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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pope Francis and His Audience

I donate to what I believe is a wonderful organization, FOCUS, whose focus is Catholic campus ministry, by young people for young people.
Anyway, a newsletter contained this, which is a month old, yet timely.
I'm not certain I buy everything in it, in fact, I'm certain that I don't, but it does tease out a theme to which I have often returned - before judging what someone has to say, (in this case, the Holy Father,) try to look into to whom he is saying it, and seeing if that doesn't mitigate some of your criticism.
We especially owe the courtesy of the presumption of goodwill and the presumption of possessing an understanding of Church matters that surpasses our own to our leaders in the Faith, I believe.
There I was, listening to Pope Francis’ speech to Congress with my wife on Thursday morning. Toward the end of the speech, Pope Francis brought up two topics, one on the dignity of every human life and the other on the fundamental role of the family. During one of the pauses for applause, I emphatically whispered under my breath: “Say it! Say it!”
What did I want Pope Francis to say, you ask?

Two things, to be exact:
1.    That all children deserve a mother and father, and that we can’t allow gay marriage.

2.    That it is murder to kill children in the womb, and that we can’t allow abortion.

While he alluded to both, he didn’t in fact say these things. Though he has said both of these things before, I wanted him to tell our politicians directly. But he didn’t.

I’ll be honest: I was frustrated, confused — and even a little let down. .... I do think it is worth reflecting on why Pope Francis did what he did and to see the positives of his particular style...
The Catholic Church promotes three transcendentals: Truth, Beauty and Goodness. These transcendentals go back to the days of ancient Greek philosophy; they help us to understand how to communicate the faith.
So often we Catholics want to hear Truth. In fact, over the last generation, the truth was often missing from our homilies, our CCD classes and our conversations within the Catholic Church. The faith became confused. The doctrines of the Church became relative. There was a great need (and still a great need in the Church) for people to know Truth.
Many of us within the Church have made great sacrifices for these truths. We’ve followed them at a cost. We’ve defended them to our family and friends. And because of this, many of us in the Church are starving for our leaders to stand up and preach the truth.
But one thing to keep in mind is that Pope Francis wasn’t addressing the Church. He was addressing the secular world. Pope Francis’ speech to Congress reminded me that the greatest need for those outside of the Church is to see the Church as good.
We who are faithful Catholics often assume that the Church is good because we are in it. But the leading Western opinion is that religion is bad, that the Catholic Church is the poster child for conducting evil through religion....
There is no possibility that these people will listen to the Church about the truth when they don’t believe that the Church is good....
When the world looks at Pope Francis and hears his words, they remember the goodness of the Church. They remember the kindness of a priest instead of the scandals. They recall the service of a nun instead of accusing the Church of hoarding wealth.
Pope Francis helps those outside of the Church to remember its goodness; he did this quite remarkably in his speech to Congress without leaving the truth behind. While he didn’t say exactly what I wanted him to say, and while he didn’t preach every truth that he could have, he did help restore the belief in the goodness of the Church. I believe this most of all is what will help non-believers listen to and dialogue with the truth — something that might not have been possible before.

"Gotham" May be Getting Just TOOOOO Bloody/Gorey/Creepy For Me

So I may not watch any more of it.
I like long-form tv about the struggle between good and evil, but not if it looks as if evil is going to win out in the soul of a character with whom you've come to sympathize.
But who knew that Miss Kringle was played by that guy from "White Collar"?

Matt Bomer 
Image result for miss kringle gotham

Forget the "World" Series, Catholics Triumph in Cricket!

Baseball season always ends for me when the Yankees are eliminated, anyway.
The St Peter’s Cricket Club beat the Church of England’s in a match last week.
The Holy Father was given a cricket bat to commemorate the occasion.
Pope Francis has received the gift of a signed cricket bat from the Archbishop of Canterbury, signed by him and his team, following their recent rematch with the Vatican’s XI on Campanelle ground in Rome.
The bat was passed on to Francis by Cardinal George Pell after the St Peter’s Cricket Club beat the Church of England’s XI by 43 runs in a 20-over match last weekend.
Australia’s Vatican ambassador, John McCarthy, said the Anglicans’ visit “strengthened personal and institutional relations” between the two churches.

