So… Pope goes to Sarajevo. He was to use the Paul VI style pastoral staff/crucifix along with his most favoritest vestments, which we all are now so very very familiar. Via Vatican Insider.
Problem: the Paul VI staff broke!
Oh dear… what a shame!
Thinking fast, Msgr. Guido Marini, head of the Pope’s liturgy staff, working against the clock, fixed it the staff with … I’m not making this up… adhesive tape.
One of my friends from Rome tweeted: “Even Paul VI must have thought, ‘I don’t want my ferula to be part of this.”
I dunno… which would be better. Enter without a staff, or enter with a staff fixed with sticky tape?
Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass at the stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi
In another post, HERE, I mentioned that when I travel, I always take some gaffers tape.
The story says that when Pius IX’s ferula used by Benedict XVI was damaged, a copy was made and no noticed the difference.
I think they noticed this time.
BRUCE JENNER (alias Caitlyn) is in desperate need of our prayers. Pathetically, there are some who uncharitably and sarcastically lampoon his recent ‘transgendering’ and on the opposite end of the spectrum there are some who not just tolerate and condone, but they also praise and admire him for what he has done. Making fun of the situation does not help. It is a very serious matter and our society and culture must recognize that. It is also a serious mental illness in need of treatment. Bruce is biologically a man. He is male no matter how he has transformed his appearance. Genetically, Bruce has XY chromosomes. Only males have XY chromosomes. Females have XX chromosomes. Bruce was born a man, raised a man, and lived as a man for all his life. His delusion that he is a woman or that he is female is a psychosis, it is not reality.
Recently, there appeared on Face Book and other social media the phenomenon of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is a condition where healthy men and women believe (erroneously) that they need an amputation. Medically speaking, their limbs are completely healthy. There is no reason to amputate, however, people suffering from BDD insist their limbs are alien (not theirs) and must be removed. Only a quack doctor would remove a healthy limb and he or she would be guilty of malpractice and lose their license. Treatment for BDD is not surgery, but psychological counseling.
Likewise, Bruce Jenner needs therapy. He is in need of counseling. He does not need surgery, operations or hormone shots. Instead of laughing at him or worse yet, in pretending this is normal and acceptable behavior, society and the media need to HELP him get better. HE needs to accept himself as he is and who he is.
Who is he hurting? Himself and others who may have the same disorder. Society’s acceptance will lead to others following in his footsteps. What would happen if a celebrity announced that they are part animal and part human? What if that person sought medical procedures to transform their body to look like a dog, a cat or an ape? Appearance alone does not make something what it is. Aristotle proved that logically when he distinguished and differentiated accidents (appearance) from substance. Gender is a major part of who we are. It is not the only component but it is a major one. While male and female are equal in the eyes of God spiritually and metaphysically, each gender has its own unique characteristics. They complement one another. That is why marriage is restricted to one man and one woman. Men have friends who also men and they can love other men, too (paternal, filial, fraternal) but men can only marry women and vice versa. Likewise, being a man or being a woman is a constitutive part of your identity. The soul has no gender for it is spiritual, however, man is not just a soul imprisoned in a body. He is a necessary union of body and soul. Matter and form. Hylomorphic. This is why we believe in the resurrection of the body on the Last Day at the End of the World. Our souls will be forever reunited with our bodies. Men will get their male bodies back and women will get their female bodies back. The difference is that they will be glorified. Jesus rose from the dead and His physical body remained male. He did not become asexual nor a hermaphrodite. The Virgin Mary had her female body assumed into heaven united with her immortal soul.
It is disconcerting that celebrities, the news media, social media and many others are acting as if this were just a personal choice Bruce Jenner made and we have to support him. Yes, support him by encouraging him to get help, mental help. Operations and drugs cannot change what nature has already decided. Those who are confused about their gender or who dislike the gender they have are not in the same category as someone who changes their hair color or who wears different colored eye contacts. Gender is important as is our human nature. In fact, gender is part of our human nature. A human being is either a man or a woman. Not both and not neither.
Rather than cheers or jeers, Bruce needs PRAYERS. We need to tell our youth that this was a bad choice and it is not a valid nor good choice, anymore than it would be a good decision to have a healthy limb amputated. We should have empathy and sympathy for Bruce but toleration and endorsement is not the solution. He needs spiritual as well as mental help. PRAYER is what HE needs. His family needs prayer. There will always be those who say “live and let live.” If someone cuts and mutilates himself, that is not healthy behavior. Gender mutilation is no different. It is not funny nor is it none of our business. We are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper. We must offer help and treatment to those tormented souls who falsely believe they are the wrong gender. Condoning and sensationalizing this problem is not for the common good. Do we as a society not encourage the alcoholic or drug addict to seek helpful treatment? Why would abusing your gender not be the same?
