Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dancing with Mr. D: When High School Sophs are the Magisterium

A Dominican nun, Sister Jane Dominic Laurel has recently come under persecution for a talk she made to a group of Catholic students in North Carolina on Catholic teaching on the truth about human sexuality popularized by Pope John Paul II, know as the "theology of the body."
Many orthodox Catholics who have heard Sr..s talks approve her presentations and find nothing offensive about them have written what an "extraordinarily refreshing" speaker sister is, capable of communicating basic truths "about who we really are with a hopeful view of life and love and the happiness we were created to share." 

Sister Jane, who has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, has given the talk more than 80 times in 25 states without incident. So why the fuss in North Carolina? It is alleged that she taught the students that homosexuality is wrong and offensive to God.( She did nothing of the sort).  After her talk, students wrote a petition listing 10 objections to her speech. The closing statement in the petition declared, "We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School are confused why time was spent condemning the practice of homosexuality." Small wonder, given the sophistry of this former teacher at the high school:

As a former Religion teacher at Charlotte Catholic, I can't say I'm surprised by the assembly and speaker. The winds of change in the Charlotte Diocese have been blowing for some time. It is sad to know that the speaker said what she did and ignored the truth that she was directing a hate filled message to young people...some of whom are gay and had to listen to her words. I felt privileged to teach such wonderful young people, and I am so very proud that you have taken this route to voice your disapproval at what transpired last Friday. The message was not of God, of that you must be sure. We are an Easter people...filled with hope. Jesus' victory over death was for EVERYONE...and His message is one of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love, kindness, humility, joy, hope, freedom of oppression, inclusiveness (which is above tolerance!) etc. Let's not forget that we are ALL made in THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD...and that image is Love. We are to be Love to one another. Fight the fight, Emma, but know that you will meet resistance and it may be harsh. Should that happen, remember Jesus' words: "if they persecute me, they'll persecute you." And remember, too, that He is with you as you live out your discipleship...promoting justice and love. The shortest sentence in the New Testament is: "Jesus wept." I bet he wept on Friday as He listened to the message being delivered in His name; but I believe He rejoices as you take the steps to right this wrong. Do the work in His Spirit, with His kindness, love, and mercy. I am proud of you.

No wonder the students were confused....  Bishop, Peter Jugis, as chief catechist in his diocese, is backing St. Jane.  “Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hainsis on record as saying. “Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.” 

Sr.’s critics have protested about a section of her talk in which she conferred scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality, accusing her of using “suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents.” However, a truer account was given by a Catholic scientist who has heard the exact same speech she delivered to the students:

“I was in attendance at the same presentation... a few months ago. In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.”

So, if a courageous Catholic moral theologian sets forth Catholic teaching on homosexuality, he or she will pay the price, as Jesus promised. In our time of tolerance for evil and sin, there is no room to hear the truth. This is so even though that very truth is enunciated plainly and without confusion in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Students in support of Sister Jane launched theirown petition drive defending her and the Church: “We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School, acting on our Catholic beliefs, are declaring a formal objection towards all those who do not accept Sister Jane Dominic’s lecture … We are outraged that the topics talked about are being debated within a community where the shared faith teaches us what truly is holy and that anyone would stand up against a nun, who has given her life for the Lord, and blatantly deny God’s teachings.” 

P.S. – Would you do me a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email? I truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, I would love to hear what you think.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Divide et impera

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ.   I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready,  for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely men?

                                                                                          -1 Corinthians 3; 1-4

Recently I ran across a traditionalist blogger who, like I, has been thinking of the divisiveness within the Body of Christ these days. Here is his finding:

Left wing, right wing, progressive, conservative… and on and on it goes. Sure, these are largely political terms, but we use them to refer to one another in the Church, and for the most part, all of us have a pretty good idea of what they mean. Heck, we even use them to refer to ourselves sometimes.
At any rate, I’ve been thinking about this “ideological-theological spectrum” lately, and I put together the graphic below. (I have to admit, I amused the daylights out of myself in the process.)
Now, it’s far from perfect. There’s definitely some cross-over between the categories and the various elements placed in each one, but it’s a pretty good start. 

