February 29, 2008

Deep Thoughts: Brief Rants with Cathy

Gentle Reader: It’s been a tough week. I read some of my buddy’s blogs and it seems like I’m not the only one having a tough time. I think the Cross should feel lighter since it seems like so many of us are carrying it these days. Either I have the heavy end or I’m only using one hand because it sure doesn’t feel very light to me. I’m so glad I’ve really been emphasizing daily prayer this Lent. I think it’s helping me get me thru and keeping me from despair, and Satanic attack

Anyway, I have a couple of brief rants that I’ve been holding in for a while because I have not had a lot of time this week to blog. Sorry, I know how some of you love my rants. I hate to deprive you of them even if they may be somewhat undeveloped. LOL!

The Jesus Would Have Ordained Women Rant

Back in my dissident days, I’d frequently hear people say that the Catholic Church should ordain women because:

1) Jesus would have directly ordained women but he wanted to go along with the time he lived in which was a very patriarchal society. He thought it would help spread his message if he did not have women Apostles.

2) Jesus really meant to do it, so we should.

I was never really a strong advocate for women’s ordination-even in my dissident era. I think it was because for a long time I could not have cared less about the Church-any Church-to get excited about much of anything.

My question to people who say #1 and #2 is basically this: “Are you suggesting that Jesus caved into political and societal pressure?”

Did Jesus cave in to political and social pressure when He healed on the Sabbath? Did Jesus weaken His message in response to the people who were mumbling against Him and sought His Death? Did Jesus cave into social pressure when He chased the moneychangers out the Temple ? Did Jesus cave into political and social pressure when He went to the Cross?

Also, regarding #2 are you presuming to know the mind of The Christ? Really, how arrogant is that?

Women were disciples-yes. Women were essential to the Early Church and still are to the modern Church. However, only Twelve MEN were named Apostles. To suggest that Jesus named only men to be His Apostles because He conformed is ludicrous. To even suggest He conformed, period, is ludicrous. The very essence of His being and our Faith that He founded is non-comformity. Is it easy to be a Christian? Has it ever been? I find it amusing that the same folks who praise Jesus because He was a non-comformist (He spoke with women, He consorted with sinners) make Him into a conformist when He did or did not do something that they want.

The Kids Should Not Go to Confession Rant

The same folks who bring us the “No One Should Go To Confession-Especially Me” heresy usually come up with this one. I mean, they aren’t going to Confession anyway so why should their children? These are the people that get really outraged when you dare to inform them that their kids are not going receive First Holy Communion without going to First Confession beforehand. “HELLO, is there anybody out there?” It makes absolutely no sense to tell people that you can receive Communion (The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ) with a possible stain on your soul. Why in the world would you start kids with that idea? No wonder we have so many Catholics who think anyone is entitled to Communion. They think there is no such thing as sin so why confess? There’s apparently nothing to say. “Don’t worry, be happy!” Whatever.

The red herring these folks will throw out is: “Kids are not capable of sin so why scare them and subject them to that lunacy”. Oh, really? I look back and I’m 100% sure I was not sin free as a child. Or, they will say: “It’s absurd to have kids in the booth telling Father they hit their sibling or that they lied to their Aunt. Kids will be kids” What you are saying, then, is it’s ok for siblings to wail on each other and lie. I’m curious if you bother to teach your child table manners or that swearing is unacceptable behavior? Don’t we teach children so that they will carry desirable behaviors and practices into adulthood? Why not encourage them to start Confession early? Do you want your kid to undergo the marathon 1-hour Confession session I did when I finally returned to Holy Church ? And that 1-hour was not even all of it-that was just the first round. Or, have you just thrown in the towel on them being an actual practicing Catholic? Or, is it that you are afraid your child is going to ask you why you don’t go to Confession? Do you care that your answer may reveal more about your perspective on Faith than you care to share? Really, you don’t have to bother answering. Actions, speak louder than words. No one I knew as a child regularly went to Confession. The message to me was clear: you don’t have to. Nor was it emphasized in CCD (which was a complete joke). But, we always went up for Communion anyway. I had no concept of the Real Presence for over 30 years either. Why are we teaching our kids to be cultural Catholics? Why are we ashamed of the Faith we profess? Why are you bothering? If you don’t care, if you really don’t care, why are you even going thru the motions? Pull your kid out of Sacramental formation and send them to band camp instead.

I know I’m being harsh and I know someone is going to say: “Well you don’t have kids” or “You don’t teach kids” I’m calling it like I see it. I lived it.

February 27, 2008

AOTM Needs to Hire This Guy!

Never let it be said that I'm not always thinking of my Catholic brothers! I mean that in a pure way, so stop snickering!

"There's something inherently virile and masculine about growing a beard. It kind of evokes a mountain climber, an explorer, a warrior. I'm a man, d----t, and I'm not going to be coiffed, and I'm not putting on moisturizer, and I don't need toner and exfoliant and all that crap!"--GQ Style Editor, Adam Rapoport on the current popularty of beards, Chicago Tribune, 2/17/08

The Argument of the Month club should seriously think about hiring Mr. Rapoport for their April speaking gig! Maybe he can debate Fr. Pedersen who is growing quite an impressive beard these days?! I'm sure Mr. Rapoport won't even blink at the frat-house food table.

Labels: In praise of hairy men-Part II (or is this Part III? or does anyone care because I'm crazy?)

February 26, 2008

New York Times: "Now You Don't Know the Rest of the Story"

Many of you have probably read the recently released Pew Forum report on religion in the United States. Many of you may have the read the summary article in the New York Times by Neela Banerjee. Banerjee's story was reprinted in the Pioneer Press today

I, by no means, want to belittle the more disturbing findings of this report (the rise in "unaffiliated") or that the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. owes most of its membership stability to immigration, but the New York Times fails to even mention that 2.6% of the adult Catholic Church membership in the U.S. is from converts. (see below)

Another example of the dynamism of the American religious scene is the experience of the Catholic Church. Other surveys - such as the General Social Surveys, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago since 1972 - find that the Catholic share of the U.S. adult population has held fairly steady in recent decades at around 25%. What this apparent stability obscures, however, is the large number of people who have left the Catholic Church. Approximately one-third of the survey respondents who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic. This means that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics. These losses, however, have been partly offset by the number of people who have changed their affiliation to Catholicism (2.6% of the adult population) but more importantly by the disproportionately high number of Catholics among immigrants to the U.S. The result is that the overall percentage of the population that identifies as Catholic has remained fairly stable.--"U.S. Religious Landscape Survey", Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

I'm not surprised that the Times would fail to give the Catholic Church "credit" for much of anything. They've proven time and again they are no friend to Holy Church. However, this is another fine example of the Times forcing a viewpoint by omitting some of the information. The New York Times' stories are frequently reprinted in smaller papers like the Pioneer Press because the smaller papers have cut their newsrooms to the point that they have to do a great deal of reprints for national and international stories. Thus, the distortions and omissions end up spreading far beyond the Empire State.

