Thursday, May 24, 2018

Santa Fe School Shooter is an Atheist

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the young school shooter at Santa Fe was an atheist according to his Facebook. Under religious views on Facebook, he had "Atheist" as the response and wrote "I hate politics" under the section political views.

It seems that Pagourtzis was a closet atheist due to the fact that his lawyer claims that he and his entire family were heavily involved in in their church, a Greek Orthodox parish. He is a member of the Asperia Dance Troup of his religious community.  According to the Washington Post, Pagourtzis was bullied by fellow students and coaches at his school.  This may have caused him to take out his anger on his school violently. The trend seems similar to that of the Columbine shooters in 1999 who wore trench coats, were atheists and idolized Gothic imagery such as those found in the movie The Matrix.  He even posted an image of a black shirt that read "Born to Kill."



The "Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta has written blog posts trying to deflect attention of the fact that Pagourtzis described himself as an atheist, however, he failed to truly dissuade the facts.  The governor of Texas acknowledged that the Facebook with the details is, in fact, the real Facebook of the Santa Fe school shooter. Sometimes people create parody accounts in order to be funny.  This was not the case here. Pagourtzis clearly identified his religious views as atheist. This is not a surprise. Atheism is void of morality.  If there is no God, then anything goes. As Dostoevsky wrote, "If there is no God, then everything is my will and I must express my will."

Nothing good comes out of atheism.  This young man is clearly troubled and has a lot of hate in his heart. Atheism creates voids that are filled with hate. We can see how atheists resort to abuse all of the time. They seek to divide and promote intolerance.  Most online trolls are atheist or alleged atheists. We can see their fragile psychologies on full display.  Their bad behavior shows the damage that atheism causes to the mind, heart and soul.





Source:

http://abc13.com/what-we-know-about-the-santa-fe-shooting-suspect-/3491593/

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/5/20/young-greek-atheist-in-a-trench-coat-a-matrix-of-symbols-on-display-at-santa-fe-high

http://abc7chicago.com/what-we-know-about-the-santa-fe-high-school-shooting-suspect/3491881/

https://abcnews.go.com/US/suspected-shooter-santa-fe-high-school-texas/story?id=55270939

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/05/19/santa-fe-school-shooter-may-have-been-an-atheist-but-thats-not-why-he-killed/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/alleged-school-killer-dimitrios-pagourtzis-was-nondescript-betraying-a-growing-darkness/2018/05/18/d69f5b88-5ade-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/05/26/bill-donohue-why-wont-the-media-cover-santa-fe-high-school-shooters-atheism/

Monday, May 21, 2018

No Seminarians in Rhode Island for Fall

According to the New York Post, the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island will have no seminarians for the Fall of 2018.  Father Chris Murphy told WPRI-TV that there will be no new applicants to Our Lady of Providence Seminary. Church officials usually expect about two to six men every year.  However, for the first time in its history, no new applicants will enter in the Fall.  The diocese is not panicking, but is aware that there are many things keeping men from entering the seminary.

Pope Francis himself has blamed scandals and changes in cultural trends as the major culprits for the lack of answered vocations.  A report in 2015 claimed that American seminarians have seen an increase of millennials entering the seminary. Only time will tells as to whether or not Rhode Island will get future applicants and if the trend goes upward.  We must pray for vocations and replies to those vocations.  Many people are called, few are chosen and few answer the call. Today's world is full of so many hardships and the shortage of answered vocations is a fruit of this. 


Source:

https://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/442243849/at-u-s-seminaries-a-rise-in-millennials-answering-gods-call

https://nypost.com/2018/05/23/catholic-seminary-says-it-has-no-applicants-for-fall-program/

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/m/3eb5fbff-d86e-372b-9c49-e6b8d5aa4d25/ss_catholic-seminary-says-it-has.html

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Ascension of the Lord

Solemnity of the Ascension

The first reading reminds us of the events surrounding Christ's passion, death, resurrection and ascension.  Jesus appeared to the disciples for forty days, before this, He suffered and died on the cross (Luke 24:36-49, Matthew 27, John 20:1-10). Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to them and commanded them to preach the Gospel to all corners of the world (John 16:7, Matthew 28:19).  After this, He ascended into heaven and will return in the same fashion.  Jesus did not abandon us. He sent each one of us on a mission to prepare the world for His second coming. Yes, He could have stayed with us forever, but would that be a good idea?

