Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pure-Hearted Communicants And The Miracle Of Multiplication Now, Today

A few times in my years as a Priest, I’ve had people come up to me and ask me, “Why aren’t we seeing miracles of multiplication being performed  today by Christ’s followers?”  
Well, for a change, I decided to ask YOU that question. 
Are there miraculous multi-plications nowadays?  
Have you seen any miraculous multiplications happening lately? 
Well I have!  Many people have!  
YES, there are miracles of multiplication today.  But they are not multiplying mere bread or fish — they are multiplying Christ!  He is multiplying Himself  through us and with us and in us.
In Holy Communion, when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, under the appearance and taste of bread and wine, a union takes place.  The union is such, that Christ is in the Communicant and the Communicant is in Christ. THEY SHARE THE SAME BODY AND THE SAME BLOOD.
At the moment we receive Holy Communion, Our Lord Jesus fills our hearts and our souls so completely, that OUR thoughts and feelings may be said to be HIS thoughts and feelings as well. 
At first, the thoughts and feelings are part of Him.  Then, He is able to communicate them to us according to the measure of OUR love.  
If we have only a little love, Our Lord Jesus is forced to accommodate Himself to the narrow limits of our souls.  Our lack of love prevents Him from giving the amount He wants to give. 
But it’s a different situation for Communicants who are detached from their own egos and detached from their possessions, money, pleasure, and other created things.   Communicants WITH PURE HEARTS are able to GIVE THEMSELVES COMPLETELY to the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion.
In exchange, Our Lord Jesus gives Himself to those Communicants as only God is able to do.  An inter-change of LIFE takes place –  a communion of spiritual gifts, and a unity of love –  which defy our human ability to describe them.  
The pure-hearted person’s soul will be  permeated by the Lord Jesus received in Holy Communion.  That Communicant’s soul becomes like fertile soil growing flowers and fruit: able to conceive wonderful thoughts and perform enthusiastic, ardent acts of love for others. 
Then, because the pure-hearted Communicants  are united with Christ, those acts of love belong to THEM and to Christ.  Christ’s love and theirs inter-mingle, Christ’s thoughts and theirs inter-mingle.  

And, so, together, those Communicants and Christ adore, love, and give thanks.  
Together, they and Christ give themselves to our Father in Heaven.    
Together, they and Christ offer and share their gifts — their talents, their riches, themselves — with anyone and everyone!  
AND THAT IS WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE MIRACLES OF MULTIPLICATION HAPPENING TODAY: not mere multiplication of bread and fish, but the multiplication of Our Lord Jesus’s love and forgiveness and generosity embodied in hundreds, thousands, millions of His faithful people, all over the world. 

Christ multiplies Himself THROUGH us and WITH us and IN us.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem said, "Throw melted wax into melted wax,  and the one interpenetrates the other perfectly. In the same way, when the Body and Blood of Christ are received, the union is such, that Christ is in the recipient and the recipient in Christ... They have the same body and the same blood."
So, the question is NOT, “Why aren’t we seeing the miracle of multiplication happening today?”  
The question REALLY IS, “Why aren’t YOU allowing Christ WITHIN YOU to multiply His love,  generosity and forgiveness in this sick and aching world in which people need them so much?”

Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes Rome Edition

--- 1 ---
We were in Rome last week!  That is, me and my two nephews were and we had a great time.  There's nothing that says universal Church like Rome.

--- 2 ---
While we were there we got to see nuns... lots of them in lots and lots of religious habits. It was hard to keep track of them all.  I think they should publish a guide to religious habits, sort of the Audubon guide for Catholics.
OK, these sisters were easy to identify, the Missionary Sisters of Charity, but believe me there were lots of others
in habits we had never ever seen before.

--- 3 ---

We got to see the sacred and the secular.  There's a new tour of the Colosseum where you go down into the dungeons where the wild animals and gladiators waited before their battles.  It was a little unnerving.

--- 4 ---

Then we ate gelato.  Every. Single. Day.  It was tough, but we managed to keep the unbroken streak going.

--- 5 ---

We saw St. Francis.  We saw the Lateran Basilica.  We even saw them both at the same time!

