October 31, 2009

Tricks 'n' Treats at the White House!

A photo of Halloween at the White House. Hey, is that Father Richtsteig in the Stormtrooper outfit?!?

The President decided to wear his usual mask.

October 30, 2009

Bishops Call to Action!

Whenever I hear "Call to Action!" I want to be clear I don't mean "those guys"!

Many of you reading this blog already know that the USCCB is directing every parish in the United States to distribute a message regarding the necessary opposition to the abortion provisions being considered in the health care bills before Congress.

You can read more about what the Bishops said, including the official messages, here.

I heard about this yesterday. The lovely, Miz Laura and I were IM'ing and she said "Hey, Cathy, did you see the press release?" and she sent me the link. That's how fast knowledge is disseminated these days.

Unfortunately, if your parish is as humble as mine, your bulletin for this Sunday's Mass was already back from the printers by Thursday. That means: inserts and/or bulletin board postings.

I immediately forwarded the information to our parish office. Our pastor is solidly pro-life so I have no worries that he will fail to mention it.

Some of us are not so fortunate in our pastors or our parish office staff. I know there are parishes that are willfully going to fail to mention what the Bishop called for.

That's why I'm putting up this blog post. Another attempt to get the word out.

If your pastor is not going to mention it and your bulletin is silent, this may be a time to employ some guerilla tactics like: "accidentally" leaving flyers in pews, "mistakenly" putting these up on the bulletin board, "coincidentally" putting flyers on parishioners cars, and "stealthily" handing them out at the doors.

October 29, 2009

Catechism 101: Let's Dialogue!

The Archdiocesan (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Planning Task Force is well underway. Public meetings have ended. However, the Task Force is still accepting input via their website.

So, here, as the process is well underway, come along one of my favorite groups of the confused with their 10th hour suggestions that the process is fundamentally flawed and unfair because it is not addressing concerns of importance to them. You can probably guess what they are but here’s the bulleted list (with my cranky answers):

•Why do young adults abandon faith formation classes immediately after Confirmation? Why are such a large percentage of children offered no faith formation at all or, if the offer is made, why are they not accepting it?

You don’t need to be a faith formation director (feel free to weigh-in if you are) to know that the answer to the first part is: they are not getting any encouragement at home to continue. Also, in my humble opinion, if there is a weakness in our church, it is that we don’t often have outreach to youth after Confirmation. Confirmation in some parishes is treated like a high school graduation. Oh, yep, you’re done; rather than a step in an ongoing life of growth-which really is life even after high school, right? The second part of their question: Huh? Maybe there is no faith formation in their parish (if so, that’s something that should be remedied)? Maybe their parents (again) are discouraging it? I don’t know. I’ve never heard of the second part of their question happening. I want to see the proof. I suspect the second part is an irritation that, perhaps, their, uh, "creative" faith formation programs are, perhaps, being rejected in some parishes. Having lived thru those "radical and questioning" programs (barely), if that's true that they are being rooted out, thanks be to God.

• Why don’t two-thirds of registered Catholics go to Mass?

Good question. I’m curious if they clarify this lack of attendance as: “never” go to Mass, “occasionally” or “once/year” But, regardless of clarification, the question is outside the scope of the Planning Task Force (we’ll get to that later)

• Why are good and capable men not stepping up for ordination as priests?

B to the 1, S to the 10. They are. The seminaries in town are busting. I think this is a gripe that “their” men are not stepping up. Well, when you belittle and discourage the priesthood, what do you expect? In any case, why are they even pretending this lack of men bothers them-see the bullet after the next one.

• Why is celibacy required for the role of priest?

[I told you this was Catechism 101!]It’s a necessary practice for a Latin Rite priest. Celibacy is for more than just priests. The practice is for all of us. Unless you are married (to someone of the OPPOSITE gender), you are to be celibate. There may even be instances where married couples are celibate. I’m celibate. It’s a good practice and that's why it exists. Again, the Planning Task Force is not setup to discuss celibacy.

• Why aren’t women’s vocations to the ordained priesthood recognized and accepted?

Why recognize what can't be? Thus, it follows: why accept what you can't recognize? The Planning Task Force, even if it was set up to discuss this "issue", is in no authority to implement a female “priesthood”. Why would the Task Force discuss this non-"issue"? No. Case closed. In any event, didn’t they just say a little bit ago they were concerned about the lack of men going into the priesthood?

• Why are third and fourth generation American Catholics leaving the church in great numbers?

Third and fourth generation starting when? The Church is 2,000 years old; not 40.

• How is the money collected by the Archdiocese spent? We want the Archbishop to be accountable for his expenditures as the parishes are accountable for theirs.

I seem to recall seeing a financial statement for the Archdiocese that is published every year and is publicly available. It’s as detailed as any parish financial statement I’ve ever seen; both as a parishioner and a parish council member.

I’m pleasantly surprised that Galileo and the clerical sex abuse scandals where not mentioned.

The real kicker is the group goes even further in suggesting that the Task Force ask the Archbishop for the “power” (the dissenters favorite word) to discuss these bulleted issues (which they will be happy to help them facilitate). If the Archbishop refuses to grant the Task Force the ‘power’ to discuss this group's issues, they want the Task Force to throw down their scented hankies and resign in protest!!! Well, ok, no scented hankies and no throwing down, but they do want the Task Force to resign in protest!

If the Task Force agreed to take on this challenge on our behalfs and at the request of the Archbishop, the likelihood of them resigning in protest over a small splinter groups "issues": "issues" they don't share, means they are unlikely to resign over them.

These "issues" will not be discussed as part of the Task Force’s duties-not today, not yesterday, not ever. The Task Force has enough to do under its existing mandate than dealing with these diversions that have nothing whatsoever to do with their mandate and add nothing constructive to the process. I have a hard time believing Frs. Bauer and Laird are sitting around in the Planning Task Force meetings convinced that the answer to all the Archdiocese's challenges are women's "ordination" and a repeal of the practice of clerical celibacy.

Of course, the group also insinuates that the Task Force already knows what its going to do and the solicitations for public feedback and the public meetings are all a sham.

It’s a sad day when someone reaches the point in their life that they have lost all trust; not to mention faith (small ‘f’).

This group will use any opportunity; they will even create their own, to air their gripes. That’s all this is-just their latest.

