Monthly Archives: April 2010

I’m confused

In a recent Inside Catholic piece, John Zmirak discusses the case of “Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos — now the second-most hated cardinal in the Church, after Bernard Cardinal Law.”

Meawhile, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has responded to the New York Times’s defense of its collaboration with Archbishop Rembert Weakland, OSB.

Donohue observes that Weakland,

not only sought to punish whistle-blowers─he ripped off the archdiocese to settle a sexual assault lawsuit brought by his 53-year old male lover. I added that because Weakland was a champion of liberal causes, the media were giving him a pass for his delinquency in not contacting the Vatican about Murphy for two decades. Hoyt has now joined the chorus.

Which raises the question:

Why are these two men hated


While these three men, arguably responsible for the most egregious acts of facilitation of sexually predatory priests,

are not only *not* hated, but still respected by the mainstream media and members of the Church?

Here’s an early childhood center named for Cardinal Bernardin!

Could this be the reason?

These guys have done their job of kowtowing to the power brokers. They’ve got the support of the gay activists. They’ve got the support of the liberal parishioners.

Meanwhile, those regarded as “conservative” will be targeted for *anything*–including an ultra liberal liturgical innovator and Kennedy collaborator like Bernard Law.

Look at how they are also eager to target bishops like Bruskewitz and Vasa for not towing the party line, even while such bishops have stricter policies than anyone else.

“Bravi, Bravi, Bravissimi!”–I call *trilogy*!!!

WOW!
WOW!
WOW!!!

OK, I was highly resistant to the idea of a _Phantom_ sequel, but it was too good to resist, and, after a month of looking in stores, I finally found _Love Never Dies_ on CD Monday, and I listened to it today. . . . .

WOW!

How dare I question the Master?

Andrew, Lord Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton, has done it.

Amazing.

Setup:
First, like all Lloyd Webber musicals, it begins in the future (not sure when; haven’t read the libretto). Madame Giry and someone else (I think Meg) are speaking. Then the overture, the “Coney Island Waltz,” plays. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with this melody when it premiered in October, and it’s one of the few previews we’ve gotten. It’s a tad nauseating. But it works in context. Strangely, where most ALW shows have “gone back in time” after the overture, there are a few more lines in “the present” until they overtly take us into the flashback.

OK, Coney Island has just opened. It’s the very first day. The amusement park has been constructed in just one year by the mysterious “Mr. Y,” who rarely appears in public and, when he does, wears a mask. . . .

The star attraction at Coney Island is Meg Giry, the “Bathing Beauty.” Meg is the Phantom’s new protege, and trying to win his affection. She and her mother have been serving him these ten years, helped him escape Paris, etc.

Low expectations blown away:
1) I expected, as in the dreadful book _Phantom of Manhattan_, that the Gustave-producing incident occurred *during* the events of the original story, totally negating the significance of the kiss at the ending. No. There is technically no retconning involved here. The musical clearly explains how the Phantom and Christine reunited for one night “beneath a moonless sky”–the night before her wedding to Raoul–and, this time, he left her.
2) Also unlike Frederick Forsythe’s travesty, this story plays on the doubt regarding Gustave’s paternity. He is extremely good-looking, suggesting the blend of Christine and Raoul, yet he is extremely musical as well, as well as a gifted prodigy in other ways (this *is* from Forsythe’s book, where the boy is a gifted engineer).
3) Reuse melodies. OK, no reprise of the most famous 3 tunes, except for the bass-riff of “Phantom of the Opera.” Actually, the one I would have liked to have heard, at the climax, was “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.” But they do reuse a few pieces, to great effect.
The first noticeable involves a music box. Of course, as soon as a music box is mentioned, you expect “Masquerade,” but it’s actually “Point of No Return,” quite hauntingly done. And the verse melody of same is sung during the climax, but without the refrain. The incidental music ALW wrote for the 2004 movie is used prominently here, I think even with lyrics. There is a stirring reprise of “Twisted Every Way,” with the bit of “Prima Donna” melody that comes after it, but this time, it is Erik “the Phantom” (or “Mr. Y”), singing “Christine, Christine, don’t think that I don’t care, but every hope-every prayer rests on you now!” Then, in one of the scenes leading up to the climax, there’s a poignant reprise of “Little Lotte” and a few other dialogue tunes from the “first part” ending in the aforementioned use of “Point of No Return.”
4) Recitative: ALW has developed a penchant for writing mostly in rather atonal recitative–_Aspects of Love_ and _Woman in White_ are the biggest examples of this. Don’t know _The Beautiful Game_/_Boys in the Photograph_ well enough. But I was wondering if he was capable of melody. Certainly he’s shown a declining capacity for writing “songs.”
5) The title song is a melody that’s already become familiar to ALW fans. I’ve been listening to its original incarnation, “The Heart is Slow to Learn,” for over ten years. However, despite that fact, and even despite the YouTube video of
“Love Never Dies” live, the recording is AMAZING. I’m not sure what the highest notes are, but I daresay that Sarah Brightman could not sing it. I recently read how the high note at the end of of the song “Phantom of the Opera” is the highest she’s ever been recorded singing.
So, even though the melody was familiaar (and it’s only used once), it is executed.
The other main song, “Till I Hear You Sing Once More” is used perhaps a tad too much but still powerful enough to carry the show.