--- 6 ---

We took a side trip to Assisi.  I didn't want to leave.

--- 7 ---
And, one of the absolute high points of the trip....we drove down to Castel Gandolfo to see Pope Benedict and pray with him during the Angelus.  

Hi Papa!
It all went by so fast.  Maybe one day we'll get to go back again soon.  God willing.

(Oh, and by the way, these pictures were all taken by my nephew Christopher.  Thanks, Chris!  Great job!)


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

William Oddie's Article About A Prophecy From The Year 1610 May Upset You, But Read It Anyway

Christ, The True Light, by Hans Holbein The Younger, c 1526 
Our Lady Of Good Success
(a.k.a. Our Lady Of Quito , Ecuador)

Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres
Academicians, for you reading convenience, I have reproduced below a disturbing but important article by Doctor William Oddie (a well known Catholic scholar, writer, and broadcaster in England) about a prophesy given in 1610 from the Blessed Mother (under the Titles of Our Lady Of Good Success and Our Lady Of Quito, Ecuador) to an Abbess of a convent in Quito, Ecuador, named Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres.

I feel it is important for Academicians and all Catholics to read Doctor Oddie's article, reproduced here from the, a website operated by Catholic Herald Limited. 

Please read it thoughtfully and reflect on its contents.  There is a depressing and creepy accuracy concerning events prophesied to happen during the 1960s -- events which would wound and contaminate the Roman Catholic Church -- events which have happened, whose effects are still wrecking havoc with the Catholic Church. 

But, the prophesy also portends hope for a complete restoration.  As Doctor Oddie advises his readers, "The most important thing to understand is that it would be just wrong to despair at all this. The fightback is underway. For, in the end, Our Lady of Quito’s prophecies do not end with spiritual catastrophe."

Please read this article with your hope and faith in Our Lord Jesus tempering your fears and concerns.  In the end, we win!  But, in the present time, our job is to join in the "fightback": Pray, pray, pray and then pray even more for the Church: for our admirable Pope Benedict, for Catholic Priests, for Catholic families. And become and remain holy, by living as sinlessly as possible.  

Let this once overlooked prophecy from our Blessed Mother ignite a rocket of desire for spiritual growth and personal sanctity for remnant Catholics today.  The more Christ-like we become, the faster that happy ending will arrive!  Let's get to work, gang!

"The Assistant Headmaster"


Our Lady of Quito prophesied that in the 60s there would be spiritual catastrophe in the Church; then, through the faith of the just, a ‘complete restoration’

But first, there would be a total corruption of morals in society; this would affect the Church, too.
By WILLIAM ODDIE on Thursday, 26 July 2012


William Oddie

Dr William Oddie is a leading English Catholic writer and broadcaster. He edited The Catholic Herald from 1998 to 2004 and is the author of The Roman Option and Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy. Contact the author
I was leafing through the current issue of The Flock, the newsletter of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, (available here) when I came across an article by the redoubtable Mrs Daphne McLeod about Our Lady of Quito—otherwise known as Our Lady of Good Success—who appeared several times to Mother Mariana, Abbess of the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito, Ecuador, at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries.

