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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Meditation Music for Sunday

"Music has charms to calm the savage breast." If you are troubled or grieving today, here is a gift to calm your heart and mind. When I was diagnosed with cancer back in 1986 (Praise God, I'm a survivor!) The Lord calmed my terror with praise music. May He calm all your fears this morning and always. I'm praying for you.








Saturday, February 28, 2015

Double Standard: Orthodox Bishop of Bling Gets the Ax, Liberal Super Blinger is A-Okay

"Bishop of Bling"
Remember when German bishop, Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the "Bishop of Bling" got thrown out of his diocese by Pope Francis for his big spending ways? (See here.) Actually, the project was begun by the previous bishop, but oh well. Many of us agree that ostentatious over-spending is inappropriate for clerics. The final price tag for the project which involved maintaining and redecorating ten buildings of a diocesan center including the bishop's house was reported at 55 million euros. (A euro is worth about $1.12 according to currency converter.) The bishop was crucified in the secular media and wasn't treated too sympathetically by the Catholic media either. Latest news on the bishop? He's been assigned a newly-created catechetical position at the Vatican. 

Bishop of Super Bling
Oh...one other thing. The "Bishop of Bling" is orthodox. He suspended a priest who "married" two homosexuals and was holding the ground on controversial issues relating to marriage and sexuality which made him unpopular both in the secular world and in his own episcopate which is filled with progressives who believe in the evolution of dogma.

Now let's turn to another blinger of the German episcopate who's managed to avoid the negative spotlight. ( See here.) Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of the liberal movers and shakers at the recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family, a man who implies that the German Church will move ahead on its "pastoral" plan to allow the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Communion, spent over 130 million euros on a diocesan center. Let's see, that's more than twice as much as the "bishop of bling." But there has not been one one word in the secular press about his scandalous spending and there's no evidence he is getting called on the carpet by Rome.

So what gives?

What makes one bishop a pariah and another gets a total pass? I could speculate, but I think the facts speak for themselves. You can find the answer in Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Fairness and Accuracy in Blogging: Let's Try to Get it Right!

A reader sent me some information about the Franciscans of the Immaculate indicating that a lot of information circulating in the Catholic blogosphere is innacurate and damaging reputations. Well, I certainly don't want to be part of that so I updated a post I wrote on February 2nd showing (ostensibly) a video made on the day the seminary closed. Well...apparently not. Read Fr. Geiger's article linked below. Heee's the update:
Update 2/28/2015: Well, there is more to the story than this video which apparently has been misrepresented by bloggers since it was not, in fact, shot the day the seminary closed. I'm linking to a post by Fr.Angelo Geiger that disputes much of what's been circulating on the internet about the papal investigation of the Friars. He doesn't discuss the reasons for the initial investigation or the suppression of the TLM withn the order by the Vatican. 
Frankly, I don't know what to make of a lot of it, but Father is himself a friar so presumably he knows what's what, and he appears to be just seeking truth and justice in the matter. Catholic World Report ran an article in 2013 and even it doesn't get the story completely straight as the comment section shows. Fairness in reporting is important to me and I don't like the thought that other bloggers are posting dishonest material as fact which I may be inadvertently promoting. So read Fr. Geiger's blog post, the CWR article, and pray for the Friars. We live in confusing times. It is sad when Catholic bloggers either deliberately or inadvertently spread false information adding to the confusion.
One of the dangers of blogging is the possibility of passing on information that is factually innacurate and, perhaps, advances an agenda. We are all vulnerable to it I think. I try hard to vet sources, but even that doesn't mean I always get things right. Our times are so confusing, it's easy to pick up and run with things that aren't necessarily correct.

Let's continue to pray for the Friars that things will be sorted out in a way that builds up the faith and respects the integrity of all, even those whose opinions conflict.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Does Anybody Care about the Christian Hostages and Refugees Fleeing Syria?

