Monthly Archives: July 2011

On Reverse Trolling

I recently blogged about how Facebook has changed the game regarding  the phenomenon of “trolling” because in theory it’s about going online with your real identity rather than a fake one, but people *do* assume pseudonyms on FB. Unlike email or message boards, however, for an admin or moderator, there’s really no way to tell if it’s the same person posting under 2 identities.

Well, another way Facebook has changed things is the concept of membership.

In the traditional scenario, a person joins a listserv or bulletin board, or visits a blog.  That person reads and decides, “Hey!  I have something to say!”  Maybe the person has something constructive to say, something supportive, something oppositional, or something destructive.  However, the person decides he or she wants to contribute to the discussion.  If the site is open, he or she posts a comment.  Otherwise, he or she signs on for a membership.   In either case, the person *chooses* to join the discussion.

Well, much ado was made a while back about a relatively new feature on Facebook where users can add their friends to groups.  They used to just suggest them.  Now, if someone thinks you should be on the “Moms who think Anthony Wiggle is Hot” group, they can just add you to that group, and, voila!, you’re a Mom Who Thinks Anthony Wiggle is Hot.

So, in the old days, a “troll” was someone who joined an online group just to be destructively oppositional, and would often get kicked off of said online community for bad behavior.

Now, on Facebook, if someone doesn’t like what you have to say about a particular topic, they can actually sign you up to their group of like-minded individuals and bait you into responding, so they can gang up on you.

A few weeks ago, this happened in a discussion of modesty.  I took the moderate stance I usually do on the topic.  A woman told me about some pro-modesty FB group and told me I should join it–I wasn’t clear if she wanted me to join it because she thought I would fit in or because she thought I needed a lesson.

Well, I looked at the group’s page, and it was mostly a bunch of radTrads being rather immodest in how they were talking about the Pope, Vatican II and the Divine Liturgy.  I decided I wanted no part of it, especially since just a few days before I had officially renounced calling myself a “traditionalist” because I was sick of being told by sedevacantists, etc., that I’m not “real traditionalist.”

Well, before I knew it, I was on this modesty group, signed up by the woman who “recommended” me.  Thanks.

Recently, some people started a “Catholic Spiritual Warfare” page, which is really a “We Hate Harry Potter” page.  Then they sign up anyone who does not think it’s a mortal sin to touch a HP book so they can lynch him  or her.

They did it to a friend of mine a couple days ago.

Then I went on the site last night, and commented on a thread about Fr. Amorth to say that he’s a good source but not very credible in some respects, and we shouldn’t listen to him when he makes blanket statements about bishops being satanists, because even if that’s likely true, the way he makes these blanket statements leads people to mistrust bishops in general.  This led to a good old fashioned flame war, where I was declared to be
a) educated–and “school doesn’t teach  you anything”
b) uneducated
c) a contraception supporter
d) an occultist
e) someone who thinks it’s OK for some people to read _Harry Potter_ books (at this point, they said, “Well, that says enough about your character.”)

So, now, instead of an antagonistic person joining a group of like minded people to antagonize them, now the antagonistic people can form groups, bait people who disagree with them but are looking for intellectual conversation into a discussion, and then gang up on the person they disagree with so they can feel superior and *then* after all that, accuse the person *they* brought into their group of being a troll.

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love!
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love!”


Carmelite Litany

Note: I composed the following Litany based upon the terms explained in this article by The Adoremus Bulletin. It should be appropriate for liturgical use, if so desired, and most certainly for private use. To be included in liturgical use, the person must at least be beatified. I have included two famous but not yet beatified Carmelites, for private devotion, and put their names in red. I included saints who were not Carmelites but closely affiliated with the Order and put their names in Navy blue. I’m not sure if the invocation to the Infant Jesus is appropriate for public devotion, so I marked that in green. Traditionally, the saints are only invoked by Bl or St. and first name, unless the last name or “of X” part is needed for clarification. Therefore, the Saint’s distinguishing title is put in brackets, per the explanation in the above article.

Carmelite Saints
O beautiful flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure Virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!

Lord, Have Mercy on Us/Lord, Have Mercy on Us
Christ, Have Mercy on Us/Christ, Have Mercy on Us
Lord Have Mercy on Us/Lord Have Mercy on Us

Christ, Hear Us/Christ, Graciously Hear us

God, the Father of Heaven/Have Mercy on Us
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World/Have Mercy on Us
God, the Holy Spirit/Have Mercy on Us
Holy Trinity, one God/Have Mercy on Us

Divine Infant Jesus [of Prague]/Have Mercy on Us

Holy Mary, Mother of God/Pray for Us.
Holy, Virgin of Virgins/Pray for Us.
Mother of Divine Grace/Pray for Us.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel/Pray for Us.
Mother and Ornament of Carmel/Have Mercy on Us
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular/Pray for Us.
Hope of all Who Die Wearing the Scapular/Pray for Us.
Mystical Rose/Pray for Us.
Star of the Sea/Pray for Us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe/Pray for Us.
Our Lady of Fatima/Pray for Us.
Queen of all Saints/Pray for Us.
Queen conceived without original sin/Pray for Us.
Queen assumed into heaven/Pray for Us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary/Pray for Us.
Queen of families/Pray for Us.
Queen of peace/Pray for Us.

All holy angels/Pray for Us.

Holy Father Elijah/Pray for Us.
St. Elisha/Pray for Us.
Sts. Joachim and Anne, Protectors of Carmel/Pray for Us.
St. John the Baptist/Pray for Us.
St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart/Pray for Us.
St. Joseph, chaste spouse of Mary/Pray for Us.
St. Joseph, our patron/Pray for Us.
All holy Patriarchs and Prophets/Pray for Us.

St. Peter/Pray for Us.
St. Paul/Pray for Us.
St. John [the Evangelist]/Pray for Us.
All holy Apostles and Disciples of Our Lord/Pray for Us.

St. Angelus/Pray for Us.
Bl. Denis and Redemptus/Pray for Us.
Bl. Jean-Baptiste [Duverneuil]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Michael-Aloysius [Brulard]/Pray for Us.
Bl. James [Gagnot]/Pray for Us
Bl. Jacques Retouret/Pray for Us
Bl. Teresa [of St. Augustine] and Companions [of Compiegne]/Pray for Us.
St. Pedro Castroverde/Pray for Us.
Bl. Isidore [Bakanja]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Mercedes [Prat]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Angel Prat and Companions/Pray for Us.
Bl. Carmelo Maria Moyano Linares and Companions/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Pilar [of St. Francis Borgia]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Teresa [of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Angeles [of St. Joseph]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Sagrario [of St. Aloysius Gonzaga]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Titus Brandsma/Pray for Us.
Bl. Hilary Januszewski/Pray for Us.
St. Teresa Benedicta [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Alphonsus Mary [Mazurek] and Companions/Pray for Us.
All Holy Martyrs/Pray for Us.