Let's see what we can do to make that 2.6% number higher, eh?

Get Psyched for the Pope's Visit!

Mr. Tim Drake, Senior Writer, of the National Catholic Register -local writer (there is SO much Catholic talent around here!) informs me that the Register has started a website for the Holy Father's visit (April 15-20th) to the United States. The page is evolving. The plan is that Tim will blog during the Pope's visits, providing up to the minute information. I know you all like to read blogs and materials about the Holy Father, so help a good man and a good, authentically Catholic, paper out, ok?

UPDATE: D'oh! I forgot to post the link to the website! I corrected my dum-dum. Sorry!

Assist the Sistah

I wrote a few weeks ago about local blogger,Mary Gibson's plans to enter a convent in a few months. Mary has some debt to clear off first. If you can help, Mary has information on "the how" here

Mary is working with Laboure Society . If you are willing and able to assist Mary, please designate the funds for "VS blog 2/8"

Please remember Mary and theBenedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in your prayers.

February 25, 2008

Social Justice Distortions

A lot of CINO’s (Catholics in Name Only) if they hang onto anything regarding church teaching, will frequently say: "I like the Catholic Church for its social justice teachings." Or, "I’m fully on-board with the church’s social justice issues as they mean the right of workers to organize but anything else I barely follow or I don’t." I’ve known people who converted to Catholicism solely because of, not what the Catholic social justice teachings really are, but what they think they are or what they think they should be. These same people reject pretty much everything else the Church teaches because it’s contradicts what they entered the church for in the first place. If they think it’s an offense against social justice for people to be denied Communion, no matter their sinful state, then they roll with that. Regardless of whether or not there is irrefutable public evidence that the person approaching Communion is unworthy, if their social justice position is that it's wrong to exclude anyone then it’s not right that anyone is denied.

What these folks fail to realize, and I know because I used to be one of them, is you can’t do an evil in the name of social justice. You can’t look the other way when something is wrong and call that social justice. You also can’t use evil to create “social justice”

A lot of social justice fans think abortion should be allowed because it’s a social justice issue. They will say it’s unfair to “force” someone to have a child when they can’t afford it. It’s better that the child is killed before it’s born. Or, the church should allow condoms and abortificants to be distributed, and not say anything about the possible loss of human life that may result, just because it can be a social justice issue. Never mind the fact that many of us may ask: “Where’s “justice” for the unborn child in this equation?”

Or, we should allow the elderly and infirm to be killed, by their hand or their doctors, because it’s too much of a social justice issue to expect us as a society to pay for their care. They are suffering and they are useless anyway. Why prolong their “suffering” and, more importantly, ours? Our “compassion” on their behalf takes too much money from the stuff that really matters; such as, my ability to buy something I can’t live without: like a plasma T.V.

In the name of social justice we should look the other way when people are here illegally. I wonder if the same folks who say that would look the other way if they saw a robbery in progress? Crime is crime. I have sympathy for people that flee their countries for a better life but my sympathy ends when they refuse to go through the proper channels. My Grandparents immigrated from Poland . They went thru Ellis Island like everyone else of the time. They had the appropriate forms and paperwork for the time. The other ½ of my family was here already-since I’m partially Native American. There’s a part of me that thinks you can all leave. LOL!

Classic social justice for CINOs is usually: the right of workers to unionize, and a just wage. In recent days, the social justice umbrella has come include acceptance of gay “marriage” and acceptance of homosexual acts.

Catholic social doctrine DOES say workers have the right to organize and they have the rights to a just wage. However, somewhere along the line, stuff started to be added to the social justice movement that does not have ANY basis in the reality of Catholic teaching must less Catholic social teaching.

I have better odds of having a private dinner with the Holy Father then I do of seeing the Catholic church suddenly decide one day that they are going to add acceptance of contraception, abortion, masturbation, homosexual acts, gay “marriage” to the list of things you must accept to be a Catholic in good standing all in the name of “social justice”

It’s tragic that so many Catholics throw the phrase “social justice” around but they have no idea of what that actually means any more than what calling yourself a Roman Catholic actually means. Social justice, rather than being defined by the Church, as with many dissident beliefs, ends up being defined by the individual.

February 24, 2008

A Big Headache

A Cranky Cathy post!

I went to Mass with my Dad this morning. He got up late so we went to a North End parish that is not mine. Well, all parishes belong to all of us but we are usually registered at a particular one. So, I mean, the parish I went to this a.m. is not the one I'm registered at.

I've been to Masses, Adoration and Confession at this parish before. It's not, I have to say, a parish I attend unless I have to. I went to an appallingly disrespectful 40 Hours Devotion there once. It was so bad that I wrote a letter to the Pastor. I'm sure he probably took it "under advisement" since nothing has changed since.

Well, so there we are.

Why is it that choirs have to practice RIGHT BEFORE MASS?! I know many choirs and musicians have rehearsals during the week. If they don't, they should. If they don't, then please don't rehearse in the Church. Go to the basement, the music room, the parking lot, across town-somewhere else.

I'm trying to pray the Rosary in competition with Purple Guitar Strap Joe on the folk guitar (may they one day be consigned to a pyre lit by Father Richtsteig). Not only a folk guitar but it was amped (!) up to, at least, 6. In addition, was the choir and the pianist/organist banging away. My inappropriate humor, which is never far from the surface (probably why I'm still sane-bwah-ha-ha!), bubbled up as I wondered if the guitarist takes requests? I pondered yelling out: "Freebird!" and whipping out my lighter. Why not? It seems like just about anything goes these days except actually praying at Mass. Silence has gone the way of the Dodo bird.

I finished my Rosary. In fact, I was actually praying it out loud with my eyes closed. It was the only way I could concentrate. However, my Dad heard me and was chortling under his breath. Later he said: "I'm glad you did not kill anyone" Not this week, anyway. I have to admit I was praying the guitar strings would all break. Or, that my dream of Father Z, the Coped Avenger, appearing and smashing the guitar to smithereens would come true. Well, not today. Maybe someday. (hee-hee)

The Reader and the Choir Director (both females of a certain age) had purple sweaters on. Now, friends, you know how down with that color _______ I am, right? BTW, did you know that purple is the color the fans of women's ordination also wear? Oh, I'm sure that was just a coincidence (meow). They changed all the masculine pronouns for God to "God", rather than "Him" I made sure to keep it as it reads. I sang it true as well.