De Sanctis Nil Nisi Bonum?

I believe Oscar Romero is a saint and was martyred for his faith, in upholding Church teaching about the rights and dignity of each human person, in a society where these were denied the poor, quite aside from political considerations.
Just to get that out of the way....
But is everyone who speaks against a saint's cause presumed to be acting in bad faith?
Don't you imagine there were people who hadn't had any contact with St Augustine after his youth, and when they heard his hagiographers thought, "Gus? [or maybe, Augie,] that dog??!?!? that drunken whoremonger?????

Go back further, don't you think there were probably Christians who died thinking of St Paul as "that son of a *****"? (And I don't just mean St Stephen.....)

We know that Pope Francis thinks gossip is the worst of all possible sins, and I suppose he knows some of the actual parties involved, but isn't it possible that Romero's "own brothers in the priesthood and the episcopate," weren't attacking him even after his death by "the hardest stone that exists in the world: the tongue" but giving their honest opinions?

Surely in the causes of the Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War there were also voices on both sides of the question, and sincere voices at that -- because someone thinks fascism a greater danger than communism, or vice versa, and sees matters from a different POV than that of those whose views prevail is no reason to calumniate them.

The Holy Father seems very comfortable in assigning malevolent motives to members of the episcopate who disagree with him, e.g. "closed hearts which frequently hide behind the Church’s teachings", people who "sit in the chair of Moses and judge" displaying "superiority and superficiality," those who express themselves "not in entirely well-meaning ways."

The automatic assumption that those who oppose you are acting in bad faith is destroying the civic fabric of the US, I think we need to guard against it in the Church.

St Joseph, the Indispensable Man

I have been a bit hot and bothered of late about all thing faithyy and politicky and culturey and society... society-y, I guess.
But as someone, somewhere recently quoted from someone else, (Bernanos I think?) indignation never saved a soul.
Nor did it.
And I've also been thinking quite a bit about anger lately, and pace, my most recent confessor, your diagnosis was wrong, but your prescription was perfect.
You see, what I thought was (occasionally righteous,) anger did not really rise to to the grand level of anger -- it was mere indignation.
And like most sins or even unpleasant traits, it could be traced back directly to the grand-daddy of all sins, Pride. Why should this happen to ME? How could she say that to ME? Why must I put up with...?


And the fact is, I am among the very most fortunate of human beings.

And I'm not just referring to the gratitude due for having enough to eat and healthcare, and being able to read, and living in a nation where I can vote, and all that that puts most first-worlders in, what? the top 1% of humanity for sheer good luck?
I'm talking about my family. My parents. My home. My friends, my siblings, yes -- but mostly, my parents.
I grew up with such a vision, such an example of how a life of authentic love looks - I don't think .00001% of humanity in all of history has enjoyed the like!
Anyway, after thinking about that, I have determined to try to live my life under the patronage of St Joseph. I have decided to lay my cares, regarding society. And culture. And politics. And, especially, the Faith --
I have decided to lay these cares at his feet and ask him to formulate how my prayers should be presented before the throne of the Lamb, and then, just, you know -- let me know what my prayers are.

I think a great many of the wounds of this weary world could be bound up and healed by a study of, and devotion to, St Joseph, and I don't mean just churchy faithy matters.
Saint Joseph is the Indispensable Man.

Now, I know Saxon White Kessinger's poem was about pride, and sought to convince the puffed-up that there's no such person as the "indispensable man," and I know, or at least think I recall, that there's a bio of Geo. Washington that opines as how, for this nation and its history, at least, our first president was indispensable.
But there IS such a person, and he was necessary to a far greater and more numerous people than the citizens of just our puny nation.

