Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pope Washes Women's Feet

There is a debate going on now among Catholics regarding the Holy Father's act of washing the feet of non-Catholics and women during today's Holy Thursday Mass.  Some view this as the Pope dissenting from liturgical norms.  Is this so?

The rubrics do state that "select men" are to be used for the ceremony of the washing of the feet; however, "men" could include women if we take into account the Latin "mens" which basically means "a thinking human being."  There is also the, "Jesus washed the Apostle's feet and they were male" idea as well.  So what do we do?

Well, the washing of the feet is not a sacrament, nor does it open the door to Holy Orders for those participating in it.  Here is what the USCCB has to say:

The rubric for Holy Thursday, under the title WASHING OF FEET, reads:

"Depending on pastoral circumstance, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one's feet and dries them."
Regarding the phrase viri selecti, the Chairman of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, after a review of the matter by the committee, authorized the following response which appeared in theBCL Newsletter of February 1987:

Question: What is the significance of the Holy Thursday foot washing rite?

  1. The Lord Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper as a sign of the new commandment that Christians should love one another: "Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another" (see John 13, 34-35). For centuries the Church has imitated the Lord through the ritual enactment of the new commandment of Jesus Christ in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday.
  2. Although the practice had fallen into disuse for a long time in parish celebrations, it was restored in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a part of the general reform of Holy Week. At that time the traditional significance of the rite of foot washing was stated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the following words: "Where the washing of feet, to show the Lord's commandment about fraternal charity, is performed in a Church according to the rubrics of the restored Ordo of Holy Week, the faithful should be instructed on the profound meaning of this sacred rite and should be taught that it is only proper that they should abound in works of Christian charity on this day."1
  3. The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ's disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.
  4. Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the "Teacher and Lord" who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.
  5. While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men ("viri selecti"), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, "who came to serve and not to be served," that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.
  6. The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity and Christian charity, of which the Holy Thursday foot washing rite is an eminent sign. All should obey the Lord's new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love, especially at this most sacred time of the liturgical year when the Lord's passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated in the powerful rites of the Triduum.3  -

This basically leaves it up to the pastor to decide how to carry on the service of the washing of the feet. Apologist Jimmy Akin wrote an excellent explanation here which is worth reading:

I feel that this is a whole lot about nothing.  I understand some people's need to have literal visuals that bring to life the Gospel, but what's important is that we internalize the action of the washing of the feet.  Jesus did this to show service and charity.  The washing of the feet was not meant to be some initiation ritual for an all men's club.  Jesus washed the feet of the 12 to show that He has come to serve not to be served (Matthew 20:28).

Think about it.  Do we really need to act out a play similar to Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" on Good Friday with the gore and blood?  Is this really necessary in order to be "faithful" to the Gospel?

The reality is that via these visuals we must internalize the message.  Whoever are chosen to be part of the service of the washing of feet does not matter.  It is the message behind this service that does.  To my knowledge, the rubrics do not state that the "select men" must be Catholic.  Pope Francis by washing the feet of a Muslim is showing true service that reaches all.  Christ welcomes all and served all while He walked the Earth.

Pope Francis as Pope holds complete authority over the Church including Canon Law and the Rubrics of the Church.  Remember, Peter has the keys to bind and unbind!

Fr. Longenecker puts it correctly, he writes on his blog: "In the gospel Jesus repeatedly flouted some strict rules for a greater good, and so upset the religious legalists. Did the Pope break the rubrics? At the end of the day the rubrics are there to serve the gospel–not the gospel to serve the rubrics."

Let us not become like the Pharisees who were more concerned about the letter of the law rather than its spirit.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"First Generations Women in Colonial America" Book Review

We are in March, Woman's History Month.  I decided to write a review of the book, "First Generations Women in Colonial America," by CUNY professor Carol Berkin.

Women are considered equal in today’s America, but that was not always the case. During Colonial times, women were considered the property of their husbands. They did not have many opportunities to live as men did. Carol Berkin’s book, “First Generations WOMEN in COLONIAL AMERICA” offers some insight on the lives women lived during colonial times.

Berkin attempts to present to readers the lives of women in colonial times from a feminist perspective. She uses archives, historical documents, diaries, court records, letters, wills, property titles and the like as sources for her work. With these, she puts together a perspective about particular women in their distinct region and time periods and uses the sources to paint a picture of their lives.

The book in a sense serves as a supplement to history topics discussed in history classes.  History courses often offers general details on events while this book gives a more personal look at the history by detailing the lives of several women and how they lived in their respective time and place. The book’s chapters primarily begin by giving a look at the life of a particular woman.

Mary Cole of Maryland is mentioned first. She is a woman living in Maryland in a time where woman had little rights. Women at the time had to basically marry in order to be considered for any social position or wealth. At the death of a husband, women were often left abandoned without anything. They could not inherit their husband’s wealth or property unless a will or instruction was made indicating this transfer. Many times wealth and property were left to widows with some conditions. Some of the conditions called for the possession of lands and other businesses to remain within the family and not passed along to other men a widow might marry. Many times land and wealth were left solely so the widow can care for any children the couple may have had.

The next chapter starts with Hannah Duston of New England. She lives in the time of the “Puritan experiment.” This is when members of the Puritan sect settled in New England and started colonies that were based on fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. Just like with women in Maryland, women in New England had similar limitations in regards to social status, rights and possession.

Women were not allowed to have much of a say in Puritan religious gatherings, but in a sense did control the leaders. Berkins suggests that gossip and reputation were often used to control the leaders of the town. Being that Puritans were expected to be “pure,” they were very meticulous of their reputation. Some used this to their advantage. The Witch Trials of Salem are an example.

Women of a particular social class and wealth accused others of a different social and wealth class of witchcraft. Duston was seen as a hero after with the help of others, killed her Indian captives and brought back their scalps as a sign of victory.

