Sunday, September 22, 2019

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God Dies So You Can Live

Today's readings tell us that God literally loves us to death.  In the first reading, we read the prophecies concerning Christ.  Christ will be tried, tortured, harasses and put to a shameful death. We see all of this in the Passion. Christ is mocked, put on trial, tortured. While on the Cross, the people make fun of Him saying He can save Himself, mocking God. Jesus had to suffer for all of us. This was already set into time and motion since the fall of Adam and Eve.  God did this out of love. As the Responsorial Psalm says, "The Lord upholds my life."  God is the source of our life. Without God, nothing would exist. God loves us so much that He sent His only son to suffer and die for us. He upholds our life even at the expense of His.

This is why we have to return the love and praise God's name, for its goodness.  The second reading tells us that jealousy and selfish ambition only bring disorder. We see this today in the Church, unfortunately. We have some Catholics who are creating drama and scandal in the Church via conspiracy theories and other nonsense. We have to be careful with these people and pray for them.  Like the reading says, we have to rely on wisdom.  Wisdom is pure. It has no ulterior motives and relies on reason. We must be kind, merciful, gentle, compliant and avoid wars among each other. Unfortunately, some Catholics forget that we have to change our behavior if we are to be true Catholics.  Being Catholic is simply not just going to Mass, praying Rosaries, receiving Sacraments and that is all.  It goes deeper. These acts are meant to remind us of God and change our being to reflect God, who is perfect. If we do all of these things and do not love our neighbors or are not merciful, then they did nothing for us.  They were empty rituals that we got hooked to like a mindless drug. We must not become like the Pharisees who saw the Sabbath as a day we just rest, even rest from doing works of charity.

We must be humble like a child and not seek to use Catholicism to make a position for ourselves.  The Gospel reminds us of this.  Jesus says that He will be handed over to be killed. While Jesus is thinking about and talking about His passion, the disciples were busy arguing among themselves who is the greatest. To settle the dispute, Jesus uses a child to make a point. He says that we have to receive others like we receive a child. Nobody who is sane would reject a child. If we see a child alone or hungry, most likely we will be compelled to go ask what is going on and offer to help. We must do this with everyone. We must be servants. The last will be first and the first will be last. This means that we must dedicate our lives to the service of others. It does not mean that we have to be slaves. By servant, Jesus means someone who is caring and compassionate. Being a Catholic is not a stepping stone to a position in the Church or society. It should never be. We should not use the Catholic faith to make a name for ourselves, profit from it or turn it into a business. It pains me to see apologists, Catholic musicians, preachers and the like turn the faith into a cashcow. They make themselves available for booking, charging ridiculous amounts as if the faith is for sale. The Gospel is free.  The catholic faith is free.  Let us follow Christ's words and be the last of all so that we can be the first.  God died on the cross so we can live.  Live not just life, but a holy one. 


Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092318.cfm


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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Batman Day: 80 Years of the Bronx Created Hero

Holy 80 years!  Today is Batman day around the globe. The beloved human superhero has been a fan favorite of many and has inspired young people around the world. Batman was created in 1939 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane while they sat at Poe Park in the Bronx.  Poe Park is a well-known part of the Grand Concourse, Kingsbridge Road and Valentine Avenue area. It is where Edgar Allen Poe's cottage is to this day. 

As a kid into my adulthood, I often frequented this park to relax, have a drink on a hot summer day and pass the time with friends or random stranger who strum up small-talk. The park is also near the Shrine of Our Lady of Queen of the Universe and the parish of St. Philip Neri.

Batman was first featured in Detective Comics #27. The comic entails a wealthy American playboy and philanthropist named Bruce Wayne. After watching his parents murdered as a child. Wayne decides to take vengeance on all criminals in Gotham City, a crime-infested metropolis. What makes Batman unique is that he has no special powers and is not an alien from another world like Superman.  Batman relies on his intelligence, wealth, martial arts skills and stealth to fight crime. With all of these, he managed to defeat the Man of Steel Superman in a fight. 

Other names for Batman are the Dark Knight and The Batman. Batman has several adversaries. The well-known and more popular ones are The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Ra Al Ghul, Mister Freeze, Catwoman whom he has had romantic interests with, Bookworm, King Tut, Madhatter, Bane, Clayface, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Two-Face. 

As Bruce Wayne, Batman lives a single life with his butler Alfred Pennyworth and his ward Richard 'Dick' Grasen who is his sidekick named Robin.  Batman is friends with Commissioner James Gordon and Capital O'Hara, both Gotham city police officers who rely on Batman to help fight crime. Batman would have cross overs with other DC heroes eventually creating the Justice League. He has also befriended the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   

Batman was featured on television and film beginning with the late Adam West and Michael Keaton. In honor of Batman day, cities around the world will be projecting the Batman logo on buildings. 

Batman has been an important part of my childhood. I and many others learned at an early age that we do not need superpowers or abilities to accomplish things in life. With the use of intelligence and will, one can literally do anything. 


My Instagram posts:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2rGKTilZR8/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2rF0ajF63Y/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2rFeoaFORK/


Share your thoughts below on Disqus.  Remember to follow the rules on commenting.


Source:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/21/world/batman-day-signal-trnd/index.html

https://io9.gizmodo.com/this-batman-day-i-have-to-admit-my-favorite-batman-isn-1838315309

https://www.cbr.com/batman-alfred-return-life-tv-show/

https://pix11.com/2019/09/21/bat-signal-lights-up-new-york-at-brooklyns-domino-sugar-refinery-saturday/

https://comicbook.com/dc/2019/09/22/batman-day-cities-begin-to-light-up-the-sky-with-bat-signals/

https://ktla.com/2019/09/21/holy-superhero-tribute-bat-signal-to-shine-from-l-a-city-hall-saturday-for-batman-day/

Friday, September 20, 2019

Archbishop Chaput Calls Out Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Finally, an American prelate had the courage to refute Fr. James Martin, SJ.  Fr. Martin has taken to task to be as sort of "bridge-builder" between homosexuals and the Catholic Church. He even wrote a book about "Building Bridges." However, his effort does not call for homosexuals to live a chaste life as the Church teaches, nor does it call them to repent for their homosexual sins. Rather, his tone is soft and often ambiguous which has left many confused, Catholics and homosexual.

Listening to Fr. Martin or reading his content, one would think that the Catholic Church endorses homosexual acts and so-called same-sex marriage. On his Facebook page, many people clearly support homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  Catholics such as myself who have dared to comment on his posts have been met with personal attacks and mockery. Father Martin in no instance jumps in to correct those who attack the Catholic teachings on homosexuality.