On one of these occasions, she made a particularly remarkable prophecy. You will see why—knowing Mrs McLeod’s passionate concern for the religious education of our children, and her repeated warnings over the years about the consequences of the denatured and insubstantial superficiality of what they are now fed as RE—she draws our attention in The Flock to this particular apparition of Our Lady.
My source for what follows is an admirable and extremely useful site, snappily entitled “Apparitions and Shrines of the Blessed Virgin Mary which have been approved by legitimate Church Authority”.
Early in the morning of January 21, 1610, the Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael appeared to Mother Mariana. Then Our Lady appeared to her and predicted many things about our own times: this is part of what Mother Mariana afterwards related that she told her:
“…. I make it known to you that from the end of the 19th century and shortly after the middle of the 20th century…. the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs (morals)….
“They will focus principally on the children in order to sustain this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times! It will be difficult to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and also that of Confirmation…
“As for the Sacrament of Matrimony… it will be attacked and deeply profaned… The Catholic spirit will rapidly decay; the precious light of the Faith will gradually be extinguished… Added to this will be the effects of secular education, which will be one reason for the dearth of priestly and religious vocations.
“The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised… The Devil will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way; he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church fall upon all priests…
“Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury, which will ensnare the rest into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls, who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent.” In a subsequent apparition, Our Lady told Mother Mariana that these apparitions were not to become generally known until the twentieth century.
Now, it is true that Our Lady’s prophecies here are concerned particularly with what will happen more than three centuries in the future “in what is today the Colony and will then be the Republic of Ecuador”, where, she says, “Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic sects”. All the same (though I can’t quite see the few harmless Masons I have known bringing in the sovereignty of Satan here) the relevance of these prophecies to English Society and the English Church (indeed to the whole modern world) in the twentieth century—and therefore now—is obvious enough. She even homes in on the sixties: she times this “eruption” of the passions to take place “shortly after the middle of the twentieth century”.
Particularly striking, you may think, are Our Lady’s words about how “the Sacrament of Matrimony …will be attacked and deeply profaned”, and that remarkable passage about some “depraved priests, who will scandalise the Christian people, [and who] will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church fall upon all priests…”
Mrs McLeod sees particular relevance to her own concerns about the woeful state and dire consequences of what our children are taught in Catholic schools, and draws attention particularly to Our Lady’s prophecy that those who do Satan’s will “would ‘focus particularly on the children in order to achieve this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times!’ “. Mrs McLeod observes that “We can see only too clearly what she meant now that the inadequate, even false, religious teaching given to the children in so many Catholic schools and parishes leaves them highly vulnerable to the explicit classroom lessons on sex, not to mention the television programmes and computer games, which inevitably corrupt and deprave them.”
No doubt someone will throw doubt on that analysis, and say that the prophecy really isn’t about RE [Religious Education] in rainy old England but about what’s supposed to be going on now in Ecuador (incidentally does anyone out there know anything about what IS going on in Ecuador?); but if anyone does say that, I think they will be quite wrong. Our Lady’s prophecies are usually universal in their application: and we live in what is sometimes ludicrously called a “globalised world”. These prophecies are just as much about about Europe and North America: there is surely no doubt that these extraordinary words are meant for us, too. A few translations to modern idioms and modern forms of collaboration with Satan may be necessary: I have just mentioned the mild and unthreatening nature of English masonry. But it hasn’t been like that everywhere. In 1952, for instance, the Grand Lodge of France passed a series of resolutions against the Catholic Church, including one “to unmask by every means the subtle scheming of the Vatican State Secretariat, which aims at imposing the shameful guardianship of religious and political-economic dictatorship on the whole of mankind . . . and to accept, in the relentless struggle against clericalism, every alliance compatible with the Masonic ideal.”
Well, there are plenty of anti-clerical cults today, consumed by a fanatical anti-clericalism of exactly the same sort, who wage a constant struggle to get God out of modern culture in any way they can think of, large and small; How about this example, reported approvingly by one of these anti-God cults, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, in which an outfit called New York City Atheists is joining one Dr. Michael Newdow, a California-based Atheist “physician/lawyer”, in a suit to get the words “In God We Trust” removed from American coins and currency. That would be a small but significant victory in the unending culture wars of our times.
You can all think of a hundred other examples, emanating not just from hard-line cultists like Dawkins, but from soft-core and mostly low-key almost subconsciously anti-Christian organisations like the BBC. It all adds up to a cultural explosion, the effects of which have indeed erupted, as Our Lady prophesied, in “a total corruption” of our mores and many of our institutions, both within the Church and in the wider secular society of which we are part.
The most important thing to understand is that it would be just wrong to despair at all this. The fightback is underway. For, in the end, Our Lady of Quito’s prophecies do not end with spiritual catastrophe. In a later apparition she foretold that “In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those whom the merciful love of My Most Holy Son will destine for that restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and much confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions when everything will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.”
I believe we have seen that faith and valour over the last half century, above all in the present Holy Father and his heroic predecessor; and that that complete restoration has indeed happily begun.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

92 Year Old Nun Makes Bishops' New Mitres

Here in the Brooklyn diocese we've had two new auxiliary bishops ordained this month and an article in the diocesan newspaper, The Tablet,  reports that their mitres were hand made by 92 year old Sister Mary Isabel, R.S.M..