Division within Christ’s Church is a clear attack by the evil one. Satan’s strategy here is the time-honored one of divide et impera - divide and conquer. Remember, too, Jesus ’ words to the Pharisees: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Quite simply, no ideology, no matter how sincerely embraced, may substitute for personal conversion. One may not be whacko liberal or radical traditionalist on the Apostles Creed.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Go Forth and Teach all Nations....

Recently Professor Ralph Martin has written:

There has been a tendency, however, in post-Vatican II Catholicism to drift into an understanding of this call to lay mission that diverges significantly from what Vatican II actually says. On the one hand, there has been a tendency to interpret the call to apostolate as a call to “power sharing” and assign roles that aren’t really evangelistic to laypeople within the Church. A lot of the focus has been, and continues to be, on laypeople becoming “active” within the church — that is, doing readings at Mass, becoming “extraordinary” ministers of the Eucharist, and giving Communion, joining parish councils, serving on committees, etc.

Close study of recent intiatives on the evangelization front reveal that organizations such as the St. Paul Street Evangelization are more like what the Holy Spirit has in  mind. Visit their website, Like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter #ShareTheFaith. I intend to become a member ASAP-after all, I talk the talk pretty well on these pages, but need to start walking the walk (on the street??)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What God has joined together....

Previously I posted on the letter from the seven bishops of the State of Michigan denouncing the federal district court’s recent decision to overturn the 2004 voter-approved Michigan Marriage Amendment, which upheld the truth that marriage can only ever be between one man and one woman. This judicial decision is further proof that the shared mind of American culture has darkened.

It was God Himself who created marriage when He created Adam and Eve and ordered them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:22).  Here the Father ordered marriage toward the transmission of human life.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs the faithful that marriage exists for the reciprocal good of the partners (husband and wife are called to help each other get to Heaven) and the procreation and education of children.  These two purposes cannot be separated, for “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."  (Mt 19:6).

Marriage belongs to God, and He has a design for it; thus, no one may interfere with His purpose.  As the bishops wrote, “Marriage is and can only ever be a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or future electoral vote. Nature itself, not society, religion or government, created marriage”.  God strengthens husband and wife through the Sacrament of Matrimony so that their love, fixed in sacrifice for each other and their offspring, can witness God’s love for us.  This is how married couples can take part in the new evangelization – to make God known to the world through honoring His plan for marriage.

In my book I discuss how contraception also interferes with God’s plan for marriage, separating as it does procreation from the marital act. So, too,  same-sex “marriages” interfere with the Divine plan.  God made male and female and blessed their joining together.  As the bishops stated, life cannot originate from use of the sexual faculty by two people of the same gender: “The biological realities of male and female and the complementarity they each bring to marriage uniquely allows for the procreation of children”.
It is important for us to be well-founded in our understanding of marriage as being between one man and one woman, and be courageous in defending it, as the increasingly secular culture would undermine it if good people do nothing.  
What is paramount is that marriage belongs to God and He has a plan for it: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11). 

Monday, March 24, 2014

“Vatican II said it was okay to disagree with the Pope.”

Hardly. Read the documents! The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium)no. 25, states that, even though the bishops of the Catholic Church are not individually infallible, they teach infallibly the Church’s doctrines of faith and morals “when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.”
So—Lumen Gentium, No. 25, says that one such case of the bishops teaching infallibly is when they teach a matter of faith and morals in “an ecumenical council.”  Such as Vatican II. Lumen Gentium No.25 further states that these definitions of the bishops on matters of faith and morals must be held with a “religious assent,”  and, “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra …” 

In the Council’s teaching this necessitates assent to the Pope’s non-ex cathedra teaching: “…that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will.” How is this discerned? The Council explains it by saying that: “… His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.” 