The silence from the Vatican and bishops has bothered many Catholics. Is the Church turning from the truth? Is she now going to become like the Episcopalians who endorse homosexuality?  This is what many Catholics dread. However, Archbishop Chaput gave us some hope. He publicly reprimanded Fr. Martin and made it clear that he is not an authority in the Catholic Church.  In a column on his diocese's website, he writes:

Father James Martin, S.J., spoke at St. Joseph’s University earlier this week (Tuesday, September 17) on themes related to his book Building A Bridge. And as I expected, quite a few emails arrived in my inbox questioning his teaching on same-sex related issues and urging me to prevent his appearance. A local bishop is typically unable to do that, since most Catholic universities operate under the authority of the religious community that sponsors them.
Father Martin has also, at times, been the target of bitter personal attacks. As I’ve said previously, such attacks are inexcusable and unChristian.
In reality, Father Martin has sought in a dedicated way to accompany and support people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Many of his efforts have been laudable, and we need to join him in stressing the dignity of persons in such situations.
At the same time, a pattern of ambiguity in his teachings tends to undermine his stated aims, alienating people from the very support they need for authentic human flourishing. Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues,[i] I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims.
Among my concerns, I note the following:
Father Martin suggests that same-sex attracted people and those with gender dysphoria should be labeled according to their attraction and dysphoria, calling for use of the phrase “LGBT Catholic” in Church documents and language.[ii] But while the Church does teach that the body is integral to human identity, our sexual appetites do not define who we are. If we are primarily defined by our sexual attractions, then, in order to be fulfilled, it would follow that we must identify with and act on our attractions.
Anything calling for the denial or restraint of our sexual appetites would logically amount to repression and even cruelty. This is the opposite of the Gospel’s clear teaching that our identity is found in Jesus Christ, created in the image and likeness of God and called to be sons and daughters of God.
Father Martin has, in the past, suggested that people are born “gay.” In his own words, “[i]t is a fact that people are born this way … [a] psychological, psychiatric, and biological truth.”[iii] To his credit, Father Martin has seemed to modify this view; studies have recently shown that there is no “gay gene,” and homosexuality is the product of a variety of factors.
It’s true that many persons with same-sex attraction have experienced it for as long as they can remember, but no firm scientific consensus exists on the cause.  Moreover, genetic dispositions — to the degree they do exist — say nothing about the benefit or harm toward which they dispose those having them.
Any implication that a person’s behavior is predetermined, and that intellect and free will have little role in the formation and control of his or her sexual appetites, is both false and destructive, especially to young people.
Father Martin suggests that Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction as “objectively disordered” (for example, in CCC 2358) is cruel and should be modified. In his words, “saying that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is disordered is needlessly hurtful.”[iv] But here Father Martin misrepresents Catholic belief. As the U.S. bishops stressed in their 2006 document, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care:
“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church. Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.”[v]
It’s worth recalling here that the Catechism also describes lust, extra-marital relations, and contracepted sex (2351), masturbation (2352), and even non-sexual sins such as lying and calumny (1753), as intrinsically “disordered.” The suggestion that the wisdom of the Church, rooted in the Word of God and centuries of human experience, is somehow cruel or misguided does grave harm to her mission. Families have been destroyed because of this misperception, and Father Martin regrettably contributes ambiguity to issues that demand a liberating biblical clarity.
Father Martin partners with organizations like New Ways Ministry that oppose or ignore the teaching of the Church, and he endorses events, such as PRIDE month, that cause confusion for the faithful. To the contrary we need to reaffirm, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated in its 1986 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, that
“All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted.”
Father Martin — no doubt unintentionally — inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed. In his book, Building A Bridge, he writes: “For a teaching to be really authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God … From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives … has not been received.”[vi] One might easily, and falsely, infer from such language that the Church’s teaching on sexual intimacy lacks binding authority for same-sex attracted Catholics.
Again to his credit, Father Martin has stressed that, “as a Catholic priest, I have … never challenged [the Church’s] teachings, nor will I.” [vii] But what is implied or omitted often speaks as loudly as what is actually stated, and in the current climate, incomplete truths do, in fact, present a challenge to faithful Catholic belief.
When people hear that “the Church welcomes gay people” or needs to be more “inclusive and welcoming” without also hearing the conditions of an authentically Christian life set for all persons by Jesus Christ and his Church — namely, living a life of chastity — they can easily misunderstand the nature of Christian conversion and discipleship.
For this reason, Catholic teaching always requires more than polite affirmation or pro forma agreement, particularly from those who comment publicly on matters of doctrine. Faithful Catholics who are same-sex attracted need support and encouragement in the virtue of chastity.  They deserve to hear — as all people do — the truth about human sexuality spoken clearly and confidently. Anything less lacks both mercy and justice.
In its 1986 Letter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned us,
“This Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programs which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful.”
Supporters of Father Martin’s efforts will note, correctly, that several Church leaders have endorsed his work.   Those Churchmen are responsible for their words — as I am for mine, as pastor of the Church in Philadelphia.  And specifically in that role as pastor, I want to extend the CDF’s caution to all the faithful of the Church in Philadelphia, regarding the ambiguity about same-sex related issues found throughout the statements and activities of Father James Martin.
***
[i]      See, for example, Fr. Martin comments in “School defies Archdiocese of Indianapolis, refuses to fire teacher in same-sex marriage,” CBS News June 21, 2019
[ii]          Rev. James Martin, S.J., “Reflections on Two L.G.B.T. Questions at the Synod”, America, 12 October 2018; Rev. James Martin, S.J., Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity, Revised and expanded edition (New York: HarperCollins, 2018), 35.
[iii]         From a Facebook video entitled “Q&A about the Pope’s recent comment ‘God made you gay.’”
[iv]         Quoted in Jonathan Merritt, “This Vatican Adviser is Moving Catholics toward LGBT Inclusion”, Religion News Service, 6 June 2017.
[v]          http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm
[vi]         https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/10/fr-martin-does-not-actually-say
[vii]        Rev. James Martin, S.J., “What is the Official Church Teaching on Homosexuality? Responding to a Commonly Asked Question”, America, 6 April 2018.