St Joseph is that Indispensable Man.
Think about it. God could have come to earth in any human form, but He chose to be helpless and humble, to enter history, time as we can understand it, as an infant, born in obscurity.
So He chose to have a human Mother.
But he was not begotten by a human, so a father was not needed for procreation.
Now, you might say that in those days, (as if other times were so different from ours...) a human father was needed for physical protection, fiscal support, etc.
But Mary had a father, she had an uncle who was a priest, a man of some stature -- an angel could have whispered to any male relative, it's okay, she's a good girl, help her take care of the kid that's on the way...

That's not how God arranged it.
God thought it was important for His human self to have a visible, that is, a human father.

Now -for whose benefit?
So often, God's signs are for someone other than to whom or on whom an event has occurred.
Miracles are for the faith of the onlookers, the loaves and fishes is not so much to fill the bellies of the crowd as to instruct the disciples in how they are to continue His work.

That little family in Bethlehem, and then Nazareth, Jesus Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family exists as a family to show the importance of the family; the Domestic Church is not just our first and most important school of the Faith, it is the very foundation of society, it is the building block of all culture.

We need to relearn this.
A society where human lives are begun in laboratories, where children are parented by committees, where the state decrees what one must and must not teach ones children, where men "become" women by wishing and declaring it so - a society like this needs to relearn the simple Truths that Joseph's mere existence teaches us.
We need St Joseph.
We need the model of fatherhood, yes, but we also need the model of manhood he gives us, he is the ideal for all men.
It is impossible not to think that our nation would not be a better place if thousands upon thousands of families were not left fatherless by mass incarcerations of young men from certain segments of society. It is difficult not to suppose that half a world away another nation would not be the demographic time bomb that it is, if its fathers had been able to rise up and say no to the murder of their unborn children and had protected the daughters born to them instead of throwing them away in hopes of a son next time. It is hard not to imagine that the most celebrated strumpet of our time would be a different person without coming from a broken home and being raised by a stepfather with delusions about sex and his own manhood.
And I am convinced that, had they grown up with more stability and with a proper understanding of how we are meant to love and care for each other, most of the generators of popular culture would not be hawking the filth and nihilism that they do.
Why St Joseph?
All men should look to him as a model of manhood, not just fathers, for all men are called upon to protect.

And perhaps, most especially, he is the model for the priesthood, for the celibate, for the man who offers his very life to the Church.
As Mary is the type of the Church, the Spotless Bride? St Joseph is the type of the priest, the man who should love Her and Her children as much as if they were begotten of his own flesh.
Image result for St Joseph

Saint Ioseph, Most Indispensable, pray for us!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

"I've been in a far land, a-tending the pigs, home again, home again....

... jiggety jig."
That would scan all right, wouldn't it?
Perhaps to the point of annoyance, I. - no, wait, definitely past the point where I am annoying -- after a long day or a road trip, when I come through the door I quote an old nursery rhyme to Himself-
I went to the market to buy a fat pig!   
Home again, Home again Jiggety Jig!
I went to the market to buy a fat hog!
Home again, home again Jiggety jog!

I wish I'd thought of it, to incorporate it into the story of The Prodigal Son and the Self-righteous Son when we acted it out in Sunday school.
Anyway, it made me giggle when I read this of Fr Longenecker's:
Now this is the main problem with much of the talk of mercy in the church today. They are talking about mercy without first diagnosing sin. They are talking about mercy without acknowledging the need for repentance. They are talking about mercy without a rejection of sin. They are welcoming the prodigal along with his pigs.  [emphasis added]

The Empress Has No Only Clothes

The Woman of the Year Empress has only clothes, but no lady parts.

 As the world continues hurtling towards a reality composed mostly of a fantasy-based life forms, in which "adult women" who have been adults longer than they have been women are not just normal but exemplary, and Ol' Abe Lincoln's an idiot for not having realized that he actually  COULD have made a sheep's tail a sheep's leg by secular motu proprio,

Image result for scalpel
a once cutting edge individual is being cut for making cutting remarks about what cutting can and cannot accomplish in helping one make the cut.
Germaine Greer’s views on transgender people are based on the kind of quasi-Freudian cod-psychology you’d think  a feminist critic would find embarrassing ....that it’s not possible to change from a man to a woman.
What exactly had the woman one would have thought the éminence dépoli of the feminist movement said?
“I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a ****ing cocker spaniel....
I do understand that some people are born intersex and they deserve support in coming to terms with their gender but it’s not the same thing.
A man who gets his **** chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”
Um, yes. Imagine someone having such an absurdly commonplace view of reality!
Could you EVAH?
The Otherkin among us must be squirming with anticipation, surely their time is next.