This is not biased, prejudiced or hateful. This is being Christian that we pray for each other’s recovery from our illnesses. It is not Christian to humiliate Bruce through unkind lampooning but it is Christian to hope and pray that he will get better, not that society will just look the other way. Bruce, like all human beings, is made in the image and likeness of God. He deserves the same respect afforded all human beings. His imprudent and his bad decisions and choices, however, do not de facto warrant our approval or toleration if they threaten the common good of others or if they harm him. Less snickering and more praying are in order.
Q. What should we do when we’re driving and we see a man by the side of the road holding a sign that reads, “Family hungry. Will do anything for food”? When I see this, I feel sad and confused. What if the person is not really in need, but hoping to get money for drugs? What if the person really is in need, but I can’t stop to help? What would you do? What would Jesus do in 2015?
A. Thanks for asking. Your question shows that your conscience is not asleep! This quote from Matthew 25:40 is Jesus’ response to the people saved at the Last Judgment who ask when did they feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and perform similar works of mercy. The negative version of those words (25:45) answers the condemned people who ask when did they fail to recognize Christ in what Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata much later described as his “distressing disguises.”
In the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk 16:19-31), perhaps the rich man told himself that Lazarus really didn’t need the rich man’s help. People in need can become invisible to those who might help.
You are right that it is not always possible to stop and help in such a situation; money given might not be used to buy food. Would you rather err on the side of generosity or of stinginess? It’s too easy to say that every person who begs represents some type of scam.
Helping one hungry person or family will not stamp out hunger here or around the world. Have you ever donated time, goods, or money to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Charities, a soup kitchen, or similar organization?Have you ever protested cuts to food stamp programs? Should budgets be balanced on the backs of the poorest people? Have you considered joining a local or national group such as Bread for the World?
May the Lord bless your discernment about how best to invest your resources and energies on behalf of those who are hungry.
Do you have a question for Father Pat? Send them to Ask@FranciscanMedia.org.
Our guest blogger today is Robert J. Wicks, author of Spiritual Resilience: 30 Days to Refresh Your Soul.
During the very times when losses occur and crises strike, the opportunity is especially present for us to realize how much God is at the center of our lives, at the heart of ourselves, and on the horizon of our destiny in new, refreshing ways. Until then, the covenant we have with God may be vague, a mere backdrop, or practically forgotten. It isn’t the deep relationship implied by the word covenant. A crisis or loss can shake the dust of denial off of our possibly childish relationship with the Lord; it can remind us of our vulnerability and dependence on the creator and cut through the massive games of pseudo-independence we have played. Our first response to this shaking may well be to cry out in anguish, shock, anxiety, impatience, and indignation at our tragedy.
When serious problems arise, patience and a respectful, distant pleading with God don’t last long. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “as patient as Job.” A cursory examination of the text reveals that he spent six chapters in patient acceptance and thirty-six chapters complaining and lamenting. In most instances we are just like him in this regard. When God doesn’t answer us as we would like, when the status quo is not returned to its original luster, we may feel unfairly tested and be furious or feel let down. We may doubt God’s presence in our lives. At times such as these, we can also become angry about what we perceive as the hide-and-seek game we believe God is playing with us at the very time when we feel a dramatic need for that divine presence.
Expressing anguish, disillusionment and near despair with a deeply felt desire for a return of what we have lost or a return to a pre-crisis state is natural. I feel, as many others do, that expressing initial strong negative reactions to God during difficult times is not a problem in itself. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the signs of a faith that is real and based on an ongoing relationship with the living God.
Spirituality dawns when God becomes as real as the problems and joys we face each day.
The difficulty arises when we don’t move beyond anger and disillusionment with God in order to be open to the possibilities of encountering God in surprising and mysterious ways. The greatest challenge in times of crisis and loss is to be willing to be open to receive in new ways, possibly from different sources at unexpected times.
Our guest blogger today is Kelly M. Wahlquist, author of Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace and Joy.
When I was in eighth grade, we got a new principal, Sr. Mary Gwendolyn. At the end of every single day, over the P.A. system, Sr. Mary Gwendolyn said the same thing to us: “Remember children, Jesus, others, then yourself. If you put your life in this order: Jesus first, then Others, then Yourself, you will have JOY.”