St. Teresa of Avila on how God doesn’t need numbers

In our democratically minded culture, truth is often defined by numbers. The Church is constantly being pressured to “catch up with the times,” to stop teaching the Truth in favor of accepting the majority opinion of the world stage.

Bishops and pastor’s often seem to measure the Church’s “success” on how many people are filling the pews and how many dollars are filling the collection baskets, fearing to teach the truth lest they drive people way.

And those of us who try to speak the unadulterated truth of the Gospel and of the Natural Law in the public sphere are told we must compromise for fear of “alienating” people. We’re told to “dialogue.”

Here’s what St. Teresa de Jesus has to say:

“Oh, the greatness of God, for sometimes one or two men alone can do more when they speak the truth than many together! Little by little, souls discover again the way; God gives them courage. If they are told there is danger in prayer, one of these servants of God will strive, if not in words then in deeds, to make known how good prayer is. If they are told taht frequent Communion is not good, he will receive more frequently. Thus, since there are one or two who fearlessly do what is best, the Lord at once begins to win back gradually the ground that was lost” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 21, para. 9).

Also interesting in that she says the best way to convince people is to provide an uncompromising example, both in our words and in our deeds.

Consolations have Consequences

. . . or else they just come when we need them to prepare for disaster.

I hate consolations, because they almost always mean spiritual attack. Whether God sends them when He knows the Enemy is going to strike, or whether Satan attacks when God sends them, the result is the same.

I read the following passage from The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena in my Western Civ. reader, and I’ve always found it illustrative of this point:

Then the soul was restless and aflame with tremendous desire because of the unspeakable love she had conceived in God’s great goodness when she had come to see and know the expanse of his charity. How tenderly he had deigned to answer her petitions and give her hope in her bitterness–bitterness over God’s being offended and holy Church’s being ravaged, and bitterness over her own wretchedness, which she saw through the knowledge of herself! Her bitterness was softened and at the same time grew, for the supreme eternal Father, now that he had shown her the way of perfection, was showing in a new light how he was being offended and souls were being harmed.

Of course the passage has a twofold meaning, which tells us the twofold “danger” of consolations:

1) They strengthen us against the despair of dealing with this hate-filled world. We’re never allowed to stay in them. Sometimes, the Enemy’s attacks come almost simultaneous to the consolations themselves.

2) As St. Teresa of Avila tells us, because “much is demanded of those to whom much is given,” consolations always come with an obligation to improve our own behavior.

The Chickens have come home to roost

I never understood exactly what that expression means, but I think it applies to this fine article from US Catholic.

In this piece, one Christina Capecchi, a columnist who allegedly writes for young adult Catholics but thinks like a baby boomer, discusses the distressing trend of change among “new priests.”

You see, for decades, we’ve heard that “traditionalists” are just “old fogeys” who can’t cope with change, who can’t stand the fact that young people think differently than they do, that the Church is changing, etc. They’re just “overly attached” to the “old Mass” because it’s “all they’ve ever known,” etc.