Think about it: If Christ stayed with humanity, then humanity would look at Him as some 'Superman' or miracle worker-genie instead of the loving savior. People will wait on Him and demand Him to perform miracles. We already see in the Gospels how this was the case.  The people followed Christ until His words became too difficult to hold.  They were quick to be present for miracles, but ran away when He said His flesh was real food (John 6).

Jesus wants us to grow in love and faith by ourselves freely without Him hovering over us like a hawk. This love and faith will be a genuine one because it will come freely from us.  Moreover, Jesus is still with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He waits for us to visit Him daily. We must be patient and wait for the Lord. He sits on His throne as the Psalm today tells us. God is the great king over all the Earth.  We must praise Him and thank Him for all things.  He reigns over all the world and the entire universe.

In the second reading (there are two options), we are told that Christ is the ruler of all things. Everything was "beneath His feet."  He rules over every principality, authority and power. Christ sits at the Father's right hand interceding for us. The second option reminds us that Christ went to the true sanctuary, not one made by men. Our churches are beautiful and all, but they do not compare to heaven.  We are told that Christ will intercede for us and is the sacrifice offered for all. This sacrifice is not one that repeats itself like those of the Jewish faith.  Christ died once for all.  His one sacrifice is suffice. Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. He judges us immediately after death. We die only once, there is no such thing as reincarnation. Therefore, only have one chance to make things right, so to speak. We must take advantage of the Catholic Church and all the graces God offers via her. Our bodies and souls will be washed in the pure waters of baptism.  They will be nourished by the Holy Eucharist and strengthened by the other Sacraments.

Finally in the Gospel, Jesus reminds the disciples of all that is to happen regarding Himself.  They are to be witnesses of all these things.  We too are witnesses of Christ 2,000 plus years later. While we were not there when Jesus walked the Earth, we are witnesses of how He works in our lives.  We are witnesses that all He said was not nonsense, but truth. As we prepare for Pentecost, we must remind ourselves of this. We are witnesses of Christ. Those of us who received Confirmation are taught this during preparation. We must not keep the faith to ourselves but must share it with all. This does not mean that we have to go on street corners and shout with a microphone to repent. I have found that the best way to witness to Christ in the lives of others is by living a truly genuine Christian life. When we smile, love others, forgive, help others; people take note of this. They will realize that it is Christ who inspires us to do these things and will seek Him as well.  When we truly become what Galatians 2:20 says by letting Christ live in us, this is when we can truly be effective disciples and bring others to Christ.  Our Lady was one of the first carriers of the Gospel of her Son.  We must ask her to teach us how to bring Christ to others as well.  I started a new site to promote the apparitions of Our Lady of the Universe.  Please visit www.OurLadyoftheUniverse.com to learn more and spread this devotion.  Let us proclaim Christ's love to all and spread His Good News.

Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051018-ascension.cfm


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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Met Gala: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

The annual Met Gala event took place with the theme: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.  There are mix reactions to the event. Some see it as a sacrilege while others see it as a work of art and deference to the Catholic faith.  Cardinal Dolan and Jesuit priest Father James Martin were present. 

The cardinal spoke about the beauty of God and said that fashion is part of that beauty.  In attendance were many Hollywood personalities who work clothing imitating many concepts of Catholicism.  Rapper Rihanna was dressed with what looked like a miter.  Jennifer Lopez had a dress with a cross that looks like a stain-glass window.  Chadwick Boseman who played "Black Panther" wore something that looked like a cope.

Apparently, the Vatican approved the event and even loan priceless vestments, relics and other items to the Metropolitan for the event.  This news comes as a shock to many Catholics who felt the event was inappropriate, sacrilegious and lampooned Catholicism.  Many of them felt Cardinal Dolan planned the event, but he did not.  Moreover, a joke the cardinal made was interpreted wrongly by some Catholics.  The cardinal said that he let Rihanna borrow his miter. Immediately, bloggers such as Rorate Caeli took to the blogs to go on the attack.  Archdiocese of  New York spokesman, Joseph Zwilling tweeted on his account asking a reported to correct his article to reflect that Cardinal Dolan was joking:



I immediately retweeted Zwillings tweet and notified readers of Rorate Caeli of the fake news he was posting on his blog.  Many Catholics were already attacking Cardinal Dolan over a silly joke that was misinterpreted.



