TEMPUS PER ANNUM | Year A—Gospel of St. Matthew, Cycle II | Tuesday, July 22nd | St. Mary Magdalene

A.I.M. ANALYSIS. INKLINGS. METACOMMENTARY.

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We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.” —Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sign of Persecution

ن

If you're wondering, the Twitter feed icon has been changed to the Arabic letter 'nun', which is being used by Islamic terrorists to mark Christian homes, churches and other buildings in Iraq. The ن stands for nasara, i.e., Nazarenes, the term of derision muslims use to refer to Christians.

An article at Rorate Caeli blog titled Nun: The Sign of Genocide declares this:
They (the muslims) mean it as a mark of shame, we must then wear it as a mark of hope: Yes, we are in the army of the Resurrected Nazarene, the Master and Lord of the Universe, the Man who is God Almighty, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.

Who are you calling a fanatic?

St. Andrew's Cathedral, 2014. CS

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me.—Psalm 69(68):9.

These days when people hear the word 'fanatic' they tend to think of a suicide bomber, a raving lunatic or intolerant ideologue frothing at the mouth.

No frothing, please.
fəˈnatik 
noun: fanatic; plural noun: fanatics
—a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal

informal
a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.

mid 16th century (as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple’ from fanum ‘temple.’—Google Dictionary.
If you agree with Winston Churchill, or at least a phrase associated with the British Bulldog, then
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Churchill's definition applies to today's socialist and/or secularist ideologues who are trying (and far too often succeeding) in co-opting and corrupting public education and government policy to gain approval for what was a generation ago considered dangerous and immoral behaviour.

I would like to propose that the world, the West in particular, needs more Catholic fanatics. Holy fanatics; zealots perhaps, but not lunatics, terrorists or bullies. Not a sedevacantist ostrich with his head stuck in the sand nor a milquetoast progressivist toad who has surrendered her soul to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying:
“Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!”—1 Maccabees 2:27.

I propose the world needs more fanatics who wear Christ 24/7/365, not just on Sundays. That is to say, we can do without more cultural Catholics who dangle a crucifix round their necks for mere decoration. We need real zealots who may don a crucifix and are fanatics in the sense that they are utterly possessed by the Truth (note: capital 'T' Truth!) of the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need zealots humble enough to stand their ground when their feet are held to the fire by the tolerance police who, resenting any kind of confidence except their own absolute belief that there are no absolutes, attempt to bully them into changing their allegiance. The bumper sticker on the car belonging to a fanatic reads "This driver doesn't burn incense to the emperor."

For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good;
and I shall never be put to shame.—Sirach 51:18

The saints are fanatics. What's that, you don't agree?
  • Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta was labelled "a fanatic, fundamentalist and a fraud" by the likes of none other than Christopher Hitchens who, in a 2003 article, took diabolical delight in his attempt to slander one of the most beloved saints of the modern era. Blessed Teresa, if it needs to be said, was possessed by the desire to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. She and her Missionary Sisters of Charity have helped millions know the love and joy of Christ while tending to people's physical and spiritual needs.
  • Or, how about any of the Mexican saints martyred during the Cristero Wars? Among the 25 martyr saints canonized by another saintly fanatic—Pope St. John Paul II—was St. Toribio Romo González. St. Toribio received a special dispensation to be ordained to the priesthood when he was just 21 years old. He was killed when he was 28 years old for being a priest. Fr. Toribio was told by representatives of the state not to pray the Rosary in public, the same government that imposed a form of education that was intended to be "a socialist one and, in addition to excluding all religious doctrine, shall combat fanaticism and prejudices by organizing its instruction and activities in a way that shall permit the creation in youth of an exact and rational concept of the Universe and of social life." (Sounds like the policy of more than a few Canadian provinces, eh?) Like the many other saintly fanatics who perished at the hands of the politically correct tyrants of his day, Fr. Toribio challenged the status quo simply by being who and what he was—a humble, faithful priest.
  • Who can doubt the holy fanaticism of one, Mary Wagner, Canadian, pro-life advocate and frequent political prisoner who has been arrested half-a-dozen times for walking into the lion's den and witnessing to abortion mill staff and mothers, begging them to reconsider the destruction of unborn babies? Mary's peaceful and faithful (fanatical) witness puts most us to shame. In total, Mary has spent some two years behind bars for her various nonviolent challenges to the status quo.

