Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sprezzatura--Fr. George Rutler

Sprezzatura


An Olympic swimmer does not splash like a man drowning, and a concert pianist glides his fingers over the keys as though it were as natural as breathing.  The Italians, who have not been without a long sense of this, call this deliberate nonchalance "sprezzatura."

I have had enough experience of the opera to marvel at how the difficult music is sung as though the singers were blithe canaries.  Only from the front seats is the hard breathing and sweating palpable.  It is the opposite with bad art and poor artists.  Singers of limited talent affect anguish, and this is particularly so with Rock entertainers who give the impression of suffering labor pains.  The grace with which an artist performs is directly related to the quality of the art.  The worse the work, the more pained seems the performer.

Aristotle taught that music imitates the passions or states of the soul, and "when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion, and if over a long time he habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form."
Around 500 A.D. when he was only twenty years old, the Christian philosopher Boethius drew on Aristotle, maintaining that "music is part of us, and either ennobles or degrades our behavior."  Some of his exquisite writing was set to music a few centuries later and, after a score was recently discovered in a German library, it was performed this year at Cambridge University for the first time in one thousand years.  The ethereal experience was a world away from today's popular music.

Knowing that aesthetic barbarians will display their coarseness by severely attacking any critic, it takes courage to say that most modern music is degrading.  I trim my courage by hiding behind Plato speaking of certain musicians who corrupted classical culture: ". . . by composing licentious works, and adding to them words as licentious, they have inspired the multitudes with lawlessness and boldness, and made them fancy that they could judge for themselves about melody and song . . ."

When the terrible shootings began in the Parisian theatre and the Orlando nightclub, the first reaction was the same: the lamented revelers thought the gunfire was part of the music.  They would not have made that mistake had the music been Chopin or Mendelssohn, or the lyre and lute setting for Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy.  But a decadent culture fatally takes pleasure in pain at high decibels and finds incoherent the logic of God: "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (1 Corinthians 14:15).



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Pope is Right for the Wrong Reasons

The Pope is Right for the Wrong Reasons


On June 26, the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the USA, Pope Francis made controversial comments on his return flight from Armenia. He said that the Catholic Church and all Christians should apologize to homosexuals for failing to protect and accompany them.

In truth, there is likely an apology due to persons experiencing same-sex attraction from the Church, particularly her leadership beginning with Pope Francis himself. Rather than make the needed apology, the Pope in his remarks repeated the very actions for which the Church must repent—failure to point out the immorality of homosexual acts. Merely acknowledging their “condition” falls short of a complete and compassionate response.

For all of his push to be caring and pastoral, the Holy Father missed an opportunity to demonstrate care and pastoral outreach, at least by a truly Catholic definition of those terms. Since homosexual acts, from a Catholic perspective, lead to dire consequences for the soul, the Church has always insisted on informing people about these dangers.

Pope Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict XVI made that clear while serving under Pope St. John Paul II. In 1986, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger issued a document instructing bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. In it, the Cardinal admonished bishops to ensure they were “clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral.” The instruction adds, “But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

One could fairly say that Pope Francis misrepresented the Catechism in his response to the reporter on the plane. “I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Churchsays: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” said the Pope. Nowhere in his response did he express any of the Catechism’s many grave warnings about homosexual acts.

The Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality is given in three paragraphs comprising just over 220 words. The Pope’s response references only 20 words from the middle of the second paragraph, ignoring the numerous passages warning against the harmful sexual behavior.

The Catechism warns that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and that they are “intrinsically disordered,” that they are “contrary to the natural law” and that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” The Catechism stresses that same-sex attracted persons are called to chastity, and calls them to approach Christian perfection.

Those truths however are very hard to mention especially today where those who would dare give voice to the harms of gay sex are immediately deemed social outcasts. But are Catholics, especially those in the hierarchy, not called to “preach the truth in season and out of season?” Do the Scriptures not admonish us that to fail to discipline is to “hate” your child?

It is love that compels a parent to remove a child from a dangerous situation, even when that child is complaining about his parents being mean for depriving him of his fun. But if you believe in the eternal consequences for sexual sin, you cannot stay silent.

Even a committed atheist can see that. Penn Jillette, of the famous Christian-bashing show Penn and Teller, said these words back in 2008:
If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward …—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?
So, yes, Catholics and all Christians need to apologize to those with same-sex attractions. We need to apologize for having failed to lovingly point out the harm of homosexual sexual acts for both body and soul. That pastoral activity was the duty of the clergy first and foremost.

Love demands we speak the truth and the future of Christianity depends on it, as Pope Benedict warned. A time of persecution of the Church is near at hand, and indeed, in many parts has already arrived.

In an address given only 18 days prior to his election to the pontificate, and one day prior to the death of Pope John Paul II, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said: “Very soon it will not be possible to state that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.”
(Photo credit: Edward Pentin / CNS)

An Apologia for Deviancy?

An Apologia for Deviancy?


In response to the Holy Father’s ambiguous statements on the Church’s need to “apologize” to homosexuals, I thought some clarity was in order on what homosexuality is, and that the only “apologia” required is exactly what that word means, a “reasoned defense” of the Church’s teaching.

There seems to be a rather fundamental confusion in the minds of individuals and in the ethos of our culture between what might be termed homo-philia, chaste friendship, and homo-eros, sexual expression, between persons of the same sex.  I dare say that this confusion stems from a lack of nuance implied in the English word “love,” which we use for just about everything, our spouses, our friends, our shoes, our food and our sports and our leisure.