St. Albert of Jerusalem/Pray for Us.
St. Peter [Thomas]/Pray for Us.
St. Andrew [Corsini]/Pray for Us.
St. John Paul [II]/Pray for Us.
All Holy Bishops and Doctors of the Church/Pray for Us.

Holy Mother Teresa [of Jesus, of Avila]/Pray for Us.
St. John [of the Cross]/Pray for Us.
St. Therese [of the Child Jesus, of Lisieux]/Pray for Us.

St. Simon [Stock]/Pray for Us.
St. Albert [of Trapani]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Nuno [Alvares Pereira]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Aloysius Rabata/Pray for Us.
Bl. John [Soreth]/Pray for Us.
Ven. Miguel de la Fuente/Pray for Us.
Bl. Bartholomew/Pray for Us.
Bl. Baptist [Spagnoli]/Pray for Us.
St. Peter [of Alcantara]/Pray for Us.
St. Francis [Borgia, SJ]/Pray for Us.
Ven. John Dominic Lucchesi/Pray for Us.
Ven. Jerome Terzo/Pray for Us.
Ven. Cyril [of the Mother of God]/Pray for Us.
Brother Lawrence [of the Resurrection]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Francis [Palau y Quer]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Kuriakos Elias [Chavara]/Pray for Us.
St. Henry [de Osso y Cervello]/Pray for Us.
St. Raphael [Kalinowski]/Pray for Us.
St. George [Preca]/Pray for Us.

Bl. Frances D’Amboise/Pray for Us
Bl. Jane Scopelli/Pray for Us.
Bl. Archangela Girlani/Pray for Us.
Ven. Mariangela/Pray for Us.
Ven. Serafina/Pray for Us.
Ven. Rosemary Serio/Pray for Us.

St. Mary Magdalene [de Pazzi]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Mary of the Incarnation/Pray for Us.
Bl. Anne [of St. Bartholomew]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Mary [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Mary [of the Angels]/Pray for Us.
St. Teresa Margaret [Redi of the Sacred Heart]/Pray for Us.
St. Joachina [de Vedruna]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Mary [of Jesus Crucified]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Josepha [Naval Girbes]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Teresa Maria [Manetti of the Cross]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Candelaria/Pray for Us.
St. Teresa of Jesus [of the Andes]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Elia [of St. Clement]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Teresa Scrilli/Pray for Us.
Bl. Elizabeth [of the Trinity]/Pray for Us.
Bl. Maria Candida [of the Eucharist]/Pray for Us.
Ven. Mary Angeline Teresa/Pray for Us.
St. Maria Maravillas [of Jesus]/Pray for Us.
All Holy Priests and Religious/Pray for Us.

Sts. Louis and Zelie [Martin, SFO]/Pray for Us.
All Holy Men and Women/Pray for Us.

All you Saints of Carmel, intercede for us
All you Saints of God, intercede for us

We sinners/We beseech You to hear us
That You would spare us/We beseech You to hear us
That You would pardon us/We beseech You to hear us
That You would bring us to true penance/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to govern and preserve your holy Church/We beseech You to hear us
That You will guide and protect Our Order/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to grant peace and unity to all Christian people/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel/We beseech You to hear us
That You will bring many vocations to the Carmelite Orders/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to confirm and preserve us in your holy service/We beseech You to hear us
That You would lift up our minds to heavenly desires/We beseech You to hear us
That You would render eternal blessings to all our benefactors/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren in Carmel, relations and benefactors, from eternal damnation/We beseech You to hear us
That You would deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth/We beseech You to hear us
That you would deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, particularly from the Order of Carmel/We beseech You to hear us
That you would deign graciously to hear us/We beseech You to hear us
Son of God/We beseech You to hear us

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
R/ spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
R/ graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
R/ have mercy on us.

V/ Christ, hear us.
R/ Christ, graciously hear us.

V/ Lord, have mercy.
R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Our Father . . .

Lord, may the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother,
and the prayers of all the saints of Carmel,
help us to walk steadfastly in their footsteps,
and by their prayers and good works
ever further the cause of Your Church.
We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Adoremus Bulletin explains the Litany of the Saints

Adoremus on the Litany of the Saints

The above is a great article explaining the proper use and alteration of the Litany of the Saints. It explains the order to use if you want to write your own litany of the saints, and other issues.

For example, praying a litany on Nov. 2 or in a cemetary, you say, “pray for them,” and it’s OK to pray for an individual and say, “pray for him/her” instead of “us”, as they did at JPII’s funeral.

The article also gives the current liturgical Litany of the Saints as issued by the Church in 2000, including invocations of St. Abraham, St. Moses and St. Elijah.

Who is truly disabled?

We say that someone is “blind” who is misled or misleading,
Yet it is the sighted who judge by appearances.
We say that someone is “deaf” who does not understand,
Yet it is the hearing who eavesdrop and listen to gossip.
We say that someone is “lame” who is out of touch,
Yet it is those with legs who walk past others in need.
We say that someone is “heartless” who is cruel,
Yet it is those with functioning hearts who engage in violence.
We say that someone is “dumb” who does not speak,
Yet it is those who speak who say stupid things.
We say that someone is “retarded” who makes simple mistakes,
Yet it is the intelligent who make evil plans.

Forget Harry Potter: Let’s Talk about Madame Bovary

Not a lot of fiction works were on the _Index of Forbidden Books_, but one that *was* on the list was Gustave Flaubert’s _Madame Bovary_. Another was Victor Hugo’s _Les Miserables_ (and I know a lot of Catholics, including a lot of Traditionalists, who think very highly of Les Miz). The books on the Index, such as the King James translation of the Bible (not, as Jack Chick types try to say, the Bible in general, just that one horribly biased translation), were not completely banned or forbidden by the Church. The Index just meant that those books could not be read without proper credentials or supervision.

Flannery O’Connor speaks somewhere of how the Church is far more generous in Her own limited censorship than the laity are, how a large percentage of Catholic laity seem to want a literature so closely censored as to be what Plato describes in _The Republic_: only good and wholesome stories about people who do only good and wholesome things. O’Connor argues that this is a kind of inverse pornography, and equally evil: where pornography distorts human nature to exaggerate and glorify evil, the kind of overly moral literature many people expect is such a falsely good picture of human nature that it will lead its readers to a view of life that is as delusional as that of the pornography addict. Authentic literature needs to depict both the flaws and the strengths of human nature, to show realistic actions with realistic consequences.