Mary Wagner

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?—1 Peter 3:13

Saints have heads, hands and voices in this world and hearts in the next. Fanaticism and sainthood go together like nail and cross. Fanatics are prepared to suffer for the Faith. Unlike the kind of martyr who straps a bomb to his body and in so doing causes others suffering and death, the Christian fanatic suffers for the sake of others. The Catholic martyr suffers with (compassio) others, shares in carrying another's burden and binds another's wounds.
The (Conventual Franciscan) brothers housed 3,000 Polish refugees, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, and continued their publication work, including materials considered anti-Nazi. For this work the presses were shut down, the congregation suppressed, the brothers dispersed, and Maximilian (Kolbe) was imprisoned in Pawiak prison, Warsaw, Poland on 17 February 1941. 
On 28 May 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine. 
In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service.—SQPN
The true Catholic fanatic does not cause others suffering, he accepts his suffering and offers it up to God. By taking on suffering, he becomes more like his Master:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.—Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:24-29.
Here are a few ways one might become a fanatic and behave like a convinced believer:
    "The phrase subsistit in is intended not only to reconfirm the meaning of the term est, that is, the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. Above all, it reaffirms that the Church of Christ, imbued with the fullness of all the means instituted by Christ, perdures (continues, remains) forever in the Catholic Church".—K.J. Becker, "'Subsistit in' — (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)" (cf. L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 14 December, pp. 11-14). Quoted in an article by Fernando Ocáriz.
  • Insist that the Mass be celebrated with reverence and decorum according to the rubrics. Be obsessed with liturgical beauty and goodness. Promote ad orientem liturgies. Don't let forty years of deviant practice(s) dissuade you from convincing others that the proper orientation of the Liturgy is ad orientem, i.e., toward the liturgical East. Express your convictions with enthusiasm and charity. Start by enlisting others to the cause and propose to your pastor that once a month an ad orientem Mass be celebrated. If you are a priest—preach on ad orientem worship and, in due course, offer the Ordinary Form ad orientem. Back up your enthusiasm with ongoing catechesis in the parish bulletin and in your homilies. Search HERE for information items for your parish bulletins.
  • Be prepared to lose friends over your choice to be faithful to Christ and His Church in all things. Keep Jesus' commandments. Love God; love His Church. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."—St. John 14:23.
  • Practice limitless mercy. Be quick to forgive and equally ready to seek forgiveness. Go to confession once a week. Examine your conscience at the end of every day before bedtime. Ask God for forgiveness. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Love until it hurts, then keep on loving.
  • Do not shy away from fraternal correction. Offer it gently and receive it eagerly.
  • Begin and end your day in prayer. Pray for priests, the Holy Father, your family, your country, etc.
  • Attend daily Mass and prepare for Mass by reading the Bible readings ahead of time. The fanatic belongs in the fanum, i.e., the temple.
  • Volunteer as a server, lector or choir member.
  • Model/demonstrate obedience. Strive to be a saint. Read the lives of the saints.
  • Be joyful because God has rescued you from sin and death, is rescuing you daily and will rescue you when you surrender your spirit at death if, upon Him, all your hope is founded. Trust in Jesus. Confess your sins to a priest. Convert daily! See you all in the lineup to the confessional.
Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election
 for if you do this you will never fall.—2 Peter 1:10

Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these,
be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.—2 Peter 3:14

Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.—Revelation 3:19

Friday, July 18, 2014

Frequent Communion. Frequent Confession.

When the Church promotes frequent reception of Holy Communion, she is also promoting a return to frequent participation in the Sacrament of Penance (Confession, Reconciliation). We should only receive the Holy Eucharist if we have first repented and prepared in our lives a place for Jesus.
Pope St. Pius X—On Frequent and Daily Reception of Holy Communion
  1. Frequent and daily Communion, as a practice most earnestly desired by Christ our Lord and by the Catholic Church, should be open to all the faithful, of whatever rank and condition of life; so that no one who is in the state of grace, and who approaches the Holy Table with a right and devout intention (recta piaque mente) can be prohibited therefrom.
  2. A right intention consists in this: that he who approaches the Holy Table should do so, not out of routine, or vain glory, or human respect, but that he wish to please God, to be more closely united with Him by charity, and to have recourse to this divine remedy for his weakness and defects.
  3. Although it is especially fitting that those who receive Communion frequently or daily should be free from venial sins, at least from such as are fully deliberate, and from any affection thereto, nevertheless, it is sufficient that they be free from mortal sin, with the purpose of never sinning in the future; and if they have this sincere purpose, it is impossible by that daily communicants should gradually free themselves even from venial sins, and from all affection thereto.
As Saint Paul reminds us:
1 Corinthians 11:27-32. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
If we do not confess our sins, we will lose the necessary perspective, attitude and orientation of mind and soul. That is, we lose the ability to discern the Body and Blood of Christ. If we then receive the Holy Eucharist without being in a state of grace, we drink judgement upon ourselves. We then become spiritually ill because we have committed a sacrilege. We then die because the Faith has died in us.

So then, when the Church promotes frequent reception of Holy Communion, we should understand that She means frequent worthy reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only said the word and my soul shall be healed. We pray that prayer at every Mass. The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world wants to take away our sins. Why not, then, be free of doubt, free of fear and free of condemnation by going to confession to be released from the burden of sin so that you may enjoy fully the Banquet of the Lord?

