Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Pope on admitting gay men to the seminary ...

I saw it first on Fr. Z.

Apparently the Holy Father reaffirmed 'Catholic policy' on admitting gay men to seminary, in a private meeting with the Italian bishops.

“If there’s a doubt about homosexuality, it’s better not to have them enter the seminary.”
The words of the Pope in the closed door session with the Italian bishops: “Discernment is needed”. Reaffirmed what was in the Vatican documents of 2005 and 2016.
With the pastors of the CEI (Italian bishops conference) – Vatican insider learned – Francis, speaking about the downturn in vocations, one of his “three worries” for the Italian church, he was, instead, more straightforward and, inviting the bishops to oversee more the quality of future priests, then the quantity, explicitly mentioned cases of homosexual persons who desire, for various motives, to enter into the seminary. Then he invited the bishops to a “careful discernment”, adding: “if you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”. - Fr. Z
Evidently bishops in Chile appointed active homosexual priests to seminaries:
The Pontiff denounced verified problems in seminaries where – as he wrote – bishops and religious superiors have entrusted control to “priests suspected of practicing homosexuality”. - Fr. Z
Fr. Z knows as well as I do this had happened in the United States over recent decades.  It has been an open secret, if you will.  In my opinion, there's no 'gay mafia' to speak of, it was simply a fact of life.  I'm convinced my archdiocese has fixed all that, but that we had been a problem here many years ago, is no secret.

I really only wanted to cite this recent statement by the Pope to demonstrate that the Holy Father definitely supports Catholic teaching on sexual morality as it concerns homosexuality.  I know others will disagree with me on that, but I have not lost my confidence in Pope Francis.  Some day, everyone will see that clearly.  I also think people would be surprised if the bishops who have entrusted such priests, or who have looked the other way, permitting them to stay on in their positions, were to be revealed or identified.  It's not just so-called 'liberal' prelates who have done that.  There are those who continue to encourage and support gay men to pursue seminary or monastic life.

It's a problem - a very serious problem, as the translation Fr. Z published explains:

One indication, from the Pope, that expresses his deep concern: these tendencies, which are “deeply rooted”, and the practice of “homosexual acts”, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and an eventual future priesthood. They can generate those “scandals” of which the Pope had spoken in his discourse at the opening of the assembly of the Italian bishops in the new hall of the Synod, that disfigure the face of the Church. - Fr. Z

And I will tell you why I agree.

I know many guys who have tried their vocations - over and over - convinced after each repentance, after each lengthy period of continence, that they are suited for religious life, and or priesthood.  After every attempt, many fall back into the old patterns of masturbation, porn, and anonymous sex.  It's not an addiction, but a 'deeply rooted' inclination.  Deep seated.  I'm not talking about a teen boy who is just 'horny' and wants to 'get off'.  Celibate priesthood and religious life - even in community - does not 'take care' of inordinate desires.  Homosexual acts are indeed gravely disordered and will compromise seminary and religious life.  What I'm saying is that men with deep seated homosexual tendencies should be discouraged from seminary and religious life. 

Membership in Courage or years of therapy to overcome homosexuality is no guarantee.  Nor is the rejection of identifiable terms such as 'gay' in favor of 'ssa'.

Fr. Z says "This bridge is closed!"  A probable reference to Fr. Martin's book - although I don't think the bridge is closed, and it never has been.  Priests, bishops - even cardinals - with great sympathy for homosexuals, have always admitted these men, or encouraged their vocations.  Because, at one time or another, they have been encouraged to consider a vocation  to priesthood or religious life, the candidates themselves will seek out and find persons willing to admit them and write letters of recommendation.  Not a few become priests within monastic or religious communities, only to leave for diocesan work.  Few question that sort of instability.

People may ask, 'what about gay men already ordained?'  I agree with the Pope when he responded to that question years ago, "Who am I to judge?"  Unless of course they break the law or have sex with underage young men, engage in public sin, create scandal, and so on.  That said, there are wonderful priests who are gay - or rather, experience same sex attraction.  They do just fine.  The Pope is talking about reforming a 'system' which admits men with deep seated homosexual tendencies.

