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Awesome advice July 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic, Society.
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One of the very best things about becoming a blogger is finding and discovering other Catholic blogs run by people striving to live the Faith to their utmost.  I just found another blog today, which probably shows how myopic I am, since I think it’s pretty well known, called Abbey RoadsThere is a great post there about spiritual warfare and devotion to the Blessed Mother:

Today, when there is such an emphasis upon peace and justice, some Catholics do not like using the terms, spiritual warfare, combat, battle, or always hearing phrases such as ‘we are at war’ and so on.  Yet that is what the Christian life has always been, it is a struggle – an intense, knock down, drag out fight, a very real spiritual combat:  To quote St. Paul, ‘Our battle is not just against human forces, but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above.’ [Ephesians 6]

This is why true devotion to Our Lady is so important in our day.  We need to draw close to the Blessed Virgin in prayer, through some form of daily devotion, be it so simple as the devotion of the Three Hail Marys, the Little Office, or the Rosary.  Of all devotions the Rosary is the most highly recommended and something Our Lady herself has requested.  Therefore it is accessible to all – it just takes practice to incorporate into our daily lives – especially when most of us are busy with work, daily necessities and family obligations.

It is always good to remember that the desire to pray is in itself a prayer.  Then, making the effort to pray five decades of the Rosary is better than not trying at all.  Praying the Rosary amid distractions is better than not praying at all.  Using a tape to pray along in the recitation is an immense help.  Use the tape in the car, while out for a walk or a run, while cleaning – it is a great help to accustom a person to the prayers of the Rosary.  Pray the Rosary alone or with others, and use artwork depicting the mysteries – images train the mind to meditate – one is thereby able to focus upon the mystery, upon the person.  Don’t worry so much about distractions or temptations during prayer – be humble about them – let them come and go while you continue to breathe the prayer – in the Spirit.  If you can only pray one decade – it’s a good start – in fact you can pray one decade in the morning, another at lunch, another on the way home from work – after which you will only have two left.  Eventually you figure out how to pray the Rosary every day. 

And when you begin to pray – to really pray – prepare yourself for trials.  Whenever you embark upon anything good in the spiritual life, the combat begins.  Sometimes that can be a sign to “do even more” as St. Paul says. 

Now, the blog owner identifies himself as a gay man.  He has my utmost respect, because he makes plain that he is striving to the Faithful to the doctrine of the Church regarding his sexuality (and all other matters).  This is all we can do.  As I said yesterday, many, many of us have significant crosses to bear, and many of us have aspects of our personality that would love nothing more than to turn away from that Doctrine, or to mold it into something that would allow us to do as we wsh.  I used the analogy of addiction, which I think has quite a bit of merit but which many may reject, because that is something from my own experience that I have to struggle with.  But I do not curse God for making me an addict – I pray I never do, but I know that I could.   I have that within me. 

I pray that many more will with same sex attraction will support Courage, a Catholic organization that seeks to help homosexuals practice a fully Catholic Faith, to the best of their ability.  I’m sure many fail at times, just like many addicts do.  The important part is to try our best to be Faithful to the Truth of Christ, and not demand that it be changed to suit our fancy.

Nuns with record deal receive death threat July 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, sickness, Society.
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Oh, the left is SO tolerant.  Especially that portion of the left, which is most of it, that is in total favor of the radical homosexual agenda.  Recently, a group of cloistered Benedictine nuns from an Abbey in France won a recording contract with Universal Music.  The nuns uploaded a bit of their Gregorian Chant to a website (which one is not reported), and in the comments section below the video received a number of death threats!  Talk about your demonic influence and spiritual warfare at play – my Lord what a horror!  If any of you have ever been around cloistered nuns, I think you will agree that it is nearly impossible to find people more peaceful, loving, and generous than these women who give their lives totally over to the worship of God Almighty.  That they have received a number of death threats in response to their music is a strong an indication as I’ve seen of the profound sickness in this world.

Even if you’re all twisted off at the Catholic Church, and think it spews nothing but venom and hate (which is exactly what satan wants people to think), how sick do you have to be to want to kill nuns?  Peaceful, contemplative nuns, who do nothing but  worship God all day and pray for the world.  Without such contemplatives, the world would be a much worse place, and it has become so as the number of cloistered religious fell off a cliff beginning in about 1965 (uh…..what else happened around then?). 

