'" - Imitation, Bk. III, Ch. 45
"It is better to leave everyone to his own way of thinking, than to give way to contentious discourses." Ibid, Ch. 44

Undoing knots ...

Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted 
the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children,
 I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. 
No one, not even the evil one himself, 
can take it away from your precious care. 
In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.

Every day.

I'm finding the greatest consolation in this devotion, with little miracles every day. I am not even asking for specific things, instead each morning I'm leaving it to Our Lady to sort out. I've always had a lot of problems - now it is time for Our Lady to finally straighten everything out.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Carlo Cardinal Caffarra has died.

The second of the Four Cardinals of the Five Dubia to have gone to the Lord – in two months. - Source

[My first thought:  Angels and Demons - you know, the novel/film.  Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist.  (I think Langdon may be in the Philippines right now, deciphering symbols embedded in plastic rosaries.)  What?
Anyway.  Don't get mad at me - that's the climate created by Catholic nut-jobs online who spark controversy with tall tales and conspiracy theories and reports of devils and heretics taking over the Vatican.]

Seriously ...

His Eminence, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna today returned his soul to his Lord, whom he faithfully served all his life without reservations of love, generosity and intelligence, serving generously wherever He called him.
The Archbishop of Bologna expresses the deep and affectionate condolences of the entire Diocese, the presbyterate, and his staff, and invites the faithful to join in prayers of suffrage.
The chapel of rest will be set up in the Sala Bedetti at the Archbishopric, starting tomorrow, September 7, at 4 pm.
The Vigil of prayer for his soul will be celebrated on Friday 8 September at 9 pm in the Cathedral.
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi will preside at the funeral ceremonies on Saturday 9 September at 11 am in the Cathedral. Following the ceremony, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra will be buried in the Crypt of the Cathedral. - Archbishop Matteo Zuppi
+ 1938 - 2017 +

Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Why Jesus commanded the demons not to speak ...

It's mentioned in today's Gospel.

Why Jesus commanded the demons he drove out, not to speak.

"The reason why Jesus forbade the devils to speak was to teach us not to believe them, even if they say true. For if once they find persons to believe them, they mingle truth with falsehood." - Theopylact of Ohrid

The desire for signs.

It is a very ill sign when we desire signs to make us believe in God. The signs which we demand to fortify our faith are often marks of our infidelity. There is not a more dangerous plague in the events of worldly affairs than to deal with the devils or to play with predictions. All these things fill men with more faults than knowledge. For divine oracles have more need to be reverenced than interpreted. He that will find God must seek him with simplicity and possess him with piety. Fr. Nicolas Caussin, S.J.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Sometimes I get books to read ...

Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary,
 shall receive signal graces. - Promises of Our Lady to those who pray the Rosary.

It always seems like a job, and so I'm not very good at it.  I've read books and reviewed them on the blog from time to time, but I'm not very good at that either.  I must be a disappointment to the authors, and I apologize.

Today I received a book I ordered myself - and I am very excited to read it.  It is the biography of Sr. Lucia of Fatima by the Carmel of Coimbra - Lucia's monastery.  "A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary".  I was moved to send for the book after reading the circular letter from her Carmel - which I've read over and over by now.  These writings dispel every foolish notion, interpretation, and conspiracy idiocy regarding Fatima and the secrets - as well as the absurdities regarding Sr. Lucia herself.

Even historians of good will who write solid books on Fatima, do not come close to the testimony of Sr. Lucia, her Carmel, and most especially, the Holy See.  Likewise, no one can grasp the meaning and mission of Sr. Lucia without responding to the message of Fatima intended for all the Church - that secret has been known since the beginning, as Sr. Lucia always affirmed.

What a treasure has come into my hands these last few weeks before the anniversary of the Miracle on October 13.  What a joy, what a grace.

St. Teresa of Calcutta

She inspires joy in me whenever I look at her or read about her or see her depicted in film.  She makes me want to do good, to be better, and this desire is always accompanied by compunction, and a prayer for her assistance.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Exorcism and exorcists ... and popular piety.

Supposedly haunted and cursed  by Illuminati.

An Exorcist's Claim.