Greek, on the other hand, from which these words derive (along with that doubly-confused term “homophobia”) has at least four words for “love,” classically and clearly distinguished by the great C.S. Lewis in his book titled, appropriately enough, The Four Loves.  There is agape, pure unselfish love, philia, the love of friendship, especially between brothers, storge, affection love, a deep bond usually borne of spending a long time with another and, of course, the one most familiar, eros, which is passionate, sexual love, seeking pleasure from the other.
It is requisite to keep these distinctions in mind as we consider how and why we “love” the various persons we do. In the Christian view, as Pope Benedict made clear in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, all loves must be subsumed under agape, which is the term Christ uses, and that the Church has adopted, to mean “charity,” pure, disinterested love, which wills the good of the other, without necessarily seeking our own good.

We, however, usually consider “love” as erotic love, as in “falling in love.” This is the stuff of literature, plays, songs and films.  As Virgil sang all those years ago, “amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori,” “love conquers all, and let us too yield to love.”

Of course, this applies to persons of the opposite and complementary sex, a man and a woman. But what of “love” between persons of the same sex?  In itself, there is nothing wrong, and indeed much that is good, in men loving men and women loving women.  In fact, throughout history, the sexes have spent most of their time with, and much of their affections upon, persons of the same sex, without this friendship, this philia becoming erotic. Soldiers, workers, monks, priests, knights, missionaries, miners, hunters, gatherers, all the way to our modern poker, hunting and golfing buddies, hang out together and, yes, love each other. True friendship between “brothers” is only possible, however, if the love remains non-sexualized and every man, deep down, knows this.

To be specific, what the Church warns against in same-sex friendship, following natural law, is eroticizing this natural and healthy bond, turning homo-philia, a good and noble thing, into homo-eros, with the unnatural vices and corruption which that entails.  Sadly, in an ironic way, the obsession in our culture with homoerotic tendencies has clouded, obscured and tainted the natural homo-philic friendships of men (and, to a lesser extent, women).  Indeed, our hyper-sexualized culture has tainted any normal relationships, parent-child, uncle-child, man-woman, man-man, adult-child, boy-girl.  We all look at each other funny, with suspicion and fear, as the latent unbridled eros, corrupted, self-centred, unhinged from reason and virtue, swirls in the air like a noxious fog.

How far this is from the Christian view! As Pope Benedict XVI goes on to state in Deus Caritas Est (as with all things Benedict, well worth a read), it is the modern world that has warped eros, not the Church and Christianity, which very early on in the Roman Empire purified eros from its pagan, deviant, and warped tendencies, which were particularly deleterious for women and children, who were subjugated and used as sexual slaves and prostitutes (a tendency, sadly, that is now on the resurgence in our neo-pagan culture, with our loss of Christian mores and values, and the dignity of the human person).

Consider:  In a truly Christian culture, where men are virtuous in their chastity towards women, or at least held to severe account if they are not, it is the women who hold all the cards in the sexual relationship.  It is the exact opposite in an unvirtuous, pagan, or practically pagan, culture, unmoored from Judeo-Christian revelation, where women are objectified and sexualized, taken by force if need be.  Anyone who says the Church is anti-woman knows not history.

For Man to be who is he is meant to be, and for society to flourish, eros must be controlled and channelled, subsumed under the higher love of agape, willing the good of the other.  As John Paul II and Benedict both made abundantly clear, this is only possible within monogamous and faithful marriage, wherein the true “gift of self” can occur, with eros ordered to the mutual complementarity and union between husband and wife, and the procreation of children.

All of our other friendships should be non-sexual and non-erotic.  To put it in the modern colloquia, the only “friend with benefits” should be our husband or wife.
Yet the modern world thinks that it matters not where one “gets one’s jollies.” Chaque a son gout, they say, even, perhaps especially, in our sexual proclivities.
Well, even they have limits. There is still an aversion to adultery, and especially to pedophilia and rape, for example. But even these are becoming more difficult to define as we cast ourselves off from the solid bulwark of Christian revelation and reason. One need look no further than the lionizing of Professor Alfred Kinsey, an entomologist who transformed himself into a “sexologist.”  He performed sexual experiments on toddlers, masturbating them, yet was portrayed flatteringly by Liam Neeson in a major film (although I never saw it, I am sure they left out the pedophilia, and some of the other bizarre and grievously immoral, even criminal, “experiments”).  This is all in the public record, but his name still disgracefully adorns the fully accredited Kinsey Institute in Indiana for studies in “sexuality.”
We now think that any sexual activity between “consenting adults” is all right, and no one else’s business. Even here, however, we have trouble defining “consensual” with all the explicit and implicit imbalances of power and authority, and what really is an “adult”? Is that a biological measure, or a psychological and spiritual one? Who is to determine? Furthermore, something harmful does not cease to be harmful just because one consents to it (as we see in euthanasia).

All of this is to say that we must not underestimate the power of the sexual drive, and how it affects us and those around us. Unleashed and ungoverned eros, whose origins lie in the deeply wounded libido of Man, is at the basis of many of our societal ills, from the breakdown of the family, the epidemic of sexual diseases, all the way to abortion on demand, with the unborn killed daily in far greater numbers than any other modern tragedy or massacre.  Unrestrained sexual licence, and the enshrining of sexual deviancy into law, leads inevitably to societal breakdown.