Wetamo of New England is the next woman mentioned. She is of the Wampanoag people and has a prominent leadership role among them. She struggles for her people in a time where suspicion and friction exist among settlers and Natives. Berkin gives a little background on Wetamo and then on the comparisons and contrasts between how the Natives saw love, marriage, family, sex and other facets of society. The settlers valued marriage, while the Natives had premarital relationships. Marriage was a concept they really did not expound upon in their culture. This is where settlers attempted to convert the Natives in order to assimilate them into their understanding of marriage, sex and so on.
Other women mentioned are, Margaret Hardenbroeck of New Amsterdam, Mary Johnson who came aboard the ships Margarett and John in 1622 to Chesapeake, Eliza Lucas of South Carolina and Grace Growden who lived during the Revolution period. These women all shared similar experiences. They had to struggle to make it for themselves in a time where the male was the prominent figure and provider. Color did not matter much. All of the women are European except Wetamo who was a Native American and Mary Johnson who was a Black slave. Despite the color difference, each faced the same hardships being that they are women.
I enjoyed the book. As I wrote in the first paragraph, it gives a personal detailed account of the lives of important women in American history. More personal details are given about the lives of women which is hard to do in a history course. Events and dates are fine to learn, but this book actually gives accounts of real people and how they lived, thought and functioned in Colonial times. It puts a “face” on history. The book puts into perspective the reality of the time and how women in particular were treated and how they were seen compared to men.

If you are a history enthusiast or feminist looking to learn more about woman's history in early America, then this book is for you. It is well researched and a good read.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prop 8 vs SCOTUS

Today the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of The United States) is hearing the case for and against so-called "gay marriage."  This is an important issue in American and in human society as a whole.

The undoing of society can take place with much ease and with the "blessing" of the court.  It is a scary moment indeed.

The family is the cell of society.  Without the family, society will collapse.  Families have changed throughout time do to different circumstances; however, the natural core family unit is that of mother, father and child.  A father is of course the male and the mother is the female.

I have to make this clear because in today's world, errors such as "gender theory" attempt to erase gender in the human species.  We somehow "decide" whether we are male or female despite having the genotype dictating sex via the chromosomes XX and XY.  XX for female and XY for male. Some might mention other variations and claim that "male" and "female" are not the only genders; however, they forget to mention that these are genetic abnormalities.  

History shows that societies that have accommodated homosexuality did not last long.    

I will update this post as more information comes though.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Annunciation

Today* is the feast day of the Annunciation.  On this day, we remember the day when the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary informing her of God's plan to use her to bring forth the Messiah.

God did not force Mary to bear the Christ child.  Mary kindly accepted the will of God.  The archangel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"  Does this sound familiar?  It is the opening of the Hail Mary prayer.

This event is extremely important in Christianity.  Had Mary told God no, things would not have unfolded in the manner that it did.  Mary plays a significant role in the salvation of the world.  She is not the savior, but she cooperates in the redemption and salvation of all peoples.

This is why the Catholic Church offers hyperdulia, or a special veneration to Mary.  She is not a goddess, nor does she replace Diana of Ephesus as some atheists believe.  Mary is the vessel of God who God chose to bear His Son Christ.

The account can be read in Luke 1:26-38.

*Please note that since March 25th fell during Holy Week, the feast day was transferred to April 8th, 2013.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A & P Catholics

We are in Holy Week.  An interesting phenomenon occurs I've noticed these past few years after leaving atheism for Catholicism.  I have noticed that on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, churches are packed beyond capacity. The amount of people in the church can bring a pastor to fear getting a summons from the fire department for overcrowding.
A&P Catholics

You are probably wondering what is an "A&P Catholic."  This is a term I've heard being used to describe Catholics who only attend Mass two times a year: Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.  This is a serious problem for pastors throughout the globe, particularly in industrialized nations.  There are Catholics who do not attend Mass regularly and only show up on these two days.  

Why these two days?
Well, there are several theories out there that try to explain this:
  • The Church gives out free things: Palms and Ashes
  • There is a sense of superstition regarding Palms and Ashes
  • Syncretism is manifesting itself publically
  • The Precepts of the Church
  • People are Lazy
  • The public witness of the Ashes and Palm

The Church gives out free things: Palms and Ashes
Yes, it is true.  The Church does give out these items for free.  Anyone can enter and receive ashes or palms, no questions ask.  Human beings love to receive things.  There exists no human being on Earth who would not be tempted to get something for free.  Human beings change behavior when they are rewarded.  Perhaps this psychological cue is what draws lapsed Catholics back to Mass at least for these two days.

Pastors must explain what these sacramentals are in depth. 

Unfortunately, some Catholics were not properly educated on the faith.  They adhere to all kinds of folkloric understanding of the religion.  There are some who believe the ashes or palms are good luck charms, or possess some kind of energy or magic.  While they are sacramentals, they themselves do not possess any magic or the like.  God works through them just as He works through any thing He has created.

Pastors must be clear that sacramentals are not magic charms.

Religious Syncretism
This is another problem that has presented itself to the Church since its beginning.  There are those who blend rituals of Paganism with Catholicism.  Santeria and other folk religions often borrow Catholicism to enhance their rituals.  

Pastors and other Catholics must evangelize these people.  They must teach them that once you have Christ, you do not need anyone or anything else.  Santeria and voodoo rituals are placebos.  These people must be shown the power of prayer.

Precepts of the Church 
The precepts of the Church, or commandments are specific rules all Catholics must adhere to.  One of these rule states that Catholic must receive Holy Communion during the Easter season or once a year. This might not have been explained well and A&P Catholics literally only attend Mass during this time.

Pastors must take advantage of their presence and explain the importance of attending Mass every Sunday and holy days of obligation.

People are Lazy
Yes, people can be lazy.  They generally do not want to do anything that does not reward them in return.  Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday offer "rewards," so to speak; so they come.

Pastors must be patient with these people.  They must not use the homily to criticize or speak sarcastically to a packed church.  If a pastor does this, rest assured the people will not return.  These Catholics must be made to feel at home, if you will.  They must be seen as distant relatives who we do not see often and now have decided to visit us. We must welcome them with open arms!
There is no greater feeling than that of feeling welcomed.  Some parishes have greeters who greet people as the enter, this can be used to promote the regular attendance of A&P Catholics.  Other parishes offer breakfast after Mass.  This is another great time to get to know these lapsed Catholics and make them feel at home.  Who opens their door to strangers for breakfast?  The mere fact that these people can walk into a hall and have breakfast shows the Church is open to them and friendly. This send a clear message to them.  It is also a great opportunity to start conversation and listen to why they do not attend regularly and pastor to them.  

