March 31, 2008

What Archbishop Harry Flynn has Meant to Me

The Catholic Spirit is asking for personal reflections on Archbishop Harry Flynn.

I decided to do a blog post, rather than a letter to the paper or online message, becuase I have too much to cram into 300 words or less.

*His Excellency visited my former dissident parish during his rounds of visits to all the parishes in the Archdiocese. Everyone expected the worst-worst meaning he'd tell us to conform, call us heretics, or tell us what to do (I know, I know, but that's who I was then). To my surprise, he thanked me for my ministry (I was a regular volunteer every Sunday). He was very kind. I'm sure he does not remember me. During the Mass he recited the Creed. I had not heard the Creed for, oh, 15 years or so. I was surprised that I could remember part of it. I was surprised that I did not mind hearing it. I began to wonder why I was not hearing it or saying it more often. I had no idea at the time that the Creed is required at Sunday Mass in the N.O. I wondered why so many were threatened and angry that he said it. It was a moment that I count among my path to reversion. Thank you, Your Excellency.

*Encouraging Eucharistic Adoration in this Archdiocese. We are blessed to have more Adoration Chapels in here than anywhere else in the world. On any given day, at almost any time, you can find an open Chapel to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament

*Encoraging vocations and improving the seminaries. I think Archbishop Flynn began the turn-around. Now, we have one of the highest numbers of seminarians anywhere.

*His Exellency's pastoral letter on racism. I hear a lot of folks poo-pooing that letter (gosh, with all our problems that's all he's got?). It was a fantastic reminder that not all Catholics are white. I noticed after the publication of that letter that I heard fewer people saying "What are THEY doing here?" about our African brothers and sisters. Sadly, yes, I've heard that. I noticed more effort in the pews to make them feel welcome and included by just not even wondering why they are there. D'uh, they are Catholics too!

*His column in The Catholic Spirit on giving money to a man soliciting money at a freeway exit because he'd rather do that than face the Lord's rebuke that he passed someone by who really needed help. I blogged about that column here

*His column stories (there have been many) about how he interacts with people on airplanes and while he's traveling because they see his collar. I'm glad he mentions that because I think more of our ordained need to wear their "outfit" in public. It's a marvelous occasion for outreach. A wise priest I know said that people will stop him on the street and ask him to hear their first Confession in many years. He does. If that is not a massive endorsement for wearing a collar in public I don't know what is.

Thank you Archbishop Flynn!

March 30, 2008

Cathy the Coward

Remember this post from the other day wherein I spoke about being all courageous and going to the troubled parish of St. Stephen today?

Well, I went, I looked and I left. Not because of anything that happened inside the church. I did not even go inside. I drove by and there were about 20 guys outside the homeless shelter next door standing outside right by the driveway to the parking lot. They were craning their heads and looking at me in the car in a very obvious way. I did not see anybody else around outside nor that many cars in the lot. I was alone and I did not feel safe getting out of the car and walking past that particular group of men. My sense of danger was tingling.

I used to live in some tough neighborhoods alone and it's very rare for me to feel uncomfortable and scared by groups of guys standing around but something was off.

Anyway, I'm back home getting ready to go to Confession and Mass and finish the rest of this, somewhat dismal for me, day of Divine Mercy.

I feel like such a coward right now and I'm literally in tears. Rather than hold fast like St. Stephen himself, I'm still pre-Resurrection St. Peter, running away.

I'd like to go back sometime but I've decided it won't be alone.

Please pray for me and the people of St. Stephen's parish.

Merciful Jesus, I Trust in You!

God bless Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, for granting the Universal Church the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy in A.D. 2000!

I know the Divine Mercy is special to many. For those of us of Polish ancestry the devotion predates the year 2000, so it is an immense joy to us Poles that a Polish sister and a Polish Pope brought the devotion from Christ to the world.

Looking back, I'm convinced that Divine Mercy played a large role in my reversion. I recall how a few years before I came back, a dissident priest that I know was moved to tears reading the Gospel of this day "Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe" I wondered why Father was so moved.

There is a lot of indescribable power in this day.

We have the Indulgence for those who meet the conditions attached, the culmination of the Novena and the Chaplet

I highly recommend the Chaplet. I pray the Chaplet daily. It's simple, it's basic, quick and easy to learn. Saying that, don't make the mistake of confusing those adjectives for meaningless. It's packed with meaning. It was one of the first devotions I started as I was coming back-along with the Rosary. Paired together it's miraculous.

Today's Gospel is one of my favorite readings from my favorite Gospel (my absolutely favorite is the Last Gospel). See here the reference to the power of the Sacrament of Confession, the closing statement of who Jesus is, as well as one of the most beautiful ejaculations of Faith we have: "My Lord and My God!" Like the Divine Mercy Chaplet it's so simple, so profound, so revolutionary. I recite St. Thomas' declaration silently during the elevation and after I've returned to my pew from receiving Communion. Actually, I find myself saying it a lot: at Adoration, Communion, and the Consecration. Remember, it is the Lord.

Yet, sometimes, we, like St. Thomas, doubt don't we? This is the day to remove all doubt.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.--John 20:19-31

There is a list of Divine Mercy devotions in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis here

March 29, 2008

Can't We Be on the Same Page?

