Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

St. Margaret of Cortona

St. Margaret is one my favorite saints. She lived openly for nine years as a wealthy man's mistress and had a child. Her lover was murdered and she sought help from the Franciscans. They took her in and one day she changed. Margaret rejected other men who offered to take her as their concubine and she began taking care of the sick free of charge. She became a Third Order Franciscan, founded a hospital and spent the next 29 years of her life doing penance. At first people laughed and expected her to go back to her old way of living and even accused her of attempting to seduce one of the monks but after a while they were so impressed by her life and talks that many people, changed their lives.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pope on a plane---tears on a pillow

I figured that the pope's trip to Mexico would have some cringe inducing moments but I didn't think it would be this bad: he got into American politics and kicked open a hornet's nest. Stephen Knox of Magnificat Radio observed the backlash to the pope's political remarks and thinks it shows how anti-Catholic America really is. Maybe. Without going as far back as Martin Luther and the Anglican schism, the conditions that fed the backlash are not new. A lot of people were already ticked off at Catholics over legal immigration. They look at the expensive and secretive immigrant resettlement industry and blame us for it.

You can tell your Protestant or pagan neighbor that Catholic Charities doesn't represent all Catholics and that the Episcopalians and Jewish groups also contribute heavily to resettlement but he won't hear it. He's complaining online and in person to all his friends that "the Catholics" sponsored the Somali family next door who have never seen a stove or a washing machine before and regularly need the services of the fire department.  Now, it sounds to your exasperated  neighbor  that the Holy Father just gave us marching orders to show a preference to Mexicans and other Hispanic nationals over the wishes, needs, and lives of our fellow Americans.  Yes, Evangelicals are anti Catholic to the core on a good day as are many Baptists but the comments of the Holy Father did not help and convinced a lot nasty, ignorant people that they are right about Catholics.

For too many people massive illegal immigration has come at a price paid in their loved one's blood. Last year a nice old lady in a border state was killed by a teen aged illegal alien. She was Catholic and I doubt that the bishop or anyone from her diocese chancery showed up at her funeral.  A few years ago a  kid was killed by illegal aliens in his own yard. That young man's father filmed a campaign spot for  Donald Trump. I just read another horrible story about a woman who's son was tortured and killed by individuals who never should have been in this country. She's has publicly stated that the pope doesn't care about [people like] her. I can not imagine being so cruel as to tell any of these family members to their faces that they are not Christian because they want a border wall.  I have no idea what the Holy Father understands or thinks and neither do the so-called Vatican experts. I do know that he landed a hard blow on a deep national bruise and the pain is still throbbing. Vatican spokesmen have tried to clarify what Pope Francis said, and apologists are downplaying it but it's too late.  This interview will lead to tears.

Monday, February 15, 2016

random thoughts for a three day weekend

  • When I read about the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia I let out a yelp and an "Oh no!" It wasn't for the country. I think the USA is past any man made help now but for his family and for Fr. Scalia, whom we once nicked named Fr. Aragorn when he was at our parish.
  • I try to say the Penitential Psalms during Lent. The best site I've found with all the psalms together is Medievalist.
  • You know those cute little rice bowls parishes put out at Lent time? You might want to skip filling it up with money this year. Restore DC Catholicism and the Lepanto Institute have disturbing news about Catholic Relief Services, the outfit that fund raises with the rice bowls.
  • Somebody at Mt. St. Mary's aka "The Mount" messed up big time. Their new president sounds like a martinet who really doesn't belong at a liberal arts school much less a Catholic one. He's also reportedly not Catholic so of course he's going to bring some hostility or at least ignorance of the Faith to the job.  He's right (probably an accident) about one thing: there are too many kids wasting their time and getting deeper and deeper in debt at colleges they have no aptitude for. Why let a kid who can barely write a coherent sentence waste two,three or five years in a university before he gets discouraged and quits? It's no big deal to the school; they've already gotten paid and the poor kid is crushed. Newman is completely wrong about the timing. The SAT, not a questionnaire taken once you get to college (and the school has already gotten your money) is supposed to tell if a student is academically able to keep of with college level work.  That all being said, if it's true that he has insulted the crucifix he needs to be fired. As for the Catholic jihadi crack, he might want to remember that the real jihadis are winning just about everywhere they have gone.

    Finally, a man who looks at the students and says take a Glock to their little cuddly bunny heads is not someone I would want in charge of my son or daughter's education. I think most university presidents look at the students and see numbers, not flesh and souls but they have more discretion that this guy. Newman also clearly knows nothing about guns or animal husbandry. A Glock is over kill and a waste. I bet he's never actually seen one.  Most people use a 22 or like my grandmother, save their ammo for other things and simply break the animal's neck.