It's all good though, I waived at them during the "Sign of Peace" just like they do at Terry's parish. Mercifully, I did not have to introduce myself before Mass. "Hi, I'm Cathy, a recovering dissident."

Then, I brought myself back from the brink and a raging headache (I get a really bad headache when I start getting so mad and I can't vent) and realized that I need more mercy than I possess. It was, after all, not that long ago that I would have been the one ridding the Mass responses of masculine pronouns for God. I might have been the running around yakking before Mass too. I used to do that. There were decades when I thought that was all entirely appropriate and justifiable behavior. I never used to pray before Mass. Moreover, there were many times, I never WENT to Mass when I should have.

What our Church still needs is: mercy and education. We also need to lead by example so I'll try to keep doing that. Who knows? Just as holding hands during the "Our Father" has leeched its way into our Masses because a few people started doing it, maybe silent prayer before and after and during Holy Mass will come back if a few of us start doing that too.

This one is for you, Ray :I'm happy to report that Father won the "Great Priestly-Musician Show Down" at the beginning of Mass. This is what I call what happens when the Music Director/Singer/Choir/Organist (pick one or all of them) INSISTS on performing all 5 verses of the opening hymn even though Father arrived at the altar and is ready to begin on verse 2. Dang it, they are going to sing the whole thing and fill their ministry/let us all know how good they are. So, there's Father just standing there awkwardly. Heh, not this time. Father gave a look and they shut it down after verse 3. I could see they wanted to keep it going though. ROFL!! Father had probably had enough of listening to them rehearse it before Mass-as we all did.

February 22, 2008

Prayers for My Parish and a Good Priest

Father Patrick J. Ryan, a very patient and kind man, excellent confessor and fascinating storyteller of local Catholic history, is retiring on June 30th of this year. He's the pastor of my parish, St. Andrew in St. Paul, MN.

This year, Father celebrates 50 years in the service of Holy Church.

He leaves St. Andrew, parish and Rectory, in much better shape then what it was when he arrived 6-years ago. His successor will have a solid foundation to start from-with some room for improvements too (I gripe regularly about the talking in Church and the occasionally sloppy altar servers so that's not a surprise to anyone here)!

I admit I am apprehensive about who the replacement could be. I've decided to start a Novena. I'd appreciate any prayers you could throw our way too!

Father has taught me much (well, he's always trying to teach me anyway! LOL!) about patience and charity. One of his favorite phrases is: "In YOUR time, Lord" Father can often be found kneeling in the Adoration Chapel and in the Church before the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, I was privaledged to share my Adoration hour with Father Ryan for a time. I've NEVER heard him say a bad word about anyone. Ever. He never sweats the small stuff but he never runs from the tough truths either. The kids in our parish just love him and he always goes out of his way to give them a special welcome.

I remember the first time I saw Father how severe I thought he looked. I'm ashamed of how I judged him before I knew him.

Everytime, Father sees me he asks me to pray for him. I always feel like he's not aiming very high, asking ME, miserable sinner, to pray for him, but I always do. I think it would be great if we all sent up a prayer for Father's intentions.

Here's hoping Father has many more years to enjoy his cabin in Wisconsin and walks with his dog, Clancy.

Thank you, Father. God bless you. You are in my prayers today and always.

February 20, 2008

Welcome Catholic Carnival Visitors!

If you are visiting my blog from Catholic Carnival 160 , welcome! Take a look at my sidebar for some other solid Catholic blogs that you may want to read!

Deep curtsy to Melissa of A Third Way for hosting the Carnival. Anyone hosting BOTH Adoro and I needs a round of applause and, probably, lots of prayers. (Adoro's going to come over here and bust me! I should just stick to heckling her about Tom Jones. tee-hee)

February 19, 2008

Contemplate This!: Cloud of Unknowing

I always read, in the dissenting Catholic arena, about people extolling the virtues of, and recommending, contemplative prayer. My dissent-TAR usually goes off. By contemplative prayer, they usually mean something New Agey or Buddhist-inspired. I always ask myself: what’s wrong with the contemplative prayer the Church has already given us? You can use the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary as a meditation. You can contemplate Christ upon the Cross. You can slowly meditate upon the words of the “Hail Mary”. You can practice lectio divina, a practice of meditating upon Sacred Scripture that H.E. Coadjutor John Nienstedt is a proponent of (I'm reasonably sure the sessions His Excellency leads at University of St. Thomas are informed by Catholic teaching). You can reflect upon the Sacred Host in Eucharistic Adoration.

But, no, for some reason none of those tried and true Catholic practices are good enough or exotic enough. Too boring or too difficult. I’m not sure which. Maybe both. It can’t be because everyone’s doing them and they’ve lost their appeal.

Maybe “Catholics” with no real exposure to Catholic devotions are too easily susceptible to outside influences? “Hey, I read about that Buddhist stuff on the bulletin board at the coffeehouse. Sounds cool, I think I’ll go”. Maybe we don’t advertise our devotions to the outside world enough? Well, I’m sure we don’t, since we can barely advertise it among our own people. It doesn’t help that so few parishes bother to offer traditional Catholic devotions or instruction on how they can help you grow deeper in holiness.

I feel like some of us are ashamed of our Traditions. Why? They are so beautiful and many of them were organically created from the bottom up: meaning lay people or future saints, (CATHOLICS) implemented and nourished them. I would think the dissenters would be attracted by that aspect since they are continually ranting about the top-down aspect of Holy Church.

That said, some will say, they are trying to do that bottom-up movement with contemplative prayer. If they start it as laypeople eventually the Holy Father will be sitting on a Muslim prayer rug in an Adoration chapel reciting Vajrayana chants before a statue of Vishnu. I say: Why in the world, would Holy Church sanction movements that arose from non-Christian religions? I say the day the Holy Father is seen doing that _______ (fill in favorite synonym for BS here) is the day he’ll need to be asked to step down since he’s clearly lost his mind.