I've gone back and forth on this issue, but after all these years of blogging and reading the literature, as well as seeing several priests fall from grace and leave the priesthood, I am convinced the Church should not ordain gay men.  I wanted always to be charitable and to believe that maybe the rules should be bent for this one or that one, but I can't say that now.  It's a delusion to overlook all the evidence against the practice today.

“If you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”.  The Holy Father is right.  And it is not homophobia to insist upon that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What the Pope said ... I spoke too soon.

Mr. Cruz and Pope Francis.

The story and commentary is growing and getting dissected.

Not to worry.  Prayer obtains all.  I should have known better than to respond to the story so quickly, but it is a really good reminder of how deeply I need 'to allow myself to be taught', to paraphrase St. John of the Cross.

So anyway.  I think I get it now. What the Holy Father reportedly said is entirely consistent with his way of approaching those alienated from the Church. It is consistent with his style of evangelization and his concept of the Church as field hospital.

Having more background on the story helped me out - Juan Carlos Cruz was reportedly discredited by the Chilean bishops, whose spokesmen pointed out that he was gay and therefore unreliable, a blame and shame the victim strategy.  So it fits that the Holy Father would make such a comment privately and personally, without feeling the need to hold up the catechism and point out what actual teaching is.  I'm sure Mr. Cruz knew it already.  It was a private exchange and was a kindly affirmation of an individual person, and as I've said before, it was not 'for me' nor did it change Catholic teaching.  I'm not sure the Pope expected it to be made public, nor did he intend it as a correction of doctrinal teaching, and I highly doubt he will clarify it.  

My initial reaction had more to do with how media and social media especially erupted, and it reveals how deeply my own 'doctrinal adhesion' if you will, became a barrier to a basic sense of empathy. On one level, it reveals my own self-righteousness based upon my personal sense of 'dogmatic fidelity'.  (It kind of adds credence to what Pope Francis warns us all about regarding strains of 'Neo-Pelagianism and Neo-Gnosticism' infecting Catholics.)  

That said, it's amazing how many outside the Church, especially former practicing Catholic celebrities, seemed to have understood the gesture immediately.  I know conservative writers seem to think 'liberals' consider the Pope's gesture to be a sea change in Catholic doctrinal teaching, but I don't see it that way at all.  Of course Fr. Martin, S.J. might see it that way, yet so do traditionalists, who are already predicting the Youth Synod will be corrupted by the 'liberal' POV.  This sort of projection of what could happen or not happen is typical of those who have come through the culture wars, and it is outside my expertise and competence.  It's also very often completely devoid of charity.

Again, I love the Holy Father and I am grateful for his humble leadership.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mary, Mother of the Church

Prayer to Mary at the conclusion of the Encyclical Lumen Fidei (29 June 2013)
Image of Mary – Our Lady of the Column in St Peter’s Basilica

Just like clockwork: And Paul VI wept.

So anyway.

Fr. Z is the 'second source' for the myth.  Archbishop Magee was the first.  So two sources still doesn't convince me.  How could Blessed Pope Paul not know the Octave of Pentecost was suppressed?

Then it all became very clear to me.  It had to be the impostor Pope Paul who wept.  (Because the real Pope was drugged and imprisoned.)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

So here is the deal ...

I've spent much of my life in a titanic struggle.

To be holy.  To be a boy.  To be a man.

To fit in.

To not fit in.

To run away.

To come home.

To find a home, a place.

To be chaste.

To be normal.

To be holy.

To love...

Never knowing how to let myself be loved.

That's like a poem in a way. 

