February 27, 2009

Abortion Did Not End My Problems, It Began Them

The title of this post is a line from "The Vitae Monologues", the latest production by our own local Catholic-Christian Theater Company: Epiphany Studio Productions

I hope I did not just ruin that line. I also pray that this post is coherent. It's been a long day and I'm tired. I pray that I do the drama justice. But, I wanted to get this post up soon because I want you all to know about it.

The technical stuff: "The Vitae Monologues" is a two-person drama, on a sparse set. In the middle of the set is a projection screen that is used to great effect to give the impression of setting and send messages. I don't want to give too much away but it's used very well. The drama alternates to either side of the stage by lighting one actor and darkening the other. The entire drama is acted by Founder and Director, Jeremy Stanbary and, Actress and Assistant Director, Sarah Preissner. They are seperated thru almost all of the drama-hence, the title. It's very much an alternating monologue. One speaks, the other is silent and vice versa.

Stanbary and Preissner play different, unamed, people in the drama. They effortlessly signal a change in character only by posture and changing or adding some article of clothing while the spotlight is off their side of the stage. The technical crew did a very good job with timing the lighting.

The music by Nicholas Lemme is very well done. It adds to the monologues but is not intrusive. At one point, the only music is the sound of a baby's heartbeat which goes horrifyingly silent-you can probably guess why.

I've always thought that Jeremy Stanbary is one of the most riveting stage presences I know. He always does a phenomenal soliloquy. Sarah Preissner is his equal in this drama. She's astonishing. I'm looking forward to many years of their inspired apostolate when they are married! :-)

This is wrenching and powerful stuff. I walked out of the auditorium after almost 1 1/2 hours feeling like I'd been turned inside out. Several people were sniffling. I was wiping tears away.

I don't want to give too much detail away-you should see it for yourself. I will say that the drama made me reflect mightily upon judgement and forgiveness-not what you might think. Not a societal looking glass; but a glass in which I gaze upon myself. I was already firmly pro-life and on the side of the unborn child when I entered the theater, but now I realize how much I forgot about the other victims: the mother, the father, relatives and friends. As much as a child dies in an abortion clinic, so, too, does the woman in the stirrups, the man in the waiting car. The drama brought home the emotional damage abortion causes years after the event. Abortion kills hope-a line from the drama.

I never use the word "play" in referring to "The Vitae Monologues". "Play" doesn't fit. This is drama-and even that word seems weak. These are real stories. "Vitae Monologues" is based upon real stories of post-abortive men and women. You will hear them. They will speak to you. It's real.

The only disappointment I had was wondering where everybody was? The opening was lightly attended-maybe 90 people. I know it's Friday in Lent so maybe all the Catholics were at Stations of the Cross? That said, you will all be there tomorrow night, right? You have two more chances to see it this weekend: 7:30 tomorrow night (Feb 28) or 1:30 p.m. Sunday (March 1) at University of St. Thomas, O'Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium. Tickets are $12/adult, $8/student. FFI: 651-336-3302 for more information. Group discounts (25%) are available for groups of 10 or more. A portion of the proceeds of all performances of "Vitae Monologues" will be donated to support the work of Silent No More Minnesota

Epiphany Studios wants to be able to take this production on the road. They, especially, strive to target college campuses (it was premiered on the campus of the University of St. Thomas). After the play, Mr. Stanbary remarked that THRU LENT they have a $5,500 matching grant; so if you've thought about supporting the work of Epiphany Studios this would be a great time! Their website, with information on where you can send donations, is here

10 Things I Do NOT Want to See This Lent or Eastertide

You can probably call this a wish list since I live in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and you know our rep for loons (not just the state bird!)! Probably also a Cranky Cathy post because, well, read on...

1) Full body immersion dunk tanks for Baptism (I know this causes some of you grief that I don't care for thoe; but, honestly, those full body hot tubs remind me of my evangelical days. 'Nuff said)

2) Women receiving Baptism with white t-shirts on and inadequate foundational garments (Yes, I've actually seen this. Guys, don't ask for directions!)

3) Twelve women getting their feet washed by Father on Holy Thursday (Father, can we have the lavender oil? Thanks, dear.)

4) Creative, contemporary dramatizations of the Stations of the Cross (Seriously, I read descriptions like that and run like H-E-doubletoothpicks!)

5) A Good Friday Cross that looks like someone cut the telephone pole in the back down. Come on, is this not a forested state? Also a source of horror: a swatch of buckthorn twigs (gotta do something with that menace!) lashed together in the form of a cross..WTH is this? The Salem Witch Trials?

6) People who nab palms on Palm Sunday before Father has blessed them, run to the restroom or goof around, and then they want Father to bless them individually later. Well, aren't you special?