We are doing homosexuals, and anyone else with an inclination to sexual deviancy, no favors by affirming their disordered inclinations and actions, but rather a service in charity by revealing to them the full truth of who they are, and who they are called to be, in God’s image.
That is the apologia they deserve.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail of “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” sculpted by Antonio Canova, ca. 1787.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jesuit University President on Orlando Shooting: ‘We Are All GLBTQ+’--(no we are not!)

Jesuit University President on Orlando Shooting: ‘We Are All GLBTQ+’

The entire nation was horrified by the massacre at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub last weekend that claimed 49 victims with dozens more injured.
All people of goodwill rightfully condemn this act of terror, and it’s appropriate to pray for the victims and their families. Catholic leaders around the country have expressed their deep sympathies, shared by all of us at The Cardinal Newman Society.
But the statements of several Jesuit educators in response to the attack are ambiguous and potentially misleading, in part because their universities have repeatedly undermined Catholic teaching and a correct understanding of homosexuality and gender confusion.
It’s been reported that the nightclub where the shooting occurred was a popular hangout for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or by some other sexual attraction, and it seems likely that this played into the shooter’s motives. So the Jesuits rightfully display compassion by consoling students and faculty members, many of whom may claim such “orientations.”
But there is no genuine compassion that denies Truth, and Catholic educators have a responsibility to be clear in leading students to the Truth. They do not need to fall into the trap of defining students by their sexual desires and expressing solidarity with the “LGBTQ community.”
Sadly, this is precisely what was done by the leaders of a number of Jesuit colleges — many of which, along with other Catholic colleges, purposefully foster separation among students through departments and programs that reinforce and even celebrate students’ identification as LGBTQ.
The Cardinal Newman Society’s decades of monitoring such concerns at Catholic colleges across the country — including pride eventsactivism conferences, “lavender graduations,” housing and records policies, etc. —  reveals a noticeable lack of grounding in Church teaching on human sexuality in students’ education. Rather than leading students to unity through the Truth in Christ, the main emphasis of LGBTQ outreach and ministry at many Catholic colleges is to accept and celebrate disordered sexual attractions and, by implication, immoral sexual activities.
These misguided efforts seek a more accepting and inclusive campus environment, but instead they sow disunity on campuses, in the community and in the Church by promoting “pride” in disordered sexual desires instead of nurturing a deeper understanding of human dignity and human sexuality through the teachings of Christ and His Church. All students on campus — those who identify as LGBTQ and those who do not — are thus led to confusion.
In one especially harmful statement about the attack, Father Brian Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, told students and staff “today we are all GLBTQ+” in solidarity with people who struggle with sexuality and gender:
The mass shooting in Orlando this weekend is a horrific act of hate and terrorism, and we are called to respond with righteous anger, conviction, and courage.
As we reflect and respond, I am particularly concerned with assuring those in our community who are GLBTQ+ that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in condemning this crime and advocating for justice. Just as the French said in January 2015 that we are all Charlie Hebdo, today we are all GLBTQ+. The attack on this community represents a grave assault on the genius, beauty, and freedom of our American society.
Charlie Hebdo is a magazine that was attacked for its cartoons; GLBTQ+ is a claim to a personal identity marked by sexual inclinations that are, according to Catholic teaching, contrary to the natural order and God’s will for mankind. Fr. Linnane’s assertion that “we are all GLBTQ+” sends a confusing and harmful message to students and the general public, accepting that certain people are defined by their sexual attractions, and appearing to condone a lifestyle that encourages mortal sin.
Without clarity, even general statements about solidarity with the “LGBTQ community” from Catholic college leaders could lead students to misunderstand the message. Such statements may appear to “recognize and tacitly endorse the sexual identities promoted by the LGBT Community — identities bound up fundamentally with the gender ideology promoted by the Community,” as Elliot Milco writes at First Things this week:
There can be no question … that at present the label “LGBT” and its components represent more than simply a fact about the dispositions, lifestyles, or biologies of various individuals. They represent a highly developed political and anthropological ideology, which makes hard claims about human nature and desire, morality, the structure of the family, and the proper use of bodies.
To be clear, everyone who identifies with any of the labels that go into “LGBTQ…” is worthy of our love, our sympathy, and our solidarity in their quest (with all Christians) for the truth, for justice, and for eternal happiness. But what we share with our brethren on account of our common humanity does not nullify what divides us in terms of our choices and beliefs about happiness, justice, and the truth.
And so, here’s the rub: The Catholic Church and the LGBT Community have divergent understandings of human nature, personal identity, the proper use of bodies, and the requirements for happiness.
Milco said it would be “an evangelical failure, and a failure of charity” for statements to express solidarity with the LGBTQ community while remaining ambiguous about Catholic teaching.
“The mission of the Church with respect to the LGBT Community is to oppose the fetishization of gender identity,” he writes. Like the bishops, the duty of Catholic college leaders “is to tell LGBT people that they are known and loved as more than just exemplars of a sexual type.”
The claim Milco was responding to by Father James Martin, S.J., an editor at America magazine and frequent speaker at Jesuit colleges, that we cannot properly express sorrow for the victims in Orlando without identifying them by their sexual attractions and behavior is misguided and uncharitable. Their most important “identity” is as a human being made in the image and likeness of God.
Helping students understand and embrace their relationship with God as His creations, and how that impacts their identities as human beings, should be of primary concern for Catholic educators in their mission to lead students to Truth.

