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Once again, I shouldn’t complain…. November 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic, Society.
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…about anything, really, but especially about the fact that I have a 3 bedroom house and there are now eight of us.  This family in Tennessee has 18 kids, so 20 live in their 5 bedroom house!

I remember a family I grew up with that had 15 kids.  Everyone was nice to them, but they got some snide comments behind their backs.  It gladdens my heart to see families like the Duggars and now this one.  I pray there will be more large families around, with as many children as God chooses to bless them with.  I think large families are a wonderful witness and a great leaven for a culture that increasingly dislikes children and families. 

Side note: the graphic below shows birth rates in various parts of the country.  In the northeast, the native born fertility rate for women is now close to 1 child per woman. 

The incredible value of penitential prayer November 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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Purgatory is a fate that awaits many of us.  I pray I will not be damned, but I know I am very far from being perfect to go before my Lord should I die anytime soon.  In Purgatory, we will suffer.  The Doctors of the Church feel that the pain there will be worse than any earthly pain.  But, we can engage in penitential acts here on earth that can reduce or darn near eliminate any time we’ll have to spend in Purgatory.  New Theological Movement has some thougths along these lines, and they touch on a theme that’s been recurring with me lately, dying to self:

It is also the teaching of theologians that the suffering of purgatory is generally much greater than the suffering experienced on earth. Thus, to endure a little suffering on earth with a true spirit of contrition and love, and with the intention of offering that pain for the purification of one’s soul, is to gain a great advantage – a little pain on earth can avoid a great deal of suffering in purgatory. Hence, we ought to desire to live out our purgatory as much as possible while still on earth! The primary means we can do this is through prayer……

Prayer develops in the soul a taste for the things of heaven. Having tasted these heavenly realities (even if only indistinctly), the soul desires more and more to be united to God in glory. However, she yet knows that she must remain on earth until death, and this separation causes an intense pain. Having experienced something of the goodness of the Lord, nothing on earth can bring the soul consolation and even the Blessed Sacrament only increases the pain she feels; since the closer she comes to Christ, the more she desires heaven and the more she realizes that she must wait for death. And yet, the soul in love with God is filled with an immense joy which overflows into good works – there is interior peace, but also great pain….

Prayers to reduce our suffering in Purgatory used to be very commonly said, publically, in the Church.  There used to be relatively frequent penance services in which a number of common prayers would be offered up.  I have a book, called the Raccolta, that contains a huge number of these prayers, all of which result in a partial indulgence (although, back in the day, they were apparently a bit surer, because the  prayers actually say “3 years indulgence, 7 years indulgence, 300 days, etc).  But, whether guided by a book or not, whether a prayer results in 5 years or ‘partial’ indulgence, the point is that there is much to merit in penitential prayer, for ourselvs, and as the indulgences for All Souls Day remind, for those who have already died.  It should generally be directed as part of a general dying to self, living a life focused so intently on God and loving Him that all other considerations fall away.  This is, obviously, very difficult, even great Doctors like St. John of the Cross struggled mightily with this dying to self.   But these Doctors also say, uniformly, that their drawing closer and closer to God is a source of intense joy and warmth – it is very much worth it.   They saw the world for what it is…..illusory, not as real as we think, not nearly as important as we want to believe.

I try to recite some of these prayers every day.  I need to do more.  Oh, and do yourself a favor…..go to New Liturgical Movement and read the poem by St. John of the Cross.

What are the limits of fraternal correction? November 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, blogfoolery, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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The estimable Michael Voris has a video discussing a subject near and dear to this blog – unity in the Church versus the need to correct some who do not accept Church doctrine.  First, the video:

