Monday, April 28, 2014

Beyond Gay

David Benkof

It is refreshing to see that our elder brothers, the Jewish people, have a spokesperson in the media for the truth that abstaining from sex is a real option for frum (traditionally observant) gay men. David Benkof is a St. Louis-based writer and former faculty member at Yeshivat Darche Noam/Shapell’s in Jerusalem. Check him out. Also, I am reading a marvelous work, apologetic in nature, for those looking for resources to combat the slippery slope of the erosion of traditional marriage in our culture.... View the YouTube video, Is making Gay OK?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Getting Our New Saint Straight

"Vatican II was for him a response to God nudging him to reform and update the church, and to draw all Christians into greater unity for the sake of humankind and world peace. Like the apostles on the eve of Pentecost, he anticipated that something grand was about to unfold. Little did he know that the Holy Spirit would sweep into the church with such force.'
                                                                                                                      -Bill Hubesch

As we listen to the media offer their analyses of Pope St. John XXIII’s legacy (likely to be reminiscent of the National Catholic Reporter editorial above), we would do well to understand one false notion which has sown confusion among Catholics — Pope John XXIII’s statement that the Second Vatican Council was to be a “pastoral” council. We should not take this to mean that doctrine was henceforth to be unimportant - after all, Pope Paul VI promulgated two dogmatic constitutions (on the Church and on Divine Revelation), and there are numerous references to dogmatic teaching in the pastoral constitutions of Vatican II. To clear up this confusion it is best to read from the relevant portions of Pope John XXIII’s address opening the council (bolded emphases mine):

In calling this vast assembly of bishops, the latest and humble successor to the Prince of the Apostles who is addressing you intended to assert once again the Magisterium (teaching authority), which is unfailing and perdures until the end of time, in order that this Magisterium, taking into account the errors, the requirements, and the opportunities of our time, might be presented in exceptional form to all men throughout the world….
The great problem confronting the world after almost two thousand years remains unchanged. Christ is ever resplendent as the center of history and of life. Men are either with Him and His Church, and then they enjoy light, goodness, order, and peace. Or else they are without Him, or against Him, and deliberately opposed to His Church, and then they give rise to confusion, to bitterness in human relations, and to the constant danger of fratricidal wars….
Illuminated by the light of this Council, the Church -- we confidently trust -- will become greater in spiritual riches and gaining the strength of new energies therefrom, she will look to the future without fear. In fact, by bringing herself up to date where required, and by the wise organization of mutual co-operation, the Church will make men, families, and peoples really turn their minds to heavenly things....
In the daily exercise of our pastoral office, we sometimes have to listen, much to our regret, to voices of persons who, though burning with zeal, are not endowed with too much sense of discretion or measure. In these modern times they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin. They say that our era, in comparison with past eras, is getting worse, and they behave as though they had learned nothing from history, which is, none the less, the teacher of life. They behave as though at the time of former Councils everything was a full triumph for the Christian idea and life and for proper religious liberty….
The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven….
In order, however, that this doctrine may influence the numerous fields of human activity, with reference to individuals, to families, and to social life, it is necessary first of all that the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers. But at the same time she must ever look to the present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world, which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate.
The manner in which sacred doctrine is spread, this having been established, it becomes clear how much is expected from the Council in regard to doctrine. That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortions, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will.
The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.
For this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a Magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.

Misunderstanding and misapplication of the final sentence of this excerpt has resulted in great confusion on the laity’s part following the council. A major reason for such obfuscation was the infelicities, not to say inaccuracies, and omissions in the Abbot-Gallagher translation of the conciliar documents. It was by taking advantage of the Council’s often looser terminology that, since the Council, theologians in rebellion against the Church have been able to introduce changes of meaning under cover of the Council’s authority. Here a close reading of the Pope’s speech reveals that the Council was convened under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit not to put forth new definitions of doctrine, (indeed Pope John called Catholics to be ever more faithful to authentic doctrine) but to present the timeless deposit of the Church’s doctrinal truth more effectively through an active engagement with modernity, principally by imitating more closely her Master. In this sense it was to be a “pastoral” Council.