7) Puppet shows-you know who you are

8) Pentecost rainbow dramatics-you know who you are too

9) Friday parish soup suppers during Lent that have meat in the soups. Uh, NO!

10) Laypeople, especially women, competing with Father by wearing red garments on Pentecost. I get into hot water every year by expressing my opinion about this. Who am I kidding? I'm in hot water whenever I talk about clothing! I even look good in red!!!! It's one of the few days I DON'T wear red.

February 26, 2009

Lenten Resolutions

Usually, I have a massive list of Lenten Intentions. This year, only four.

1) Follow the prescribed fast and abstinence requirements of our church-abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent and fast and abstinence on Good Friday

2) Almsgiving

3) I've discerned that food is becoming too much of an indulgence/obsession/crutch for me and that my obsession with it is interfering with my Life in Christ. I spend more time pondering my next rich meal than meditating on God. I'm going to strive to follow the Pope Gregory the Great era Lenten diet "We abstain from flesh meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs." Monday-Friday during Lent (For those of you concerned about my nutritional intake, I do take a women's multi-vitamin and calcium supplements each day)

4) Spend one solid hour each day of Lent in prayer. This could be Adoration, Mass, praying the Rosary, reading from Scripture, spiritual readings, quiet meditation, prayer before an abortion clinic, or any combination of the above to make the hour. I probably pray enough during a day that the total time is one hour but this will be a solid hour in addition to any smaller periods of prayer throughout the day (like my regular Rosary or DM Chapet in the car on the way to or from work)

February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

Ash Wednesday is a day of heavy attendance in Churches around the word. Hey, even the Lutherans have a big turn-out today! After today, ask yourself, where is everybody? Between today and Easter where is everyone? Heck, between Easter and the other 364 days where is everyone?

Ask yourself: Where am I?

Today, is as good a day as any to come back and stay back.

Today, is a required day of fast and abstinence. The rules are here

I know some of you are muttering "Rules, I don't need no stinking rules" Listen Gold Hat, yes, you do. Rules maintain order and discipline over ourselves. In this case, the rules also serve to remind you of your inclusion in the community you profess to be a part of. While you are diving into that sandwich because you don't need rules, consider that your other brothers and sisters are willfully going hungry today. Your weakness makes us all weaker because as community we are only as strong as all of us together. That's why you hear people sneering: "None of my Catholic friends fast on Ash Wednesday so it can't be that big of a deal" When a few of us weaken our Faith, we make it harder for all of us. It's hard to be a community when we can't even have a united face of belief before our haters.

To deny ourselves for a single day is the LEAST we can do to honor the Sacrifice Jesus made for us.

Today, while a day of fast and abstinence, is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation: meaning, you are not required to go to Mass today and receive ashes. I find it ironic that a day that is not a required day of Mass attendance finds so many there; but days that are actually Holy Days of Obligation like the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception are so lightly attended. I do, however, rejoice that so many attend today. It tells me that the sense of the knowledge of personal sin is not dead.

However, receiving ashes at Mass today does NOT absolve you from sins that require Confession. While you are Mass today, it's a good a time as any to do an Examination of Conscience, look up your parish's Confession schedule and resolve to go as soon as possible. Father will help you if you are not sure what to do.

Father Robert Altier's booklet Examination of Conscience is a good resource. Small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, big enough for serious reflection. You can buy it at Leaflet Missal. Catholic Parents Online contains excerpts from the section of Father's booklet on mortal sin (the sins that definitely require Confession). You can read the excerpt here

May Lent bring you closer to Christ.

I will be offline all day Ash Wednesday.

February 24, 2009

A People in the Wilderness

When I was a dissenting Catholic, I'd often hear and agree with those Catholics around me who would have difficulty with "the God of the Old Testament". The God of the Old Testament was too scary. He's not as loving as the God of the New Testament who gave us The Christ. Consequently, they felt the Old Testament had "nothing to say to them" and did not care to read from the Old Testament. They would call themselved "New Testament Catholics"

I've come to realize that God is God. The same God: yesterday, today, forever. I've come to realize that to split God in half based upon your criteria of how generous and friendly you think God is foolish if not downright heresy.

We hear a lot of people complain that Catholics don't read the Bible. I'd take that a step further and complain that Catholics don't read the Old Testament. Sure, maybe you read a Psalm and a few Proverbs once and awhile but when is the last time you sat down and read for enjoyment or illumination 1 or 2 Kings or Jeremiah or Genesis? Probably not too many of you have.

If your Bible studies or Catechesis were as bad as mine were, if you ever bothered to read the Old Testament it was probably in conjunction with some theologian or scholar who, also, only thinks the New Testament is worth reading and they want to use the O.T. to "prove" their argument that the Church is misogynist , racist, abusive, violent, warlike, etc. etc even before Jesus came to us and Jesus tried to overturn all that but we would not let Him blah, blah blah. Maybe, if you are "fortunate" they will make a NT parallel that will also prove how bad the Church is. You get extra credit if your first thoughts were anything having to do with sexuality and women speaking in the assembly.

