Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Zeal For Thy House(s) Hath Consumed Me

July 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

All this talk about the St. Januarius renovation/wreck-o-vation.  I saw, to a degree, what was trying to be done.  But I think this might have done it a little better.  Please forgive the shoddy Photoshopping and crazy notes–I got tired of trying to make everything match the rendering.  Click for larger image so you can read all my notes.

Maybe this?

“Sacred Space”

May 18th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

America Magazine is running an article on “Sacred Space,” to be published 23 May.  As an aspiring architect (who wants to build churches), some things in this article jump out to me as a bit… well, hollow and feel-good-sounding.

We asked two experts, one an architect and the other a sacred space planner, a series of questions about church design today. In the May 23 issue, Roberto Chiotti and Richard S. Vosko suggest three things that American Catholics should know about church design. We also asked them to cite a recent project they admire, and to name an up and coming church designer.  The Editors [Buzzwords: sacred space planner, American Catholics.  Total: two.]

While deliberating the submissions for the 2010 Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture, I was drawn to the St. Bartholomew’s Chapel in Valley Center, California by Kevin deFreitas Architects for the significant amount of site-harvested materials used in its reconstruction. [That’s cool.] The beautifully organic hues [read: brown] and texture [read: rough and sort of ugly] of the sanctuary’s rammed-earth sidewalls [who on earth would ever decide this is a good idea?], sculpted from 120 tons of sacred reservation soil [wait, what the HECK is that??], tangibly and symbolically ground the new sacred space within its sacred earth context [hurrah, Earth Mother!], while manifesting the client’s desires to pursue LEED Gold certification. The roof appears to float above these walls, which are situated to afford visual connections to the congregation’s surrounding ancestral home [and we are all going to become one with the world around us.  Everyone take a deep breath and say “OM.”].

I think we should be encouraging up and coming church architects/designers to embody and reflect in their work an understanding of early scriptural teachings that emphasized the sacredness of all creation and not just the sacredness of humankind […and of course we ignore the extreme importance of Man, as we were made in God’s image and given dominion over all the earth.]. As Catholics who are willing to re-claim these important insights along with embracing creation as a primary revelatory experience we can offer the world a significant contribution towards achieving an earth justice [what is earth justice?] that will enable the realization of gospel values that promote peace and social justice for all [I smell a hidden agenda.  And a sentence with dangling modifiers–how does “earth justice” promote “peace and social justice for all”?]. Our sacred spaces can and should become opportunities for catechesis, engaging our senses, awakening our spirits and inviting transformation. [Can’t disagree here.]

— Roberto Chiotti

There are several talented architects doing good work. One of them is Joan Soranno, FAIA (HGA Architects, Minneapolis, Minn.) who designed the Bigelow Chapel at United Theological Seminary, New Brighton, Minn. The shape of the place is evocative, refreshing and functional. The materials are organic and integral to the plan. Abundant natural light in this flexible environment creates an atmosphere that fosters a feeling of the sacred. [Okay, we like natural light.  Windows are good.] One could say this chapel is a venue for experiencing the ineffable holy one in both an immanent and transcendent way.

There are few design professionals who are bringing a fresh interpretation [read: “modern” worldview] to the field of religious art and architecture. One of them is Victor Trahan, FAIA. His use of architectural concrete to create more ascetic places is inspiring and reminiscent of some of the more contemporary church buildings in the European Union [And we all know that most of Europe is on its way to Hell in a handbasket.]. His designs invite the congregation to engage with the ritual actions that occur around various focal points without being distracted by excessive ornament or stylistic fashion [Puritan much?]. The use of light, harmony, verticality [these are good things] and materials invites contemplation even during public worship. [It should evoke contemplation primarily during public worship!  Or are they forgetting the whole idea of praying as a community does not mean holding hands and singing Kum-ba-yah?]