Source:  http://catholicphilly.com/2019/09/archbishop-chaput-column/father-james-martin-and-catholic-belief/



Those are fighting words and welcome!  Finally, a Catholic bishop stands up to Fr. Martin and publicly tells all that he is not an authority and his messages are not in line with the Catholic faith. However, Fr. Martin is not one to stay shut. He quickly offered a short response, he wrote:


I want to thank Archbishop Chaput for his thoughtful response to my recent lecture at St. Joseph’s University “Building a Bridge: Reaching Out to the Excluded in Our Church.” However, I was sorry that he felt the need to publish it.
I think my main response to his column is that it’s difficult to respond to critiques that I am “implying” things about church teaching, when I am assiduous in my writings and talks about not challenging church teaching on matters of sexual morality (or anything, for that matter). I have written clearly about that in America magazine, among other places, for example, in my article “What is Official Church Teaching on Homosexuality?”

Also, the lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week, which prompted his column, is the same lecture that I presented at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last year, the text of which was vetted and approved beforehand by the Vatican.
One of the reasons that I don’t focus on same-sex relations and same-sex marriage, which I know are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching, is that LGBT Catholics have heard this repeatedly. Indeed, often that is the only thing that they hear from their church.
What I am trying to do instead is encourage Catholics to see LGBT people as more than just sexual beings, to see them in their totality, much as Jesus saw people on the margins, people who were also seen as “other” in his time.
I remain grateful for the Archbishop’s asking people not to engage in “ad hominem” attacks, and I appreciate the careful tone of his letter and have always appreciated his kind communications with me. And may I take this opportunity to thank him for his service to my beloved hometown of Philadelphia.
Peace,
Rev. James Martin, S.J.
Editor at Large
America Media

Source:  http://catholicphilly.com/2019/09/commentaries/fr-martin-responds-to-archbishop-chaputs-critique/


I was shocked to read Fr. Martin finally acknowledge that same-sex relations and marriage are impermissible and immoral under Church teaching!  I almost fell out of my seat while reading his reply. This is probably the first time that Fr. Martin has told the truth regarding homosexuality and how the Catholic Church teaches on it.

Archbishop Chaput replied to Fr. Martin, he wrote:

I appreciate Father Martin’s typically gracious comments, which are consistent with the man. They do not, however, change the need for my column. I’m sure Father Martin would agree that “official” Church teaching (as opposed to some alternative, imagined, unofficial system of belief and practice) is simply what the Church believes based on the Word of God and centuries of experience with the human condition.
Moreover, the point is not to “not challenge” what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment.
Finally, Father Martin and I emphatically agree that persons with same-sex attraction are children of God and well loved by him. Thus they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The Church must earnestly seek to do that while remaining true to her convictions.
But it is clearly not true that the “only thing” Catholics with same-sex attraction hear from their Church is a message of rejection. Or if it is, perhaps the responsibility can lie as much with the listener as it does with the Church. We each have the freedom to choose. Listening, like teaching, is an act of the will.

Source http://catholicphilly.com/2019/09/commentaries/fr-martin-responds-to-archbishop-chaputs-critique/ (bottom of Fr. Martin's reply)


I hope more bishops and priests join in and offer their criticism of how Fr. Martin conducts ministry to homosexuals. The Catholic Church's mission is to bring the people back to God.  She is to go out in Jesus' name, baptize and teach, sanctify and forgive, admonish and show mercy. Reaching out to homosexuals is a must for the Church. They are not to be left behind. However, we do this by affirming what God has revealed to us about homosexuality and call for repentance and a change of behavior. Simply telling homosexuals that they are loved does not do much. It implicitly endorses their bad behavior (if they are active gays).  Calling on them to live holy lives is a must. This means accepting that one has homosexual tendencies, but not giving in to them.  Ironically, this same attitude applies to every other sin.

I hope Archbishop Chaput's words will not expedite the acceptance of his resignation. He turns 75 on September 26 and this is the age that is bishops must turn in their resignation as required by Canon Law. Archbishop Vigano had claimed that Pope Francis does not like Archbishop Chaput. Many have speculated this after Archbishop Chaput was never made a cardinal. If Pope Francis quickly accepts Archbishop Chaput's resignation, this may cement the theories.

Let us pray for Archbishop Chaput and Fr. James Martin, SJ.


What do you think?  Post your comment below on Disqus.  Remember to follow the rules on commenting.






News Source:

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/archbishop-chaput-warns-catholics-against-father-martins-pattern-of-ambigui

http://catholicphilly.com/2019/09/archbishop-chaput-column/father-james-martin-and-catholic-belief/

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/philly-archbishop-pro-lgbt-fr-james-martin-does-not-speak-authority



Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bronx Bombers (Yankees) Clinch

After a season of injuries, drama with umpires and now drama with a pitcher accused of domestic violence, the New York Yankees have clinched the American League Eastern division.

A crowd of 42,000 fans stood into the chill of the night in the Bronx to view the Yankees beat the Angels.  Veteran player, Brett Gardner was the stars of the night along with Clint Frazier, Cameron Maybin, and DJ LeMahieu.

After the game, the players drenched themselves and reporters with champagne. This is the first time since 2012 that the Yankees have won first place in the American League's Eastern Division. The Yankees ended the berth with 100 wins and 53 losses and are in a tie with the Astros. 

Now the Bronx Bombers will be heading to the American League Division series to begin the quest for number 28. 




Source:

https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-clinch-al-east-la-angels-domingo-german-20190920-ftncndybjffepfao6fyzwd7n7a-story.html

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/yankees-clinch-first-al-east-title-since-2012-with-win-over-angels/

https://nypost.com/2019/09/19/yankees-clinch-first-al-east-title-since-2012-behind-brilliant-masahiro-tanaka/

Conspiracist Taylor Marshall Blocks Sacerdotus

As I have written before, when Pope Francis was elected, this stirred a lot of people in the Catholic Church. The "schism" really began on March 13, 2013. We are seeing it more open today, especially on social media. Catholics are fighting one another. I shared how many Catholics followed me, jumped into my mini-debates against atheists and protestants, and were friendly. That changed with many unfollowing me, blocking me or aligning themselves with party lines, so to speak.

Before on social media, there were Catholics who were more orthodox than others, and then there were the sedevacantists and the really absurd Catholics who deny almost everything the Church teaches. I faced them all. From NovusOrdoWatch and his sheep who deny the papacy and have a huge misconception of what Catholicism teaches, to the liberal ones who claim the Bible supports abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage. Despite these, there were always mainstream Catholics who alway balanced things out. Now, nearly all of those followers are competing against each other as to who is more Catholic than the next.