If nothing else, the Old Testament (well, really the whole Bible but I'll only focus on the OT) is a fine lesson on "The More Things Change the More they Stay the Same"

I know many who cannot bear to read the OT because it's too violent and they can't relate to "those people" The presence of Christ in the NT must be a fine diversion for those people because I don't find the Passion particularly peaceful and loving nor do I have a fine time relating in an affectionate way to the people who martyred and persecuted the first Christians-including that rascal Saul and look how he turned out!

The OT doesn't skimp on the details of how far we fell after The Garden. It lays out sin upon sin. I don't believe that when Jesus appeared all the violence was removed and the cast of rogue sinners converted because it went away or was diminished in Scripture. I believe the bad conduct was not always documented because documenting about The Christ was more important at that point.

If you can't relate to "those people" in the OT and their violent ways: quit blogging, don't read any newspapers, don't watch TV because I've got bad news for you: WE ARE AS BAD AS "THOSE PEOPLE".

The Israelites in the Desert, after they were far enough removed generationally from The Exodus, started forgetting about the Lord. They quit teaching their children about the Lord. They did what was right "in their own eyes". They started worshipping other gods. They forgot about the Lord's Covenent's with their Fathers. It was never that the Lord abandoned the people. The people abandoned the Lord. His reactions, which seem extreme and, yes, unfair, are only as much as they deserved. He punished them to bring them back to Him.

How much today do we see that we, Catholics, have forgotten the Lord? Didn't so many of us quit teaching our children? Are not SO many doing what is right in their own eyes (primacy of conscience anyone?)? Don't we see Catholics worshipping other gods (New Age deities, money, goods)?

If we think the OT people were so bad and unrelatable because they worshipped Moloch by putting their live children into his burning arms for sacrifice, consider that we puncture scissors into the brains of live children pulled from the womb and vacuum out their brains. It seems to me that we are arrogant and presumptious for daring to think that we are better and more enlightened than the people in the Wilderness. If anything, we are even worse. We have something they did not. We experienced The Christ among us and little He taught us appears to have sunk in. Perhaps, we are too far, generationally, removed from The Christ and His Presence to think He mattered. Perhaps, we forgot to tell people about Him.

Sound familiar?

We can learn a LOT from the people of the OT. We ARE, in many ways, the people of the OT.

But, it's not too late. God will not forget His promises to us. We can turn away from sin, repent and believe in the Gospel. We have the Sacraments. They are waiting for us even now. We can be saved. God is waiting. He's watching and He's waiting.

But, we always fall into the same trap. Remember after 9/11 how packed our Churches were? Look around. How many that found the Lord in those days right after the World Trade Center fell, lost the Lord within a few months after that disaster, after things seemed to 'settle down'? The Israelites in the OT did the same thing. They sinned, they complained, they cried out to the Lord for help, He helped, they redeemed themselves, they had peace for a time and then they went right back into their sinful ways and the cycle started all over again.

How much better would things be for us, for our immortal souls if we stayed the course? If we never forgot the Lord is waiting right in our Sanctuaries, if we kept evangelizing and teaching our Faith, if we relied upon and believed the Authority that God appointed to us in His Church and His Magisterium rather than each of us doing what is right "in his own eyes" How short would that testament be?

They lived happily ever after.

40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life Twin Cities Kicks off the Winter campaign tomorrow (Ash Wednesday). It runs thru Palm Sunday (April 5, 2009)

* February 25, 2009 (Ash Wednesday) Opening Prayer Vigil 7:00 p.m. at Regions Hospital, 640 Jackson St. St.Paul, MN

* March 3, 2009, Sidewalk Counseling Seminar. Learn how YOU can help save lives! 7:00-9:00 p.m. University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus, John Roach Center (JRC) Auditorium Room 126 (by the arches near Summit and Cleveland Ave). This is a free no obligation seminar. Advance registration is not required. FFI: Contact Pro-Life Action Ministries, 651-770-1500 or prolife@plam.org

* April 10, 2009 (Good Friday) All-Day Prayer Vigil outside of Planned Parenthood, 1965 Ford Parkway, St. Paul MN. 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

* EVERY SATURDAY-Rosary at 10:00 a.m. led by Father Thomas Dufner outside the Robbinsdale (MN) abortion center 3821 W Broadway (in the parking lot of the Chapel of the Innocents)

Contact Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM) for more information 651-771-1500 or prolife@plam.org

PLAM estimates it saved 148 babies in 2008! Show 'em love. Send them your support prayerfully and/or financially. Even better, show up at some of these events!!! I was running errands last Saturday and spotted two lions for life standing outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Ford Parkway. May God bless them. Once again, I'll be at the Good Friday Vigil this year. I also plan to attend as many of the Saturday Rosary's in Robbinsdale as I can.