But, that trend is changing.  Now, the Church, especially in the United States, has been blessed with an increasing number of women who want to dedicate their lives completely to Christ.  We must pray continually for more vocations to religious life.  This is such a crucial vocation, and it sometimes gets forgotten with all the prayers for more priests (which are also needed!).  Would you, in your chairty, pray for more female and male, orthodox religious?  Could you be bold enough to encourage your child to accept such a vocation if they feel called to it?  I know it’s completely countercultural, perhaps as countercultural a statement as one can make, but it is also so necessary for the Church and the world.  If God, with his Grace and human acceptance thereof, Wills to move men and women to devote their lives to Christ, I pray we may all provide all the encouragement possible. 

Dominus vobiscum!

NOTE: these are not the Benedictines with the recording contract, but the Benedictines at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticutt.

One more nail in the coffin – episcopals working on ‘gay marriage’ rite July 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, General Catholic, scandals.
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It’s going to be interesting to see what becomes of the episcopal church by the time I’m old and grey (about 75 years from now, because I’m 12 year old – or act like it).  I have been predicting its demise for some time, but I could be wrong – it could become a haven for a new form of “Christianity” that focuses almost exclusively on politically correct leftist feel goodery.  My impression has been that such folks aren’t really all that interested in building up a church – they like to have one available for weddings and funerals, occasionally at Christmas and Eastertide, but beyond that, they’re not too keen on “giving” or “being involved.”  We’ll see.

The latest case in point: the episcopal church USA has authorized a ‘seminary’ in Berkely (you think that seminary is Christocentric?!) to begin to formulate the rite to “marry” gays.   An interesting side note: the seminary’s work is being financed by a grant from a gay rights organization.  And I try to tell people that a very well funded gay lobby has been trying to push the gay agenda on churches for decades!  Silly me! 

And so, the episcopal church USA has once again slung mud in the eye of the Anglican Communion, which has “forbidden” it to have gay bishops, to favor abortion, and, now, to “marry” gays.  The US church is the biggest problem in anglicanism, and is in the vanguard of the headlong slide of traditional protestant denominations into oblivion.

For those episcopalians/Anglicans that won’t, can’t belong to a church that sanctions not just the acceptance, but the outright celebration of what has always been viewed as perverted acts by all of Christendom until recently, there is an alternative.  No, the Catholic Church is not perfect, as it is made up of sinners, but it IS the Church Christ founded when he gave the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter, and it is the only Church to possess the Fullness of Truth.  There are ways for Anglicans to come into Full Union with the Church that Christ founded.  I know it seems hard.  I was once an episcopalian, and for a while after my conversion to please my wife, I was somewhat resentful.  But Christ has moved me, and this Church, this Mystical Body, is so full of wonder and majesty and mystery and all the virtues we all need so desperately, I cannot imagine living without it.  I think you will find the same glories I have found if you come, and if you open yourself up to the action of the Holy Spirit.  St. Thomas Acquinas said that a rejection of one Truth is a rejection of all Truth.  Can you remain in a Church that rejects the Truth as a point of doctrine?  Pray about it.  I pray for all of you every night.

Postmodern Art is NOT compatible with Catholicism July 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic.
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I’m taking this directly from the wonderful and helpful orbiscatholicus, because something so obvious and wonderfully direct needs to be said, and re-said again:

We sure don’t see the below in our churches very often anymore. 

Are Catholic blogs beginning to have an effect? July 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic.
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On Wednesday this week, the USCCB hosted a webinar entitled “Faitful Catholic Media: Continuing the Conversation.”  In this conversation, a Bishop of Zavala, auxiliary of Los Angeles, had some rather negative words to say for Catholic blogs:

“As I talked with brother bishops in preparation for this presentation, there was consistent agreement that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes un-Christian and hurtful to individuals,” he said. “We are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of magisterium and judge others in the church.”

Zavala stated instead, that Catholic media, like National Catholic Distorter and Commonweal, are “civil and respectful.”  That’s lovely.  Even though Commonweal and National Catholic Distorter frequently cross the line into dissent and well over it into heresy (especially the latter), they are “civl and respectful,” and thus, beyond reproach.  Of course, the fact that a certain percentage of our Episcopate, carrying on the tradition of Bernadin, Weakland, and Gumbleton, and others, supports the “vision” of the Church espoused in the Distorter probably plays a part in it.  It seems that little the dissent and heresy crowd does seems to much bother the USCCB, while those who call for greater orthodoxy and adherence to the great Tradition of the Church are some of the least popular people among the national conference.  I should note, as well, that when Bishop Zavala refers to “Catholic media,” he is also not including EWTN, the most successful Catholic media operation EVER in the United States.  Recall what the ever so gracious Cardinal Mahoney said to Mother Angelica, as reported in her book: “One day, you’ll be gone, and then we’ll get your network.”  Mother Angelica shortly thereafter turned EWTN into a lay-run network, beyond the reach of the USCCB forever.