— Richard S. Vosko

To me, this entire article is loaded with modernism: it is only good if it is NOW.  Catholicism is all about tradition (and Tradition)–there is a LOT of tradition in the building of churches.  They have always been for the glory of God, to cause those who enter to be in awe.  It seems counterintuitive, then, to make it more “earthy” and worldly–dirt is not impressive.  Why do you think a mother tells her child to go change into clean clothes for dinner, or a formal occasion, or Mass?  Dirt is… well, it’s dirt.  It’s base.  And it is not exactly awe-inspiring.  Personally, I prefer my church walls to be stone.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Nine

April 30th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Don’t forget to complete the novena by going to Mass tomorrow!

Ninth Day
“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Eight

April 29th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Eighth Day
“Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.”

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Seven

April 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Seventh Day
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is “victim” souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes “every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,”we recommend the “active” souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Six

April 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Sixth Day
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Five

April 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Fifth Day
“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord’s original words here were “heretics and schismatics,” since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord’s inspirations and orders, she declared: “I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus ” I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me” (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Four

April 25th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Fourth Day
“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,

I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord’s original words here were “the pagans.” Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Three

April 24th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Third Day
“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Divine Mercy Chaplet Day Two

April 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Second Day
“Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,

and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

* In the original text, Saint Faustina uses the pronoun “us” since she was offering this prayer as a consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the prayer suitable for universal use.

Divine Mercy Novena

April 22nd, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Today, Good Friday, begins the Novena of Divine Mercy, which will finish on Divine Mercy Sunday.

EWTN has it online here, and I will post the prayers of the day every day of the novena.  This is a very powerful novena and accompanies a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday (details here).

First Day
Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.


February 18th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Apparently Aquinas now has Mass every month?  Thankfully, Mass today was uneventful.  And this was beautiful.  Fr. McKenna from the Cathedral celebrated Mass, and aside from the usual things which are typical of Mass-in-a-gym, it was really reverent.

There were no liturgical dancers and the music wasn’t obnoxious.  The choir sounded phenomenal (as usual) and there was no inappropriate applause.  The homily was very good and appropriate, and Father talked a lot about being thankful for his blessings.

So: Thank you, God, for a normal Mass at AQ.  Thank you for reverence and piety.  Thank you for beautiful music.  Thank you for Catholic schools.  And thank you for your Son, who is wholly present to us in the Mass.  Amen.

The Heart of an Immense Darkness…

January 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

I, too, was present at this “Mass,” and I’m going to be giving my commentary on it.  Hurrah for Catholic Schools Week?

Today was the beginning of Catholic Schools Week, therefore Aquinas deemed it necessary to have a “mass” with the entire school, as well as all of Nazareth Elementary. As it can be imagined, this went about as well as the last one, if a bit worse.

Father Bob Werth said the mass. I didn’t realize how much this would change the entire mass until he opened his mouth. In the opening prayer it was mentioned somewhere about that we shall be solemn “for the next hour or hour and a half.” I thought they were joking, but the mass started at 9:30 and ended at eleven. Long masses are wonderful when they’re, say, Latin mass, but the Father Werth Long Mass is painful.

Father started the FWLM by encouraging us to do the “big sign of the cross,” whereupon he scooped his hands in various ways that vaguely resembled the sign of the cross but seemed more like he was warding off an impending attacker who stood five feet away from him, and somehow his feet were glued to the floor.

I thought it looked like he was slowly and dramatically swatting flies.  It looked really dumb.

The Opening Hymn was, “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” during this hymn, the Nazareth dancers (the same ones from last time, only there were more of them and their dresses contained less fabric.*)paraded around the congregation in the center of the gym, waving their arms in some sort of weird ritualistic dance. This time, they looked less like zombies and more like they were offering up the corn harvest.

*I don’t know why it’s so hard for the little Nazareth dancers to wear sleeves. I understand that ladies no longer wish to wear hats to church, and, as painful as it is, I think it’s not something that can really be controlled anymore. But please, ladies, cover your shoulders when you go to mass. If I could have, i would have given all those girls the Paper Sheets of Shame, like they do in Italian churches.