O’Connor regarded _Madame Bovary_ as her favorite novel, and no less an Evangelical than Phil Vischer regards it as a clear-cut fable about the wages of sin (so much so that he based a _VeggieTale_, _Madame Blueberry_, on it). Nevertheless, _Madame Bovary_ *was* on the Index, and its author, Gustave Flaubert, was definitely a libertine and a pervert. It makes a great example because, like the _Harry Potter_ books, it can go either way. If the Index still existed, Rowling’s books might very well be on it, but only because the point of the Index was to say, “Read these books with caution,” and I’m the first to admit Rowling’s books should be read with caution.

However, to say that it’s wrong for a Catholic to ever read these books, or to say that merely owning copies of them is going to get one’s home infested with demons, is to engage in a level of censorship that the Church Herself does not support, and did not even support *before* Vatican II (maybe under the Spanish Inquisition, yes, but to that end, see St. Teresa of Avila).

We can go back and forth on the merits-and-demerits debate, or about the chess game of “whose expert trumps whose”. It would be nice if Tom Howard would have come out with something one way or the other about the books. He’s retired now, and in poor health last I spoke with him, so I doubt he has the strength to mount any kind of significant critique, if he hasn’t yet read them. However, he would be the one person whose views on literature I respect enough to assent if he said, “These are clearly evil.” Somehow, though, I’d imagine he wouldn’he t.
A few years ago on his blog, Phil Vischer noted that many of those who criticize Harry Potter today would probably have denounced Lewis and Tolkein *if they were writing today* rather than having them handed down as “good Christian literature.” I asked Vischer if that meant he approved of the books, and I shared some of my wife’s observations about the under-emphasized Christian references in them. He said he was still generally inclined to be against them too (though those were interesting points), but that he disagreed with many of the arguments raised by the anti-HP crowd, since they really could just as easily apply to all fiction. Even more so, Mark Shea pointed out when I referenced Tom Howard in a recent discussion, that many of J. K. Rowling’s critics would probably be aghast at Charles Williams!

In related news, I’ve been quoted by Mark Shea on his blog, though not by name (he was quoting something I said on Facebook):
“A Reader Observes:”

It strikes me that the same people who
a) criticize Harry Potter for “lying for a good cause” are generally the same people who praise Lila Rose for “lying for a good cause”.
b) criticize Harry Potter for his disobedience to authority are generally the same people who support Fr. Corapi’s disobedience to authority.
c) say that condemnations of Harry Potter by Fr. Amorth and Fr. Euteneuer are dogmatic because “they’re exorcists,” but if you tell the same people that Bishop Andrea Gemma, who used to teach Exorcism at Pontifical Gregorian, says Medjugorje is Satanic and a door to the occult, they’ll tell you he’s not an authority and he’s just an evil Satanist himself, trying to undermine the Church.

Mark: “Yes, it is striking the amount of gnat-straining and camel swallowing that goes on in accordance with the Ox Gore Principle. ”

Using the “A” Word: Is Harry Potter more dangerous than Scooby Doo?

A few weeks ago, the neighbor’s grandson was visiting and asked my kids, “Do you like _Bakugan_?” They said, “We’re not allowed to watch it”. Now, they’re not specifically *disallowed*; it just falls under the category of “They’re only allowed to watch something that’s pre-approved, and I see no point in bothering with new untested stuff when they’ve got more than enough to watch as it is”.
Anyway, as this pattern had come up in previous conversations, he said, “Are you guys allowed to watch *anything*??”

My kids are more sheltered than most kids, though Mary and I are quite liberal by the standards of a lot of homeschoolers and traditionalists. My approach is to teach them about how to think critically and recognize dangers in the culture (how many 4-9 year olds have received dinner table lessons on postmodernism, Gnosticism, freemasonry, etc.?)

Other than perhaps seeing a few minutes of one of the movies at their grandparents’ house or “peeking downstairs” when they were supposed to be in bed, they’ve never watched a _Harry Potter_ movie or read/been read one of the books. My wife and I fully agree with those (including J.K. Rowling herself) who would say they’re not age appropriate. Nevertheless, it struck me the other day that Allie was not quite 4 years old when I took her to see _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_. I kept asking her if she was scared, and she kept saying she wasn’t. I practically jumped into *her* lap a couple times. I immediately began reading all of them _The Magician’s Nephew_ after we saw the first film. They’ve seen every film adaptation of LWW, the entire “Wonderworks” _Chronicles of Narnia_ series and all the Walden Pictures versions. I’ve read them some of the books.

The other morning, Joe, age 5, said, “Abracadabra, make X appear!” I didn’t catch what he was talking about. I think one of us adults wasn’t acting quickly enough to get him something, so he jokingly suggested he’d use magic. I’m not sure where he picked up the idea–probably from _Scooby Doo_, since he’s a huge “Scooby Doo” fan.

However, it struck me that most of those who vociferously condemn the _Harry Potter_ books *probably* see no problem in _Scooby Doo_ (at least the older stuff), Loooney Tunes or other “classic” cartoons. They may object to *some*, but most probably see certain cartoons as “OK”, and I know for certain that some of the people I know who dislike HP have talked favorably of “older” cartoons. However, just about any cartoon series you can name has dealt at some level with sorcery, often depicting it as positive, harmless, comic, etc.

We all have heard Bugs Bunny or Scooby Doo or Mickey Mouse say “hocus pocus,” even though every Catholic should take deep offense at that old anti-Catholic term. “Hocus pocus” is a Protestant mockery of “hoc est corpus Meum”, used in suggesting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is black magic (i.e., “all that hocus pocus stuff”). We’ve heard the same characters use the expression “abracadabra.”

Now, I don’t know if “hocus pocus” is used in the Harry Potter books–the only reference a brief Google search turns up is that in one of the early books, Harry uses “hocus pocus” in teasing his bully of a cousin. So it’s apparently not a “real” spell in any of the books, but Rowling doesn’t debunk it, either.

However, in the Potter books, abracadabra–or “Avada Kedavra,” as Rowling renders it’s “original” form, is one of the three “unforgivable curses,” the Killing Curse. In the “real world,” the “abracadabra” spell came from Aramaic words meaning “Create as I say,” and was recommended by ancient “physicians” as a spell to cure certain diseases. Rowling, in a 2004 interview, said she understood the original word to mean “let the thing be destroyed,” where “the thing” was disease (see this article).

“Does anyone know where avada kedavra came from? It is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of abracadabra, which means ‘let the thing be destroyed.’ Originally, it was used to cure illness and the ‘thing’ was the illness, but I decided to make it the ‘thing’ as in the person standing in front of me. I take a lot of liberties with things like that. I twist them round and make them mine.” (“J. K. Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival”)

That’s kind of interesting. We hear a lot from anti-HP people about how Rowling uses “real spells”, and apparently she uses “real terms” used in “real” witchcraft, but by her own admission she only does a little bit of research and makes up the rest, repurposing things.