The Public Witness
One of the reasons we use Ashes and Palms is for public witness.  We want to show the world what Christ is all about.  Walking around with ashes or palms will definitely draw attention and inquirers. This most likely triggers the memories of lapse Catholics who might remember attending Mass and receiving ashes and palms.  They then only return for those days.

Catholics must take the time to evangelize.  They should be able to give a reason behind the ashes on their foreheads or palms in their hands.  A great explanation with love and affection can go a long way.

Let us all take this moment to evangelize to our brothers and sisters.  This can only be done with our by showing our faith and hope via our love. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pope Francis and Holy Thursday

Pope Francis is wasting no time in setting the tone for his Pontificate.  He has broken with tradition by deciding to have Holy Thursday Mass at a prison instead of St. Peter's. 

This is so inspiring to me and I'm sure many others.  While I love Liturgy, love Church architecture, vestments and the like; there is something awesome about the Vicar of Christ visiting prisoners on Holy Thursday and washing their feet.

Pope Francis is challenging us all to focus on those who are often forgotten.  Yes, prisoners have done wrong.  They are in prison for something right?  However, we are called to pray for prisoners, visit them and help them. 

The Catholic Church's teachings on the Works of Mercy is far too often forgotten.  Pope Francis is reminding us all of these important acts of love. 

The Catechism states:

The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?- CCC 2447

All Catholics should perform these great Works of Mercy, not out of obligation, but out of love for God and neighbor.  When we visit the sick and imprisoned, we are visiting Christ. 

"I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." - Matthew 25:36

Some are complaining that Pope Francis is turning the Church into a liberal social justice institution, this is not so.  We are all called to love.  We are all called to serve one another.  

Holy Thursday is a sacred day.  It is one of the three days in the Triduum.  What a perfect day to show charity.  

Is Pope Francis NOT taking serious the solemnity of the Mass?
This is something that is silly to even mention, but unfortunately I have heard.  The Mass of Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper.  This is the night when Jesus took bread and wine, instituted the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood.  Jesus washed the feet of the disciples.  Can you imagine that?  God, the Creator is on His knees washing the feet of His creatures who constantly disrespect and disobey Him.  It is a reflection in itself just thinking of this imagery.  Now we have the Pope, the Vicar of Christ visiting the "misfits" of society and washing their feet.  It is just inspiring.  

Pope Francis is not watering down the Liturgy or its Solemnity.  He is enriching it by making it come alive, not only in a Church setting, but in the world.  A Church building should not be the only place to celebrate Mass or give witness to Christ. 

What about pilgrims who are visiting Rome?  Well hopefully they are there to pray and not to see the Pope as if he were a celebrity or artifact in a museum.  They should not be upset if the Pope does not celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at St. Peter's.  A passage in Scripture that reminds me of this.  It is about the 100 minus 1 flock of sheep:

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." - Matthew 18:12-14

Here Jesus gives us an image of a man who has 100 sheep and loses one.  He leaves the others behind, not to abandon them, but to find the one that is missing.  God will do whatever to save even the one sheep that is lost.

Pope Francis is will be demonstrating Matthew 18:12-14 on Holy Thursday by celebrating with the "lost sheep" who for whatever reason, ended up in prison.

Let us imitate our Holy Father's example.  



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Papal Inaugural Mass

Today, the feast day of St. Joseph marks another celebration, the Papal Inaugural Mass of Pope Francis successor of St. Peter and retired Pontiff Benedict XVI.

This Mass was unique in that Pope Francis requested simplicity.  He did not use the bullet proof "popemobile," and at one point got off to embrace a disabled gentleman.  The gesture shocked even the media.

Pope Francis chose the simplest of vestments and bishop appointments to reflect his ministry.  His fisherman's ring is silver plated, and his pectoral cross is made of iron.  He has not been seen using the Mozzetta either in silk form like Blessed Pope John Paul II used, or the ermine one that Pope Benedict XVI restored.

Some have interpreted this as an attack on Pope Benedict the XVI who restored the traditional rich vestments of the past.  It seems that Pope Francis is undoing this and is requesting the use of the most simplest of things.  Most just see this as Pope Francis' person choice and not a jab against Pope Benedict XVI.  

Here is the text of Pope Francis' homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!
Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!
Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!
In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.
To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cardinal Mahoney's Baloney

Once again, Cardinal Mahony has offended Catholics with his lack of prudence.  He tweeted this:

He is obviously indirectly attacking the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI who wanted to bring back the traditions in regards to vestments of our Church which enrich the senses.

Cardinal Mahony is being extremely disrespectful to the Pope Emeritus.  He is causing public scandal by posting these tweets.  Mahony is in no position to criticize or attack the Pope Emeritus especially after documents show that he aided and abetted the ease of sexual predators to go about and abuse minors.  As a matter of fact, while he was in the Conclave, he was named in a case that the Archdiocese settled.

The Pope Emeritus was not being vain by bringing back traditional attire.  God deserves the best man has to offer.  If we can dress up for job interviews, clubs, dinners, dates, weddings and what not; what is wrong with dressing nice for the Lord?  The vestments and other clothing that the clergy wear are not for them, but to show the dignity of the priesthood and the importance of who we are worshiping - God.  I personally use surplices with lace - old school style.

It is unfortunate that Cardinal Mahony would resort to this childish nonsense.  I think I speak for all Catholics by stating that it is better to have a well dressed Pope than a sloppy dressed Archbishop who protected criminals who abused our most precious asset - children.  


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Renewal not Reform

During the period of Sede Vecante/interregnum and conclave, the media was constantly bringing up the "r" word - reform.  CNN in particular would invite the hypocritical ex-priest Alberto Cutie to comment where he would voice his diatribe against the Church and call for "reform."  The once orthodox Catholic priest who appeared on EWTN and other Catholic media is now this "change the Church" charlatan projecting his failures as a priest.  I don't understand why CNN would invite this guy to comment on Catholic things.  I applaud Fr. Edward Beck for calling Albert out on his stupidity and blanket statements.

It is not news that the "news" is slanted.  They take on a liberal/progressive tone in most of their stories, especially when dealing with politics and religion.  During the interregnum, they would bring up issues such as women priests, abortion, contraception, the role of women, etc.  They seem to think that the Church has the authority to change doctrine.  The Church does not.  The only thing the Pope and the Church can do with doctrine is expound on it.