Yet now, as the writing is on the wall for the era of Liturgical Experimentation, the Boomers are now complaining about things changing from the way that is familiar to *them*, that they aren’t comfortable with these “young priests” who actually dress and act and speak like Catholic priests.

Of course, the article contains the usual bugaboo that theses conservative young priests come from “sheltered” backgrounds. “Many of them were homeschooled!” (GASP!) And of course they’re “not pastoral.” Even though, in my experience, the “stuffy conservative” priests are far more eager to actually minister to their parishioners than the “easy going,” “friendly” “golf shirt wearing” priests —indeed, why do they wear golf shirts? So they can play golf!

Then we get the reference to an older priest–himself a Dominican–wearing an Obama T-shirt while his young assistant pastor supports Palin. On how many levels is that wrong? He’s a Dominican, so he has the opportunity to wear the beautiful Dominican habit, and he turns it down for an Obama T-shirt?

Perhaps someone should point out to this priest what happened to Andrew Greeley while he was wearing an Obama hat. . . .

Security Moms Scare Me

There is a bit of conventional wisdom and pop psychology, often proven in debate that women, in general, argue emotions while men argue logic.

It is how the reprehensible expression “I feel” has permeated our discourse.

The anti-war movement of the late 60s and early 70s coincided with the modern feminist movement, and was largely driven by emotion.

Obviously, both sides of the abortion issue are driven by emotion.

Ironically, though, in the past 8.5 years of American politics, a new form of emotion is developing vis-a-vis a war. While we still have the Cindy Sheehans of the world, and while we have plenty of women lamenting the deaths of people in the wars, and wanting the soldiers home, we have also seen the rise of the “security mom” as a force in American politics.

Now, the shrieking mothers who want their sons home are counterbalanced by shrieking mothers who say their sons are being dishonored by the anti-war movement.

Now, instead of worrying about the poor children who are being slaughtered by unjust war practices in Iraq, the women are basing their political decisions on irrational fears of protecting *their* children from “another 9/11.”

And that’s what scares me. The “security mom” movement is very self-centered. It’s “My kids.” So often, the “argument” thrown at me in discussions of the war, or Torture, or the Patriot act, is “I’d hate to be one of your children, if you don’t think they should be protected.”

Of course, I never said any such thing. I don’t understand how spreading our military too thin on interventionist wars in other people’s countries is keeping *us* safe. I don’t see how ringing up a multi-billion dollar tab in defense spending is protecting our kids’ future, especially when that tab is putting us deeper in debt to Communist China and Saudi Arabia, a debt that they will one day call?

I don’t see how allowing our government to torture suspects or violate other basic constitutional rights in the name of “fighting terrorism” is protecting my children at all, when history–and actual documents of the Clinton and Obama administrations–prove that liberals think all pro-lifers are “terrorists.”

But these arguments make no dent in the wall of self-centered emotionalism that is the “security mom”. It’s just angry invectives, personal insults and, ultimately, getting “defriended” or banned from the forum.

A typical security mom type defriended me a while back. This particular individual and I had disagreed on a number of Facebook discussions. The first time was a discussion of eschatology, where I was pointing out that the popular conception of “Heaven” is wrong, incompatible with Catholic teaching: we believe in the resurrection of the Body, and that will happen at the *end* of the world, as described in Revelation. I referred to St. Thomas Aquinas’ observation that what we call “heaven,” will be our true exile. This woman accused me of heresy, and kept citing passages from the Catechism that said exactly what I was saying but insisted they refuted me. She also told me that Catholics aren’t allowed to read the Book of Revelation.

Later, in a discussion of waterboarding, she hit me with the “I’d hate to be one of your children” thing, and said my anti-waterboarding position was evil. Though that didn’t also stop her from making the comment that “there are only a few intrinsic evils: abortion, ESCR, and homosexual marriage,” citing the infamous “Faithful Citizenship” documente from the USCCB. I pointed out that a) there are *plenty* of “intrinsic evils” and b) in _Veritatis Splendor_, torture is listed under the *definition* of intrinsic evil.

Then this led to her citing the fact that Cardinal Ratzinger said it’s OK for Catholics to vote for politicians who support the war (there’s a big difference for voting for them and cheering on the waterboarders), and that I was not even Catholic. . ..

