04 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Celibacy

crucifix

Celibacy— from cælibatus and cælebs and the indo-european roots, means alone-living, that is, living alone, or, at least, unmarried. This is simply descriptive of that which we see in this world. If it is without a spiritual dimension, celibacy is sterile, cold, lonely, something which positively rejects the way God made us. Here is where some of those in Holy Orders limit their understanding, and whine about loneliness and lack of fulfilment, begging to have a physical marriage in this world, or putting themselves in de facto concubinage, i.e., the state of being with someone in one’s cubo (in Latin), that is, “cube” or hut or shack. “Shacking up” is simply a translation of concubinage. A concubine, then, is the person with whom one lives without the benefit of marriage. Celibacy, living alone, is the most unfortunate word to be used for the marriage of the priest to the Bride of Christ, for this is hardly living alone, or being in an unmarried state. The priest is to be married to the Church. He must understand that, or he’s in deep trouble. And if he’s in trouble, others are as well. To avoid misunderstanding, the words for the sake of the kingdom of heaven are added from Matthew 19,12, the passage about Eunuchs (which will be discussed further on in this series, please God).

Now, did I mention whining above? Perhaps I shouldn’t tread so roughshod over those who never had anyone to invite them to a deeper understanding of their marriage to the Church through the Sacrifice of the Mass they offer daily. I suppose one can be so enthusiastic that others come to know the awesome love that celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of God entails that one gets a bit carried away.

It’s just that I remember when I was much younger than I am now, during one of the first trips of Saint John Paul II to the United States, that a priest was chosen by some Federation of Priests or other to address the Holy Father in the name of all the priests of the United States. “Speak for yourself!” I exclaimed to the television. He went way, way, way over time. No one knew what to do. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. Half hour. 35 minutes. 40. John Paul was most patient throughout the most whining diatribe of cloudy thinking imaginable. The priest’s biggest gripe was that priests are soooooooooooo loooooooooonely. Yep. I bet that’s true… for those who don’t know that they are married to the Church. Anyway, this fellow, although American, was very, very Irish. Finally, he finished. All looked for the response of Pope John Paul. What could he say after this diatribe, this whining, all this “Boohoohoo!” Knowing the priest was Irish, Saint John Paul II simply said — quoting the popular song — “It’s a long way to Tipperary!” Muffled laughter was heard throughout the crowd. JPII is awesome! Here’s the greatest Irish singer ever, ever, singing “It’s a long way…”

Meanwhile, Jesus on the Cross, cites Psalm 22, “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Lonely, in the very moment when His self-giving to His Bride, the Church, is complete? No. Look at the rest of Psalm 22, and discover the wonderful filial unity with His Father, the trust, respect, the love. No, really, look up Psalm 22 and read it right through. I dare you. This is important. This is the heart and soul of our redemption, of our salvation, of Jesus’ marriage with His bride, the Church. This is the very moment when He is drawing all to Himself. Here is the completion of the wedding vows of the Last Supper which priests offer daily: This is my body given for you in sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. If priests don’t get this, they are absolutely dead in the water. Done. This is the Mass they offer. This is their marriage with their bride, the Church. If they don’t understand the Mass they offer, they are absolutely dead in the water. Done.

Save celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, save the priesthood.

Save the liturgy, save the priesthood.

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06 My Jewish Mom? Useless to know it?

synagogue of capernaum star of david

A preemptive comment came into the combox:

“Although it is interesting to research our family roots, as Christians that is not where our identity lies.”

Part one: Condescension. Let’s paraphrase:

“Awww! That’s so cute! You’re researching your family tree!”

Part two: Condemnation. Let’s paraphrase:

“You’ve betrayed your true identity as a Christian and as a priest. What you’re doing is not of Jesus, but of the betrayer.”