Turkey has closed her borders. We hear almost nothing from our government about the massacres. Obama is too busy defending Islam as the religion of peace. As for the bishops, they're focused on opening up our borders, not to political refugees in danger of beheading, but invaders looking for generous handouts. God help the poor Syrian people. Does anybody care?

Turkish border closed as Christian hostages in Syria spike to 250

Patriarch urges prayer after at least 90 Christians kidnapped in Syria

These Syrian Christians are the people to whom we should be giving political asylum. I remember back during and after the Vietnam war when Catholic parishes were adopting Vietnamese refugees, helping them find housing and jobs and assisting them to make a new life in this country. Why can't the bishops organize such a program for the Syrian Christians? Hey, they could demonstrate what it means to "welcome the stranger" by taking some of the refugees into their mansions. I'm sure my bishop has a few spare bedrooms. And we would happily participate in such a program.



Is this how the Vatican promotes modesty?

Women in bondage, indeed. Here's a screen shot (taken on February 26th) from the Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture. I deliberately made it small since it's lacking in modesty.




This office gets the loony-tune award for the worst ideas in promoting a message. First it was the blonde bimbo on the Life of Women. Now this. And, despite an outpouring of criticism, this is the response:
Some complaints have reached the Dicastery concerning the image above. While acknowledging the anger, Cardinal Ravasi has chosen not to remove the image as it speaks clearly for one of the central points of the document: many women, alas, are still struggling for freedom (bound with rope), their voices and intellect often unheard (headless), their actions unappreciated (limbless). 
And we needed a naked torso to get that message across? This reminds me of gay pride events where lesbians and homosexuals parade around in sado-masochistic garb. To think that a prince of the Church defends this -- well, I suspect he has a dirty mind. St. Michael the Archangel, please visit him with a flaming sword and set him straight. This picture itself demeans the dignity of women. You don't teach reverence for women by treating them with irreverence. I'm embarrassed for my Church and ashamed of those who allowed this travesty.

Was Pope Francis Lobbied into the Papacy?

Cardinal participants in a conclave are forbidden to lobby for "candidates." However, it appears that there was, indeed, a "team Bergolio" working for the election of Pope Francis. A biography of the pope, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh was published last Fall. Ivereigh writes that there was indeed an orchestrated lobbying effort to elect Bergoglio. Here's what the London Telegraph had to say about the book:
“Spotting their moment, the initiative was now seized by the European reformers who in 2005 had pushed for Bergoglio,” Mr Ivereigh, who once served as Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s press secretary, explains in the book. 
He wrote that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, then 80 and no longer with a vote in the conclave, teamed up with the German cardinal Walter Kasper, whose controversial call for remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive communion was one of the main points of division at the synod that Pope Francis held in Rome this year. 
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s role included lobbying his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link for those from Commonwealth countries. 
“They had learnt their lessons from 2005,” Mr Ivereigh explains. “They first secured Bergoglio’s assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked. 
“Murphy-O’Connor knowingly warned him to 'be careful’, and that it was his turn now, and was told 'capisco’ – 'I understand’. 
“Then they got to work, touring the cardinals’ dinners to promote their man, arguing that his age – 76 – should no longer be considered an obstacle, given that popes could resign. Having understood from 2005 the dynamics of a conclave, they knew that votes travelled to those who made a strong showing out of the gate.”
A spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that the then Cardinal Bergoglio was not approached with a view to seeking his assent as a candidate for the papacy.
 Well, this is the claim of one man that Murphy-O'Connor and Kasper were the king makers at the conclave.  But in a 2013 talk at Villanova, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when he talked about how he was asked to "talk up" Bergoglio. See the video below. The discussion of the conclave starts around 16 minutes in. And the statement is around 19:30. McCarrick was approached by an "influential Italian" not, apparently a Cardinal, but did he, in fact, join the team to "talk up" Bergoglio? He doesn't say. The episode certainly affirms Ivereigh's claim that a lobbying effort was going on. What do you think?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rudy Giuliani Pegs It! Obama Does NOT Love America; He Loves the Islamic World

Have you noticed that Obama will never use these two words together -- Islamic terrorism. Even the liberal "drive-by media" notice. The ISIS monsters just need jobs, one stupid administration official told Chris Matthews.