Back then, it was a little annoying to hear this day in and day out. But now that I am older, I see the wisdom of this good Franciscan sister. When our relationships are ordered in such a way that we put God first, we will know true joy. Joy isn’t merely a happy feeling—a feeling of contentment when everything is going perfectly in life. If this were true we would probably never know true joy, because each day we are faced with unexpected interruptions, frustrations, and challenges.
It’s hard to imagine feeling completely content when the phone won’t stop ringing or traffic is causing you to be late for an important meeting. If we based our happiness on our circumstances, we’d probably be a very unsatisfied crowd.
Some people think that joy is something that we can gain on our own accord. We think, I’ll be happy when I get a bigger house, a better car, a perfect job, more money. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove this notion false. Because no matter how much “stuff” we acquire, we can never acquire true happiness.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan once tweeted, “Joy isn’t some giggly, Pollyannaish mania. Those people get on your nerves. Joy is interior peace that gives rise to exterior happiness.” In other words, joy is the light that radiates from our faces when we know that our relationship with God is a forever one. It is the light we’ve been called to pass on to others.
If you want to learn more about Kelly’s book, click here.
Our guest blogger today is Kelly M. Wahlquist, author of Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace and Joy.
When I was in preschool, my image of God was the Statue of Liberty. I know that sounds crazy, but as a little four-year-old, I knew God was big, and the Statue of Liberty was the biggest thing I had ever seen. When I looked at the statue, I saw God carrying a book and lifting high a torch. I remember thinking: God is big, but he is so far away. He’s all by himself on an island. That image of an aloof God stayed with me for many years.
Once I had children of my own, I had a new perspective on the role of God the Father. As I looked through the lens of a parent, it was easier to see God, not as some enormous far-off, ungraspable being, but rather as a loving Father, a dad who is always present and looking out for his children.
But as I think about it, my 4-year-old image of God wasn’t too far off the mark. God is big. Like the Statue of Liberty, he is awesome to behold, but fortunately for us, he is never aloof or absent from our lives. He’s a protective and loving father, with us always. In fact, at every moment and in every situation, he’s reaching out to us to bring us home to his heart. He has given us the greatest book ever, the Bible, to guide us back to a relationship with him, and he has given us a torch, the Light of the World, his only begotten Son, to light the way.
If you want to learn more about Kelly’s book, click here.
Photo: Evgeny Bakharev/Shutterstock
Last Sunday saw triple rejoicing on Papa Stronsay.
The 31st May 2015 is, of course, the feast of the Most Blessed Trinity.
It is also the feast of the Queenship of Mary, and is thus the 16th anniversary of our coming to Papa Stronsay.
And we received two new novices into our Congregation. Deo Gratias!
The two postulants kneel before the altar and are addressed by Very Rev. Fr Michael Mary, F.SS.R.
They prostrate themselves during the chanting of the Veni Creator Spiritus, and are covered with the funeral pall, representing the slaying of the “old man” and their death to the world.
The new novice receives the habit of our Congregation.
“Son, put on Our Lord Jesus Christ, always surrounding thy body with His mortification.”
He is presented with the crucifix which he will wear around his neck.
“Receive, my Son, the image of the crucifix, image of thy Master and Redeemer, who suffered for thee and offered Himself for thee. Place it as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm.”
He kisses the crucifix.
“I will die O Lord for the love of Thy love, who has deigned to die for the love of my love.”
Receiving the Rosary.
“Receive, Son, the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may She always be a wall to protect thee, a mother to nourish thee, a star to guide thee and the door to thy salvation. Do Thou, however, learnest diligently to love and imitate Mary, and to propagate Her most salutary devotion everywhere. In dangers, in anguishes, in doubtful things, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May Her sweet name not disappear from thy lips, nor disappear from thy heart.”
Receiving the Scapular.
“‘Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.’
Receive this blessed Scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life.”
The new novices receive their names:
Thanks be to God for these new members of our Congregation!
We wish them many blessings and especially that of perseverance.
Q. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, what happens when a couple divorces? I know many divorcées who have left the Catholic Church because they felt abandoned by it. Someone I know very well is getting a divorce, and I don’t know what the Church’s position is.
A. Divorce does not change the religion of former husbands and wives. If they were previously Catholic, they remain Catholic unless and until they formally join another religious group or publicly renounce their Baptism.
Because marriage affects society, civil law is always involved—especially regarding alimony and the division of property. If the couple has children, civil law also regulates child support, custody, visitation rights and similar issues.
A valid civil marriage, however, may or may not be a valid sacramental marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church. After a civil divorce, a Catholic spouse can seek from a diocesan tribunal a declaration of nullity (often but inaccurately called an annulment) regarding the sacramental status of that marriage. All the children born in a valid civil marriage are considered legitimate.