In response – to this self-proclaimed Christian – a few points:

  • As Abraham with Lazarus recommended for the those of us here on earth, I’m going to look to Moses and the Prophets to point out Jewish Jesus.
  • As Jesus said, salvation is of the Jews.
  • As Saint Paul says:

“They [the Jews] are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)

There is a chosen people. There is still a chosen people. There is no public revelation given to anyone else. The Scriptures, “old” and “new”, are all of the Jews. There is no such thing as Islamic revelation, Native American revelation, whatever… No!

  • While it is true that the Jewish Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the Priest of priests, is without lineage according to the order of Melchizedek, that refers to belonging not to Aaron’s priesthood, but rather to Himself, He who offers Himself. He is still always the Son of David, with genealogies spread throughout the Gospels.
  • Moreover, the chosen people are still the chosen people inasmuch as they are part of the Israel of God, however much they have a veil, as Saint Paul calls it, covering over the fulfillment of revelation in Jewish Jesus.

Saint Paul also says that, in the age to come, there will be neither Jew nor Gentile. Great! But as to the accusation that I am betraying my heavenly identity by investigating my earthly identity, I say this:

  • One’s salvation can absolutely hinge on whether or not one is a racist. We may not all be saved – as we do have free will and some of us misuse it – but we are all of us certainly redeemed by Jesus on the cross. I’m sure that Jesus is not impressed by someone who, with all racism, smacks down someone just because of their race. We belong to the human race, all of us, white, black, brown, yellow, whatever. Now take this point with the next:
  • I’m personally sick and tired of racist bigots who attack the Jews for being Jews. I’ve even gotten a death threat recently. “I want to kill Jews,” he said to me, knowing I’m Jewish. “You son of a B****!” he shrieked and shrieked. If I stand up for being Jewish it’s because I accept what Jesus did for all of us on the cross; it’s because I accept my identity as a Christian and as a Catholic priest.

The video I made of the children’s names at the children’s memorial in Yad vaShem – Jerusalem:

It makes me want to pray:

If I do up some family research, it’s so as to stand up for those who are smashed down in death by the millions. And that’s a good thing to do.

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Rafi Eitan and Jon Jay Pollard? “I don’t know nothing!”

When Rafael “Rafi” Eitan died, I put up this notification:

Rafi Eitan! May you rest in peace. I hope to meet you in heaven. Your legacy lives!

I laughed out loud to then hear that he was the “handler” of Jay Pollard. Certainly I didn’t know that previously, not even in another life.

Some years ago, when walking into the main doors of the departures terminal at Tel Aviv International Airport, that is, נתב״ג, you know NATBAG or TLV, not even one of the dozen soldiers outside under the overhang stopped me, and so I just nonchalantly continued on my way inside until, another twenty meters inside, I was asked where I was going and I responded “Rome” and that soldier also let me go as that was consistent with one of the flights leaving at that time. So I continued, but only slowly, as I instantly felt a collective “disturbance in the force” outside, kind of like all the soldiers with one electrifying whisper saying, “Oh S#|+”. It took about three more seconds until I was surrounded by the same dozen soldiers from outside plus another dozen who came out of nowhere from inside.

Their questions: “Who is the special person you met? Who’s your contact? Give us a name. We want a name! Who is it?” Not knowing what they were talking about, they snatched a bit of computer junk I had bought, an Israeli-Hebrew keyboard, and brought it to a backroom for the longest time. They told me to sit off to the side where there was an agent to accompany me. After say, 40 minutes of them having an intense powwow, looking over at me every few seconds, and with me not wanting to be late for my plane, and with me also wanting to see if a Jedi-mind-trick would work, I simply waltzed over to the flight counter and checked in and went on my way, much to their consternation. They were visibly upset, breaking their pow-wow and turning toward me, but apparently they were under orders not to detain me further. They didn’t tell me I was free to go. As far as I knew, I wasn’t supposed to move. You simply just don’t disobey IDF soldiers with UZIs (or whatever it was ten years ago) in Tel Aviv International Airport. But I did. You find out stuff by pushing the envelope a bit. ;-)

It wouldn’t be for another six years that Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American CIA agent who gave ways and means secrets to Israel would be “released”, to this day not allowed to go to Israel. So, they weren’t expecting to hear “Jay.” Maybe they wanted to hear “Rafi,” a well known household name throughout the Jewish world.