Father Thomas Keating is usually pegged as the father (ha-ha!) of the modern contemplative prayer movement. The story goes that Father decided to bring monastic contemplative prayer to laypeople in response to Christians who were looking for a Buddhist path because they told Father that Christianity has no path. Huh? If true, that is an alarming statement. Do Catholics think that once they receive the Sacraments of Initiation that’s it? They’ve reached full understanding? They can’t grow anymore? Have thousands of Catholics completely misunderstood what orienting to the East really means?

I’ve known my Dad my whole life. I probably know him better then anyone else living. Does that mean he fails to surprise me? Does that mean I’ve quit learning stories of his life? Does that mean I find him boring? I think you can never fully know anyone, but you can discover nuances to their personality each day. To do so, involves effort and interaction. So, it is with our path as Christians. We need to interact and make an effort. We need to keep growing. If I thought I was a perfect Catholic, I’d take the statue of the Virgin Mary down from her niche in my parish and put up a statue of myself instead. It would serve me right if she fell on me and crushed me dead.

Father Keating describes contemplative prayer as not attention, but intention. When I read his interviews or his books, I always get the feeling that the point is not for us to give attention to God, it's for us to wait until God comes to us and then tell Him what we intend. Does it follow then that modern contemplative prayer can be to make OUR intentions known to God or is it for us to attempt to learn what God intends for us by giving Him our attention? Sure, I’m all for being still and waiting for God to make His wishes known. But, I'm always skeptical that sometimes the point of modern contemplative prayer seems to intend for us to decide internally what is the best path-rather than discerning what God's plan for us is and do it wholeheartedly. I'm not always sure the modern contemplative prayer movement proponents are really trying to hear the voice of God or the voice of their own.

One of the texts contemplative prayer proponents base their movement upon is an anonymous 14th century monastic work called the Cloud of Unknowing. To their credit, this is an authentic Catholic text but I wonder how much of the modern contemplative movement that is inspired upon this work actually emphasizes how severe the original work really is?

Actual excerpts from the Cloud of Unknowing:

“AND, therefore, if thou wilt stand and not fall, cease never in thine intent: but beat evermore on this cloud of unknowing that is betwixt thee and thy God with a sharp dart of longing love, and loathe for to think on aught under God, and go not thence for anything that befalleth. For this is only by itself that work that destroyeth the ground and the root of sin. Fast thou never so much, wake thou never so long, rise thou never so early, lie thou never so hard, wear thou never so sharp; yea, and if it were lawful to do—as it is not—put thou out thine eyes, cut thou out thy tongue of thy mouth, stop thou thine ears and thy nose never so fast, though thou shear away thy members, and do all the pain to thy body that thou mayest or canst think: all this would help thee right nought. Yet will stirring and rising of sin be in thee. “ (Chapter 12)

“LOOK up now, weak wretch, and see what thou art. What art thou, and what hast thou merited, thus to be called of our Lord? What weary wretched heart, and sleeping in sloth, is that, the which is not wakened with the draught of this love and the voice of this calling! Beware, thou wretch, in this while with thine enemy; and hold thee never the holier nor the better, for the worthiness of this calling and for the singular form of living that thou art in. But the more wretched and cursed, unless thou do that in thee is goodly, by grace and by counsel, to live after thy calling. And insomuch thou shouldest be more meek and loving to thy ghostly spouse, that He that is the Almighty God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, would meek Him so low unto thee, and amongst all the flock of His sheep so graciously would choose thee to be one of His specials, and sithen set thee in the place of pasture, where thou mayest be fed with the sweetness of His love, in earnest of thine heritage the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Chapter 2)

“Do on then, and travail fast awhile, I pray thee, and suffer meekly the pain if thou mayest not soon win to these arts. For truly it is thy purgatory, and then when thy pain is all passed and thy devices be given of God, and graciously gotten in custom; then it is no doubt to me that thou art cleansed not only of sin, but also of the pain of sin. I mean, of the pain of thy special foredone sins, and not of the pain of the original sin. For that pain shall always last on thee to thy death day, be thou never so busy. Nevertheless, it shall but little provoke thee, in comparison of this pain of thy special sins; and yet shalt thou not be without great travail. For out of this original sin will all day spring new and fresh stirrings of sin: the which thee behoveth all day to smite down, and be busy to shear away with a sharp double‑edged dreadful sword of discretion. And hereby mayest thou see and learn, that there is no soothfast security, nor yet no true rest in this life.” (Chapter 33)

Wow! What an earth mother happy-go-lucky piece of work that is! How you'd like to contemplate the words: 'sloth', 'sin' and 'wretch' for an hour? Something tells me the modern contemplative prayer fans substitute: 'tired', 'bad' and 'sad'-assuming they bother with the "negative energy". I’m sure that the language has probably been updated and retranslated somewhere. I wonder how closely any retranslations adhere to the unblinking harshness of the original? In a moment of great irony, it so happens that today's Magnificat has a modern excerpt from Cloud of Unknowing that, unfortunately, I can't find in the original because I think it's been extensively rewritten from the original text. Great title though: Cloud of Unknowing-probably goes over big with the organic, locavore, granola crowd. I bet Matthew Fox just loves this work! *Meow*.

I believe the roots of contemplative prayer are solidly Catholic but I fear that too often these days the practice drifts into paganism. If you are going to a contemplative prayer group or session: use caution. It saddens me to say that but this is the reality we live in. Ask yourself: How closely is this adhering to the Catholic tradition? Is there too much emphasis on non-Christian words or prayers? What is the faith background of the people leading this event? Is it sponsored in a Catholic church or a community center? If it has the label Catholic on it, are the location or the people leading it, dissenting from Catholic teaching by their words, compositions or actions?

One last thing for you to contemplate: “[Centering prayer] is . . . a journey into the unknown. It is a call to follow Jesus out of all the structures, security blankets, and even spiritual practices that serve as props.“, Open Mind, Open Heart, by Father Thomas Keating.

February 17, 2008

50th Daytona 500

Boogiedee, Boogiedee, Boogiedee, Let's Go Racin' Boys!!!!

Exciting race overall. Nice to see NEWMAN! win. My guy had a tough race today, I thought he might win the Nationwide race on Saturday, but, in any case, he's still hot!

For Your Consideration: Father V

I decided that during the voting process for the Catholic Blog Awards I would take my statement that it would be nice to see some smaller blogs get some notice by doing what I can to give them a shout-out.

It occurs to me that I should not have used the adjective: "smaller". I have no idea what their blog reader stats are so I don't want to make it sound like I'm saying they have few readers. I probably should have said something like: they are not recognized enough or they have not won the big prizes before and they deserve it.