A declaration of nullity never denies that there was a civil marriage. That has now been dissolved by divorce but with continuing obligations as the law may provide. A declaration of nullity does say that the civilly divorced Catholic person can enter a new sacramental marriage—provided that he or she meets the requirements of civil law and the requirements of the Catholic Church.
A Catholic who is divorced but not remarried can continue to receive the sacraments. This includes marriage if a declaration of nullity has been given for the first marriage. A Catholic who enters into a new marriage not recognized by the Catholic Church should request a declaration of nullity regarding the previous marriage. A Church tribunal grants or denies a declaration on the basis of evidence supplied by the person who initiated the process and by the ex-spouse.
A Catholic who has divorced and entered a Church-recognized new marriage can continue to receive all the sacraments and, after appropriate instruction, can serve in any parish ministry.
Have a question for Father Pat? Send them to Ask@FranciscanMedia.org.
Photo: Robert Hoetink/Shutterstock
On Sunday May 31st, the annual Maryfest procession was held in Christchurch, New Zealand. We organise it each year and this year we were blessed with lovely weather The faithful attended in great numbers – around 500 in all. The order of the photos is somewhat random. If you would like to follow Our Lady of Christchurch on Facebook, you can do so HERE
Some say that the Pope’s next encyclical – on the “environment” – will be called “Laudato sii“. Some say that that’s Latin. No. It isn’t. It’s the 13th Umbrian which St. Francis of Assisi would have known and in which he penned his Canticle of the Sun.
Of course the catholic Left is wetting itself over the possibilities of denunciation of multinational corporations and free markets, and the magisterial embrace of junk science.
The libs and aging hippies are, even now, loading their cherished copies of Brother Sun Sister Moon into their lovingly preserved VHS tape players.
On the other hand, when I think of St. Francis, I don’t get images of romping through fields of flowers singing to the birds. Instead, I see Francis railing against priests who do not use beautiful and precious vestments and vessels for Holy Mass. The real Francis did that, by the way. HERE
When I think of the Canticle of the Sun, I don’t think of playing my guitar on a sidewalk of Haight-Ashbury while some groovy chick well… hard to tell… does an interpretive dance based on the newest pro-sodomy editorial from the National Sodomitical Reporter.
Instead, when I think of the Canticle of the Sun, I hear the last part:
Laudato si mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo uiuente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trouarà ne le Tue sanctissime uoluntati,
ka la morte secunda no ‘l farrà male.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
People who promote and have sex between people of the same sex are violating God’s obvious will.
Homosexual sex is a mortal sin. Mortal sin kills the life of grace in the soul. Mortal sin separates a person from the friendship of God. People who die in the state of mortal sin, die outside the friendship of God. They will never see heaven. Never. For eternity they will suffer a pain of loss of God so deep that it is called the everlasting agonies of Hell and is known as everlasting fire.
In this encyclical on the “environment”… on “ecology”, the Holy Father will have to touch on what we can call “human ecology”, that is, “natural law”, especially concerning the obvious fact of what God did in creating the human race:
And [God] said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.
Father Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.
Over the last few days he has been visiting the different
Catholic schools in Christchurch
in order to alert them to the Maryfest Procession
which will be held at 2.00 p.m.
on Sunday, 31 May
Our Lady of Victories Church
Sockburn, Christchurch, N.Z.
Here are some of the photos taken
during his visits to the schools
in company with
Br. Xavier Maria and Br. Seelos Maria.
May the Procession be made to the praise of
Our Lady of Christchurch.
The following is an excerpt from Mary Claire Kendall’s new book Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends.
Early on, when I was marketing Gary Cooper’s faith journey, the editor of a Los Angeles-based magazine told me she was only interested in his “external life.” How absurd, I thought. What can be more fascinating than the story of a soul? It’s Billy Wilder’s classic Sunset Boulevard (1950) about a silent movie queen, craving a return. It’s Barrymore (2011) about Jack, youngest of the theatrical royal family, eying a comeback, in between sips. It’s the arc of life, the ups and downs we all wrestle with, that completes the picture.
In my book are portraits of 12 Hollywood legends—Alfred Hitchcock, Gary Cooper, Bob Hope, Mary Astor, John Wayne, Ann Sothern, Jane Wyman, Susan Hayward, Lana Turner, Betty Hutton, Ann Miller, and Patricia Neal. And, while no one can know for certain the actual inner life of anyone, least of all a star, we do have certain clues—the most obvious being a religious conversion. You know something’s going on when that happens.