I recall that relatively very recently another CIA guy asked if once then a dozen times about “Jay”, not giving any further name for a while, just “Jay”, testing to see if – now years after the restricted release of “Jay” – I could guess that he was talking about J.J. Pollard. I pushed him hard on it, and he addmitted it was Pollard he wanted to know about. But in asking that, he was really asking about “Rafi.”

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Already seen that one? edition)

Another one like this was already given to the Immaculate Conception, but the two are some 100 miles apart. They’re two different individuals. Just like us. We pray for each other to be given to Jesus to give to our Heavenly Father. But Mary, in solidarity with Jesus, interceding for us, helps make that happen, kind of like this:

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James Comey Trees Tweet means…

Are we all so illiterate that not even one person in these USA can figure out what James Comey is saying in this tweet? How about this:

“Oh, woe is me! Look at all the trees! I can’t see the forest for all the trees in front of me! It’s not my fault! It’s just little ol’ me! Don’t prosecute me! Don’t blame me!”

That worries me, I mean, about me. If I’m the only one to figure this out, I guess that means I could run the FBI. If that’s the case, the FBI has a lot of catch-up to do to re-establish any credibility.

Suggestion to the FBI: Make a recommendation for prosecution to the DOJ about such Comey, about such as, heck, I don’t know… Strzok!

Alright, alright. Let me say that in a different way, as I know plenty of FBI who are sick and tired and embarrassed at what the upper echelon has been up to. How about a mutiny? How about the mid-level guys turning in their superiors to the Executive which can direct the DOJ to do their thing? There. I saved everyone’s face, well, except for the old top guys.

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In extremis: Mother Xavier McMonagle OSB – Prayers please

Always a trustworthy and loyal friend of priests who are good sons of the Church. Mother is on her death bed, in extremis. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may she adore you now and in eternity. Saint Joseph! Pray for her. Immaculate Mary! Pray for her! Hail Mary…

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05 My Jewish mom? The Jewish School

hebrew school new haven 1950s

I’m in discovery mode about my mom. I write about discoveries on this blog, which is kind of what blogs are all about. And I think with my keyboard, which lends itself to the statement that I have no unpublished thoughts. One might think this to be quaint, but this series in particular is really getting on the nerves of some. I have an idea of where this might be going, and I have some motives beyond anything about family trees. If you’re brave enough to accompany me, I’m happy to have you come along.

I was speaking with yet another someone else who grew up with mom the other day. That person doesn’t remember all that much (mom having been born very close to a century ago), except to say that mom was actually quite fluent in Polish and Yiddish, and that she attended a school where all the kids were Jewish, well, except for a “few Italian kids.” Yes, well, one might call to mind that there are plenty of Italian Jews! Back in the day, such schools would be private schools. You would have to be Jewish to get into the Jewish school. Jewish schools were for Jewish kids.

The picture above is from the 1950s, just after the horrors would be known by all, and some twenty years after mom was in a Jewish school, which would have been during the most intensely anti-Jewish times, when the camps were starting and the last of those who would escape in any numbers did, with all their stories. Below is a picture of a modern Jewish school. Get the idea?

jewish school

Sending a non-Jewish kid to a Jewish school in those days? Didn’t much happen, not then, not even now.

So, a pattern keeps building up about my mom.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Dent-de-Lion edition)

img_20190322_141107~25190307408282368542..jpg

Quite the mane on that flower. Of course, any flower that would remind Jesus’ good mom of her good Son would be appreciated by her. We gotta keep in mind that she’s always been with Him in His fights, not telling Him to stop, like some over-protective mom, but instead cheering Him on. He came out with a few scars, but, that’s just fine and dandy. He’s the Last One Standing. After all, He’s the Lion of the Tribe of Judah:

lion of the tribe of judah

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04 My Jewish mom? Yiddish and Polish

yiddish

When I was a little-little kid, my mom would now and again use some rather incisive vocabulary if I should do up something really naughty like messing around in construction sites. I was such a brat. I didn’t know what the words she used meant, other than that I was in trouble. Remembering that vocabulary later in life, I looked up the words I could remember. The internet can be very useful… Yiddish!