Many have messaged me asking me what I thought about the Met Gala this year.  Well, I have mix reactions about it.  I can see why many Catholics are upset and I also can see why others loved it, such as Father James Martin who tweeted this:





So what do I think? Well, while I love art and items that reflect culture, I think the red carpet with actors and musicians dressed up in Catholic themes was a bit too much.  Some were clearly tacky and inappropriate. Seeing images of women with bulging chests dressed like the Blessed Virgin or Catholic imagery was a bit too much.  Had they been more modest, I think many would not have complained so much.  I can see why many Catholics saw the gala as a mockery of the Catholic Church.  British journalist Piers Morgan was livid over the event and said that if such an event took place using Jewish or Islamic imagery that things would be different. He claims that Catholics were being targeted.  This is the same Piers Morgan who favors same-sex marriage.  In light of this, I do not think his reaction has any value.  If he does not side with the Church's teaching on marriage, then why get upset over celebrities wearing strange takes on Catholic imagery?  It seems hypocritical.  I personally would defend Church teaching over vestment use anytime.  The former is more important.  The latter is a formulation of the Church as she developed.  It was not until after the 6th century that the Church began to use vestments formally in order to distinguish the clergy from the laity. Eventually, these vestments became more fancy in order to reflect what they represent and who they are made for.  The Gala was set up to focus on the art behind Catholic vestments and other items. I personally do not think they set up to offend Catholics.  Things just happen in life.  Cardinal Dolan did not seem to have a problem with it and tweeted this:


Cardinal Dolan's statement


I can see where the cardinal is coming from, but I think he should have been more prudent.  Optics matter in this world. Human beings are silly creatures who think impressions matter and make a big deal over how others look in a situation.  In light of this, Cardinal Dolan's presence and endorsement of the Met Gala will be (has been) seen as ludicrous.  How can a prince of the Church be at an event where some are using sacred art and vestments in a form of parody?  However, we must remember that this even not only showcased Vatican Liturgical treasures but also invited others to share a "Catholic Imagination."  This is what the celebrities and their fashion designers did.  They used their imagination in artistic form. In light of this, we cannot be truly upset. Art is art and the saying goes that " Parody or Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  This is how I choose to see the event.  I try to be a glass full-empty kind of guy.   What do you think?  Post in the comments below this post.  Here is some reaction and photos:


















The reaction from some Catholics, I think, has gone too far.  Some are insulting Cardinal Dolan and Father Martin.  This is uncharitable and sinful.  Let us see this event more like an outreach than a betrayal our Church.  Jesus ate with and was around sinners and those of the world.  Cardinal Dolan and Father Martin seem to be doing this.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis has warned us about being overly rigid. We must have our lighter moments just like Father Martin did when he shared a story of how he was described as "sexy."





Could the Met Gala event been better?  Absolutely.  Again, I think they needed more modesty.  The extra skin in the fashion expressions is what I think offended many.  Then again, art tends to work this way.  It can be controversial and does seek discussion.  The fact that I am writing this post and many others are complaining shows that the art did its job. It got us to talk.  This is what art does.  Again, I prefer to see the even as the world focusing on Catholicism and the beauty it has contributed.  Our Church is so important that the world chose to bring awareness to our traditions and liturgical richness in regards to fashion. 

I had some fun myself on social media by showcasing some of my own vestments:













Source:

http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/heavenly-bodies-fashion-and-the-catholic-imagination/

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/05/catholic-imagination-and-its-counterfeit

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/outreach-or-outrage-catholics-react-to-met-gala-fashion-20038?platform=hootsuite

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/opinion/met-gala-catholic-church.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5703953/PIERS-MORGAN-Met-Islam-Jewish-themed-hell-break-loose-disrespect-religion.html

https://www.thewrap.com/piers-morgan-slams-brazenly-disrespectful-catholic-themed-met-gala/

http://pix11.com/2018/05/07/holy-haute-couture-divine-designs-grace-carpet-at-met-gala/?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5af1452204d30119245624a6&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Gay Pulse Survivor Finds Jesus & is No Longer Gay

Many of us still remember the horrific attack at the now defunct Pulse Gay Nightclub. On June 13, 2016 at around 2:00 AM, Omar Mateen entered the club and began shooting people of all walks of life, both gay and straight. The Pulse Nightclub was a popular spot in Orlando for the LGBTQ community and others.