Now, on my side, I frequently point out to these folks that they sound just like pro-choice Catholics, the way they manipulate Church teaching to justify their position and ignore the documents that are uncomfortable to them.

That leads to either or both.

They borrow Rush Limbaugh’s line, “You’re just a liberal pretending to be a conservative” (funny, since conservatives *used* to be the anti-war party).

Or, they say, “How DARE you compare an INNOCENT BABY to a TERRORIST!”

Technically, I didn’t compare an innocent baby to a terrorist–I compared our soldiers and CIA operatives to abortionists.

Nowhere does the Church say that “innocence” is a standard for the Right to Life. The Church says that it is justifiable–i.e., not a sin, but not virtuous, either–to kill someone in self defense if you have tried all other reasonable means and your goal is not to kill that person but to stop them from doing evil.

But there’s no use in arguing with a security mom, because they are driven by raw emotion, and not by logic. They’ll list “Catholic” politicians who support the war as evidence their position is OK, just as Democrat voters list “Catholic” politicians who are pro-choice. And they don’t see how they’re doing the same thing.

And so, in their zeal for immediate protection against an imagined threat, they facilitate the government in laying the groundwork to round up Catholics, or homeschoolers, or pro-lifers, or whatever dissenting group they want to wipe out.

J. K. Rowling was lying . . .

When she insisted, early on, that the Harry Potter books should not be read in a search for Christian themes, and that they should not be compared to the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkein.

Earlier today, I came across this article, from MTV no less, and actually almost 3 years old, where Rowling talks about the Christian themes of the books, and how she didn’t want to reveal them too early in the series for fear of coloring the reading and giving away the ending. She mentions the explicit Christian references in _The Deathly Hallows_–the references Mary’s been talking about since she read it–as evidence.

Here’s an article from Christianity Today, a few months before that interview, where the reviewer catches on.

Also, despite what Michael O’Brien and other Fundamentalists-in-Catholic clothing would have you believe, the Pope never “condemned” the books. Before he was Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger received a book some German woman wrote on the Harry Potter books, and occultism in popular culture in general. He wrote a polite response back, saying it’s important to guard our children against the occult. He never explicitly said that Harry Potter was a source of the occult.

And many also cite Fr. Gabriel Amorth’s statements on the subject. I’ve read statements where he said Harry Potter was evil, and I’ve also read where he said it was harmless fantasy. In either case, he admits he’s never read the books himself. He’s just basing it on the idea that people *can become interested in the occult by reading such books*, and I have no disagreement with that risk. But if the risk of that was enough to warrant censorship, then I guess we shouldn’t read the Bible, since a lot of people become interested in the occult from reading the Bible!

Saint Teresa of Avila on those who minimize the importance of prayer

“Should anyone tell you that prayer is dangerous, consider him the real danger and run from him” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 21, para. 7).

“I’ve bought your soul for God.”

I originally heard this joke in early 2008, so I’m changing the names.

Nancy Pelosi and Ron Paul are walking down the streets of DC. They see a homeless man. Ron Paul walks over, hands the guy $20, and says, “I’m Representative Ron Paul, MD. Here’s my card. Meet me in my office tomorrow at 2 PM, and I’ll help you find a job.”

Pelosi says, “That’s a great idea!”

So, a little while later, they pass another homeless man, and Pelosi walks up and says, “Hi! I’m Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi! Here’s a brochure about welfare!” Then she pulls $20 out of Ron Paul’s pocket and gives it to the homeless man.

Last week, our parish had a mission given by a Fransican priest, Fr. Roderic Petri, and I bought one of his books, a meditation on the Gospel of Matthew. In the passage on “Build up your treasure in Heaven,” he told the following story:

A woman came to Heaven. St. Peter said, “Let me show you to your house.” They walked all through Heaven and passed many glorious mansions and palaces. At the end of Heaven, they came to a small hovel. “Here you go!” Said St. Peter.
“This is it?” The woman asked.

“That’s all we can do with the money you gave us over the years.”

True story I read somewhere told by Douglas Gresham:
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkein were walking through the streets of Oxford. They passed a beggar. Lewis pulled all the cash he had out of his pocket and gave it to the beggar.

“Why’d you do that?” Tolkein asked. “The man is just going to spend it on drink!”
Lewis shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s all I was going to spend it on!”

