Daily Archives: March 13, 2009

St. Teresa of Avila on Relationships

“It is certain that in having need of no one a person has many friends” (Way of Perfection, ch. 2, para. 6)

Here, St. Teresa de Jesus is saying that we have no real friends when our friendships are based upon our needs. When people feel like we’re always out for an angle, they soon lose interest in our friendship. When people know we are more willing to give than receive, then they want to be our friends.
Humorous observation: in one of the _VeggieTales_ episodes where the “letter” is from a student asking how she can get more friends at school, Larry the Cucumber suggests a big bag of candy. Bob the Tomato demurs, but I think, in a way, Larry’s on to something.

EWTN Groupie Picture Collection 3

This is a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the vestibule at the Monstery of Our Lady of the Angels in Irondale, AL.

NFP Only Doctor Teaches How to Eradicate STDs

Lester A. Ruppersberger, DO, is an OB-Gyn in Langhorne, PA, who has an NFP only practice and helps organize an NFP conference in Philadelphia every year.

“I often tease and say that I should get the Nobel Prize for medicine,” Dr. Ruppersberger said. “I have the cure for every sexually transmitted disease in the world. If we had one full generation that subscribed to chastity and abstinence, then in one generation people who have a disease now would die and the disease would die with them. In the next generation a virgin man marries a virgin woman and they don’t become unfaithful in their marriage. No one would get an STD.”

What exactly is the Age of Aquarius?

The idea of the “Age of Aquarius”–that the vernal equinox is passing from Pisces (the fish) into Aquarius after 2000 years–is the basis of the New Age Movement. The “Christian Age” is passing, and the “New Age” is beginning.

Then there’s the whole 2012 Mayan Calendar thing, and the whole, “We’ll have to redo the calendar to start counting years from Obama” thing.

So I wanted to double check some of the symbolism in all this. Jesus, after all, warns us to read the signs of the times.

Anyway, Aquarius is the “Water Bearer.” It is associated iwth Ganymede, the Cup-Bearer to the Gods, a prince of Troy with whom Zeus, in the form of an eagle, had a homosexual fling and promoted to the rank of divine cup-bearer to keep him handy.

What’s in a name?

The name “Obama,” interestingly enough, is “from the Luo ethnic group of southwestern Kenya,” and it means “bent.” “Barack” is Swahili for “blessed,” and “Hussein” is Arabic for “handsome.” So he’s “blessed,” “handsome” and “bent.”

Interestingly, in the sinless worlds of C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy, the “Bent ones” is the best they can muster for demons-and us–because their language carries no cognate for “evil” or “sin”.

Bigot condemns "bigotry."

Some guy at SFGate.com has written a nice little diatribe against the Catholic Church, full of ad hominems, cliches and 5th rate satire. Typical liberal tropes like calling the Catholic Church’s sexual teachings “bigotry.” He starts with the cliche, “You no playa the game; you no make-a the rules,” a longstanding cliche of Protestants and liberal Catholics that is presented, among other things, in C. S. Lewis’s _The Pilgrim’s Regress_. The more seriously worded form is, of course, “Priests don’t know anything about sex because they’re not married.”

Now, how much the Holy Father, or any other priest, knows about sex is between him and God, but priests learn an awful lot in the confessional if they didn’t in seminary or beforehand.

In any case, priests *do* know desire, and they *do* know chastity. It can be argued that many people have gifts for particular virtues, including chastity. There are many men–including married men–who have no problem with chastity (when married, these men tend to become NFP teachers). They have a natural gift for this virtue, and, like anyone with a natural gift, have a hard time understanding those who don’t have that gift. But that’s another story.

There is also an argumen to be made that marriage, as such, carries challenges that–in the context of NFP–a priest may not fully understand.

Nevertheless, a priest, at least in principle, knows how to be chaste. When a priest says, “You need to live in chastity if you’re not married,” the proper response is not, “You don’t know what sex is like.” The proper response is, “I struggle with this virtue, Father, could you please give me some help, since you are so experienced with it?”