It must be remembered that the first spiritual work of Mercy is fraternal correction.  I do my brother no favors if I do not correct his error, error which could damn him, depending on its severity.  But many in the Church, especially, it seems, in our Church leadership, are distinctly uncomfortable with this.  In some cases, they may agree with those in error, which is an entirely larger and different problem, but in most cases, the bishops accept and try to practice Church Doctrine, but they do not do much in the way to correct those who err.  The evidence of this is legion (the name of a demon Jesus cast out, btw).  We have all read stories of this speaker being invited to a diocese that rejects some form of Church doctrine, or this priest giving a sermon that calls for women priests, or whatever…..there is literally too much evidence to even point out some of the high points.  But how far can we go in correcting our erring brethren? When does charitable correction cross the line into sinful scorn?  That’s a difficult question, one I struggle with alot.  I try to be kind of funny when I write, at least a little bit, as I don’t want reading these posts to be a beat down or boring, but I also don’t want to be egregiously mean, or take unnecessary swipes.  I feel there are times I’ve descended down into scorn, which is easy to do, because after one has read their 559th story on uncorrected heresy in the Church or some ridiculous item from the culture, it’s easy to start to get dismissive.  I’ve tried to apologize for those times in the past when I have done so.  But at the same time, one feels like it would be easier to bang your head on a concrete wall than change someone’s mind. 

Prayer is the key.  I can do nothing.  I can’t change a heart. I can’t intellectually bring someone to the Church (but I am very capable of keeping someone away).  Only the Holy Spirit can.  And so I pray a great deal, every day, that I do nothing that will turn someone away from the Church and that I may be a vehicle to bring someone into it.  I’m sure I fail alot.  I am probably better at confirming the already faithful than being the type to bring about alot of conversions, but even confirming someone in the Faith is a mighty deed, and one that is far beyond me – again, it’s not me, it’s the Spirit. 

Anyway, I need humility. I could use some meekness.  Let me know when I am wrong.  Tell me when I start going too far, because I’m selfish and it’s good for me, me, ME spiritually.  And tell me if you have any ideas on where lines get crossed and charitable correction becomes pride-swelling scorn.  It seems a bit like porn.  It’s hard to describe but pretty easy to know it when you see it.   Or, maybe it’s completely different.  I don’t know.

And now, I announce, this blog is becoming all porn all the time!


Conference to address dirth of exorcists November 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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A while back, I noted a comment from Spirit Daily regarding the shutdown of the Intercessors of the Lamb by the Diocese of Omaha and the near-simultaneous pulling of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer’s excellent, if scary, book on Exorcism, and wondered if there was a connection (the book is now virtually entirely out of stock – maybe a few Catholic booksellers still have a copy, but they are getting rare – and within a couple of months of release).  Now comes news of a conference to address the dirth of trained exorcists in the United States – there are only 5 or 6.  That’s amazing – that’s one exorcist for every 10 million reported Catholics.  Those guys  must not sleep much – no longer Fr. Euteneur was sacked left Human Life International.

Apparently, this conference, being sponsored by Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, IL, is going to bring in several dozen bishops and priests.  That is very good news, a definite blessing.  After reading Fr. Euteneur’s book, it is apparent that spiritual warfare and even possession are far more real phenomenon than many would like to admit – almost to the point of being frightening. With the darkness gathering in our culture, I am afraid that the services of exorcists will be increasingly in demand as time goes by.  I think I will say a few extra prayers that more priests receive training in this very important apostolate.

It’s come to this….. – UPDATED! November 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, General Catholic, sickness, silliness.
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……a “happily  married couple” is going to divorce because gays can’t marry, and they’re tired of all the “perks” married people get.  At the same time, the wife of the soon-to-divorce couple claims that being married has hurt her career.  Which is it?!  I can’t keep track of your mental gymnastics painful contortions schizophrenic fragmentation anymore!

I want to divorce the man I love and he wants to divorce me. We do not wish to separate – simply to end our seven-year marriage… We are both fed up with being part of the hetero-husband-and-wife brigade that is accorded so much status and privilege…….

A job in journalism I was up for suddenly became unavailable: a female manager called to say that now I was married she presumed that it would be difficult for me to be a foreign correspondent……

Being married pulls you into a new elite… We assume that those who are unmarried probably have something just a teeny bit wrong with them because they have never managed to persuade another to settle down into that cosy unit of coupledom.

This is the smug tyranny of husbands and wives.

Is marriage a brutally repressive instrument of teh patriarchy! intended to make women suffer and keep them down, or is it an effete, elitist club that grants special status to its members and keeps other people down?  It’s so hard to choose! 

Seriously……is this what marriage has come to for some?  Nothing more than a tool to use to make political statements?

UPDATE:  I should have added that the above couple are English, just like these here, trying to force court cases that will get the state to declare homosexual unions the equivalent of marriage.  It is very hard not to think Britain is completely lost, but nothing is impossible for God.