What irks me is that rather than supporting the process with constructive solutions like; “Hey, we’d happily encourage vocations to try and reverse this alleged dearth of priests” or “We should do something to make sure that these reported youth who are being denied faith formation are getting it” they come up with their usual deconstruction plans and suspicious insinuations.

I’m continually amazed at how they have willfully failed to admit that we are at the point of even needing the Planning Task Force largely because of the fruits of the false “Spirit of Vatican II” that this group continually stands behind. The folks who perpetuated their falsehoods about Vatican II did their work so well in discouraging authentic faith formation, discouraging large families, encouraging “alternative” families, and belittling the priesthood, that their miseducation program is, largely, why we are facing possible parish closures and consolidations in this Archdiocese.

If we want to talk in purely “business” terms and reduce the Archbishop to “CEO” of the Archdiocese; than think about this: How many CEO’s do you know even bother to solicit input from the employees when they are considering saving money by making department, job or budget cuts? CEO’s may have “task forces” too. You may not even know about them until the day you get your pink slip-if even then. I think it's incredibly generous of the Archbishop to be as open in the process as he has been.He's under no obligation to do so. If he wants to sit in his office with a map and thumbtacks and pick parishes to close or consolidate all on his own; than he can do that. He'd be a poor pastoral leader if that was his method. He's not and he isn't.

We may come out of this process smaller in number of parishes but I’m convinced we will be stronger.

The people who wrote the questions are worried that their parishes; those parishes that historically have encouraged this type of “faithful” dissent, are going to be closed or consolidated as a way of rooting them out.

Even if that happens, I know this group will not go away that easily. There is a breakaway community here in town that is realizing that they still need the instititutional church in order to have some thing to fight. No one cares about them down the street at the community center or wherever they are meeting this week. They aren’t getting any press. As Fr. Rutler said: “It’s easier to dissent with the parish copy machines” This breakaway group has started making “under the table” overtures to one of its dissenting partner parishes in town to form an alliance of some sort. Even if the dissenting parishes were closed; their followers will still be around. They’ll disperse to other parishes and they’ll form or join external dissent groups. Some people just can’t live unless they are protesting or fighting some thing.

The recent outreach of the Holy Father to the Anglicans is not good news to this crowd. It is not an occasion of rejoicing that our seperated brethren may come back to the Body. It only means, to them, more conservatives in the Church-fewer allies of their agenda. If the Holy Father had completely lost his mind and extended the invitation to the United Church of Christ, it would be a rare occasion of them supporting the Pope.

As happy as many of us our that our seperated Anglican brethren may come back to the Church; we should be even happier that our seperated brethren WITHIN the Church would come back.

October 28, 2009

Cat Update

Gentle Reader: Just an update. My cats are still fine after the disaster of last week. I contacted the vet Monday and they have called me back twice. They, too, are very concerned about what could have happened. They filed a "case" with the feline leukemia vaccine manufacturer (Pfizer) along with the vaccine numbers and my name and contact info in case they want to get in touch with me. The vet mentioned a couple other patients had reactions as well but not as serious as mine. That went in the file to the manufacturer as well.

I have no intention of suing anyone. However, I'm not sure I'd be this non-litigious if my cats had serious permanent damage or had died as a result of what may have happened.

I always think it is worth it to speak up. I'd hate to see something bad happen to someone else's pet and I could have done something to stop it. Those of you who have suffered the loss of an animal buddy, know how devastating it is.

Priestly Project and a Birthday Wish!

Father Zuhlsdorf (*deep curtsy*) has a reminder and a request about the Year for Priests posted on his fine blog.

It would be a fantastic gift if you could pray for Father "Z" and his intentions today. Today, is his birthday and it's a big one! So big, in fact, that there were some adverse consequences to the surrounding countryside due to the number of candles on the cake! Seems like someone may have forgotten to file for a burning permit.

I just want everyone to remember that I only heckle the people I love! I just sounded like Terry didn't I? But, it's true!

Happy Birthday Father! SS Simon and Jude, pray for us!

I'll lift a few bottles in Father's honor!

October 27, 2009

Let's Play Dress Up

Gentle Reader: Yep, it's that time of year again! Time for Cranky Cathy's annual rant about inappropriate Halloween costumes. I, also, haven't irritated Adoro in a while and it's time! Heh.

I'm talking about the folks who think it's fun to mock the Catholic Church by dressing up as a nun or a monk or a priest or the Holy Father (pick one). It's not that they only dress up. Their costume is usually accompanied by some completely inappropriate behavior or anti-church commentary (often both).

This year I decided wouldn't it be fun if some folks who actually ARE priests and nuns dressed up in the clerical and religious garb they should be wearing?

I'd pay real money to see Sr. Joan Chittister in a Benedictine nun's habit. After all, she is one. I know; some of you had no idea. I'm not sure she does either. Maybe the clothes will make the woman. Pray on it.

I pray to that I can be a better person-no matter what I'm wearing.

October 26, 2009

What's Wrong Here?

A few years ago, when I was still in my dissenting Catholic period, I was fulfilling the ministry of door greeter/usher at the door of the parish I belonged to then. It was the Triduum. I believe it was Holy Thursday.

A woman that I’d never seen before came up to me with a young girl in tow and asked if she could have her Confession heard.

I knew right then that she was not a regular and probably not from around the area. If she had been, she would have surely known that our parish never offered Confession. When they did offer Confession it was only just before Advent and Lent and it was always Form III (for the record we were not in danger of death).
Technically, individual Confessions were available by request on Saturday afternoon but no one I knew actually called the Parish Office for an appointment for it.

At this point in my life I was starting to “come back” but I was not completely home yet. I knew one of our priests was “around”. He was not there to celebrate the Holy Thursday service (I’m not going to bother calling it a mass because it wasn’t). He told me earlier that he stopped by to get something and he’d been trying to get home for the last few hours. Neither of our priests lived on the church grounds. They had homes elsewhere. Not surprising since our Rectory was long gone.

I told the woman I would go find a priest for her. A few of the people around me tried to tell her “We don’t do THAT here” but I insisted I’d find a priest to talk with her. I did not do this out of any awareness that when people may need Confession they may be in serious trouble. I did it because I was never in the habit of turning people away from church without, at least, making an effort to fill their needs. She waited while I went to find Father.