Women priests are as possible in the Church as men giving birth is possible.  This is not because women are inferior, they are not; rather, because Christ wanted it that way just like the things of nature are ordered in a particular manner.  Abortion cannot be defined as moral anymore than slapping your mother in the face is moral.  Approving contraception would be like approving the use of a mattress outside on a sidewalk for suicidal people to use whenever they get the urge to kill themselves.  As for the role of women, well it has been my experience that a parish cannot fully function without women.  Women help priests in so many ways.  I have seen women prepare the altar, make altar cloths, clean vestments, decorate, work in parish councils, lead retreats, serve as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and lectors, even altar girls.  Moreover, about 70% of chancery positions in dioceses are staffed by women.  Women are even teaching our seminarians!  What more can feminists ask for?  Women are extremely important in the Church.  I cannot see the Catholic Church function normally without women.  

The correct "R" word is renew, not reform.  It is no surprise that the new Pope chose Francis as his name.  He wishes to bring about a renewal like that which St. Francis of Assisi brought.  Many people do not know this, but at the time of St. Francis, there were many sects within Catholicism attempting to live the Gospel.  This was why the Church at first did not approve St. Francis' rule.  There were already small groups of mendicants who were doing their own thing similar to Francis.  St. Francis' group was different because his group was obedient to the Church.  St. Francis called for renewal, not reform.  He was not a Martin Luther.

The Catholic Church is the bride of Christ.  After so many centuries, her wedding dress got dirty from the dirt and garbage the world around her has.  St. Francis took that dress and bleached it in the Holy Spirit.  He did not alter the dress, or had it redesigned.  St. Francis with his spirituality renewed or cleaned the dress.

Once again, our Church due to its human factor has gotten dirty again.  Perhaps God was giving us a hint that the new Pope would be "Francis."  During the conclave, a seagull landed on the chimney that would release the white smoke indicating, "Habemus Papam."  This is significant because the Holy Spirit is depicted as a bird/dove, and St. Francis of Assisi preached to the birds.  

It seems that Pope Francis is already showing this renewal by opting to take the bus with the Cardinals instead of his security detailed Papal car.  This is truly a humble gesture.  I wonder how long Vatican security will allow him to do this.  He also wanted the Cardinal to enter the elevator with him.  The staff had stopped the Cardinals to allow only the Pope.  Pope Francis, said "no no no, we can all get in."

He is already demonstrating a renewal with his humility.  This is important because people leave the Church or stop believing in God, not because of dogmas, but because of the lack of behavior among Christians.  Who wants to belong to a group of misfits?  People want to be in a religion that lives what it preaches.

Moreover, if this was not enough; Pope Francis even went to the hotel he was staying in to pick up his things and pay his bill!  This is just unheard of.  He is obviously sending the message that he does not want to be treated like a special human being who is untouchable.

Our Church is in need of renewal, not reform.  No human being has the right to change what God has ordained.  The Church belongs to God, not us.  Only God can change the Church.  Let us pray for this renewal to take effect throughout the Church and for our new Pope Francis.  



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

Today the Conclave has just elected Pope Benedict XVI's successor. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Jesuit was chosen.  He chose the name Francis.  Pope Francis  is the first Pope originating from the Americas and the first Hispanic Pope in a few centuries.

He is very well educated, holding degrees in chemistry, philosophy, psychology and theology and while Archbishop in Argentina refused to use the Archbishop's palace and other amenities.  He rode the bus and train instead of being chauffeured.  As a child, he had a severe lung infection which damaged one lung.

He is known as a man who works for the poor, is very orthodox with Church teachings and humble.  When presented at the balcony, he humbly asked for the people's prayer and bowed before the large crowds asking them to pray to God to bless him.

Text of his address:

Brothers and sisters good evening.
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon… We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Conclave Starts

Today the Conclave has begun. The Cardinals made an oath of secrecy which if they break will result in excommunication.  Archbishop Marini then exclaimed the "Omnes Extra" which is a call for all those who are not Cardinals to leave.

After the ballots, black smoke was release indicating that no decision has been reached.  The Church remains in Sede Vacante

I will update this blog post as more is learned.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


Ever since MTV stopped being about music, I have skipped that channel while looking for EWTN or the YES Network to watch sports on my off days.  However, while on twitter, I noticed that "Catfish" was trending.  At first, I thought it was referring to the fish.  After clicking the trend to see  what it was about, I saw that it had to do with the infamous MTV network.  I checked it out and saw that it is a show about two guys who are contacted by clients seeking to verify people they are getting to know online.
The show seemed interesting, until they started going into detail about online dating behavior.   It is nothing new that people lie online.  The internet and computer screen offers a sense of anonymity.  One can be anyone and anything.  This can be dangerous especially when attempting to court someone via the internet on a social site.

What bothered me about the program is that human beings are degraded based on looks.  Many of the people that are being investigated either use fake photos or lie about how they look.  The one showing interest may think he/she is meeting a skinny or fit person and in reality the person is overweight and using someone else's photos.  

I don't condone this act of lying about oneself; however, I find it troubling that these people are stigmatized to the point that they need to pretend to look like someone else -via fake photos- in order to feel appreciated or get attention.

All people are beautiful.  There is no archetypal beauty in human beings.  We must also not base relationships on attraction.  Not everyone is going to have the qualities that we like.  It serves no purpose to measure each partner using a made up mental "cookie cutter."  The most important thing is to get to know a person.  Our bodies age and break down.  It is futile to base everything on looks.  Lookism is a serious offense to God.  We are all made in the image and likeness of God.  No one is "ugly."  All are beautiful and unique.  

People dating online should not feel embarrassed with how they look.  They should not hide themselves out of fear of being ridiculed or being rejected.

Unfortunately, this "Catfish" show fuels the shallow attitude of lookism.  Society is constantly brainwashed into accepting a specific human form as beautiful, this is wrong.  Whether skinny or fat, muscular or stocky; all are beautiful.  We cannot be carbon-copies of each other, nor should we imitate the looks of another in order to "feel" and "look" beautiful.  

It is no wonder why so many young people are suffering from mental illness in America.  They feel they have to measure up to the standards of popular culture.  If they don't, then they feel unattractive or like an outcast.  