Nah, the dresses definitely had more fabric.  Lots of fluffy organza-esque stuff, and they were longer this time.  The colours were still awful, though, and they still didn’t fit the liturgical season (light ballerina pink, anyone?), and the dresses were still not appropriate for Mass.  Dance recital, yes.  Mass, not at ALL.  I am agreed on the Paper Sheets of Shame point though.  Those were funny. ^_^

Dear Nazareth teachers: Mass is not a performance.  I love your little children dearly and find them irresistably adorable, of course!  But the Sacrifice of the Mass–the LITURGY! is not a place for them to parade through the area which sould be designated as a “sanctuary” and do their little arm-waving gestures.  And the drum is just unnecessary.  If you have any problems with this, take it up with me.

Father then opened the mass and commented on the situation in Egypt, and somehow the phrase, “it’s not all about the money” sneaked into his speech about three times. It was hard for me to see how it was related because it was hard for me to listen to him at all.

The reading(first and only) and the responsorial psalm went passably, in that they weren’t mentally scarring. The Gospel was from Mark, and it was a good reading. The mass really sterted to go awry at the beginning of the homily.

Fr. Werth seems to be one of those types who likes to give bits of his homily at ALL times of the Mass, not just after the Gospel!  Isn’t this great.  By the way, today’s reading was the Gadarene demoniac, who was possessed by a legion of demons, but then Jesus chased the demons out of the man and into the pigs and then chased the pigs into the sea.  It was awesome. Talk about badass Bible!

Father began by discussing the importance of Catholic schools, which is a good thing, since it seems like our diocese doesn’t really seem to get that. He didn’t talk about the fact that they needed to stay open, though. He spent quite a lot of time praising Aquinas and nazareth for being such good schools and then began discussing his opinions on money. The phrase, “It’s not all about the money” was most of the next part as he said it, then muttered some point about how parents work hard to keep kids in school (which is true), uttered the phrase again, said something else that didn’t really seem related, then shouted the phrase a few more times.

Yeah, I have to say–telling us it’s not all about the money is like saying, “Don’t think of purple elephants.”  We’re students!  The better majority of us listen idly to our parents tell us just how expensive our school is and then move on with life.  (Sorry, Mom.)  The Gospel was about a guy who was POSSESSED.  He had a legion of demons inside him!  And then Jesus kicked all their butts!  How much cooler do you get??  That was the perfect opportunity to sell a totally amazing “Church Militant” homily which glorifies Jesus as a sort of superhero! (I mean, there were tons of little kids there and I think they’d find that story just really, really awesome.)

Somewhere in the homiliy Father Werth stopped talking about schools and started talking about weather. He was annoyed, he said, that people care so much about weather when it doesn’t really matter. At this point I was on the verge of hysterical laughter and had to struggle to maintain silence.

The rest of the homily was him again screaming, “It’s not all about the money” a few hundred times more for good measure and then saying some other stuff. One of these other things was him talking about how Jesus is such a crucial part of our life that he should be the answer to everything. He then began asking everyday questions and encouraging the congregation to respond with, ‘Jesus!’. It went as follows (With FW ans the priest and C as the congregation):

FW: What’s up?
C: Jesus!
FW: How’s it going?
C: Jesus!
FW: What’s the weather like?
C: Jesus!
FW: How are you?
C: Jesus!

…I’m not going to comment a lot on this.  I was trying to stay patient by this point in time.  Any sense of reverence had totally disappeared, and the homily turned the Sacrifice into a talk show. >.<

There were more casual questions that made no sense with the answer as Jesus, but I think the point is there.
He then went on to give five questions that people should be asking themselves daily. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but I can assure you that they were cheesy things such as, ‘How do I see the world differently?” and “Who is in heaven that I should be looking to?” [Both the answers were, of course, Jesus.]