I asked her about it. She said that she in fact knew how to speak the various languages back in the day, but by the time I asked her about it, at some seventy years, she remembered only a little. That was a couple of years before she died.

Speaking such languages at home, she said, was the order of the day when she was a kid, but only at home…. never, ever outside the home… No! No one can know what we speak! Ever! “The idiom of the frightened and hopeful humanity,” says Isaac Bashevis Singer in his Nobel Lecture of 1978. “Frightened and hopeful.” Yep.

More indications that mom was Jewish. “Just coincidences,” say the doubters, casting doubt. But after a while, there are so many coincidences that you have to start to wonder. Also, the circumstances of the facts are important.

For instance, in the first post of this series I spoke of white, blue striped stoneware, which in itself, is neither here nor there. It means nothing. Pretty much everyone in the world has white, blue striped stoneware if they think it’s nice. Agreed. All so very common. However, it was her reaction to conversations about it that was interesting. This instigated a conversation that moved to Israel. And then she took me over to look at a portrait of her mom. She would want to tell me something, but refrained ever so wistfully.

And with the languages? Sure, lots of people know both languages and are not Jewish. Yep. But it’s not the languages so much as what she said about their usage. Secrecy was the order of the day. This wasn’t about encouraging kids simply to learn the language of the their new country – English here in these USA – which was common to that generation. Talk to any Italians of that generation and you’ll hear about it loud and clear. Instead, this not speaking specifically Yiddish was about secrecy, about not being found out.

Motivation is paramount in detective work. The quest continues. Progress is being made.

We’re dealing with fear. What’s it’s like for another generation – me – to discover the fear, and go beyond, to the other side? Quite the journey…

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03 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Chastity

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

This is the football “Mudbowl” jersey I helped to design for the “philosophers” of the seminary where I was teaching. The “name” at the top is for my own jersey only. I was one of the spiritual directors for the philosophers. Note the fiery sword of the great prophet Elijah!

As we continue our series, we’re still establishing some of definition of the terms. It’s all technical vocabulary. It’s worth the effort. Knowledge is good. Truth has good effects. Know the truth. Set the truth free in your life and you will realize that it it The Truth Himself who has set you free. Let’s talk about chastity:

Chastity— to be chaste, comes from castus, the past participle of carere, which means to [be] cut off. The meaning of “cut” is not in reference to castration[!] but refers to the result of living in a manner contradictory to the fallen ways of the world, keeping the commandments, cut off from the utter stupidity of the world specifically to be in awe before God, especially the priest (see ἁγνός – 1 Timothy 5:22).

“Do not lay hands too readily on anyone [in reference to ordination to the priesthood], and do not share in another’s sins. Keep yourself chaste.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

That term, ἁγνός, refers in its most ancient usage, going back to Sanskrit, to one who is set aside for worship. I find that to be most impressive. However, it our present usage:

Everyone is meant to be chaste, so that begetting children in the married state is living chastely. Chastity is holiness of life in regard to sexual morality. Priests are held up as examples in this regard since people have a sense that priests are to know that they are married to the Church, and are therefore to have the ferocity of spousal self-giving that is faithfulness, and this as a faithfulness in their vocation unto death to themselves so as to live for this Bride of Christ, the Church. What a travesty is bad example!

Christ “married” His Bride, the Church, at the Last Supper, with those ferocious wedding vows said by the priest today in the first person singular, acting in the Person of Christ: This is my body, given for you in sacrifice…. This is the chalice of my blood, poured out for you in sacrifice. This is total self-giving to the other, in this case right through death.