Taylor R. Marshall is one such character who went bonkers, along with Rorate Caeli and a few others. I used to follow Marshall back in 2015 and enjoyed his appreciation of the Liturgy from pre-Vatican II. However, his tweets started to become more nonsensical and contentious. He began to attack the Ordinary Form of the Mass, made implicit jabs at Pope Francis and started to show a scrupulous side that one would expect from the Pharisees. Having a doctoral degree, I expected him to be more rational and balanced, but he has demonstrated a tendency to rely on heuristic representativeness, conjecture, bias and conspiracy to push a narrative.

I am not sure when, but he blocked me on Twitter. It seems he blocked me because I questioned his comments and corrected his misinformation. I state this because I never was rude to him. My tweets are evidence of this. I will show them here:

In this tweet, I asked him for a review copy of his book so as to review it on my media


In this tweet, I comment on how I tried to get the nuncio to invite my nephew to meet the pope during his visit to New York, and the nuncio gave me the runaround:



These are the times I questioned him and offered a correction to his misstatements and misinformation:
































As you can see, my criticisms involved his misconceptions and bad takes on certain events or actions, particularly, involving the pope. They were never ill-willed or meant to make him look bad. I was doing my Christian duty of correcting a brother in error or offering him a different perspective than the negative and accusatory one he adopted. If this is what led him to block me, then he is clearly insecure with his intelligence and cannot handle criticism.

Had I come across as rude and vulgar, then I would understand the need to block me. However, I did no such things. This tells me what many others have stated about Marshall: that he is an opportunist profiting off the gullible. Opportunists do not like to be challenged. They are authoritarians who see themselves equal to no one and untouchable. I am concerned for Taylor and his large following. They are not well educated in the Catholic faith, history of the Church or her Liturgical rubrics. This is evident in the exchanges I have read online and on his personal website. Taylor caters to a group of alleged Catholics who call themselves "traditionalists," but are really ignorant of tradition, both with capital and lower-case T.

These are the type that believes the only valid Liturgy is the Extraordinary Form, want to oppress females to the pews wearing veils, oppress young girls from the altar, profess false ideas on how to receive Holy Communion, rely heavily on private revelations, and who deems everything they disagree with as "modernism." Another thing this type of Catholic does is nitpick externals. If a vestment or clerical attire is not to his or her liking, then the cleric if a "modernist," liberal or heretic. The scrupulous nature found in these types of alleged Catholics is disturbing. Taylor himself is guilty of this.

Here is a recent example of one of those scrupulous tweets that are worthy of the Pharisees:



In this tweet, he is mocking the use of different colored clerical collar shirts. Like seriously, Taylor? The Catholic Church has no official rubric that states what a cleric has to wear other than the cassock with the appropriate piping color and sash. Then there are religious orders and institutes which use their own variations of habits and clerical collar shirts or even cassocks. What difference does it make the color of the shirt a priest or deacon uses? Taylor's comment here to just wear a cassock is offensive to religious orders. Does that mean the brown and gray Franciscan habit or black and white robes of the Dominican invalid because it is not a cassock? This is what I mean when I say that Taylor has gone bonkers. He has gone off the rails, so to speak.

I will not go into his book which reads more like a fictitious novel with a conspiracy plot. It is like reading the Da Vinci Code or watching the movie Angels & Demons. The book would not pass vetting from scholars and academics. It is a veiled attack against Pope Francis that insinuates that the pontiff was seated in Rome due to the influence of cults within the Church, such as the Free Masons. If Marshall really believes what he wrote, that is scary. I worry about his psychological health along with his spiritual health.

Conspiracy theories are not new in the Church or secular world. There are many people who create them and believe them. Today, we hear of Trump being an accomplice with Russia, Hillary Clinton as a hitman of sorts, the Pizzagate scenario, Queen Elizabeth being a reptilian alien, Area 51 having captured aliens, Pope Francis is a Communist, I can go on and on, but we get the point. New ones pop up almost daily, especially on social media. Why are humans fascinated with conspiracy theories?

Well, psychologists have many theories. Human beings need to find a causal explanation for events in order to have a clear understanding of the world (Heider, 1958). This need to stabilize and formalize a causal explanation often leads to a rushed conclusion. In psychology, this is called Heuristic Representativeness. This is when the human brain pieces together pieces of information and comes up with a conclusion without process it logically. Conspiracy theories are formed by this processing. These theories posit, to varying degrees, that with certain actors, events hidden from the public perception that seems to be coincidental or link to one another offer a specific conclusion that proves a set narrative; the conclusion is then closed off from falsification (Lewandowsky et al., 2015). In fact, those who try to debunk the conspiracy theory becomes part of the conspiracy. Any attempt to debunk said conspiracy theory is met with aggressive responses and intense rejection (Goertzel, 1994). These conspiracy theories offer a safety blanket for the confirmation bias a person holds (Bost & Prunier, 2013). Any counter to them will force the brain of the person holding to the conspiracy theory to become defensive. This is why we see Taylor and his sheep become very defensive when their narratives and theories are questioned or debunked. It is the equivalent of offending someone's mother. The one whose mom is being attacked will not sit idle to it.

Those who foster conspiracies have a borderline personality disorder. They exhibit signs of Paranoid Ideation (Cichocka, Marchlewska, & Golec de Zavala, 2016). Narcissism is also a part of those who foster conspiracy theories. They feel superiors to others with the belief that only they possess the truth (Cichocka, Marchlewska, Golec de Zavala, & Olechowski, 2016). This is what we find in the works of Taylor and his followers. They exhibit paranoid (The Catholic Church is being infiltrated) and narcissism (only "traditional" Catholics are Catholic). This is why the Pope has been concerned with those Catholics who are "rigid." By "rigid," he does not mean Catholics who follow the Church's teachings and live the faith in an orthodox way. He means those who believe their form of Catholicism or how they understand it, is the correct one and refuse to adopt reality and the viewpoints of another(Stewin, Len (September 1983).

Dr. Coplan categorizes it in this manner: People who are cognitively rigid externalize and internalize certain behaviors. They externalize:


  • Insistently repetitious behavior, 
  • Difficulty with unmet expectations, 
  • Perfectionism, 
  • Compulsions, 
  • Preservation, 
  • Agitation, 
  • Aggression, 
  • SIB (Self-Injurious Behavior). 


They internalize:

  • Perfectionism, 
  • Obsessions, 
  • Anxiety, 
  • Depression and Suicidality. 