I'll see YOU there!

Also, don't forget Epiphany Studio's drama The Vitae Monologues opens this weekend!!! Read more about it here

I'll be at Vitae Monologues on opening night this Friday. I'll blog about it but I want to hear YOUR opinions because you saw it over the weekend YOURSELF!!!!

I'll see YOU there!

February 22, 2009

Church of Consensus

Gentle Reader: There are many who think all churches should be democracies. If a majority votes on a belief than that is what we will believe. I shudder to think what some of these folks would come up with if they were allowed to vote on who Christ is.

The Anglican and Lutheran communions come readily to mind these days. They are splintering apart over the issue of gay clergy. They've been voting on it but no peace is to be found. Even with the vote, they can't force the faithful to believe. A vote will not make truth. A majority vote may not mean the majority will embrace the result. Real belief and faith comes with trust and conformity. Yes, submission too. Submission to the Will of God and trust and belief.

Our leaders, including The Christ, tell truths that I find hard and challenging because they believe it and they care about me. The Holy Father has never met each and every one of us but he cares enough about us to tell it like it is. He's committed enough to the mission given to him by God, that he does not ask for our opinion because he's worried about being popular. He doesn't need to ask for our opinion. If he bothers to at all it's because he's a scholar and a compassionate man but he's not asking us because he has a plan to change the teachings of Christ based upon our personal opinions. He does not have that authority anyway. No one on earth does.

"When any church finds itself accomodating its teachings to the ways of the culture, that church is in trouble" This quote is brought to us by the Rev. Erma Wolf of the conservative group Lutheran CORE speaking in opposition to the local vote on gay clergy in the ELCA, who appears to me to be a beneficiary of a church adopting its teaching to the culture by deciding to ordain women. Now, a beneficiary of church by consensus decides what adopting to cultural beliefs did for her was enough. No more for anyone else.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work the way you want it. Once you open the doors to adopting your beliefs to popular opinion you are going to have a hard time closing those doors. In the same news story with the Rev. Wolf being quoted with her concerns in opposition to the vote on gay clergy in the ELCA, there were voices in ELCA upset that the ELCA may allow the local vote. They want a communion wide mandate that allows gay clergy in the entire communion. Gosh, a central authority? Imagine that? *meow* It doesn't matter if the doors are literally opened, for some it's enough of an invitation that if they think they are open they will come with their opinions and beliefs and they want everyone to prescribe to them.

Sometimes, I'm surprised that even Catholics, that I think should know better, buy into the idea that if enough of us vote on something it will be so. Last week, a petition was going around the web asking people to sign it to persuade the U.S. Bishops to deny U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Joe Biden Communion because of their pro-abortion beliefs.

Friends, I'm not in favor of anyone who is pro-abortion presenting themselves for Communion. I do think Speaker Pelosi and V.P. Biden may want to sit in their pew and humbly decide to seek repentance in the Confessional and amend their lives before they approach the altar. It's to their Bishops and their pastors and all of us to tell them so and try to instruct them on why that is so. We don't have any business just voting on their worthiness, as an "out" for our failure to evangelize, as though a vote in this case has the same effect as voting on waste water treatment plants in your city. Voting, whether it's on something like this petition, or on the first Tuesday in November, does not, and should not, take the place of evangelization.

Furthermore, the day we all decide to vote on who among our congregation is worthy (in our humble opinions) of approaching the altar of the Lord we better all put on the cloth of penitence and sit in a pile of ashes because we are going to be in big trouble. I have enough trouble voting on MYSELF (via the Examination of Conscience) and my worthy reception of Communion to spend the time before Communion sitting in judgement of others. I leave judgement to someone who knows better than I do and He doesn't need a ballot count to figure it out.

Does that mean we can't have an opinion or express our concerns and outrage when a KNOWN public sinner, as in these two cases, does receive Communion? Absolutely, we can and must be upset and express that, but I think using a ballot or a poll as a tool to try and persuade our Bishops in this matter is a bad way to do it. Do you honestly think our Bishops don't already know what is going on? Did Pelosi's recent visit with the Holy Father leave any doubt where the Supreme Pontiff stands? No. If we need to do anything it's pray that our Bishops lead as they should. That said, they need our support and, yes even though its hard some times to give it, our gratitude.

February 17, 2009

Can We Talk?

My latest post is up on Our Word and Welcome to It! I told Mitchell I would do one post/week for that blog while he's on hiatus. I'm sure this is one of his tricks but he's tough to say 'no' too!

February 15, 2009

Got Patience?