Again, if the priest does not realize that he is married to the Church by the very sacrifice that he offers at daily Mass, then surely he will be lost to all sort of sexual idiocy, at least in his spirit if not otherwise.

The sword here is double-edged. The same sword which would cut the priest off from the stupidity of the world, setting him off for worship, for offering the Sacrifice, is the very same sword which is medicinally cut him off from that worship should he fall into such grievous un-chastity that such a cutting off is merited.

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Rafi Eitan! May you rest in peace. I hope to meet you in heaven. Your legacy lives!

screenshot_20190323-1643123998759908646503003.png

screenshot_20190321-165030~24132290128470579857..jpgRafael “Rafi” Eitan was the head of the Mossad operation which brought Nazi extermination camp organizer Adolf Eichmann from Argentina to Israel to stand trial and be hanged.

Born: 23 November 1926 // Died: 23 March 2019.

Let’s see… What’s the greatest compliment one might give to someone? I know!

Rafi, it would have been an honor for me to serve in the Mossad under your leadership in the operation that took down the monster Adolf Eichmann.

At another funeral in Israel recently – that of Shimon Peres, the prayer Avinu Malkeinu was sung. The singer makes it the prayer of all who died in the extermination camps, as if he were singing their very souls while they were dying. You can hear it…

Remember:

“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)

Thanks, Rafi.

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03 My Jewish mom? “They’re coming!”

tank tiger 1 german nazi

I am acquainted with someone who did not grow up with my mom, and who did not have the same world-view, not being anywhere near the same age as my mom, what with my mom being quite a bit older, but with my mom having quite a bit of influence on this other person.

My mom, throughout her life, would often mention the Nazis, and Hitler, with real venom. This was no mere reductio ad Hitlerum just to get the upper hand in some conversation, but issued from almost visible, almost tangible hurt. This was evident.

Anyway, to this day this other person carries a fear of present day neo-Nazis as much as anyone who has escaped from a Nazi concentration camp and who lives in a neo-Nazi neighborhood, you know, as if Krystallnacht was going on right now… Hide!…

kristallnacht

In hearing a car on the street, that person will want to take cover, saying that it is surely a Nazi tank that person hears. That person grew up when it could be related to that person also by my mom – who was quite a bit older – the atrocities of the concentration camps.

Don’t underestimate PTSD. For instance, a girl just committed suicide down in Florida, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Florida, where 17 died (now 18) and many others injured. Currents run deep. People can live as a present reality that which took place even in the distant past. For those who are not cowards to see present day reality for what it is it may be worth the effort to point out that there are still neo-Nazis today, and they are just as horrific and violent as any Nazi in the past. For instance, see:

JBS: Yaron Svoray & Simon Wiesenthal

Anyway, just to say, I’m quite certain that the only way this other person carries such PTSD is by friendship with my own mom.

This doesn’t necessarily say anything about the Jewishness of my mom. But, a pattern is developing.

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Localized Theology Doctorates and the homosexualized abuse crisis

dung snow

Some doctorates about local stuff are good. But – just to say – …

For all the years I was in Rome across many decades – and also here in these USA, fellow students were – pretty much all of them it seemed – were writing their doctoral theses (you fill in the blanks) on ____[TOPIC]___ in ___[LOCAL AREA]___. For instance:

  • Sing-song vocalizations of various words spoken by street people [of a certain race] on a particular street corner in Louisiana depicting continuation in liberation. [That’s for real. The priest who wrote this thesis ended up convicted of abuse of minors. Yep.]

Some were more serious theologically, along the lines of:

  • Whether violence is useful in Liberation Theology applications in Amazonian Region #___[NUMBER]___

Most were outright attacks on the Creed, along the lines of:

  • The non-divine Jesus from below in the experience of the ___[TRIBE]___ peoples

Lots of these dealt with sexual morality, of course, forcing a loss of morality.

