Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Build a Catholic Church by...God

 In 1967 the Church near my place of employment was built. Whenever driving by it, perhaps a bit irreverently I allowed the image of Margaret Hamilton's "Wicked Witch of the West" hat to come to mind. Its interior always struck me as dark, barren, like a giant sauna. It has been gutted and is undergoing extensive reconstruction as I write. Fr. Longenecker has written for Our Sunday Visitor that the architects back in 1967 must have lost God's blueprint for building Catholic Churches....

Libido Redux: Shackin' Up!

Clothe your faithful people in the armor of salvation
  and shield them from the deceptions of the devil.
           -Intercession from Vespers for Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time

In my book I noted how Sacred Scripture views the struggle against the prince of this world in military terms, as we are indeed in a war, a war against spiritual forces that can only be defeated with the help of the Holy Spirit, with the grace that comes with death to self. With this help we can put up armor to shield us from the Devil's deceptions, such as the one many have been fooled by, thinking that by commission of the sin of cohabitation, one can better prepare for Holy Matrimony! Read Ruth's story....

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Lady of Fatima

As a teacher in a Catholic school, from time to time I have had Muslim students "shadow," or visit the learning environment, to to whom I generally remark, "Muslims honor Mary, Jesus mother, don't they?" To which they point out that Muhammad's daughter was named Fatima, the place of Our Blessed Mothers' apparition. In his The World's First Love, Fulton Sheen offers an interesting reflection which I believe is relevant for the immediate future, given the Jihadist threat:

The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also, in her Virgin Birth…..The Koran also has verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying, Oh Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth. In the 19th chapter of the Koran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary. 
Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: Thou shalt be the most blessed of women in Paradise, after Mary. In a variant of the text Fatima is made to say; I surpass all the women, except Mary. 
This brings us to our second point; namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this 20th Century should have revealed herself in the significant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too. 
   Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the Faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus the very place where our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed. 
Missionaries, in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ himself is born. In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which the people already accept. Because the Moslems have devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and develop that devotion, with the full realization that our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her divine Son. She is forever a “traitor,” in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, bit will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her divine Son.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

On the Liturgy

Here is a fine article by Pat Archbold on what could be done that would greatly develop a greater sense of the transcendent at Mass, an experience woefully missing since promulgation of the Mass of Paul VI, in common parlance the Novus Ordo. These steps are totally in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document on the Liturgy. In fact they are what Vatican II intended for the Mass, but were never implemented, as implementation of Sacrosanctum concilium was hijacked by a papal commission stacked with neomodernists. No, these steps would not render the Mass a "pre-Vatican II Latin Mass," though it must be said that there is a renaissance of the Extraordinary form throughout the world. They would merely bring to being the liturgy that Vatican II intended.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Relationships in America

I t is well-known that the traditional family, the foundation of any thriving culture, is under attack from secular forces seeking its demise. Thus I wish to pass on news of the Relationships in America survey project, a large new data collection effort that seeks to understand how American adults navigate and think about the significant relationships in their lives, especially romantic ones. The project asks a variety of questions to divorcees, examining the reasons for splitting and divorcees’ experiences of dating after divorce.

Using data from the  study, Austin Institute sociologist Mark Regnerus analyzed regular churchgoers and separated them into two groups: those who support same-sex “marriage” and those who do not.  When he compared their answers on other issues having to do with sexual morality, he found that the group supporting same-sex “marriage” was more likely across the board to agree with the following statements:
  1. Viewing pornographic material is OK.
  2. It is a good idea for couples considering marriage to live together in order to decide whether or not they get along well enough to be married to one another.
  3. It is OK for two people to get together for sex and not necessarily expect anything further.
  4. It is sometimes permissible for a married person to have sex with someone other than his/her spouse.
  5. It is OK for three or more consenting adults to live together in a sexual/romantic relationship.
  6. I support abortion rights.
In sum, Regnerus found that churchgoing Christians who say they support legalized same-sex “marriage” are more likely to support abortion, pornography, premarital sex, marital infidelity, and divorce as well!  Some reflections for the pro- "same sex marriage" churchgoers:

Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it.

Marriage is not the creature of the state. It was established by God in Paradise for our first parents, Adam and Eve: “God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Gen. 1:28-29)

The same was taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7).

Genesis also teaches how God punished Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality: “The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.” (Gen. 19:24-25)

Catholics, must have compassion and pray for those who struggle against unrelenting and violent temptation to homosexual sin. We pray for those who fall into homosexual sin out of human weakness, that God may assist them with His grace.

Catholics. though, must also be conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weakness and strive to overcome it, (also discussed on these pages) and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. We pray for these too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LIBIDO REDUX: The Pornography Affair

As the traditional family is the building block of a healthy civilization, and as the family is now under attack by numerous secular forces in violation of the right of God, I blog occasionally on the destructive effects of one of these adverse spiritual forces, pornography, on souls as well as the family. We are blessed to have Donny Pauling, an ex-pornography producer prior to his conversion to Our Lord, who has devoted himself to making amends for the damage he openly admits his previous vocation has caused. For one who doubts that one can suffer the unfaithfulness of a spouse addicted to pornography, the following letter dispels the error:

Hello Donny,
I first want to say that I just found your blog yesterday and I sat and wept at my kitchen table as I began to read the entries, one at a time from start to finish. You have chosen such an amazing journey and I have NO doubt that God will continue to bless you and your family as he has already started to do.
I’m not really sure where to begin so I guess I will just start here…I found out a little over a year ago that my husband is addicted to pornography. It is so overwhelming for me as I am just starting to learn how deep and dark these wounds are for a man, his wife, and their marriage. I struggle every day with the fear of what’s next.
I know my God protects me. I know who I am in his eyes. But as confident as I am in that…my husband’s addiction is stripping away all that I am. I feel that I am alone in this fight because I have not really found anyone who understands or can guide and support me in the decisions and choices I need to make in order to cope with this reality.
I want to be the wife that I feel in my heart that God has called me to be…I just have no idea how right now. I have been touched by your entries about your ex-wife Wendy and all that the two of you have been through. She seems like a woman who has been through it and come out in a stronger place because of it.
My question is this…does she have a blog or email that she makes public? Does she, in any way, support wives who are dealing with this issue? I am really just looking for any kind of support from women that I can get. I want to know there are strong women praying for my husband and I. I want to know there is someone I can turn to when the heartache and sadness seem like the only things that are certain in my life.
If she has nothing like this, do you have any suggestions for a wife who needs support? It seems like the wives are a lost casualty in this war…there isn’t much out there for us that I have found so far. We are from the (location removed) area so maybe you know of some things that I don’t.
I appreciate all the help you can give.
Keep up the fight…you are truly a blessed and courageous man of God.  Thanks for your honesty.