A word about Hollywood itself: It’s a world that is particularly unique, and perhaps unparalleled, in creating the crisis of soul that can lead to conversion. The town, since its earliest days, has always had a rich tapestry of faiths for souls seeking spiritual sustenance, the respective houses of worship dotting the landscape, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Orthodox (i.e., Russian, Greek, Eastern), Protestant—Episcopalian, Baptist,
Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Congregational, Evangelical, and nondenominational, among others—as well as homegrown hybrids such as Mormon, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, and the Church of Christ, Scientist, among others.
During Hollywood’s Golden Age, a proportionately higher number of stars gravitated to the Catholic faith. The stories in my book reveal why.
I hope you’ll enjoy some of the best, most inspiring stories ever to come out of Hollywood. The rich and captivating world underlying them, I would argue, is more exciting than any computer-generated image in this century’s digitally crafted films with action, action, action—leaving little room or time for the action of God, just below the surface.
To learn more about Mary Claire’s book Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends, click here.
Living out our faith on a day-to-day basis is a challenge. No matter what our age, vocation, or condition, we are subject to encountering obstacles of some kind. They may come from within—a crisis of faith, an illness, or simply the advance of age. Or the obstacles may be external: a change in the economy, a new job, the death of a loved one.
If we are trying to live out our baptism, then we ask ourselves how God is present to us in such moments. Sometimes God may seem distant. Sometimes we have questions about our beliefs during these times of loss or stress. It is then that shared examples of faith—the ways that others have met and overcome their challenges—can help us overcome our obstacles as well.
The suggestions of a trusted spiritual guide are often helpful when you’re faced with an internal or external obstacle. I’d like to think that our weekly presence in your life—through this radio program—offers a little bit of that kind of spiritual guidance. That’s certainly the part that American Catholic Radio strives to play within this broadcast or webcast community. Thanks for welcoming us into your lives!
Our guest blogger today is Kelly M. Wahlquist, author of Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace and Joy.
As a woman created to relate, you can tap into a divine peace. It doesn’t matter if you are fighting cancer, battling depression, taking care of aging parents, sleep-deprived from tending to young children, or feeling as though you are under a heap of bills and will never see the light of day. God’s peace has been promised to you since the beginning of creation. Just rest in him and let his peace fill your heart.
Here are some ways to break down the barriers to peace while strengthening your relationship with Christ:
Surrender your anxiety. Simply say: “Jesus, I trust in you; Jesus, I trust in you.” Or, if you are struggling with trusting the Lord at that moment, ask Mary to help you trust her Son. She will always bring you to him.
Meditate on his Word. Spend a few moments each day in the Scriptures. Let God’s promises become part of your daily life. Take comfort in knowing that God will fully satisfy our hearts now and forever. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: Psalm 16:11; John 6:45; John 7:37–38; Philippians 3:8–9.
Pray. Try carving out a daily prayer time. Designate a place to pray—perhaps a room, or a specific area in a room. Add a candle, some soft lighting, your favorite icon, a statue of the Blessed Mother, and so on. Make it a place where you feel comfortable—a place you long to be.
Serve others. Take your eyes off your own suffering by entering into a relationship with the poor, the lonely, or the elderly. Check to see if you parish has a ministry you can get involved in that serves those in need.
Listen. Set aside time each day for quietness. It is in the stillness that you can hear the voice of God. Take five minutes a day to unplug, log out, and disconnect. Simply rest in the presence of God.
To learn more about Created to Relate, click here.
Most of us agree, I assume, that personal prayer can be described as a conversation between two parties—ourselves and God. Speaking for myself, I often find myself giving more importance to my side of the conversation than to God’s. I think, for example, that I have to be more responsible, try harder, clench my fists more so I can pray with greater intensity. And yes, it’s certainly true that we humans have to give prayer our very best efforts and pray with all our hearts.
But let’s pause for a moment and think. Let’s look at the two sides of this prayer equation, which is really no equation (or relationship of equals) at all. Then let’s assess the relative importance and power and love capacity of the two prayer partners. In this corner is “little me,” a small bit of clay that God in his mercy has endowed with human life and finite reasoning. In the other corner is the God of infinite life, wisdom, energy and love—the Creator of the galaxies.
Now let’s ask our question again: Which side of the prayer relationship is more important? To which prayer partner should we assign greater importance? It’s really a no-brainer, isn’t it? If we carefully analyze our own personal prayer life, however, we might notice that we frequently place most of our attention on the wrong partner.
St. Francis of Assisi teaches us a good way to reflect on our relationship with God. He reveals his own healthy sense of God’s greatness and his own littleness, when with a great sense of awe he asks in prayer: “Who are you, My God, and who am I?”
Image: Wikimedia Commons