Eventually, the homily ended and after some other, less significantly painful parts of mass, we arrived at the Eucharistic Prayer. During this prayer, the Father would change the words at will, both to change the meaning and to remind everyone of his homily. There were, in the end, maybe two or three sentences of the prayer that were completely unchanged, if that.

Which makes me wonder, was it a legitimate Mass?  He prolonged the words of the Consecration and did two elevations of each the Host and of the chalice–first at the Secret (and waved each the Host and the chalice all the way around the gym) and then at the words of consecration, where they are supposed to be.  The only difference was that at the first elevation, he held the host flat, and at the second, he held it up at the words of “this is my Body.”  If you make it up as you go along, you have destroyed the point of the Sacrifice!  I really, really don’t know if this Mass was legitimate.

The Communion song was, “Lean on Me, ” and I still have no idea how that is a church song. After that song was the song, “Seasons of Love,” which was apparently from the musical Rent. It made me ashamed of the Aquinas choir, because usually they’re pretty okay with at least singing fairly religious songs. Their voices were amazing, but, again, I failed to see how it was related to anything else.

After the usual dull “Post communion reflection” and prayers was the graduation of one of the Chinese exchange students, Joyce, and it went acceptably. Once that was over, however, the mass again became awful as the little dancers gathered again, dancing to the song, “I Send You Out,” which is one of those songs upon which dissertations could be written about how awful it is.

In short, the mass was terrible. None of the elements tied together, the homily made absolutely no sense, and the words were changed for all of it. I don’t feel “churched,” and I don’t think anyone else does either,

Oh yes.  Rent. Let’s do, as a song in MASS, a musical song from a musical about sleeping around.  Lovely. I have nothing against the song itself!  “Seasons of Love” is a fine song, for a Broadway show, and the choir sounds downright flat-out amazing.  But this isn’t a concert, it’s a solemn sacrifice.  Would anyone have known this?  Not at all.

Thank you for reading this, if you made it all the way to the bottom.  If you have any issues with me personally, email me:  Otherwise, comment.  And pray for Aquinas, and for Nazareth.  Pray for deliverance from the insanity, and pray that God gets the respect He is due.  Just once… please.

You don’t HAVE a menu.

January 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

I am utterly sick and tired of the complete and blatant lack of respect for marriage or for the family in today’s society.  How many times have I heard, from people I respect, the phrase, “Well, just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu.”  You don’t HAVE a menu.  You’re married–be it to your husband or wife or to God or the Church.  Even if you’re not married but just dating someone, think about it first.  Wouldn’t you want to be respected and loved, just as you are?  As my art teacher told me, “Criticism is the result of comparison.”  If your spouse or significant other begins to compare you to someone–maybe someone who is thinner, or who has blonde hair instead of brown, or is taller, or is shorter, or has a smaller nose, or maybe bigger eyes, or different-coloured eyes… do you see where I’m going with this?  Because someone else is different, and probably more attractive because of that, it makes you lesser.  Not as good.  Not good enough.

Now go back and look at that sentence. “Just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.”  So you’re telling me, in short, that you are dissatisfied with what you have.  As a result of that, you’re “shopping around” and just ogling everything else, everything which seems “better.”

If you, dear reader, are guilty of doing this, I’m afraid I have to tell you that this is not a very good mentality.  It’s actually a sin.  “…He designates as an adulterer not only the man who violates the marriage of another by intercourse, but that man, also, who contaminates it by a lustful look.  Accordingly, it is quite dangerous for the mind to represent to itself something which is prohibited, just as it is rash, through an act of the will, to effect it in deed” (Tertullian, On Penitence).

To ogle someone else while you are committed in a relationship is what is commonly referred to as “cheating,” just not as blatantly obvious as actual physical “cheating.”  It objectifies the opposite sex, turning them into simple toys, of sorts, for the one doing the ogling.  Ogling someone outside of your relationship, like kissing someone else’s girlfriend or boyfriend while you’re both drunk out of your minds, is unfaithful and irresponsible.

