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Faithful Priests and Religious Suffer More Than We Do September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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…….and Bishops.  Another Voris video.  I know of a few priests and religious (and seminarians) who have suffered as he describes in the video.  Some are far away, some quite close.  If you are out there trying to live the Faith under very difficult circumstances, please know that you are being prayed for!  Keep the Faith, we love you!

……

Catholic Church only solution of the world’s problems? September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Society.
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That’s what Voris says.   I think, on the large scale, biggest picture, incorporating the spiritual, he’s correct.  And he is right that no form of government/economics/culture has ever been “perfect.”  There was a time in Western European history, from about 1100 till about 1300, where the Church was THE supreme authority, and in many ways it was a great time, but it was not perfect – no human institution can ever be.  Has Voris gone off the rails, like many thought he did when appealing to a Catholic monarchy (which, the world has never really had, even during that period 1100-1300, except perhaps in very limited circumstances)?

Catholic Art Friday September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Because I feel like it!

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses……


When I was much younger, El Greco was one of the first artists I really “got.”  I like his gaunt forms and expressive scenes.  Is it wierd to have a skull, as a reminder of death?  I would have thought so a few years ago, now, not so much.


I pray I can be one of those little ones close to St. Catherine of Siena.

Is this statue too excessive, triumphalist?  I love it, and I love the shot – looking up in supplication to Mary.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom.  On this day in 1218, a group of religious under St. Peter Nolasco formed the Mercedarian Order, dedicated to ransoming Christian captives held as slaves by muslims.  If no funds could be found to ransom a captive, the Mercedarians would exchange themselves for the slaves.  There is a beatiful exegesis on this Feast at Catholic Culture.   When I say that the Faith practiced in the distant past was more fully embraced than it is today, I think of Orders like this.  The necessity of the existence of this Order also explains the hostile history between Christianity and Islam. 

Photography can certainly be art.

Would anyone feel motivated to pray for a revival of Catholic art, especially in our churches?  Many great works of art from the past were commissioned for Catholic churches – it was felt essential that original works of art grace every great church.

I like this September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, silliness, Society.
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Their daughter is cute.   This couple looks so typically Mienn -eee–szota.

Tea Party candidates all strongly pro-life September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Perhaps another reason, as if one were needed, to ignore the shenanigans of the elites of both parties and endorse independent, truly conservative candidates.

In addition to discontent with out-of-control spending and government expansion, the American Tea Party movement is motivated by a strong devotion to the right to life of the unborn – something that appears to have caught the pro-abortion establishment, including Planned Parenthood, off-guard.In a Facebook post Monday, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America expressed frustration at the burgeoning popularity of thoroughly pro-life candidates who have shot to stardom thanks to Tea Party momentum.

On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner noted that the Tea Party’s impact in the upcoming midterm elections will mean trouble for pro-choice incumbents, particularly those among the GOP.

Examiner columnist Timothy P. Carney noted that the four top casualties of Tea Party furor – Lisa Murkowski, Mike Castle, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter – were all “pro-choice” members or former members of the Republican Party. In contrast, all of the successful Tea Party candidates for Senate are strongly pro-life.

I try to vote my Faith as well as I can.  I know many Catholics who routinely support democrats claim to do the same, they just place a much higher priority on greater social spending to “aid the poor.”  I cannot abide this – the right to life is fundamental, and, unfortunately, in our present political system, one largely has a choice – vote for the pro-abort but good on social programs candidate, or the pro-life but favoring individual liberty and free markets to aid others candidate.  In reality, the Church doesn’t “teach” that one has an obligation to support socialist welfare policies, although we must give privately, and generously, to help the truly poor (which is why I direct most of our alms in this area to far poorer countries than our own).  So, as far as a pro-life issue voter like me is concerned, a Republican is most frequently the only possible choice.   Even then, far too many Repubniks aren’t pro-life, or are pro-life in name only and will expend no real political capital to see abortion ended in this country.  That’s where the tea party types come to the fore – they are genuinely, really, 100% committed to ending abortion, and soon.  That is why Planned Barrenhood is in such a panic.   They know they have benefited enormously from a cozy consensus in Washington that leaves abortion largely undisturbed.  And, they felt like they were just about to achieve the BIG COUP that would enshrine abortion as a permanent right in this country, forever – Obamacare.   Now, all that is threatened. 

Don’t think the glitzy cocktail party, with ticket prices ranging from $500 – $7500, for Dallas’ elite on Sept. 30, just a few doors down from the Cathedral, is an accident.  Planned Barrenhood is getting increasingly frightened – their moment of greatest glory could become their greatest nightmare, a sea change in US governance that will spell the end of PB’s increasingly lucrative lock on the abortion industry. 

I suspect we will see increasingly panicked communiques from Cecille Richards and the rest of the Planned Barrenhood crowd.  This could erupt in full scale hysteria if the election pans out as most are thinking, with a rout of pro-aborts at most levels of government.

Anyway, we can pray.

