Thursday, February 25, 2016

Libido Redux: Teens Girls and Boys, Sexualized Social Media and Addiction

Paul VI offered libido as one way Satan, the “malign, clever seducer” undermines man’s sexual morality with his “sophistry.” The Devil’s strategy here, as the Pope cautioned, is “eminently logical.” He approaches man with what amounts to a false reason in his mind, which, if dwelled on, can influence the will by rousing him to do something evil which seems to be good. Deceit is basic to his strategy.  How exactly is this reality observable in our culture? I can find no better demonstration than the NY Post piece on how the Evil one is attacking American teems here, here and here..

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Take This Stand

As men, God calls us to be strong and virtuous leaders, providers and protectors in every area of our lives. We cannot do this if we are enslaved to anything. The dark world of pornography has enslaved many men, preventing them from being the men God has called them to be.
One way that pornographers lure men into viewing pornography is by presenting female porn stars as modern liberated women who are choosing “adult entertainment” for their careers.  In porn, they appear to be happy, healthy and having a great time.  They are glamourized.  It’s easy to see how men can be fooled into thinking there is nothing wrong with porn.  However, the way that female porn stars are portrayed is an illusion.   For those who believe that female porn stars are healthy women who are choosing to be in porn, I have one question: Where are their fathers?
What loving and protective father would ever want his little girl to be a porn star?  The answer is no one!  The fact is that many female porn stars come from very abusive homes.  As teenagers many run away from home to escape the abuse.  Living on the streets the only way they can survive is to turn to prostitution.  From prostitution many move on to work in strip clubs and then into pornography.  The pornography industry preys on these wounded and vulnerable young women.  They are easy targets.  Once in porn, the industry continues to use and abuse these women.  When they are finished with these women, they simply throw them out into the street.  It’s no wonder that the average life expectancy of a porn star is only 37 years.  Between the drug abuse, physical abuse, alcoholism, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions and suicide many don’t make it to their 40th birthday.
In the Forward to Matt Fradd’s book, Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women who Turned from Porn to Purity (Catholic Answers Press, 2014), Jason Evert wrote that the best way to combat the pornography industry is to love the porn stars.  By this he means that we need to protect their dignity by refusing to view pornography.  When we do this, we refuse to support an industry that is abusing, exploiting and ultimately killing women.  We need to pray for porn stars that they will find a way to get out of that dark and evil industry and find God’s healing love.  Former porn star Shelly Lubben helps these women through her Pink Cross Foundation.
These women may not have loving and protective fathers, but we as strong, virtuous Catholic men can protect them by not supporting the porn industry and by praying for them every day! By refusing to support an industry that exploits, and eventually kills, many women, we can be the strong leaders, providers and protectors God has called us to be. If every man did this, the demand for pornography would disappear and no woman would ever be harmed by this dark and evil industry.
I encourage all Catholic men to take a stand against pornography. Make sure it doesn’t enter your life or your household. Pray every day that any victims of pornography would find freedom, healing and new life in Christ.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Katy Faust's Story

"The stories of adults who grew up with LGBT parents, most of whom were involved in same-sex relationships, all have one thing in common—as children they craved the love and presence of their missing mother or father. These courageous men and women are speaking up for marriage so that future generations of children, all of whom deserve both their mom and their dad, will know that they were worth speaking up for."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fr. Z on Q (uinquagesima)

WDTRPS: Quinquagesima Sunday – Prepare for battle!