So, in this case, she’s taken a word that many today consider “harmless” and made it the most harmful spell one can utter. She’s taken a “spell” that in its use in “real” magic was meant as a “white magic” healing spell and made it the epitome of “black magic.” Interesting, huh?

Oh, and the evil spell Avara Kedavara can only be resisted by self-sacrificial love. Interesting.

And so, my son, who’s been exposed to all the “harmless” cartoon characters but not to the “harmful” Harry Potter,” might thought better of casually saying “abracadabra” as a joke if he did know about Harry Potter. . . . . Interesting.

My Funeral, and thereabouts.

Basics of what I want for my funeral, when the time comes:
1. Somewhere in the mix, I want the following hymns:
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Now We Remain
On Eagle’s Wings
I am the Bread of Life
excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem (or the whole thing, if in the usus antiquor).

2. Readings, if the Eucharistic Liturgy is in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite:
Sirach, Chapter 18:1-13
Psalm 15 or Psalm 127
1 John 1-10
John 6:48-64

3. Ideally, I’d like the liturgy to be according to the usus antiquor of the Roman Rite or according to the Byzantine Rite, which might obviate parts of 1 & 2. Regardless of Mass, I would like to have the Office of the Dead prayed in community for me the day of my funeral, as well as the Rosary (Luminous Mysteries), Divine Mercy Chaplet (at 3 PM) and Paraklesis

So, ideally:

Scenario 1:
In the morning, Office of the Dead–Office of Readings and Morning Prayer according to the modern Roman Rite, with “Now We Remain” as the opening hymn.
Just before Mass, “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”.
Holy Mass in the usus antiquor of the Roman Rite, with Lloyd Webber’s settings.
“I Am the Bread of Life” for Communion.
At 3 in the Afternoon a Eucharistic Holy Hour (give or take) consisting of
O Salutaris/Exposition
Come, Holy Spirit
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Sirach, Chapter 18:1-13
Rosary (Luminous Mysteries)
1 John 1-10
Service of Paraklesis recited; chanted if possible, with John 6:48-64 as the Gospel
Vespers according to the modern Roman Rite, with “On Eagle’s Wings” as the opening hymn.
Benediction, with Tantum Ergo, the Te Deum and Flos Carmeli as the hymns. St. Michael Prayer.

Scenario 2:
Office of the Dead, Office of Readings and Morning prayer, according to the modern Roman Rite, with “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” as the opening hymn.
Funeral according to the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

At 3 o’clock, Eucharistic Exposition and Holy Hour (give or take):
O Salutaris
Divine Mercy Chaplet
“Now We Remain”
Rosary, Luminous Mysteries
“On Eagle’s Wings”
Sirach, Chapter 18:1-13
1 John 1-10
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Requiem, parts 1-4
John 6:48-64
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Requiem, parts 5-8
Evening Prayer from the modern Office of the Dead, “I Am the Bread of Life” as the hymn
Benediction, with Tantum Ergo, Te Deum, and Flos Carmeli as the hymns. St. Michael Prayer.

Scenario 3:

Office of the Dead, modern Roman Rite, combined with the funeral liturgy in the Ordinary Form.
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Now We Remain
On Eagle’s Wings
I am the Bread of Life

Sirach, Chapter 18:1-13
Psalm 15 or Psalm 127
1 John 1-10
John 6:48-64

At 3 o’clock:
Exposition, with O Salutaris
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Rosary (Luminous)
Lloyd Webber Requiem
Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead
Benediction, with Tantum Ergo, Te Deum, Flos Carmeli and St. Michael Prayer

Here is the text of the Byzantine Funeral Service

Prayer for Priests from Hide Me In Your Wounds

I’ve made my first video of a prayer from _Hide Me In Your Wounds_.
To purchase this or other MP3 tracks from my daily prayer audiobook, please go to:

To purchase the CD, please go to

Bachmann’s convictions on marriage spring from her parents’ divorce

I always say I distinguish among a field of “pro-life” candidates based upon the level of their apparent convictions (which comes in part from personal experiences), and from their positions on other moral issues. For example, Huckabee won my support in 2008 because of his support for a national policy on covenant marriage and his support for laws that encourage homeschooling.

Well, Michele Bachmann gave a speech in Iowa where she talked about how her parents’ divorce influenced her (in that she sees divorce as bad), and her own miscarriage effected her pro-life views.

Te Deum laudamus!

TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates; To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis: the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te. V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

Coptic Hourly Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.

O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour.

Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, and the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours.

But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us; for it is You Who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, through Whom the glory, the honor, the dominion, and the adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver, Who is of one essence with You, now and at all times, and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.

On Facebook and Trolls

People may disagree about what sorts of behaviors constitute online “trolling” (from the fishing term–“trolling” basically means fishing around online for a fight),  probably one of the more egregious is identity masking.  Even so, in the blogosphere, it’s sometimes possible to inadvertently engage in ID masking by logging into a blog, say, through one’s Facebook account and then using WordPress for a subsequent log in.

However, back in the days when listservs and message boards dominated, ID masking was more of  a deliberate act: one would have to join the-mail list separately through a separate email address or create a separate login to the message board.  A moderator or admin could easily discern the problem by finding the IP address or ISP or whatever.

In my first stint as an elected co-moderator on a listserv in the late 90s, we had to deal with a “troll” who kept coming back in different emails and posting offensive messages.  One time, the person posted a bunch of offensive messages by masking his own email address with that of one of the other moderators.  The other two decided I should speak for the moderators, and I explained to the person that this most recent act, posing as another person online, constituted communications fraud under the FCC, and that we would be reporting him to the authorities (which we did).  He was never heard from again.

Anyway, it’s relatively easy to check the metadata on an email and see where it was sent from.  IP address managing is a bit trickier, but it’s possible even on a blog to check the IP address of a commentor (depending on the blog service or add-ons one uses; I once had to try this with a particularly malicious “Anonymous” poster a few years ago).

Anyway, it strikes me that one of the downsides of Facebook is there is no such option.  Ironically, in an Internet site that’s main purpose is to be your “true self,” picture and all, versus the identities we assume online, there are still a lot of people who go by pseudonyms on Facebook.

I manage two Facebook pages of my own, one for my CD, _Hide Me In Your Wounds_ (which will be back on the market soon!) and one called I Protest Against Blasphemy.  The latter became a target of some atheist trolls last year after I hadn’t checked it for a few weeks.  I had to do a lot of cleaning up of offensive posts and comments, and I had to respond to several.  I tried dialoguing with the people, but they weren’t interested in dialogue.  Indeed, in the posts they were sharing among themselves during my absence, they even bragged about how they liked to join Christian FB pages and get active.  Apparently, there’s some loophole in Facebook that if an admin doesn’t log in to a page after a certain period of time, the admin rights are automatically opened up.  So trollers will join pages they disagree with, wait for the admin to be absent long enough, and hijack the pages.  I thankfully dealt with this little infestation on my page, and after trying unsuccessfully to dialogue with the individuals, I banned all of them.  They subsequently started their own group, “I Protest Against I Protest Against Blasphemy,” which I found very gratifying. Nothing says “I’ve arrived” like having one’s own “anti-fan club.”