We need to change this culture of lookism.  If people on "Catfish" fell in love with a person despite said person using fake photos, that can be forgiven.  The love is already there - perhaps in a more pure form.  The person fell in love with the other person's soul, since the physicality was not present.  Via the computer, both experienced each other on another level that didn't require looks.  This is how love should be.  We must love the person, not base our love to them on how they look.        

Atheism is STUPID II

My last post, "Atheism is STUPID" has been such a success that I decided to follow up on it.

Atheism is often presented as a rational position.  It is categorized as the "truth" that knocks down the "myths" and "fables" of religious belief.  To the uneducated individual, atheism will be attractive.  A person without proper understanding in areas such as philosophy, theology, and the sciences will fall for any chic argument presented by atheism.

Moreover, atheism is not united at all.  The majority of atheists adhere to its ideals due to political persuasion.  Most atheists classify themselves as Liberal or Progressive.  One will rarely find a Conservative atheist who adhere to ideals such as the protection of all human life, the uniqueness of heterosexual marriage and the reality behind economics and how they affect all.  

A tweet I received today reminded me of this disunity among atheists:


This young man's tweet is incorrect in claiming that atheists share a common lack of belief in God. Atheists are known to hold all kinds of beliefs regarding God.  Some claim that God does not exist at all.  Others claim that God may exist but they are not convinced due to any apparent lack of evidence claims.  There is no unity at all among atheists.  This is because they lack Reflective Equilibrium.  The term originates from American philosopher John Rawls.  Reflective Equilibrium is the attempt of the individual to balance ideas in such a way that they become coherent.  The individual takes on a deliberative process in which beliefs are accepted, rejected or blended with others.  In Psychology, the equivalent of this can be Cognitive Dissonance.

Atheists cannot find common ground in their beliefs regarding the existence of God.  They cannot find common ground on mostly everything.  Take the blog feud regarding morality and science between Sam Harris and my former professor who I have much respect for, Massimo Pigluicci.   Atheists often attempt to hide behind science believing it to be a safe haven for and promoter of atheism; however, science is no such thing.  Science seeks knowledge.  It tests questions and retests them.  Unlike atheism, science does not reject hypotheses without testing and retesting them.  Atheism right away concludes the non-existence of God.  Science does not take this approach.  This is why there is no science indicating that God does not exist.  No scientific theories even hint at the non-existence of God.  They exist to explain the mechanisms behind what is being studied, not the ultimate causality of them.

Atheist's will state that they do not know the origin of everything.  A simple "I don't know" is a valid response; however, if atheism believes "I don't know" suffices in regards to causality, then on what ground is God ruled out?  If one does not know what caused everything to exist, then how can one immediately rule God out of the equation?  In the equation regarding causality, only two testable variables exist:

  • a. God is the cause: P(G ≥ .05) or P(G ≠ .05)  
  • b. An unconscious agent is the cause:  P(UCA ≥ .05) or P(UCA ≠ .05).  

There is no middle ground in the equation.

The lack of Reflective Equilibrium kicks in here when atheists claim to not know the causal factor of everything while at the same time ruling God out.  Atheism once again becomes "stupid" and irrational.  Its attempt to hide behind science exposes it more to the world as a position that cannot stand on its own either, scientifically or philosophically.

It is no wonder why atheism has the lowest retention of any religion.  After a while, atheism loses its luster and people grow out of it.  Who in their right rational mind would adhere to such nonsensical rhetoric that presents itself as rational but is just diatribe meant to appease those who are contrarian?        


Saturday, March 9, 2013


Silence is some thing we often forget about. In today's world full of so much noise, it is hard to appreciate silence.  During Lent and throughout the year, prayer and meditation is extremely important. 

In it, we encounter God in ways that the senses cannot truly appreciate.  We read in
1 Kings 19:11-13 how God tells Elijah that He is about to pass.  Elijah witnessed what seemed like volcanic activity with mountains splitting, earthquakes and fire; however, God was not in that activity.  
Human beings often think of God as this being that is "loud and proud," God is not.  If we continue reading 1 Kings 19 verse 12 we see that God comes as a soft whisper.  This is hard to believe at first; how can God - the Creator - present Himself as a mere whisper?  Where are the trumpets, fanfare, and cosmic fireworks?  God does not need them.  

God can be found in silence.  In the quietness of the human soul one will encounter God.  In order to dwell in the presence of God just like Elijah did, we must be silent and must be in silence.  While in silence we can appreciate the beauty of God's grace working in our souls just like an astronaut can appreciate the beauty of space since space is silent and while in 0 gravity one can only take in via the eyes the majesty of the stars, moon and Earth.  

I was recently in New York City and forgot how noisy it can be.  The sounds of cars, buses, people shouting, kids with super loud "beats audio" headphones, cell phones ringing constantly and so on are a huge distraction.  The human being has a short attention span, according to cognitive psychologists.  We easily get distracted with any little stimulus.

If you want to encounter God, you must rid yourself of all distractions and allow yourself to be in a place of silence.  This is why I stress to priests to keep their churches quiet even if it means having some get upset when you tell them to be silent.  When one enters a church, one should feel like he/she has just entered another dimension, so to speak.  The transition from distraction and noise to peace and quiet must be perceived immediately upon entering a church.  The same environment should be imitated at home or during free time when one can pray without issue.  

Take this time to turn off every distraction and pray in a silent environment.  Listen to God in the whisper just like Elijah did.      

Friday, March 8, 2013

"Letter from Soraya Chemaly" - my critique

I wish people would inform me quickly when they write on a particular blog post of mine or even a comment of mine.

Dominican "feminist" Patricia is at it again.

My post worked!  It was purposely worded to trigger a response from her that would draw attention (thanks psychology degree).  After a while, you know what buttons to push in order to steer people where you want.

My only intention is to bring about a discussion that will lead all those involved to the truth.

Anyhow, Patricia decided to comment on her blog regarding our engagement via Twitter and the blogosphere. She then sends her friend Sara to link me to the post nearly 2 months later.  I do
not understand why she could not do it herself.  I am only a male, nothing to fear right?  After all this time, I am now made aware of this post and of course am responding to it here.    