I’d like to conclude by saying that you’re not just on a diet, you don’t even have an a menu.  Besides, what more do you need?  Married men and women are married forever (one would hope, but we’ve covered that in other posts), and priests and religious are promised to the Church and to God.  So who could ask for anything more?

Mass at Saint Thomas the Apostle

January 22nd, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Mass today at STA was fantastic!  The church was almost completely packed, the homily was amazing, and the atmosphere was extraordinarily reverent.

“Like” this post if you and/or your family were there!

Mark Hare’s Latest Column

January 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Mark Hare’s latest column, linked here, is a wonderful example of why Rochester’s Catholic population is decreasing.  The better majority of “Catholics” just don’t get it.

When Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata’s son Jim told them in 1983 that he is gay, the coming-out turned their world upside down. They never wavered in their love for Jim, 19 at the time, or in their love for and devotion to the Catholic Church.

For Casey, the question was, “Can Jim be Catholic and gay?” For Mary Ellen, the challenge of Jim’s revelation was about love. “There was no doubt in my mind that he was a good person and that God loved him,” she says.

While it is true that God loves everyone, no matter what, and it is our choice to turn away from Him, souls are not saved simply by “God loves me.”  Being “a good person” is not going to get you to heaven.  As Rich Leonardi points out, the Baltimore Catechism (a very useful book indeed) states that “To save our souls we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.”

At least Mark Hare has some of his facts straight:

The church … teaches that homosexuality, which is not a choice but an orientation, is not sinful. Only homosexual relations, which, like any sexual activity outside marriage, is sinful.

This much is true.  Really straightforward, right?  Makes total sense to me.  Homosexual relationships are not valid because they do not fit the definition of marriage, which is a union between one man and one woman.

But Casey says it’s not that simple. The church also teaches that celibacy is a gift. Not everyone has it; must all gays live celibate lives if they do not have the gift? The church, he says, also teaches that no one is obliged to do what is impossible for them.

Celibacy isn’t impossible.  Plenty of men go on to become priests, and plenty of women to become sisters and nuns–in any diocese but this one, at least.  The gift is not inherent in all people, it must be prayed for and worked towards–much like humility, compassion, and love.  By the logic stated in the article, teenagers should be able to sleep around, because celibacy outside of marriage would qualify as “what is impossible for them.”  Gifts such as this must be acquired with God’s help, since Luke reminds us: “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk 1:37, RSV-CE).

My biggest problem with this column, however, is this:

Churches need to be pushed and prodded, and yes, loved, into acceptance. Change will come, Casey says. It always does.

The Church is not some social club, made exclusive by its inane and ungrounded rules.  It does not change simply because some selfish person thinks that it should fit his or her agenda.  The homosexual act is a sin, and is just as deplorable as abortion, murder, or prostitution.  It is, of course, as old an act as abortion, murder, and prostitution:  Saint Paul even condemned it in his letter to the Romans.

…”and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom 1:27, RSV-CE).

The Catholic Church is an institution, founded by Jesus Himself.  Its laws are divinely inspired, not determined by democracy, majority rule, and the fickle population of humanity.  Spelled out, quite bluntly: it ain’t gonna happen, Mark Hare.  Learn your Church teachings, and if you don’t like them… well, they won’t be what has to change.

Bits and pieces (and the magic from my hands)

December 26th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

Merry Christmas, everyone!  In the past few days, I have run into good things and bad things.  None of these are quite enough to make their own post, so I’m putting them all into one here.


“Lessons and Carols” at Aquinas on the 23rd had a line (which was repeated at least once) about “some peoples’ belief in Santa is like other peoples’ belief in God.”  I think they tossed in there “except it’s better to believe in God because He’s real” but even with the addition, my eyebrows have risen quite a bit.  Watering down belief in God in this manner is part of the reason so few people believe in the True Presence!


At the end of midnight Mass at Mother of Sorrows, Fr. Bradshaw made an announcement to the whole church that with the new liturgical translations, Mother of Sorrows as a parish will be focusing more upon the beauty and majesty of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Finally!

