Friday, August 30, 2013

Two tributes to St. Joan

She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men; she was honest when honest was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one; ... she was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things; she was unfailingly true in an age that was false to the core; ... she was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation..." Mark Twain

A cartoonist (can't remember his name) was at a comic convention and someone asked him why he didn't have any female knights in his graphic novels. He answered that this wouldn't be realistic. There was only one lady knight and that was Joan of Arc and she was a miracle from God. This dude was by no means a devout man-- in fact, he was quite profane in his speech, actions and his art but he recognized Joan's greatness.

A magnificent statue of St. Therese

This is a fine statue of St. Therese but it's not just pretty. It teaches as well. Her name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face and you see both represented in this work as well as Our Lady. You can find this statue at the National Shrine of St. Therese in Illinois.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Before you write that check to a Catholic non profit do some research

Catholic Answers needs  help and has launched an appeal.  I've never cared for them but that's not what this post is about. I hate it when I get e-mails that try to make me feel guilty or campaingns that try to make me feel like I'm a bad Catholic if I don't support a certain Catholic organization or business. Remeber that St. Therese movie from a few years back? Remember how we were all urged to support it? Remember how bad it was?

Every tax-exempt organization, nonexempt charitable trust, and section 527 political organization is required by law to to file an annual  form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. This form spells out an organization's financials and you should always look for it. To do this you can go to the IRS charitable organization search page. The IRS site is free but clunky and slow. I really like and tend to go to it first. You have to register but that's free and GuideStar organizes the information so that you can get to the point at a glance. Another site that I've recently started using is It is not as visually appealing as GuideStar but you don't have register and it's just as fast. You can also go to the National Center for Charitable Statistics site. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Enough about Miley Cyrus already

Psst. While everybody is babbling about one little twit, who is laughing all the way to the bank, our country is getting closer and closer to war with Syria.

St. Ephem the Syrian, doctor of the Church pray for us all.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

random thoughts on a sick day

* I know of one priest in my diocese who is being muttered about because the poor man doesn't run the parish  just like the old priest and the ladies are mad at him. He keeps unused rooms of the parish hall locked and instead of coming and going as they pleased the ladies now have to go to the rectory to get a key. Americans ran to the suburbs for various reasons, one of which was to avoid crime. Well, crime happens in the burbs just like it does in the city and there is a possibility that someone could get hurt by a stranger coming in off the street and lurking in  one of those isolated basement rooms. It's also not uncommon for parishioners to steal. About two or three years ago Rocky and I were on vacation and went to Mass at a church which had just been spectacularly ripped off by a longtime trusted and loved by many people, layperson volunteer. It happens. For whatever reason, this priest is being more security conscious it would do the group of mad ladies in his parish well, to calm down.

*I've heard the word "pelagian" thrown around lately and I think most of the people who use it don't know what it really means. It's like the people who scream Nazi or fascist at people they don't like without stopping to think what those words really mean. A dude named Giacomo Casolo started a lay organization called a confraternity to stress the importance of piety and mental prayer. He named the confraternity after one of my favorite saints, St. Pelagia. This was all well and good and was approved of by the bishop and local Jesuits but it got nutty. By 1655, the Pelagians  were divorcing spouses who didn't follow their brand of Catholicism and stopped going to Mass, receiving the sacraments or listening to sermons by non-Pelagians. They believed that all you had to do to be saved was mental prayer. Well, there were complaints and an investigation and the whole thing was rooted up and condemned. 

There is another, much older heresy also called Pelagianism that was fought by St. Augustine and St. Jerome. This garbage was started by a monk who thought that his fellow Romans were too lax, (when the clergy goes bad, it is disastrous), named Pelagius who may have been from what we now call Great Britain. According to the  the not so merry monk thought that humans could get to Heaven by being stoic, exercising free will alone and:

  1. Adam died because, death is just part being human. Even if he'd hadn't sinned he still would've died.
  2. Adam and Eve hurt themselves but not the human race. We sin because Adam gave us a bad example and Christ redeemed us, sort of, by giving a good example.
  3. Newborns are just like Adam before his Fall. Which means it's no big deal if you don't get around to Baptizing the baby before he reaches the age of reason.
  4. We don't die because of Adam and we don't rise again through the resurrection of the new Adam, Christ.
  5. The law of Moses is just as good a guide to get to Heaven as the Gospel.
  6. Even before Christ came there were sinless men.