Fr. George Rutler - June 19, 2016 - St. Michael's RCC, NYC


FROM THE PASTOR-- June 19, 2016-- by Fr. George W. Rutler

Saint Anthony, whose feast we recently celebrated, was an Augustinian canon in Portugal who joined the new Franciscan order in 1220, having been moved by the martyrdom of five Franciscans who had been beheaded by Muslims in Morocco. The year before, during the Fifth Crusade, Saint Francis of Assisi narrowly escaped execution when he preached the Gospel to Egyptian Muslims who had killed about five thousand Christians a few days before in Damietta. Anthony went to Morocco but became gravely ill, worked his way home via Sicily, and spent the rest of his 36 years preaching a combination of loving patience and mercy with bold insistence on Christ’s truth and stern reproof of lax clerics.

   This is to be remembered when many voices today equate doctrinal orthodoxy with “rigidity” and portray the moral demands of Christ as distant ideals, if not impractical encumbrances.
Saint Anthony preached against the fanatical Albigensian heretics in southern France whose misunderstanding of creation denigrated marriage and family life while promoting abortion, sodomy and assisted suicide. They considered themselves more “spiritual” than Catholic “doctors of the law” and took Pharisaic pride in boasting that they were not Pharisees. Bold St. Anthony was not an “Albigensian-phobe,” and reasonable people now are not phobic when they tell the truth about mental illness dressed as “transgenderism,”  borders open to illegal immigrants excused as hospitality, and denial of religious freedom adjudicated as social pragmatism.

  
The first Christians knew well the degrading course of systemic moral corruption (c.f.: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11). They would not have been surprised at how the Canadian High Court has modified certain strictures against bestiality, the government of Massachusetts no longer identifies femaleness and maleness as biological categories, people weep when a gorilla is shot to save the life of a human child, and a student in a major university is given a light slap on the wrist for violating a young woman while being complimented for his athletic ability. But they would have been astonished at the politically correct reluctance to identify the religious motivation of terrorists who massacre people. In 1951, General Douglas MacArthur said, “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”

   A cartoon some years back showed a Lilliputian looking at Gulliver and saying, “Either he’s very big or we are very small.” In the instance of Christ, it is not either/or: he is very big, and we are very small. But we need not remain small if by a spiritual awakening we “attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).  



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Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Deceiver by LIVIO FANZAGA***

The Deceiver by LIVIO FANZAGA***


Satan seduces, but you are the one who decides. Even though his seduction is very
powerful, he can not bend your will to do evil. Even though the tempest of thoughts,
desires, resentment, and hatred he stirs in your heart is overwhelming, there is no sin
without your free and conscious consent. Eve sinned because she wanted to sin. God has
put our will exclusively in our hands.

The Corruption**
There are apostles of evil. They are people who besides ruining themselves drag along
other souls also. They have perverted themselves into becoming demons, as Saint
Catherine of Siena asserted, and thus "fulfill the office of the demons," inducing others to
sin. It is truly said that one never sins alone. Our sin is negatively reflected in our
neighbors. If we do not repent quickly and return to God the heart is hardened and,
almost to reassure ourselves, we drag others along the way of ruin.
Eve was so possessed by evil that she did not hesitate to entice Adam also. "She also gave
some to her husband, and he ate" (Gen 3:6). When you examine your life, remember all
the times that by your words, evil example, and complicity you have pushed your
neighbor into the arms of the evil one. Think of all those souls that are lost in sin because
of you. Repent before God, repair the damages you have caused, and make yourself an
apostle of good.

The corruptors of souls are the great strength of the demon. In the contemporary world,
they occupy very significant and visible positions in various fields such as culture,
science, politics or economics, including the realm of the mass media. They have learned
the vernacular of flattery and lies from their teacher. Despising truth and exalting error,
they disparage good and virtue while exalting evil and vice. They are the faithful servants
of Satan, and they will go with him to his kingdom of death in recompense.

Watch out for such people, even if they are very close to you and united to you by bonds
of affection. You show your worthiness as a human being by saying no to evil, even if the
one who proposes it is most dear to you. If Adam had said no to Eve, he would have
undoubtedly saved himself and perhaps even her. No human respect, no bond of
friendship, no reason of human nature, nor any interest must ever cause you stay with
anyone who proposes evil. It is much better to lose a friend or family member than to lose
God for all of eternity.

Nevertheless, Adam took the fruit Eve offered him without argument, and he ate it. He
blindly followed his wife, even when fell into the abyss. How many behave like this!
Like leaves in the wind, they are dragged where the world wants, and Satan rejoices over
the spoils obtained so cheaply. The law of the herd, public opinion polls, and social
brainwashing dominate the modern world. You, however, must be very attentive to the
voice of God. Keep your conscience illuminated by the Church and never stray from her,
no matter what others think, even if they are those whom you love the most.

From Disillusionment to Illusion**
When man commits evil, he is inevitably degraded. He then opens his eyes and all that
before seemed beautiful and desirable, afterwards entirely loses its attractiveness. First
evil attracts you, then it poisons you. From the illusion of obtaining much happiness
follows both disillusionment and disappointment. Once the fruit was eaten "the eyes of
both were opened." Adam and Eve had deluded themselves into thinking that they could
become "like God" but found themselves deprived of divinity and its gifts. The
conscience begins to feel remorse. That God Whom you have driven from your heart by
sinning does not abandon you. In His goodness He makes you hear His voice in the
depths of your being. It is a voice that disapproves of the evil you have committed and at
the same time is an invitation to return to the straight way.