So anyway.  I came across a comment on Fr. Martin's blog in response to what the Holy Father told Juan Carlos Cruz, that God made him gay.  The man is in his 60's and wrote:
I wish I could relive life and as I was realizing I might be gay, some priest or pope had said that to me. How different my life might have been. ....but no one did...and so I lived in hiding and dark depression through my teens, twenties and some of my 30s. Dark suicidal depression. I might have actually been open to love and had a beautiful life. But no. I believed extreme conservative religious teaching and never had love. My one existence on this earth....and no love. Really sad. my 60s now that I don't care about love...God has made me happy....but man oh man...I wish I had not listened so much to the Church and super religious people. - Mark F.
Fortunately, that hasn't been my experience, but I understood the sentiment.  It also made me sad and made me feel somewhat alienated.  If someone had told me it was okay - and they did - it didn't change anything.  My conscience wouldn't allow it.  When my conscience was formed, I was still very young.  I had no understanding of same sex attraction.  I knew what it was to be chaste however.  I knew it was holy and good.  I knew sexual 'self-abuse' and looking at 'dirty' pictures, and 'impure' thoughts were sins - even mortal sins.  I knew sex was for marriage.  I knew virginity was for religious life, and chastity was for all - according to their state in life.  (I really did - from a very young age in fact.)  Though I never wanted to commit a mortal sin, I did.  Being in the state of mortal sin made me unhappy... infinitely sad.

Therefore, I was never happy when I engaged in sexual acts which I knew were mortal sins.  I was never happy in a lifestyle based upon that.  I liked and loved gay persons, worked with them, socialized with them, and enjoyed good times, but I never quite fit in.  I tried to fit in - but I never did.  A good friend of mine once shared with me that he could never understand how some guys were just fine with being gay - they felt fulfilled, and so on.  He and I couldn't understand how they could reconcile sexual acts with being Catholic and receiving the sacraments.  Neither of us could do that in good conscience - even if and when a confessor might tell one of us that it is not a sin.  Our consciences told us otherwise.

So.  I don't get it.

Like I said, I've spent much of my life in a titanic struggle with these issues.  I've had to defend myself against gay people who made fun of me for my faith, from straight people who were suspicious because I live with a friend, or worked in a gay profession, or had gay friends.  I never fit in with the conservatives who insist that gay Catholics not say gay, or insist that they need to belong to a self-help group, and then it can only be Courage.  I never fit in with all their rules about that, or their insistence I condemn this priest or that gay-Catholic as too liberal.

So many of these folks gossip and condemn others based upon who they live with, what their past was, how they dress.  They suspect every single man and woman.  They want to know why you are not married, do you have a girlfriend, and so on.  They point out who they think is gay and speculate on their moral life.  These same people often put great emphasis on their religious practices, judging your Catholicism based upon the question 'are you trad or novus ordo?'  Even great Churchmen - aka Cardinal Burke - tell families they shouldn't let their gay relatives, especially those in a relationship/living with a partner, come over for family dinner.  Likewise, a man who lives with another man - albeit chastely and celibately - can't sing in the choir, nor can they do the readings at Mass.  (Personally, I would never presume to even take up the collection at Mass, lest I scandalize someone.)

To be sure, I tried to fit it all in - I even tried to defend religious people who said and did that stuff - those who said you not only had to be chaste and celibate - you couldn't live with a same-sex best friend.  But it didn't work - it wasn't my call.  Some of the discrimination I point out here bordered on the 'unjust' - based in bigotry.  Their 'acceptance' was superficial and conditional, as well as patronizingly situational.  It wasn't authentic.  I wasn't being authentic trying to assure these types that I fully embraced and lived Catholic teaching.  (I did and do.)  Needless to say, I totally understand the man who said he wished he hadn't listened to super religious people.  I agree with him for reasons I just stated, but also because all they seem to see are evil threats to their perfectly constructed theories and neatly placed battlements.  Though I do not fit in with these folks, neither can I fit in with the New Ways Ministry types, or those who ignore Catholic moral teaching and indulge their sexual appetites and claim God blesses that.   I don't know how they justify that, but I'm not their judge.

I am fortune's fool.  

What the Pope said to Juan Carlos Cruz, if true, is not meant for me.  (I've said the same thing about Fr. Martin's book and message.)  What people will take from what the Pope purportedly said is not for me either.  Some are interpreting the Pope's statement to mean approval for homosexual acts and they are saying the Church's teaching must change, and so on.  They claim that if God made men gay and wants them to be happy, then homosexual acts are not disordered, and so on.  The Pope did not say that.  And even if he did, (he didn't) - it is a message/teaching not meant for me.