Secondly, this article uses the modern day myth that Jesus was all about compassion. As I’ve said many times, I just don’t get where people come up with that silly idea.

Lastly, it uses the liberal argument that all people are created good, according to Genesis, so whatever people want to do must be good. Yeah, right. The Bible also very clearly states that our first parents, created good by God, abused their freedom and sinned, and that we are all sinners and fall short of the city of God, and that very few people actually make it to Heaven.

Randall Terry petitions Vatican against US Bishops

Operation Rescue founder and Catholic convert Randal Terry has led a delegation to the Vatican which has presented evidence on US bishops who have actively worked to support the pro-life cause, pleading with the Vatican to strip these bishops of their offices.

Liberals fume over Brazil Excommunications

And Brazil’s socialist government criticizes the Church, big deal.

A couple days ago, I watched a rerun of a first season episode of House involving a death row inmate. Cameron, arguing against the death penalty–and shocked that Foreman supports it–says how many more black people are executed then whites, saying it’s a racial thing. He says, “That just means we need to kill more white people.”

They are mad that the mother and abortionist have been excommunicated for aborting the nine-year-old’s unborn babies, but that the abusive stepfather who fathered the children was not punished by the Church.

OK, I’d agree. I think that child molestors should be subject to the death penalty, and to the penalty of excommunication in the Church. But the liberals want to say that child molestation is a worse crime than abortion.

Uh, in one case, a baby (or two, as apparently in this case) is dead.
In other case, a young child is seriously scarred for life but can undergo counseling.

Feminazis are also calling on the Church to pay for the girl’s counseling, and trying to tie this into priest sex abuse–like it’s the Church’s fault her step father abused her!

Come on! First, there’s the whole step-parent issue. Now, media are notoriously inaccurate. Maybe he adopted her. But there is, *in general*, a serious disjoint between steps and children. There are exceptions. One of my best friends is a very loving step father, legally speaking, though father for all intents and purposes. His wife was date-raped years before he met her. For him to legally adopt her daughter would require contacting the biological father for permission. That’s one thing.

But I have to wonder about what the circumstances are under which this fellow was the “step” parent. Was it divorce and remarriage? In that case, both the mother and stepfather should have been excommunicated, anyway. Was it an out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Then that says something about the mother’s judgement.

(Again, rape or date rape would be a separate situation, and given the mother’s obvious proclivities, wouldn’t she have just had an abortion?)

Then the fact that the mother married this loser to begin with.

The feminists are trying to make this woman out to be an innocent victim, and it just doesn’t wash. And if it’s just going to be “the family”, and kept all anonymous, then nobody should be making snap judgements.

St. Teresa of Avila on Relationships

“It is certain that in having need of no one a person has many friends” (Way of Perfection, ch. 2, para. 6)

Here, St. Teresa de Jesus is saying that we have no real friends when our friendships are based upon our needs. When people feel like we’re always out for an angle, they soon lose interest in our friendship. When people know we are more willing to give than receive, then they want to be our friends.
Humorous observation: in one of the _VeggieTales_ episodes where the “letter” is from a student asking how she can get more friends at school, Larry the Cucumber suggests a big bag of candy. Bob the Tomato demurs, but I think, in a way, Larry’s on to something.

NFP Only Doctor Teaches How to Eradicate STDs

Lester A. Ruppersberger, DO, is an OB-Gyn in Langhorne, PA, who has an NFP only practice and helps organize an NFP conference in Philadelphia every year.

“I often tease and say that I should get the Nobel Prize for medicine,” Dr. Ruppersberger said. “I have the cure for every sexually transmitted disease in the world. If we had one full generation that subscribed to chastity and abstinence, then in one generation people who have a disease now would die and the disease would die with them. In the next generation a virgin man marries a virgin woman and they don’t become unfaithful in their marriage. No one would get an STD.”