“I sometimes get tired of answering the door, knowing that the they’re just going to take the money and spend it on booze. But I know the one day I don’t answer the door, it’s going to be Jesus.”
–Rev. Fr. Gregory Kirsch, JCL, VF, in the 1980s.

Scott Hahn once told a story on _Mother Angelica Live_ that a priest friend told him. This priest had visited Rome, and had a “private” dinner with John Paul II. Between visits to St. Peter’s Basilica, he passed a beggar who looked familiar. So he approached the beggar. They got to talking, and it turned out they had gone to seminary together. This beggar had fallen away from the Church.

So the priest said, “Come with me. You’re going with me to see the Pope.”
The beggar protested. The priest said, “I’m not going to dinner with the Pope without you.”
They went to the priest’s hotel room, where the beggar showered, and his former classmate gave him some fresh clothes.
They went to dinner with the Pope. The priest explained his friend’s story. The Pope asked for privacy [the cable fizzled out when he said whether they left the room or sent everyone else out]. John Paul II fell down on his knees before the beggar and said, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. . . . . ”

The beggar said, “Holy Father, I am no longer a priest! And you would have me hear your confession?”

“‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek!'”

“But I’m not in good standing with the Church!”
“I’m the Pope! If I say you’re in good standing, you’re in good standing!”
So this beggar heard the confession of the Pope. Then the Pope heard *his* confession. Then they returned to the dinner party.
“Father,” said JPII. “Tomorrow I want you to report to Fr. X at St. Y parish, and start a ministry to your fellow beggars.”

Mary just read a similar story tonight in abook regarding a man who helped a beggar who turned out to be a Johns Hopkins surgeon who had fallen on hard times. The man not only helped him materially, but shared God’s love with the man. He said it was the first time in years anyone had shown him human affection. The narrator even checked up with Hopkins to see if this fellow was a real doctor. Sometime later, he got a message from the former beggar, who had been able to get his life in order and return to his medical practice.

One Saturday morning, my dad came home from morning Mass with a couple he had met in the parking lot. They lived in North Carolina and had run out of money. They’d come to the parish for help.

My parents welcomed them in, served them breakfast, conversed with them, and then paid for their gas back to North Carolina and helped them find their way to the highway. Several months later, they received a Christmas card from this couple.

Another time, we were having a party, and a fellow came to the gate, asking for help. He had a very unlikely story, but my dad helped him. Everyone said Dad was being foolish, that the guy was probably a con artist.

“So what?” Dad said. “Why should that destroy my act of charity?”
Later that evening, the guy came *back*. Dad said, “Listen, this is all the cash I have in the house, so please don’t come back again . I don’t know if you’re lying to me or not, but I’m a Christian, and I’m doing this for Christ.”

A few days later, that very guy was arrested for grift, and his picture was in the paper. The police offered to give back money to the guy’s victims. People asked dad if he was going to claim his money.
“Why would I cancel out my act of charity?”

Victor Hugo wrote _Les Miserables_ because he was inspired by a true story he read in the paper: how the Bishop of Digne had entertained a known thief in his home, and, when the thief robbed him, the bishop came to the thief’s defense and said he had given the silver as a gift.

“I have bought your soul for God,” says the bishop in Hugo’s fictionalized account of the event.

I take very seriously Jesus’ words about almsgiving, both about doing it and about keeping it secret, unless we need to pay by card or check. Even If I won the lottery, I’d still put my $1000 in the collection basket as cash, with no enveloped. I don’t like the idea of saying you’re a “Catholic in good standing” if the Church can keep track of your donations in an envelope. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

So I don’t like talking or writing about the charity I do, except to say that I always find that, a) if I pray for a chance to help someone (e.g., it’s a Friday, and I want to eat meat), God grants the opportunity; or b) if I happen to see someone in need at the time I’m praying for some particular intention, I usually get the prayer answered.

The most blatant example was when I’d been waiting to hear about getting my first and only full time job, as an admissions officer at Strayer University online. I was supposed to start on Monday, and it was Friday, and I knew this was my last chance. We passed a beggar on the road, and bought him lunch. No sooner had we handed the guy the bag, than the phone rang, and I got the job.