Gentle Reader: Hey, speaking of patience, thanks for your patience during my absence(S). I've had a really tough couple of weeks. A friend died suddenly. A relative died and now I've got two relatives in rehab (it was either that or jail). I've been putting in LONG hours at work. I'm involved in some parish activities and those have needed some planning. Plus, trying to make sure I don't forget about my prayer life by making an effort to fit it in.... writing more letters to the Catholic Spirit (You did not think I'd let that commentary about hunting not being an appropriate topic for the Catholic paper pass by, did you? Heh. That's me. Janice LaDuke)

Just another month in the life, ya know?

It all takes patience.

Patience so I don't get cranky. Patience so I just let it go into His hands.

I'm continually challenged by my LACK of patience. I've been called on this many times-usually by my Confessor. He's right.

So, yesterday, here I was taking a page from the Adoro Manual of Home Maintenance (coming to a store near you!)and finally getting around to replacing the gnarly, first toilet seat in the North End (LOL!), on my commode. I purchased the replacement seat a few MONTHS ago but never seemed to have time to put it on. Well, I had already cursed for an hour over the EASY (ha!) assembly of my new vacuum cleaner and did my usual start something and leave it because it was making me cranky so I look around for more stuff guaranteed to make me even crankier (sometimes it a good thing that I live alone. A very good thing) and I decided "Oh, it will not take long so I'll slap that new toilet seat on!"

Yeah, right. Remember this is the first toilet seat in South Como so it's probably 50 years old and the bolts looked like it. They were already almost totally stripped on one side and both sides were really rusted. Here I am hunkered down between the bowl and one of my cats' litter boxes (Yes, it smelled lovely. Thanks for asking. But, when I'm cranky even moving something easy like a litter box out of my way is too much to ask). On the other side I had my big head squeezed between the bowl and the wall. It occurred to me to wonder if I got stuck in that position than what? I did a conscience check and I was fairly confident that I would not go to the Old Place but I'd have to do some more time in Purgatory for excessive profanity.

After trying to yank the entire toilet out of the wall in frustration (how, exactly, this would have solved any problems and not created more, don't ask me), I stomped out of the bathroom and decided I'd ask my Dad to replace the seat when he comes down in a few weeks.

I went into my bedroom (still containing the parts of the "easy" assemble vacuum) and sat there glaring at the vacuum. I turned around and studied the crucifix over my bed and I prayed for patience. I also had no desire to ask my Dad to do something so easy. You can take the woman out of feminism but you can't always take the feminism out of the woman. I hate asking men (There. I said it) for simple home repair that I should, as a responsible and fairly intelligent homeowner, be able to do myself. "Angel, help me"

I went back into the bathroom and tackled those bolts again. One broke right off-it was so rusted-but it did allow me to get that side of the seat off. With patience, I figured out that in my crabbiness I was probably TIGHTENING the durn screw rather than loosening it. I managed to get the old seat off. Putting the new seat on-no problemo. Yeah! I took the opportunity to meditate upon the new seat. I do some of my best thinking there. Garbage out, garbage in.

Feeling confident enough to tackle even the "easy" assemble vacuum, I decide to try it. Earlier in a fit, I'd decided to "punish" the vacuum by throwing it (and the "easy" assemble parts) back in my closet. "Here, this will show you! I will not use you today! Ha! How do you like that!?" I'm so ashamed. I'm sure I hurt it's poor feelings.

I decided whoever the Technical Writer of this instruction sheet was for Bissell they did a horrible job. You know it's bad when I pondered trying to read the directions in Spanish rather than English because maybe the Spanish was clearer. Nope. The photos were actually slightly more helpful. I managed. I did it and I used it. I was very happy. I'm really hard on vacuums, even without hurting it's ego and all that, because I have to vacuum often and I have pet hair to vacuum up. New vac worked very well and I apologized to it and now there is peace in my home.

I absolutely DETEST assembling stuff. It doesn't matter how "easy" it is. I get cranky. I know. I know. I have nightmares about a punishment in Hell involving having to assemble a bunch of Ikea shelving for all eternity. That thought alone should be enough to keep me a close friend of the Sacrament of Confession for the rest of my life.

Pray for patience. Often. It's good for you.

February 10, 2009

Chaos in Minneapolis!


Terry's fans take to the streets demanding to know the truth behind his absence!!!!!!

Rumors abound:

1) He's trying to solve the budget deficit in the City of Minneapolis by raising everyone's taxes except his.
2) He's on a retreat at an organic bunny farm
3) He fell on some ice in his backyard and wild dogs ate him
4) He's hanging out at the Sabine Farm cooking for Father Z
5) He's on a beach in Tahiti laughing at this entire post

Forget the Red Herrings, The Church Is At Fault

This past week brought yet another story of yet another clergy sex abuse settlement in this Archdiocese-this time against the Crosiers. Yet, another disgraceful story of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. We’ve been hearing these stories for, oh, nearly 20 years now? We were one of the first but, as we all know, by no means the last.