What exactly is the Age of Aquarius?

The idea of the “Age of Aquarius”–that the vernal equinox is passing from Pisces (the fish) into Aquarius after 2000 years–is the basis of the New Age Movement. The “Christian Age” is passing, and the “New Age” is beginning.

Then there’s the whole 2012 Mayan Calendar thing, and the whole, “We’ll have to redo the calendar to start counting years from Obama” thing.

So I wanted to double check some of the symbolism in all this. Jesus, after all, warns us to read the signs of the times.

Anyway, Aquarius is the “Water Bearer.” It is associated iwth Ganymede, the Cup-Bearer to the Gods, a prince of Troy with whom Zeus, in the form of an eagle, had a homosexual fling and promoted to the rank of divine cup-bearer to keep him handy.

What’s in a name?

The name “Obama,” interestingly enough, is “from the Luo ethnic group of southwestern Kenya,” and it means “bent.” “Barack” is Swahili for “blessed,” and “Hussein” is Arabic for “handsome.” So he’s “blessed,” “handsome” and “bent.”

Interestingly, in the sinless worlds of C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy, the “Bent ones” is the best they can muster for demons-and us–because their language carries no cognate for “evil” or “sin”.

Bigot condemns "bigotry."

Some guy at SFGate.com has written a nice little diatribe against the Catholic Church, full of ad hominems, cliches and 5th rate satire. Typical liberal tropes like calling the Catholic Church’s sexual teachings “bigotry.” He starts with the cliche, “You no playa the game; you no make-a the rules,” a longstanding cliche of Protestants and liberal Catholics that is presented, among other things, in C. S. Lewis’s _The Pilgrim’s Regress_. The more seriously worded form is, of course, “Priests don’t know anything about sex because they’re not married.”

Now, how much the Holy Father, or any other priest, knows about sex is between him and God, but priests learn an awful lot in the confessional if they didn’t in seminary or beforehand.

In any case, priests *do* know desire, and they *do* know chastity. It can be argued that many people have gifts for particular virtues, including chastity. There are many men–including married men–who have no problem with chastity (when married, these men tend to become NFP teachers). They have a natural gift for this virtue, and, like anyone with a natural gift, have a hard time understanding those who don’t have that gift. But that’s another story.

There is also an argumen to be made that marriage, as such, carries challenges that–in the context of NFP–a priest may not fully understand.

Nevertheless, a priest, at least in principle, knows how to be chaste. When a priest says, “You need to live in chastity if you’re not married,” the proper response is not, “You don’t know what sex is like.” The proper response is, “I struggle with this virtue, Father, could you please give me some help, since you are so experienced with it?”

Secondly, this article uses the modern day myth that Jesus was all about compassion. As I’ve said many times, I just don’t get where people come up with that silly idea.

Lastly, it uses the liberal argument that all people are created good, according to Genesis, so whatever people want to do must be good. Yeah, right. The Bible also very clearly states that our first parents, created good by God, abused their freedom and sinned, and that we are all sinners and fall short of the city of God, and that very few people actually make it to Heaven.

Randall Terry petitions Vatican against US Bishops

Operation Rescue founder and Catholic convert Randal Terry has led a delegation to the Vatican which has presented evidence on US bishops who have actively worked to support the pro-life cause, pleading with the Vatican to strip these bishops of their offices.

Understanding the BBC

BBC has a nice anti-Benedict XVI piece called “Understanding the Scholar Pope,” typical liberal condescension. “We can’t stnad his beliefs, so let’s try to see why anyone would think or do the stuff he does that we disagree with. After all, haven’t liberals successfully taken over Everything? Most world governments, most universities, the Main Stream Media, and most of the Vatican Curia? I mean, how can someone like Benedict XVI still be free and breathing and actually practicing the Catholic faith in the Age of Aquarius?”

Liberals fume over Brazil Excommunications

And Brazil’s socialist government criticizes the Church, big deal.