Consider this great grace that opens the eyes after the satanic temptation. It is the moment
in which, if you are honest with yourself, you realize that Satan has deceived you. With
all that he has offered you he has succeeded in destroying your dignity, morality and your
soul. He has given you something, but he himself has taken your heart. You, like Adam
and Eve, realize your nakedness. You have been stripped of sanctifying grace and of the
gifts of spiritual beauty and wisdom that adorned you: now you see yourself in your
misery.

The disillusionment that comes after every sin, with the verification of the deception, the
remorse of conscience, and the consciousness of the damages you have suffered,
constitutes a moment of great grace, even though in the context of a spiritual catastrophe.
After every sin, the Divine Wisdom opens our eyes so that we see the despicable face of
evil. This always happens unless a person, persevering on the way of ruin, suffocates his
conscience and hardens his heart.

Adam and Even, having realized the lie of the tempter and the existential catastrophe into
which they had fallen, would have been able and should have cried out to God from the
depths of their misery. The Creator in His goodness would have listened to them and
would have come to their aid. So we, dear friend, have at the moment of the grace of
disillusionment the possibility of a ready rehabilitation, if we turn humbly and contritely
to that God Whom we have foolishly abandoned.

Unfortunately, this happens all too rarely. More often, man falls again into that satanic
deception, desiring to try again the fruit which has proven to be so untrustworthy and
poisonous. The disillusionment is followed by a new illusion, and this process continues,
so that man enters into a deadly mechanism that crushes the soul, driving it to blindness
and to total death.

Many men waste their lives following illusions which are followed immediately by
disillusionment. "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again," declare Jesus (Jn
4:13). Only the mercy of God can break this satanic chain which renders us slaves, but you must cooperate with the grace which opens your eyes every time you do evil. Thinkof the last sin you committed. Were you happy to place your trust in the demon? Didn't
you become disillusioned, saddened, and degraded? Why then do you wish to repeat the
same experience, believing again and again the allurements of the tempter?
There may come a time in which, having sinned, your eyes are no longer opened. It is a very alarming signal, because it means you are entering the spiritual status of
impenitence. This happens when you advance unperturbed along the way of perversion and our conscience is finally snuffed out completely. Then the worst crimes can be committed without your feeling remorse. How many souls move in this level of deep darkness, in which they have given their unconditional consent to Satan and to his kingdom of perdition! Only a great grace, with the awakening of conscience, could now save them.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

CHRISTIAN CARDINAL TUMI SAYS HOMOSEXUALITY WILL FAIL

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A River in Egypt: Denying the Undeniable--by Fr. George Rutler


by Fr. George Rutler


 Mark Twain would have understood the protest of Yogi Berra: “Most of the things I said I didn’t say.” To Twain, with no evidence, is attributed: “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” The source of the quotation is debated as is the source of the Nile, but the meaning is as valid as the river is wet. Denial is the typical first stage of learning that one is dying, and that applies to our culture. It certainly is so of Christian culture in many places, sometimes the result of lassitude as in Europe and harshly so in places of outright persecution, as in the Middle East. While the Christian population has been in steady decline for well over a decade, particular countries like Syria and Iraq have experienced a more rapid exodus due to terrorism and war.

Western commentators who find this inconvenient for their narrative, deny this not by outright refutation but simply by blithe ignorance. In recent weeks, little publicity was given to the burning alive of nineteen kidnapped Yazidi girls in metal cages. Or, of relevance to us at this moment, the throwing from a cliff of a man after gouging out his eyes and skinning him alive by the Taliban, Afghan militants at war with the U.S. who enjoy the support of Omar Mateen’s father. Mr. Seddique Mateen, a Sunni Pashtun who also promotes himself for the presidency of Afghanistan, denies that his son is a practicing homosexual. But these facts also frustrate the popular media who have portrayed the slaughter in Orlando as an argument for compromising the Second Amendment and proof that Christianity has created an environment hostile to sexual ambiguity.

In Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad wrote: “…no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge.” Artful denial is a common disposition of those who will not compromise their ideology with reality, lest they be discomfited by the fact of evil. The Turkish government persists in denying the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. Japan still denies the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Not until 1994 did Russia accept full responsibility for the slaughter of 21,857 Polish army officers, clergy, and academics in the Katyn forest. In that same year, President Roosevelt brushed aside Jan Karski’s microfilmed evidence of Nazi concentration camps as did Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter: “I did not say that (Karski) was lying. I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference.” George Orwell called the obliteration of conscience in the face of malice “doublethink.” The psychological term is dissociation.

In the instance of the Orlando massacre, our nation’s Commander in Chief denied that radical Islam is the dedicated enemy of our civil peace. The denial seems to be an affliction even in the seat of truth, which is Holy Church. A conflicted bishop in Florida said, “Sadly it is religion, including our own, that targets, mostly verbally, and often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence….”
Pope Francis issued an appeal to “identify the causes” of such terror, when the answer plainly is the pretension of the false prophet Mohammed and various elements of Sharia law, including torture and amputations and beheadings for sexual perversion, which the Holy Father’s apostolic heart would find insensitive. His recently appointed archbishop of Chicago prayed for his “gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” while seeming oblivious to the fact that some of the brothers think of themselves as sisters and vice versa.