I found him and he came out to speak with her. He told her ‘no’ and, technically, they can’t hear Confessions during the Triduum. She left without a word.

To this day, I wonder who she was. Why was a child with her? Was she able to find someone to hear her Confession? Did I fail her?

What happened bothered me. Father was, I guess you could say, pleasant to her. But, he usually was pleasant.

I know, every Triduum, there is the debate over whether or not a priest may hear Confession during that period. Leaving that debate aside, it bothered me that Father was using a technicality that, not only had I never heard before, but seemed irrelevent considering he might just as well have stated the reality as I knew it “no, we don’t “do” Confession here” Father seemed to be using the technicality as a convenient excuse. I had a feeling he was going to say “no” before I even went and asked him.

I was disappointed and it bothered me. I still think about it. Maybe it was one of the many episodes on my way to reversion. Well, I know it was.

I started to wonder. Aren’t we, as Catholics, assuming we are properly disposed, permitted to expect to be able to receive the Sacraments of the universal Church? Shouldn’t any of us expect to be able to receive the Sacraments we are familiar with in any of our churches? I should be able to walk into a Catholic Church in Ghana and, even with a possible language barrier, expect them to have times for Confession or a priest that can administer the Sacrament.

It’s not as though Father was leaving for an emergency or, as far as I was aware, did not have the appropriate permissions to hear Confessions. In any case, isn’t the need to receive Absolution a possible emergency? Who knows what may have been on this woman’s soul? I guess we may never know. Maybe she got disgusted and never went anywhere.

That Catholics can not get what they need from the Church is a disgrace. I’m not talking about the usual dissenting dramatics. I’m talking about the core practices of our Faith.

If someone where dying, wouldn’t a priest drop everything and run to give that person the Last Rites? I hope so but maybe some would get out on the technicality. If even a non-Catholic can go to Confession, why can’t a Catholic?

I don’t get this drama about Confession during the Triduum or not. I know I’m no expert on Canon Law but it seems to be that if we are required to receive Communion at Easter , in order to remain a Catholic in good standing, why can’t you find an open Confessional? I can go mail my tax returns as late as midnight on April 15th (as last minute as it gets) but I may not be able to have my Confession heard at the literal last minute.

What’s wrong here?

October 24, 2009

Cat Status Update and Pity Party Pooping Out

Dear Friends in Christ:

Thank you from my whole heart for your prayers. Within an hour of my blog post of last night, Kaylen's temp was down.

However, Sodak's was still up. I was pondering heading to the pet emergency hospital-thankfully, not far from me. But, I decided to wait it out. I prayed.

I'm ashamed to admit that I was concerned about paying for the visit to the emergency hospital. The follow-up care, because of whatever happened at the regular vet is fully covered when I go there, but at the emergency hospital it wouldn't be.

I was awake most of the night checking on both of them; though Kaylen appeared to be pretty much back to normal by midnight.

As of now, Sodak appears to be back to his usual stinker self and his temp is down. Kaylen just unrolled the toilet paper to illustrate to me that she is back too and possibly to make a statement about how crappy this all is! They are both eating and drinking water and using the litter box as normal.

Here's what, as far as we know, happened (non pet owners may want to tune out because you will probably be bored)

I took both cats in to our vet of many years (we saw our usual doctor who knows both of them very well) on Wednesday afternoon. They were due for a regular exam as well as rabies and feline leukemia shots (2 seperate shots). They were fine when we got there. The stool samples I took in checked out normal. Visit went well.

When we came home they were both fine but overnight they got ill. When I got up Thursday morning they were both out in the living room just sitting there. Kaylen was curled up in the rocking chair; Sodak was on the couch. This sounds like nothing but they usually always sleep with me; especially by the time I get up they are both in with me. Kaylen used the litter box but did not bury her waste. For her, this is unheard of. She's quite obsessive and meticulous about it. In fact, I chuckle at her because I've seen her spend 1/2 minute doing it. Sometimes, she'll even go back later and check it and bury it some more until it's to her standards.

I had the nagging feeling something was wrong but I thought maybe they were just upset because they had to go to the vet and they hate it. Payback for me and all that.

At one point, I was in the kitchen and Sodak got up from the couch. He could, seriously, barely move. He moved like he had severe arthritis. Kaylen was moving stiffly as well but not as bad as Sodak. I'd also noticed they had not touched their food or water (unheard of by 11 a.m.). I had picked them both up at one point in the morning and they both cried out.

I knew this was all bad and called the vet with what was going on. They wanted me to bring them both in right away. We went back around noon on Thursday and they gave them pain meds (and some for me to take home) as well as anti-inflammtory and intravenous nutrition (because they hadn't been eating).

The vet was, frankly, baffled. There was no swelling at the injection sites. They think it was the leukemia shot since both cats appear to react more when touched or grabbed on the left side (which is where they gave that shot).

Sodak is 4 and Kaylen is 5. This is not the first time they have had the leukemia shot. They've never reacted to it before. The vet says they are using the same manufacturer as always.

I can see one of them reacting; my guess would be Sodak because he has other allergies which is probably why he got hit harder, but not both of them.

The vet told me to check in with them yesterday (Friday). I did and they were both eating and drinking but still sluggish. I felt they were both "warm". I told them all that. They asked me if I felt they should be seen again. I held off because it's so traumatic for them to go back and I felt they were improving. I felt that hauling them back again would reverse the gains they were making. They are both so petrified to go to the vet as it is. So, we didn't go.

The vet is open today so I knew that was an option.

I just know something is screwed up and this is not normal. I'm going to call on Monday and ask our vet to investigate where the medicine came from. I'd call today but she's not working today. Is this just a bad lot? Have other cats gotten sick? Is this medicine manufactured in a different country than before? It could be the same manufacturer but they could have changed country of origin. China comes immediately to mind.

Next year, I'm not sure we are going to have the leukemia shot. It's not strictly necessary because my cats don't go outside. I don't know.

I'm upset because I wonder what could have happened if my cats were older or had existing health issues. They could have died.

The good news, besides the cats recovery, is my pity party is puttering out. I'm cueing William Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" to drive the bad vibes back to their homes screaming! I was mighty cranky yesterday. Yes, at the Lord. It's been an emotional week. I've not said this on the blog yet but my remaining team (from the employer I quit from in April) were laid off on Monday. I realized if I had stuck it out thru all my boss' abuse, I'd still be out of work right now.