I’m just sick when I read these stories of abuse and incompetence.

It’s not for me to question the legitimacy of each individual case or the motives of the attorneys involved in bringing these cases to court. Do I think that some of them could be bogus? Sure. There is a risk in ANY court case that it could be based on faulty information. Do I think some of the attorneys are in it for the money or to bring the Catholic Church down? Both? Sure, but as there are always principled attorneys there will be attorneys who are not so principled. Do I support an extension of the statute of limitation for these cases? Absolutely not. I would not support such an extension for any case. The further away from the alleged event, the weaker the availability of evidence and witness testimony.

Do I think the press reports with glee the failings of the Roman Catholic church in the matter of clergy sexual abuse? Sure. But, I think they seize any opportunity they can to make us look weak, irrelevant, or terrible whenever they think they can spin it as such and this is just one more story that provides grist for their mill. I think we all know the anti-Catholic bias of most of the media.

Over the weekend, Ruben Rosario, a columnist for the Pioneer Press weighed in with his thoughts about the Crosier settlement. You can read Mr. Rosario’s column here

I know there are folks who immediately say: “Well the Catholic Church is not the ONLY entity to ever sexually abuse! Look at the great numbers of school teachers, school bus drivers, Episcopalians, and Hare Krishnas arrested for the same crimes”

Yes, it’s terrible. It’s all terrible. All those organizations should be ashamed and I’m sure they are.

At the end of the day, throw all the smoke bombs, red herrings and diversions you want. It happened. Our Church did it. Mentioning all the other outfits that also had sexual abuse is pointless if your primary reason for doing so is to make us one of a long list of many. I don’t even care if you think the press picks on us, Catholics, more than them. So what? It still is a disgrace. Even if there was only ONE documented and proven case of Catholic clergy sexual abuse, that’s still one too many.

We will never heal if we don’t own up to the fact that there were Catholic priests who DID sexually abuse young people. I don’t care (and here’s another red herring usually thrown around) if it happened because all the offenders were closeted homosexuals or pedophiles or because our seminaries were bad. It still happened.

Our Church is responsible.

We need to make sure the clergy sexual abuse stops happening. We know about our history. The USCCB and the Vatican has made enormous strides is examining our seminaries and priestly formation as well as trying to ensure that lay people employed in our parishes and Catholic schools have had background checks. There may be much yet to be done but their start has provided a roadmap that even other denominations and private corporations are following.

Because clergy sexual abuse happened it does not suggest to me that there is anything wrong with our Faith or our hierarchical structure. (“Keep the Faith, Change the Church” folks I’m talking to you here). We are flawed. Even if we changed our church structure to something else, there would still be flawed and sinful people running it. We are as flawed as we’ve been since the Fall. A few Bishops and Superiors listened to the wrong advice and trusted that just talking with offenders or moving them around would solve the problem. Maybe they were stupid, maybe they protected their own, maybe they were naïve…maybe we’ll never know. Still, it happened and we are shamed.

Shame on us. Honestly, who cares about the money. If we don’t get our collective Church act together and learn from this disgraceful history, we’ll be paying more than money in the next life.

February 09, 2009

Pole Sitter


Daytona!!!!! He's off to a good start! I hope he has a better season than last year.

(Thanks, L, for the heads up! I did not watch the quals.)

February 08, 2009

Prayer Requests for a Blogging Sister and a Brother

Gentle Reader: Please remember Swissmiss of St. Monica's Kneeler blog in your prayers. She's been ill and suffering a flare-up of her tinnitus as well as a sinus infection for over a week now. She's been pretty much laid out in bed since Thursday. Today, she received the Anointing of the Sick.

He's going to throw something at me because he's so secretive, but I want him to get better and we need more prayer warriors on it. Please pray for Vincenzo of Sancte Pater blog. He's been hurting too. One of his eyes is giving him trouble.

Please pray for relief of their sufferings. God's will be done.

Lenten Activities Around Town

Lent is fast approaching and if you live in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and are still scratching your head as far as what you can do to deepen your spiritual life during Lent, I have a few ideas.

1) "Behold Life VII Concert" featuring the works of Bob Hindel for choir and orchestra. Also featured: The St. John's Youth Choir and Sharon Bowen speaking about "Share a Life". Freewill offering benefits the pro-life movement in Minnesota. Sunday, February 15th at 2:00 p.m. at St. John the Baptist, 835 2nd Ave NW, New Brighton, MN. FFI: 763-780-5160.