Some of my own gay friends used to go there. A place known for dancing, music and fun became a slaughterhouse. You can read more here http://www.sacerdotus.com/2016/06/gay-massacre-pulse-in-orlando.html.

The event traumatized many and reminded us that nowhere is truly safe. While evil in nature, the event seemed to have brought out some good. One of the survivors, Luis Javier Ruiz who nearly died during the shooting has made a big announcement. Once a gay man, Ruiz now claims he has found Christ and has left the homosexual lifestyle behind. In a post on his Facebook, he writes:

"April 27 at 7:51am ·
I should of been of number 50
Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse a memory were my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV my struggles were real ! The enemy had its grip and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus I'v grown to know his love in a deeper level. in this picture 2 of out of 49 my close friend on right and in back of me are no longer with us they lost there life that night. I should of been number 50 but now I have the chance to live in relationship and not religion not just loving christ but being in love with christ and sharing his love I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be but who christ Jesus says I am.
Feel free to share the message ❤️
#PulseLives #freedomMarch #May5 #WashingtonDC Freedom March #Jesus #lifestyleChrisitanity #identityInJesus #Share #share #share"

The news is big indeed! While I personally do not believe gay conversion therapy works, but am not opposed to people from the LGBTQ community seeking it voluntarily, I do believe people can change behaviors. It is not easy to do, but it also is not impossible. As a Catholic, I believe even more that God's grace can build upon human nature, even where sin is severely present (Romans 5:20). Being a sinner is not the end of the story. This includes people from the LGBTQ community. While science shows no one is born gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queers, this behavior is deeply rooted in many people. Psychologists, biologists and so on believe its origin is found in both nature and nurture, though not genetically. This is true for most behaviors humans exhibit, even phobias.

Ruiz seems to be an example of this. I hope he is being truly honest with himself and will not relapse into homosexuality. The Catholic Church does not consider being homosexual sinful, though the Church teaches that homosexual acts. Holy Mother Church calls those with homosexual or any sexual tendency, including heterosexuals, to a life of chastity. This includes even married couples. Some think the Church focuses on gays only, she does not. We are all called to chastity and purity. We are all called to respect our bodies, sexuality and that of others.

Young Ruiz has heard Christ calling him and is responding. Let us pray for him that he succeeds in his true transition; not one of gender or physicality, but one of seeking holiness and oneness with Christ.  Hopefully this journey will land him in the Catholic Church later on.

Ruiz made his announcement ahead of a planned march in Washington scheduled for May 5. This march is called the "Freedom March" and presents itself as a "celebration of freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism” Voice of the Voiceless, a religious organization is the one organzing the event. This organization seeks “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families.”

Again, I do not believe anyone can just stop being a homosexual, but I do believe a homosexual can manage the intrinsic disoder via prayer, grace, self-control and support from others seeking holiness. It is a big cross to carry, but not an impossible one.

I recommend those who are homosexual and want to steer away from the gay lifestyle to check out Courage at https://couragerc.org. They are a Catholic group who work with the LGBTQ on their journey. This group does not push the gay agenda nor tries to normalize it. Instead, it brings members to challenge it and seek God's lifestyle. I also recommend Mr. Joseph Sciambra who was a gay porn star and now works to evangelize those in the LGBTQ community. Contact him at: http://josephsciambra.com and follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/josephsciambra.

Please do not contact anyone who wants to push you further into the gay lifestyle such as DignityUSA or any group that wants to send you to a camp or use electroshock therapies. These will not help you. They will harm you psychologically, physically and spiritually.

Let us pray for all those in the LGBTQ community and those brave people among them who are trying to live a holy and chaste life. Let us not judge them or make them feel unwelcome! We are all sinners!





Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pulse-survivor-says-he-no-longer-gay-has-found-christ-n870541

https://www.voiceofthevoiceless.info

https://www.facebook.com/237223436836143/photos/a.237226153502538.1073741828.237223436836143/238607603364393/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/luisjavier.ruiz.5245/posts/618186561853921




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