Let’s be clear—Vatican II teaches that one may not dissent from even the non-ex-cathedra or “non-infallible” decisions of the Pope on matters of faith and morals—not even “limited and occasional” dissent, which means that Catholics may not dissent from Paul VI’s teaching on contraception in Humanae Vitae. A Catholic who says that one may dissent from a non-ex cathedra or non-infallible decision of a pope would be implicitly dissenting from Lumen Gentium no. 25 and the Second Vatican Council itself! Read more....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bishops Bishoping!

I view of the Federal Disctict Judge's ruling on same-sex "marriage" in Michigan, and the Circuit Court's stay:

Marriage is and can only ever be a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or future electoral vote. Nature itself, not society, religion or government, created marriage. Nature, the very essence of humanity as understood through historical experience and reason, is the arbiter of marriage, and we uphold this truth for the sake of the common good. The biological realities of male and female and the complementarity they each bring to marriage uniquely allows for the procreation of children.
Every child has the right to both a mother and a father and, indeed, every child does have lineage to both. We recognize not every child has the opportunity to grow in this environment, and we pray for those single mothers and fathers who labor each day to care for their children at times amid great challenges and difficulties. They deserve our constant support and encouragement.
Today’s decision from federal district court Judge Bernard Friedman to redefine the institution of marriage by declaring Michigan’s Marriage Amendment unconstitutional strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature. In effect, this decision advances a misunderstanding of marriage, and mistakenly proposes that marriage is an emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the dictates of culture and the wants of adults. Judge Friedman’s ruling that also finds unconstitutional the state’s adoption law is equally of grave concern.
As this case will likely move forward through the courts, it is necessary to state clearly that persons with same-sex attraction should not be judged, but rather accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. We rejoice with those brothers and sisters in Christ living with same sex attraction who have found great freedom through Jesus’ call to chastity communicated through the Church. We equally encourage those who are struggling in good conscience to live in harmony with the Church’s teaching about sexuality, along with their families, to continue praying and to continue seeking the Lord with the help and guidance of the Church.
Going forward, we, the Catholic bishops of this state, working through the Michigan Catholic Conference, will collaborate with those who are upholding Michigan’s Marriage Amendment and adoption statute and will assist to the greatest extent possible efforts to appeal Judge Friedman’s most regrettable ruling.
Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron 
Archbishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Earl A. Boyea 
Bishop of Lansing
Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley 
Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone 
Bishop of Saginaw
Most Reverend John F. Doerfler 
Bishop of Marquette
Msgr. Francis J. Murphy
Diocesan Administrator, Gaylord
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak
Bishop of Grand Rapids

"Hope: A World Afire"

The title of this post was the theme for the Los Angeles 2014 Religious Education Congress, post-Cardinal Mahony (taking place amidst the recent earthquake). It managed to catch the attention of the blogger of Catholic bloggers in addition to my own, having discussed it previously.

A smidgen of the Congress' history:

….the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference. A quick foray via a wonderful means of social communication, the Internet, shows that many victims of modernist theories are featured at the conference today (though it is not as heterodox as the twentieth century occurrences). The Congress originated in the 1950s to educate catechists to teach the Faith more effectively, but by 1987 the influence of neomodernism on presenters at the Congress had produced a creedless, experiential catechesis under the auspices of Sister Edith Prendergast, yet another of our influential circle of religious education experts.
      Perusal of both the LA Congress’s website and links to its speakers divulge ample evidence of the neomodemist opinion that catechesis no longer means passing on received doctrine because the Church can no longer say it possesses revealed “truth” from God. Thus participants were taught to discover truth for themselves by reflecting on their experience, with the role of the catechist now being to facilitate such reflection. And so it was that doctrine increasingly disappeared from the nation’s largest religious education conference ….