Anyway, the inspiration for this post is that a friend recently made me co-admin of his page because he’s trying to keep it fairly regulated but open to discussion, and the page has been attracting some trolls and some members with troll-like behavior that requires frequent moderation.

One fellow in particular has been skirting the boundaries of unacceptable behavior, and we’ve been trying to decide what to do with him.  This weekend, a pseudonymous poster popped up on the page, with a very similar modus operandi.

So that leads to the question: is it the same guy?

Well, if this were a listserv, I could check the metadeta and get some indication.  On a message board or blog, I might be able to check the IP address.  However, Facebook really doesn’t provide any of those as a viable opportunity.  It never occurred to me before now that that’s quite a challenge with moderating pages on FB.  You could have the same person posting under 20 different identities, and you really have no way of knowing for certain.

Wow! Take a Virtual Pilgrimage to Lourdes!! is apparently down (hopefully not permanently!), so I was looking for a Blessed Sacrament Webcam and found the link to the Official Lourdes site.  The text is mostly in French, but they have various webcams to different parts of the shrine, as well as a webcam recording of the daily Marian Procession.

Video On Demand

Text is not absolute

C. S. Lewis described his friend Owen Barfield as the “Other Friend,” who “read all the right books but got entirely the wrong things out of them.”

One of the lessons it took me a long time, and a Master’s in English, to really learn is how text is not absolute.

Is the Constitution “clearly” a document to restrain the states from oppressing the people, or is it “clearly” a document to protect the states’ rights from the federal government?

Does the second amendment “clearly” provide a right to bear arms or “clearly” limit the right to bear arms?

Does the first amendment “clearly” provide freedom to exercise or discuss religion in public or “clearly” establish a “wall of separation” between Church and State?

Does the Bill of Rights cast a “penumbral shadow”?

Are the “Harry Potter” books/movies a gateway drug to occultism or a fantastic Christian allegory?

Do people read _The Lord of the Rings_ and discern deep Christian themes or join strange clubs that wear elf ears and eat mushrooms?

Is Madame Bovary about the downward spiral of sin and addiction or about how the patriarchy and the Church oppress women?  Or is it just about sex?

Is Hamlet insane, pretending to be insane, or a madman who thinks he’s sane and pretending to be insane?  If he’s insane, is he bipolar, schizophrenic or sociopathic?

Does Aristotle contradict the Bible or not?

Does Plato promote or disapprove of homosexual behavior?

Any given text is open to a wide range of interpretations based upon which aspects one emphasizes.  People debate texts all the time, with each side claiming the “literal” reading of the text. Lawyers and lawmakers know this.  This is why they haggle over precise wording and punctuation in contracts and legislation.

The Muslims are “People of the Book” and there are several varieties of Islam.

The Jews are “People of the Book,” and there are 3 major modern forms of Judaism, with more specific forms, as well as the various ancient forms (Sadducee, Pharisee, Essene, etc.)

Then we have the over 30,000 Protestant “denominations,” plus the various ancient Churches in the East that consider themselves “Orthodox” compared to one another and to the Catholic Church, as well as all the ancient heresies, which all consider themselves to be going by a “literal reading of the Bible”.

Why does anyone sincerely believe that there can be such a thing as a literal reading of Scripture without the guidance of the Church?

Byzantine Sheet Music!

Pittsburgh seems to be a major center of US Byzantine institutions (it’s the headquarters of the Ruthenian Byzantine Church in the US, which now calls itself the Sui Iuris American Byzantine Church or something like that; it’s where the Byzantine seminary is, etc.)  Well, it’s also home to the “Metropolitan Cantor Institute”, and they have a cool collection of PDFs of Byzantine sheet music for various liturgies and services:

Ed Koch to NYC Democrats: Vote Republican

Ed Koch is apparently realizing what most Republicans don’t: as the Democratic Party has turned outright Marxist, the GOP now supports as conservatism what used to be liberalism (i.e., neoconservatism). In particular, old-school liberal Koch is ticked off with Obama for his policies on Israel, so, in the upcoming special election to fill the US House seat of disgraced Democratic politician Bill Clinton John Kennedy John Edwards Gary Hart Anthony Weiner, Koch has called on Democrats in the district, consisting of Brooklyn and Queens, to vote Republican this September, and, as he put it “put a shot across Obama’s bow.”

BTW, if a Republican said “put a shot across Obama’s bow,” what would the media be saying?

In any case, you’d think the Democrats would have learned their lesson by now.

On Sins and Paths and Choices and Foibles

Jesus tells us to be wise and read the signs of the times. He also tells us not to judge. These are complimentary but not contradictory teachings.

Human nature being what it is, human beings can generally tell when a certain person is heading on a certain path. Some paths must necessarily go either of two ways.

Let’s say we have a Republican politician. He claims to be “pro-life” in his campaign materials. He doesn’t have that much evidence one way or the other in his voting record. While he professes his position on abortion on his platform, he doesn’t talk a lot about abortion, and he doesn’t seem to want to emphasize it when asked about it. Now, it could just be that he’s trying to be sneaky and avoid getting voted against so he can actually get into office and do something. It may also be that he’s playing pro-lifers for votes. When the politician gets into office, one of two things happens. Either he *does* turn out to be pro-lifer, and pro-lifers are pleasantly surprised, or else he turns out to be just a fraud, and pro-lifers who were wary of his lack of enthusiasm to begin with say, “I regret voting for him; I realized all along he wasn’t really pro-life.”

Or, conversely, maybe a candidate is *outspokenly* anti-abortion and has a voting record to show it. However, maybe there are always rumors about his personal life, which there isn’t much published information about. And maybe a Catholic might look at his positions and say, “Yeah, he’s anti-abortion, but he supports contraception, and I’m not comfortable with that” or “I don’t like the fact that he’s so rabidly pro-death penalty.”

Once again, maybe one of two things happens. Maybe he turns out to not only be very good on abortion, but he also changes his views on contraception and the death penalty. Or else, maybe he turns out to be bad on abortion. Once again, the person who saw those issues as red flags is going to say, “I wish I’d never voted for him.”

In either case, the person who voted in spite of misgivings is going to have 20/20 hindsight, though there’s an honesty in that the misgivings were there but overlooked out of optimism. In either case, though, the person’s supporters might say, “You never liked him anyway,” or “you probably never even voted for him.”