So, this evening, we had a profound opportunity to help some people. These people were either totally sincere, or else they were the best con artists in the world and deserve the money for their fine performance.

I mean, we’ve been where they were-not quite as bad, but we have had to seek help from people plenty of times in our lives. And where would we be if they thought we were just con artists telling an elaborate made-up story?

Indeed, to make a political point and round out a bit, we’ve received a great deal of help from friends who are Ron Paul supporters.

So we helped these folks, but we did more than that. I took time to tell them *our* story, to tell them we were helping from our own limited resources, and that we were performing an act of self-sacrificing love. And I told them some of the stories I’ve recounted in this post, and I told them my beliefs about prayer and providence, and about the powerful miracles I’ve experienced in my life.

Then, as we were parting, I took of the San Damiano crucifix I was wearing (We have a bunch of them–Mary bought them for her first Catholic school class and never passed them out), and gave it to the guy. I pulled out the copy of Hide Me In Your Wounds I keep in the van to pray to, and handed it to him.

I said, “Don’t worry about paying me back. Here’s what I want you to do. Wear this crucifix. Do you have a CD player?” He said they did. I said, “Listen to this CD *every day* for a year.”
“I will,” he said.
“And lastly, over the next few days, please pray very intensely for me to get get a good full time job.”

Attacking a person’s chastity through cursing: the evils of the F-word.

`I read somewhere recently that the MPAA decided it’s OK to have the “F-word” in PG-13 films if it’s not used in a sexual context. Then, the other day, a friend mentioned in a Facebook status how an internet discussion had devolved to someone telling him to go “F—” himself, and I got to thinking about this word in the context of blasphemy and cursing.

Let’s first consider the word itself. Literally, the word is a verb referring to the human sexual act. So far as I know, it is the only verb in English that specifically refers to this act. There are many nouns that refer to the sexual act, and many of them are quite polite: the sexual act, intercourse, coitus, and so forth. Yet there is no verb. Every other verb is a metaphor. The word that comes closest, often used interchangeably with the “F-Word”, is itself a metaphor and even in its pejorative meaning does not necessarily refer to anything sexual.

Indeed, this convergeance of the two words adds to the offense of the “F-word,” because it is often used in a manner that degrades sexuality.

The sexual act is referred to mostly by metaphor or euphemism for several reasons, which are the same reasons we clothe our private parts. One is, of course, to protect purity, particularly the purity of children, but of other adults as well. It is also done to avoid vulgarity-speaking of common things that are a little gross (i.e., it is polite to speak of food and eating, but it is not generally polite to speak of chewing or digesting). Thirdly, it is to guard the sanctity of sexuality.

There is little need in polite conversation to refer to sexuality with a verb. For those situations, the common use of a helper verb and noun form will do: “to have sexual relations,” for example, or just “to have sex.” The shorthand of an active verb is unnecessary in any context other than marriage itself.

So, under those considerations alone, and focusing on the MPAA ruling, it would seem to be the opposite. To use the “F word” as a sexual verb is to use it in its proper context. For the MPAA to keep that usage under an “R” limitation is to admit that it’s wrong to talk explicitly of sex in a film, and thus verify my greatest complaint against the Transformers films, that the explicit terms used in those films should not be in PG-13 movies.

Instead, the MPAA has said it’s OK to use this word merely as an expletive.

Now, let’s stop to consider something else. Think about the formulation, “Oh, $@#%”–insert word here. If this expression were listed in a thesaurus, the thesaurus would provide a list of “synonyms” which could be used in place of the symbols. Among those synonyms would be a word referring to human sexuality, a list of names and titles of God, and at least two words referring to excrement. It is hoped that the use of the Lord’s Name in such situations is at least partially meant as a prayer. But in literal usage, the expression, with its interchangeability, equates the Lord’s Name and the sexual act with excrement.

That in an of itself would seem to be a far worse usage of the word than to use it in its literal meaning.

Now, with these considerations in mind, let us consider the sinfulness of the use of this word, particularly in the other context I mentioned above.

The word refers to the sexual act. At its best, the use of the word violates the privacy and intimacy of the act. In most usages, it disparages and cheapens the act, and at its worst, it refers to the act as something negative.