Penance, Confession, Absolution, Forgiveness, Healing. All words used for the same Sacrament. If someone told me tomorrow that we can no longer receive the Eucharist; that Holy Mass was illegal; I'd be devastated. If someone told me tomorrow, I could not receive forgiveness via the Sacrament of Confession, I'd be lost. I think not being able to receive Communion ever again would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me; not being able to see a priest for Confession would be a close second.

How often do you hear someone say that these days? I LOVE Confession. Really, I do. It used to scare the crap out of me. It should've scared the hell out of me but didn't because I was always told the usual lies: "We don't need to do confession anymore" "Vatican II abolished confession" "It's ridiculous and useless" "Priests are sinners too, why bother?" "Why not just tell your sins in private straight to God?" You've all probably heard the same distortions and out and out lies I have.

I talked to a friend last night about her, er, confession experience at her parish this Easter. This is not a cranky Cathy post. This is a sad Cathy post. Maybe it's the season of Divine Mercy that's making me such a softie these days, I don't know. My heart is crying a lot lately.

This gal has been a close friend for 21 years. She's been married for over 1/2 of her life. She's only 5 years older than I. She is a Catholic and so is her husband. They attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. She's been in the same parish her whole life. God did not bless them with children but He blessed them in many other ways.

Unfortunately, being of an age close to mine, she was exposed to the same poor catachesis I was.

I've spoken before of how fantastic the "New Evangelization" is and how the growth of Catholic media, blogs, website, forums, is a powerful tool. It has brought many back to the Faith.

What about those people, like my friend, who are not computer savvy, don't have a PC, never intend to have one, nor do they have time to read a gift subscription to a solid Catholic journal or newspaper. How can they be reached by the "New Evangelization"?

In all this talk and giddiness about the "New Evangelization", what happened to the "Old Evangelization"? You know, when the only catachesis and apologetics the Faithful heard was when they were in the pews every Sunday? It'd be nice to throw Catholic education into that mix too but, what if you are not of an age to go back to school? Nor, do you have time.

So, you go to Church at least once/week and the Homily is challenging fare like: "Jesus loves you as you are. Don't worry about anything. Try not to do anything too bad. See you next week at the fish fry"

Whatever happened to not only breaking open the Scriptures but also breaking open the Catachism?

The best homilists (and I admit it's an art) can incorporate the day's readings, church history and catachesis in a 10-30 minute homily. 30 MINUTES!!!?? some of you are saying. Yep. One of the best homilies I ever heard was a visiting pastor at St. Olaf in downtown Minneapolis. It was the noon Mass-the Mass of the weekday working crowd-usually no longer than 1/2 hour in total. He gave an impassioned 30-minute homily on the evils of abortion. No one complained, no one walked out, it was completely silent. We watched with amazement as the Holy Spirit took hold of him.

Honestly, a priest can be the most droning and dull homilist there is. If he's just presenting the word of God and His teachings in an honest and forthright manner much grace can ensue. I know of one priest who is known as not a very dynamic preacher, yet, he's fostered a lot of vocations. The truth, even poorly presented (like on this blog) cannot be hidden from the heart's of the faithful. God will do the rest.

Oh, I'm back to my friend.

Her parish has a history of hosting General Absolution penance rather than Communal or Individual Penance.

General Absolution as a form of Penance is only acceptable in such situations as:

*North Korea's nuclear warheads are on the way
*You are part of a team going into a fire fight in Fallujah.
*An F-4 tornado is approaching your town.

In other words, there is a very real possibility of imminent death and Father does not humanly have the ability to hear a large groups individual or communal confessions. Even with General Absolution, you must resolve to go to individual confession as soon as possible. If you survive, you need to go see a priest for an individual Confession. General Absolution is very much only to be used in an emergency situation.

Communal Penance is an acceptable form-always.What's the difference? Communal Penance services often involve many priests going to a parish. The service may begin with Scripture readings, a Homily, a Communal recitation of the Act of Contrition and then everyone goes off to say their sins to available priests at various stations in the church. Here you still tell your sins one on one to God acting thru His minister. You get the direct Absolution. BTW, leaving the Communal Penance service without going to a priest to have your individual Confession heard is not valid. I know a lot of people do that. They figure it's enough to just show up for a while, no, it isn't. You still need the direct one on one Confession and Absolution.

I know a lot of people who are afraid they will forget the Act of Contrition or are afraid to face Confession alone (even though you are never alone in there really) find Communal penance very comforting. I don't fault anyone for that. It's a valid form-always. Personally, I prefer private confession because I need that one on one accountability for the entire session.

On a day to day basis, large groups of us are not faced with imminent death. We are, however, as a community, afflicted with continuous laziness. To some of us, it becomes an insurmountable obstacle in our own mind, to make any kind of effort regarding the Faith we profess to believe.

In this way, we demand that Father accomodate us in our sloth and ignorance by allowing General Absolution in lieu of Communal or Individual Confession.

That's exactly what happened at my friend's parish. The parish has an ignominous history of General Absolution only. The excuse is there are too many elderly and Father is elderly blah, blah. BUT, they are a small parish so I don't get why they think it's just going to take WAY too long for Father to hear all those Confessions so they have to have the General Absolution. Gosh, he could expire from the shock of seeing the mad stampede of Faithful coming to see him in the Confessional!!!!!(That was a Catty Cathy moment, sorry)

I find it curious that her story seems to indicate that Father only ever hears Confessions at Easter and Christmas. Doesn't anyone go to Confession at any other time? If so, why not? Do they even know that they can and should receive the Sacrament regularly? There are a lot of other parishes nearby where Father could recruit priestly help if he wanted too.