As stated above, this was my intention.  Via twitter, my tweets are specifically worded in order to trigger a response from my audience.  Patricia fell for the bait and replied to one of my
tweets.  I had no prior knowledge of this young girl until I received her mention.  In any event, now there is a dialog going on where hopefully young women will realize the nonsense that is radical feminism.  I respond to each claim and let radical feminists destroy their ideology on their own at the same time.

In her post, Patricia highlights exactly what I mentioned via my critique of her post.  Radical feminists feel the need to "compete" with males.  These ideas come from the Radical
feminism developed by White women and which unfortunately is brainwashing Black and Latina women.  This fallacious gender essentialism counters the very goal of feminists.  I will
explain this in more detail in another post which I am working on for March, the month of women.  In short, women try to be free by standing within set parameters created by another.

I will critique this post now section by section.  Her words will be in blue and mine will be in black.

<<About a week ago I chimed into a twitter conversation with @Tempibones on twitter. She was having a discussion with a homophobic "priest" (or whatever he is) and I made a comment in 
jest about "hating when people pray on my behalf." It was a joke, thought I would prefer someone ask me before praying for me. Soon after this "priest" that goes by the name of @Sacerdotus seemed extremely agitated that I was a Latina, and [gasp] a feminist. He continued sending me messages about how I was brainwashed by White women. Hilarious! I obviously am just a 
weak Latina who cannot formulate decisions for myself. He went on my blog and read every single one of my posts and commented on pretty much every one of them. He seems very invested in teaching me the history of his Church, which makes me wonder why he even cares. It's not as if I, a mere woman on twitter will dismantle the institution he holds so dear. Eventually I blocked 
him because his rants were getting really ridiculous and I really did not care...I started responding with sillyness because what else am I to do with a man hell-bent on making me 
feel like a daughter he's trying to punish? It was mostly very paternalistic and creepy. He seemed to have an obsession with the fact that I was a Latina, so I blocked him, but he continued 
to read my tweets and take screenshots of them. Eventually he wrote a dissertation, I mean, blog post about me. It was the ultimate "I'm not done being mad at you!" >>

It is funny how the term "homophobic" is tossed around without validity.  Calling someone that term solely for exercising free speech is like calling Patricia "Phallus Envy" just because she
voices concerns regarding women and equality.  I will excuse her remark on the grounds of her being a young girl just learning how to take her first steps in the real world of prose and academia.

Anyone who has issue with someone else praying for them is mentally ill.  A "good" when perceived as a "bad" is something a shrink needs to evaluate.  Person A may not like apples, but if person B offers one, this offer is not meant to be offensive.  Moreover, Patricia messaged me first and based on her semantics, obviously wanted a reply to them.  I never message anyone on Twitter unless it is to reply.  Again, I tweet and people respond.

Out of curiosity I read her posts and commented.. I mean, that's what blogs are for right???  I did not know my comments would cause apprehension and worry in a supposed intellectually secure young girl.  I merely commented on the posts and corrected the misrepresentations of Catholicism.  They were not meant to ignite a blog or twitter war.

In my original post regarding Patricia, I wrote:

'If you notice as you read the tweets, you will see an individual who is angry at the world - particularly men.  Misandry is not uncommon among radical feminists.  They seem to
think they exist solely to compete with the  male.  They measure their lives and success against the male to the point of becoming so sensitive that any mere comment that may seem masculine offends them and puts them on the defensive.  They become overly sensitive and interpret any little thing as a male condescending the "inferior female."

Patricia is exhibiting these exact words in her post!

She writes:

" hell-bent on making me feel like a daughter he's tryingto punish? It was mostly very paternalistic and creepy. Heseemed to have an obsession with the fact that I was a Latina..."

Do you notice her tone?  Do you notice her anger and persistence in making this a female fighting off a male thing?  Can you clearly see the defensiveness and sensitivity when critiqued by
a male?  This is unfortunate indeed.  A true feminist is secure in her womanhood.  She is so secure that she can engage a male intellectually without feeling the need to be defensive or feel
as if the male is a condescending figure.

<<Funnily enough, it was the Church he holds so dear that led me to feminism. It was seeing the machismo and sexual shaming (of women) in my culture, led by the Catholic church that drove me 
to feminism. I won't post his blog post here, the blog post with the picture of me that he never asked permission to use, because it won't make any difference. I read it and it reminded me 
exactly the reasons I left the Catholic church, and all religions for that matter. It wasn't feminism that drove me away from a paternalistic, misogynist, sexist, and racist was that institution the drove me to feminism. 

The Catholic Church is the only religion that has been outspoken in the equal rights of women.  Women have always held a prominent role in the Church even in its infancy.  Here are some
documents of the Church regarding the dignity of women:

On The Dignity And Vocation of Women - Mulieris Dignitatem
The Role of The Christian Family in The Modern World - Familliaris Consortio
Mother of the Redeemer - Redemptoris Mater

I cannot comment on this "machismo and sexual shaming" Patricia speaks of because I did not grow up in a Dominican household.  I would hope that she would elaborate on this.  However, I will comment that the Catholic Church does not engage in the aforementioned.  Patricia claims that the institution drove her to feminism, but does not explain how.  More women join the Church as religious sisters than men join the priesthood.  I do not see how the Catholic Church pushes women away.  

In regards to her photo; I placed it up in order to identify the person named "Patricia."  It was not placed on my blog to shame her or ridicule here.  The photo is one she uses on Twitter and
one does not need permission to post one's photo when the photo is already made public and its existence is solely for that reason.  Legally speaking, photos posted on social sites become
the property of the site.  If the photo is an issue, I can kindly delete it.  However, her tweets which are embedded in the post will still show whatever photo she uses as an avatar.

<<Below is a letter I received from Soraya Chemaly, one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. I often chat with her because I feel that she understands where I came from and how I 
got here. I'm not sure why I knew that, we have never talked about our relationship with religion, but life has a way of putting the right people in your path, and the wrong ones to remind you of the amazing people in your life.  Thank God I'm a feminist!>>

Moreover, Patricia posts a letter she supposedly received from a "Soraya Chemaly."