Father Valencheck, or Father V, as he's commonly known in blogdom, has a most excellent blog entitled Adam's Ale Father V is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. Father has the kinds of blog posts I love: fairly brief (few people will read long blog posts!), spiritual, personal, humorous and to the point.

In my humble opinion, Father V would be a worthy choice in many of the voting categories.

Is that Cross Missing Someone?

Another in my, I guess it’s practically a series!, of posts about the Cross. You can read my last two here and here.

Back in my dissident days, I never went to parishes that had a Corpus on the Crucifix in the Sanctuary. Well, as I’ve mentioned before, some of these parishes had really poorly done Crucifixes if they even had one at all. But, many lacked the Body of Jesus Crucified.

I, honestly, never thought the lack of a Corpus was a big deal. Now, I think it is.

I’ve always heard and been told that Protestant churches, typically, do not have a Corpus on any Crosses they may have in their church. During my Evangelical phase, we did not even have a Cross in sight. Actually, we did not even have a building. We rented space or met in someone’s apartment building party room. We always had a big area to hear the Word. The preaching seemed to be the main point of being there. Oh, that, and the sound of everyone paging to the Scriptural passage that Mr. Brother was preaching that day. Women never preached in that congregation. Funny, no one had a problem with that, but you hear all kinds of wailing among some “catholics”. Curious, I think I could do a post on how authority seemed to be more accepted in that Evangelical church but so many of us Catholics don’t even want to hear the word "authority" assigned to anyone but themselves.

Well, I’m getting off track…

My Protestant buddies have told me that a Crucifix with a Corpus on it is too Catholic and that’s why they only have a bare cross in their churches. That makes perfect sense to me since the Protestants were not actually at Calvary anyway. Think about it.

I’m not a “fan” of the ultra-bloody Corpuses. I’m not faulting anyone who is. Whatever gets the message across so that YOU understand the implications. But, I do think the message of the Lord humbling Himself to suffer a humiliating and torturous death for our sins is reiterated more firmly with visual help. So many of us either can’t remember, don’t know, or willfully ignore the fact that a living being was actually on the Cross-for us. When you see a visual of that right in front of you at Holy Mass, in your home, around your neck, in the car, at school, it’s easier to remember that we are sinful creatures. We caused that.

Now, I know some of you out there are saying: “Christ did not die for MY sins. I wasn’t there” If He did not die for your sins, then I’d be really worried about dying if I were you. Yes, you were there. You are there every time you go to Mass. It’s called the Holy Sacrifice for a reason. Mass is Calvary , the original. It’s not Christ dying all over again-some say Catholics kill Him again and again-it IS the first and only.

Some religious orders have bare crosses (no corpus) because the idea is that YOU are the one on the Cross. If all of us had a belief like that I would not have problem with the absence of Corpuses on Crosses. The problem is too many of us don’t.

Update: 2/17/08Deep curtsy to my friend Adoro who has a great post on why she prefers a bloody Corpus over a plainer one. Check-it out for her well thought out perspective. She's made me go.hmmmmm...but I still think I prefer the plainer Corpus. I just want to see a Corpus. Period. In the comments to my post (this one), I mentioned that I may, in future do a post on the "Risen Christ" and "Resurrection" Corpuses. I need to ponder it more though.

February 15, 2008

For Your Consideration

Nominations for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards begin today at 12:00 Noon CST and closes on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 12:00 Noon CST.

Voting will begin on Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:00 Noon CST and end on Monday, March 17, 2008 at Noon

If there is a category for Best Snark you know what to do: Vote for Terry!

I think the Catholic blog voting will be much easier than the 2008 U.S. Presidential election! Senator Hillary Clinton does not have a Catholic blog which is good because now I don't have to argue with her about superdelegates.

There are a LOT of excellent Catholic blogs in the 'sphere. Anyone in my sidebar is worthy of a vote. It would be nice to see some of the smaller blogs get some recognition this year. I mean, really, who is this Gerald dude anyway?!? :-)

February 14, 2008

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2008

"Spirit of Vatican II" Defined at Long Last!!!!!

A letter from a reader! Hey, I have readers!

Dear Cathy:

How would you, concisely, define the meaning of the phrase: “Spirit of Vatican II” You lived it, so I’m sure you have lots of wisdom on the topic!

Confused in Chisago City

Dear Confused:

The phrase “Spirit of Vatican II” is like an expulsion of personal flatulence into a group on a breezy day. You can’t always tell where it came from, it’s amorphous, it spreads rapidly, and you have only the vaguest understanding of what it truly is if you were the one who dealt it.

Pull my finger,


What Will You Do?

Another of my Lenten meditation on the Cross.

This is, by no means, a theological or doctrinal musing. However, I don’t believe any of what I’m about to say is contrary to Church teachings but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong. Please do.

Why is the Cross so absent from so many of our Catholic Church sanctuaries? (One could do a similar post on their absence in Catholic school too but I’ll focus on churches for this post) Yes, there is SUPPOSED to be one but there are some parishes that don’t have it. I know of one parish that has a very Blair Witch Project looking cross over the altar. It’s two bundles of broomstick looking materials crossed together. No Corpus. Why would they bother with a Corpus? They can’t even get the Cross up without it looking like a Wiccan symbol.

When I was a dissident, one of my favorite dissident priests shared a lot of his perspective on the Cross. What I took away from his teaching was: The Cross is bad if it is perceived as anything other then a symbol of the Resurrection. Like most dissidents they get it a little right. Reminds me of the readings from Genesis 2 and Matthew 4 we just heard this past Sunday: The Tempter also speaks in ½ truths.

The Cross is a symbol of the Resurrection. But, why would it ONLY be that? Jesus certainly had no reason to suffer and die for the sake of something He did. He could have escaped Pilate if He wanted. His Father could have leveled the land to save His Son if there were even the remotest chance His Son was not capable of getting away on His own. There is no question that Jesus was assured a place at His Father's side anyway. What and why, then, if NOT for OUR sakes?

The Cross is also a symbol of Sin and Death. If Christ did not have to die for any other reason then He was a political prisoner (also a typical belief of the dissident crowd limitations of Jesus) then what’s the point? Of anything? Why bother to go to Church? Why bother to believe? Why bother to persist in the effort to turn away from the worst aspects of your character and better yorurself? Why prepare for the next life? If you are going to think Jesus was just a political figure, why not just put that cool Che Guevera poster from your dorm room up in Church? Many people with Che Guevera posters have as much real understanding of who Che was as they do Jesus The Christ.