But Rudy Giuliani (I'm no fan of his but he got this right!) pegged the real problem when he said Obama does not love America. The liberals are after him, but it's hard to argue with his comment. "It hit a nerve," Giuliani said.

Giuliani made the comment during an insightful speech on Islam which unfortunately is being lost in the brouhaha over the Obama remark. Two thumbs up to Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal who were pressured to condemn Giuliani's comment and refused. Two thumbs down to Jeb Bush and Rand Paul who ran the other way. Take a look at the speech below and see what you think.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Educating Children in the Faith

I thought this quote from Dietrich von Hildebrand on teaching children the faith was totally on target. 
"Religion has often been taught to children in the same way as history or spelling. Instead of presenting the mysteries of Christian faith in a way proper to their unique and extraordinary character, teachers of religion have often taught them with a kind of neutral objectivity suitable to any purely academic matter. 
"The real teacher of religion, on the contrary, communicates the realization that religion is something completely different from any other topic. He appeals to the entire person. He creates a truly religious atmosphere which evokes feelings of wonder and awe in the child and at the same time corresponds to the longing for God that lives in every human soul. The real teacher of religion attempts to awaken and develop a sense of mystery and reverence in his pupil." (From Trojan Horse in the City of God)
When I was home schooling I used to like to start our religion class by looking at a beautiful work of religious art and asking my daughter what she thought the artist was trying to say about God in his picture. It was one of my favorite parts of our religion class. Beautiful objects are just a pale reflection of the beauty of God. When we are awestruck by a natural wonder, it is only a dim reflection of the wonderfulness of God. Teaching religion isn't about a subject, but about a person, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift to our children to help them know Him and approach him with a sense of wonder, awe, mystery, and reverence.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Colleague of Fr. Rosica Tweets Cardinal Burke Should STFU!

Ah...life is never boring when "progressive" Catholics who are always so eminently tolerant illustrate the depth of their intolerance. Such has been the Fr. Thomas Rosica soap opera where leading man, Fr. Tom, sues a Catholic father for quoting his statements and commenting on them. Here are the posts at Vox Cantoris that Rosica's lawyers are demanding he remove. And here is the letter from the lawyers.

Adding to the soap opera was the tweet by one of Fr. Rosica's colleagues in the Basilian order that Cardinal Burke, who has been an eloquent voice against the "progressive" agenda, should STFU. Not being an expert in obscenity by shortcut, I had to think about that for a minute. The priest, Fr.Timothy Scott, has now received his fifteen minutes of fame and announced, after apologizing, that he is taking a break from Twitter. Good thing! But, as they say, "Birds of a feather flock together," and in view of Fr. Rosica's history with dissenters, one is not surprised that an associate would object to an orthodox cardinal like Burke to the point of obscenity.

Anyway, Fr. Rosica says Vox Cantoris is damaging his reputation, but, after reading his own statements, I can only conclude that he's doing a pretty good job of damaging his own reputation and making himself both ridiculous and irrelevant. Fr. Rosica and friends are showing themselves for what they are and it isn't a pretty sight. Fr. Rosica is a lover of dssenters and this article about his relationship with former priest Gregory Baum, a man eminent priest scholar, Msgr. Vincent Foy, called an "arch-heretic" speaks volumes about Fr. Rosica and where he stands on the truths of the faith. (Read this article by Msgr. Foy on Gregory Baum whom Fr. Rosica admires and has the gall to call a "faithful, deeply devoted Catholic who loves Jesus and the Eucharist." If such a statement weren't so tragic one would laugh. Msgr. Foy considers Baum's teachings evil and dangerous. Fr. Rosica, on the other hand, treats him like an icon of orthodoxy which shows exactly how pernicious he is.)