  • One, from a priest in Oceania, promoted ethnic cleansing, even violent, as in genocide. He hid it in footnotes, but I spotted it. None of the professors on the defense commission – somehow – did not spot this at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Surprise, surprise.

I brought that thesis to the attention of his bishop, of the local archbishop, and of a number of dicasteries in the Holy See. The guy was promoted. I’m so naive. But failure is still success if one has done one’s best to do what is right and just. We must never give up. Never. God’s not so interested in our success as He is in our faithfulness to Him.

The content of all this blather doesn’t matter. The point is that the very exercise of writing such a thesis restructures the writer’s beliefs, so that he now has nothing but a Marxist world-view, a dialectic analysis of “the people.”

Did I say that pretty much everyone was doing this?

And now we see this as the constant theme, the pastoral solution of this diocese or that conference of bishops in that ever so special culture in an ever so special place, so special that the Church is irrelevant, Jesus is irrelevant, the truth is irrelevant. It’s experiences and feelings and stuff like, you know, like that stuff.

When people in not so special cultures in not so special places hear of such things, of course they think that they are also so special that the Church and Jesus and the truth is also irrelevant for them, so they can do what they damn well please. And make no mistake, this is always about morals, always about sex.

Does no one believe in Christ Jesus?

These weak people do such damage to peoples right around the world.

If you’re reading this and you’ve done up such a thesis, perhaps you’d like to comment and defend yourself, or, as someone else known to me has done instead, repent of such idiocy and then speak of your new found friendship with Him who is the Living Truth, for all peoples of all times and places and cultures and social conditions, of all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations. Perhaps you would like to speak of looking upon Him who we have all pierced with our sin, He who hangs on the cross for all of us to see.

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

It’s all about Him. He’s the One. He’s the only One. Write about Him. Speak about Him. Bring people to Him, to their knees in Confession. Then we’ll live by His love, His Truth, His goodness and kindness, His forgiveness, and yes, then, His mercy founded on… wait for it… His justice.

Otherwise, people run to the lowest common denominator of hell. Sexual deviance. Always.

Peace, my friends.

Update: LifeSite’s interview with Cardinal Sarah, a particularly apropos interjection:

“We tolerate any calling into question. The Catholic doctrine is challenged, and in the name of self-styled intellectual postures, theologians take pleasure in deconstructing dogma and in emptying morals of their profound meaning. Relativism is the mask of Judas disguised as an intellectual. How can we be surprised that so many priests break their commitments? We downgrade the meaning of celibacy, we demand the right to a private life, which is the opposite of the priest’s mission. Some go so far as to claim the right to homosexual activity. One scandal follows another, involving priests and bishops.”

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02 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Continence

holy souls hermitage ad orientem 3

As we begin this series, the definitions might seem a bit pedantic, but even these will start to get rather interesting. Anything really worthwhile takes some effort, right? Bear with these first posts! Our first word to describe is continence, which can have a spiritual sense to it, however physical is seems.

Continence — from continentia and continere, means to contain. In its most graphic sense, this refers to the proper containment of sexual behavior, but not at all to the repression of untoward sexual behavior (which repression, as mere repression, is always evil, for mere repression fails to correct problems and is only escapism).

So speak of continent sexual behavior is open to the understanding that one who is continent or contained enjoys a lively peace of soul in that, by grace, he is contained in God, “hidden with Christ in God” as Saint Paul says, happy to walk in God’s presence. To put it another way, when speaking of “containing”, one recalls this from Saint Paul (2 Corinthians 4:5-7):

“We do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.”

Other passages from Saint Paul come to mind:

“Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Or how about this one…

“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

One will sometimes read the phrase perpetual continence as referring to the result of undertaking a promise or vow of chastity, so that the application of the word refers to not getting married and having children.

When understood with the nexus virtutum in the Thomistic sense, continence, in reference to temperance, can be said to be a virtue. John Paul II speaks of the “imperative of self-control,” bringing one to “the necessity of immediate continence and of habitual temperance” (27 Oct and 4 Nov, 1984).

