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You never know when….. August 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, North Deanery, priests.
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……something really evocative of the Church might make a big difference in someone’s spiritual life.  Fr. Dwight Longenecker tells a story of a woman’s return to the Church because she realized how much she had been missing when she saw him wearing his biretta:

Dear Father Longenecker, I really have to come and see you. I havent’ been coming to Mass for over a year. My husband tries to go and take the children, but I stopped going to Mass. Then I went last week and your homily and the way you dress with that hat and all, made me realize how much we are grateful for the changes you’ve made in the parish. To tell the truth, my life is messed up. I’ve made some really bad mistakes and I need to talk to you and probably make my confession….

She did come to see me and she did get her life right with God and she did return to Mass and she did resolve to put her marriage right.

You’ve heard of saved by the bell. Maybe this one was saved by the biretta.

People crave authenticity.  They crave the ‘real thing.’  If a priest wears no visible sign of his vocation, I think it has an impact, even subconsciously, on how people view him. If a priest proudly wears clerics, and the more visible and,  yes, even traditional, the better, the more impact it can have: it says to people “Yes, I, Fr. X, really believe in this, and you should/must, too.” 

It can sometimes be seemingly small things that can make a big difference.  Celebrating the Sacraments with great reverence for their power of Grace, wearing clothing appropriate for our state of life or the activity we are engaging in (like assisting at Mass) – all of these convey a message. 

You never know what impact some action on your part, visibly witnessing for the Faith, might make on someone who has been away from the Church. Not that you needed any more pressure!

Moral revulsion – the “twin reduction” abortion August 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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I first saw this New York Times Magazine a couple of days ago, about women, healthy, wealthy women, who have undergone invitro fertilization, deciding to have one of the subsequents twins who survived implantation aborted.  Women who have gone to great expense (often partly borne by all of us) to have children, equally often because they waited until very late in life to decide to do so (having checked all of life’s other boxes of interest to them, they moved on to this one with the same determination which has made them so accomplished in other fields, I suspect), turn around and then abort one of the twins God gave them.

I have twins.  One of them has a funny quirk.  She likes to be very close to people and to touch them very gently.  It has a kind of pacifier effect for her.  I suspect it’s because she did that with her sister when they were developing in my wife.  But, with this “twin-reduction,” one of the kids is killed, but stays in utero until birth.  So you have one live child in there with a dead one.  That must make childbirth from something wondrous to something hideous, but I digress.  I think about my daughter in my wife’s tummy, rubbing her sister, who was just killed by a heart stopping injection.  Would she notice?  I’m sure the twin notices – the thing next to them that used to move and fight for space is suddenly still.  Observing my twins, I think this could have a powerful, and possibly very negative, psychological effect – they are close, very close, and one in particular really seems to share something very deep with her sister, something I think she got in utero.  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s a connection, and I’ve seen other twins have that, too.  It’s devastating to me to think that parents are intentionally having one of those twins killed, because, they say, they’ll be better able to take care of the one that survives pregnancy.  That’s an incredible statement – we must kill one child so the other one can go to a better daycare, or…….whatever!  It reveals a moral poverty so profound I don’t know how to address it.  It seems for some folks, having children is all about what it means for the parents, satisfying and pleasing them.  This is why I say that for some people (and the number is growing), children seem to be an ornament on their lives.  It’s just another box for high achievers to check off.

I know that’s not fair, but this is beyond repugnant.  It’s so alien to me, I don’t know how to process this kind of behavior, and I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days.  Alot of these people already have kids, and yet they’re choosing to abort one of their twins! 

I know pro-lifers are talking about this issue as a big way to force people to understand the horror of pro-abort logic, and I admit it reveals just how false all that “logic” is.  Even pro-aborts are having a hard time defending this. But I can’t get excited about using this issue, it’s just too close to home.

Marks of True Holiness August 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Our Lady.
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We should all be striving, constantly, to grow in holiness. I try alot, but usually fail.  I keep reading and studying the Faith, and praying, and meditating (which I am terrible at), hoping something will finally sink in!  From The Imitation of Mary by Abbe’ Alexander de Rouville, Book II Chapter 33:

One day a woman cried out to the Savior: “Blest is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that  nursed you!” But Jesus answered her: “Rather, blest are they who hear the Word of God and keep it!” (Lk 11:27-28).