The Cross, to me, represents the sins I keep fighting against in the hope that I won’t die to Christ and that I can be raised to eternal glory with Him and the Angels and Saints. It also represents the daily crosses I carry, some of which are sins, some of which are troubles and irritations.

When I was a dissenter I liked the eternal glory part as long as I did not have to reminded that there is hard work to be done to earn it. This is the real reason you don’t see a lot of crosses in dissident parishes

The Cross is a continual reminder of a Truth they can only ignore as long as it’s not staring them in the face.

When you are successful in removing the symbol, then, I think, it’s easier to belittle or outright ignore the “tough” teachings on Sin and Hell. Some days I wonder if Sin and Hell really ARE the tough teachings or if the idea that a living person suffered and died for US, ME, YOU is the really tough teaching. I think when you reflect upon it all that way then you wonder what you owe that person in return for such an enormous sacrifice on your behalf. If He can do that, how can I do less?

February 12, 2008

You Think Your Lent is Tough?

A liturgical dancer at the Religious Education Conference (a.k.a. The Three Days of Darkness) pays the ultimate price:

I shamelessly stole the sanctuary image and this post idea from Father Richtsteig and Angela respectively. I stole the dancer photo from His Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahoney and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Hey, I'm not really a Saint, I just impersonate one on this blog!

February 11, 2008

Slower Than Molasses in February: Me

One of my Lenten resolutions is to pray each day. I struggle with incorporating daily prayer into my life. I've gotten better but I still could use a lot of work. I've found myself praying the Rosary at least once/day in the car on my way to or from work.

I've shied away from praying the Rosary in the car. I've attempted it before and it would not always go well. "Hail, hey ****##@@@@@ watch it!" "Our [oh, that was a smart lane change, @!#@]Father" You get the picture. Too much profanity, not enough piety.

This Lent, I tried it again and I don't know what it is, but it's actually going very well so far! Not sure if it's persistence, Our Lady's intercession, or my meds are working (Kidding!) Maybe all of the above?

Friday and today were really tough days at work. In fact, this week is looking fierce. A project that I keep thinking is done, keeps coming back around. I had to work late Friday and today. I prayed my Rosary in the a.m. and then when I got in my car to go home I grabbed it again and said "Oh, I need you right now!" The prayer must be working because I was shockingly NOT CRANKY today. Friends, this is a miracle since I'm notoriously cranky most of the time. Well, if you read this blog that's not a news flash is it? LOL!

Maybe there is really something to this Rosary thing after all? :-) I know, some of you out there are going: "Yeah, duh! I keep telling you, Cathy, use it, don't just carry it around!"

Another fine example of my spiritual immaturity and slowness of comprehension.

Pick Up Your Cross-Get Up, Up, Up!!!!!

Lately, as many of us do during Lent, I've been meditating upon the Cross.

When I was dissident Catholic I alternated between ignoring the Cross, misunderstanding the Cross, and fearing the Cross. I did not care to see a Cross. Most of the Catholic parishes I attended Mass at as an adult did not have a Cross in the Sanctuary. I did not miss it. How can you miss what you have no understanding of? How can you fight for its inclusion in a Catholic parish, when you have no idea why its supposed to be there in the first place?

My most recent reflections upon the Cross have to do with sin and our Lenten journeys. Many of us give up or add something to our Life in Christ during Lent. Many of us, myself included, have good intentions during Lent but sometimes, due to our weakness or giving in to temptations, we forget or we give up.

I've been thinking of Christ carrying the Cross to Calvary. He certainly was not carrying His sins. He was carrying ours. The Son of God fell three times. The Son of God fell three times under the weight of OUR sins.

Each time He got up. Even He condescended to receive help when it was offered. He was not too proud. St. Simon helped Him. St. Veronica wiped the sweat and blood from His face. The women prayed and wept for Him. His Mother embraced Him.

He never gave up. He fell and He rose. He knew what His mission was. He accepted it and He did it. People lended assistance along His path the best they could. Do we always help when we see a brother or sister buckling under the weight of their Cross? Do we accept, or even ask for, help when we know we need it or does our pride get in the way?

When we fall back on our Lenten promises then get back up! If you see someone struggling, help them! A wise priest I know always says that when you fail then start each moment afresh. Yet, how many times do we just wallow there under the weight? How many times do we fail to seek the forgiveness Our Lord won for us via Sacramental Confession? How many times do we turn away?

We, in the online community, have a ready source of online friends to help us when we admit we need help. I'm so grateful for all the support I received a few weeks back when I admitted I was having trouble.

Go to your friends and family. Most of all: go to Him.

He carried the Cross for us. Lord, may I have the grace to carry my Cross without complaint. May I have the compassion to help those that I see struggling carry theirs.

February 10, 2008

Blogging Sister

Now that Ray has the story I may as well post this too! (ROFL!-Love you, Ray)

Local blogger, Mary Gibson, has been actively discerning a vocation to the religious life for a while now. She's decided to enter the novitiate of the convent of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Kansas City, Missouri on June 11th.

Mary's been very busy getting her wordly affairs in order and she is in the process of taking her blogs down since she will not be able to blog once she enters the convent.

No matter what path God leads Mary too, I'm sure she will continue to make a difference and touch many lives with her faithful witness. Please remember Mary in your prayers.

The Danger of Off-Label Use

Terry recently admitted he uses Rogaine on his legs. Well, I think he uses Rogaine in more places then just his legs. Hidden cameras captured this photo of Terry recently:

Do we, as a Nation, need any more evidence then this to pass some kind of "off-label" drug use legislation?! The drug manufacturers need to be held accountable for dum, er, folks who use medication in ways that were not intended. Even though it clearly states the approved and tested use on the bottle, someone must pay for your stup, er, creativity.

After what must have been an excruciating marathon waxing session, Terry was a guest on Emeril Live!

Is Emeril dissin' Ter? Grrrr...I'm going to throw all his cookbooks in the trash. No one disses Ter except me!

Speaking of Terry, he is currently working on the story of his life! Go on over to his blog and check it out! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll shake your head in disbelief!!!!!

February 08, 2008

Lenten Levity

Tom Jones reportedly insured his chest hair for $7 million.

Neil Diamond had no comment. Alec Baldwin threatened (promised?) to leave the U.S.-again.

I'm starting a blogdom rumor that a certain blogger, I'm not going to mention names, but her initials are ATD, personally prepared the binder for Mr. Jones' policy.

Where in the world is Engelbert Humperdinck?

Labels: In Praise of Hairy Men.