 -from The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God

About the Author Fini

....When I did return to the Faith, I was unable to find employment in my undergraduate major, history, so I began to volunteer teaching CCD in my parish, St. Agatha in Redford Twp., hoping eventually to land a job there teaching history. This required me to earn catechist certification offered by the Archdiocese of Detroit, which I did in 1978. No sooner had I completed the requirements, when a combination Religion/History opening occurred at Benedictine High School in Detroit. I taught there for one year, after which I landed a job teaching Scripture (for which I, by true Catholic standards, was woefully unprepared to do) at St. Agatha, where I remained for one year. I then took a position at a Catholic high school in a suburb of Detroit, where I have been ever since. Since 1995, however, and my “reversion” (no doubt through the prayers of my Mom) to the fullness of Catholic teaching, I have made ten year study of the post-conciliar years in the United States, for which my training in history and as a catechist at the St. John Bosco Institute for Catechetics, as well as twenty-five years as a catechist in the Archdiocese of Detroit have come in handy. As to the book, there is very little that is original; rather I offer a synthesis of much that I have read in the sources and in print regarding the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council, though my interpretation of Paul VI on the state of the Church in 1972 I believe to be somewhat original. I decided to write the book out of my experiences as a catechist (1978-2000) and a life-long student of history. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What the F?

A certain person very dear to me watches too much of the Soprano reruns, and thus I too get caught up in it (to my shame--this HBO show and reality TV shows in general will make adjectival use of the F-bomb routine if we do not repent....) Thus it piqued my interest to run across this video of the Pope, who in the past has said, "Who am I to judge?" This video is heartening, for though we are not allowed to judge people, we are allowed to, even have a responsibility to, judge behavior. Nice going, Holiness!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tolkein, Paul VI, and the Devil

In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. The letter reflects Tolkien's Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality. From the letter:

This is a fallen world…. the dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been 'going to the bad' all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the 'hard spirit of concupiscence' has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell….The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favorite subject. He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones.

 Tolkien advised his young son that the sexual fantasies of the 20th century were demonic lies, intended to ensnare us. Sex was a trap, Tolkien warned, because human beings are capable of almost infinite rationalization in terms of sexual motives. Imagine that.

Tolkien's rumination is reminiscent of Pope Paul VI's premonition in 1972 concerning how it is that Satan is good at catching people through not only base motives, but even romantic love:

….So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning; he is the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortunes in human history. It is worth recalling the revealing Gospel parable of the good seed and the cockle, for it synthesizes and explains the lack of logic that seems to preside over our contradictory experiences: "An enemy has done this." He is "a murderer from the beginning . . . and the father of lies,"[Jn 8:44] as Christ defines him. He undermines man's moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations….

Of late a Duke University student (pictured above) who makes pornographic films to pay her tuition has said her experience in the industry has left her feeling “empowered” and uplifted: “My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling, and empowering….For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy….It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home,” said the 18-year-old freshman, who recently graduated from a Catholic prep school.
Shooting a pornographic scene is “freeing, it is empowering, it is wonderful, it is how the world should be.”

Interestingly, former pornstar Shelley Lubben of the Pink Cross Foundation has now posted a graphic video showing a male pornographic actor repeatedly choking, slapping, shaking, and verbally abusing Weeks.

Weeks, who has become an internet phenomenon, appearing on The View and Piers Morgan Live, defended her participation in the scene: “Everything I did was consensual,” she said, describing herself as “a bisexual woman with many sexual quirks.”
Later she told The Huffington Post, "I completely stand by every performer's right to perform in a rough sex scene….We live in America…Freedom of speech!"

Later Weeks said she “regretted” being in the scene. Although she said she was merely “role-playing” and “was comfortable” during the brutal scene, she learned that “some” of the other women on the website may not have been acting during the filming of their abuse and degradation.

A Women's Studies major, Weeks says she hopes one day to become a lawyer promoting “civil rights” and “women's rights.”

Prior to Duke she attended Gonzaga Preparatory School, a Jesuit-run institution that allowed a performance of The Vagina Monologues while she, an honors student, was on campus.

Weeks, who said she has been watching porn since she was 12, has described porn as the most effective way to graduate from her chosen school debt-free: “With my skillset,” she said, she didn't feel she had other “viable options.”

“There's really no way for women to win in this patriarchal society,” she said.
While still defending her porn career, which has heated up since her public relations campaign, a recent interview with a New York TV station seems to indicate that she regrets her choice. Let us pray for her. If we bring her back, it will cancel  a MULTITUDE OF SINS….