Biblically, priests who are incontinent deserve death, such as Hophni and Phinehas, the ever so truly evil sons of Eli, who spent their priesthood raping the women at the entrance of the temple (1 Samuel 2,22).

This description of continence may bring up more questions, and that’s good. The series continues.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (buds to blossoms edition)

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This is the same plant two weeks apart: buds to blossoms.

My own mom would often pick of stalk of buds of whatever and put it on the window sill above the kitchen sick where the sun would hit it for a time each day. When I first saw this as a little little kid, I didn’t understand, but as the days and even weeks wore on I saw the wisdom in this. Well, only a little bit.

How can we even begin to understand the joy that our Lord has in creating such things and Himself giving them to His good mom, the Immaculate Conception? As has been said by Saint Louis Grignon de Montfort: Don’t worry about honoring Mary too much, for you cannot at all honor her more than does her good Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Oh, I should mention that both Jesus and Mary know just how it is that grace will turn to glory in heaven, as Saint Paul says, kind of like buds to blossoms. :-)

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01 – Priestly Celibacy Series – Ignace de la Potterie, SJ: All priests are married!

ignace de la potterie sj

Father Ignace de la Potterie, S.J., a most extraordinary biblical scholar, was a close friend and confidant in the last years of his life. May the Lord grant rest to his soul. The following heavily researched and careful study is one of his extraordinary works is one which I used in many seminaries and one which caused his fellow Jesuits to become bitter enemies of him. This study has been put up by the Congregation for the Clergy. The bit in this post can be found at Vatican.va. I have much more to say on all this in future installments of this series. If you want to solve the crisis in the Church, you have to pray, and you have to know what you’re talking about. //

The biblical foundation of priestly celibacy

Ignace de la Potterie, S.J. — Biblical scholar

For several centuries there has been much debate as to whether the obligation of celibacy for clerics in major orders (or at least that of living in continence for those who are married) is of biblical origin or whether it is based merely on ecclesiastical tradition dating back to the fourth century, since from then on, without question, legislation exists on the subject. The first of these two possible answers has recently been presented. once again, this time with an extraordinary wealth Continue reading

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Homily 2019 03 22 – Harvest of Murder

parable of murder in the vineyard

The Parable of the Vineyard and the murderous High Priests and Elders of the people. The more times change, the more they’re the same.

I reference something absolutely disgusting that will shrink the flock of Our Lord’s Catholic Church down to about nothing right around the world, but I don’t say what it is. It’s a policy change on the vetting of seminarians. Sooo disgusting… More on that elsewhere.

But there’s hope. Find out why:

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02 My Jewish mom? “I Am David”

A couple years back I wrote the following post, now slightly revised:

I read I Am David it seems decades ago. I think my mom, a voracious reader, slipped it to me one day under the title North to Freedom. I didn’t know it’s now a movie starring Ben Tibber, Jim Caviezel and Joan Plowright. It’s about a boy who escapes a concentration camp and makes his way to freedom in Denmark. The book follows his adventures of his travels throughout Europe.

My mom wanted to call me David, my middle name now as my dad won out with George for a first name. Mom came up with yet another Jewish name, a nickname, which I had until well into the seminary: “Jordan.” She was going to get me a Jewish name one way or the other! David means “beloved” in Hebrew: I Am Beloved. Yikes!

A reader mentioned I Am David in an email this morning. The memories flood back. How many times the words “I am David” came to mind and were repeated by me throughout my life whenever the going got tough. This would be my defiant and proud battle song: “I AM DAVID!” An example:

Some of my ordination cards, all hand made, asked for prayers from Saint David, as had the litany of saints in the Ordination Rite, for which someone roundly condemned me, criticizing both King David and the Hebrew Scriptures and even the work I had put into making the cards. That made me sad, but at the same time I entrenched all the more in my ever more lively secret now ardent in my heart: “I AM DAVID!”