This heresy was condemned at the Council of Carthage and pretty much died out around the year, 430 or so but it could be argued that the cult of Positive Thinking and Mormonism have Pelagianist roots. At any rate I haven't met any Catholics who openly espouse what Mr. Casolo or Fr. Pelagius were preaching.  Now at this point somebody is probably saying "Hey Dymph, what about the Pope?" My answer is "I don't know. English is not the Holy Father's first language. I know how his remark was translated but I don't know what he meant or how he really meant it so I'm leaving it alone.

*One day Rocky and I were walking along and we ran into a Dominican nun. She was the first sister shown in this video.
*I was having a discussion with a man who doesn't allow his children to listen to any music from the 20th century. It's his business but I'm glad my parents didn't follow that example. I would've never had the pleasure of sitting in my father's lap listening to this:
Oh and he also told me that the song was based on Bach's notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach which we listened to as well on many occasions.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sick night

 I'm sick  with a monster sinus attack and feeling as limp as Hamlet's Ophelia.  Usually when this happens I just lie in bed in the dark until it passes and listen to music.Tonight I'm listening to a talk on taking religious topics out of context  by Professor William Biersach. He's an interesting fellow and has a pleasant voice. One thing that really struck me is his remorse about all the students he must have influenced back when he was outside of the Church and living as an atheist.  He had a rough time in his youth and there's an intense sadness behind his humor so I don't recommend him if you're looking forward to lighthearted romp. He starts out giggle and snort funny but gets very, very serious.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Something to think about

I live in Northern Virginia. Because the capitol is so close we have people from all over the world here. My neighbors are legal, illegal, Christian, Muslim and Animist. It occurred to me the other day, that I've never heard a Hispanic woman or indeed, any foreign born or first generation in America woman talk badly about her children.  American women complain about their kids all the time. At work it sometimes, seems like a competition about who can complain the most and they even whine in front of the kids. 

 Every evening when it cools off I see Sudanese, Ethiopian and Indian mothers and sometimes fathers, taking their babies for an evening stroll around my building complex. I never see Americans doing this. I've seen Hispanic women walking down the street, women who have worked hard all day, carrying their children after picking them up from day care and those women look so happy. They're poor by our standards, they've got to be tired but they are bouncing their kids, smiling and kissing them. Foreign women, seem to be actually delighted with their children. My Ethiopian neighbors feel sorry for me because I've never been able to carry a pregnancy to full term. American  women, even those who call themselves Christian have called me lucky because I'm not burdened like they are. Does God smile on the American attitude? I think not.

The Joyful Mysteries

Presentation in the temple
Finding of the Child Jesus in the temple

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection
 The Ascension
Descent of the Holy Spirit
Assumption of Our Lady

Coronation of Our Lady


Friday, August 16, 2013

Assumption of the Holy Virgin and random thoughts

“It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles…it was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and the Handmaid of God.” St. John Damascene

The Assumption Mass at St. Rita's in Alexandria was incredible. The church was packed and most of the people were in their 20s and 30s. Father Hawk looked tired but zipped around with his usual speed and precision. I never paid attention before but he actually has a quite nice singing voice.

* "Why wasn't he natural in his lifetime? If he had been, he'd have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death, instead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by himself."
"It's the truest word that ever was spoke," said Mrs. Dilber. "It's a judgment on him."'
----A Christmas Carol

At the rate this country is materially disintegrating (the moral rot set in decades ago) I think a lot of people are going to have a Scrooge Christmas Future experience on their deathbeds. Those who were careless in their youth will be made to care in their helpless old age.

*May their orders die out and they be forgotten.  

*Meddling in other people's affairs rarely leads to good. Egypt is an example of this.

*Archbishop Chaput says that most illegals are nice people who will never do anything criminal other than the technical crime of entering the country without anyone’s knowledge. The Archbishop is a decent man and he may be right but people are getting tired and you can't shut them up by telling them that they are bad Catholics. When you think about victims like Louise Sollowin    Vanessa Pham and Brittany Binger  it's perfectly valid to ask where they stand in the immigrant apologist's thinking. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Friday, August 09, 2013

The Sorrowful Mysteries

 The Agony in the garden

The Scourging
The Crowning with thorns
Carrying the Cross
The Crucifixion

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

This was not good.