But, the real kicker was, Father had communal penance at Christmas (great!). The Faithful groaned and hardened their hearts (too tough! whine whine). Then, rumors flew (or maybe it was fact) that two nearby parishes had General Absolution and the roof did not fall in, the Archbishop did not show up, so it must be ok and they were going to do it too. Not only that, my friend called the Chancery and asked if it really was ok. She was told no (Thank God) but just because someone else is doing it and getting away with it, there you go. This is why some people are concerned that there are parishes not in comformity. The lack of conformity is how error is perpetuated and the story I just told is a fine example of it.

She wailed: "Can't we be on the same page?" Meaning why are we not a united Church? She knows what happened is wrong. She's crying out for Truth and authentic worship but because she's not hearing about it from the people she worships with day after day, year after year, she wallows in darkness. She's confused why some parishes "get away with it" and nothing appears to happen. It's great that I'm here for her and she made a obvious attempt to get my opinion, but I'm not her pastor, I'm not the diocesan leadership, I'm not the Roman curia, I'm not the Pope.

In fairness, it's not just any one persons fault. It's not entirely her fault, it's not entirely her priest's fault, or the diocesan leadership. It's the whole systems fault (by system, I mean all of us individually, including the hiararchy). Dissidents talk about wanting to overturn the system because it's corrupt and, if they were to honestly admit it, because it won't do what they want. I think we need to strengthen the system to what it should be: an system of teachers since really at its core that's what it is and what it should be. Everyone in the church: lay and clergy should be teachers both by example and deed.

I believe history will count as one of the great epochal turnings in our Church, the publication of the Catachism in the early 1990's. Sure, there was the old Baltimore Catachism molding away in Grandma's attic or the Father Hardon Catachism in the 70's (that hardly anyone knew about), but none of the young Catholics I knew, when I was young, were taught from them. You couldn't walk down to the bookstore in Powers Department Store or B. Dalton and pick one up. You couldn't go to the antique bookseller and ask him to find you one from his quarterly print catalog that was already out of date as soon as he got it. You couldn't buy one online (there was no online as we know it now). You sure as heck weren't taught from it in CCD. What am I saying? I was never even told it existed!

It is thru the publication and wide dissemination of the Catachism that many of us learned our Faith, came back to the Faith, and can teach others the Faith. The TRUE Faith, not the wishful-thinking-baloney that I and my friend were fed for 30 some years.

That said, I worry that there are many of my generation who are lost and going to stay lost. I worry that if we tell them the "what" without the "why" they are all going to pack up and leave. We need to develop and encourage the "Old Evangelization" as well as the new. We need to, ALL of us, teach! Always and everywhere.

"Today bring to me the souls that are lukewarm"--Divine Mercy Novena for today. I pray that will be so.

Following are the descriptions of the forms of Confession from the Catachism

1482 (n.b. this is a descrption of Communal Penance-sometimes called Form 2)
The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a communal celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action.

1483 (n.b. this is a description of General Absolution-sometimes called Form 3)
In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.

1484 (n.b. this is a description of Individual/Private Confession-also called Form 1)
"Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession." There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven." He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them. He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

March 27, 2008


Many have asked me: Why go to Mass at a openly dissident parish? Why go to Mass at a parish where everything is not just perfect? Why not just leave them alone? Why be with them?

If you are going to ask questions like that why not ask: Why bother correcting errors spouted by your Catholic brothers and sisters? Why bother writing letters when the press gets our Faith all wrong? Why bother objecting when a local university stages a blasphemous play? Why stand up for life outside an abortion clinic?

Why not just hide out and mind your own business? Because I don't think Jesus intended us to just sit back and let people continue in the darkness or let evil flourish without a fight.

Have you ever been part of an intervention? I have: twice. Both occasions were with the same friend. He was suicidal and he was using drugs heavily. As far as I know he's still alive. He's moved out of the area and no one seems to know where he is. Pray for him will you, please?

An intervention is where friends and/or family go to the person in crisis (it's usually a surprise-not always a pleasant one) and share their concerns about the person in troubles behavior, assure them they are loved, give them options for help, promise to be there and help them. It's best if a licensed professional of some kind is also there. In some cases, a clergyman may be there as well.

It can be a very draining experience. Sometimes its works, sometimes it doesn't. It can get ugly because the loved one is not always receptive or open. It can get violent because there can be a lot of yelling. It can be beautiful because sometimes it works or there are little moments where everyone is laughing. It can be cathartic because there is usually a lot of crying.

Is going to Mass in a parish that may need "improvement" an intervention of sorts?

What is to be served if we only enroll and only ever attend parishes that we find perfect? How can our other brothers and sisters learn or see appropriate Mass behavior if they are never exposed to it? How many teaching moments are lost when someone after Mass may ask:"Why do you incline your head everytime you hear the name of Jesus?" "Why do you pray both before and after Mass?" "Why do you kneel for the part when they ring the bell?" (some Catholics not only don't know that is called the Consecration; they also don't know what it means) "Why do you dress up every week?"