Individuals who are cognitively rigid adhere to a Mental Set. This is a paradigm of previous experiences that are ordered in such a way that it becomes a schema. Anything that counters or is different from this mental set is rejected. Doing so will cause the individual to learn new things and explore new environments. This is not easy to do for some people. It is like building a house the way you like it, living it in for years only to disassemble it and rebuild it in another way. Most are not willing to do this in real life with a house, imagine with their minds.

So those Catholics who are stuck in the past and only think the pre-Vatican II way is the only way, those who are cognitively rigid. These are the ones the pope has shown concern for as a pastor. He probably speaks about this because he knows well as a Jesuit how dangerous the rigid can be. Those who are cognitively rigid hide inner conflicts and personality disorders. If not treated, they can even lead to severe depression, antisocial behavior, and suicide. When I studied in Toronto, I lived in a parish that was "traditional-minded" in the sense of appreciating the pre-Vatican II Liturgy. The pastor of the parish was a Franciscan who was very critical of everyone. I felt very uncomfortable around him. He would tell me that priests who wore short-sleeved clerical collar shirts were heretics and was caught up on attire. When I went home for the holidays in New York, he called me, not to see if I got home safe, but to criticize my travel clothing. I wore jeans, a sweater, a winter coat, and a Yankees cap. This priest found an issue with this! I was dismayed and realized how sick some Catholic priests can be, psychologically speaking. One morning during breakfast, the priest said he would not open the door to black people. I questioned him as to why, and he said that a black man robbed him while he was depositing the collection and that he is more careful around black people. I was disgusted at his comment. This priest was a "traditionalist" and the rigid type the pope has spoken about numerous times. This is not an insult, but a description of abnormal psychology that some Catholics have adopted.

Taylor and his followers exhibit the same rigid and paranoid tones which all Catholic should be worried about. They are signs of an underlying personality disorder which and blow up into something more dangerous. Conspiracy theories are not something we should take lightly. They are dangerous and are often what create cults. The fact that many Catholics choose to follow Marshall over the pope and the Catholic Church's teachings are disturbing. Taylor is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts. He has made many gaffes on Twitter which have been caught by others who are knowledgeable. One such gaffe is his comment that the priest is somehow superior to the laity. This is not Catholic teaching! He eventually deleted the tweet. Another tweet is when he posted a photo of someone receiving Communion at an altar rail with the caption "this is how it is done." Again, this is not official Catholic teaching. While people can receive on the tongue while kneeling, this does not mean it is the only way or only correct way. This misconception and one which he claimed Communion in the hand was not done in the early Church led to writing my own post showing actually documentation refuting his misconceptions, see: https://www.sacerdotus.com/2019/09/holy-communion-hand-vs-tongue-discussion.html. It is scary to think that many believe his content is correct. They see "PhD" and believe he is an authority. However, his doctorate is in philosophy, not theology. His theological studies are on the master's level and are protestant in nature. Taylor was an Anglican priest who became Catholic.

That fact brings me to an interesting point. Suppose I wrote a book claiming that he infiltrated the Catholic Church and cite his former life as an Anglican priest, does that make my book factual? If you say no, then you are correct. Conspiracy theories are not factual. People can read whatever they want, but they have to be smart enough to vet it against the facts. I read a lot of things and take them as a grain of salt, so to speak. When I read them, I do extra research to verify the claims.

As Scripture says, "test the spirits (1 John 4)." Be careful with Taylor and others who present a narrative that is not what the Catholic Church teaches. As stated before, Marshall tweeted some good content in the beginning, however, he has gone awol, so speak. We need to pray for him and correct his errors with the facts, not insults or accusations. Marshall is one tweet away from becoming a schismatic. While he is not shy about his dislike of Pope Francis, I have not seen him openly state that there is no pope or that Pope Francis is not the pope. However, it is only a matter of time until he goes sedevacantist from what I have read from his own hands (tweets/writings). This indicates a psychological and spiritual crisis going on in him. We need to pray for him. He may suffer from an underlying psychological personality disorder or adjustment disorder.

Remember, Taylor Marshall is just a layman. He is not an official teacher of Catholicism. Catholics should rely on the magisterium and sacred deposit for their information, no one else. Marshall's content is his personal opinion and bias, nothing else. No Catholic should make any decisions on how he or she practices his or her faith based on what they hear or read from Taylor Marshall.



I hope the bishops do something to have more control and monitoring of alleged Catholic content found on social media. They are the teachers of the faith, not laypeople on YouTube or Twitter accounts. The bishops need to take control of the situation or they will lose the people to these lay people who post narratives in the name of the Liturgy and Catholic faith.  Are we to become petty Pharisees?  This scares aways Catholics and those interested in joining the Church as this person tweeted to me:




There is nothing wrong with loving the Liturgies from the pre-Vatican II era. I love them and love the traditional lace surplices!  I love Latin and receive Communion on the tongue and kneel when I can.  However, I do not impose my preferences upon other Catholics when the Church already decided options for them.  Being a true traditionalist is loving tradition, all of them, not just the ones from Trent until 1962.  It means accepting the fact that tradition is part of the Catholic Church and is a living organism which the pope and bishops have control and mandate over, not the laity or even priests and deacons.  As one of my Oratorian professors from the Oratory at St. Philip's Seminary in Toronto, Canada wrote in his book:

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism the dead faith of the living" 
      ~On the Lord's Appearing



What do you think?  Post below on Disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules on commenting.




Source:

https://taylormarshall.com

https://twitter.com/TaylorRMarshall

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0963721417718261

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-autistic-spectrum-disorders/201608/cognitive-rigidity-the-8-ball-hell



Union Theological 'Confessing' to Plants

A tweet from Union Theological Seminary has caused a stir on social media. The tweet shows a photo of students gathered near plants. In the tweet, it is said that participants are "confessing" to the plants.  As you can imagine, this has raised the eyebrows of some Christians on social media who find the gesture odd and even blasphemous.   


After the backlash, the account of Union Theological Seminary tweeted this explanation of the photo:



The explanation did not do much to hold back the criticism. Many see the act as pagan in nature. According to Union Theological Seminary, the students are "confessing" to plants, or asking the plants for forgiveness for the harm humanity has caused to them. As we all know, humans have not been a friend to nature. Plants are very important organisms in nature. They aide in the creation of oxygen, clean the air of impurities and carbon dioxide. Plants also help circulate oxygen and are a major food source for many animals.

While the photo does look odd, I can understand where the students are coming from. They are trying to create an optic of humanity harmonizing with nature. St. Francis himself spoke to many things in nature. This was not Paganism. He saw all creation as family. As long as the students are doing this in a Franciscan sense, I do not see any problem. In fact, I even joked that maybe they were trying to prevent an event like that in the plot of the 2008 movie, The Happening.