This is one of the few times I've become concerned over something the Holy Father is quoted as saying.  I have no way of determining the accuracy of the comment, but many are responding as if it was a new teaching.  That's unfortunate.

Like I said, it has been a lifelong struggle not without some degree of suffering - and it isn't over yet - but that is why I have dropped everything, as it were, to comment on this issue today.  I do not look for sympathy or agreement - this is just my personal reflection.

'He has confused the proud in their inmost heart' - I think that is the grace in all of this for me.  If I can become humble - O my God, what a grace this is.

Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.

Song for this post here.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

I think I'm finished.

I'll post some of the paintings, a few thoughts, but I think I'm done here.

What the Pope says privately...

Juan Carlos Cruz

It is reported ...

In an interview with Juan Carlos Cruz, the spokesman for the victims of sex abuse in Chile, said the Pope told him that God made him gay.  I'm using Google translate for that portion of the interview:

Q. Did you talk about your homosexuality and how did you suffer more for that?
R. Yes, we speak. He had been told practically that I was a wicked person. There I explained that I am not the reincarnation of San Luis Gonzaga but I am not a bad person, I try not to hurt anyone. He told me "Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope wants you like that, you have to be happy with who you are " - InfoVaticana
If the translation is accurate, and Juan Carlos heard the Holy Father correctly, many people will be upset by that.

Today's Gospel response of Jesus to Peter works very well for me in this case:
"What concern is it of yours? You follow me." - John 21:20-25

This is enough for me.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken ..

My love shall never leave you. - Is. 54:10

I read that regularly in the Little Office, when reciting Psalm 46:

God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea;
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Every time I worried, or wondered, or was confused, this psalm consoled me.  It consoles me today.

Mountains sliding into the sea in Hawaii.  Bishops resigning in Chile.  American students shooting and killing other students.  And that's only today's news. 

So anyway.

I love Pope Francis, and I love what he had to say today:

‘Don’t be a busybody’ 
In conclusion, Pope Francis focused on one final, pervasive temptation: the desire to meddle in the lives of others, without being content with minding one’s own business.
“Put yourself in your own shoes, and don’t stick your nose in other people’s business. The pastor loves, tends, and prepares himself for the cross… Don’t waste time being a busybody, even regarding ecclesiastical rumors. Love, tend my sheep, and prepare yourself not to fall into temptation.” - VR

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This made me laugh.

I came across something on Facebook again ...

A friend posted a link to a locutionist from Australia who receives messages from Heaven.  I can't understand how or why people follow these 'seers'. 

Heavenly Visitation in my Home

In the morning, while I was in my kitchen, I was saying my prayers, when all of a sudden my house was filled with a Heavenly presence of many, many angels. There was a lot of loud chatter going on amongst these heavenly beings. They were all very happy and very joyous.

I thought to myself, ‘What a privilege that I received this Heavenly visitation’, when, suddenly, I could see God the Father among the angels. Our Blessed Mother was also present in this Heavenly group. I immediately said, “Glory to You, my Father.”

God the Father went and sat on one of my kitchen chairs, which was closest to the window. He was wearing a white tunic with a light brown mantle. I was made to understand from previous visions that the brown mantle represents the priesthood. God the Father was of a younger appearance, with blue eyes and the most beautiful skin. He had no beard. His hair was short and of a greyish colour.

He said to me, “Today, you are very blessed and privileged that we all came to see you and console you because we know that you still grieve after your son. Come close to Me, My daughter, so that we can talk.”

I moved closer to God the Father and said, “My Father, this is such a privilege and a great joy for me that you come to visit my house, but Father this is just an ordinary little house and You are God Almighty.”

He said, “My daughter, don’t think like that. We are very united. Your house belongs to us, so we come to visit you. I have many good friends on earth that I visit, and you are one of them. When you open your heart and you tell us you love us, and are obedient to My Will then we become connected.”

“Tell Me My daughter, what can I do for you today?” - From Valentina Papagna

These locutions are the craziest I have ever come across.  People who follow private revelations leave themselves wide open to be misled.