How can our brothers and sisters in Christ, who's knowledge of the Faith is so poor that they don't even know that they are in serious trouble, be helped if there siblings and friends never reach out to them?

I know some of you out there have hard-hearts and you still think everyone should just be left to worship in their own way and no one should be "meddling": not me, not the Archbishop, not a priest, no one.

When people love you, REALLY love you, they will tell you to your face that you are wrong and you need help. They will be there. They won't walk away. Anyone who just leaves you to your own devices, flawed as they may be, is not a real friend and does not really love you. Someone who loves you, will allow themselves to be abused for your sake. Sometimes that means taking abuse from you.

Intervention should always involve prayer. Absolutely, yes, we should always and constantly be praying for those who need help. However, sometimes you need to take the prayer straight to 'em.

Where am I going with this? I have just explained to you why I'm going to St. Stephens on Divine Mercy Sunday. I know many are opposed to it and I've been thinking and praying very seriously on your words. Thank you.

By going, I have absolutely no plans for a big "splash". No banners, no slogans, no trimphalism. I have not gathered a big group of people. It's not about that anyway. It shouldn't be about that. Our brothers and sisters and St. Stephens need to know that they are part of a much larger family than the nuclear one they've become accustomed to.

I'm not planning to speak with anyone while I'm there. I'm just going to worship with my brothers and sisters. I'm not going to blog on what happens either. In fact, this is probably the last time I'm even mentioning it. I say, probably, because if something happens in future that may be worth a comment I may step in.

This begs the question: if you are going there, why not go back to your old dissident Catholic stomping grounds, St. Joan of Arc? I'll tell you why: because that would be like returning to a house I used to buy drugs at. Too dangerous and scary for me. I can't see ever going back to that particular place. St. Stephens is, to me, a neutral site. Intervention worked for me. Perhaps, I can pay it forward now.

A post for Angela

I twat I taw a boobie tat!

Congratulations on the new job!!!!

March 26, 2008

Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution!!!

Has blogdom gone mad???!!!! Do bloggers color within the lines? ArchAngel's Advocate isn't even taking categories. Just nominate yourself in the categories you think you deserve (hmmm...In my case, Hell?). At least, he has a nice trophy!!!!

I nominated myself as "Biggest Sinner I Know"-may as well be honest.

What? I Don't Even Get a Lousy T-Shirt?!?

The Carolina Cannonball has an alternative Catholic blog awards going for those of us who reach high but fall short (ME!).

Nominations are accepted until March 28th. Voting begins on April 1st.

As of this writing several of my, er, friends, nominated this blog for:

Best Blog by a Catholic Crank (Cranky Cathy that's me!-though I find it hard to believe anyone can beat the Kat here)

Best Hifreakinlarious Blog (competition is fierce in this category)

Best Church Militant Blog
(In future, I hope to be in the Best Church Triumphant Blog category)

Snarkiest Catholic Blog (I admit I'm a huge snark, but I said before vote for Terry of Abbey-Roads!!!!)

Thanks, Kat, you big softie you! :-)

The Need for Divine Mercy

Good Friday has come and gone. Thank you, Jesus.

Ray and I did the annual Good Friday vigil before the abortuary at Planned Parenthood in Highland Park. I continue to pray for a day when we don't have to go. Ray wanted to start a snowball fight with the Death Eaters. LOL! Well, we didn't.

It was really powerful to see all the Pro-Life folks out-many of their faces have become dear to me. Strangers though we all really are, I've come to recognize some of them from prior vigils. It was a really messy and windy day. We had snow overnight and it snowed the entire time we were there. It was that wet, heavy snow. It was very slippery walking.

God Be Praised! There were more people in the afternoon on Our Side than theirs. Ray wondered if the PP folks are paid. Unless something has changed recently, I know first hand that some of them are paid to stand out there. I reflected on Judas being paid to give up Christ.

It saddens me beyond words that so many don't get the supreme irony that they are supporting murder on the same say Jesus was murdered. D'uh!!!!! Hello!!!!!

But, when so many in our society have thoroughly rejected the Gospel what can we expect?

On Holy Thursday, I was getting ready to go to Mass after work when a bus load of drunken women rolled up to the house next door. It was someone's 50th birthday party and they chose to spend it going bar to bar via bus. I got really angry and thought: "Don't they KNOW what day it is???!!!" Either they don't or (is this even worse?) they don't care.

I decided that I better just calm down before I got myself all worked up. I closed my shades on that side of the house. Maybe I shouldn't have. Is just pretending it's not happening helpful? What else could I have done? I decided to go to Mass as planned. I decided to ask for forgiveness for them and for my judgemental heart.

Alas, it's a true today as it was thousands of years ago: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34)

It's as true today as it's ever been: "Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13) Not all that long ago, that was me among the Death Eaters. That was me unaware it was the Triduum. That was me intoxicated in a rented bus with my girlfriends.

It will continue to be true that: "What is impossible for human beings is possible for God" (Luke 18:27) There are many sinners reading this blog, including the sinner writing it. If WE can find our way out of the darkness, so can anyone else.

Many of us are praying the Divine Mercy Novena now. Please join me in offering prayers to His Divine Mercy for the return of our lost brothers and sisters.