A couple days ago, I watched a rerun of a first season episode of House involving a death row inmate. Cameron, arguing against the death penalty–and shocked that Foreman supports it–says how many more black people are executed then whites, saying it’s a racial thing. He says, “That just means we need to kill more white people.”

They are mad that the mother and abortionist have been excommunicated for aborting the nine-year-old’s unborn babies, but that the abusive stepfather who fathered the children was not punished by the Church.

OK, I’d agree. I think that child molestors should be subject to the death penalty, and to the penalty of excommunication in the Church. But the liberals want to say that child molestation is a worse crime than abortion.

Uh, in one case, a baby (or two, as apparently in this case) is dead.
In other case, a young child is seriously scarred for life but can undergo counseling.

Feminazis are also calling on the Church to pay for the girl’s counseling, and trying to tie this into priest sex abuse–like it’s the Church’s fault her step father abused her!

Come on! First, there’s the whole step-parent issue. Now, media are notoriously inaccurate. Maybe he adopted her. But there is, *in general*, a serious disjoint between steps and children. There are exceptions. One of my best friends is a very loving step father, legally speaking, though father for all intents and purposes. His wife was date-raped years before he met her. For him to legally adopt her daughter would require contacting the biological father for permission. That’s one thing.

But I have to wonder about what the circumstances are under which this fellow was the “step” parent. Was it divorce and remarriage? In that case, both the mother and stepfather should have been excommunicated, anyway. Was it an out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Then that says something about the mother’s judgement.

(Again, rape or date rape would be a separate situation, and given the mother’s obvious proclivities, wouldn’t she have just had an abortion?)

Then the fact that the mother married this loser to begin with.

The feminists are trying to make this woman out to be an innocent victim, and it just doesn’t wash. And if it’s just going to be “the family”, and kept all anonymous, then nobody should be making snap judgements.

St. Teresa of Avila on Providence

“Never seek sustenance through human schemes, for you will die of hunger–and rightly so. Your eyes on your Spouse! He will sustain you. Once He is pleased, those least devoted to you will give you food even though they may not want to, as you have seen through experience. . . . God wants some to have an income, and in their case it’s all right for the mto worry about their income since that goes with their vocation” (The Way of Perfection, Chapter 2, paragraph 1).

Obviously, St. Teresa is addressing her Sisters in this work. I’m presently on my third reading of The Way of Perfection, and this is the first time it has really spoken to me. The first time, I got nothing from it, for several reasons. Part of it is her somewhat “rambling” style and her constant insistence that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Another was that, since it was written to nuns, I didn’t see how it applied to me. After I began attending OCDS meetings 10 years ago, and after I’d become more formally versed in Carmelite spirituality, I read it again. That time, I got a little more from it, but not much.

This time, it’s really opening up to me.

Anyway, obviously, laity should have a concern about income–St. Francis de Sales says something similar in _Introduction to the Devout Life_. However, St. Teresa’s words about trusting God over human schemes should be followed by every Christian. It is the theme of the entire Bible. When the book of Hebrews talks about “faith” and interprets the Old Testament as a story of how those who have “faith” will be “justified,” it really is talking about *trust*.

The “faith” that gets one “justified” is not faith that God exists; it is faith that God will fulfill His promises.

I also find that, while the lay vocation is to endeavour, we still have to get things from people. When she says, “those least devoted to you will give you food,” that doesn’t just apply to monasteries seeking donors. It also applies, for example, to laymen praying for jobs and getting employed by very anti-Christian employers. It applies to laymen praying for financial assistance and receiving discount offers in the mail, unexpected refunds, etc.

There is a principle I call “plundering the Egyptians,” after Ex. 3:21-22: “I will even make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that, when you leave, you will not go empty-handed. Every woman shall ask her neighbor and her house guest for silver and gold articles and for clothing to put on your sons and daughters. Thus you will despoil the Egyptians.”