February 07, 2008

Lenten Plan

Here's my plan for Lent:

*Prayer each day (sounds like a "d'oh" but I struggle with this)
*Spiritual reading (I just purchased several new books. I doubt I will get thru all of them during Lent but I'll get a start.)
*Spend one hour each week in Eucharistic Adoration
*Follow the fast and abstinence requirements
*Pray for an end to abortion (I'll be participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign)
*Participate in Stations of the Cross each Friday
*Take Good Friday as a personal day off from work
*Give money to a homeless person
*Pray for those entering the Church at the Easter Vigil
*Pray that those who have separated themselves from Holy Church will return

That's me. You?

May God look with favor upon your Lenten journey!

February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday: What Is It?

Besides being the only day of the year that Terry invites me to dinner....

This is a day of mandatory abstinence and fasting (Can. 1251). All Catholics aged 14 or older must abstain from meat on this day (Can. 1252). Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are not considered meat for this purpose.

However, those between 18 and 59 years of age (Can. 1252), are also bound to fast on Ash Wednesday. On this day one, normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed.

Today is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation-meaning you are not required to go to Mass. However, I think it is a good practice to do so. Receive your ashes and start the penitential season of Lent with an outward sign of your intentions. I find it curious that Ash Wednesday is one of the most heavily attended services all year, yet, it’s not required that you do so. I’m happy that there are so many in attendance but I wonder where they are the rest of the year? Why am I THE line for Confession on Saturday? Maybe, I am truly the only sinner in town. Only God knows. I'm certainly the worst sinner I know.

Just because you go to Church on Ash Wednesday and receive your ashes and act penitent for 24 hours does NOT replace any requirements you may have for the necessity of Sacramental Confession. Most parishes have expanded hours for Confession during Lent-check it out. If you can make any of the hours, call your priest, he’ll probably be delighted to hear from you. The receipt of ashes does NOT mean your Easter obligation is fulfilled either. Back in the days, when people knew they were not entitled to receive Communion every time they went to Mass, you had to at least receive at Easter. That meant, you had to go to Confession first. If you only ever go to Mass at Easter, then you need to go to Confession before you receive Communion because you have clearly not attended Mass on the Holy Days of Obligation (one of which is SUNDAY) the rest of the year. Kind of a serious sin, that.

Why am I mentioning any of this since most of the folks reading this blog probably know all this? Well, not necessarily, and some Catholic parishes around here insert the adverb “invited” for “instructed”. I.e. “You are invited to observe the traditional Catholic fast and abstinence”

I can invite someone for dinner and then I can instruct them why I'm not serving anything today.

Class with Cathy: *Cathy writes on blackboard*

Fast means: no food.

Abstinence means: no meat.

Ash Wednesday: Fast AND abstinence!!!

We are really limp Catholics these days. In my Grandparents day, now those were tough rules. Good grief, today, you are INSTRUCTED to fast and abstain only 2 whole days of the church year: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. You are encouraged to keep every Friday as a penitential day but you are not required to do so (every Friday during Lent you are to abstain from meat). You are only required to fast for one hour before receiving communion-as opposed to old days when it was after midnight. No one is telling you, you can’t ramp it up, but for crying out loud is the bare minimum so dang tough?

There was a time when it's not that I thought it was tough. I either did not know what was expected or I was told “we don’t have to do that anymore” or I was encouraged to think that those rules are ridiculous.

I have come to accept these requirements because I’ve come to realize that:

The requirements are not intended to be rules for the sake of rules. They are not intended to be in place just to make your self-centered life impossible. They are intended as a tool to help you grow in personal holiness. They are intended to help you meditate upon what Christ sacrificed for us. They are intended to help you feel like you are carrying the cross.

My priest recommended that in order to fight certain sins that I constantly grapple with, I should strive to fast from something each DAY! By that he meant give up something. Not necessarily food. Can you not give at least TWO DAYS this Lent?

February 05, 2008

Lenten Salutations

What do you say to a Catholic to wish them "well" as Lent is starting? Is "well" even the right word?

"Have a happy (?????) Lent?"
"Have a glorious (????) Ash Wednesday?"
"May you be rightfully penitential this Lenten season you steaming turd pile of human sin and misery!" Should I end with "God bless you" after that?
"May the weight of the ashes you are about to receive knock you down so you can't get up." Should I end with "Peace be with you" after that?


Mardi Gras!

Today, is the final day before the penitential season of Lent begins. It does not mean, however, that you should cram in as much sin as you can today! If you want to start your penance early, participate in a caucus tonight! LOL! *Yawn* I'm not wild for any of the candidates. I think I'd rather meet some ladies for wine this evening instead.

February 04, 2008

Is Clericalism a Bad Word?

From the former dissident standpoint, dissident Catholics don’t like the root word: "cleric" period. There are groups that want to completely do away with the priesthood so they will use clericalism as a term to be feared. You've probably read a lot of verbiage around how the sex abuse problems are all because of clericalism. Women can’t be priests because of clericalism. They use various degrees of badness with the term clerical like: excessive, extreme….They shouldn’t bother. They don’t like clerical period.

The clericalphobes are helped along by some priests. You can easily identify some of these priests. They tend to be the ones who have not worn clerical garb in decades. They probably couldn’t find their roman collar in their residence if they tried. If their Bishop called, they may or may not be afraid to tell him that they threw it out 20-30 years ago. The collar is a sign of slavery to "the man". They think: why keep that bad symbol around? Why wear it?

To the clericalphobic crowd not only is it bad to actually look like a priest, you shouldn’t act like one either. You want to look as much like a layperson as possible. This group thinks the laypeople should have all the authority. Priests should not be telling the flock what to do. The priests can make suggestions but actually clearly delineating between right and wrong is verboten.

Really, isn't this movement a reverse-clericalism trying to take root? If you want to phrase the entire argument around apparel and power, if you are successful in changing the clothes and successful in giving laity full and complete authority, at the end of the day isn't someone, or a group of someones, still going to have to be in charge?

The only difference I see is that one is called ordained and other isn’t. Yet, even in the dissident movements, the “womenpriests” are handling their own “ordinations”. Go figure. Yet, this is a group that is always yelling about clericalism.

Clericalphobes are a bunch of people griping that they don’t feel that they are in charge. They don’t feel like they have total control. Gosh, how many of us enjoy feeling 100% control over everything on any given day? If you just give ME all the power to decide how the Church shall be run then I’ll be happy, right? It’s going to solve all the Church’s problems if we just do away with the clerics, right? It seems that what they seek is anarchy and chaos. There is no structure and no one outside of the face in the mirror is in charge. There are vague claims that they will follow Jesus Christ but they forget that Jesus instituted the structure and the authority that they hate to begin with.