Sister Mary Isabel began making mitres for the diocesan bishops in 1980 when she worked for Msgr. Anthony Bevilacqua in the chancery.  Msgr. Bevilacqua (later Cardinal Bevilacqua) was about to be ordained an auxiliary bishop and was bemoaning the fact that mitres were so expensive.  Sister Mary Isabel, who had learned how to sew at a young age, thought that she might be able to make one.  So, using an old mitre as a sample, she figured out the pattern and was able to devise a new mitre, only charging Msgr. Bevilacqua $2.29 for the finished product.  Thus began a cottage industry of "mitre making."

Sister Isabel at work.  Photo:  The Tablet
 Go read the whole article by Jim Mancari here, and learn how Sister Isabel was called out of retirement and who the other bishops and cardinals were who wore her creations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feast Of Saint James - or - Mrs. Zebedee's Oldest Son Finishes First!

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sonsand did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.He said to her,"What do you wish?"She answered him,"Command that these two sons of mine sit,one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom."Jesus said in reply,"You do not know what you are asking.Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"They said to him, "We can."He replied,"My chalice you will indeed drink,but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to givebut is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."When the ten heard this,they became indignant at the two brothers.But Jesus summoned them and said,"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,and the great ones make their authority over them felt.But it shall not be so among you.Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be servedbut to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."  Matthew 20:20-28

James and John were very ambitious to be high-ranking persons in Christ’s Kingdom.
Evidently this competitiveness and ambition were inherited from Mrs. Zebedee’s side of the family!

We can recognize two temptations at work in James’and John’s lives.
I identify with my namesake, because I find these two temptations are part of my life, too. 
You also face the two temptations. 
Every disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ must do spiritual battle against these two recurring  temptations: 
The temptation to pride, and
The temptation to reject suffering when it comes to  us.

Our Lord Jesus plainly questions the Zebedee Boys: “You do not know what you are asking.  Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
By the power of God The Holy Spirit, Our Lord Jesus Christ chooses to dwell within each of us -- so He can be present to the aspects of our contemporary life which did not exist during His time on earth.
Jesus Christ wants to redeem every sinful and loveless aspect of human existence, in every age and time.

The mystery about this is, that God The Father often chooses suffering as the most effective means to redeem us from our modern sins and evils.
Our Lord desires that we make Him present to every pain and burden that people face in 2012, whether it is family strife, poor health, loneliness, psychological illness, financial difficulties, stress, faith-lessness, hope-lessness, love-lessness – in short, He wants to dwell within us and confront every form of sin and death within us and around us!

When we face these troubles with faith in His Presence within us,  He permits you and me to collaborate with Him as He redeems these situations -- for us and for all the other people facing these situations, too.

“My chalice you will indeed drink. ...[Whoever] wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave and give his life as a ransom for many.”

Saint James eventually drank dry that chalice we heard about earlier.  
He was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 43 A.D.   
Saint James was the first of the Apostles to receive the crown of martyrdom. 

Mrs. Zebedee seemed to have been on to something, hadn't she?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Knate Myer's Timelapse Photography: The View From The International Space Station At Night

Knate Myers is a photographer from Albuquerque, NewMexico. He has been shooting for almost 8 years. Last year he decided to focus on why he became a photographer: to focus on the art and not just about making money.