Such prayers have become more complicated recently in New York City where the Commission on Human Rights has declared thirty-one official kinds of sexual identity, mandating the use of the “non-binary” pronoun “zie” instead of “he” and she” and threatening fines of up to $250,000 for not adopting this grammar.

Both the pope, in remarks to representatives of the United Nations World Food Program, and the archbishop of Chicago perhaps indulged a bit of mauvais goût by using the Florida massacre to promote their views on gun control, in an elliptical denial of the fact that the louche den in Orlando, like the Bataclan theatre in Paris, was a “gun free zone.” In the duress of these days, it would be indelicate to ask why no one tried to stop the gunman, at least as he was reloading. Certainly, if anyone present had been armed, he would have been able to challenge the self-styled ISIS martyr.

In August of 1219 Saint Francis of Assisi went to Egypt and confronted the Muslim caliph at Damietta along the banks of the Nile, which is that river in Egypt. Contrary to some revisionist accounts, he thoroughly supported the Fifth Crusade, five thousand of whose crusaders had been slain by Muslims just four days before, and he boldly urged the Muslims to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While it is true that he returned to Italy laden with some gifts from the intrigued, or bemused, caliph, he did so only after having been beaten, chained, and imprisoned.   

In the next year, five of his friars were beheaded in Morocco, and when their bodies, ransomed by the king of Portugal, were brought to Coimbra, the young Augustinian canon Anthony (later of Padua) became a Franciscan and headed for Morocco himself. Released after a severe illness, he spent his life, only thirty-six years altogether, animating the lapsed Catholics of Italy and challenging the Albigensian heretics of southern France who denigrated marriage and family life as they promoted abortion, sodomy and assisted suicide.

In that period, the limpid Christology of the Arian Visigoths had softened up the Iberian peninsula for easy conquest by Moorish Muslims. The eclectic Moorish culture, admirable in some ways for its civil organization and appropriation of western philosophy and science, also commingled some Greek and Persian aesthetics with the crude sensuality of the Qur’an during the Umayyad period from 756 to 1031. At the end of that time, the remarkable polymath ibn Hazm (d.1064) paused among his philosophical scientific tract writing to compose the “Tawq al-Hammamah,” a love epic extolling some forms of eroticism that would have beguiled the New York City Commission on Human Rights. He died just seven years before the birth of William IX of Aquitaine, first of the northern Christian troubadours who romanticized love but scorned the Andalusian Muslims as degenerate.
The “Hammamah,” or “Ring” (of the Dove) tremulously summed up the amorous indulgences of Moorish culture, flaunted by the likes of the bi-sexual emir of Seville, al-Mu’tamid and the Aristotelian revivalist ibn Bajja whose main distraction from acute philosophical syllogisms was a male slave, “niger sed formosus.”  It would seem odd that this was part of the most effervescent and celebrated Islamic flowering of the Moorish golden age, since the Qu’ran condemns sodomy (4:16, 7:80-84) and the consequent Sharia Law imposes on it the severest penalties, which continue to this day. But, with women confined to ghetto existence, there was a divertissement among male youths and slaves, sexual congress with whom, unlike in Christian lands, was considered licet since they were infidels. But even the Qu’ran has some ambiguous references to male youths in Paradise among the rewards for Islamic martyrs: “And immortal boys will circulate among them, when you see them you will count them as scattered pearls” (7:19). Here, “pearl” is the same word used for a virgin (56:23).

When Moorish Spain retreated to Morocco and Tunisia and other African shores, this bifurcated culture went with it, and the severe censures of the Islamic code existed side by side with a homoerotic subculture whose sensuality and indulgence supported the outward frame of behavior with a dark infrastructure that released the tensions of its moral economy wrought of puritanism and prurience.

In view of this, it is not astonishing that a man in Orlando would kill many people while shouting praises to his Allah. Nor should public commentary be flummoxed by the fact that a follower of a false prophet be living a false life himself, and by that psychological ambiguity succumb to a form of violence antithetical to Christ as the Way and the Truth and the Life.

The killer in Florida did not contradict a “Religion of Peace” since Islam, encompassing demagogues but also virtuous and worthy people imprisoned by a restricted vision of man, is a confection that demands submission to inherent contradictions. As there are “extreme Muslims,” there are also “moderate Muslims,” but the sober historian cannot deny that moderate Muslims tend to be Muslims who are less than half the population. One can only deny the portents of history for an anxious while.

Ask Neville Chamberlain. Churchill’s panegyric of him in the House of Commons described a man who paid the price for an innocence which, while fatal to millions on battlefields and in concentration camps, was not the gross naiveté of flaccid presidents and pallid prelates. Incompetent leaders today do not understand history because they deny the counsels of the Lord of history.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

How God Can Use Your Sin for Good

How God Can Use Your Sin for Good

God can use it to bring you closer to him

Even if all you want to do is forget your past, 

By Meg Hunter-Kilmer - June 12, 2016

“O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish and the wearied spirit cry out to you. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned before you.” –Baruch 3:1-2
“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” –Luke 7:47

I spend a lot of time telling the world what’s so great about being Catholic, so I frequently find myself starting a sentence, “One thing I love about being Catholic is….” That sentence can end a hundred different ways, but there are a few particularly Catholic doctrines that top the list. Right up there with the Eucharist and the authority of the Church is the certainty of absolution, the confidence Catholics have that when God absolves us through the priest our sins are utterly washed away, removed as far as the east is from the west.

