Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Libido Redux: Megyn Kelly on Human Sexuality

Fox News" Megyn Kelly went on record on Bill O'Reilly's program as saying, in a story about a 7th grade science teacher viewing pornography on the job, that "There is nothing wrong with human sexuality. You want to watch porn, go ahead and watch porn." While I agree that, as created by God, human sexuality is good, very good indeed, I think she, as an intelligent woman, should admit to being in the dark having used the term pornography in the same statement on human sexuality. Perhaps this confusion is a legacy of the "sexual revolution" of the sixties. In this decade, America witnessed a turning away from traditional Catholic sexual moral teaching, revealed by God for our health and well-being. The so-called revolution has produced the fruit not of “liberation” but of widespread suffering: the spiraling number of STDs, the millions of abortions, unintended sterility, global pornography, the sex trade, the vast increase in rape and child abuse, promiscuity’s threats to marriage and family, and the hundreds of thousands of victims of AIDS.

Let us pray that those people in a position to mold public opinion educate themselves on the genuine fruits of the porn industry, outlined on this blog (searchable) under the heading Libido Redux. A good starting point would be Joshua Schulz's recent piece for Crisis.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Journeying Home!

"Not 100 people in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.”                                                                              -Archbishop Fulton Sheen (on Facebook!)

 Luckily I remembered this sentiment by the eminent bishop and 1950s TV personality, as I ran across this recent story which demonstrates a still-prevalent error among anti-Catholics in the U.S. It relaates the journey home of a married couple, who came to realize that, in their words, "this Church, the Catholic Church, is truly the ONE Church that Jesus Christ himself initiated over 2,000 years ago."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

On the Road to Galilee!

19 APRIL 2014

The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath. They go to the tomb to honour the body of the Lord, but they find it open and empty. A mighty angel says to them: “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee” (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: “Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (v. 10).

After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness. The news spread: Jesus is risen as he said. And then there was his command to go to Galilee; the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: “Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me”.

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).

To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything – Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal – to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.

For each of us, too, there is a “Galilee” at the origin of our journey with Jesus. “To go to Galilee” means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.

The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.

“Galilee of the Gentiles” (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter.... Let us be on our way!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dancing With Mr. D: Sexualizing Violence against Eve

It appears now that the trending fashion fetish is the female corpse.
No, not Miley’s image,
but the girl lying next to her in new advertising spread. In it, the models pose on a moonlit beach. Miley sits up, staring into the space, a woman behind her, while another reposes on the sand, flat on her back, hair partially obscuring her face, with the look of a stylishly dressed body in the morgue.

This following a recent cover of Entertainment Weekly, displaying the two actors of a soon-to-be released film reposed on a gurney. Ben Affleck is curled awkwardly around the woman, who is in a bra and slip, very much dead. (A tag is tied carefully around her toe).

Upon examination one learns that beautiful female corpses have become common in fashion shoots, advertising campaigns and TV shows, all with a theme of sexual and fatal violence against women. Why? To boost declining ratings, audiences, or to create new ones.
For example, here is a publication with a fashion shoot depicting a range of famous authors in the throes of killing themselves (or attempting to).

Above and at right we see model Doutzen Kroes checking every box of the objectification of the female – images of her passed out, semi-naked, etc....

Kira Cochrane called out America's NextTop Model for complicity in the trend,with an episode in which those competing were to pose as if they'd just been killed.  So here is what amounts to the fashion industry's fetishization of the female corpse. Apparently sexualizing women's passivity and silence--women posed for the camera, contorted into positions which make them look simultaneously ridiculous, weak, sexually available and highly vulnerable--is highly marketable. 

Do people want violence against women to be sexualized? There is a reason why these images are legion. If the sexualized stereotype of a woman in our culture is passive and vulnerable, the advertising industry has learned that, taken to its logical conclusion, there is nothing more appealing than a dead girl. I believe it was Pope Montini who once said, “He [Satan] is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido….”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

To Wash, or Not to Wash, and Whom to Wash?

In the conclusion to my book I penned the following:

So it is that because of the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, many Catholics do not practice their faith to the point of standing out from those who are ignorant of Christ. In approaching the vexing questions of modern society, too many Catholics take positions based on a liberal-conservative spectrum, rather than on the teachings of Jesus Christ which come to us via His church. Only genuine conversion, metanoia, the fruit of evangelization, will change this reality, allowing Catholics to experience the joy of faithful discipleship. No ideology may substitute for real personal conversion. In essence, metanoia means to question one’s own way of living, to start to see life through God’s eyes, and turn away from conformity to this world. Genuine conversion predisposes us not to see ourselves as the measure of all things, but to a humility that trusts ourselves to God’s love, which becomes the measure of all things. This was the central teaching of Vatican II: a renewed call to the faithful to strive after holiness, which means doing the Father’s will in all things, empowered by His grace.
      Holiness makes us love as the Father loves, and brings the fullness of life to the one who is loved, and so is meant to be communicated to the people of God. The Second Vatican Council also taught that bishops, as Our Lord’s chief witnesses, must lead in evangelizing lost souls who do not know the Good Shepherd, proclaiming the whole mystery of Christ to them. Apart from holiness, the fruit of evangelization and conversion, we are “slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another,” under the sway of “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

It is in light of the above that I highly recommend for consideration Fr. Z's analysis of Pope Francis and Holy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dancing with Mr. D.: Tootie Nefertootie

Just saw a piece about a drag show at the University of SanDiego entitled “Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar”.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, USD spokesman Tim O’Malley defended the event, saying, “We do not mean to demean our critics. Gender expression and identity, for some people, is not an area to be explored. For some people, that simply is wrong. However, the law of the church is silent on cross dressing. There no evidence that cross dressing is inherently homosexual.”

It seems that local drag queen/ transvestite ‘Tootie Nefertootie’” was the master of ceremonies for the show. Nefertootie dressed for the final show of the evening in a black robe and a goat-horned headdress while singing a song titled “Good N’Evil” that included the lyrics:

Good and evil -
And their merits -
Men have argued through history -
As well they should!
My philosophy
Any child can see -
“Good is evil -
And therefore
All evil is good”

At one point, the drag queen reportedly stripped off the black robe to reveal a skimpy outfit but did not remove the goat-horned headdress. 

Prophetically, on the day following the drag show the Holy Father Pope Francis during Mass warned about the existence of the Devil and he discussed the importance of gender by saying "it is necessary to reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother capable of creating an ideal environment for their development and emotional maturity."

The drag show concluded with a student representative of the gay student group on campus reportedly thanking USD “for letting this happen…[because]…as you know some people may find this conversation uncomfortable…[however]…this is a testament to our…Catholic identity and our mission and values as a Catholic school to promote diversity and inclusion.”

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).