March 25, 2008

The Latest Visions of Stella Luna

The words of the "visionary": "I felt myself carried to Heaven, below was an unspeakable scene of human transformation to bunnies on bicycles and flying eggs which I have come to believe signify Christ ascending in the form of a decorated egg...The bunnies, I have been told to think, are a sign of abundance and fertility as the Earth changes to green with the arrival of Spring."

I, then, had a continuous vision of a man in a marvelously tailored suit and power tie holding court with a large rabbit. He is followed by the rabbit. I have been told, in my vision, to believe the rabbit is an Angel following this man and trying to reach him with a message of Christ to all believers everywhere. If only this man would listen-OH!.

As for the man, I have no idea who he is but he is quite handsome. Please give him my phone number and tell him to call me."

March 24, 2008

Ray, Check Your Dry Cleaning!

I think the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon, stole your puffy shirt!!!!!

Exhibit #1

Ms. Glendon with the Holy Father last week. If you can get past that ghastly Mrs. Partridge jacket, observe the puff poking out!!!

Exhibit #2

Ray and Terry last fall just before Halloween and prior to Ter's latest facial reconstruction.

No WAY, is this circumstantial!

The Scooby Gang Weighs In On the Catholic Blog Awards

"I'd have won if it wasn't
for that meddling Father Z!"

Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo (wooo-woo-woo!) were so upset they refused to show up for the photo shoot. They were on the phone calling their agents, demanding a better gig and saying "It would all be tolerable, if we could eat Shaggy" (Actually, I think they did, since he wasn't there either. Maybe he was counting down the hits on American Top 40?)

Deep curtsy to Vincenzo for the image and the caption! This is not to suggest that he's bitter, he's just a wild and crazy guy!

Give 'em a Hand!

The 2008 Catholic Blog Awards closed on the 17th. I want to take a moment to send a deep curtsy to Cyber Catholics for once again hosting the Catholic Blog Awards. I'm sure they work very hard, for no pay and little glory (on Earth anyway). Please take a moment to pray for their intentions. If you are able to send them a donation (they are only asking for a paltry $5) that would be good too!

With that said...

Everyone is a Winner

With the closing of the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards, the inevitable bunch of sour grapes will be passed around by those that are upset that they did not win, did not place as high as they thought, or thought that someone unworthy was first.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, He began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?"
But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.
Then He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."--Mark 9:33-35

Friends, it's the CATHOLIC Blog Awards so be CATHOLIC about it!!! If it's so important for you to be popular, go back to high school. As for me, I'll see you at the "Burn-Out Door" LOL!

But, you see what I'm getting at. I hope.

My Catholic blog brothers and sisters: It is an honor to be among you. There are so many of us and our mission is so important. I know I've mentioned before that online media (blogs, forums, websites etc) was EXTREMELY important to my reversion. I found answers in a community of strangers. Answers that I was not getting from the people around me. Bede, whom I mentioned yesterday, entered the Church at this years Vigil. Bede is a convert from Methodism who'd been lurking on the Catholic Answers forums for a few years. She was a seeker and now she's found her home thanks to the 'New Evangelization'.

Many of you have become friends of correspondence. Some of you live in other countries. I'm always deeply moved when I'm in trouble and ask for prayer that ANYONE even offers-especially people who never even met me in person. I'm including in my praise, those who make the blogs truly great: the readers-some of whom do not have their own blogs but we know them by their comment handles.

We are, many of us, strangers to one another. Perhaps, we will never meet in this life. Pray God our souls will meet in the next.

You are all so important to me. From the blogs with only a few readers a day to the blogs with several thousand readers a day, I'm so grateful for you sharing your joys, pains, sufferings, faith, wisdom, and spirituality with me. I know it's a lot of work to maintain a blog. Just a note to let you all know your efforts are appreciated.

In my humble opinion, the fact that there is such a strong CATHOLIC blog network is an occasion of rejoicing. Even if you feel like, as an individual you are underrated, never underestimate our COLLECTIVE influence and power. Collective includes: YOU!

Solid Gold Terry

Gentle Reader: As I expected, Terry used my blog hiatus to pick on me on his blog and Vincenzo's blog (and probably countless others!). I could make a comment about how unsporting that was considering I could not retaliate without violating my vow not to blog during Holy Week, but why be negative? In any case, I think Terry fled the country in fear of what I might do. He need not worry. Come back, Terry. I'm a woman of peace. Just bring me a bunny....

But, Gentle Reader, I thought you might enjoy this rare tape of Terry (during one of his facial incarnations) with his crew in the early-80s doing a show at Budokan in Japan. Be sure to stay with it. Terry really busts a move about 2:18-solo spot!!!

No one was killed during the pyro display towards the end. I'm sure because Father Richtsteig, prior to his ordination, was Terry's pyro technician.

March 23, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes.....

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Today's "For Better or For Worse" strip by Lynn Johnston

He is Risen, Alleluia!

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that you experience the joy of Easter on this day and always.

Please join me in welcoming one of the newest members of the Church Militant: Bede (That's the confirmation name she wanted! Isn't it great?!) Bede entered Holy Church at the Vigil last night.

It's 5 minutes to 3 a.m. and I'm tired and joyful at the same time! I went to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at St. Augustine in South St. Paul (I felt called to go since I was Confirmed at their sister parish last year). Father Zuhlsdorf preached a good sermon. I think he taped it so perhaps he will have it up on his blog later. And, so, to bed.