Watch Fr. Rosica's interview with Baum in the video below. It should wake up every orthodox Catholic to Fr. Rosica's agenda which is certainly not fidelity to the Church. What can we expect from any role he plays in the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family. Can we trust his Salt and Light network to report the truth? Hell no! And I mean that hell literally. When you follow those who admire and promote evil and dissent, they are leading you on the wide road to hell. Run as fast as possible in the other direction!

So sue me, Father!

Oh and I recommend that readers write to the pope and ask him to fire Fr. Rosica as his English language media adviser. How about Phil Lawler as a replacement? Here's the pope's address. His Holiness, Pope Francis Bishop of Rome, Apostolic Palace, Via del Pellegrino, Citta del Vaticano, Vatican City State, 00120, Europe (See other Vatican addresses here.)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Bishop Who Lives Up to His Name: Salvatore the Lion-Hearted

When I was a child there was a great program about Robin Hood on television. It ran from 1955 to 1960. How I loved that hero and his devotion to Richard the Lion-Hearted who was fighting in the Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Muslim invaders. (In those days we knew who the bad guys were.) Well, I feel like that nine-year-old kid again after reading the letter written by lion-hearted Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to seven California Assemblymen who dared to criticize him for establishing Catholic moral standards for those teaching in Catholic high schools. 

You can read the full document including the affirmation of faith at the diocesan website, but here is a brief summary from the document:

Meditation for Sunday: Deliver Us from Evil

by Fr. Tom Collins

The Temptation of Christ: 12th century mosaic at St. Mark's basilica

In Mark's Gospel, we read of Jesus encounter with the devil in the desert immediately after His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus went into the desert to confront Satan, the Father of Evil. It is important to note that evil is not merely a danger, a defect or a shortcoming. Rather, it is a virulently aggressive threat to our character, lives and eternal destiny. Thus it is that Satan and his minions seek to seduce us, so that we adopt attitudes, perspectives and actions, which are seriously detrimental to our lives and relationships. They desecrate ourselves and others. At the same time, they blind us by excuses and resentments to the redemptive graciousness of divine mercy.

In our own age, this has become shockingly evident in the attitudes, perspectives and actions of
Islamic jihadist groups, such as ISIS, Al Q'ueda, Hammas, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab. Yet more
importantly, the vivid portrayal of evil given to us by these groups is merely a reflection of the evils Americans have chosen to embrace over the last half century. While we condemn ISIS for brutally butchering and beheading Christian infants, Catholic politicians and jurists have little or no compunction about promoting and subsidizing the dismemberment and beheading of pre-born children in the womb.

Time out for Grandkids

The world these days is a pretty grim place. With Christians being beheaded by ISIS, wars and violence all over the globe, pornography being mainstreamed in our local theaters....

Well...all I can say is it's important to take time out to forget about all the evil and just play with the little ones. That's what I did yesterday with two of my little granddaughters. We went sledding on our back hill in the middle of a snowstorm and then we made snow ice cream.

We didn't talk about the mess in the Church or the sad state of the world. We stuck out our tongues to catch snowflakes and laughed at the black and white snow dog romping across our sledding track.

Gosh it was fun!

Children truly are the greatest expression of God's love for us -- especially the completely innocent ones, too little to be sinners. Take a break from the miseries of the world and enjoy the company of a child or two or three. Tell knock-knock jokes, sing silly songs, sled down a hill, play cards, read books together, do a puzzle, play dominoes, and, of course, say prayers together. Old fashioned family pleasures are a reminder of what life is meant to be. And for sure what it will be one day in the Kingdom of Heaven.

So enjoy watching my little granddaughter sled down the hill and imagine her grandmother taking her own turn on the saucer with little sister. It was great fun and when we put the girls to bed last night, Anya asked if she can sled again tomorrow. Absolutely!

video