Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All You Need is Love (da da da da da) Love is all you need

Of late Papa Bergoglio has uttered ambiguous sayings on the Church’s need to apologize to homosexuals for the manner in which she has treated them. Judging from the popular brouhaha in the social media, perhaps there is  confusion in people’s thinking between homo-philia, chaste friendship, and homo-eros, people who desire sex with people of the same sex

We all know of the etymology from which these phrases derive. In the Greek there are four words for “love:” agape, pure unselfish love, philia, the love of friendship, especially between brothers, storge, affection love, a deep bond usually borne of spending a long time with another and, of course, the one most familiar, eros, which is passionate, sexual love, seeking pleasure from the other.

In the Catholic view, as Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote in Deus Caritas Est, all loves must be included under agape, which is the term Christ uses, and the Church has adopted, to mean “charity--” pure, unselfish love which wills the good of the other, without necessarily seeking our own good.

Our over-eroticized culture, however, often considers “love” as erotic love. This usually applies to persons of the complementary sex, a man and a woman. But what of “love” between persons of the same sex?  There is nothing wrong, and indeed much that is good, in men loving men and women loving women.  True friendship between “brothers” and “sisters”is only possible, however, if the love remains chaste.

What the Church warns against in same-sex friendship, following natural law, is eroticizing this natural and healthy bond, turning homo-philia, into homo-eros, with its accompanying unnatural vices.  Our culture’s fascination with homoerotic tendencies has obfuscated the natural homophilic friendships of men and women. 

Pope Benedict XVI also stated in Deus Caritas Est that modernity has warped eros, not the Church and Christianity, which very early on in the Roman Empire purified eros from its pagan inclinations, so toxic for women and children, subjugated as they were and used as sexual slaves and prostitutes (a plight that threatens them today as well).

In a genuinely Christian culture, men attempt to be chaste in relating to women, or at least held to account if they are not. Women thus hold all the cards in the sexual relationship.  It is the opposite in a pagan culture, cut off from Judeo-Christian revelation, Here women are objectified and sexualized, taken by force if need be.  So anyone who says the Church is anti-woman knows not history, nor that Her teaching is her best defense.
So eros must be controlled and channeled, incorporated under the higher love of agape, willing the good of the other.  As John Paul II and Benedict both taught clearly, this is possible only within monogamous and faithful marriage, wherein the true “gift of self” can occur, with eros ordered to the mutual complementarity and union between husband and wife and the procreation of children.
All of our other friendships should be non-sexual and non-erotic. 
Yet modernity thinks that all this matters not, though there remains a seeming aversion to adultery, pedophilia and rape. Be forewarned: even these are becoming increasingly difficult to explain as we cut ourselves off from the vine of Christian revelation and reason. Just recall the idolizing of Alfred Kinsey, an entomologist who malformed himself into a “sexologist,” carrying out sexual experiments on children, depicted fawningly by Liam Neeson in the film linked above.

So we now think that any sexual activity between “consenting adults” is OK. But how to define “consensus,” with all of the obvious and implicit disetortions of power and authority, and the problem of saying who really is an “adult.” Does one measure with the yardstick of biology? Psychology? Spirituality? Who determines? Furthermore, something harmful does not cease to be harmful just because one consents to it.

As Paul VI once wrote, we must not underestimate the power of libido, and how it affects us and those around us. In a homily in 1972, which served as the basis for my book, he opined that unleashed and ungoverned eros, whose origins lie in the deeply wounded libido of Man, is at the basis of many contemporary societal ills:
·        the breakdown of the family and redefinition of traditional marriage
·        the epidemic of sexual diseases
·        abortion,with the unborn killed daily in far greater numbers than any other modern massacre.

So we do people with a homosexual orientation, and anyone else with an inclination to sexual deviancy, no favors by supporting their disordered inclinations and actions. Rather let us render them a service in love by revealing to them the full truth of who they are, and who they are called to be, in God’s image and so loved.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Help Me, Obi Wan Kenobi

My response to today's Supreme court abomination in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is to ask the deceased Obi Wan, a Catholic to pray for the U.S.