March 16, 2008

Holy Week Prayers and a Blog Break

Gentle Reader: I've decided to take a blog hiatus for Holy Week and spend my week journeying with Christ as much as possible.

I will be checking emails, but I will not be posting on the blog. I pray that your Holy Week will bring you closer to Christ. I pray, especially, for the catachumens and candidates who will be entering Holy Church during the upcoming Easter Vigil.

Comment moderation is enabled during my break.

See you after Easter! God bless you.

March 13, 2008

Repercussions Spin

With all this talk of the validity of the baptismal formula and the concern of some Catholics (and rightly so) that their baptism may not be valid, it occurs to me to wonder what are the even longer range impacts of the CDF issuance. I know of several parishes that don’t give the appropriate blessing of Father Son, Holy Spirit. If baptism is not validly conferred by substituting Creater, Redeemer, Sanctifier, how can you be appropriately blessed or how can the Mass begin properly if you are substituting all this other verbiage in order to get around the “patriarchal” terminology? That’s why all this word switching started-as part of the no male words at any cost vocal gymnastics that feminist theology wraught.

It’s possible that I’m reading too much into this. Always possible. I tend to overthink things, generally, but really shouldn’t people be wondering why they should continue to substitute their own words for ANYTHING at Mass (music, blessing, liturgy) if it’s clear that something as major as Baptism is not valid if you are substituting words?!? Shouldn’t people in positions of authority (priests, liturgists, musicians) at the parish level be worried? Gosh, maybe I should think about stopping my efforts to change the Responsorial Psalm to inclusive words for Him and Father.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic. I am definitely trying to make people think (or freak out, you know me) and I admit it. Sure, it’s clear that it’s more serious that your Baptism is not valid than it is that the musician mangled the Psalm to avoid the word “Father” but, think about it, is it really? How can you say it's not valid for BAPTISM for crying out loud but then its o.k. during the Mass? We all know its not o.k. Well, most of us reading this blog know it's not o.k. but I know there are some of you out there that are bristling. You know who you are. You are the same folks that get upset when you are told you have to follow the GIRM at Mass. But I can’t help but think this interpretive ruling is meant to go beyond the Baptism question. Really, why is the CDF bothering? I’m sure they know that those inclusive terms are being used elsewhere. Isn’t this supposed to be a wack upside the head? Hey, you, cut it out! Or, is it only me that thinks so?

March 11, 2008

Be Always Vigilant

I'm at work this morning reading thru the work-related emails and feeds I subscribe to for my job at a large retail chain and the lead story in one of the food industry related blogs I subscribe to is: A COMPLETE DISTORTION OF MONSIGNOR GIANFRANCO GIROTTI'S INTERVIEW IN L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO.

This food blog I subscribe to has absolutely nothing to do with Roman Catholicism but the blog author (who is a highly respected expert in the food industry) wasted no time claiming that "The Vatican has totally redone the list of mortal sins" and, furthermore "placed genetically modified foods on the same level as abortion". He intimated he thought that was ridiculous (If there was a word of truth in it, I'd think so too) and said no wonder the Catholic Church has no credibility since its wasting its time with this junk when our house is so messed up blah, blah, blah. Then, he made some very poorly veiled references to pedophilia-loving clergy, the sex abuse scandal, blah, blah, blah.

Bottom line: He used the "opportunity" to bash the Catholic Church. In the process, he looked like an ignorant bozo since he clearly only read the media distortions of Monsignor's interview and he has no idea what the Church actually teaches.

I started my day on a sour note. You better believe I wrote him an email. I was charitable but I told him I was disapointed that such a highly educated man did not do his homework before speaking and he used his blog to spread misinformation and bias.

I don't know why I should be surprised that anti-Catholicism is everywhere but I am. It always catches me off-guard.

So, how was your day, Gentle Reader?

March 10, 2008

It is the Lord!

I went to Adoration Saturday and I continually meditated upon one phrase as I gazed raptly upon the Face of Christ reflected in the Sacred Host displayed in the monstrance before me.

It is the Lord! It is the Lord! It is the Lord!

When the priest elevates the Host during Holy Mass: It is the Lord!

When you receive Holy Communion: It is the Lord!

No amount of apologia, theological arguments, or scientific theorems can persuade you in your inmost heart "It is the Lord!" You either accept it is the Lord, know it is the Lord, and believe it is the Lord or you don't.

I find it curious that we are a people who profess to believe in the miraculous, but when it comes to Faith (something that should transcend the tangible) we want facts and evidence. "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe"--John 20:25. Jesus appeared to Thomas and permitted Thomas to do just what he wanted. Then, and only then, did Thomas believe and Jesus rebuked Him with "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"--John 20:29

During the early days of his Apostleship, Peter tried to walk the sea towards the Lord. He doubted and he started to sink. He cried out to the Lord to save him and the Lord rebuked him for his lack of Faith. (Peter earned his living on the water. Is it possible that Peter did not know how to swim? Possible. It's never explicitely stated. But, I wonder. It's not like they had a local Y. It was quite common for sailors and fisherman to be unable to swim.) Peter tried to walk the water but only when he asked Christ to bid him to come. "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water"--Matthew 14:28 Peter waited for the Lord to ask because he wanted to make sure it was the Lord before he started out. He was also testing the Lord. Only after the episode and the rebuke, do those in the boat recognize Him as the Son of God. They wanted proof to believe.