So, in all those senses, the use of the word, except possibly in a marital context (and even then it seems inappropriate), is a violation of the Sixth Commandment.

Secondly, the word is referring disparagingly of the human body and could be interpreted, in that sense alone, as a violation of the Fifth Commandment.

Yet the violation is more direct when the word is used against another person in an act of name calling or cursing.

Our Dear Lord is very clear in Matthew 5:22 that to curse someone, to verbally abuse someone, is to violate the fifth commandment. It’s spiritual assault. In some ways, it can be worse than physical assault or even murder, as it can do great damage to the soul.

And, of course, as I’ve said many times. Fr. Gabriel Amorth says the most common cause of demonic possession is people using the words “damn” and “hell” in the wrong ways (or, worse, the right ones), literally invoking Satan to curse the person, object, place, situation or action.

To curse is literally to curse, and it violates both the first commandment (by paying worship to Satan rather than God, and by claiming God’s right to judge), as well as the third.

I find it puzzling that people will say, when they use the name or title of God, or use the “h” word or the “d” word as expletives, “I didn’t mean anything by it.” Well, of course, and that’s what it means to “Take the Lord’s name in vain.”

Of course, personal intention is a key factor in whether a sin is mortal or venial, but that’s not the issue right now.

So, to use the “F” word as an assault against the person, either in the form my friend experienced, or else in the form of some kind of name calling, is really to violate at least four commandments in some respects, and to violate one of them in two respects. It is, precisely, to curse someone, and to curse that person in a very specific way, by attacking his or her chastity. In short, it’s

There is no such thing as a priest shortage; just an overabundance of false Catholics

A kind commentor replied to a post from over a year ago, and I kind of like what I wrote in it (slightly modified):

You see, our hedonistic culture is not producing enough priests to staff many inner city parishes, and our money-grubbing laity aren’t giving enough money to support these parishes and ‘necessary social services.’ So, the bishops have no choice but to consolidate them. This is seen as entirely the fault of ‘the Church’–yet the liberal laity who like to say ‘We are Church’ won’t take any of the blame.

. . .
The reason why these Churches are closing is that “Catholic” laity have adopted the heresy of Americanism, and are choosing materialism and social acceptance over their faith. They treat the Church as a matter of culture and family tradition, and nothing more. They have no interest in an actual relationship with Jesus. They’re not encouraging their sons to be priests; they’re not even having kids. They fornicate, contracept, vote for anti-family politicians, shop and watch football and play golf on Sundays, curse like sailors, fill their minds with the filth of our culture, then come to church every now and then to listen to the Peter, Paul and Mary impersonators put on a concert. Before, during and after the ‘performance,’ they walk around and get reacquainted with their ‘good friends’ they haven’t seen since the last time they came to church, and they give dirty looks to those of us who have more than 2.5 kids and/or are actually trying to revere the Blessed Sacrament.

Want Kumbaya and Contraceptive Catholicism? Then expect Closed Churches.

More lies from Yahoo

Just checked my mail and saw the following blurb under a headline:

“The Vatican responded Monday to allegations that it had concealed years of clerical sex abuse by making it clear for the first time that bishops and other high-ranking clerics should report such crimes to police if required by law.”

Uh, no. This is *not* the first time this has been said. In 1566, Pope St. Pius V, in one of his very first actions as Pope, called for sodomite priests to be laicized and handed over to secular authorities.

Also interesting is that this Yahoo article had apparently only been up for a few minutes but already had over 14000 “comments”, mostly of the generic kind by anti-Catholic bigots, divorcees, contraception users, homosexualis and atheists who didn’t actually read the article but just wanted to spew their Satanic venom.

St. Teresa of Avila on what books to read

“I have always been fond of the words of the Gospels [that have come from that most sacred mouth in the way they were said] and found more recollection in them than in very cleverly written books. I especially had no desire to read these books if the author was not well approved” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 21, para. 4).

Trend Setting?

It looks like Allie and I may be starting a trend. It may just be because of Spring Break, but when we arrived at Adoration at midnight on Thursday, the 11 o’clock lady had her teenaged son with her.

A Letter to Fr. Michael Pfleger

Recently, the name of “Rev. Dr.” Michael L. Pfleger, the radical left-wing Chicago priest who is more aligned with Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan than with the Catholic Church, has made headlines.