Why should Germaine Greer be banned from college campi?
Because academics, (all bow...) teach us that,
Universities should not provide platforms for claims that cannot be tested and improved
Now, I'm not sure if the claim that a man can turn into a woman can be, or when it has been tested and improved, but it must have been.
But this confuses me, since the counter claim would inherently be tested by the testing of the claim, so if...
My head hurts.

But academics tell us what to think, it is pop figures who tell us what to feel.
So remember,
“Most importantly never ever be ashamed of who you are, because who you are is ******** awesome, don’t let anybody make you think differently.”
Except you, Miss Greer, you're not awesome, and you should be ashamed of who you are apparently, you should let us make you think differently. (We don't care how you feel.)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Disrespect to a Pope?

"Never in my lifetime have I heard of bishops and cardinals being so disrespectful of a pope."
Image result for margaret dumont
"Well, I never.....!"
So you're clutching your pearls and having the vapors when barely a month earlier a cardinal, (and about to be Synodal Father,)  seems to have boasted in a leaked copy of his authorized biography of having worked with his own little "mafia," (which included at least one other Synod father,) in opposition to the previous pope and having schemed to get candidate more to his liking, (and thus, presumably, with aims somewhat different than those of the pontiff who initiatives had been thwarted,) in the chair of Peter?

 Seems a little inconsistent.

Is your outrage maybe just a weeeeeee little bit forced, and put on for dramatic effect?

Saturday, 24 October 2015

"This is a Hard Saying!"

We need to stop expressing ideas "encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible."

"There's too much 'Church speak.' People don't understand what we are saying. We have to have to have a language event."

Because there's "language [that] automatically sets people off and probably isn't useful anymore."

Such language promotes "alienation ... the sense of exclusion."

The Church must propose a “less negative” reading of reality.

"What we heard is that [indissolublity] says too much for people -- or it's too hard of a word to understand... People understand life-long fidelity, but it seems to be too much of a juridical term to describe the richness and complexity of what a marriage means for people in their culture."

Don't like the words?

And here's one that's too hard,has too much baggage, it's too negative, too... what? anyway, it's - "GOD".
If you think God is dead, you’re still welcome at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Minister John Shuck’s approach to God resembles that of a low-budget frat party — Bring Your Own God.
“While the symbol ‘God’ is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking,” Shuck wrote earlier this year. “God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force.”
Shuck isn’t the only religious leader dispensing of the sacred descriptor. Rev. Gary Hall, the dean of Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral, reportedly doesn’t believe in God, at least not in the mystical sense. And the Lab/Shul Jewish community in New York City recently adopted the BYOG approach. A note from the community’s leader, Amichai Lau-Lavie, explained that they are committed to “replacing the baggage-laden word ‘God’ with several other names and prisms that enable us to better connect with and describe the inherently indescribable.”


I have blocked needlework, but that's about it.

And I have been blocked when trying to enter a lane of automobile traffic, but again, that's about it.

Frankly, I'm shocked at all the brouhaha on the Twitter, about people not allowing those who disagree with them to even read their feeds, (if i understand that right, which I probably don;'t, because i don't do much on the Twitter, although I think tomorrow i will let the Rugrats at RelEd right Tweets to God, the Pope and Teacher, ('tis I.)
140 little squares.

I digress.
This strikes me as an odd thing for a churchy person who is being called out for blocking other churchy persons to tweet:
Since, you, you know, would have a hard time hearing people to whom you won't listen. And to get a discourse going with those whom you won't allow to listen to you.

Just saying.