I think I just realized (doh!) that the Lord did me a huge favor. At least, I had the summer and a temp job to work then. To be laid off this time of year, pretty much sucks. Also, they only got a two month severance. I know how fast two months passes-especially when you are looking for work.

I openly admit I've been reveling in the fact that my, uh, challenging boss just got canned. I feel bad for my surviving co-worker but I'm having difficulty feeling sympathy for ex-boss. This lack of charity may be a human response but it's not a Christian one. I've added her to my prayer list. I grant you that I pray for her thru gritted teeth but I'm trying.

October 23, 2009

Prayer Request

My cats, Kaylen and Sodak, are very ill. They had a reaction to a routine shot at the vet Wednesday afternoon. I had to rush them in yesterday. They were given some medicine and have been improving slightly. But, I think their temps are still elevated. They are sluggish and tired. However, they are eating and drinking water again. Most of Thursday they did not eat at all.

As I'll probably never have children, my cats are it. I'd rather cut off my arm with a dull knife than have anything happen to them. Those of you with pets understand.

How much Lord? I've been wailing and yelling a lot at Him today. Some from my heart, some with my mouth. I just prayed to Our Lady.

I'm feeling really low right now. I should think about people with real problems but I can't get beyond myself at this moment.

October 22, 2009


Gentle Reader: I, recently, got into a discussion with a misguided soul about faith. I realized that when I use words like "faith" "church" "teachings", I'm not seeing it the way that person is. To them, each reality is separate and in it's own void. It's compartmentalized because it's, supposedly, easier to attack and change if it's isolated from the whole.

To me; it's all a limitless, seamless, whole. I can't divorce the faith from the church, or the hierarchy from Jesus, or the Bible from the Catechism or Communion from the priesthood, or prayer from the Mass etc etc.

This probably makes, absolutely, no sense to anyone. I don't even know how to clarify what I'm babbling about. Maybe I'll pull a Terry and take this post down later!

I think what I'm saying is; when you are in conversation with an open dissenter be careful what you are saying and how they are hearing it. Be aware that they don't use terms the way you, as a person who 'gets' the continuity of Catholicism, may. For example; "church" to them may be limited to mean only the physical building, or it may only mean the "faithful" (you've probably heard the term "be-ing church") Whereas, I think of church as including both-actually, more than that.

Maybe it's best to employ the rabbinic method of teaching that Jesus employed. Answer a question with a question. Just make sure you answer the question! Jesus always answered the question but first He wanted the questioner to think about it. Also, it helps to hear what they say so you can formulate the answer to where they are at.

October 21, 2009

The Really Hard Battle

Life is a battle. Faith is a battle. However, just as the Jews didn't "get" who Jesus was back in the day when He still physically walked the Earth, just as many Gentiles of today don't get it any better after centuries of instruction.

We can see now, in hindsight, what Jesus' words, that were so confusing to those around Him, really meant. Or, do we? Maybe some of us do. Maybe some of us try. I know a lot of folks have been trying to put words in Jesus' mouth for centuries too.

Jesus asked "Who do you (they) say that I am?" Sometimes I think He may as well have asked "How are you (they) interpreting what I just said?" I think that question is as hard to answer for some as who Jesus is.

The Jews expected the Messiah to be a warrior. He was; but just not in the way they expected. They expected the Messiah would lay waste to the enemies in battle. He did (and will and does), ultimately, but not by picking up a sword.

The real battleground of Faith, to me, is not external anyway. It's internal. It's a lot harder to force conversion of your self; than it is to use physical force or any external pressure.

It's easier to gripe about changing the faith to conform to your ideas and beliefs than it is to change your ideas and beliefs to conform to the faith you profess. If I spend my time just hating on this external enemy (institutional church, the bishop, the priest, pick one) than I have less time to do anything or possibly worry about what I'm doing or not doing. If I wait it out, things will change and then I'll be ok.

Time is a battle we will lose. The faith is timeless. With that kind of balance; which side do you think is going to win this battle you've created?

October 20, 2009

No Hometown Excuses

We want our homes to have cathedral ceilings but our churches to have the basement rec room ceilings. What gives?

Seriously, I walk into some houses of worships and my immediate thought is: who can I challenge to air hockey in here?

Architecture in church matters. Well, to me, it matters. Maybe no one else cares but this is my blog so there!

I openly admit I favor the more vertical architecture of soaring ceilings. I want my eyes to be led up to God.

Most of our modern churches have the horizontal architecture. I'm not a big fan of this. Fortunately, I'm short enough not to bang my head on the ceiling. This architecture forces our eyes out. To me, the emphasis is more on the congregation with this type of design.

(begin cranky digression)Let's speak a minute about the Roman Forum design of some sanctuaries (think about it). You know; the sloping aisles down to the big bowl altar set up. I think the intent here was to force the eye toward the altar (hopefully the Tabernacle is there too). Also, the lack of stairs are, I think, supposed to help those with lack of mobility approach for Communion. However, do we really need a 60 degree angle for these aisles? Talk about the faithful flowing down like rivers toward the altar; more like falling down and stumbling (which I've actually seen happen). I head back to my pew after receiving Communion and I find myself looking for the tow rope or the lift chair. Great lower leg stretch though!(end cranky digression)

Maybe we need diversity in church design? Maybe we should have it?

I do know one thing. Whether the Mass is in the gym, the community center down the street, a hut, a tent, or the Iraqi desert, it should be as solid of a Mass as we can make it. It should confirm to the liturgical rules as much as possible. By possible, I mean I give a lot of leeway (like anyone's asking me) to Father out in the desert making due with what he has as choppers fly over head. Or, a parish in Africa that is lucky to even have a non-leaking roof. Or a group of Catholics in China hiding out in a farm field to celebrate Mass. Is the homily solid? Are the teachings in conformity with the Church? If the answers are 'yes' than I'm willing to overlook some stuff that I may not, personally, prefer. However, most parishes that I know of here in Twin Cities, Minnesota, United States are not doing without to such an extent that they can't follow the GIRM at every Mass.

October 16, 2009


Women are being forced to have abortions in more nations than China. Don't believe me? Argent has a horrifying post. Folks, this happened in the United States!