If we follow the "down-up" model all will be well, right? If everyone gets to vote on Church doctrine, we will never have any disagreements again, right? "We'll have joy, we'll have fun, we'll have seasons in the sun!" Anyone spoken to the Anglican or Baptist communions lately? Things are going just fantastically well in those models of faith democracy in action, aren't they?

At the end of the day all the dissident teeth-gnashing about clericalism is a lament that they can’t fully impose their personal relativism on Holy Church . It’s not that “We are Church” they want “I am Church”

Clericalphobes really have no problem with authority, or priests, or with having leadership, as long as its the leadership THEY want. Listen to them complain about Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz being too clerical (read: too authoritative and inflexible-bottom line translation: he actually tries to enforce Church teaching). On the other hand, listen to them complain when Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, one of their heroes (read: flexible, and potential for manipulation-bottom line translation: not known for always enforcing Church teaching) is removed.

February 03, 2008


Epistle for Quinquagesima Sunday (1962 calendar)

Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know I part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

This Scriptural passage has long been one of my favorites. I don't think I've ever really understood it. I'm not saying that I understand it now, but patterns are emerging. In light of yesterday's post, I found this very timely. I needed to hear it so I went to an extraordinary form of the Mass today where I know they follow the old calendar of readings.

Recently, I've had 3 different Confessors recommend that I pray for an increase in charity. Perhaps, it's finally all sinking in. I may be quick-witted but I'm slower than molasses spiritually.

February 02, 2008


Embarassing moment #(well, I've long since lost track)

I'm a big fan of the T.V. show Lost . It's the only show I record if I'm not home to watch it "live". A former co-worker and I still exchange emails with our current thoughts on the show, opinions on the most recent episode, and our theories. Lost is a show that I think you can just sit down and watch each episode, but to really appreciate the complexity of its construction and, its best point, the characterizations, you have to stick with it for a while. I've been watching it from Day One and so has my buddy.

The Season 4 premiere was Thursday night and I emailed my buddy afterwards. He replied back. I responded. Then, I realized, to my chagrin, that somewhere along the line I had inadvertently included the email box for the Catholic Spirit in my address line.

Ooops! I, actually, laughed pretty hard. They are probably tired of seeing my usual rantings at the Spirit. Hopefully, someone got a good laugh at my expense!

To whoever at the Spirit saw the emails: I meant what I said in my reply to you after I realized my boo-boo. I'd be curious to hear your theories. Who do you think Jacob is? Who are the Oceanic 6? We already now who 3 of them are.

Thank you, Lord, for making me a public goofball.

Speaking of lost, there was a letter in the Pioneer Press this week that made me sad. You can read it here . It's a letter from a parent complaining that the Church is oppressing her lesbian daughter and that no one, in particular, the Archbishop can tell her it's a mortal sin to love her daughter and work for justice on her behalf. I assume by "justice" on her daughters behalf she's probably talking about trying to overturn centuries of teachings to make it say it's ok if her daughter is practicing lesbian sexuality.

What do you say to people like this parent? What should you say?

It is unclear in the letter if this parent is actually a Roman Catholic. We can assume that, I suppose, but I'm not sure I would. There are a lot of non-Catholics around (not even nominal Catholics) who are upset that the Catholic Church teaches that the practice of homosexuality is sinful and same-sex "marriage" is wrong. There are folks who want to change or silence anyone, anything, and everyone who does not go along with their agenda. If they can't do that persuasively, then they will try to mandate it, legislatively.

Let's assume for the remainder of this post, that the letter writer is Catholic. What do you say to people like this? What should you say?

Is your first response, if you knew that the letter writer was Catholic: "Don't let the door hit you in the a--!"

My response, before I was sad, was exactly that. I'm not entirely sure I'm sad for this woman or sad for my pathetic self.

I'm ashamed to say that I think I've become very smug lately. I think that because I've reverted from my dissidenthood that I'm better than those who are still stuck there. I think I've had too much snark on this blog and not enough charity. I've lost the reasons that I started this blog in the first place. My main reason for starting this blog was to try and persuade the dissidents, like I used to be, about the Truth of Christ as handed on to us via the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. I don't think I've been consistently doing so. One of my resolutions going forward is to get back to the basics.

If I wrote a letter in reply it would look like this:

Mrs. Smith (the letter writer): No one is claiming that you don't love your child. No one is claiming it is sinful to love your child. Certainly, the Archbishop has never said that. I'd even be so bold as to say, I can't see His Excellency EVER saying that because I can't see ANY child of God making such a hateful statement.

Does love mean you must be blind to sin? Death Row is full of people who are loved by someone. Just because you love someone does not mean you have to accept, quietly, their sinful behaviors.

That's why we, as Catholics, yes, me, too, love you, Mrs. Smith. We love you even though, we believe with every fibre of our being that you are wrong in equating love with acceptance of acts that we know with certainty are wrong. We love your daughter, too, even though we do not accept or condone some of her behaviors.

It is, however, sinful to refuse to accept the teachings of Christ. The Archbishop is doing the same duty all of us Catholics have, of gently reminding you, of what the teachings are. If by working for "justice" you mean trying to overturn centuries of Christ's teachings so that the Church will say its o.k. that your daughter is a practicing lesbian, then, yes, that IS sinful. You are making a public statement that you are not in communion. The Church does not separate anyone from Christ. The Archbishop does not separate anyone from Christ. WE separate ourselves from Christ when we become our own Church because we think we have the authority to decide what is right or wrong. Any authority we have comes from God. I, you, the Archbishop, none of us, have any authority of our own.

I know these are tough words to get around. I refused and denied them for decades. Since my reversion, I can honestly say I have never known such peace. Sure, there are tough times, but I know what to do to get myself right. Christ and His Church give us the tools that we need.

God bless you. You and your family are in my prayers.


February 01, 2008

First Friday Fast Intentions

* For respect for life in all it's forms from conception to natural death
* For the health of Archbishop Harry Flynn
* For the intentions of Father Vincent Colon
* For the repose of the souls of Archbishop John Nienstedt's mother and father.
* For Archbishop Nienstedt that he find the strength of Christ during this difficult time
* That Father John Zuhlsdorf's travels are safe.
* For the intentions of the bloggers in my blogroll

If you have any particular intentions you would like to add, please put them in the comments and I will carry them with me.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us!
<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>
Locations of visitors to this page