Later, after the Resurrection, Jesus appears again to the Apostles (John 21:7). This time, John, who is with Peter in the boat, decisively recognizes Jesus on the shore. John says "It is the Lord!" Peter, in his spritual maturity, does not wait for the Lord to call him, he does not question John as to why he thinks it's the Lord, Peter jumps without hesitation into the sea. Not walking this time, but swimming towards the Lord like an infant reaching out to its mother in a pool. Striving. This time, Peter does not need help. He keeps his eyes on Christ. He reaches the Lord on the shore. He knows it is the Lord before he reaches the shore. He has no doubt.

In our infancy of Faith, we too, doubt that the Consecrated Host and Wine are really and truly the Lord. We let ourselves be swayed by our Protestant friends or our Catholic friends of weak belief, that the bread and wine are only symbols. They are not really and truly the Body and the Blood. We let ourselves accept that it cannot be possible. If we profess to believe that a man was crucified and rose from the dead even though we did not live with him when he walked the Earth, nor were we at Calvary, how then can we fail to believe that a miracle may still be occuring right before our eyes at Holy Mass? Today. Now. The Lord is waiting for you. Why are you waiting to hear his voice? Go. Now. It is the Lord!

March 09, 2008

Concerned About Valid Baptism?

"Catch a Wave and You're Sittin' on Top 'o the World!"

Image stolen from Terry

The 5 Parable Meme

Adoro interrupted her dream state to tag me with a meme! Hey, Adoro, go back to sleep! I'm just sayin'....I found this challenging.

1. Name your 5 favorite parables
2. Lose more blog votes by tagging 5 people!
3. Tell everyone Adoro sent you!

As usual, I'm going to be a rebel and do as I durn well please with the rules. Hey, it's my blog! I'm pretty sure it is not an excommunicable offense to manipulate a meme. If there are any canon lawyers around, I'm sure they will set me straight. In any event, Adoro's going to say something, I triple-dog dare her! LOL!

1) The Parable of the Sinful Woman Who Would Not Do a Meme: "Jesus said: Once in the land of Honah Lee...."

Ok, ok, there is no such Parable in Scripture. However, if someone can find it, let me know....

1) The Prodigal Son--This was the Gospel reading a few Saturdays ago and I finally heard it for the first time. I'm mean really heard it. I finally realized that I was the Prodigal Son. The Father is God. My Parent was pacing the land, watching the horizon for my return home. I cried. Think about your earthly parent, looking for you. Think of Tara looking for her daughter and you get the idea. Many of us who blog were (perhaps are) the Prodigal Son. Think of the joy when your Parent finally sees you after those long years when they know you must be in trouble. Think of them rushing to meet you with their arms outstretched. My favorite painting of the Prodigal Son is this one (below), by Pompeo Batoni. The Father enfolds the grieving, penitent, nearly naked son with his arms and encircles him in the protection and warmth of his robe. I think of the pain I caused by my absence into sin and I weep some more. Hold me Father and never let me go.

2) The Widow and the Judge--A wonderful reminder to me of the necessity for the persistence of prayer and petition. Too often, I give up. God always hears and He always answers. His answer may not be what we want to hear but He always listens and responds. God never gives up, I do.

3) The Pharisee and the Tax Collector--The Pharisee puffs himself up with his self-righteousness and thanks God that he is not as "bad" as everyone else. The Tax Collector beats his breast and pleads for God's mercy. The Tax Collector does not flatter himself that he is better than anyone. When I think I'm more enlightened than the dissident friends I left behind, I read this Parable.

4) The Marriage Feast--A reminder that we are less than we think we are and we should act like it. Let someone else have the better seat and quit jockeying for social position and prominence. It's better to sit higher in Heaven than on earth.

5) The Rich Fool--A man worries about stockpiling his earthly treasures and makes the mistake of thinking he can worry about his Heavenly treasure later. There is no later. There is only now. Once you are called, there is no time to make it up. When the Lord calls your name, what you've done up to then is done and you will be held to account for it. It will not matter how well organized your estate is. Jesus is not going to ask you if you created a tax shelter for your heirs.

I tag.....YOU!

March 08, 2008

Homeschool Activism Alert!

From Brendan, an alert for homeschoolers and their supporters!

Where's the Suffering?

The latest, and probably the last (and weakest-it's been a tough week), of my Lenten meditations on the Cross. Well, "meditations" sounds really organized, well-thought out and formal. I'm not that organized these days. Maybe "musing" is better. Another in my attempts to make personal sense of something and confuse everyone else-LOL!

My other posts were here, here and here

For a while now, I’ve been “bothered” by, what I call, “Risen Christ” crucifixes (see the photo). I know of some local parishes that have this crucifix in their sanctuaries. You may even have one in your home. I don’t mean to insult anyone with these Lenten meditations of mine. I know personal crucifixes are personal things. Seriously. I’ve known people who spend years looking for a home crucifix that “speaks” to them.

But, I think I finally figured out what “bugs” me about the “Risen Christ” crucifix. Where are the wounds? Where’s the suffering? Where’s the humiliation of being naked (or nearly naked)? Where’s the crown of thorns? Where’s INRI? It’s like we just skipped to “the good part” which to me is, I think, why a lot of people like this crucifix and corpus and no other. It’s the Resurrection and the Ascension without the Passion and Death. It’s Redemption without Sin.