  • Are the Missionaries of Mercy just going to show up in parishes, shove the pastor out of the way and absolve everybody en masse? How long are they staying? Are they going to shadow the pastor for week, a month? Somehow I don't think this is going to work out like a Lenten Mission.  Are they going to be a guest in the rectory or an inquisitor? If they aren't staying in the rectory do you have to find out where a Missionary of Mercy is going to be (a hotel banquet room, a private home, or a farmer's field?), and make an appointment to see him? What is the structure of the Missionaries? Who does one complain to other than the Holy Father, if one if the MoM Fathers behaves in less than proper priestly fashion?

  • I heard an interesting little factoid in a speech today. A priest/psychologist said that before Vatican II, there were fewer Catholics in mental institutions than any other religion. After Vatican II,  Catholics are going mad in a greater rate than  any denomination. I was astonished. Fr. also said that unless you have a physiological issue (for example, schizophrenia runs in your family) if you follow traditional Catholic moral teachings and imitate the saints you will be mentally healthy.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Disgusted during Mass

On Ash Wednesday, Rocky and I went to the St. Anthony Shrine, in Ellicott City, Maryland. The shrine is beautiful and it's always good to see friars and their ushers did an excellent job with the crowd. However, the Mass was disturbing because the cantor was out of control. Before Mass she made us all practice the opening song. I saw one young man trying to pray before Mass but the cantor kept talking, and strumming her guitar so he gave up. During Mass she banged away on the guitar and sang the Hosea song which I can't stand.  If that wasn't bad enough, later during Communion she sang a damn near blasphemous, drippy, moan and wail song that sounded like a woman talking about her lover.  It would have been perfect as a cabaret performance in a dark room but it didn't belong in a church. The whole Jesus-is-my-boyfriend genre of Protestantized hymns is revolting. I cannot imagine a man singing this crap and not only did I refuse to sing it but I felt uneasy hearing it.
On whole, the music completely overshadowed the Mass. It was a relief when Father stood up to give the homily because  there was no humming or strumming for a few minutes. After Mass as the cantor was leaving she remarked to Father that the Mass of Creation went really well with the music she chose. Think about that for a minute. Ugh!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Our Savior

Oh my Lord, my sins have done this Thee....
Let me never forget what my sins cost You

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Peruvian women at the Feast of Christ, Lord of Miracles

Monday, February 08, 2016

A magnificent crucifixion painting

There isn't a whole lot of good modern Catholic art out there so I am delighted to discover Bradi Barth , a lovely Swiss born artist who passed away in 2007. Her crucifixion painting does exactly what religious art is supposed to: teach and inspire contemplation. In one painting we see the result of Adam's fall, the hope given by God with the Immaculate Conception and Our Lord the Fruit of the Woman's womb hanging on the cross made from the Tree of Life saving us. And we see Our Lady crush the head of the serpent. 

Our participation in the Mass

Saturday, February 06, 2016

A Nun

Servant of God, Sr. Jeronima de Fuente

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Dear parents: Not all those who frown are meanies

If you want to make people mad suggest that parents make an effort to control their children during Mass.  You will called mean, judgmental, nasty, a child hater, a sour old maid or a bitter old man, and a bad Catholic.  I say "phooey" to most of  that because I've seen way too much. 

At my parish Sunday Mass I watched a moment of whimsy almost turn bad. A child was lying on the floor probably because the cool stone felt good. Normally I wouldn't even mention this but he wriggled into the aisle during Communion. I guess he wanted to get a good look at people's shoes as they went by but he scooted out just has Rocky and an elderly man were going down the aisle. The elder deftly stepped over the kid and Rocky shifted to the side to avoid him. The parents just sat there and then suddenly  the red faced father grabbed his child and went to the vestibule.  Folks, Jesus said to let the little children come to Him but He did not say let them run wild. No decent person wants to see your child get burned while playing with the candles. Nobody wants to see your unattended young child get squished by the eight foot tall, solid oak door he was playing behind. None of us wants to see your child fall down the choir loft stairs, and truly, nobody wants to kick your kid in the face because he got underfoot. Sometimes people are  frowning not because they are meanies who need to learn patience but instead they're because they are good souls who are genuinely concerned for your child's sake.

Madonna and Child

This painting our Our Lady and Baby Jesus is by Vardges Sureniants an  Armenian artist.
HT to Gina for the ID!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Carmelite Nun in her cloister in Poland