A blessed Christmas season to all!  Have fun with your families. ^_^

Weak in the knees?

December 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

Does your back start to hurt when the communion line is too long and you are kneeling for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, or longer?

Don’t let your uptightness get in the way!  Try the new and improved Three-Point-Kneel!

It takes the stress off your back but, at the same time, you’re still kneeling and being reverent! As an added bonus, the level of your head does not change significantly so nobody except the people sitting next to you notices!

If you’re tired but you feel exceptionally trendy, try the snazzy Eastern Style!  A traditional Japanese sitting style for millennia, it has been imported into the United States for ease of post-communion sitting.


December 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

I’m not from around here.  So I didn’t go to a Rochester Catholic elementary/middle school.  I went to another Catholic school.  But I have sisters.  And they go to Catholic school.  Where?  Mother of Sorrows.

I don’t know how the school-clustering can ever look good, even to Holy Cross parishioners.  Clustering is always, always bad.

1. Holy Cross was closed, so I’m sure the families have been scattered.  Some have, undoubtedly, gone public.  Are they going to come back just because their school building is now being used?

2. Holy Cross is in Charlotte.  Cathedral is in the city.  Mother of Sorrows is in the heart of North Greece.  Location, location, location.  I’m sure people who went to Cathedral will have a harder time getting to school now, or have a crazier bus schedule or something.  It’s a hassle.

3. Mother of Sorrows is a well-funded parish.  This is a fact.  All you bloggers and readers tend to point it out.  (Being a parishioner there, I can attest.)  So if you think about it, wouldn’t it make logical sense to give Mother of Sorrows School over to its parish?  They aren’t really wanting for money, and the school building is a fairly decent size.  Plus, then all the staff get to stay on.

4. This means more teachers laid off and hired.  Basically, one giant staff overhaul.

5. As far as I know, Mother of Sorrows is struggling for students no more than the next diocesan Catholic school.

I don’t know what the end results are going to be here, but all we can do is to pray and pray and pray.  Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.

In honour of the feast of St. Clement

November 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

From the epistle 1 Clement (Chapters 60-61)

Thou hast made manifest the everlasting constitution of the world by the things that happen. Thou, Lord, who art faithful in all generations, hast founded the world; thou who art just in thy judgments, who art wonderful in strength and greatness; thou who art wise in creating and prudent in establishing the things that are made; thou that art good in the things that are seen and faithful among them that trust upon thee, merciful and compassionate, forgive us our transgressions and unrighteousnesses, our sins and our negligences. Take not into account every sin of thy servants and handmaids, but purify us with the purification of thy truth, and make straight our steps in holiness and righteousness and singleness of heart, that we may so walk and do such things as are right and well pleasing before thee, and before our rulers. Yea, Lord, cause thy face to appear to us in peace to our good, that we may be sheltered by thy mighty hand, and preserved from all sin by thy lofty arm, and deliver us from those that hate us unjustly. Give unity and peace both to us and to all that dwell upon the earth, as thou gavest to our fathers when they called upon thee with faith and truth, so that we should become obedient to thy all-powerful and most excellent name, and to those who rule and govern us upon the earth.

Thou, Lord, hast given the authority of the kingdom to them through thy almighty and unspeakable power, so that we, knowing the estimation and honour given to them by thee, might submit ourselves to them, in no way opposing thy will; to who give, O Lord, Health, peace, concord, stability, so that they may discharge the rule given unto them by thee without offence; for thou, heavenly Lord, everlasting King, givest to the sons of men glory and honour and authority over the things that are upon the earth. Do thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to what is good and pleasing before the, that, fulfilling with peace and meekness and piety the authority given unto them by thee, they may obtain mercy from thee. Thou who alone art able to do these and greater good things among us, to thee do we give thanks through the high priest and protector of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom to thee be the glory and majesty, now and to all generations, world without end. Amen.