Ok, this event is before Lent so sue me! Even though this event is not at my parish, St. Andrew, this year it's still very much a St. Andrew production. Bob Hindel is my parish music director and Sharon Bowen is a buddy of mine and also a fellow parishioner at St. Andrew. I'm so proud of the pro-life work in my humble parish. We are a small parish (about 400 families) but we are BIG for life! Here's an example. Be there.

2) "Conversion" an Archdiocesan WOMEN'S retreat (Sorry, AOTM-stay home! *meow* LOL!) is offered from 8:30 a.m. to Noon Saturday February 28th at Holy Spirit, 515 Albert St, St. Paul, MN. Featured speakers: Father John Paul Erickson and Father Christopher Beaudet. The morning begins with Adoration and Benediction followed by a presentation and quiet time. A second presentation, reflection time and Mass conclude the retreat. Cost is $10. Sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office for Marriage Family and Life. FFI or to register call: 651-291-4488

3) "The Vitae Monologues" --world premiere of a new production by Epiphany Studio Productions. University of St. Thomas (Main Campus in St. Paul), OEC Auditorium, on February 27th or 28th at 7:30 p.m. or March 1st at 1:30 p.m. "The Vitae Monologues" is a powerful 2-person drama based upon the true stories of post-abortive women and men who have found healing and forgiveness in Christ. Help build a culture of life and begin Lent in a powerful way by attending this production by a local Catholic Christian theater company! Tickets are $12/adult or $8/student. Group discounts of 25% are available for groups of 10 or more. FFI: www.EpiphanyStudio.com or 651-336-3302. (This play may contain material unsuitable for youth under 12 yrs old)

I'll be there on the 27th! I'm terrifically excited. I'm so grateful to God for the work of Epiphany Studio Productions. Come out and support a Catholic University that is NOT producing that OTHER play as well as a great local apostolate.

4) The World Apostolate of Fatima 23rd Annual Marian Congress "Console Your God: Fatima's Call Today", Saturday March 7, 2009 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1154 Seminole Ave, West St. Paul.

Registration Opens at 7:00 a.m.
First Saturday Devotions at 7:30 a.m.
Mass at 8:00 a.m.

Two morning talks by Father Randal Kasel:
"God Desires Our Love: How Our Prayers and Sacrifices Console Him"
"Our Lady and the Eucharist: Pillars of Hope"

Afternooon keynote address by Dr. Mark Miravalle, S.T.D.
"Fatima's Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Fifth Marian Dogma"

Advance Registration: $30 (must be postmarked by Feb 23rd), Registration at the door: $35.
Cost includes continental breakfast and box lunch
FFI: www.fatimaonline.org or 763-502-0792

5) Catholic Parents Online Annual Lenten Retreat "Authentic Change in a Secular World: Conversion to Christ", featuring Father Robert Altier, Saturday March 28th, 8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Church of St. John, 977 E 5th St., St. Paul MN. The day begins with Mass at 8:00, followed by continental breakfast, and includes 3 presentations by Father Altier, lunch, Rosary and more! Cost is $25/person or $40/couple. FFI: See the CPO website or call 651-705-5409.

I think this will be the 3rd CPO Lenten retreat I'll attend. I was just beginning to worry they were not going to have one..and LO, here it is! Father Altier is one of the best homilists that I know of. If you've never had the opportunity to hear his inspired speaking, here it is. Go. If you are tired of wish-washy dreck, you will not hear it from Father A. He tells it straight up, like it is and so does the CPO. Be there. Support CPO. 'nuff said.

6) This is not an event but an idea. My parish, St. Andrew, is coming to the end of a Total Life Care Center Baby Bottle Campaign. Some of you may have seen or participated in this campaign. Many of you probably have not. You take a baby bottle home and over the course of a few weeks fill it with your spare change, cash or checks and bring it back to your parish or send it to Total Life Care Centers (the recipient) in St. Paul. If you have not participated in this campaign, and it's something you think you'd like to, it's never too late. I'm sure Total Life Care Centers would love to hear from you. Contact them at their website or 651-291-9473 and ask for ideas on how you could get the Baby Bottle Campaign going in your parish, workplace, or among your friends and family.

Cross posted to Stella Borealis blog.

February 06, 2009

First Friday

So many in need of prayer today.

Stop over at bloggingLOURDES and add your prayer petitions or pray for the ones that are there. Furthermore, there is a spiritual bouquet for the Holy Father pledge on that blog.

February 05, 2009

Terry Spotted

I know many of you have been worried about Terry. Where's he been? Is he ok? Is he eating?

I want you all to know he is ok. I saw him with my own eyes at the Washburn Branch of the Minneapolis Public Library.



He looks a little faded and, obviously, he has not been shaving but it's great to see him again, no?

Ignore What's his Face

I heard a story once that St. Teresa of Avila, Carmelite and Doctor of the Church, woke up one night to see Satan standing by her bed. She said “Oh, you” and turned over and fell asleep.