It seems that Lord Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the USCCB, often mistaken for a conservative, is showing his Oblate of Mary Immaculate colors once again while honoring Pfleger (whom he temporarily suspended a while back after mass protest from Catholics forced him to take some nominal action against this violent anti-life racist heretic).

Meanwhile, His Emminence has called for the censorship of a lay Catholic conservative activist named Tom Roeser, accusing Roeser of “hate speech”!!!

Why? Because Roeser dares to talk about the plague of homosexual priests in the Catholic priesthood, a plague which Cardinal Ratzinger himself has condemned!

It should be noted that George has had the opportunity of serving as bishop in charge of both Oregon Catholic Press and GIA, and if he were as orthodox as many think he is, he could have shut down both these subversive operations.

Anyway, after reading Michelle Malkin mentioning an e-mail exchange with Pfleger, I looked up “Pastor Pfleger’s” parish and sent him an e-mail of my own:

Dear Fr. Pfleger,

Why do you call yourself pastor and not father? Are you embarrassed of being a pastor of the True Church? I notice you spend a lot of time working with Protestant Heretics?

Do you teach your congregation that artificial contraception is always a mortal sin and they will go to Hell if they use it? What about abortion and in vitro fertilization?

Do you teach them that divorce and fornication are mortal sins?

Do you teach them that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered?

Do you teach them that what matters is total conformity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and that *anyone* who thinks race matters *at all* is commiting a sin against justice?

Do you encourage perpetual adoration ? Do you permit liturgical abuses in your parish? Do you say the Vatican II Mass in Latin, the way that Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II and retired Cardinal Arinze have said it should be said?

I’m curious, because I noticed how you were honored by your Archbishop for your representation of the Catholic faith, and from your public reputation, you are anything but.

Pax et bonum,
John C. Hathaway

St. Teresa of Avila on “Rote Prayers”

Much of The Way of Perfection concerns how the highest form of prayer is to take the most basic vocal prayers–particularly the Pater Noster and the Angelic Salutation–and to meditate carefully on their words. St. Teresa de Jesus devotes at least a chapter to each of the phrases in the Lord’s Prayer, though she does not offer a similar treatment of the Ave Maria. She refers to them as being “books” from which we can learn a great deal if we study them carefully. And, if they are all we have, they’re all we need.

“No one will be able to take from you these books (the Our Father and the Hail Mary), and if you are eager to learn you won’t need anything else provided you are humble” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 21, para. 4).

It reminds me of the conversion of Fr. John Corapi, SOLT–when he was at “rock bottom,” living on the streets of LA following release from a year in a VA mental hospital, his mother sent him a prayer card. It had the “Hail Mary” on the back. He was so far from the Church that he had forgotten the “Hail Mary.” He read that card and prayed one “Hail Mary” devoutly, every day.

Or Thomas Howard, who says somewhere in On Being Catholic, “We cannot say so much as one ‘Hail Mary’ without bringing down all of glory on our heads.”

A Little Easter Humor

The Angel said,
“You seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. Has has risen, and He has gone out for Sunday brunch.”

The women looked puzzled.

“Come on, He hasn’t eaten since Thursday evening. He’s hungry.”

….
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” (Luke 24:41).
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” (Jn 21:12).

Are my dreams coming true? Is the Religious Right finally leaving the GOP?

Apparently, the Family Research Coouncil is telling members to boycott the Republican National Committee over a scandal involving official GOP outings at sex clubs.

On Wittgenstein and “Operation Counter Strike”

“Wittgenstein is probably the most over-rated philosopher in the Western canon. And you can tell your radical that I said so.”

–Scott Carson, Ph.D.

And when I told a Carmelite friend, who is also a Ph.D., about Operation Counter Strike’s claims to have a philosophy background but not having read Aquinas, he shrugged and said, “Well, if he hasn’t even read Aquinas, not even much point talking to him.”

The Snake says to relax till his got his coils around you.

From Yahoo:

Obama urges patience as health care law kicks in (AP)

AP – Facing a public still wary of his massive health care overhaul, President Barack Obama urged Americans not to judge the nearly $1 trillion legislation he signed into law last week until the reforms take hold.