We should all be praying, donating money, stuffing envelopes, doing whatever we can for the cause of life.

If you are unable to make a commitment to an organized event; i.e. you have no transportation, you are not available at certain times, broke, there is no reason you cannot send up a prayer before bed, when you get up, before lunch. Send up a prayer to Our Lady. Ask for her intercession. Ask for her help affecting conversions. Ask for her to intercede so that a life can be saved.

Sometimes, I know, sometimes it seems like nothing good is happening. Sometimes, it seems like it doesn't make a difference so why bother? Does it make a difference to YOU? Do you rest securely when you know, honestly know, that you've done all you could?

I'm taking time out of my job searching this afternoon and heading to the Highland Park (St. Paul, MN, Planned Parenthood on Ford Parkway)abortuary with my Rosary. 3:00 p.m. the Legion of Mary will host the vigil and pray the Rosary. If you can be there, wonderful! If you can join us in prayer, no matter where you are: great!

October 15, 2009

Family: Redefined

Today, Ray sent me an email of a gathering (they called it a synod) of the usual suspects at a place that Ray and I like to have breakfast at on occasion. I thought it was a joke, because Ray is kind of a trickster. It, seriously, looks like an educational session on senior citizen healthcare that your doctor may force you to sit in on. You know; your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight so you should take this two hour free seminar on nutrition.

I see photos like this and I'm sad. REALLY sad because I personally know some of the the people in the photo from back in the day. What do they think to accomplish? Deepening of the faith or deconstruction of the faith? Are they helping us or helping themselves? I already know the answers: deconstruction and helping themselves. You will not see any of them asking me or most of the people who read this blog what their feelings are on their efforts to push women's ordination or gay "marriage" or popular election of the Pope. Yes, they probably already know the answer. But, they don't care. It's not going to stop them. The fact that millions are perfectly content with the faith the way it is and the way it must be, is irrelevant to them. When you don't really want to know the answer or have an honest dialogue you are only going to ask folks sympathetic to your issue the question.

I know that can happen on both "sides". Any side. People tend to associate with like-minded folks. However, in Catholicism there is no such thing as "conservative", "liberal", "traditional", "progressive". Catholic is Catholic. Period. Didn't Jesus remove all these labels? Galatians 3:28

One of the best recent commentaries on "just Catholics" that I've ever read was in the October 8, 2009 Catholic Spirit by a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in Savage, MN named Luke Bearth. You can read it here

I look at these photos and wonder if they realize that "Call to Action" is beginning to look like it means the fiber is working for you! Seriously, I think almost everyone in the photo is in their 50s-60s. The youngest person may be within 5 years of my age: 41.

We all know there is a huge gap in the demographics of the Church. There is a large demographic in the 40s-50s who are, largely, unchurched. Their religious instruction was appalling. They subscribe to the prevailing winds of social mores, rather than those of the faith they claim to still hold. In many instances, I'm not even sure it's entirely their fault. If their religious instruction was as bad as mine, then they often have no idea, honestly, what the church really teaches. They think they do and they read and cite a lot of stuff that backs them up (some of it written by highly credentialed folks); but as I've said before, if it's contrary to the true authority than it's not authority. How can you even recognize Truth if you've never been exposed to it?

The leaders of these groups spend a lot of their time getting around this issue of "by whose authority" by doing all they can to try to deconstruct the authority we already have. What better way to come up with your own stuff than by getting rid of and undermining the Magisterium? Marginalizing and browbeating priests until they give in? Ridiculing the faith and it's existing leadership? Feeling sorry for those of us poor saps that are not as "enlightened" as they are by taking it upon themselve to "free" us?

Their movement is going nowhere. I see the photos of these aged people and realize that their movement is not catching on with the young people. Now, we all know that sometimes the youth are too busy or too involved in their own lives to care about much of anything, but I've also known a lot of young people who are really fired up about causes. Want to know why Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of this state? The young voters turned out for him in droves.

Consider our Catholic youth here in the cities. Many of the seminarians and the young people enrolled in the colleges Catholic programs are there in spite of their own families. Many of them come from divorced and seperated families. Some from parents that were never married. Some from families that are totally opposed to them being there because the families are not Catholic. Some from families that believe in the "Spirit of Vatican II"

Yet, these young people, small but potent, are on fire for the faith. Many say they were intially touched by a World Youth Day or a procession or a meeting with a priest or nun or a prayer vigil or just having pizza with other seminarians.

We need to keep up the outreach to the young. We need more outdoor processions, youth days, Theology on Tap, Catholic young adult groups.

We need to be their families. It's tough to embrace the faith when you've been ostracized or criticized by your nuclear family. Jesus said "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it" Luke 8:21.

Today, as the traditional family is under siege, we may want to think about, on occasion, expanding the definition of family a tad ourselves. However, I'm not talking about Adam-Adam or Eve-Eve pairings or cohabitation, I'm talking about being true brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers to our young people who are interested in deepening their faith but are not getting support at home. I don't mean this in a cult-like way or forcibly taking people away from their families; but just be there for them when they have questions, when they need help, meet their families and prove you are not a nutcase but a charitable and kind Christian.

Social media makes it easier to be brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers to the faithful thru the online network. I'm grateful for all the family I've met online. I'm blessed in that my blood family has not given me that much grief about my reversion, but it's great to have the prayerful support and educational help from my Catholic network. I have family all over the world.

October 14, 2009

Sign of Jonah

In a way this is a continuation of my post from the other day.

I continue to be astonished as how easily some people can be taken in. People that are completely faithful Catholics see an outline on a glass window or a slice of bread and think it's the Lord or the Virgin Mary. Not even a "hah, what a coincidence" kind of way, they REALLY believe it! Some look for signs and it's not that there are not any, it's just that it's not what they think.

Vincenzohas some really interesting info on Medjugorge. I think this, and any unapproved apparitions or manifestations, are fine instances where the "hermaneutic of suspicion" should be applied. It's not just for Scripture scholars! (I had to throw that in there because my guided scholarly Bible study method in years past was: 1)disprove 2)refute 3)discard)

Anything, anyone, who does, says, writes or believes anything that is contrary to the Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium of the Church does not speak with authority even when they claim they do. Anyone can claim to speak with authority, some of them even have the clothes and the credentials, and some sound pretty convincing but: ask questions; check the answers.