QuinquagesimaIn our traditional Roman calendar tomorrow, Sunday, is Quinquagesima, Latin for the symbolic “Fiftieth” day before Easter.  Today is one of the pre-Lenten Sundays which prepare us for the discipline of Lent. The priest’s vestments are purple. NoAlleluia. The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604).   The Consilium’s liturgical engineers under Annibale Bugnini and others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays, much to our detriment.  (Cf. BugniniCare).
Those who participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will see that the priest’s vestments are purple. A Tract is sung in place of anAlleluia, which has been “buried” until Easter.  The Introit refers to the “rock” and the Roman Station today is at St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill.
Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque, a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi.
This prayer is found in the ancient Liber Sacramentorum Augustodunensis and the L.S. Engolismensis.  I cannot find this prayer in any form in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.
You won’t find Quinquagesima either!
The ponderous Lewis & Short Dictionary reminds us that absolvo means “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie” or in juridical language “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.  The priest uses this word when he absolves you of the bonds of your sins.  Vinculum is “that with which any thing is bound, a band, bond, rope, cord, fetter, tie”.  This bond can be literal, as in physical fetters, or it can be moral or some sort of state.  You can be bound in charity or peace, or bound in damnation or sin.  In the case if sin, in liturgical prayer we find a form of vinculum or its plural with “loosing” verbs such as absolvo or resolvo or dissolvo. In ancient prayer the state of sin conceived as a place in which we are bound.  The bonds must be loosed so that we can escape and be free.
In the whole of the post-Conciliar Missal I don’t believe the combination peccata absolvere is found, but it is in ancient collections.  One finds the phrase with some additional term such as “bonds” or “ties” of sins.
We beseech You, O Lord, graciously attend to our prayers: and, having been loosed from the fetters of sins, guard us from every adversity.
What is the first thing an enemy does to you, once you are captured? 
He disarms you.  
He shackles you.
He renders you powerless to do your own will.
Even when we have fallen into sin, we retain free will, but our will is already weakened due to original and actual sin.  We can become so mired in sin that we can’t rule ourselves.
The Sacrament of Penance is a great gift.  It frees us from our self-inflicted chains.
We must strive to live without mortal sin.
But we fall.  In mortal sin we divest ourselves, as it were, of our spiritual armor. We make ourselves prisoners.
We pray to God to protect us from the dire consequences of sin, including the attacks of the Enemy, which on our own without God’s help we cannot resist.
Among the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance, along with being freed from the chains of sins, is a strengthening to resist sin in the future.
These prayers of the pre-Lenten Sundays are meant to help us ready the stores in our interior fortresses before the spiritual battle of Lent.
We must empty out what does not serve and be filled with that which does.
Prepare yourselves for battle and Lent’s discipline.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

One World Religion (fini)

To study the history of the early Church is to experience the history of the gradual articulation of her identity. First, there was the controversy over the admission of the gentiles. Then came the battle with the Gnostics over the primacy of love over knowledge. Eventually Marcionites and Valentinians dropped away—they tried to differentiate the God of Jesus and the God of the Old Testament, creation and redemption, personal religion and the public, institutional life of the Church. Of course too there were the Christological controversies surrounding Docetism, Monarchianism, and Arianism, in which the Holy Spirit guided the Christian understanding of God as Trinitarian.

Because of the historical reality of the Resurrection, the Catholic faith came under the discipline and guidance of Apostolic tradition and authority. In the early Church, obedience to the eyewitness of those whose experience authorized them to set the tradition was of overriding significance. The truth was what they said it was—they were the authoritative witnesses to the whole reality. It was not a new doctrine up for debate, but a teaching which had to be received. The New Testament brims with concern for unity of faith and life based on reception of the Apostolic tradition.

Yet Catholicism was open to and had the wherewithal to assimilate people of different experiences, absorbing what was greatest in their spiritual cultures. This was because the Church early on saw that she had a universal mission.

Nevertheless, Catholicism is not a syncretistic religion, but one always seeking to bring forth something new as she learns from interactions with every culture and religion. Because it is Catholic, it does not wish to overlook anything in other traditions which is good and touched by grace. (Cf. Luke 9:50) It enters into cultures and seeks to preach the Good News to all peoples through their own language and cultural forms.

Yet we note that in this openness the Church discriminates what it assimilates in accord with its own identity. The student of Church history reads of how the Church assimilated Roman law, Barbarian feasts and mythologies, and Arabic philosophy--but transformed them. It was the Church's fusing energy that led it into dialogue with Hellenistic thought. St. Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius absorbed Neo-Platonic spirituality, and fashioned a Christian understanding of mysticism. St. Thomas Aquinas engaged Aristotelian philosophy, and developed a synthesis of theology which remains a dominant source of spiritual and theological insight and practice.

The bottom line is that synthesizing and syncretism are fundamentally dissimilar. A syncretistic religion has no identity of its own, whereas a synthetic religion has a clear identity. What the Church absorbs, it transforms, and enhances. Catholicism never puts its own identity and self-understanding in question or regards herself as on par with other traditions, nor understands herself as open to absorption into something higher; she sees herself as that which can absorb the best in other traditions.

At Vatican II the Church recommitted itself to learning from all that is good in other religions, notably the great religions of the East. Perhaps new syntheses will emerge, as the New Evangelization, while recognizing the distinct value of other traditions, uses the culture's own symbolic terminologies to convey the Good News of Jesus Christ, for she possesses a distinctive understanding of the human situation and of how it can be healed, which enables it to discriminate the truth or value of other ideas and practices, and select from them. That which guards the Church's identity is commitment to the risen Christ as the definitive Savior of the world, as He is made known to us through Apostolic witness, Catholic doctrine, and the sacramental life. Lose this, as many seem to be doing today, and all that remains is maudlin syncretism.