I will critique the letter by segments as well.  Chemaly's words will be in blue and mine will be in

<<Dear Patricia, I too am a “na├»ve,” “radical” feminist. Although, at 46, no longer young. I’m also a Georgetown University grad, ex Divinity school aspirant, mother, wife, daughter and in all things “colorful.” I “go by the name” that was given to me, Soraya Chemaly.  Feminism has helped me 
understand, per your writing, “freedom.” Recently, I saw that you were involved in an exchange with a priest named Sacerdotus, who suggested kindly and with paternalistic concern that women 
like you and I, as a result of our feminism, will hurt ourselves…by crashing into things.>>

I never said that feminists will crash into things, nor that they will hurt themselves. This is an utter distortion of my points.  What I did say is that feminists such as Patricia become prisoner to the feminist rhetoric of others.  Moreover, women become prisoner to the set parameters of gender
essentialism as seen by the radical feminist movement.  Your womanhood is not free if you imitate the ideas of what womanhood is from others.

<<As a young woman, the building that I most often crashed into, apparently disoriented by “all kinds of sophism and relativism” was most always a Catholic church.  Like you I entered a 
university and was “brainwashed with ideas” – you know, classes taught by Jesuits about humanity, compassion, social justice, equality, liberty - Enlightmenty things.  It’s strange how they 
“seem to make sense and give hope,” even to women. So, it irks when the Church that professes to love us does everything within its power to make sure that we cannot achieve our hopes in these 
capacities.  When women do, it is only commensurate with the degree to which we accede to the demands of unilaterally male-defined gender roles of Church doctrine.  I'm not being flip and 
do not doubt in the least that this priest, or say, Cardinal Dolan and assorted bishops take their work with the utmost seriousness and compassion. But, their norms, ethics and deliberations are informed by their experience and millennia of misogyny.  No governing body that excludes women, but makes decisions on their behalves unilaterally has moral legitimacy.  As such, their conclusions and the consequences of those conclusions will remain fatally flawed and, literally fatally 
for women, unjust.>>

Universities, even if Catholic are not representative of the Church.  Just because a Jesuit, Franciscan, or Dominican teaches liberal ideas does not mean that these ideas stem from the
Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, there are professors in both Catholic and secular universities that pontificate to their students.  Rather than teach them the truth and engage their
students in a healthy appreciation of facts and critical thinking; they instead impose their personal views and politics on the curriculum.  Students who are not intellectually solid in
regards to critical thinking fall for this imposition.

Chemaly is obviously a victim of this indoctrination.  Notice the diatribe against the Church.  She believes that the Catholic Church "does everything within its power to make sure that we[women] cannot achieve our hopes..."  This is an absolute falsehood.  The Catholic Church does everything in her power to empower women, educate them and help them define their distinct role as given by God in society.

Radical feminism imprisions women into thinking that they are defined by the ideas of White women.  They are presented as the sum of their reproductive organs.  This is not freedom, this is a false promise to women who see a land of "milk and honey" and as they approach it, they fall into a pit of propaganda and fallacious rhetoric that defies even the sciences.  Chemaly seems to think that the Church's norms, ethics and deliberations come from men such as Cardinal Dolan and the like.  This is again another falsehood.  The Catholic Church preaches Christ.  The doctrines, ethics, moral teachings of the Church reflect the teachings of Christ and His Disciples.

<< While I do not measure my life against men’s, I do measure it against the standards that people, led almost entirely by all-male bodies, use to assess humanity and distribute rights.  In this way, I have found many men, women and institutions, wanting for the simple reason that they reject as fundamentally equally human female bodies, desires, experiences, insights and authority.  I, for example, do become  “overly sensitive” when the messages the Church sends about where I am to derive my sense of dignity are intertwined with sexually convoluted ideas about reproduction, purity, motherhood and restricted roles for women.  Ideas that find their origins in rifely sexist concepts of female baseness and moral incompetence.  I become “overly  sensitive” when men I don’t know profess to do things I don’t like or want in the name of protecting me from other men I don’t know who would hurt me or others of my gender, largely as a result of our not being male.  His post on you and your experience in life is the finest example of mansplaining, to use a rapidly being overused word, blather I have come across in a long time.>>

Ironically, you demonstrate in this paragraph your need to measure your life against a man's.  Look at your words, in particular your use of "mansplaining."  You become defensive instead of
engaging the concepts that you have issue with and attempting to understand why they are.  Naturally speaking, we all have roles in life determined by our genotype and phenotype.  There is no way around this.

Men cannot give birth, women can.  Nothing will change this biologically determined fact.  It is irrational to attempt to reduce women or even males to a "Tabula raza" state in which there exists no roles, no gender, not even identity in general.  The Church's teachings are meant to restore that which existed prior to the fall of Adam and Eve.  There is nothing convoluted in the teachings of
the Church.  Granted, they are difficult to follow some times, but this is because we have been conditioned to behave in a manner contrary to the law of God.

Calling the teachings convoluted is like calling a stop smoking program by the same idea merely because it is difficult for a nicotine addict to quit smoking.  This is where the Church liberates us in Jesus' name.  Like an addict, we slowly ween off the constructions of man which appear to be a good, but do harm.  Radical feminism instills tokophobia in women.  Pregnancy and child birth become something to be feared when biologically speaking, this is a normal function in the female gender of any animal species.

Radical feminism makes the woman the slave of man by introducing pills and other means to supposedly prevent pregnancy and STD infection, but in reality set up the woman to be the sex toy of the man.  Radical feminism instills a false sense of freedom by demanding that a woman have her unborn child killed in order to be a "true woman."  It presents woman as a prisoner to her own
natural biological make up.  The rhetoric is anti-science and irrational.      