Here Jesus intended to tell us that what most distinguishes Mary is not her dignity as Mother of God but her constant fidelity to all her religious duties.

Her greatest merit does not consist in the prerogative of her maternity which came to her from God and from God alone, but her holiness which, while indeed requring the Grace of God, also was the fruit of her correspondence to Grace and her cooperation [This is the key – we don’t make ourselves holy, we become holy by cooperation with God’s Grace.  It takes our active cooperation, however – we are involved, unlike what the Lutherans and Calvinists think, but  the best we can do is to cooperate with God’s Grace]

What merits God’s rewards is not what He does for us but what we do for Him.

The good servant of whom the Gospel speaks earns a reward not for having received the five talents but for having made them yield a profit.

Your are proud, and rightly so, of that Divine sonship which you received in Baptism. But remember that this dignity will not win you a place among the Saints unless you accompany it with a holiness of life.

Among the Saints are some who had visions and ecstasies. But that is not why you should envy their lot.

The Saints were people who were faithful, perseveringly faithful to the Will of God, and that is what you must try to imitate in them. You have embraced a holy profession? But it is not in the holiness of the profession that you must find your security, but in your watchfulness and care in carrying out all your duties.

Judas, in all probability, worked miracles, but he was nonetheless rejected. We do not read that John the Baptist ever worked miracles; yet in the Gospel the Son of God bestows the highest praise on him (Matt 11:11, Lk 7:28).

Among men you can be esteemed even if your life is not a holy one; [indeed, today, the most amoral and unholy among us often seem to attract the most praise] but with God a  man is nothing if he is not a Saint. [and in the final analysis, nothing matters but this] And a man is not a Saint if he does not do deeds that are holy.

This must be for us, as it was for Mary, the true basis of our dignity.

Understand, then, that God does not make your salvation depend on extraordinary gifts of nature or Grace. Rather He has made you yourself the arbiter of your salvation by making it depend, under Him, on you.[and your correspondence with Grace]

O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy mountain? He who walks blamelessly and does justice (Ps15:1-2)

I think our culture today frequently most admires and rewards those who practice great vice – unchaste, prideful movie and TV stars, greedy captains of industry, those who practice violence, etc.  Those who practice virtue are frequently seen as odd, if not crazy and dangerous.  Yes, our culture still likes feel good stories about people helping others out, but the regular practice of virtue and avoidance of vice, on an ongoing basis, often leads to one being viewed as a holy roller, someone defective.   But responding to God’s Grace, practicing virtue, loving God above all and through Him your fellow man, is the only thing that really, in the end, matters.

Our Lady of Czestochowa at St. Peter’s next week! August 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Liturgy, North Deanery.
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Uff, after that last topic, I need a palate cleanser, badly.  My “secret correspondent” reminded me

Icon at St. Peter's

that St. Peter’s parish in Dallas, at the corner of US75 (Central Expy) and Woodall Rodgers will be having their annual Mass celebration for Our Lady of Czestochowa (the Black Madonna) next week on Friday, August 26, at 7pm.  Because St. Peter’s has a large Polish community, Mass will be in English and Polish but I understand that this is a good orthodox parish with a very vibrant community and liturgical life.  Confession is available before Mass.  I plan on attending.  There may be a number of religious from the area assisting, as well! 

All details below.


Remember disgraced Archbishop Weakland – his advisor to speak at pedophilia conference August 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, priests, religious, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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I blogged yesterday on a horrific development, a conference being held to begin the push to “normalize” pedophilia, starting with pressure on the American Psyciatric Association to “de-list” pedophilia as a mental disorder.  And while I don’t like having much to do with SNAP, since they seem most interested in suing and using the notoriety so gained to push for their often heterodox agenda, they make a valuable contribution today when they note that one of the speakers at this upcoming pedophile normalization conference was an advisor to disgraced Archbishop Rembert Weakland and many other bishops, apparently, on the issue of homosexual priest abuse of young boys.  Not only that, he counseled Weakland and other bishops to keep pedophile priests in service and to cover up their crimes:

Dr. Fred Berlin, [Berlin was quoted extensively in the report on the pro-pedophile conference I linked to yesterday] a chief consultant for decades to the American Catholic Bishops and Religious Order Provincials on sex offender priests, will address tomorrow in Baltimore a controversial symposium sponsored by an organization that calls itself “B4U-ACT”. B4U-ACT advocates the decriminalization and tolerance of persons who have a lifelong attraction and desire for sexual contact with youngsters. B4U-ACT, when describing its core values states: “Individuals who are attracted to children are the focus of everything that we do.”