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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Cardinal Burke & Bishop Schneider Call for Prayer Crusade

It is not news that many Catholics are concerned about the upcoming Amazon synod spearheaded by German bishops. The synod's instrumentum laboris or "working document" has many things in it that should concern all Catholics who love the faith. You can read it here: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/06/17/190617d.html.  In response to the concerns, Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider proposed a Crusade of Prayer and Fasting. Both had presented an eight-page declaration regarding what they believe are six "serious theological errors and heresies."  It can be read here: http://www.ncregister.com/images/uploads/BurkeSchneider.pdf.

The prelates are asking Catholics worldwide to pray every day the Rosary and fast for once a week. The prayer and fast are for 40 days (Sept. 17 to Oct. 26).

The Amazon synod is geared to propose contentious ideas, such as, having married priests, accepting Pagan-indigenous ideas as equal to that of Christianity, implicit pantheism, that Catholicism in the Amazon needs to go through a "conversion," and many other ideas.

The crusade has been met with criticism and mockery from those Catholics who align themselves with liberal ideologies. However, the majority of Catholics on social media are following through with the crusade.  We here at Sacerdotus will also join this crusade.  A little prayer and fasting never hurt anyone.

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Source:
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/crusade

Ex-Gays Have 2nd 'Freedom March' in Orlando

Most of us remember the horrible mass shooting at a Gay club named Pulse in Orlando, Florida in 2015. A deranged man who was possibly a closeted homosexual himself entered the club and began shooting participants during a Puerto Rican event. When it was over, 49 people were killed and many more left injured and traumatized.  (see:http://www.sacerdotus.com/2016/06/gay-massacre-pulse-in-orlando.html)

The event sent shockwaves around the world, especially in the LGBTQ community which is often the target of hate and abuse by homophobic individuals or groups. Despite this tragedy, some good came of it. In 2018, one of the survivors who once identified as a gay man, Luis Javier Ruiz had a conversion experience. The shooting made him realized how the LGBTQ lifestyle took him away from God. His life was lost and seemed to have no purpose. This eventually led to him contracting HIV and suffering the health consequences because of it.  However, he found Jesus again.  (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2018/05/gay-pulse-survivor-finds-jesus-is-no.html). Ruiz now claims he is no longer gay and has made it a mission to bring to attention that it is possible to be an "ex-homosexual."

On September 14, he and another Pulse nightclub survivor, Angel Colon founded the ministry Fearless Identity and hosted a rally in Orlando, Florida just feet from the abandoned Pulse nightclub building. He was joined by the Florida Family Policy Council, which is a conservative organization that is against so-called gay marriage and other laws which were passed which have conflicted with religious freedom. The rally pushes for the conversion of homosexuals. Both Colon and Ruiz do not believe in conversion therapy and claim that their group only focuses on conversions in a religious sense. Both do not identify as heterosexual or homosexual, but just "God's children."

As one can imagine, this rally and the efforts of Ruiz and Colon have not been met with cheers from the mainstream LGBTQ and leftist groups. Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out tweeted, "Far from a 'Freedom March,' the Religious Right exploited desperate and vulnerable LGBT people to hold a 'Fraud March' in Orlando, where these folks renounced their humanity to get a pat on the back from homophobic bigots.  Fortunately, the Truth Wins Out."

Pro-gay group, Conversion Therapy Dropout Network put out a statement, "There is no doubt that Ruiz and Colon have experienced extreme trauma during the Pulse massacre. However, going to the opposite extreme and professing the same rhetoric that severely impacts their community is an insult to those lost in the massacre. We understand the fear they feel living as queer people, but to join the bigotry that oppresses us is not the answer."  Christopher Cuevas of QLatinx, an Orlando based LGBTQ advocacy group said, "While we honor the freedom for expressions of faith, and hold the beauty of religiosity in our community, we cannot condone the gross misuse of religious text and faith to exploit LGBTQ people or support conversion therapy. The expressions of our queer and transgender identities are the embodiment of divinity and grace because we are living our most radical truth by celebrating and centering our LGBTQ identity." 

Colon made it clear that his group's intention is not to force homosexuals to become heterosexuals. He said, "We're trying to equip churches, even if they're not gay-affirming churches, with the resources they need and teach them not to judge the LGBTQ community. We're trying to share our stories through ministry and share the testimonies of people who've come out of the homosexual lifestyle. We are not at all advocates for conversion therapy or shock therapy. We stand with the gay community, and our main message is about falling in love with Jesus, but if an LGBTQ person wanted to talk to a pastor or counselor, that's a whole different story."    

The whole gay-conversion issue is a complicated one. Mainstream psychological organizations frown upon it. They claim that it does more harm than good. However, some homosexuals claim that it worked for them. This therapy may involve electroshock therapy where a homosexual is shocked with electricity when he or she is presented with homosexual content. It is a form of operant conditioning. The goal is to associate homosexual content with the electric shock in order to train the brain to avoid it. The concept does work, but eventually can wear out and would need to be reinforced. However, constant shocking and so on can cause anxiety and other problems as well.   

In any event, good for these young men. They are not looking to torment gay people, but to share their experience. There is nothing wrong with this. As Plato wrote in his Apology, "The unexamined life is not worth living." This is why many LGBTQ opt to commit suicide. The hedonism and other evils in the LGBTQ lifestyle waste away at the gay person's soul. They live an unexamined life that leads to depression and other problems which makes them feel worthless.  My prayers go out to all those struggling with the LGBTQ lifestyle. There is also the Catholic organization Courage, a group founded to help those who have homosexual tendencies live a chaste life. No conversion therapy is involved. Members are simply fed spirituality and prayer. They take their own steps and make their own decisions with the help of God's grace.

The fact that this news has triggered LGBTQ leftists shows that they are afraid.  We need to support and pray for these two young and handsome men that they do not fall into temptation. Already, they are being attacked on social media by their LGBTQ peers who claim their efforts are due to PTSD.  We can presume some may be trying to tempt them to rejoin the LGBTQ or may try to blackmail them by posting any inappropriate content the young men may have shared with partners or others on social gay apps.  People can be shady. 