Saying such a thing now, well, it makes me instantly and sheepishly turn to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, for he is the Son of David and Jesus is very much beloved. He knows what it is to have a secret, the Father’s love, which he reveals to us in himself. Whatever the flurry and fury on the outside, we dwell with him and he with us. And if I should say to him, “I AM DAVID!” he says in response…

Anyway, none of this means that mom was Jewish. I know. But that’s like the only book that mom ever gave to me, ever. Just another hint. I’ve been looking up her side of the family in various databases that have much to do with “I Am David.” But those matters are for future posts.

If you’ve never read North to Freedom or now I Am David, it’s well worth the read. It’s very short for a novel. It gives some insight to how things were like back in the day. This was a very gentle introduction to the fact of the concentration camps. It’s a story of hope, of success in escape, of life. Thanks, mom.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Red-buds: Judas vs Jesus edition)

img_20190318_165631~23762240771818898638..jpg

Some say that some say – and you know what “they” say about hearsay – that Judas hung himself after his betrayal of Jesus on a redbud tree which, in fact, is abundant in Israel.

The red is for the blood when Judas burst asunder – reminding us of another character in the Old Testament – falling downward from the branches, the rope tightening, but continuing to fall downwards to hell. This was Judas’ mockery of Jesus.

As Jesus said, Judas, playing Jesus, raised his heel against Jesus, thus playing the son of the Mother of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and making Jesus into Satan: such mockery!

Jesus also died on a tree, a cross, soaked with Jesus’ blood, just a couple of thousand feet away. Jesus also precipitated down to hell as we say every Sunday in the Creed. What Jesus was doing there is to preach to the fallen spirits. See 1 Peter 3:19. These are the fallen angels, but also Judas would have freshly arrived. This preaching of Jesus was not to convert them,  or Judas, the “friend”, but rather to reprimand them, and Judas, with Jesus telling the truth of the way things are, to proclaim victory because He stayed on the cross until death, for us, out of love, the Innocent for the guilty, so that the guilty, seeing such great love, might convert and be brought to heaven. Judas was already dead, but Judas had been told a myriad times by Jesus Himself the truth of the matter. Also, all of the Hebrew Scriptures point to the Suffering Servant. Judas knew, and rejected this, siding with a merely political expediency. The truth of the great love of God – and the irony of the life-giving death of Jesus forever crushes the fallen spirits in hell.

The field which Judas bought with his newly acquired 30 pieces of silver, the money of the betrayal, the blood money, was what was then called, Akeldama, the Field of Blood. This is to be found in valley of hell on the south side of the wall of the old City of Jerusalem. Towards the bottom, below the “Dung Gate”, below the Temple Mount, was where the hellish hell of the hollow metal fire-filled idol of Marduch was to be found, where idol worshippers would sacrifice their children.

moloch

Meanwhile, Jesus wants to lead His little flock to heaven.

Oh yes… and Jesus’ good mom? A flower? Yes. She saw it all. She was in solidarity with Jesus, crushed herself with Jesus under the heel of Judas, but only for a time, those terrible three days of darkness, from the total eclipse of Good Friday, then Friday night, then Saturday night… then the resurrection Sunday, that first day of the week, the new sabbath, the seventh day which we can now enter. Mary saw it all. A flower for you, Mary. Yes, a redbud. You saw all the blood, Judas and Jesus. Thank you, Mary, for your solidarity with your Son, with us.

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Mount Carmel Stations of the Cross

Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating.

I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. The OCDs had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

Our Stations of the Cross here at Holy Redeemer in Andrews are “normal”, with pictures being used. The church is so small that any use of sculpted stations no matter how minimal in relief would block use of the side aisles. Everything is doubled over in both English and Spanish, except the Stabat Mater, which so far we’ve just sung in English. No one minds both languages as the common language is humble thanksgiving in witnessing our Lord’s great love for us. In fact, because of this, it goes the other way, with comments being about how wonderful it is that everyone comes together for the Stations.

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