People give us stuff, even when we don’t need it (and we redonate that). Random people give us their cast-off toys and clothes. One time, we walked into a Golden Corral, right as a thunderstorm was starting. Lightning struck, and the power went out for a second. The registeres went down, so they hand-wrote our tab and said the manager would come by when the computers were up. The manager came by. “It’s on the house,” he said.

A couple other times, we’ve had coupons wrung up wrong. We’ve gone up to point out the error, that we were given an extra free meal, or whatever, and the manager said. “Don’t worry about it.”

Funny: I came across this verse last year, and it really struck me. I haven’t seriously researched it, though. I just did a Google search to find the citation, and, it turns out, there’s a great deal of literature out there about it.

Interestingly enough, here’s a fellow who came across a similar reading of the same passage, arguing that God uses the excesses of non-believers to provide “scraps” for His followers to glean from, and that the world owes it to us for its persecutions. Also important is that Egypt persecuted Israel for “overpopulation.” The Egyptians’ wealth was gained through contraception, which, historically, they invented.

St. Augustine interpreted the passage spiritually to defend the idea of Christians finding worth in pagan myths and pagan philosophy.

Look to Dietrich von Hildebrand and Karl Adam for help on the SSPX Situation

In response to the March 10 letter to the bishops by Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J., writes at First Things about “Benedict’s Vatican II Hermeneutic”. He says that it is impossible to view the Council without seeing it as a “break” with at least some aspects of the Church’s past.
Meanwhile, Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, has issued a press release, in which he commits the Society to viewing the Second Vatican Council in a manner that is continuous with the great tradition of the Church and not as a break from it.

In these discussions, it would seem helpful for everyone to read–as L’Osservatore Romano recommended in the early 1970s–Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Trojan Horse in the City of God.

While there are particular issues–particularly teachings on Church/State relations and the “responsible parenting” innovation–which are difficult to grapple, many of the aspects of Vatican II can be summed up in von Hildebrand’s explanation:

There is a difference between incomplete truth and falsehood. The Church sometimes emphasizes one particular truth at the expense of others. And sometimes the Church realizes she hasn’t been expressing a particular truth *at all*, and She expands the scope of her teachings. To progressives, the Church prior to the Council was in a state of error, and the Council was about getting rid of the errors. To tradical Traditionalists, the Church *after* the Council is in a state of error. To “conservatives,” the Council expanded the scope of the Church’s truth.

Another work by a German theologian which helps explain Vatican II is The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam–a book loved by progressives and conservatives alike. Adam establishes the difference between the “theological” and the “psychological” (today, this is sometimes called “personalism,” IIRC). For example, how do we treat non-Christian religions?

Well, from what Adam calls a “theological” perspectives, other religions are false. They have no power, in and of themselves, to provide salvation. Only the Catholic Church has the full power to give salvation to its members, and only the Catholic Church has the fullness of God’s truth (though other religions have varying degrees of truth).

OTOH, what Adam calls the “psychological” perspective is that which pertains to the individual *person*, for whome exceptions and such may apply.

For example, there are documents from the Church have emphasized the members of other religions cannot be saved. Adam calls this the “theological” perspective: *insofar as* a Muslim is a member of the religion Islam, he or she cannot get into Heaven, because Islam has no power to save.
Conversely, the *psychological* perspective is the principle of baptism of desire: the individual Muslim may have such deep faith in God, and such a willingness to serve God that, despite his ignorance or outright rejection of Catholicism, the individual Muslim can still be saved–not through Islam but through the generosity of the Church, which extends to him an extra-ordinary grace.

Bill Clinton: Fertilized embryos should not be used for research

It’s been reported by “The Lady in the Pew,” and passed along by the Curt Jester and Inside Catholic: Bill Clinton has said that he does not agree with research on embryos “that could become fertilized and become human beings.” It was in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who did not correct Clinton’s biological errors.