But, there is some good news.  It seems all is not well in Catholic media land.  In fact, most diocesan newspapers bleed red ink, and the major national Catholic periodicals are in dire financial straits, as well, to the effect that they have requested USCCB provide economic assistance (rather consistent with the handout the MSM has been looking for).  The USCCB is apparently unable to comply with that request at this time.  I’ll make you a prediction – most Catholic newspapers and magazines will be gone within 10 years, 15 on the outside.  The same changing market forces that are dooming secular periodicals are going to doom their Catholic counterparts, unless the bureaucrats at the USCCB manage to convince the USCCB to put NCR and others on life support.

So, a bit of advice for the USCCB.  You might want to stop attacking blogs, and start listening to them.  You might want to even start befriending quite a few of them, because in a couple of decades, you will need favorable coverage from blogs read by tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands daily.  And the Catholic blogosphere is overwhelmingly orthodox.  It would probably behoove the USCCB to perhaps re-evaluate its media relationships going forward, the environment the bishops became accustomed to after Vatican II is near death, if not dead already.

St. John’s Valdosta has more.   I love this quote from Acquinas: “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”

House churches signify the end of protestantism July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, Society.
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There is an article on onenewsnow.com that discusses the growing protestant phenomenon of ‘house churches.’  If you don’t know what they are, they consist of folks who decide they don’t need any Church authority and can gather together themselves for some old tyme praise and worship!  Eschewing any ecclesial authority, they gather together, read the Bible, discuss it a bit, eat some bread and drink some wine in a community sort of meal, have a potluck, and then sing pop-inspired praise and worship hymns.  They limit the size of each group to about 12-15 people, to keep it ‘personal.’

These groups feel that they are emulating the earliest Christians

House church proponents claim their small groups are sort of a throwback to the early Christian church in that they have no clergy and everyone is expected to contribute to the teaching, singing and praying.

Unfortunately, this belief is contradicted by Scripture and Catholic Tradition.  Scripture makes plain that the Church is hierarchical, and the earliest (Catholic) Christian fathers writing supports this.  I gave my early Church fathers book to a friend and can’t use it as a reference right now, but St. Justin Martyr, Origen, St. Irenaeus, and others describe the role of priests, bishops, the whole hierarchy in their writings dating from the 2nd and 3rd century.  St. Paul refers repeatedly to Authority in his writings, citing himself and his writings as one source of Authority, St. Peter as another, and St. Timothy and other of Paul’s assistants as others.  St. Paul was constantly writing to ‘house churches’ in Corinth and other locations to correct the heresies that had cropped up in their Faith and worship – he was defining that the Church has one Truth and that there are people, whom we call bishops, who were instituted by Christ to disseminate and explain that Truth.  These house churches are essentially each a miniature protestant denomination, with slightly different beliefs and practices, and no Authority to inform the believers and provide guidelines to keep them from going off the rails.  This nothing short of theological chaos.

We have seen repeatedly in history what happens when there is no Authority, or it is ignored, and the negative consequences that invariably result.  History is replete with those who have sought to use ‘scripture alone’ or some other rationalization to formulate their own views of the Faith.  Gnostics, Manicheans, Arians, Pelagians, Monophysites – they all embraced one heresy or another due to their rejection of, what?  Authority.  That is why the Church has always maintained that strict adherence to the Magisterium is necessary, and why we need a re-invigoration of the enforcement of discipline in the Church today, to return to a greater adherence to this all-important Authority.