Medjugorge, quite frankly, creeps me out and reminds me a lot of the young misguided girls of the Salem witch trials. Maybe history will prove me wrong. Maybe one day the official authority of the Vatican will approve them. On that day, I'll admit I was wrong. Until that day comes, if it comes, be really careful with this stuff. Keep in mind these visions are not approved by the Vatican.

The video on Vincenzo's page has an English soundtrack. In the video, one of the 'seers' claims she flinched in reaction to fingers going towards her face during the "ecstasy" because she was afraid the Virgin was going to DROP(!) the Infant Jesus. Ok, I believe that Mary and Joseph had to change the Infant Jesus' poopy diapers, but I'm confident that God would have prevented His Son being dropped on His head just as easily as He could have stopped the Crucifixion if stopping it were His plan. If God wanted His Son to be as dumb as the rest of us, He could allow His Son to be dropped on His head. But, history proves Jesus was smarter than anyone so there you have it.

There are, however, some signs I believe in because they are approved. For instance; the sign of Jonah is as relevant today as it ever was: "Repent or be destroyed" Period.

This is NOT A Classy Blog!

To make Vincenzo laugh!

Be sure to compliment Terry on his tie! He's sensitive to stuff like that.

Labels: It's down to this. I have all the crazy because no one else will buy it from me.

October 12, 2009

Ask Questions; Check the Answers

Looking back on the last 4 decades it seems astonishing that progressivist, dissenting, Catholics in Name Only had such an adverse impact on the Catholic Church so quickly. However, for a Faith that has survived for two thousand years, 4 decades is a blip. Perhaps, the faithful who lived thru the “great” heresys like Arianism, Gnoticism, Monatanism were likeways dismayed at how fast and how quickly those erroneous beliefs spread. Ultimately, those heresys were, if not totally rooted out, put decisively “down” . Yet, remnants of some of their heresys still remain. They still need to be rooted out and repudiated when we see them.

Error has always been a part of lived faith-even though the faith itself is without it. Collective errors, individual errors. I look at how wrong I was about my faith for so long. I recall how many errors I perpetuated.

I’m a small player in the global Catholic faith, but it doesn’t matter; we are all responsible for spreading the faith in truth. The Lord Himself said it would be better for a person to tie a millstone around their own neck and drown than cause a little one who believes in Him to sin (Matthew 18:6). He was talking about the children, explicitely (but like most things the Lord said that’s the surface reading), but aren’t all who are learning the Faith or totally ignorant of the Faith also like children regardless of age? Weakness of belief leads to sin. Weakness of education about the faith, leads to sin. How can you avoid it? The Lord may be merciful because you are genuingly ignorant; but how often is the faith passed on with a wink, a nudge, and a justification? Ah, don’t worry about sleeping with him outside of marriage. We don’t have to believe that anymore. That’s old. Everyone’s doing it. At least, you are not killing anyone! If I tally up all the times I never killed anyone; does that mean I’m without sin? Uh, no.

Some of us should know better. Some of us DO know better.

I’ve been thinking lately about Archbishop Rembert Weakland. He recently wrote and published his memoirs. Maybe you read them. I have not, yet, but I intend to. From what I hear; the book is a case study of a man’s personal journey of de-construction (some would say: demolition). It seems that, in retrospect, many of the positions Weakland espoused were for the purpose of advocating his own personal agenda rather than teaching and defending the Faith.

I’ve been thinking lately of the late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, Michigan. I’ve certainly heard his “Saginaw Blessing” often enough.

Bishop Untener was a hero to many of the progressivist (some would call them dissenting) priests that I used to hang around and soak up wisdom from. (yeah) They were delighted by Untener’s subversion of the “aristocratic trappings” of the Bishopric.Untener sold the Bishop’s residence in Saginaw. I found this interesting; did he fail to consider where the future Bishops would live or did he think there wouldn’t be any? Was he making the assumption that his successors would embrace the nomadic life he did? To those I was surrounded by, living outside of the mansion proved Untener was a “man of the people”; not,apparently, limited to the homeless. Untener moved from parish to parish living amongst “the people” (in reality; his brother priests) I always wondered how “the people” felt about that when they saw his moving van arrive? Most of us know how cramped some Rectory’s are already.What about parishes that have no Rectory’s? Well, in any event, perhaps it deepens the faith of some, in ways I quite frankly don’t understand, to realize the Ordinary is in the bathroom way too long, doesn’t rinse out the sink after he shaves, leaves his dirty laundry in piles on the floor just like any other man.

In any event, would YOU want to live with your boss?

Bishops Untener and Weakland were both, what the progressivists and dissidents call: visionaries. I am convinced that whenever you hear someone, who is not The Christ, labeled “visionary” run for your life.

We can be more than our surroundings. You can live in a tent; you can live in the Archbishop’s mansion (or not) but if you don’t share the Faith in an authentic way; you are and you have: nothing. Surely, you are on your way to the Old Place.

I’m sure, and some famous writers have written this, that there is no level of Hell lower than that reserved for people who were entrusted to shepherd the faithful and pass on the faith but deliberately did not.

Yes, deliberately. Honest stupidity is one thing; deliberate error is another.

In spite of this, just because some of our leaders fall down, and yes, occasionally fail us, does not mean we are off the hook because we have a ready excuse. We are each of us responsible for defending and perpetuating the faith. We have to correct our leaders when they are wrong, just as often as we have to correct our peers. WE are responsible for learning our faith. We cannot just rely on others. Yes, we should be able to trust those that are “official” or that seem to be; but, unfortunately, we can’t. We need to check the credentials.We need to own our own copies of a Catholic Bible and a Catechism . Ask questions; check the answers.

For so long, I did not do any of this. I’m responsible for not doing so. I’ve made a career out of doing research; you’d think I would have bothered. No. Now, I’m making up for it.

Maybe if more people spoke up and out would things have gone so far afield after Vatican II? I know people did speak up but they were not a unified voice.

Today, things are different. While the progressives were dozing contentedly in the knowledge that they’d done all they could, the Magisterium faithful were taking over the Catholic media. While the print versions of Commonwheal, America and the ilk play follow the leader on the web and blogdom, they are late to a party that already started without them the day Pope John Paul II (a Pope they despised) called for “a new evangelization”.