Similarly, a husband might show certain behaviors that other people think indicate that he’s potentially abusive or adulterous. And maybe they whisper about their hypotheses behind his back. Well, maybe the behaviors they see are perfectly innocent, and he’s just naive, or maybe he’s struggling with certain temptations, and that’s what they recognize, but he’s fighting valiantly against his temptations and trying to be a good husband. Maybe down the line he overcomes them. Maybe he even is adulterous or abusive, and trying to reform and he successfully reforms. Well, people would be right to be concerned about the warning signs, but they shouldn’t act rashly on their suspicions. However, if they *do* see the warning signs, and he does prove to be engaging in the behavior they’re worried about, they’d have a certain justification.

Using our example of the pro-contraception, pro-death penalty politician, a person may choose to vote for a third part candidate who better reflects a pro-life position. Many would say this voter is not really “pro-life.” This is not the same thing as the person who says “all life issues are equal, and their positions are about the same, so I’ll vote for the Democrat instead.”

Similarly, someone who gives friendly advice to the husband on how he might do better as a husband isn’t doing the same thing as the person who just gossips about him.

So, here’s the thing. In any situation, we might have misgivings about a person. We all have flaws. Sometimes, a person’s flaws are just that: his or her flaws. They don’t amount to anything worse. Other times, however, flaws are the bubbles of worse behaviors under the surface. In such cases, until we know anything certain, we shouldn’t speculate. If the flaws themselves constitute something worth commenting on, that’s one thing. Like, we don’t want to presume that just because a teenager does graffiti, he’s in a gang, but we should still criticize him for doing the graffiti.

When a person overcomes his or her flaws, however severe, that person deserves great praise and encouragement to do better.

When the flaws betray deeper problems, or when they lead to deeper problems, that should be dealt with accordingly. When the sin is obstinate and public, it sadly needs to be dealt with publicly.

I just figured out what Satan’s Master Plan is in the BSD situation

OK, let’s say that John “Don’t call me ‘Father’; I’m the Black Sheep Dog” Corapi is legally innocent (notice how his avid fans in the blogosphere keep saying “let a court decide”; they don’t care what the Church thinks).

Let’s say he’s successful in painting his accuser(s) as “vicious alcoholics” and whatever.

So, let’s say he wins his “defamation of character” lawsuit. That would still be completely irrelevant to the ecclesial issues. SOLT has always maintained that Corapi is not necessarily accused of anything illegal.

For example, owning millions of dollars in property is not a crime. It is an ecclesial crime for a *priest* to own millions of dollars in property. So SOLT issues its press release letting loose on the allegations because a) the Society has plenty of evidence to back it up and b) they’ve found Corapi guilty of enough stuff to declare him unfit for ministry as a priest. That’s not the same thing as being a criminal.

See what happens now?

Even if Corapi wins his civil suit against his accuser, that doesn’t necessarily change the situation in the eyes of the Church. However, having won the civil suit against his accuser, Corapi can now sue SOLT for defamation.

Now, he’s setting a legal precedent for the civil government to come in and dictate internal policy matters to the Church. Now, any priest dismissed for heresy or disobedience or liturgical abuse or promoting immorality can have a legal precedent for filing defamation or unjust termination suits against the Church.

Here’s a roundup of some great commentary on the dimensions of this debate. Like many, I see the recent video, with his new image as a cross between Fonzie and Anton LeVay, as a sign that this whole train wreck needs to just be cleaned up and forgotten.

Phil Lawler at New Oxford Review asks why they ignored the warning signs:

However, Fr. Longenecker has written several very insightful pieces lately: one on what we don’t know about internal investigations in the Church (backed up by some commentors who are police Internal Affairs investigators), one on what it’s like to be a priest under pressure, one on compartmentalization (“Fr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) and one on the importance of littleness.

SOLT webmaster Fr. Sam Medley reflects on his brother priest’s rebellion.

Scott Richert at offers an interesting critique of Bishop Gracida’s latest blog post, arguing that Gracida is distancing himself from Corapi. Gracida admits suggesting the civil suit to Fr. Flanagan, who relayed the conversation to Fr. Corapi via a third party. He also says his main intention has been to criticize the process employed and the public scandal it’s caused to the thousands Corapi has influenced. Gracida also suggests that Corapi had “clay feet,” evoking various Biblical images of pagan idols and doomed temporal leaders.

Diane Korzeniewski and Gerard Nadal post what they hope will be final comments on the Corapi case, offering some interesting commentaries. Deacon Greg decimates Corapi’s statements of Thursday and Friday.

And the loyal fandom descends further into madness and inconsistency.

“Wives, be Dismissive Of Your Husbands!”

A few years ago, my wife and I needed a retreat, and we heard about a conference being given in Atlanta by Fr. Edgardo “Bing” Arellano. I wrote about some of my reactions at the time. We’d never heard of him prior to this. Since then, we’ve seen him on TV. Though perhaps my favorite reference to him since then was on one of those Cardinal Arinze Q&As on YouTube. The person asks Cardinal Arinze a question about one of Fr. Bing’s teachings, but doesn’t mention him by name. He says “There’s a popular priest who’s an exorcist, and he says you should never eat at a Chinese or Indian restaurant because the food has been blessed with pagan prayers. What do you say about that?” Cardinal Arinze said, “I’d rather eat dinner with a Hindu or a Buddhist than a superstitious priest like that!”

Fr. Bing was probably my first foray into learning to mistrust the “Celebrity Priests” of the right. He professes to be both a canon lawyer and an exorcist, and he specializes in the same kind of sensational preaching as Fr. Corapi and Fr. Euteneuer, which anyone who knows me knows I am drawn to as much as anyone. We now know, in retrospect, that Fr. Euteneuer was practicing exorcism without a license, so to speak, going around the country accepting money in his own name (not to the dioceses he was visiting, not to HLI and not to his own home diocese, but taking checks made out to himself, which constitutes simony), and not getting permission from the bishops whose dioceses he was travelling to.

Well, apparently, Fr. Bing not only engages in similar practices, but we know from being there that he performs the entire rite of exorcism publicly at Mass over his entire congregation. He claims it’s licit because he’s a canon lawyer and an exorcist and knows canon law. Fine. Whatever. We definitely reaped some spiritual benefit from it, and the 2 boxes exorcised salt we got from the experience definitely have proved beneficial.

However, we didn’t get much from Fr. Bing’s actual teachings. Most of his conferences had nothing to do with spirituality and were rather long diatribes on conspiracy theories. When he did discuss spirituality, it was laced with clericalism and scrupulosity. For example, he claimed it was not enough to merely say, “Hey, I had sex with my neighbor’s wife 3 times last week,” but that you had to say *EVERY* form of sin involved in the act (“I broke the 3rd Commandment when I had sex with my neighbor’s wife 3 times because I was breaking my wedding vows before God. I had sex with her once on Sunday, and that’s violating the sabbath.”) The way the whole thing was set up, one of his other priests from his order was there to hear confessions in this little tent thing, with a long line, and he’d give the talks. It was almost like a bait-and-switch operation. The priest doing the confessions was *really* good, and he should have been giving the talks. I say it was like a bait-and-switch because, at the time, I was pretty low, and did have a lot to confess. It was just before Holy Week and the nadir of my annual Lenten Despair, and I really needed a good confession. After hearing Fr. Bing’s talks, and studying his Examination of Conscience guide, I decided I was doomed. According to him, I had *never* made a good confession in my life, I was still guilty of every sin I’d ever committed, and that just made me all the more depressed and ready to just quit on Catholicism.