In the clip, Clinton says he thinks scientific research has become “too politicized,” and he applauds President Obama’s efforts to reverse that. However, he says we should still be free to discuss ethical issues that are involved in any scientific research. He talks about embryos “being fertilized and becoming little babies.” I *think* he’s confusing fertilization with implantation-an obvious result of the Left’s constant use of euphemisms and hair-splitting.

Also, he’s referring to the whole “blighted ovum”/”let’s make an embryo that’s basically a ‘blighted ovum'” thing: creating embryos that, if they were in the womb, would die in miscarriage, so “We can kill them anyway.”

Either way, Clinton is betraying his own intellectual dishonesty and undermining the fundamental tenets of his pro-choice allies, by saying that an embryo which can survive in the mother’s womb is “a little baby.”

Here’s the link to the video on CNN’s website. This video clip needs to be all over the place. It’s amazing!

St. Teresa of Avila on Providence

“Never seek sustenance through human schemes, for you will die of hunger–and rightly so. Your eyes on your Spouse! He will sustain you. Once He is pleased, those least devoted to you will give you food even though they may not want to, as you have seen through experience. . . . God wants some to have an income, and in their case it’s all right for the mto worry about their income since that goes with their vocation” (The Way of Perfection, Chapter 2, paragraph 1).

Obviously, St. Teresa is addressing her Sisters in this work. I’m presently on my third reading of The Way of Perfection, and this is the first time it has really spoken to me. The first time, I got nothing from it, for several reasons. Part of it is her somewhat “rambling” style and her constant insistence that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Another was that, since it was written to nuns, I didn’t see how it applied to me. After I began attending OCDS meetings 10 years ago, and after I’d become more formally versed in Carmelite spirituality, I read it again. That time, I got a little more from it, but not much.

This time, it’s really opening up to me.

Anyway, obviously, laity should have a concern about income–St. Francis de Sales says something similar in _Introduction to the Devout Life_. However, St. Teresa’s words about trusting God over human schemes should be followed by every Christian. It is the theme of the entire Bible. When the book of Hebrews talks about “faith” and interprets the Old Testament as a story of how those who have “faith” will be “justified,” it really is talking about *trust*.

The “faith” that gets one “justified” is not faith that God exists; it is faith that God will fulfill His promises.

I also find that, while the lay vocation is to endeavour, we still have to get things from people. When she says, “those least devoted to you will give you food,” that doesn’t just apply to monasteries seeking donors. It also applies, for example, to laymen praying for jobs and getting employed by very anti-Christian employers. It applies to laymen praying for financial assistance and receiving discount offers in the mail, unexpected refunds, etc.

There is a principle I call “plundering the Egyptians,” after Ex. 3:21-22: “I will even make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that, when you leave, you will not go empty-handed. Every woman shall ask her neighbor and her house guest for silver and gold articles and for clothing to put on your sons and daughters. Thus you will despoil the Egyptians.”

People give us stuff, even when we don’t need it (and we redonate that). Random people give us their cast-off toys and clothes. One time, we walked into a Golden Corral, right as a thunderstorm was starting. Lightning struck, and the power went out for a second. The registeres went down, so they hand-wrote our tab and said the manager would come by when the computers were up. The manager came by. “It’s on the house,” he said.

A couple other times, we’ve had coupons wrung up wrong. We’ve gone up to point out the error, that we were given an extra free meal, or whatever, and the manager said. “Don’t worry about it.”

Funny: I came across this verse last year, and it really struck me. I haven’t seriously researched it, though. I just did a Google search to find the citation, and, it turns out, there’s a great deal of literature out there about it.

Interestingly enough, here’s a fellow who came across a similar reading of the same passage, arguing that God uses the excesses of non-believers to provide “scraps” for His followers to glean from, and that the world owes it to us for its persecutions. Also important is that Egypt persecuted Israel for “overpopulation.” The Egyptians’ wealth was gained through contraception, which, historically, they invented.

St. Augustine interpreted the passage spiritually to defend the idea of Christians finding worth in pagan myths and pagan philosophy.