(Hope I did that right, trying to remove anyones name form the posted tweet, technidiot that I am; i have no wish to harass any person.)

But what's the point?
Free discourse, or living in echo chambers?

Pope's Discourse at Close of Synod

I am, as so often, confused but intrigued and hopeful.
"Different opinions which were freely expressed – and at times, unfortunately, not in entirely well-meaning ways – certainly led to a rich and lively dialogue"
I would like to know who the Holy Father feels did not "mean well."
That's quite something, to impugn some Synod Father's motives.
I am curious to see if those that were appalled by Cdl Pell's little digs will react the same way to the Holy Father's.
"We have also seen that what seems normal for a bishop on one continent, is considered strange and almost scandalous for a bishop from another."
I would like an example of this.
"The true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit."
Again, specificity would help me to understand this.
"Human repentance, works and efforts take on a deeper meaning, not as the price of that salvation freely won for us by Christ on the cross, but as a response to the One who loved us first and saved us at the cost of his innocent blood, while we were still sinners."
So, not just there for the taking, but with repentance and "efforts"?
Or is the salvation freely won for us available without our repentance and effort?

"Memorial for Unborn Children"

Quite moving although it's not the kind of sculpture to which I am usually drawn.

"It's all right."

Closing Shot of the Synod

Embedded image permalink

Whadda you lookin' at? Nothin' ta see, move along.....

So once again, it isn't about saving unborn lives...

.... it's about politics.
"We fully support reallocating Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding to the 13,000 community health centers and rural health care clinics,” said Kristen Day, president of [Blue Party Members] for Life of America.
And yet-
The Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 passed the House Friday on a party line vote, 240-189. Only one [Blue], Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted for it.
Because it was more important to the other party that they
[gut] key parts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including the repeal of the law’s individual health insurance mandate and the employer health insurance mandate.
Because apparently what's really important to the Red Party is taking noble, if mostly symbolic stands and attaching it to some other cause you know the Blue Party won't go for thus ensuring that the other guys look like they're taking ignoble stands, and most importantly, keep abortion going so that you can campaign on that, have red meat to throw to your base and get them fired up and rally the troops.
It sure isn't about saving unborn lives.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Joel Grey Deeply Dissappointed at Synod?

It seems so.
“The bishops writers at NCR are currently trapped in the old trendy theology they learned in the seminary or at America magazine. They are afraid of new ideas the concept of eternal Truth and disappointing the secular world and are not consulting with theological experts the people with whom I'd agree who could show them other options what I want. As a result, it is unlikely that new pastoral  approaches any heresy or sanctioning of practices inimical to Revealed Truth will be coming forth from this synod. 
“Some progressives aging hippies still hope that Pope Francis can somehow magically pull victory from the jaws of defeat sing a new church into being. I don’t think so."

Image result for tom reese joel grey Image result for "fr. tom reese"

Those Are Some Mighty Big Hands You're Expecting the Pope To Twist

As I've been watching (thank you, EWTN!) and reading news on the Synod, from time to time I come across something someone in Rome has said that's just, so, so....
What the...?
... that I think I must be looking at it wrong, or missing something.
So I guess what I'm saying is that it's reassuring to know, that no, wiser and more learned heads found it equally worthy of the side-eye,

Image result for sophia and jayne
and indeed, what was said earned any $$%!^^!??#$?%??!?? I cared to fling at it.

One of the Small Groups, English D, included a Father, who said,
the Pope can, in effect, twist the hands of God.
I remember, in the days when I was young and foolish and thought an argument could be won on the internet, (worse, thought an argument on the internet was worth winning!) being told that the Pope was infallible, and so he could "make" someone a saint by declaring it so, God was bound by the Pope's decision. (My take was that the Church and Peter's successor were given the faculty to discern that someone was enjoying the beatific vision, the canonization decree didn't change anything for the saint himself, just us still on earth.)
It made me think of poor Livia in I Clavdivs.
I want to be a godess....
I thought it was a woman at the time, but i wonder if she has grown up to be a Synod Father, because that's some wacked out theology and I'd like to think it is not shared by too many people.