You can imagine Satan would not be too happy with this reception but what can he do? He was ignored. End of story. He’s outta here. See ya!

Last night I posted a brief post. Well, a whine, really. Honestly, I don’t know what the point was except to make everyone feel sorry for me.

In any case, Adoro called me on it right away. Satan is only powerful when we let him be. She also said “Get over it!”

Leave it to a buddy to hit you over the head! I admit I was irked that she did not want to attend my pity party, took the post down in a childish fit, and then I reflected upon it and realized she was right. (Of course, I will retaliate later and break into her home, chill with my canine buddy, drink all her wine, watch her TV, and enjoy her blazing fast Internet!).

Doesn’t Jesus basically tell Satan to “Hit the road”? Satan leaves in silence. He’s not stomping his foot and yelling. *poof* he’s gone. Not that he’s not, perhaps, embarking upon his alternate plan, but any and all of his plans have to involve the cooperation of someone else. If everyone ignored him and didn’t listen to him, the world would be a better place and we’d all be better people.

We all have Crosses to carry. I always admit, I am not the most graceful cross-bearer who ever lived; that would be Jesus and even He had help. I get even more help than He did carrying the cross and still I complain. He got up 3 times and I’m yelling “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” from the floor after I’m knocked down the first time.

I’m not sure I would have said “Get over it!”, rather: “Get up!!!!” Yes. Get up, pick up your dragging a—, and your crosses, and follow Him.

February 02, 2009

@Twitter

O.k. I CAVED! I'm on Twitter now. Follow me. Love me. Whatever.

@cathyofalex

February 01, 2009

The Sage in the White House

Gentle Reader: Some of you may have read this story about Kate Clinton leading a sage burning ceremony outside the White House to cleanse the area of the "evil spirits" of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

I know a lot of people got a big laugh out of it. Both the folks who think Bush and Cheney were evil, and those who think the entire ritual was absurd.

Sure, maybe it's funny that some folks in the crowd were smoking more than sage and hoping the sage would mask the smell of burning rope, but is it funny?

Was anything funny about President Obama's first week in office? Not too many pro-lifers were laughing as he overturned the Mexico legislation and expanded embryonic stem cell research. Is this pagan ceremony outside, even if it was disguised as light-hearted fun, a sign of paganism to come? Isn't President Obama the perfect President of the New Age?

My guess, and I don't have to guess too hard, is that many in the sage crowd probably voted for Obama. How many in the crowd claim to be “spiritual” but completely deny and refuse to belong to any denomination? Isn't that pretty much what the President does?

Thus far, President Obama, is the perfect New Age President. He is vague about his faith. He’s adaptable to the situation as it calls for it. He’s every thing and he’s no one thing. He’s a little this and a little that. He was educated in Catholic schools but, supposedly, not a Catholic (perfect since about ½ the world has the same cred). He's, reportedly, a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC) but he had no problem attending a prayer service on his first day in office in an Episcopalian church. He's attended Baptist churches in D.C.

When he got into hot water by association via some comments made by his Pastor during the campaign, he just picked up and left his UCC congregation. This is the kind of move that people who claim to be truly committed to a faith would not take lightly but he appears to have given it no more thought than changing his mind at breakfast from oatmeal to wheat toast. He’s very much reminiscent of the kinds of spiritual people I used to hang out with during my dissenting Catholic days: the Three Bears of Faith: Not too hard, not too soft, somewhere in the middle: just right (no left!)-neither! AAAARGH! Check the wind, which way is it blowing?

Here we have Pastor Rick Warren AND Bishop Gene Robinson -something for everybody? Really? Everybody in the middle or to the left that is. For all the perception in the media that Pastor Warren is a far right evangelical, it’s not clear to me what he really is and I think that’s part of his popularity. Like Obama he can adjust the strength of his rhetoric depending upon his audience. Bishop Robinson is decidedly far left. There are “Catholics” in the Obama camp but, quick, name ONE that actually follows Church teaching. I can’t think of one either.

The liberal left faith-based groups are really hoping they have a friend in Obama. They are counting on it. Pay CLOSE attention to the faith-based organizations the White House will back and court, in particular, the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. My guess is these groups are going to advocate for social justice, but their definition of social justice is going to conflict with Roman Catholic teachings on morality. You can bet on it.

Watch carefully to see if the Obama Administration is going to overturn the Bush Administration policy of allowing religious groups to hire only people of their own faith in federally funded projects. This may not seem like a big deal and it may seem like justice, but if folks who hold beliefs contrary to your faith see a way they can force their way in so they can try and influence your faith in an adverse way do you really want to have to hire them? Probably not, which means you better be ready with alternate funding.

Maybe this really wasn't a purification ritual but a welcoming ritual for a New Age leader, our new President.
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