Abortion and Obi Wan Kenobi

In 1914 Agnes Cuff, a flighty and unstable young woman with few prospects and little money found herself pregnant. The father didn’t want to be involved. She was alone, shamed, poor and pregnant.
Today she would be encouraged to get herself to an abortion clinic and end the unwanted pregnancy.
Instead a little boy was born.
English actor  Alec Guinness, most famous for his role as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars was Agnes Cuff’s only child.  On his birth certificate he is named “Alec Guinness” but those were only his first names. The place for the child’s last name is blank. So is the column where the father’s name is listed.
It has never been confirmed who Guinness’ father was. Some speculated that he was a member of the Anglo-Irish Guinness family. Alec Guinness himself thought his father was a banker named Andrew Geddes.
Alec Guinness converted to the Catholic faith in 1956 and was a faithful Catholic for the rest of his life. His delightful conversion story is told in his autobiography Blessings in Disguise He was playing Father Brown and filming in France. Wandering home from the film set in costume as a priest a young boy ran up and took his hand, chatting animatedly and cheerfully before scooting off with a sweet, “Au revoir mon pere!” Touched by this show of childlike trust, and astounded by an answer to prayer, Alec Guinness came home to Rome.
If abortion had been easy and legal in England in 1914 the world would never have experienced the witty, smart, subtle art and the quiet, steady witness of Alec Guinness….
…and Star Wars would have had an enormous void.
As nearly half a million young people converge on Washington DC for this years’ March for Life we should remember the great loss to our nation and our world of all the murdered unborn.
We will never know what other great talents never lived. What other Alec Guinnesses would there have been? What advances in science, medicine, technology, business, the arts and sport might there have been?
March for Life is a joyful event  which celebrates life, but there is always an elegiac quality to the March.
It may be a March for Life but it is also a March for Grief.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sr. Cecilia. Ora pro nobis

Who smiles like this at the moment of death?

Sister Cecilia, of the Carmel of Santa Fe in Argentina, witnessed to her love for Christ in her struggle with lung cancer

Death is a tragedy for mortal man, and yet with faith in eternity and anticipation of the embrace of our heavenly Father, death becomes radiant.
We share today the news of the death of Sister Cecilia, a Carmelite of Santa Fe in Argentina, who suffered from lung cancer. She astonished those who surrounded her in her agony, as her face was transformed by a tender smile as she closed her eyes to this world. As you can see in the photograph, she looks like a lover who has arrived to the encounter she has long been yearning for.
The Carmel of Santa Fe announced the death of Sister Cecilia to their brothers and sisters and friends of the Carmel, with a brief, but profound, note.

Dear brothers, sisters and friends:
Jesus! Just a few lines to let you know that our very dear little sister has softly fallen asleep in the Lord, after an extremely painful illness, which she always endured with joy and surrender to her Divine Spouse. We send you all of our affection, thankful for your support and prayer during this time that is so sorrowful and yet also so marvelous. We believe that she flew directly to heaven, but all the same, we ask that you do not fail to pray for her. From heaven, she will reward you.
A warm embrace from your sisters of Santa Fe
Translated from the Spanish.
sr cecilia travel to hospitalsr christina writing a messagesr christina writing to her sisterssr in death

Pray for Papa Bergoglio

Is the Holy Father being "sifted like wheat" of late? I ask this because he has made some interesting remarks of late, such as:

Pastors should not be “putting our noses into the moral life of other people.”
Isn't there the requirement that confessors and a pastors priests have some sense of the moral life of those to whom they minister? 

Secondly, during a question-and-answer session, Francis spoke of a “pastoral cruelty,” such as priests who refuse to baptize the children of young single mothers. “They’re animals,” he said.
Most priests are very generous in extending baptism to infants, realizing that they are not responsible for the sins or shortcomings of their parents. Those who do, at times, delay baptism do so for other reasons, such as little evidence for a well-founded hope that the child will be raised in the faith. There are some prudential judgments to be made and pastors are required to make them (see canon 868). 

It is to be regretted that the Pope, as initially reported, should have called priests “animals.” But let he who has never said anything of another equally reprehensible cast the first stone.... (And the Pope has dine a superb job of catechesis on Confession).