When I went into the Confessional, with Fr. Bing’s book in hand, I started off, and the priest told me I was being scrupulous. He seemed to have a genuine gift and cut through a lot of my barriers and actually talked about stuff that was right on target that I didn’t mention, I said, “Yeah, you’re right,” and he absolved me, and it was one of my best confessions ever. Again, *HE* should have been doing the whole conference.

But other than a lot of scrupulosity, superstition and clericalism (a whole hour long talk was basically how we were all screwed to be laypeople and had very little chance of getting into Heaven as laity, since only very few canonized saints have been laypeople), it might has well have been a Glenn Beck or Alex Jones convention. Indeed, most of his material came straight out of Alex Jones. Again, the microchips were coming and we were all doomed.

So, anyway, one thing that struck me, though, was that I almost always get allergies in hotels, and the hotel we stayed at was particularly strong. The front desk lady said she thinks it’s the chemicals they use because she has the same problem. And I agree, because it wasn’t a particularly dirty hotel, but it did stink to heaven of chemicals. Normally, I get allergies if I spend more than two nights in a row at a hotel, and in that case, after the first night, I couldn’t breathe. I was sneezing all day on Saturday, with really bad sinus pressure. Well, at Mass on Saturday evening, Fr. Bing did the aforementioned exorcism, and I immediately felt better. My sinuses completely cleared.

Well, on Sunday afternoon, I was talking to some ladies. I had been reluctant to go to the conference to begin with because the flyer gave me a strong Charismatic vibe–I even asked the organizer via email whether it was Charismatic, and her reply was that Fr. Bing is a Canon Lawyer and right in line with the Pope. I should have realized that that reply meant, “Yes it is Charismatic.”

So, we were talking, and I started to explain about my minor miracle of healing, beginning with how I get allergies in hotels. “Well, I used to be a nurse,” said the one lady, “and allergies are 100% psychosomatic.” Then she launched into a discourse on how I must not have been paying attention to Fr. Bing because allergies are caused by all the horrible food additives and such, and I need to buy Fr. Bing’s book on Organic Food, etc.

So I got a bit indignant and started explaining to them about my Marfan syndrome. I used my “31 (at the time) with a life expectancy of 20” line. Of course, I always use that in a *positive* way, meaning God is keeping me alive, but some people don’t take it that way, and they didn’t. “Oh, that’s a horrible attitude to have!” I said how I used to pray every day to be miraculously healed but that I realized I was being ungrateful to God by wanting to give back the Cross He gave me, and I should embrace suffering in union with Christ.

“Oh, that’s just what people say who have no faith,” the woman said. “It’s very common for men not to believe in God’s power to heal.”

I reiterated that I believe in God’s power but I know from the teachings of the saints that God chooses to do miracles on His own time and for His own reasons, and not to expect it, etc., and that I believe every day I’m alive is a miracle because I live in constant danger of sudden death.

But I got to thinking tonight about the way that woman said, “It’s common for men not to have that much faith,” and it gets back to the whole Corapi situation. I have been trying to decide whether to share my thoughts about the latest developments or not. Maybe I have and forgot already (it’s been a tough couple days).

But when his latest release came out on Friday, and this time his first video since January, he was wearing an expensive leather Harley Davidson jacket. I determined his die-hard supporters were clearly off their rockers when I saw them talking about how good he looked in the jacket and how “he was always a leather jacket sort of guy, anyway.”

It has increasingly struck me how most of his die-hard supporters are female (or, as a FB friend of mine put it, men who are acting like women).

Yet there’s something I used to laugh in his talks, even while it made me a bit uncomfortable. He used to always brag about how men generally couldn’t stand him. He would talk very proudly of how women love the sound of his voice and men hate it, and how women around the world will listen to him for hours and write to him about how their husbands can’t stand it. I also know that a lot of people who said they didn’t care for him before this whole thing started were men, and a lot of them said they found him very annoying. Of course, to Corapi’s followers, these statements indicate that the people who found him annoying did so not because he was annoying but because he was making those sinners uncomfortable.

And that brings me back to the lady at the Fr. Bing conference. And then it brings me to the other EWTN Celebrity Priest Conference I went to, when Fr. Groeschel came to Columbia.
I’ve been wanting to do this for the past few weeks. One thing I’ll grant to Fr. Bing was that most of his “entourage” were other priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians. There was one woman selling his books who was apparently on his staff. When Fr. Groeschel came to Columbia, he was accompanied by 2 or 3 CFRs and a couple laymen–and I mean lay-men. He was always surrounded by men and kept a cautious distance from the ladies. He did not have his own operation, either. The local Catholic bookstore did all the merchandise sales, and it was all set up to sent the proceeds to charity. The Fr. Bing conference looked like an elementary education conference or an English teacher conference: about 1 man for every 10 or 20 women. The Fr. Groeschel conference looked like any other parish mission, with a wide variety of people. I’ve never seen Fr. Corapi live, but I’ve watched a lot of his videos and been on the FB pages and seen enough photos and stuff to know that most of his attendees seem to have been women–and in any case he admitted as much–and he seemed to always surround himself with female staff members.

More importantly, Fr. Groeschel’s talks were deeply spiritual and deeply practical. He wasn’t ranting about conspiracies or damning everyone to Hell. He was talking about how to be a more loving and prayerful person, and talking about Catholic apologetics and what makes Catholicism special and how we can appeal to the good intentions of members of other faiths. He talked about his ecumenical works–which get many people labeling him an agent of Satan–but doing so in the point of “this is how to win over the hearts and minds of non-Catholics.” “I get all my hate mail from ultra-conservative Catholics,” he said. “The liberals wrote me off years ago.”

I used to see Fr. Groeschel and Fr. Corapi as paralleling each other in many ways but with distinctly different styles. Now, I’m almost seeing them as polar opposites.

In any case, I think that comment by the nice lady in Atlanta sums up one of the mentalities at work behind a lot of women in the Church, fed into by these “Celebrity priests.” They’re preaching, “Wives be Dismissive Of Your Husbands,” not “Wives be Submissive to Your Husbands.” “My husband doesn’t like Fr. Corapi. it’s probably because he’s guilty of something horrible, and Fr. Corapi makes him feel guilty.” “You just say that because you don’t have any faith. It’s very common for men not to have any faith.” Yeah, they’re not making rash judgements.