As for the protestants, they certainly can’t sit still for long, can they?  They’re always out there “re-creating” the church, first rejecting the traditional church, then a glitzy bombastic megachurch, now a house church – all in the name of convenience and providing the maximum appeal to the individual conscience.  And there’s the key rub – while these individuals state repeatedly in the article that they are trying to live fully for Jesus, and trying to get the best, most meaningful (to them) worship experience possible, our fallen human nature insures that this house church movement ultimately will devolve down to a representation of what is appealing to the various members, and not necessarily what God wants for them, or is trying to get them achieve.  It’s just our nature: we are irredeemably selfish, narcissistic, comfort-craving creatures.  We need an Authority, an unchanging Truth,a divinely inspired Institution to give us guidance as we try to shake off our fallen nature and climb the ladder of existence to draw nearer to God.  Left to our own devices, we will fall prey to our own selfish desires and crave the comfort of having our preconceived notions go unchallenged, even if those desires and notions are not consciously visible.  I sense the protestants casting about in what appears to be an increasingly desperate manner of late, constantly changing and re-inventing what they think a church is, because I think they know that what they have in protestantism just isn’t quite working.  I don’t mean to say this about all protestants, but for those that are really seriously trying to live their faith, I think there is a sense of something missing.

That something can only be found in the Seat of Unity.  They need to come home.

Pray for them.

Speaking of dress codes July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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It appears the Vatican has expanded the dress code that used to apply to St. Peter’s to all of Vatican City (all 109 acres of it).  The Swiss Guard are turning people away at the gates!

I, for one, welcome a return to more appropriate dress.  That doesn’t mean an Armani suit, just something appropriate for the situation, instead of uber-casual for every occasion.

As if we needed it – CRS confirms Obamacare funds abortion July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, General Catholic, scandals.
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There are three Congressional research and reporting institutions.  Two of them, the General Accounting Office and Congressional Budget Office are completely agendized and unreliable.  The third, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is far more dispassionate and reliable.  CRS recently issued a report analyzing Obamacare and found that, surprise!, there is nothing in federal law to limit Obamacare paying for abortions, especially in so-called ‘high risk pools.’   So, we now have the word of the best Congressional research and analysis unit, all the pro-life groups, the Catholic bishops, and essentially everyone not wedded emotionally and doctrinally to the success of Obamacare asserting that Obamacare can and does fund abortion.  On the other side, we have CHA, Sr. Carol Keehan, the LCWR dissenting religious sisters, and their allies in the Catholic press stating that there is NO way St. Obama would ever fund abortion.  In fact, Commonweal and Vox Nova are growing increasingly strident in their attacks on all those who dare say that Obamacare DOES fund abortion, to the extent that each new bit of damning evidence brings ever more hostile responses from those Obamacare-lovin’ folks. 

There is an interesting side note: both Commonweal and Vox Nova, along with Sr. Carol Keehan and CHA, have been asked to publically support the Protect Life Act.  This bill would leave Obamacare in place but just insure that it could not, under any circumstances, pay for abortion.  Why would they be opposed to that?  Apparently, signing on even to this piece of legislation is a bridge too far for those wedded to Obamacare – perhaps they see supporting the Protect Life Act as a tacit admission that Obamacare does indeed provide funding for abortion.   Is it so important not to admit error that even this good piece of legislation cannot be supported, even if simply to err on the side of caution?

Chilean Cardinal draws ire for upholding Church doctrine July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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Recently, Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez drew the ire of media in S. America and around the world for stating that a homosexual tendency is a disorder, a defect like being born blind or with a club foot.   From CatholicCulture

The gay community in Chile is reacting with indignation to recent comments by 83-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, who led the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1996 to 2002.

Reacting to Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal said that “the Church distinguishes the homosexual tendency and homosexual practice. If a person has a homosexual tendency it is a defect, as if one lacked an eye, a hand, a foot.” On the other hand, homosexual activity, he noted, is immoral.

“In my life as a priest, I have had [pastoral] care of many people with this problem,” he added. Some, like alcoholics, have overcome this tendency by “discipline, education, or reeducation,” he said, while others have heroically resisted this tendency for their entire lives.

Same-sex marriage, he added, “is something in opposition to the law of God, and no human law can go against the law of God. If a human law goes against the law of God, that human law does not exist.”

In a 2002 letter, Cardinal Medina Estévez, in his capacity as a Vatican prefect, had reiterated the Church’s discipline against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations.

“Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky,” he wrote. “A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

Now, scientifically, it has not been established that a person can be born gay.  Researchers have been frantically searching for a ‘gay gene’ for years and have not found one.  There does seem to be some correlation in terms of homosexual tendencies among siblings, but that could just as easily be due to upbringing and environment as a genetic cause.  So, from the outset, it is not certain that having strong homosexual tendencies is quite like being born blind or with cerebral palsy.  But, the prefect was simply stating Church doctrine: homosexual tendencies are fundamentally disordered and homosexual acts are intrinsically sinful.  I think the relation to addiction is one that may hold some merit: there is no proof of one being born with an addictive personality, although it could be a factor among many.  But let’s say that addiction is 100% genetic, and let’s say homosexuality is the same thing.  What does that change?  It is a sin to be drunk or loaded on drugs.  That I have a very strong genetic or other predisposition to get drunk or loaded might mitigate some of my culpability, it is still sinful.  Having a tendency to get drunk or high all the time is inherently disordered.  But the fact that one may be born an addict does not suddenly mean they can go crazy getting loaded all the time and the Church will be just fine with it, “because they were born that way.”  And there is no question that addiction is a fundamental, deep seated part of one’s personality, and once  you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.  Not so different from the situation ascribed to homosexuality, at least on some level.

And we can take the analogy a step further.  Certainly, the Church spreads its arms wide to welcome addicts into Her fold, but I don’t know of any churches that have programs to keep addicts in active addiction, that embrace the “addictive lifestyle” and march in “addiction pride” parades.  Why not?  Isn’t this discrimatory?  Shouldn’t we have Church groups catering to those in active addiction who have no desire to reform?  Shouldn’t  we have progams for parents that convince them that addiction is something their child was born with, and therefore nothing can be done about it?  In fact, wouldn’t it cause more harm to “reform” an addict than to embrace their crazy, lovable drunk, drugged up ways? 

Any sane person would say, absolutely not.  That’s crazy.  But such things are argued within the Church in order to support a “change” in Church doctrine regarding homosexuality.  I don’t think the analogy is too unreasonable.  There are certain acts that are sinful.  Homosexuals do have a particularly heavy cross to bear, but so do those who are called to the single life, and, thus, celibacy, as well as addicts who must maintain their sobriety, and others.  We do not have “fornication pride” or “adulterer pride” groups in our Catholic churches, but I am certain that one day science will “prove” that we’re all born to have lots of sex partners and this idea of marital fidelity is an outmoded, antiquated construct. 

Church doctrine on homosexuality has been consistent for over 2000 years.  In God’s prior revelation, before Christ came to establish the last age, prohibitions against homosexual acts were clear.  It is only in the last few decades that there have been serious efforts to change this unchangeable doctrine.  Those who cannot accept that God might create them having homosexual tendencies, and at the same time expect them not to act on those tendencies, have a great deal of company.  Every human being has innate tendencies that are contrary to the Law of God.  The answer is not to scream at God for making you this way (the created telling the Creator He did it wrong?) and demand that His Church change to accept your preferences.  The answer is the universal call to holiness.  The answer is to do the best you can and live for God, by the Truth He has revealed through His Church.

STOPP Planned Parenthood Rally on Friday, July 30 July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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The organization STOPP, Stop Planned Parenthood, is having a rally protesting a Planned Parenthood indoctrination campaign, called Teen Savvy, at City Place on Friday, July 30.  City Place is the 50 story granite office building at US75 (Central Expressway) and Haskell in Dallas.  If you want to join in this protest, you need to arrive at around 7:45. Planned Parenthood has convinced organizations like the YWCA (Christian – riiiiiight), Boys and Girls Clubs, etc., to send the kids in their care to a Planned Parenthood indoctrination event in order to insure a great future for abortion on demand.   A few details from JoAnn Murray, who is deeply involved in the Dallas Catholic Pro-Life committee. :

We will be bringing some signs if you want to hold a sign.  Please try to bring one with Planned Parenthood on it if you have one.  The teens and people dropping them off don’t usually know this event is sponsored by Planned Parenthood.  We want them and everyone driving by and the hotel to know we are protesting Planned Parenthood.  This is very important. There are large sums of money coming to Planned Parenthood  clinics and their sex ed programs this fall unless we can block it.  We want to discredit and expose Planned Parenthood  as much as possible to every citizen , who hopefully will contact their elected officials to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion promoter and provider.  Please try to stand 5-10 ft. apart so that the messages on the signs can be read.  I will be notifying the Dallas police that we are coming.  This is a peaceful, prayerful protest.  We must stand on public property and obey the law.

Parking near City Place may be an issue.  There is a Target nearby but they may not allow its use.  You may have to find a space on Haskell or somewhere nearby.  If you have any questions call JoAnn Murray at 214-228-7504 or e-mail her at joannmurray@verizon.net.