Cuevas revealed his poor understanding of God and Scripture when he wrote in an email, "The expressions of our queer and transgender identities are the embodiment of divinity and grace because we are living our most radical truth..." God does not make anyone gay or transgender. These are developments that occur in the human species. They are not embodiments of grace or divinity. Living "one's truth" is also fallacious. Truth has to be universal, not just for the individual.  The real Truth Does Win Out in the end, Jesus. Jesus loves all people, including the LGBTQ. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, only when it is acted upon. 
Chastity and homosexuality. In the catechism it states:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.



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Source:

https://fearlessidentity.co/

https://www.facebook.com/LuisJ407/

https://couragerc.org/

https://www.christianpost.com/news/millennials-boldly-preach-freedom-from-lgbt-lives-orlando-march-3-years-after-pulse-mass-shooting.html

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/september/former-members-of-lgbtq-lifestyle-proudly-proclaim-freedom-from-homosexuality-in-fl-march

https://www.orlandoweekly.com/orlando/freedom-to-march-wants-gay-people-in-florida-to-know-theyre-free-to-leave-homosexuality/Content?oid=25976107

https://www.towleroad.com/2019/09/pulse-survivors-freedom-march/

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/freedom-marchers-hold-rally-for-formerly-gay-and-transgender-christians-in-orlando/986335023

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pulse-shooting-survivors-organize-ex-gay-freedom-march-orlando-n1044581

https://www.washingtonblade.com/2019/08/22/pulse-survivors-plan-ex-gay-freedom-march-near-pulse-nightclub/

https://thegavoice.com/news/pulse-survivors-no-longer-identify-as-gay-and-organize-ex-gay-freedom-march/

https://twitter.com/WayneBesen/status/1172991460276391936

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

DawnofMercy 'EWTN Schism'

A battle broke out today when Catholic convert from Judaism and Protestantism, Dawn Eden Goldstein (DawnofMercy) posted a tweet claiming that there is an "EWTN schism." She posted a clip from the homily of the day where a priest from the Eternal Word Missionaries (a Franciscan third order group founded by the late Mother Angelica) spoke on the upcoming Amazon synod and the calls to prayer and fasting from Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider.


Goldstein claims that the homily was inappropriate and even made accusations of liturgical abuse, as well as, the creation of a disservice to EWTN viewers. The tweet caused an uproar among several alleged Catholic accounts which began questioning Dawn's intentions. To make things worse, another person posted a comment insinuating that Dawn is a Jewish infiltrator in the Catholic Church. This caused a quarrel with OnePeterFive and Steve Skojec.   



The tweet has turned Catholics against each other with ongoing threads of insults and accusations being tossed around like footballs.  What do you think?  Is Dawn correct?  Is there an EWTN schism? 

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Time to Change

Today's readings tell us about turning away from sin and repenting. God is there waiting for us. 

The first readings are the story of Moses on the mountain receiving the Commandments as the Hebrews are up to no good down below. They created a molten calf and began to worship it, sacrificed to it and even declared this calf to be the God of Israel. Moses intercedes for them asking God why would He blaze up His wrath against the people He rescued? Here we see that God is merciful. Moses has the audacity to remind God everything He is about and who He has helped.  We are talking about God, The God Yahweh! This shows us how approachable God is. As an atheist, I remember the arguments that the "God of the Old Testament" is this evil, mean, angry God. Clearly, He is not. Scripture tells stories using certain imagery the Hebrews and people of the time understood. We must remember this when we read Scripture in 2019 or in 3019. Whatever the year is. We must understand the context, genre, and audience in whatever passage we are reading. God is indeed merciful and we can argue with God and plead with Him. God is our Father!  How many times have we argued with our parents? Arguing is not necessarily a bad thing, unless it gets violent, which is never good. Emotions are shared. We learn where the other party is during an argument and can hopefully mend things in a civil manner.

Like a Father, God reaches out to us and is merciful. We must respond back like the Responsorial Psalm says, "I will rise and go to my Father."  The Psalm tells us how God is compassion and goodness and that He has mercy on us. He forgives us and washes us from our guilt. This can only happen if we cooperate. We must set aside sin and to do this, we must be humble and ask God to create a clean heart in us. This means making things new. Unfortunately, some people in the Catholic Church rely on misguided compassion, as the late MOther Angelic used to say. They think that we have to be nice to everyone and leave it at that. While we must be nice and kind, this does not mean we should not correct others and helps others when they are caught in a spiral of sin and destruction. This is not being judgmental. While we must meet people where they are at, we must take them away from there as well.

This brings us to the second reading. We read how St. Paul tells us of what he used to be and how he changed. He was a blasphemer, a persecutor and arrogant. Despite all of this, he was treated mercifully by the other Catholic Christians of the time. Grace took hold and he changed. God called him to repent and change. He responded and became one of the greatest evangelists of all time. This brings us to the Gospel where Jesus tells us about the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 to find that one that is missing.  This is an image of God and how God functions. He is just, but merciful. God will not force Himself on us. He waits for us to accept the gifts of grace He offers and grow in Him. Heaven rejoices when one sinner returns, just one!  This is how big it is when a sinner repents and changes.  Today is catechetical Sunday in the United States. We pray for our catechists that they may be merciful, but also truthful and not afraid to admonish the sinner. A good catechist teaches the truth and does not water anything down. He or she calls students to change their lives and follow the ways of the Lord. When these students capture the truth of the faith and change, heaven rejoices. Let us pray for our catechists, catechumens, and those in sin so that they may come back to the Lord.     


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Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091519.cfm



A Catechist’s Prayer 
Father of all families, you have called me to serve the family in truth and love as a catechist. May I be faithful to this call, rooted in your Word, and open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May I use these gifts, especially the gifts of faith, hope, and love, to serve the family as a witness to you, who are love and life and the source and destiny of all families.

Let your Spirit enlighten my mind and strengthen my heart so that I can be a path of Christ’s love to families, especially those in need, the homebound and aged, the disabled and disheartened. Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, I pray for the Church, the Bride of Christ, whose mission to build a civilization of love passes through the family. Amen.

Copyright © 2010, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to duplicate this work without adaptation for non-commercial use. 

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/upload/catechetical-sunday-a-catechists-prayer-card.pdf

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Triumph & Exaltation of the Holy Cross

My relic of the True Cross
Today September 14 we celebrate the feast day of the Triumph and Exaltation of the Holy Cross - also known as the Triumph of the Holy Cross. We remember the Holy Cross which brought redemption and salvation to the world. Jesus Christ came from heaven, born of a Virgin, lived among us and died on a Cross for all of us.

The Cross was the death penalty during Jesus' time. It was a punishment made for the worst criminal. God desired to use this instrument to save the world and bring redemption to mankind. Humanity got into trouble by eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Cross became the new Tree of Life that would undo this.