It’s an incredible thing to be sure of—if only we could truly believe it. Because for all we profess to believe in the forgiveness of sins, I can’t begin to count the number of people I’ve met who are still mired in shame over their pasts. God may have forgiven me, many of us think, but he certainly must think less of me. So we envy people whose conversions happened early and loathe ourselves for the bad choices we’ve made, all the while forgetting that some of our greatest saints had been great sinners.

This is where the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus really gets me. It’s beautiful to see the abandon with which she throws herself at the feet of Jesus, her utter lack of shame as she bathes his feet with her tears. But even with all the beautiful imagery, it’s a conjunction that really gets me: hence. She hasn’t been forgiven because she’s shown love. She shows love because she’s been forgiven so much.

This is stunning: because of her sinful past, she loves all the more. In God’s economy, her sin can be used for the good. And somehow, God (who never desires that we sin) has made her better not despite her past but because of it.

God can use your past. Even if all you want to do when you think of your wild (or judgmental or selfish or skeptical) college days is to crawl under the covers and wish for a do-over, God can use them. You might be standing with Baruch, weary and filled with anguish over a sin long since confessed and forgiven, but God doesn’t see that sin. He sees his child come home again. Like the prodigal father later in Luke’s Gospel, he delights in you. And he can take your absolved sin and turn it into a testimony or compassion or a hunger for him.

Would it be better if we hadn’t sinned? Of course. And yet, somehow, we are better forgiven than we were unfallen. “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20).
I’ve been thinking lately about my conversion, about why God reached in to my life when he did, about how many more conversions have been necessary even to bring me this far, and about how many more times I’ll need to be converted. It’s easy to be caught up in regret, but more often than not shame over forgiven sin is a tool the Devil uses to rob you of the freedom you have in Christ. Instead of being caught up in that, I’m thanking God that in his mercy he allowed me to fall.

If I hadn’t been such a mess before meeting Christ, I wouldn’t be able to speak with such conviction about the emptiness of life without him.
If I hadn’t been such a disaster of a new Christian, I wouldn’t know to encourage people to be gentle in their evangelization.
If I hadn’t been so judgmental, I might never have realized what a sinner I still am.
If I weren’t such a sinner I wouldn’t need him. And so I name my sin as evil and still I thank God that he makes all things work for God for those who love him (Romans 8:28).
It is good to repent of our sins. It is incredible that our repentance leads to complete forgiveness. Let’s also allow the Lord to give us the freedom of trusting that when he says he makes all things new, he means it.

You are not your sin. Let go of your shame and let God use your past for good.
- See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/06/12/how-god-can-use-your-sin-for-good/#sthash.4GWzto9H.dpuf

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Stacey Dash stuns–reveals the 3 words God told her at an abortion clinic that saved her baby

Stacey Dash stuns–reveals the 3 words God told her at an abortion clinic that saved her baby

Things weren’t all roses and lollipops for conservative Fox News contributor and actress Stacey Dash . In fact her early life was marked by hardship and pain.
But she determined to work her way out of it after a conversation with the person you go to when all else fails — God.

Stacey Dash on abuse, addiction and her near abortion: "I'm not a victim, I've survived"

“Sometimes my past is extraordinarily heavy,” Dash, 49, told People magazine in an exclusive interview. “That’s when I scream and cry until I feel like I can breathe again.”
She was molested by a 16-year-old family acquaintance when she was only four and living in the south Bronx, New York. When she herself turned 16 she fell into an all-consuming cocaine addiction.
“I couldn’t find happiness,” says Dash. “It got to a point where I didn’t even want to live anymore. The voice in my head was saying, ‘There’s nothing here for you.'”
She continued doing drugs into her 20s, and eventually fell into a relationship with musician Christopher Williams, and was in a clinic about to have an abortion when she turned to God.
“When I got pregnant, I was doing a lot of drugs and I didn’t want to live. I wanted to die,” she told People.
“I was going to have an abortion. I was crying and I said to God, ‘Please tell me what to do.’ And God told me, ‘Keep your son.’ I ripped the IV out of my arm and I said, ‘I’m keeping my son.'”
Her son Austin is now 25 — she also has a daughter Lola who is 12.
“The best way to protect my children is to be honest with them,” Dash said. “I let them know that I survived. I’m not a victim. And there is nothing they can’t overcome.”
Growing up in an environment of drugs and violence led to her conservative views today on social welfare programs.
“When you get stuff for free, you have no self-worth. When you have no self-worth, you become depressed, addicted and either abused or an abuser. This is what perpetuates the cycle of violence in inner cities. We don’t need free stuff. We need opportunities.”
And that thinking extends to other areas as well.
“When I say there should not be a BET channel or a Black History Month, I’m saying we deserve more,” Dash insisted. “I just hope people understand that I’m not judging; I’m coming from experience.”