Do you believe that the Host is the flesh of Our Lord? Do you believe that the wine is His own precious blood? I get the impression that many, Catholics either don't or that they've gotten so casual with God that they can't be bothered to treat Him with anything other than sloppy indifference or bouts of sentimentality but no real reverence.

This post is in Italian but you can easily translate it using the Google translator feature.

I don't blame the kids. They can't be any better than what they are taught but if this happens at a papal Mass what example does that give? Silly stuff happens at every World Youth Day. The sheer numbers of people makes it impossible to prevent the occurrence of sacrilegious Communions but this was planned. Someone thought it was a good idea and got it approved by clergy. Not good. Not good at all.

Behold the blood of Christ in plastic cups, like beer at the ballpark. Consider this: These cups were not handed back to the priests to be purified. Our Lord's blood most likely ended up in trash cans or spilt on the ground to be trodden on by the huge crowd.

Understanding Pope Francis---Ignore the experts

The pope made an off the cuff remark about gay priests that has gotten a lot of attention. One blogger used the headline "Francis Allows Gay Priests to Exhale," which I found astonishing unless she meant it as an ironic statement. Does anybody remember what things used to be like in the 80s and 90s? Except for the old ones, effete priests were so common that finding a priest who didn't show any womanish mannerisms and who was actually liked, not just tolerated by the men and boys (women on the other hand seemed to love them*) in the parish was like finding a black swan on your porch.

Some of those guys have retired but an unknown number  of them just moved up the ladder. They're running interference in the seminary, they are the gatekeepers in the chancery and have the power. Even if the bishop isn't one of them, your letter or e-mail of complaint has to go through the gatekeepers and the bishop may never know it existed. Nobody was waiting around with bated breath until the Pope said "Who am I to judge?" Even the pedophiles weren't afraid because in case after case we see that they kept on doing what they were doing right up until  they were gelded by the aging process or when the day they were arrested.

So what does the Pope's comment  mean? I don't know and neither do any of the Vaticanistas.    Whenever some self appointed expert tries to tell me what John Paul or Benedict or Francis really meant I tune them out. Until Pope Francis taps someone on the shoulder and says "This guy is my USA consigliere. You can take what he says as coming straight from my heart," don't trust them. The only thing I'm sure of is that the Lord gives us the leaders we deserve as either a comfort or a punishment and only time will tell what this particular wild card turns out to be.

*Interestingly enough, the masculine priests found that the biggest troublemakers when they took over a parish were the middle aged women who had been Fr. Effeminate's biggest fans. God only knows what THAT means.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

A week of peace

Whenever Rocky and I head North on vacation we try to stop at the Grotto of Lourdes at Emmitsburg in Maryland. They've made some changes since we were there in February. A new visitor's center with a gift shop and modern bathrooms(!) is open and Father Jack Lombardi is no longer there which means the shrine shares a priest with the St. Seton shrine up the road. The Our Lady of Medjugorje statue is gone (hooray!) and a beautiful statue of Our Lady of LaVang is in its place.  We said the rosary, visited the little chapel, got some spring water and headed on to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Dutch Country is one of our favorite places. We stayed at a really nice bed and breakfast owned by a Mennonite couple, and met some interesting people who were also guests. We ate the best bread in the world, whoopee pies, buttered noodles and ham loaf. We visited an Amish home and toured Wheatlands, the home of President James Buchanan and spent three hours in the National Watch and Clock museum.  They have the Tridentine Mass at St. Anthony's in Lancaster City but we went to the Vigil Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in New Holland because it was the closest church to us. The parishioners were better dressed than my Northern Virginia folks and their kids were much better behaved. It was  a nice Mass. It's always interesting how Mass at multiple parishes can be so very, very different. Everyone we met was so nice and kind and it was a peaceful respite. On our last day we went to Philadelphia to the St. Rita Shrine.  The church is staffed by the Augustinian friars. It's in an rough neck sort of neighborhood so I advise you to hide anything in your car that screams "tourist". After Philly, we drove home.

The Prayer