The tide has turned. Today, progs are experiencing, to some extent, what faithful Catholics did years ago. Not so much a takeover; but a re-claiming.

The current Holy Father continues to provide the faithful with the weapons they need in the battle. Think Jesus of Nazareth, Summorum Pontificum, and Letter to the Bishops Concerning the Remission of the Exommunication of the Four Bishops Consecrated by Archbishop Lefebve were meaningless and irrelevent? Think again. Sure, most progs may not have read any of it; but the faithful are energized.

Despite my praising of the new evangelization’s Catholic social media, of which this blog is a part, don’t take anything I say at face value. I could have made a mistake. I’m usually called on them in the comments box and I admit it and move on and learn from it. But, be careful. Anyone can blog or comment on a forum or Tweet. Ask questions; check the answers.

October 10, 2009

I Won!

I won Swissy's Weekend Kneeler Jepardy! I never win. I'm so happy. I want to thank: Angela, The Holy Father, Ray, Adoro, The Vatican, Terry, My Agent, Vincenzo! Oh, if only I'd had time to get my hair done!

October 09, 2009

I'm Done!

Seriously, what's the point of even continuing on? Obama wins the Nobel for having nothing to do with peace and he's won a Heisman over a Digi's without even running a yard! To cap it all off, he's taken an award from The Crescat! He doesn't even have a blog and Crez practically just got out of the hospital! Has he no shame?!?

You KNOW it's a bad day when Al Gore is starting to look good.

Note: A Vincenzo and Cathy joint. His beauty, my brains, the WORLD!!! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!!!


Gentle Reader: Many, today, are pointing to the inexplicable awarding of President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize as a sign that the Apocalypse is at hand. Many are re-reading Revelation, as I write this, for some symbology they may have missed.

I prefer to think of the award as yet further proof that logic and continuity of thought are not "jumping the shark"; but went straight down the ramp, got eaten by the shark, and vomited upon the coast of Norway.

I keep asking myself: why?

Is it a sympathy vote for losing the Olympics? If so, like winning an Academy Award, does that mean his career is over? Will he be a one term President as Tom Roeser thinks?

Was the award not for anything Obama has done but for the symbolism of what he is? Is the award really a sort of "congratulations for your liberality United States in electing a mixed-race man to the highest office in the land?" pat on our collective backsides?

Are we a world where shallowness and appearance matter more than what a person does? Is that how we define a person now? I'm almost afraid that is the case.

The man has been in office for less than 10 MONTHS! I still see him as largely undefined. Sure, we all know he's no friend to many of the causes I favor but he's not done anything, yet, of historic importance. President Wilson? Yeah. President T. Roosevelt? Sure. They actually mediated major conflicts and helped bring people together. Assisted the cause of peace. Duh!

It's definitely not a "Yes We Can!" but, "Oh No, You Didn't!" day.

October 08, 2009

News of the Weird

Terry got a haircut! Dig it!

October 07, 2009

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary in both the new and traditional calendars because who would be crazy enough to remove it? We need the Rosary more than ever. I need the Rosary more than ever!

Don't just look at it and wear it-USE IT!

The use of the Rosary honors and pleases Our Lady. Why would you NOT make your Heavenly Mother happy?

At a word from His Mother, Our Lord may have mercy upon you.

Satan update from my travails posted yesterday: he's fled! I slept almost 12 hours, in peace, last night. As I knew, clobbering him with my participation at Confession, Adoration, Rosary, Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Benediction, prayer, scriptural meditation, was too much for him.

However, remember the Scriptures say that when Satan was done tempting the Lord in the desert, he departed from Him until an opportune time. They don't say, he never came back; not even from the Lord-so how can WE expect him to stay away? Be, always, on your guard. I know. I do it too. Friday I'm in love, rest of the week: huh? or lukewarm. Be ready. Be armed-always.

October 06, 2009

Laughter: A Potent Weapon

Given what I posted earlier, Vincenzo sent me the photo above. I realized that maybe if I always picture Satan as Jon Lovitz, I'll be too busy laughing at him to listen to him.

Free association: I just realized that you can spell "Santa" using the letters for "Satan".

The Tempter

I've been having a tough time the last few nights. My contract job ended last Friday, as I expected it would, and just as any other worrisome time in my life, Satan wastes no time hissing temptations in my ear. Insinuating himself into my dreams with his nightmares; asking his favorite question: "Why not?"

I'm still doing my daily prayers, Scripture meditations, Rosary, using Holy Water, and I can feel that he's still lurking, waiting for me to fall asleep or waiting to latch onto any anger or venial sins I may exhibit so he can try and run in and tempt me with the big stuff.

Since Saturday morning, even though there are no outward signs, I feel like a great battle has just taken place in my room. I'm sure my Angel and St. Michael have been on the job. I call on them often.

But, even my Angel needs backup and if I'm not doing anything to help him I feel like he backs off. He's around; but my sinful state makes him cry and he's over there in the corner praying for me at a distance.

If Satan tempted even the Lord, how can we expect less? The Lord conquered Satan. But, that's why He's the Lord. I'm not-which is what I'm reminded of daily. I'm too weak. I need help.

There are a few things I've figured out; Satan fears and hates Our Lady. Pray that Rosary! Call on her intercession. If you need to, park yourself in front of her image and pray-do it! Also, Satan hates it when I go to Confession. Really. Hates. It. I've never known him to stick around after I've gone to Confession and received Absolution and done my Penance.

In my dissenting days, I can't even remember what I did to fend him off. Oh, yeah, I didn't. Didn't even try. In fact, I refused to believe in him. Maybe "believe" is the wrong word associated with Satan. I refused to acknowledge he existed. Even though evidence was all around me; it couldn't be anything the old religious wackos call "Satan" it's just human badness and weakness. WRONG! Oh, so, wrong.

Yes, human badness and weakness exist but not in a vacuum. You can bet Satan is pulling the strings. Adam and Eve sinned-yes. But, they had some assistance.

Use every weapon at your disposal!

October 05, 2009

Win Twins!

Ok, it's been awhile since I've said anything about baseball but it's time. There's too much talk of the Vike-Pack game around here. For cripes sake, a story about consulting a psychic to see who would win that game was on the front page of the Pioneer Press today! The psychic dropped this revelatory bombshell (after she said the Vikes would win but if she'd said otherwise do you think they'd have run the story? Heh.) that someone on the field has it in for Favre. Gosh, whuddathunkit?!? Really?