Not surprisingly, Archbishop Emeritus Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, in a deposition taken in 2008, cites Berlin as the chief expert on pedophilia that the U.S. bishops consulted when faced with the growing sexual abuse crisis. (Locally, Berlin was also hired by at least one major religious order, the Capuchin Franciscans.) [This is incredibly disturbing.  The man the bishops entrusted to advise them on how to deal with pedophile priests, is an advocate for the de-criminalization of pedophilia?!?  How could such an individual be chosen?  While the pedophile “normalization” conference is a frightening event, given the success such push groups have had in influencing the American Psychiatric Association in the past, that pro-pedophile group is still a tiny minority.  The vast majority of psychiatrists and counselors would take a very different view.  How did he wind up getting selected for this very important role?]

Weakland explains that Berlin addressed the U.S. bishops in 1985 and urged them against removing pedophiles from the priesthood. Of course, no one, or virtually no one, especially the Vatican and John Paul II, was making such a recommendation, and Berlin as the company doctor was simply telling the CEO’s what they already wanted to hear. And, not surprisingly, as the bishop’s psychiatrist, Berlin still remains actively opposed to reporting sex offenders to the civil authorities, [As such, he is advising bishops to BREAK THE LAW] although all major psychiatric and mental health organizations and professional associations have strongly supported mandatory reporting for decades.

In a typical interview posted on a diocesan website, Berlin explained what he believes are the generally beneficent motives and characteristics of the criminal behavior of priests against youngsters: “The most common thing we see with priests is that they enjoy the company of youngsters, like the companionship, want to do good for them, and then, unfortunately, as a bond develops emotionally, begin to feel sexually tempted and persuade the youngster to go along with sexual activity.” As if normal and healthy adult respect, affection and regard for a youngster can somehow naturally and effortlessly “morph” into a criminal drive to have repeated sexual thoughts and contact with a child.

The sexual abuse crisis in the archdiocese of Milwaukee and elsewhere has shown that Berlin’s controversial policy recommendations, far outside the mainstream of the psychological and research communities, was eagerly accepted, if not sought, by Weakland and other bishops…..

If that’s not bad enough, at the B4U-ACT conference, Berlin will be discussing the ways in which “minor attracted individuals” (soon one can anticipate they will have their own acronym “MAI’s”) can contribute to the upcoming DSM 5 which is currently under revision, in order to change the expert mental health and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM is the standard reference manual used by mental health professionals.

So, I read the interview with Berlin.  He has a view that pedophilia is “treatable,” like alcoholism.  Many other psychiatrists would disagree – as the Mayo Clinic study I linked to yesterday indicated, once one is so damaged or corrupted as to have a very strong attraction to children, an attraction so strong that one is willing to break not only the law but some of the most profound cultural taboos (some of the few remaining), “treatment” becomes nearly impossible.  The recidivism rate for pedophiles is very high, over 50% according to some studies, even after lengthy prison sentences and even after castration!  But under the guidance of this man, the bishops collectively tried the “treatment” route, and the result is hundreds or thousands of lives damaged by abuse, and the reputation of the Church has taken its greatest hit in centuries. 

It is difficult to understand why this man, who appears far outside the mainstream of psychiatry (such as it is), would have been chosen to advise the bishops on this critical matter.  Is SNAP correct, that the bishops chose this man because he told them what he wanted to hear?  Are they still using him as an adviser?  Given that an interview with him is on the Diocese of Tuscon’s “restore trust” website, it seems he is.  Are the bishops, then, on board with having an advisor who is speaking at a conference aimed at “de-criminalizing” pedophilia? 

How incredibly wrong is all of this?  Something is incredibly broken. 

h/t culturewarnotes