Jesus awaits us all in the magnificent Sacrament of Penance.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ex-employee sues Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph

(Reuters) - A Missouri church worker sued the Catholic diocese in Kansas City on Thursday claiming she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her (pretend) marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper.
It states that Colleen Simon's same-sex (pseudo-)marital status was known and accepted when she was hired to run a food pantry and oversee other social outreach efforts, but was used as a reason to fire her after it was publicized.
Simon is the mother of two sons and was legally (pretend) married in Iowa (not Missouri) in May 2012 to a female pastor at a Kansas City Lutheran church. (Missouri does not recognize same-sex "marriages" from other jurisdictions.)
Simon said she told diocese officials of her same-sex (pretend) marriage before they hired her and was assured (so she claims) it was not an issue. But on May 14 she was fired and was told (so she claims) it was because of a local newspaper article that mentioned both her food pantry work and her same-sex (pretend) marriage, the lawsuit states.
There was no immediate comment on the lawsuit from the diocese or Bishop Finn.

It is highly unlikely that the complainant did not know the Church's position on same-sex unions prior to applying for the job. Even if a diocesan official hired her knowing her irregular status, that same official did so without full consideration of the implications of Church teaching. Unfortunately, the person or persons who agreed to the hiring and who did so knowing Ms. Simon's irregular status, as Ms. Simon has claimed, have set the Diocese up for a fall. If, contrary to her claim, Ms. Simon's irregular status was not disclosed to her employer at the time she was hired, that would almost certainly change the prospect of her achieving any success in the courts.

Is it reasonable that the Diocese stepped in to correct a possible oversight or misuse of hiring authority when Ms. Simon's irregular status became public knowledge? When Ms. Simon's irregular status was made public, whether by a deliberate and calculated act or by the incidental recording of an off-the-cuff remark, the Diocese had no choice but to address the issue of an employee, an overseer of outreach ministries, who flaunted her irregular status. Of course, the Diocese has yet to make known its reasons for terminating the employ of Ms. Simon.
Diocesan officials hadn't yet seen the lawsuit, but said in a statement, "As a church, we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and church teachings." (Chron.com)
One would think that had Ms. Simon disclosed her status prior to being employed by the Diocese that there might be some record of the information registered with the Diocese for insurance purposes or other personal reasons (e.g., who to notify in the event of an emergency). Ms. Simon, who is also facing a battle with cancer, is likely in a desperate financial situation. Her "partner", the Lutheran pastor, is probably making a typical pastor's salary, which is to say not much. We can only hope this lawsuit is not merely an attempt at a money grab to offset pending hardship.
Simon went to work for the diocese in July 2013 for a $35,000 annual salary and health benefits, which she said were crucial as she has suffered from cancer and needs ongoing medical monitoring. (Reuters)
Because Simon's status is not recognized in Missouri, it is likely she is not covered by her "partner's" health insurance, if indeed her "partner" has any insurance. Might one be overly suspicious to think Ms. Simon and her "partner" could be used as a wedge issue in the same-sex "marriage" war to force approval for same-sex benefits in Missouri? Time will tell. However, given the trend in other states, any person would be well within the bounds of reasonable speculation to suggest that some aspect of the current litigation might be used to further the LGBT agenda.

What probably began as a diocesan official wanting to help out someone in need might likely result in the Diocese getting burned. Our Lord's counsel merits a hearing:
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.—St. Matthew 5:38-42
Go HERE for the full Reuters report.
Chron.com. The Missouri lawsuit was filed Thursday by Colleen Simon, who said she worked as a parish bookkeeper in the diocese before she was hired in 2013 as a food pantry coordinator at St. Francis Xavier Church. In each step of the hiring process, she said she told (so she claims) administrators she had married a woman a year earlier in Iowa, where gay marriage is recognized, and diocesan and parish representatives said  (so she claims) her marital status would not be a problem.
Other Dioceses, facing similar prospects due to misunderstanding or a misapplication of Church teaching, have settled out of court in reasonable ways. Given her illness, it would be cruel to remove Ms. Simon without offering her some measure of support during her transition out of her job, a severance package, if you will. Let us hope and pray for all concerned that a measure of justice may be achieved and the Diocese will benefit from the experiences gained.

Word to the wise: fully vet potential employees so these kinds of things do not happen. After determining acceptability, offer successful applicants a contract that explicitly states that full conformity to Church doctrine is required in order to retain employment and that any public misconduct will be considered grounds for termination of employment. Furthermore, define on the contract in explicit terms activity which constitutes public misconduct.
Dioceses in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Honolulu; Oakland, California, and elsewhere have added morals clauses to their teacher contracts barring public support for gay rights. Other dioceses have asked volunteer educators to sign pledges on upholding church teaching. (Chron.com)
It's one thing for an employee to fall then express remorse. It is quite another thing when an employee, or for that matter anyone, publicly defies Church teaching and demands that the Church change her teaching to conform to some irrational, anti-Catholic position. In the case of the former, a person deserves more than a few chances to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back on the straight and narrow. In the case of the latter, attacks against the Church merit a full defence of the right of the Church to hire people who respect and practice the teaching of the Church.