<<But, it goes beyond that.  He explains that the Church “built the Dominican Republic,” but while he does this to highlight why you should be grateful to the Church he fails to note that it 
did this on the backs of people of color  – that includes, btw, women.  After the Church participated in the colonizing holocaust of an indigenous population.  The Church’s role in 
slavery is well documented.  “Our” “Western” “Civilization” is the basis for untold oppressions.  You should be ashamed of yourself for holding up this particular example of its success. 
Until the mid 20th century the Church accepted most kinds of slavery as simply the result of the human condition. That and a consequence of original sin. Sound familiar?  But, small things. 
He goes on to say that you should acknowledge that the Church built “Western Civilization.” There is no denying that there is a lot of good in Western ideas and ideals. But, the Church did 
this while it burnt women at the stake, deprived the vast majority of them of education, consigned them to early death through compulsory pregnancy and childbirth, relegated them to third class status by the billions.  The ideas and ideals of his admiration have long excluded, as the Church continues to, women. >>

The claim that the Church built the Dominican Republic on the backs of people of color is a silly one.  The people ARE the Church!  The other claims that the Church committed a holocaust of indigenous people is unfounded. Yes, the Church did play a role in slavery; namely fighting against it.  You are being intellectually dishonest by distorting history in order to fit your prejudice against the Catholic Church.  Without the Catholic Church, Western civilization would not exist as it does today.  The Church has never endorsed slavery or illiteracy among women.  Chemaly provides many claims without substance.  The Church has always promoted the education woman. St. Jerome stated:

"Parents should educate their daughters as well as their sons."  

Early death resulted not from pregnancy, but the lack of medical training at the time.  Chemaly falls into presentism by attempting to judge the past with the present.  

<<As for “radical feminism” not contributing anything to the Dominican Republic he himself proves this to be false: it has contributed you and I think you’re terrific! While he lauds your mother’s ability to struggle, and positively notes her not identifying as a feminist, he does absolutely nothing to reflect on how her life might have been less of a struggle if her access to work, money, food, control, or authority had not been necessarily mediated in every single meaningful dimension by men - economics, politics and, yes, faith. Good fathers in his terms.  It might interest him to know, by the way, that while you and I have both come to feminism,  my father is alive, well, married to my mother, loves and is proud of me. Oh, and he’s Catholic.  Some fathers are alive and maybe better fathers than others.  But, no father knows best just by virtue of being a man, which is the foundational premise of his argument and of the Church’s entire hierarchy. >>

I invite you to name the accomplishments of radical feminism in the Dominican Republic.  Please name feminists who built schools, built hospitals, cared for the poor.  I dare you to show us the evidence.  In reality, it was and is the Catholic Church who has and is ministering to the Dominican people even today.  Furthermore, I do not understand where Chemaly gets the idea that I did not reflect on Valoy's mom's situation.  I clearly wrote:

"Dominican women like other Latina women face many hardships.  They deal with poverty, men who leave them either for other women or when children are born; there are children to care for, etc."  

I never stated that fathers know best just by virtue of being male, Chemaly is falling into a straw man argument.  

<<Women like you and I, both women of color, educated in the “West” of multi-ethnic heritage and, by happenstance, in possession of functioning brains, are not living in “ideological prisons created by white women.” We are living with actual constraints created by arrogant and entitled and condescending men like Sacerdotus.  That is the “shadow” we are living with.   I’m glad he thinks feminism, with his approved limits, is a good thing.  But, his commentary on feminism and its historical evolution demonstrates the degree to which he fails to understand two basic facts: 1) feminism is a planetary struggle to end sexism and the exploitation of women and, unfortunately, 
for all of the real good that the Church does, it is a sexist institution that exploits and bodily endangers women in vastly unequal measure to men and 2) men and women who are engaged as 
feminists understand that the divisions we encounter within the feminist movement only make us stronger.  His portrayal of feminism as simple a rich, white woman’s pet project is shallow 
at best and disingenuous at worst.  As a weary, age old, divide and conquer strategy, it fails. >>

Chemaly, you need to be honest with yourself and stop living in denial.  Every moment you adopt radical feminism as your own, you're adopting the "ideological prison" that was created by and for White women.  There is no getting around this fact.  If you want to take my attempt to educate you and Valoy as arrogant and condescending, so be it; however, what I state is verifiable and is a heavily debated issue among feminists of color.  I guess your instructors failed to teach you this.  Having studied women's history and feminism in college, I am very much aware of the reality of feminism and what it entails.  The ideas I presented in my post are not something new.  They have been in discussion for decades now.  I can see why your instructors would keep this from you.  Had you learned this, perhaps you would have questioned the radical feminist movement just as I have while I studied it.

<<As for your “obsession” with his “masculinity and genitalia.”  Sorry to say, but no, I’m not obsessed and, tweets aside, neither I suspect, are you.   The Church, however, is and this is the frame for a lot of the debate about women and the Church. I do not hate him or other men, I just abhor systems that entitle him to power so arbitrarily.  Systems that allow him to think it is his god-given right and job for you tell women what to do – because, in the end, they have a penises and one less x chromosome.  Every child comes to understand this exceedingly simple truth.  As we grow up it is layered, one sexist blanket after another sexist blanket of, as he says, “all kinds of 
sophism and relativism.” But, it’s really not more complicated than that.  Women can and do think for themselves and are perfectly capable of participating fully, if they chose, in ministerial leadership. >>

Well it seems to all of us who read my timeline that there is indeed an obsession with my masculinity and genitalia.  I provided the tweets as evidence.  Why mention them?

The rest of your paragraph once again proves my original post.  You are demonstrating to us all the competition against men.  This woman against man is not healthy feminism.  I and other males can voice our views without women having to feel that those views are oppressive or meant to oppress.  Why present women as weaklings?   Every word that comes out of a man's mouth does not victimize women.  You need to get over the gender complex.

<<Does all of this make me angry?  Yes.  If it didn’t I’d worry that I’d died and didn’t know it.  The question is, why doesn't it make him angry.   

Why does it make you angry?  This is something you need to reflect on.  Why not be happy that you are a female?  Why create a fantasy world where women are caged while men are free?  Men and women are equal but not identical.  This is something radical feminists need to realize.  These differences do not show weakness, but rather, uniqueness.  I am not angry at all. I just take different opportunities to educate.

<<By the way, cute photo! Which I’m assuming, despite all of his web pages disclaimers about getting his permission to use or cite text, he didn't ask if it was ok to use. >> 

Once you post photos on a social site, you pretty much lose claim to them.  They are up for grabs for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, many people do not read terms of services as they sign up for a particular social networking site.  The photo I used originates from Valoy's twitter avatar.  I did not post it for any other reason than to put a face on the twitter personality that mentioned me.

I am assuming that both Valoy and Chemaly are engaging me in order to garner attention to their social network presence.  However, I would prefer that more facts are presented in place of ad hominem, straw man, and arguments from ignorance.



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