Maybe I should earn a living as a psychic.


But, the Twins have, true to form, managed to pull it out of their (deleted) at the 11th hour and are still alive. They need to win against the Tigers Tuesday night at the Dome.


October 04, 2009

Prayer Request

Please remember in your prayers today at Holy Mass, our friend Angela Her son, Luke, leaves for Afghanistan today.

When I said "our" friend, I did not mean in the royal sense. Everyone likes Angela!!! If you don't, your backside has a date with my foot!! Of course, I'm saying that in all charity.

Don't just pray today, keep it going till Luke gets home safely! God bless!

October 03, 2009

Be True to the Source Material

I love music. I was a band geek all thru school (Clarinet. I dabbled with Bass Clarinet, Sax, Trumpet and Trombone. I also took piano lessons for most of my life)Alas, I've not kept up with it. I was ok and could read and follow music but my dreams of playing like Benny Goodman or Henry Cuesta would never happen. I was just not that good.

I was in choir too but so was anyone! LOL! I don't have a great singing voice.

So, list me as among the many who have a deep appreciation for music but are not blessed enough to be truly talented practitioners of the art.

Decades before my reversion to Catholicism, I was listening to records (yes-LPs!) of the great Masses of Haydn, Mozart, Verdi, Beethoven, De Victoria, Schubert, Palestrina-even Bach's "Passions".

In my ignorance I never made the connection between the Mass on the record with the "masses" I was familiar with. I never "got" that the Kyrie was the "Lord Have Mercy" part of the Mass or the Credo was the Creed or the Sanctus was the "Holy Holy Holy". Benedictus? Never heard it on Sunday.

Sounds crazy doesn't it? I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's true.

I thought, honestly, that Mozart and all the other composers took some basic structure that might as well belong to someone else (not the church I knew) and did what they wanted with it. Now, to some extent that's true but I failed to recognize that they, in their creativity, remained true to the core structure and ideology of the Mass.

I was accustomed to attending "masses" that were "Creative Contemporary Liturgies" thought up to be different every single week by some one who was paid to be "visionary" No wonder I failed to recognize in the "masses" I attended the Mass of ages in the records I played.

I feel, now, like I was robbed. Here I was, cradle Catholics (a poor one at that, I'll grant you) but I couldn't even recognize the Mass that belonged to my patrimony in the music I loved.

My friend, Mitchell has a very good post on Our Word and Welcome to It! about the new production of the Met's Tosca. Any fan of opera should read it. But, his post is more than about the opera. Mitchell talks about tweaking the source material but remaining true to it as well. It's a fine line to be sure.

I've been pondering the "masses" I attended for over a decade and I realize now that they were NOT true to the source material. We can argue over how much "latitude" is allowed in the GIRM but the liturgies I was attending were not even true to the source. Not even close. I probably could've walked into any Methodist or Lutheran church in town and felt right at home. No emphasis was placed on the Real Presence. No mention of personal sin (apparently the only things that sin are corporations and governments). No mention of forgiveness and redemption. I never felt like I was giving glory to God. I always felt like I was there to give glory to the congregation. I was there to see my buddies. "Who do you say that I am", asked the Lord. I would've countered: "Where are you, Lord?"

How can you even begin to understand the profound meaning of who the Lord is if you can't even find Him? I couldn't even recognize worship to Him in the music written to give Him glory.

Maybe those records were trying to teach me. Maybe they helped. All I know is now I listen to them with new ears; with a depth of understanding that was completely absent for so long.

October 02, 2009

Friday Wandering....

In this day with evil all around us, persecutions approaching, our faith under siege, how is draining Holy Water fonts helpful?

I know, I know..all this talk of pandemic..I was at a church yesterday whose fonts appeared to have been drained (either that or the Sacristan can't keep up with the demand) and I've heard of others.

Can we talk?

If faced with dying of the flu or being attacked by devils because of the absence of a Sacramental; I'll take the flu-thanks.

October 01, 2009

Guidelines for Avoiding Contagion

The following are NOT the official H1N1 guidence issued by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. You can read those here. This is just me being a snark because it’s been too durn long and I’m feeling goofy.

The following practices will help prevent the spread of illness, liturgical abuse and sin. In the interest of Christian charity, good taste and for the mercy of God, please for crying out loud follow them. Thanks!

1.If you suspect something is wrong with you, stay home. The last place you want to be is at Holy Mass! If you feel like it and no other family event that you may, strangely, still feel up to going to (but not Mass!) is not conflicting with your time; watch Mass or some other religious program (Packer games do NOT count) on TV, pray, read an approved translation of the Bible, study the Catechism (buy a Catechism)

2.If you do drag yourself to Mass, during the Sign of Peace (availability may vary depending upon parish and priest) cover your mouth and mumble “Peace be with you” (Pax Tecum). Do not offer your hand. You may also bow. I know in some parishes (you know who you are) for the love of Mother Mary, do NOT hug or kiss anyone.

3.Hand holding during the “Our Father” is strictly prohibited. At all times. Period. I don’t care how good you feel. Heh.

4.A reminder that during Communion, receiving the Host only is to receive Christ in His entiriety. Same goes for receiving the Precious Blood only but some of us need basic instruction so there it is. In any case, if you are sick, you realize that NOWHERE is it written that you MUST receive at every single Mass, right? It’s not a right. You dig?

5.Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should not be touching anything. In fact, they should unite themselves spritually to the Sacrifice and remain seated!

6.Sick is sick-whether you receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue. One is not healthier than the other. Who knows where your hands have been? Where the EMHC or priest’s hands have been? Where’s your tongue been? Yuck.

7.Do NOT drink, bathe or aspirate your nose from the Holy Water font! For crying out loud, don’t splash it around either! Hey, who’s been in that full body Baptismal pool? I saw you!

8.No one should be sterilizing the Sacred Vessels except the priest-with the help of the Ultra Wash Hi/Lo systems that every parish should invest in.

9.Practice good hygiene! Wash your hair, shave, bathe, clean and press your clothes before coming to Holy Mass. Be considerate of others!

If we all follow these guidelines, I'll, er, WE'LL all feel better! Yes!
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