"Getting Ready" J. Michael Walker

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Today is also the feast of St. Margaret of Cortona. Yes it is.

St Margaret of Cortona.

In the new calendar, as well as the Franciscan calendar, the feast day was moved to May 16.

Our Lord told the Saint about his presence during her sinful life. She was never out of his sight, as it were. I find that consoling, because no matter how far we fall - he is there already. That is how I understand the falls on his way of the cross ... he fell to the level of our gravest fall from grace - to meet us there.
But at the same time, the old serpent, seeing you driven forth by your father, to his shame and for your destruction, seized this opportunity to make you vain of your beauty and your youth. He suggested to you that, abandoned by fortune, you had every excuse for giving yourself up to sin: that, wherever you chose to go and live, you would find rich and voluptuous masters to love you for the sake of your exterior loveliness.

But I, the Maker of your inward beauty, which you had deformed and which I wished to renew, I bore Myself towards you with a true love. By My inspirations and My light I touched your conscience. I urged you to set out immediately for Cortona, and there to submit to the obedience of My Friars-Minors.

You were filled with strength, and you set out on your journey. In obedience to My commands, you presented and offered yourself to My Friars; and with great zeal and courage you brought your soul under subjection to their rules and instructions.

Think of how, at the very outset of this career of salvation, you found balm for your heart, in the respectful, filial fear with which I filled your soul towards the religious to whose care I confided you.

This fear vanquished the invisible enemy, who had the hardihood to present himself to you in the hour of your affliction. Did you not tremble from head to foot, were not your cheeks suffused with blushes, when a friar of the Order of our ever-blessed Father appeared in the Church, in the house, or in the street? You dared not sit down or speak in their presence.

Think of how I molded your soul; how, from that moment, I inspired you with a supreme contempt of worldly ornament, and drew you, little by little, for My love's sake, to a most lawful position in relation to your fellow-creatures. - Source
"You dared not sit down or speak in their presence."

I believe my sins are so much worse that those of St. Margaret. So how do I dare speak of the evils of others?

The Lord drew the Saint - 'little by little' to a most 'lawful position in relation to your fellow creatures.' See, that is what happens after a good confession - otherwise, living in sin is all disorder, placing us in an unlawful position in relation to our fellow creatures.

Margaret suffered all her life from gossips who never forgot her sinful past and accused her of continuing indiscretions even after so many years of penance.  That just happened to me again, and once again I forgot to thank God for such a special grace.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

So you keep trying to justify passing judgment on others?

Even after the Lord commanded, "Do not judge"?

People need to judge, they defend it, over and over.  I just saw a piece on Crisis about the 'need' to judge: Being our brother's keeper requires moral judgment.  One commenter noted in self-defense:
I am often accused of violating Matthew 7. But I have a different take on it: The best person to remove the splinter from his brother's eye, is the one who has already removed the log from his own eye. For who better to recognize the difference between wood and eye?
That's sweet, huh?  I never read these sites as a habit, only when someone I know links to such articles.  I never ever listen to talk radio, conservative or liberal, Catholic or secular.  I still think talk radio and the companion sites online are the reason people are such fanatics, but I digress.

I just think it's funny how people who incessantly complain about being judged and criticized and even claim persecution, constantly insist they have a right to judge others,  and even have a duty to do so.  Of course we are expected to judge between right and wrong, and need to point out what is harmful to ourselves and others - common sense dictates that.  Likewise, everything is based upon our responsibility in particular situations - according to our state in life.  Parents, teachers, employers and so on have a duty to make judgement calls.  Most adults do not need anyone to tell them that.

Many Evangelical Catholics seem to think that when the spiritual fathers, the saints, and even the Pope offer the precaution, "Do not judge" it means look the other way and ignore moral evil - the sins of others.  That's missing the point.  They especially misinterpret Pope Francis on the meaning of mercy.  They resist him, and given the chance, they would resist him to his face. 