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Real Reason for Being Catholic

The Real Reason for Being Catholic: The president-elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, condemned the Catholic Church last week, saying that it is the “most corrupt and hypocritical institution of the world,” that the bishops and priests are “sons of whores,” and that he was going to expose the Church and show that the “Church is irrelevant today.” My initial response …







Because of Christ’s abiding presence, the Catholic Church will always be a place where mercy and grace of God ultimately triumphs over human sin and all evils. Our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus is a divine guarantee of this victory. Let us hold on to this faith tenaciously and grow in it because this is the real reason why we are Roman Catholics today and forever.
Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Reasons Catholics and Evangelicals are Flocking to Trump

The Reasons Catholics and Evangelicals are Flocking to Trump


By Raymond Arroyo   |   Friday, 25 Mar 2016 08:11 AM

On primary day in Florida it was like Palm Sunday for Donald Trump, replicating a trend seen in contest after contest: Evangelical and Catholic voters swung decisively for the GOP front-runner. The question is: Why?

The Florida exit polls were striking. A full 50 percent of Catholics in the Sunshine State voted for Trump, while only 33 percent voted for the Catholic, Sen. Marco Rubio. Trump’s support among born-again Christian voters was 49 percent. Meanwhile, the evangelical Ted Cruz languished with only 20 percent of the votes from his own pew mates.

Trump’s hold on both Catholics and evangelicals is by no means restricted to Florida. Massachusetts exit polls reveal that Trump drew a stunning 53 percent of the Catholic vote and 49 percent of evangelicals there.  
   
On the surface a thrice-married, jet-setting billionaire with a penchant for expletives and a casual familiarity with scripture would seem a bad match for religiously minded voters. Nevertheless, in Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and other contests, Trump handily won the majority of both Catholics and evangelicals. Something is clearly happening, but what?

Leaders are all too aware of the pattern. Seeking to stop the faithful stampede to Donald, a phalanx of religious leaders have risen up in recent days — not to support another candidate, but to condemn Trump with usually harsh and unforgiving language. Evangelical heavyweights like James Dobson, Max Lucado and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention have decried Trump as an “economic swindle” and a “social Darwinist.” Lucado insisted that Trump lacks “decency.” 

A parcel of Catholic intellectuals recently signed an open letter condemning the GOP front-runner for his "vulgarity, oafishness" and "shocking ignorance." In between garment rending, these "Never Trumpers," like so many in the Beltway crowd, admit they can neither explain nor make sense of the Catholic/evangelical Trump phenomenon.

Stephen Prothero, a Boston College religion professor, explained the evangelical exodus to Trump in a recent Politico article. It’s simple, he says: "American evangelicals are just not that evangelical anymore."

I’m not sure so that theory washes — and it certainly does not explain the Catholic support for Trump. So I decided to make it my business to visit key primary states and talk to Catholic and evangelical Americans on their own turf. I tried to situate myself at polling places in Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana and Michigan on big primary nights while on the road. In some cases, I visited the states shortly after primary voting, speaking in depth with scores of Catholics and evangelicals. Their surprising personal explanations for casting votes for Donald Trump made more sense to me than anything I have heard or read in D.C. 

For all the fury and indignation coming from the establishment over the rise of Trump, in the minds of these voters, it is the establishment itself that is most responsible for his rise and enduring popularity. 

Conservative evangelicals and Catholics feel betrayed by the politicians they helped elect in the past. An observation shared by a man in Alabama was heard over and over again: "We voted for these people and look at the state of marriage. We voted for them and I’m now competing for jobs with people coming across the border. Why not give Trump a chance? He says he’ll protect the border. He says he’s pro-life now. I believe him and nobody owns him. He could be different." 
When I challenged these faith-based voters with the concerns raised by leaders in their respective communions, I discovered an even deeper reason for their support of Trump. Nearly every evangelical and Catholic I encountered expressed outrage over what some described as "the politicization of the church."
Both evangelical and Catholic leaders have in recent years hardened their positions on a host of once secondary political issues, to the dismay of their conservative flock. While muting their voices on the big ticket issues of life and traditional marriage, these voters claim, the churches are embracing agendas long championed by the Democratic party. Pope Francis’ support of a UN treaty to limit carbon emissions, an emphasis on the social gospel, as well as calls from some evangelicals and the Catholic bishops to loosen immigration restrictions have irritated swaths of rank and file faithful. 

This political divide within the church squares with what Korey Maas noted in a recent Federalist article: "Monmouth has found that 76 percent of Catholic Republicans support building a wall across the border, 61 percent support the Trump immigration plan — despite Pope Francis and the Bishops' insistence to welcome the immigrant." 

These faithful voters seem open to receiving general moral principals from the churches to shape their voting. But the combination of making it seem heretical to disagree over what they see as secondary political issues and blatantly forbidding them to vote for a particular candidate has made them rebellious. They are not just voting against the establishment of their party, but the establishment in their churches.   

"Voting for Trump is a way to stop the Church’s advance into politics. It’s a check and balance," a Catholic Michigan woman told me. "Jesus didn’t come to ply a political agenda. He came to save us. All these other things (immigration and environmental policies) are prudential judgments. We don’t need the bishops telling us about immigration. We live the problem every day."

An evangelical in Louisiana was just as explicit: "To me Trump blocks all these church people who want to be politicians. I love my pastor, but we didn’t elect him to speak for us politically. I’ve got this — and I agree with Trump."

Perhaps Holy Week is the perfect time for religious and political leaders to do some soul searching and to recall the ruinous effects of those who attempted to secure their power by demonizing a charismatic leader. Only in this case, by misunderstanding the motives of their own people, their efforts could well cause the candidate they fear most to rise again.

Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times best-selling author, most recently of "Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls" (Random House) and managing editor of EWTN News. This piece originally appeared in Newsmax.