Debating Different Issues

The other day, someone commented on one of my old posts about the “Great Lila Rose Debate” and said that he thinks anyone who would question Lila Rose is not really pro-life. I posted a few responses, but one of them was, “I think anyone who can’t distinguish between critique and condemnation is not really educated.”

I notice that in a lot of these internecine Catholic blogosphere debates, one of the things that come up is that the two sides tend to “argue over each other” in the sense that one or both sides *think* the other side is saying something they aren’t. Usually, one side is talking about an absolute principle, and the other side is talking about “judging”.

So, for example, the (for lack of a better word) “pro-Lila Rose” side said things like:
“How dare you judge Lila Rose? You’d have to be a moral idiot to think what she’s doing is wrong!”
Now, for the most part, while there were some condemning Live Action absolutely in that discussion, most people on the (for lack of a better word) anti-Lila Rose camp were just saying, “Hey! I admire her courage, her commitment to the pro-life cause, her love for God and the good work she’s accomplished. I’m sure her good intentions subjectively give her a great credit in God’s eyes, but we should note that what she’s doing technically violates the teachings of the Catechism, and it raises a moral question that’s never really been discussed. Is overcover work ever morally permissible?”

On the other side, a lot of people said, “I am inclined to think that what Lila Rose is doing is good, but I agree that it’s hard to justify from existing Catholic teaching. Maybe some Biblical examples and incidents in the lives of the saints provide parallels. . . . .”

I’ve heard there were a lot of fanatical voices “condemning” Lila Rose absolutely, but I never saw any in all the reading I did of those debates. I *did* see a lot of fanatics on her side condemning Make Shea, Chris Tollefson, Dawn Eden, etc., of being “not really pro-life,” etc.

There’s that “rash judgement” thing again: on the one hand, the same people accusing Shea/Tollefson/Eden/etc. of “rash judgement against Lila Rose for saying “are we sure what she’s doing squares with the Catechism?” would turn around and commit the epitome of rash judgement by saying that Lila’s critics were “not really pro-life,” participating in a Satanic conspiracy against her, etc.
I, for my part, dove into the discussion when I’d read very little about it, by noting that the Sunday Gospels were in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. The reading for that particular Sunday was the whole “turn the other cheek,” “pray for your enemies and bless those that persecute you” thing. I asked how we could square direct “attacks” on our enemies such as Live Action’s tactics against Planned Parenthood with Jesus’ teaching in that Gospel. Rather than listening to what I said, people just attacked me, viciously, saying I was morally bankrupt, engaging in a Satantic attack against a living saint, etc. And I hadn’t even read much of the existing debate or formed a position yet, but they sure led me to know which side I wanted to be on.

Then comes the Great Fr. Corapi Debate, and we see the same thing:
1. Corapi gets suspended based upon a combination of a) possibly unsubstantiated allegations against him and b) the fact that SOLT has been trying to regularize his ministry for some time, and he’s been defying them. SOLT makes a judgemeent call that this accusation, in the light of what they already know about Fr. Corapi’s lifestyle, is worth suspending him and demanding he come back to Corpus Christi.
2. Corapi files a suit against his accuser. Corapi waits a few months, sends SOLT a letter of resignation, and then announces publicly he is now the “Black Sheepdog” and will continue to “evangelize” (“but to a broader audience”) through his new Blog, Facebook page, Twitter Account and YouTube Account.

Once again, a group of apologists (Mark Shea among them, but this kind including Deacon Greg Kandra, Elizabeth Scalia and several prominent blogging priests) say, “I don’t know whether Fr. Corapi is guilty of what he’s accused, but his behavior right now is horribly scandalous and disobedient. People should not follow him as ‘The Black Sheepdog’ because he is a suspended priest, and he’s not allowed to teach.” We looked at some of his statements and critiqued them.

Once again, it’s “anyone criticizing Fr. Corapi is serving Satan.” “How dare you judge Fr. Corapi?” “Judge not lest ye be judged.” “Don’t commit rash judgement.” Etc.

Yes, there are some people attacking Fr. Corapi under the presumption that the allegations against him are true. Yes, there are some people (Shea included) casting aspersions on his entire ministry or saying his famous “conversion story” is all or partially a fraud. Those would definitely be areas that I’d say we’re not allowed to delve into other than to possibly note that the situation does raise questions.

At issue *should* be a) whether his “Black Sheepdog” “ministry” is illicit, b) whether people should continue to buy his “old” materials, and c) whether people should continue to listen to/use his old materials. EWTN, for example, has permanently cancelled his programming. For this, the “stop making rash judgements” crowd have declared EWTN part of the “Grand Conspiracy of Satan” and promised never to donate to it again.

It fascinates me that, for the most part, one finds the same people taking the same “sides” in these discussions.

Take Medjugorje, Harry Potter, Lila Rose, the recent Corapi debate, and certain other issues, and I generally find the same people lining up. The difference seems to be a kind of populism in the faith versus intellectualism, if it can at all be reduced to a simple parallel between the issues.

The “populist” side seems to want everything to be “black or white” in a behavioral sense, if you criticize something, you are condemning it as the work of Satan. Thus they see any criticism of _Harry Potter_, legitimate or illegitimate, as proving it’s the work of Satan. On the other hand, they see any criticism of something they think worthy of support (Medjugorje, Corapi, Lila Rose) as being the work of Satan because any one criticism of something implies condemnation in their minds, and why would anyone criticize something so obviously good unless that person is evil?

On the other hand, the “intellectualist” sides of these arguments tend to be arguing for a strict reading of Catholic teaching where applicable, but also saying that one can see the good and the bad in a given situation without *necessarily* saying it has to be all good or all bad.

One of the things about the Corapi debate that strikes me is how many people keep saying things like “don’t kick a man when he’s down” or “he needs prayers not criticism.” Well, yes, insofar as he’s possibly guilty of the things he’s accused of, that’s true. However, for most of those “criticizing” Corapi, his soul is not the issue. I don’t see anyone saying, “tie him to a stake and burn him” (though maybe some are). I *DO* see plenty of people saying, “Stop buying his CDs, don’t buy his new book,” etc. And this is what baffles me. If I or Shea or someone else says, “Don’t ‘follow’ ‘The Black Sheepdog,'” and someone else says, “Don’t kick a man when he’s down,” it makes it sound like the second party is saying one has to enable Corapi. To buy his CDs now, even his old ones, is to enable him (and he certainly doesn’t need to money). To post supportive words on his FB page or Twitter account or blog is to say, “Way to go, Father ! I support your defiance of your superiors and your bishop!” Indeed, most people who are still supporting him are saying just that.

I really don’t see why people find it so hard to distinguish between criticism of his continued “ministry” and criticism of him as a person.