St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine sought to find the True Cross in Jerusalem. The Cross was buried by Roman officials and was discovered after a Jewish man named Judas guided St. Helena to its location. One tradition states that after the excavation, three crosses were found. One of them had an inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum or "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Tests were conducted to verify this to be the True Cross. It was taken to people who were sick and they were healed. A dead man was even restored to life after being laid upon the Cross.

Churches were constructed over the sites of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary to mark forever the locations of the event of the Crucifixion.  They were dedicated on September 14 in the year 335.  The photo here is of my relic of the True Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Cross is an important symbol for Christians.  It is the symbol of salvation.  God became man and suffered a horrible death in order to save His human people.  The Tau symbol (T) was used in the Old Testament as a sign of repentance.  Even Philosopher Plato alluded to the Just Man being Crucified:

To the best of my ability," he replied, "... it becomes an easy matter, I fancy, to unfold the tale of the sort of life that awaits each. We must tell it, then; and even if my language is somewhat rude and brutal, you must not suppose, Socrates, that it is I who speak thus, but those who commend injustice above justice. What they will say is this: that such being his disposition the just man will have to endure the lash, the rack, chains, the branding-iron in his eyes, and finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will be crucified, and so will learn his lesson that not to be but to seem just is what we ought to desire. Republic II. 361D-362A
Was God preparing the Pagan world for the "Just Man" Jesus Christ through the wisdom of Plato?


Let us take this day to reflect on the Cross of Christ.  We all should accept and carry the Crosses our Lord gives us in life.  As a reminder, we should also carry a crucifix on our self.  May via the relic of the True Cross here, the Lord bless every one of my followers, supporters, readers and visitors!


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Bishop 'Living Large' Bransfield

Bishop Michael Bransfield, former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is in the news once again. News reports are showing how lavish the bishop lived during his tenure as bishop.  Pope Francis immediately accepted the bishop's resignation as called for by canon law last September. We can see why.  Not only was the bishop accused of sexual harassment by several adult males, but he was living like a king. 

The bishop reportedly spent almost one million dollars traveling on private jets and over $660,000 worth of airfare and hotel stays. Apart from this, during a diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, DC, the bishop opted to use a private jet, limousine and stayed at a "presidential penthouse" in an expensive hotel. His entourage used a bus and stayed at a hotel for just $190 each. The drive is just five hours, yet the bishop took the jet instead which was a 33-minute trip. The bishop also spent over $60,000 in custom made jewelry from a boutique jeweler in Washington, DC, and several thousand on clothing, liquor and a rented car which was used for a month.  Archbishop Lori of the Baltimore diocese was ordered by Pope Francis to investigate the bishop and his mishandling of funds at the diocese.  Archbishop Lori reported the mismanagement was indeed factual and ordered the bishop to stop functioning publicly as a cleric. His successor would also apply the appropriate punishment to him.  This, of course, is Bishop Mark Brennan who took possession of the diocese on September 3 of this year.

Bishop Bransfield stands accused of sexual harassment by several adult men including young priests who accompanied him on trips to Europe during work and vacation stays. The bishop blames his expensive flights and hotel stays on staff members who booked them for him. There is no word as to whether or not the bishop will be made to repay the diocese back for all the costs. During his tenure, the diocese closed over 20 parishes and schools.

This news is troubling indeed. While diocesan or secular clergy do not take vows of poverty, they are expected to live modestly as all Christians are called to live. However, we have seen the same abuse of money in religious orders as well. These kinds of stories remind us how frail human beings are and how susceptible they are to the temptations of this world. If the allegations of sexual harassment are true, it also shows why ordaining homosexuals is not wise. The homosexual life is known to be hedonistic in nature. It thrives on riches and lavish lifestyles. In any event, bishop Bransfield is still a child of God and one of our priests. We have to pray for him and forgive him. Hopefully, he will spend his retirement making amends, both spiritually and financially in order to make things right with himself before God and before others. 



What do you think?  Post below on disqus.  Remember to follow the guidelines for comments. 



https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/bishop-bransfields-life-of-luxury-28815

https://www.nj.com/news/2019/09/bishop-spent-millions-in-church-funds-on-luxury-travel-including-private-jets-to-the-jersey-shore-report-says.html

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/bishop-bransfields-life-of-luxury-28815

https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/09/13/bishop-bransfields-life-of-luxury/


Friday, September 13, 2019

'BlackFace' Colorado Students

It is Friday the 13th, so why not start the day with some strange news? 

The triggered are out in force again. Someone posted on Facebook a photo of Caucasian college kids with "blackface." Immediately, claims of racism and whatnot were thrown around on the post.

 "Blackface" was used a century ago in movies and other plays to portray African Americans. Some take offense to this portrayal and call it hate or racism, others consider it satire or free speech.





Some have contacted Colorado State University calling for the students to be expelled. However, Colorado State University said that they will not punish the students because the students are in their right to do this under the first amendment. A year ago, Megyn Kelly was fired from her NBC Today show after making comments defending Halloween costumes that portrayed "blackface."

Political correctness is on the prowl again. Whatever happened to Oscar Wilde's words: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness?"

I understand some get offended by this. Who likes to be made fun of? Context is key. Were these kids looking to be racist and make fun of African Americans or were they just being silly college kids imitating the Black Panther theme? I posted this comment on the Facebook post where the image originated from in the media and the Facebook profile deleted it.



This tells me the profile is just looking to race bait. I advise all to just report the post as hate and false news. These kinds of posts only look to create trouble and draw attention.  It is not surprising that the post comes from a socialist Democrat looking to start a political career at the high school level.  His Instagram account is full of the typical nonsensical ideas that are pushed as "progress;" namely, bathrooms.  Note how he found my comment offensive which actually deals with progress.   Are not starvation, the homeless, opioid epidemic etc not "progressive issues?"   


Perhaps the Caucasian students in the photo should file a lawsuit against this person or whoever post their image on social media with the narrative that they are racists.  This is libel and dangerous. Those kids could be targeted now by fanatics out there looking to hurt or kill someone. 







Source:

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/college-will-not--white-students-in-blackface-citing-their-first-amendment-rights-235311921.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/white-colorado-state-students-won-t-be-punished-over-blackface-n1053126

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/09/11/colorado-state-blackface-instagram-story-post-shows-four-csu-students/2290202001/

https://www.facebook.com/auontai.anderson.1

https://www.instagram.com/Tayanderson2019


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