These papal observations are not doctrinal, but serve as fodder for dissenters and the morally befuddled or misled in the world. Let us pray for our Holy Father and for the universal Church.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Terrorism Is Not Hate | R. R. Reno | First Things

Mr. Reno never fails to go beyond the horse-race journalists' coverage of things that matter, as here:

Terrorism Is Not Hate | R. R. Reno | First Things:

"The violence he will commit is properly called terrorism. It is motivated by a political judgment, and committed by reactionary non-state actors in an asymmetric warfare with military powers. It is fundamentally different from incidents in which the perpetrator is deranged by some strong emotion—“hate”—as were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold...."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

...Let No Man Put Asunder

Sadly, the works of St. John Paul II on marriage, the family and sexuality, were basically ignored at the Synod on the Family. His Apostolic Exhortation, The Role of the Christian Family in theModern World, has been described as the Magna Carta of the Church’s understanding of marriage and family in our time.
In response to the serious consequences of divorce, and in light of the New Evangelization, let Catholic bloggers be more loyal to young people and innocent, as well as confused, spouses, and link St. John Paul II’s clear and luminous thinking about the sacrament of marriage as regards remaining faithful to one’s marriage and children while attempting to resolve for at least several years the conflicts in each spouse that contribute to marital difficulties. 
I, as many have, witnessed firsthand the fact that those who initiate divorce have never faced their own inner emotional conflicts, especially sadness, that they unconsciously brought into the marriage from their family background or from their own selfishness.  Dare we ask spouses who have separated or divorced to reconsider their commitment to their marriage and their children?  Growth in virtues and in graces from the sacramental bond can, in fact, lead to a rediscovery of trust and love for one’s spouse.

What God Hath Joined Together...

A recent 2016 study of suicide risk from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 24% increase in suicides in the United States over the 15-year period between 1999 and 2014,      including a tripling of the suicide rate for females 10-14, this in a culture that posits that all family structures are the same. Research on the children of divorce provides overwhelming evidence to disprove the myth that divorce does not harm children.  In fact, the divorce epidemic has contributed to the serious and growing psychopathology in American youth. One example is the 2010 study of American adolescent psychopathology published in 2010: 49 percent of the 10,000 teenagers studied met the criteria for one psychiatric disorder and 40 percent met the criteria for two disorders.
Research by Penn State sociologist Paul Amato (2005) on the long-term damage to children from divorce demonstrated that, if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability as it did in 1960, the nation would have 70,000 fewer suicide attempts in youth every year, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy and 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency. 
A 2011 study demonstrated the suicide risk in those whose parents divorced before they were 18.   Of the 695 participants that had experienced parental divorce before the age of eighteen, men from divorced families had more than three times the increased risk of suicidal ideation in comparison to men whose parents had not divorced. Adult daughters of divorce had an 83 percent higher risk of suicidal ideation than their female peers who had not experienced parental divorce.
Adults are also vulnerable to suicidal thinking and acts after divorce.  A 2010 study from Rutgers of suicide among middle-aged Americans found divorce rates has doubled for middle-aged and older adults since the 1990s, leading to social isolation. In 2005 unmarried middle-aged men were 3.5 times more likely than married men to die from suicide, and their female counterparts were as much as 2.8 times more likely to kill themselves. The divorce rate has doubled for middle-aged and older adults since the 1990s.
The million youth per year traumatized by the divorce “plague” deserve attention, as do those adults who have been its losses.  Many factors have contributed to the depression and marked rise of suicide in youth and adults in our culture:
·        the profound loneliness and hopelessness that can develop when a youth does not experience the love of a father and a mother and their love for each other and
·        when an adult lacks spousal love;
·        the epidemic of selfishness/narcissism leading young females and adults to be treated as sexual objects and not as persons;
·        being born into and living in unstable cohabiting unions;
·        the retreat from marriage;
·        a materialistic mentality;
·        the severe epidemic of substance abuse disorders, particularly heroin;
·        the absence of the Faith which can provide comfort and hope during difficulty emotional and financial crises.

Many young females no longer believe in romance and dreams of a faithful, loving husband and home with the little children who will be born.  In view of this sad reality, a young girl could be tempted to think about why one should live if there is nothing to dream of, idealize and look forward to. (To be continued…)