MANILA – An exorcist warned the public about the circulation of Satanic rosaries and religious items in the country, during the most recent airing of the once-a-month spiritual warfare episode of the Diocese of Novaliches’ Radio Veritas segment “Hello Father 911”, on Aug. 7. 
“Kapanalig listeners, be careful as the rosaries you might be using could actually be infested or cursed,” warned Libera Nox chief exorcist Fr. Ambrosio Nonato Legaspi in Filipino. - Story here.
 I've written about this stuff many times before.  (I've searched my archives but wasn't able to find the exact post where I discuss the so-called Masonic/satanic symbols.)  The crucifix Fr. Legaspi is warning about is similar in kind to other plastic rosaries distributed free at shrines around the world.  The iconography/symbology is misrepresented as New Age, Satanic, or Masonic.  If that is what you want to believe, then don't use it.  If you don't believe the Roman Ritual for blessing of sacramentals is not enough, then don't use this type of rosary.  The cited article says the 'haunting' is harder to get rid of if the ritual was 30 minutes or longer.  “These were made not only to be simply given away but to deceive Catholics…so that evil spirits will haunt them. - Fr. Legaspi.  I can't imagine that to be true, much less imagine that it would work.

I'm not familiar with Filipino culture, but in general I consider this idea superstitious and sensationalized.  The images on the rosary crucifix are not demonic or Masonic in and of itself.  They may appear to be, but they are simply impressed designs, not highly defined, yet the design has Biblical and Christological  roots.  Today, so many symbols have been used for a variety of reasons or causes, adding to the confusion.  Likewise, today there is a blending of cultures and cult, which can seem foreign to many, and the original meaning of archetypal images has been convoluted if not completely lost.

If you believe the Church, the Mass, and the episcopacy has been infiltrated by satanists and Masons, you will soon imagine you see evidence for it.  The idea of a cursed or enchanted rosary - especially once that has been blessed, is absurd.  It reminds me of the Monastery Icon rumours warning that the makers performed satanic ritual blessings over them prior to sale.  It also reminds me of people who believe the Divine Mercy image is satanic, due to a fold in a sleeve which resembles a demon, meant to corrupt the devotion.

Ordained priests believe this crap.  

Fr. Amorth wanted more priests trained as exorcists, but I think even a well trained exorcist can be susceptible to delusion or a form of obsession - I may be wrong.  I base that conclusion on exorcist priests who have been eager to support spurious mystics and locutionists and apparition sites even when the locution or site may have been put on notice by the CDF, or simply proven false when prophecies don't come true.

I've discussed this stuff on my blog many times - it's the other side of the coin of following private revelations and messages from heaven, or traveling to the ends of the earth to see an image of the Virgin on the underside of a turtle.  As St. Teresa of Avila once noted, one sees devils around every corner.  Certainly amulets can be enchanted or cursed, as demonstrated by the priest St. Teresa convinced to get rid of the charm given to him by his mistress.  Yet that was a pagan charm.  [Although Santeria openly uses Catholic images and sacramentals, I'm not sure this is the same thing as what Fr. Legaspi*  warns about regarding the 'satanic rosaries'.]

That said, one can get to the point one can't tell the difference between a devotional image from a natural eidolon - the phenomenon may be called pareidolia "the human tendency to read significance into random or vague stimuli (both visual and auditory)."  Likewise, one may mistake more archaic Christian symbols for occult symbols.  One clear example is the serpent mounted on a pole - which appears on the rosary crucifix as well.

While it is true Masonry may use 
the same symbol, it's origins
are Biblical.

Moses simply “mounted” a serpent upon a pole.

Orthodox prelates use a crosier or paterissa surmounted by a cross flanked by two serpents.  It is a reference which goes back to the Book of Numbers 21 and corresponds to Christ's statement in the Gospel of John 3:14; "Just as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the desert, etc."  It also represents the staff of Moses, which transformed into a snake in the presence of Pharaoh.  Moses used the same staff to part the Red Sea, to pierce the rock from which water flowed and so on.  The same image has been used in various forms in the West, and one finds the serpent mounted on a pole or a Tau cross in churches, on medallions, in illuminated manuscripts, and in liturgical design.  The snake on the rosary crucifix story has been around for awhile and keeps getting recycled - even priests fall for it, in much the same way Protestant deliverance ministry believe Catholics are idolaters and images should be destroyed.

And the LORD said unto Moses, 
Make thee a fiery serpent, 
and set it upon a pole:
 and it shall come to pass, 
that every one that is bitten, 
when he looketh upon it, shall live.

"Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

It strikes me as rather ironic that a diocesan official would make such a big deal about this.  It seems to me it feeds morbid curiosity by suggesting that a Christian object, decorated with obscure imagery has such power over an individual who might unwittingly use it to pray Our Lady's rosary.  The priest's radio program is about Spiritual Combat, which I suppose helps explain why he discusses it - but I'm not sure how effective his catechesis is, since it seems to me to be steeped in ignorance and superstition and does little to dispel the problem.  This is a problem of catechesis and correct understanding of the use of sacramentals in popular piety.

Today the real and present danger of diabolic delusion and influence is omnipresent in popular culture.  Take into consideration problems of catechesis, ecclesiology, not to mention gender politics, marriage and family issues, and even Islam.  In the United States, and perhaps in the Philippines, New Age ideology/spirituality has often infected diocesan programs and parishes, retreat centers and convents.

Orthodox prelates use a crosier or paterissa 
surmounted by a cross flanked by two serpents.

Yet people blame the Illuminati.

"And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, 
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

* Disclaimer:  Sure enough, there does seem to be a cultural anomaly.  There is a serious problem with poorly catechized Filipinos buying these rosaries which have been adopted by 'folk-religionists'?  As a friend kindly explained to me on my Facebook page: 

David Quiambao It is not superstition. I am sorry Terry, I always agree on your posts and have always thought of you as a good and holy person, but with this particular issue you are making a big mistake thinking this is an over-exaggeration by exorcists. I do hope you did your research first about the reality of Folk-Catholicism here in the Philippines and how it has become a genuine problem especially in the rise of demonic cases. Please do not belittle (I know it's not your intention) the works and service of those who are discerning and praying in this ministry of deliverance. Prudence dictates that we should take into consideration many things before taking actual actions and conclusions. I personally attest that these objects can and have become problems.
Our Faith also warns us that even objects can be infested by the evil one. To clarify, i am not saying the devil is more powerful by God. Actually the person who took this picture told us that the objects by themselves are harmless, and the "curses" placed upon them will be broken by the simple blessing of sacramentals by a priest. Please do realize that a lot of Filipinos buy these rosaries from faith healers, sidewalk vendors without bringing them to priests to be blessed. That's the spirit behind why the CBCP came out with a news bulletin. To warn those Filipino brethren of ours who are susceptible to these kinds of harmful objects. - David Quiambao
Bonus Link:  One more link disputing the claims about the satanic rosary and the Illuminati symbolism here.  H/T Juan Taylor

Blessed Catherine of Racconigi

Blessed Catherine of Racconigi
1486 – 1574
Feast day September 4

An extraordinary mystic and stigmatic - although the wounds not visible until after her death. A Third Order Dominican, towards the end of her life she was pretty much ostracized by townsfolk and even the Dominicans, due to the strange lights and sounds which emanated from her house.

Her situation reminds me of Margaret of Cortona who also fell out of favor with the Franciscans because so much gossip followed her all her life, and she too was sent away from Cortona towards the end of her life.

Gossip and malicious stories follow a person, sometimes all of their lives.  St. John of the Cross prayed 'to suffer and be despised' - he too was badly treated by his confreres.


Sunday, September 03, 2017

So happy today - Sunday.

What a joy to Communicate!

It was palpable - such a grace to be able to receive Holy Communion.

I'm so happy.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Thinking of John Paul I


Today doesn't appear to have much significance in the life of John Paul I, but he is very much in my thoughts.  He would have been a pope very much like Pope Francis had he lived.  I loved him.

He reigned from August 26 to September 28, 1978, he was dead in bed on 29 September, he died of heart failure. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

So - Pope Francis really is a psycho?

"Nuttier than a fruitcake, Fawlty!"

Apparently Pope Francis revealed to a journalist he consulted a psychologist when he was 42 years old, to help him clarify a problem. (Story here.)  So far so good.  Although I'm beginning to notice comments on Facebook such as "It's been an open secret in the Vatican that the Pope is on psychotic medications."

The story can only get better going forward, I'm sure.  What?

"Hurry! Get me out of here - I told you he's insane
and has me imprisoned."

I'm just joking about this of course.  Nothing is wrong with consulting a psychologist or taking medication when needed.  The Holy Father's admission may help remove any such stigma.  I imagine those who dislike and mistrust the Pope may use this against him however.

One last post on Joseph Sciambra and Fr. James Martin, S.J.