Says Knate, "Besides accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior and marrying my amazing wife, it's probably one of the best decisions I ever made! :-)

Now most of my attention is focused on astro and timelapse photography.
I love living in the southwest. It's a thrill to capture the scenery, the storms and the stars out here. I especially love staying up all night, photographing the night sky far away from the city lights. It's been a good summer and as time allows, I will be posting more timelapse videos soon!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Monsignor Charles Pope wrote a thought provoking blog post entitled "The Many Disguises of Satan" over at the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. website.  In that post he shared the following video, "I Am Sin."  Take a look.  It's something to ponder.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From Conversion Diary: Jennifer Fulwiler's Conversation With Her Gay Friend

Greetings, Academicians!
     Below, for your convenience, I have reproduced a remarkable post from our Catholic Blogosphere neighbor, Jennifer Fulwiler. Her post is one of the best pieces I've read about a faithful Catholic having an honest conversation with a homosexual person, trying to explain the Catholic Church's beliefs and moral doctrines concerning human sexuality and same-sex "marriage."  
     Consider Jennifer's post as a "homework assignment" given to you by your "Assistant Headmaster."  I know that you will find Jennifer's post encouraging and thought provoking.
     Jennifer Fulwiler lives in Austin, Texas. She and her husband have five young children. Jennifer is a convert to Catholicism from atheism. She is a writer, and presently a columnist for Envoy magazine, a blogger for The National Catholic Register, a contributor to the books  The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and a frequent guest on Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio.
     She's also writing a book based on her personal blog,  
You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.
Jennifer Fulwiler, author of
The Conversion Diary blog

* Andrew and Tom’s names have been changed. Also, to save you from having to read thousands of words of hemming and hawing and talking around the issue, I have condensed our conversation, made both of us sound more articulate than we actually were at the time, and included elements of discussions I’ve had with other gay friends. In other words: This is meant to convey the gist of my recent conversations with dear friends who are gay, and is not meant to be a piece of journalism with precise accuracy as to how every word was spoken.
Oh, and I’ve done my best to express Catholic thought on these issues, but keep in mind that I’m a random woman with an internet connection, not the Pope. If I accidentally wrote anything that disagrees with what he would say, go with him, not me.