I’ve noticed that parishes that tend to have this Crucifix, downplay Sin and Confession. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

But, does it follow that parishes that have the 'Suffering' Crucifix play down the Resurrection? I've never experienced that. It shouldn't be happening if it is.

Like I've said, crucifixes can be a matter of personal taste but I think it should be clearly emphasized in all cases what the Cross really means: suffering, sin, redemption, resurrection. All of it not just part of it.

March 07, 2008

First Friday Fast Intentions

*Solidarity with the Dallas bloggers for an end to abortion
* Lenten intentions
* Special intention

Smiling Face

I got my issue of the Catholic Spirit yesterday and on the front page was Veritatis Splendor in a story about her decision to enter a cloistered order!

March 05, 2008

Lord, Deliver us a Bus!

Adoro and I have car trouble after dinner. True story...Really!

Labels: Busted flat in Baton Rouge

March 04, 2008

Angela's Avatar

Vote on Angela's new avatar!!!! I can't tell you how to vote, but I must say that #5 is lovely. LOL!

March 03, 2008

Action Alert: Kahn Cloning Bill

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life is encouraging all Minnesotans to contact their state representatives and express their opposition to the Kahn Cloning Bill. The bill could be voted on anytime. H.E. Coadjutor Archbishop, John Nienstedt, is encouraging Catholics to contact their representatives in opposition to this bill. He devoted his column in last week's Catholic Spirit to his concerns about this bill.

If you are not sure who your representative is, or how to contact them, use this website

March 02, 2008

Our Schismatic Brothers and Sisters in South Minneapolis

Ray reprints the story of St. Stephen's in Minneapolis from Nick Coleman of the StarTribune. Once again, I'm glad Ray reads that rag, because I don't.

Many of us have known for a while that St. Stephen's was told they had to start following the General Instruction of the Roman Missal or GIRM. Many of us have known that there has been much anger and gnashing of teeth at St. Stephen's over this seemingly audacious command from the Chancery.

It's tragic that simply asking a parish to comform to the same rubrics that EVERY parish that is CATHOLIC follows is seen as grossly unfair. How fair is it to Catholics to go to a Catholic parish and never know what kind of nonsense they may be walking into? It's maddening that simply REQUESTING a parish follow the prescribed rubrics is soundly ignored and the Chancery is forced to administer the strap because the bratty child refuses to do what it's told.

St. Stephen's has been outside of conformity for at least 20 years. Now, they are upset becuase they only have a couple of weeks to comply. They've gotten away with a lot of stuff for decades, and well they know it, so don't believe for one minute that they've thought all along that they are in communion. They know they aren't. That's what they've been selling.

In many ways, St. Stephen is almost worse then my old haunt a few miles to the south. They do some marvelous homeless outreach at St. Stephen's but I don't see why they can't continue to do that AND conform with the Mass rubrics. Who knows? Maybe by doing so they will teach some of the parishes that perhaps don't focus enough on homeless shelters, but do follow the rubrics, that perhaps they could consider opening a shelter or a soup kitchen too.

I'm sad that some of the parishioners have decided to formally schism themselves by leaving and starting a prayer group at another building. We need to pray for their return. I pray that they would give the true Mass a chance. Try it, you might like it! I wonder how many have ever even seen a Mass properly celebrated? I wonder if they have any idea of the meaning behind the rituals? The TRUE meanings, not the dissident distortions they've been fed. I know I didn't-for a long time. Once I 'got it' I embraced it. Now, I'd never go back to my old life. Never.

Please remember in your prayers, Father Joseph Williams, the new Pastor. He begins on Divine Mercy Sunday (entirely appropriate I think!). There are a few of us considering attending a Mass at St. Stephen on Divine Mercy Sunday to lend Father our support and continue to pray for this parish and our seperated brothers and sisters. If you are interested, send me an email:

March 01, 2008

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

But Adrienne did! Thanks, sweetie!

Angela tagged me for a meme. It ties in nicely with my Lenten check-up so I'm actually going to condescend to do it! LOL! I say that because I know I've been remiss at doing memes lately.

1. What’s been your best Lenten-effort-idea ever?

The decision to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation last year. Related to that is I spent 2 years learning about the faith prior to that. Much of that learning time was taken in classes during Lent. I'm a revert who had over 35 years of garbage to overcome and unlearn.

2. And your worst?

Not even being conscious of Lent. That was true of my life for a long time. There were many years I did not do anything. I did not even attend Mass on Easter.

3. What Lenten advice would you share?

Rather than thinking about Lent as "giving something up" think of it as adding something to your life in Christ. Perhaps, resolving to spend one hour/day in prayer (when perhaps you normally don't) is one option. Yes, you will be giving up your free time but I believe if you think of it in terms of addition rather than subtraction it may make it easier for you. Certainly, that's been my experience.

4. And what will feature this year?

I'm focusing on the Big 3: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I posted at the beginning of Lent how I was going to do that. So far, I'm doing pretty well. I was unable to go to Adoration last week and I missed Stations of the Cross at my parish a few times (I did it on my own instead). I also need to go to Confession again, but I'm happy to report that I feel like this Lent has been pretty successful. Honestly, when you go from nothing to something I have to call that a success! :-)
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