More risks found in birth control September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, General Catholic, scandals, Society.
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Birth control can be dangerous, and not just  for babies.  The birth control patch Ortho Evra has been established to be 18 times more likely to cause blood clots and 12 times more likely to cause strokes than conventional birth control.  As Diogenes at Catholic Culture points out, that means that “conventional” birth control must also cause some level of blood clotting and strokes.   Since normally healthy, young women take birth control, these strokes and heart attacks are affecting abnormally young women.  But even the rates of heart attack and stroke with conventional birth control are not negligible.  These clots tend to be massive – the women who have them die very, very suddenly due to complete blockage of major arteries in the heart and/or brain.

I pray that more women will become aware of these risks in oral contraceptives.  The levels of tolerable risk and adverse side effects in oral contraception are substantially higher than would be tolerated in any other type of medication, save perhaps for powerful pain killers (I know dat).

Letting go of the world September 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, The Imitation of Christ.
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From The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 42, Our Peace Is Not to Be Placed In Men:

Christ:

Son, if thou placethey peace in any person, for the sake of they contentment in his company, thou shalt be unsetttled and entangled.
But if thou have recourse to the everlasting and subsisting truth, thou shalt not be grieved when a friend departs or dies.
In Me the love of thy friend must stand, and for Me he is to be loved whoever he be, that appears to thee good, and is very dear to thee in this life.
Without Me no friendship is of any strength, nor will be durable; nor is that love true and pure of which I am not the bond.
Thou oughtst to be so far mortified to such affections of persons beloved, as to wish so far as thou art concerned, to be without any company of man.
A man draws nearer to God the farther he withdraws himself from all earthly comfort.
He ascends the higher toward God, the lower he descends into himself, and the meaner he esteems himself.
But  he that attributes anything of good to himself stops the Grace of God from coming into him; for the Grace of the Holy Ghost ever seeks a humble heart [1 Pet 5:5]
If thou couldst perfectly annihilate thyself, and cast out from thyself all created love, then would abundance of grace flow into thee.
When thou lookest towards creatures the sight of the Crator is withdrawn from thee.
Learn, for the Creator’s sake to overcome thyself in all things, and then thou shalt be able to attain to the knowledge of God.
How little soever it be, if a thing be inordinately loved and regarded, it keeps thee back from the sovereign good and corrupts the soul.

“This teaching is hard, who can accept it? [John 6:61 DR].  This excerpt from The Imitation of Christ is a hard one to accept and put into practice.   Some might say that only a religious could possibly put into practice this kind of death to the world, to friends, to everything created (creatures, above).  I have known people who put The Imitation of Christ down because that great book of Catholic spirituality is filled with remonstrations to live only through Christ and renounce the world, totally.  But what a Kempis is relating is actually a core aspect of Catholic spirituality, although one very difficult to achieve.  It’s also hard to relate, but I will try.

It would seem very difficult, almost impossible, for a mother, father, husband or wife to truly renounce their loved ones in favor of Christ.  Wouldn’t it be fundamentally un-Christian to do so?  But the message is actually a deeper one than that.  What we are actually called to is a much higher form of love – a love of Christ so great that all our love and devotion flows through Him, and then out to others in a very mature, very pure act of loving.  St. Catherine of Siena was a prime exemplar of this – she first followed the Spirit in dying to the world, cutting herself off almost totally from worldly contacts, living as a hermit in her house, until she overcame a final, great temptation and had reached, through the Spirit, such a state of perfection that Christ then told her to go engage the world.  St. Catherine had such a great love for others, a Christ-like love, that she endured incredible hardships and helped care for the most foul, repulsive patients of the plague and other maladies.  St. Francis of Assisi achieved similar holiness through his total abasement of self , complete rejection of worldly objects, and constant service to the poor.  It is this kind of love we are called to achieve, a love for others that is vastly greater than “natural” love, or the kind of love one might normally have for creatures, a love that can only flow through Christ.

This is, again, not an easy thing.  Few have achieved this degree of spiritual perfection.  For someone with many worldly responsibilities, spouse, family, job, etc., it is even harder.  It is not impossible, however.  I cannot say that I know the path, I am trying to follow it, but I know that many things, including possibly this blog, tend to separate me from that kind of perfect love.  I don’t know if this degree of perfection is necessary for salvation.  I have a hard time trying to balance my understanding of God’s Mercy and God’s Justice.  I tend to be more trusting in the latter, since it seems the safer course.  St. John of the Cross despaired that most of the world would be lost, and he lived in a time where the practice of the Faith was frequently far, far more serious than our own.  Some of the greatest Saints feared for their own salvation. 

I know I have a very long way to go.  Sometimes I feel like I see glimmers of the path, but most of the time I feel quite like I’m wandering  in darkness.  I try to cling to Christ and Mary even more during these times, but I know my efforts are so lame.  I don’t think I’ve ever even come close to achieving the kind of love and service to God embodied by the Saints.  And sometimes when I feel like I’ve been making some kind of progress, I’ll let some created thing grab me and snap me back into the mire of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

It’s hard to let go.