The other day we got together with a friend of mine from high school named Andrew*, and his boyfriend, Tom. They moved out of state earlier this year, but a business trip brought him and Tom back through town recently, and we jumped at the chance to go out to dinner with them. This was one of the first times in a long while that we’d had a chance to sit down and talk with them, just the four of us. We caught up on life and work, Andrew and I clicking as well as we always have. I wore waterproof mascara because I knew I’d end up laughing to the point of tears, which, in fact, I did.
Then, when my husband and Tom went to pick up a round of drinks at the bar, Andrew had a question for me.
“So,” he said, grabbing a tortilla chip from the basket in front of us. “What do you think of gay marriage?”
The last time we hung out, this unspoken topic was not as palpably present as it was now. Even though our gay friends knew that we’d converted to Catholicism, nobody cared enough to bring up potentially controversial issues. But now, the mood in the world around us had changed. Throughout our country the issue of same-sex unions was being debated furiously; it had become a defining issue of our generation, and thus the average person was no longer allowed not to have an opinion about it. It was too weird to sit at the table, two orthodox Catholics and two men in a gay relationship, and not bring it up. We could no longer ignore the storm that raged outside the cloister of our friendship; the doors had blown open, and the rain had come inside.
I shrugged, trying to keep it casual. “I don’t think that same-sex couples getting married is the same thing as traditional marriage, if that’s what you mean.”
Andrew didn’t look surprised, but he seemed annoyed. “I didn’t realize you were a homophobe,” he said, only barely kidding.
“Oh, yeah, I’m terrified of you. I only hang out with you because you make the best dry martini in the world — but I’m trembling the whole time!”
“How can I hear your statement as anything but anti-gay?”
“I worry about what will happen to our society if everyone starts thinking that marriage is about any two people doing whatever they want. But that has nothing to do with being anti-gay.” I was afraid he was going to incur ocular damage from rolling his eyeballs back into his head so far, so I added, “Want me to explain?”
He folded his arms across his chest. “Sure.”
I immediately regretted my offer, wishing I’d promptly changed the subject to the weather, celebrity gossip, or any other subject inane enough that I could speak intelligently about it. I’m proud of being Catholic, and proud to stand by what the Church teaches. I converted to Catholicism in large part because I think that, through its moral code, it gives all humans a prescription for living a life of peace, in harmony with one another and with our Creator. I could not have converted to a religion that had doctrines that singled out one group of people in an unfair way, since it would seem illogical that an all-loving God would create such a system. But I knew I was going to have a hard time making my case; Andrew and I had such utterly different worldviews, it would be as if I were speaking through a distortion microphone that warps your voice and replaces every other word with random offensive phrases.
Before I could begin, the man and woman next to us caught our attention by gesticulating wildly in an animated conversation. They chatted happily over a shared plate of enchiladas, and each was wearing a wedding ring.
Andrew motioned to them. “You don’t think Tom and I are good enough to have what they have?”
“‘Good enough?’ It’s our insane culture that says that your entire life and personhood and soul are defined by your sexual attractions, not the Catholic Church. The Church articulates boundaries for behavior, not people.”
Andrew was still looking at them. They were in their late 20s, stylishly dressed, with golden summer tans. We could hear some of their conversation, and they seemed to be talking about a recent vacation. “I look at them, and I don’t see how what Tom and I have is all that different.”
“What do you see when you look at that couple? You see two people who really like each other, who decided to get married as a statement of lifelong commitment?”
“Yeah. Pretty much.”
“You’re imagining that they’re living life out of that Khalil Gibran poem, right?” I asked, referring to the famous verses that were read at a commitment ceremony we’d attended years ago. “The man and the woman each plan to do their own thing for the rest of their lives. There are no obligations on them outside of respecting one another and having fun. Is that about right?”
“Close enough. What is marriage if not a commitment? What else could it be about?” With that statement, Andrew had gotten to the core of the issue. This was the bulging pressure cooker where almost all of our culture’s misunderstanding roiled. I hoped I wouldn’t say anything that made it explode.
I tried for a silly analogy. “Have you ever looked backwards through binoculars?”
“Sure. Why?”
“That’s how I see our culture’s understanding of marriage: They’re looking backwards through the binoculars. They’re kind of getting it right, but because they have the thing flipped around, it’s going to entirely distort their view of things.”
Andrew sipped his drink. “How so?”
“Marriage is about new human life. All sexual morality is about new human life. From time immemorial, societies understood that people only respect human life to the extent that they respect the act that creates human life.” But when our culture embraced contraception, I continued, for the first time in human history, the sexual act was severed from its life-giving potential in the societal psyche. People began to feel like they had a right to the pleasure of the sexual act, without having to give a second thought to any new life that might be created. Not surprisingly, this tempted us to dehumanize those inconvenient lives that kept popping up out of the blue, and the destruction of newly conceived life became necessary in order for the “truths” of contraception to be upheld. As Pope Paul predicted back in 1968, the idea that we can and should exercise complete control over when new people come into the world could not be contained the realm of pregnancy alone, and an entire “culture of death” erupted as a result.
“Great soliloquy,” Andrew deadpanned. “So, umm, why is it that you don’t want Tom and I to get married?”
“Because marriage is about new human life. That’s what the binoculars analogy was about: Yes, marriage is about sex. But it’s about sex because sex is how new life is created — and, ultimately, it is an institution ordered toward protection and respect for new people.”
“So if you have a straight friend who’s infertile, you’d tell her she can’t get married either?”
“I said ordered toward. When a man and woman have sex they’re engaging in that sacred act that creates human life, even if none will be created in that particular act. It’s still sacred.”
“Okay, but for fertile couples, that sounds barbaric to say that they have to be trying to have babies all the time. Not everyone is as crazy as you guys.”