[Ed.Note: I first posted this on Facebook, then took it down, my Facebook page is not followed by very many people, and few seem to care about stuff like this.  In addition, a Cardinal Sarah letter just broke in the WSJ, pretty much taking down Fr. Martin's book.  Monsignor Pope and others on Facebook are applauding the letter, which should settle any dispute with Fr. Martin's POV for most Catholics.  Likewise, Joseph Sciambra is indeed getting the recognition and kudos he needs with a Church Militant spot covering his interview of Paprocki.  Therefore, it seems to me the increased coverage means Joseph Sciambra no longer needs to be concerned that he is being ignored by the 'Catholic left'.] 

"What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun." - Imitation of Christ

Joseph Sciambra is taking flak on Facebook for his criticism of Fr. James Martin. He has many criticizing him in return. Sciambra is a good man, from a very complex background, and his conversion story is quite remarkable. His apostolate even more remarkable, as it includes evangelizing right in the middle of the Castro - so to speak. His story is pretty extraordinary. Nevertheless, his complaint that Catholic spokesmen for LGBTQ issues working towards some kind of dialogue, albeit ignoring his story and work, just might verge a little on the self-indulgent. Joseph Sciambra has his own forum, a website and he is fairly often interviewed on radio and podcasts, as well as featured in online magazine articles.

Catholics unacquainted with pastoral care of homosexual persons may not know that the only approved apostolate in the Church is Courage - it's a national group with diocesan chapters guided by a priest, established to help gay/same-sex-attracted people live a chaste, celibate life in accord with Catholic teaching. Writers like Fr. Martin already know it exists and is fully approved, has a strong following and so on. Though I'm not aware of Joe being invited to speak at a major Courage conference, his message and life is certainly a good model for the group. In other words, I'm trying to point out that individuals like Joseph do indeed have a voice and their stories are indeed recognized - in the Church and in and through a venue such as Courage.

Catholics, such as Fr. Martin appear to be reaching out to those who are not yet reconciled with Catholic teaching, and or misunderstand what the Church teaches and even reject it. One may agree or disagree on how he does that, what he says in his books, and so on. Just as many may disagree with Joe. Social media is like open-mike night - if one condemns another, the other should expect return fire. 

As the Imitation counsels: "What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun."

Sciambra's Facebook post I responded to:
Joseph Sciambra - 8/31/17 3 hrs · I find it amazing how the gay Catholic Left and their allies bemoan certain members of the hierarchy for judging homosexuality without ever (they claim) knowing someone from the LGBT community – the main point that James Martin keeps making is that the Church must start by “listening to the stories that L.G.B.T. Catholics have to tell of rejection and humiliation by society and by the church…” But then these same teary-eyed hand wringing virtue signaling advocates turn around and marginalize me – Hypocrites. They want an open forum - for themselves.

I still think he needs to beware the temptation to celebrity.

Addendum:  Once again, it appears I made a mistake in judgment.  It is good to be corrected, and especially so by Mr. Sciambra.  Joseph explained to me what he means when he speaks of his message and outreach being marginalized, and or ignored.  Explaining that in San Francisco, just about every parish with a sizable LGBT presence is frequently subject to the influence of the so-called 'gay-mafia'.  Hence Sciambra is either barred from speaking, or as in one case a speaking engagement was cancelled due to protests.  That's what he meant when he says he is marginalized.  He is not looking any sort of national spotlight.  I apologize I suggested that might have been his intention, it is not.

That said, many are mystified, as is Joseph, as to why the huge blow-back against his outreach, as well as Bishop Paprocki's statements on pastoral care for homosexual persons, not to mention the sometimes hostile remarks made against priests like Fr. Martin.  I think it's because, though their statements are very clear concerning Catholic teaching and are necessary to dispel error,  their statements and POV is sometimes sensationalized on social media and especially in conservative media, which happens to be the only source willing and able to publish their statements, and or stories.  In doing that, the stories are often editorialized and inflamed against those whose approach to the subject is deemed too liberal or conciliatory, and so on.  Therefore their LGBTQ opponents politicize the message, which means they connect Catholicism with the 'alt-right'.  It's happened throughout history, perhaps most notably in Franco's Spain.  Very simply, so-called 'liberals' turned 'leftists' want to silence anyone who opposes a more liberal agenda.  It's a form of censorship not unlike the new iconoclast movement employed to tear down historical monuments and so on.

Anyway - I will ty to be more careful when discussing these matters in the future.  Again, my apologies to Joseph Sciambra.