Friday, April 25, 2014

On Throuples

I have been following the account of the female throuple in Massachusetts, 1/3 of which has been artificially inseminated and is with child. Robert George, not surprisingly, has as well. It is oft said, “ideas have consequences.” When (and if) society abandons its traditional belief in marriage as a conjugal bond, with its model of sexual complementarity, in favor of a concept of “marriage” as a form of sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership, then what possible standard could be identified for “restricting” marriage to two-person partnerships, as opposed to polyamorous sexual ensembles of three or more persons? (Have you seen the story of a woman who has “married” her dog)?
Proponents of the “new marriage” acknowledge that there is no reason not to further re-shape the institution of marriage to include multiple partner unions; to do this in their view is progress toward the ideal of equality and justice. Failure to do is unjust. Poly-couples and their offspring, they say, deserve the same legal recognition, support, and protection as conventionally married families and the children born into them. For those of us who think that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, we are bigots, unjust, or worse (hate criminals)?  To my way of thinking and believing, Jennifer Rohrback Morse  on her Facebook page has it right:
Let me make a prediction. I predict that within five years of the birth of the baby this relationship will be in complete shambles. Every adult should know that you cannot predict how a mother will feel when she receives her baby into her arms. I have read many disputed lesbian custody cases. Reading between the lines, the mothers cannot accept another woman calling her child their own or that her child will call somebody else "mommy." The mother thinks she is the one and only mother. She did not expect how difficult it would be to share the care of her child with another woman. The law will take sides with the women who are not related to the baby against the interests of the biological mother. This thing will break down within five years. Much to the detriment of the child.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are There Souls in Hell? What does the Church Say?

The First Constitution of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 refers to the fact that souls  living in AD 1215 would be in hell in its opening statement and its “Profession of the Faith.” The implication is that people from every generation would finally be eternally separated from God, not just those from the 13th century. For the strict interpreter of the Council, it seems inescapable that the Council taught souls are in hell now:
Indeed, having suffered and died on the wood of the cross for the salvation of the human race, he descended to the underworld, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He descended in the soul, rose in the flesh, and ascended in both. He will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, to render to every person according to his works, both to the reprobate and to the elect. All of them will rise with their own bodies, which they now wear, (Latin text reads quae nunc gestant—which they are now bearing or wearing) so as to receive according to their deserts, whether these be good or bad; for the latter perpetual punishment with the devil, for the former eternal glory with Christ.
The present tense indicates that some folks then living—now wearing their bodies—would go to hell. Thus, the Church is here teaching there are souls “in” hell.
The soon-to-be cannonized JPII, quoted in L’Osservatore Romano, August 4, 1999:
Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.
 John Paul's Crossing the Threshold of Hope:
Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew's Gospel he speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Matt. 25:46). Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement…” (pg. 185)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1034:
Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather… all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire” (Matt. 25:41)!

An Ignatian Jesuit

I have long been a fan of a genuine Jesuit, retired Georgetown professor Fr. James Schall, S.J. A glance at his website, which contains his vitae and syllabi shows why. 
Recently Fr. Has reflected on the increasing number of topics that we cannot talk about in public speech, which is no longer viewed as a search for truth through reasonable argument.  Fr. Schall:

We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to have to decide about the truth of any issue or confront the consequences of its violation.
We thus have become infinitely “tolerant” of anything but truth itself. Speech is not directed to truth or falsity of an issue but to the “sensitivity” and “compassion” of those who hear it. “Objective” standards are subject to the listener’s “right” to hear only what he wants to hear. Thus, whatever is “permitted” in positive or civil law becomes a “right” for those who follow it. Furthermore, we cannot criticize the law as if there were some “standard” by which to judge its worth. There are no standards as there is no nature on which to base them. “Hate speech” laws become effective tools to suppress any objective judgment about the rightness or wrongness of what is legislated or practiced….

Read more, and pray for the grace to speak the truth. Remember, it will cost, but your reward will be great. Jesus once said, "....but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God...."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Church Will Win, I Have News for You. So Make a Decision!

I have read much by Anthony Esolen, solid stuff with which I am in accord, but nothing which really dazzled me or tingled my spine--until now. What I am about to share is so good, there is no need to do anything but share it, and pray all read it!

Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age 

Afew weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting.
Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The priest presented the truth in a way that made it less likely that the audience would accept it. We are worried that the Church’s teachings did not appear in the best light. We need to do some considerable work right now, lest the students go on to reject what they do not understand.” No one said anything of the sort. It was clear that they objected to whatthe priest had said, rather than how he said it. Not one of the parents crying out for the principal’s head troubled to suggest any way in which the Church’s teachings might be presented with more effective power. They objected not to the strategy, but to the battle. They do not want the Church to win. They want the Church to surrender.
Somehow, I ended up on the mailing list of some of the objectors, and learned that they were worried that the principal was leading the school in a “conservative to orthodox direction.” They were also worried that the principal had recommended texts designed to encourage students not simply to know what the Church teaches, but to be “living crusaders for Christ.” Here was my response:
I don’t know what the word “conservative” means, if we are talking about the teachings of Jesus and of the Church. That’s because those teachings transcend politics, and are always going to be a scandal, no matter what culture encounters them.
For example, there was a time when “honor” was the principle that ordered a man’s life, if he was a soldier or an aristocrat in Spain or France or even early America. Men whose “honor” had been impeached would challenge the supposed offender to a duel. Andrew Jackson fought twenty or so of these duels. They were “consensual,” because you couldn’t force somebody to accept the challenge, but the Church condemned them in no uncertain terms, equating them with murder. For that condemnation, she was accused of having no regard for honor, of not understanding genuine manhood, and of meddling in affairs that were not her business.
I’m not equating the Sexual Revolution with that culture of “honor,” but rather noting the principle that the Church is always going to offend. The Germanic tribes who heard the gospel heard what for them was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to take revenge—their whole culture was based upon loyalty to the clan and blood feuds. The Romans who heard the gospel heard what for them what was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to expose their infant children, or do a whole lot of other things that Roman aristocrats had gotten in the habit of doing, without thinking themselves any the worse for them. Socialists in the nineteenth century were scandalized by the Church’s insistence that the family, and not the State, is primary. Money-worshipers among us are scandalized by the Church’s teaching that, although your wealth is your own, it is meant for others, for the common good. Native men in Africa and in the South Seas were astonished to hear that they could have only one wife.
It’s always something, and for us now, the something is sex. That’s embarrassing; I wish it were something more “admirable,” but it is what it is.
Remember what Jesus says to the people who ask him about divorce. Those people include his own closest disciples. They ask him, essentially, “Under what conditions may a man divorce his wife?” Or, to translate it literally, “When may a man put away his woman?”—because in both Hebrew and Greek, there is no special word for “wife” or “husband.” It’s the same in German today: a woman’s husband is her “man,” and a man’s wife is his “woman.” Now, they are expecting Jesus to raise the bar, as he always did. They thought he would side with the more severe of the two points of view that were current, and they thought he would refer to Moses, the Lawgiver, as an authority.
But Jesus shocks them. He baffles even his disciples. He does not bring in Moses as an authority. Moses allowed divorce, he says, “because of the hardness of your hearts,” but “in the beginning, it was not so.” When he says, “In the beginning,” he is referring to the creative intention of God himself, expressed in the order of creation before the Fall. In the beginning, he says, and the words mean “at the foundation of things,” and not just “at the start,” God made them male and female, “and for this reason a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves unto his wife, and they two become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.” That change, from two to one flesh, does not depend upon the feelings of the people, or upon their intentions. It can’t be, because no human being has the power to sever that one flesh. Jesus says this quite clearly.
He is not talking about “porneia,” or fornication, which is clearly wrong, and not a part of the controversy at hand. Nobody listening to him believed that fornication was all right, least of all Jesus, who said that if a man but looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed adultery with her, or who said that it’s not the things that enter a man that make him unclean, but rather (and think here of the daily needs of the body, that made a Jew ritually unclean, and required washing) the things that come out of him, including lewdness and licentiousness. Everybody agreed about that. What shocks them is that Jesus broadens the scope of the condemnation against adultery. Or, I should say, adultery is what it always was, but even the faithful Jews did not know what it was, and how long they had accepted as a matter of course things that were adulterous. Jesus says that a man who puts away his woman and takes another commits adultery, and the same for the woman. And “therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” The “man” in that sentence includes Moses! He was the great lawgiver; yet not even Moses had the authority or the power to separate what God had joined.
This teaching is clear. For a long time it baffled people—the Romans, the Greeks, even the Jews. Then for many centuries it did not baffle people, not even those Protestant groups that allowed for divorce, since as late as 1900 divorce was still very rare; I have found both Catholic and Protestant Americans at that time crying out against it, because it had dissolved as many as one in ten marriages. Well, now it baffles people all over again, along with the other teachings regarding sex, even the ones that have never baffled anybody.
The Church can’t win a popularity contest. She never will. In one age she is accused of being effeminate for loving peace and condemning war. In another age she is accused of being warlike. In one age she is accused of being too indulgent towards sins of the flesh. In another age she is accused of being puritanical. In one age she’s said to have her head in the clouds because she instills a suspicion of material wealth. In another age she’s accused of being the tool of the rich. It is always something.
I came to this realization many years ago, and it scandalized me too, and forced me to make a decision. I decided I would trust the Church. Another way to put it is this. Jesus demands not most of me, but all of me. If I obey him only in those things that don’t cost me much, what good is it? I can’t say to him or to his Church, “You can have all of me except for my bank account,” or “except for my pistol,” or “except for my lips and tongue,” or “except for these inches down below.” That is to set up another god in place of him. It makes no sense.
The Church’s teachings liberate. I’ve experienced it. The habits of the Sexual Revolution enslave, and bring in their wake a great deal of human misery, and even blood. That may make people unhappy to hear, but it is a fact. To be Catholic now is to be something that the important and clever people outside of the Church will despise. On Good Friday we memorialize what the important and clever people did to Our Lord. Let’s not join them.

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??)