“That’s not what Catholics believe. Child spacing is perfectly fine, if done with natural methods. And the reason that natural family planning doesn’t lead to the same kind of cultural insanity as artificial contraception is because it’s a sacrifice-based system.”
“I’m not following. I don’t see why there’s any more sacrifice than with contraception — or, frankly, why it matters.”
I offered a brief overview of how NFP works, trying to avoid scarring Andrew for life with too many details about the signs and symptoms of a woman’s fertile time, and bumbled around to convey why abstaining during fertile periods is fundamentally different than artificially sterilizing the sexual act. “You don’t get to do whatever you want, whenever you want, even as a married heterosexual. All sexual activity must be ordered toward new human life, so there’s no, umm…” If there had been an awkwardness meter on the table, it would have exploded as I tried to elucidate this point without naming specific sexual acts ending in specific ways that aren’t licit in the Catholic worldview. I skipped it and moved on.
“Anyway,” I continued, “in this view you are constantly having to make sacrifices out of respect for what this act is all about: If you’re totally open to having kids, then there are the sacrifices that come with birth and raising children; if you’re abstaining during fertile times, you’re sacrificing. Infertile couples sacrifice by not using artificial methods like in vitro to force new life into existence. Gay men and women sacrifice by living chaste lives, as do people separated from their spouses, and people who are not yet married, or whose spouse has died. Notice that we’re all sacrificing, and that all of the sacrifices are about the same thing: love and respect for new human life, and specifically the act that creates new human life.”
“So you’re saying that gay men should never have sex?”
I hesitated. The way the question was phrased, to answer would make it seem like I see myself as some kind of moral authority. “I’m saying that every human being is called to make sexual sacrifices in the name of respect for human life. So, yeah, that would mean that a gay man would not act on his attractions. And would that be harder for him than for a single Catholic who hasn’t found a spouse, or for a person whose spouse has left him, for a married couple with a medical condition that’s not compatible with pregnancy — even for the average, healthy married couple who abstains regularly to space their kids? Honestly, I think it depends on the people. You’d be surprised at how much everyone sacrifices — not just people with same-sex attraction.”
“Great belief system you have there,” Andrew said. “Sounds like a barrel of laughs.”
“Andrew, you know me. You know how lazy I am, right?”
“And how weak I am? And how little fortitude I have in any area of life? Remember how I could never meet you guys for brunch because you met at eleven-thirty, and it was just too early to ask me to get up?”
“All true.”
“I have had to make plenty of sacrifices for this concept.” I told him about the DVT, my blood clotting disorder, the never-ending medical bills. “I’m not Mother Teresa in the streets of Calcutta or anything. A lot of people have it a lot worse than I do — ”
Andrew was laughing at me having used “me” in the same sentence with “Mother Teresa,” agreeing under his breath that, indeed, I am not Mother Teresa. I ignored him and continued. “Listen. Do you think that I would have gotten myself into a belief system that involves sacrifices if there weren’t a huge payoff?”
“What, does the Pope give you a pot of gold?” Andrew was on a roll.
“Ha, ha,” I said dryly. “Look, I can’t tell you what it would be like for you or any other gay man to live a chaste life. I have no idea what your sacrifices would be, and would never for a moment dream to tell you that it would be easy. But based on my own small experience, I will say this: When you get your sexuality in line with respect for human life, you get your soul in line with God, who is the Source of human life. And there is more joy there than you could imagine.” I told him about all the priests and nuns and monks who are some of the most joyful people I’ve ever met, pointing out that for thousands of years there have been large segments of society that live awesome lives without sex. I described some of the chaste single people I know who do more good for the world in a day than I do in a year. “Our society has forgotten entirely that it is perfectly possible not to have sex. Not only possible, but can even be a great thing.”
“I need a drink,” Andrew sighed, craning his neck to see if Tom and my husband were back from the bar.
“You’re not convinced?”
“You mean am I all anti-gay-marriage now after listening to your little speech?” Andrew look to the ceiling, as if appealing to the gods to help me with my ignorance. “Uhh, no.”
I didn’t expect that he would be; it certainly would have made for a weird dinner if Tom had returned from the bar to have Andrew say, “Tom! I just spent five minutes talking with Jennifer, and have decided that our love for one another would be most perfectly expressed in a chaste way! Let’s be celibate!”
“Do you at least believe that when I say that I don’t think gay marriage is a good thing, it’s not coming from a place of homophobia?” I hoped that my face expressed the depth of my concern for our friendship.
He didn’t respond right away. The silence that passed between us was palpable and heavy, as if the culture wars over human sexuality had become a physical thing that stood between us. Finally, a smile spread across his face. “You’re not homophobic. You’re just crazy, and have evidently joined an anti-sex cult!”
I laughed. “Okay. I’ll take that.” I started to make the case the Catholicism is actually quite pro-sex – so much so that it’s the only organization left in the world that demands that we respect it — but it seemed time to let the conversation drop.
The guys returned from the bar, and Andrew and I turned our attention to them. “What were you two talking about?” Tom asked.
Andrew didn’t miss a beat. “Jennifer was just agreeing with me that that shirt makes you look like you got drunk and raided Barbara Walters’ closet,” he quipped. This prompted a long and loud debate about Tom’s sartorial preferences, which would eventually end in our server announcing over our shouts and howls of laughter that the manager had asked us to please keep it down.
At the end of the evening — way too late, as always — we all exchanged hugs and promised that we’d do this more often. I watched Andrew and Tom walk away, holding hands, and prayed that I hadn’t done a totally terrible job of articulating my beliefs. I hoped that, if nothing else, he understood that there is no contradiction between me being a faithful Catholic and a close friend of his. I have converted to the religion of the crucifix, a belief system that promises joy in exchange for losing it all. Most people don’t want to sign up for that. I get that. I hope they consider it, for their own sake, since their lives would be better if they did — but it doesn’t change how I feel about them if they don’t. As the guys disappeared down the street, I hoped Andrew knew how much I loved him and Tom, and I hoped they still loved me too.
Thanks, Jennifer!
The "Assistant Headmaster"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Feminist Sanhedrin And Father Ted Martin