A hermit said, "Do not judge an adulterer if you are chaste or you will break the law of God just as much as he does. For he who said, 'Do not commit adultery' also said 'Do not judge'"

Most of the problems online and offline, the fights, the contentious exchanges in judgment-based gossip which circulates, along with all the condemnations, they occur because people judge one another.  For example, instead of judging the recent Met Gala for what it was, the devout focused upon those in attendance - especially the Catholics there, and by extension, the Vatican authorities who cooperated in it.  Actually, there was nothing wrong with the exhibit itself - in a sense it was a neutral museum exhibit focused upon the art of costume.  I responded negatively at first, avoiding any criticism of persons, choosing instead to discuss the vanity of fashion.  That is a discussion worthy of a good exhibit.  Judging and condemning Cardinal Dolan and Fr. Martin, and guilting by association Vatican personalities such as Mons. Ganswein, is taking it a step beyond.   This sort of gossip and detraction feeds the judgmental attitudes already embedded in online Catholic minds.  It's indefensible.

The Lord asks us to be merciful. He asks us not to judge. Often, said Pope Francis, “It seems that we have been named judges of others: engaging in gossip, talking behind people’s backs, we judge everyone.” The Lord, however tells us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. “Do not condemn [others],” said Pope Francis, “and you will not be condemned.” The Lord asks us to forgive, that we might be forgiven. “We say it every day in the Our Father,” noted the Holy Father, “forgive us as we forgive others – and if I do not forgive, how can I ask the Father to forgive me?”
“This is the Christian life. ‘But Father, this is folly!’ one might say. ‘Yes’, one might answer, ‘it is’. We have heard in these days, though, St Paul, who said the same: the foolishness of the Cross of Christ, which has nothing to do with the wisdom of the world. ‘But Father, to be Christian is to become some sort of fool?’ [one might ask]. ‘Yes’, [I would say], ‘in a certain sense, yes. It means renouncing the cunning of the world in order to do everything that Jesus tells us to do and that, if we do the sums, if we balance the ledger, seems to be against us.” - Vatican Radio

"A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge." Abba  Xanthios  

Catholics online search and research other Catholics online, very often to find something on them.  To confirm their private judgment that something is wrong with them.  They even create private groups on Facebook, attacking this or that apologist, a priest they dislike, or the pope they deem to be a heretic.  They are so embroiled in self-righteous anger, they can't stop judging and condemning.  They devote their websites and newspapers to the work of scandal and detraction - judging and condemning one another.  They even turn on each other.  It's really a sick and perverted religiosity which motivates them.  Even Christ refused to be considered a judge or arbitrator in mean-worldly affairs, asking “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

What is it that religious people do not understand about the command, "Do not judge"?

Writing in 1 Corinthians, St. Paul went so far as to insist: "I do not even pass judgment upon myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord." [...] the Lord "will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts ..."

So how can we judge each other?

How can we best be our brother's keeper?  How can we love our neighbor and avoid judging one another?

Let love be sincere;hate what is evil,hold on to what is good;love one another with mutual affection;anticipate one another in showing honor.Do not grow slack in zeal,be fervent in spirit,serve the Lord.Rejoice in hope,endure in affliction,persevere in prayer.Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,exercise hospitality.Bless those who persecute you,bless and do not curse them.Rejoice with those who rejoice,weep with those who weep.Have the same regard for one another;do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;do not be wise in your own estimation.  - Romans 12: 9-16

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our Lady of Fatima

Commenting on Our Lady's request for penance, Sr. Lucia wrote: "The part of the last apparition which has remained most deeply imprinted on my heart is the prayer of our heavenly Mother begging us not to offend any more Almighty God, Who is already so much offended."
Our Lord explained to her: "The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require." - Sr. Lucia

As I said on Facebook:  I think the conspiracy theorists and Fatimists, along with those dubious mystics and seers who claim to offer the 'missing parts' of the Fatima Secret, have drained the devotion out of Fatima and turned it into a cult of suspicion and conspiracy. The continual search for secrets and all too worldly interpretations of what is reported to have been revealed (and or suppressed) has distorted and corrupted Our Lady's original message calling us to repentance, prayer, penance and amendment of life.