Dear Academicians,
Lend me your ears and eyes -- for about 30 minutes!  That's roughly the time it will take  to watch the two videos below.  Please do take the time to watch them both.  
     The first video is a demonstration of the stereotypical theological errors, ignorance, confusion, and sinful hostility of many liberal feminist Catholics.  You will see these depressing characteristics embodied in the gaggle of protesters supporting Sisters and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (the "LCWR").
     Essentially, they ambush a young priest, Father Ted Martin, after the Solemnity Mass of Corpus Christi, outside the Cathedral of Saint Augustine, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.   You'll see them try to intimidate and neutralize Father Martin with their video camera and audio recorder. They will repeatedly invoke "the spirit of Vatican Two"  (1) as their justification for everything they want the Catholic Church to become and (2) as their power generator entitling them to betray the Catholic Church and to trash any of the Church's Teachings and Ministers (that is, male Priests) not surrendering to their demands.
     These women do not seem to be fully Catholic nor fully Christian to me.   Rather, they are vaunting their mangled and false version of "Catholicity."   The evidence for my  accusation is their nastiness, rudeness, contempt and disrespect toward one of their brothers through Baptism in Christ -- a brother who is also one of Christ's shepherds, a young man sacrificing much to serve Him -- and them -- as a Priest. 
     As I watched the first video, initially, I grew more and more angry and resentful toward these protestors -- until I directed my attention to the way Father Ted Martin responded to these persons during the shameful circus they brought to the Cathedral that morning.  What came to mind was the incident involving Saint Stephen the Deacon in The Acts Of The Apostles

Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified, “This man never stops saying things against [this] holy place and the law. For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. [Acts 6:8-15] 
Father Ted, I don't know if I could have been so calm and respectful to these members of the Feminist Sanhedrin. My admiration runs deep for you: because of your self-control, patience and respectfulness throughout this lunatic episode. Thank you for your Christ-like example.

     The second video is Father Martin's considered response to the Feminist Sanhedrin.  You will see Father Ted explain what an Ecumenical Council is (specifically focusing of the Second Vatican Council -- colloquially known as "Vatican Two"), what the Magisterium is, what Infallible Magisterium is, what Petrine Succession is, and where Vatican Two's teachings fit within the Catholic Church's treasury of magisterial truths.
Way to go, Father Ted!

The Ambush

The Response

     Academicians, please pray for these women.  It unnerves me to see how far away they have traveled from the Truth: Christ, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" [John 14:6]
     Pray that they will abandon their error-ridden versions of the Gospel and distortions of the Catholic Church's Magisterium. They must renounce these things and be reconciled with the Church. Until then, they are living out serious errors and promoting heretical teachings which mislead others into the darkness, anger, and anti-Christianity they have been misled into and ambushed by.

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.