Crazy? Angry? You decide and I couldn’t care less!

Next Up on Wheel of Heresy…the Jesuit Superior General!
I swear, some of the Jesuits are just bucking to have a heresy named after them. “The Jesuitical Heresy” or “Jesuiticism” maybe? It’ll be hard to pin down exactly what defines it, though, since they have chosen sooooo many to embrace. The “Kitchen Sink Heresy” perhaps?  I’m sure the readers will come up with some doozies.

Vatican City, Aug 21, 2019 / 01:44 pm (CNA).- The superior general of the Society of Jesus said Aug. 21 that the devil is a symbol, but not a person.
The devil, “exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons, because is not a person, is a way of acting evil. He is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life,” Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, said Wednesday in an interview with Italian magazine Tempi.

He’s bending truth again. True, the devil is not a person. The devil is a fallen angelic being.  But he’s very real, despite the fact that many Jesuits have been trying to dispel this reality forever.
We’ve been told time and again by many holy people that one of the devil’s main tactics is to try to get us to believe he does not exist.  The Superior General is using that tactic himself. What does that tell you about him?
From the Catechism regarding the fall:

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”.267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”268
392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.”270 The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”.271
393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”272
394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning”, who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.273 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”275


Man’s first sin
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of.278 All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God”.279”


A hard battle. . .
407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.298 Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action299 and morals.


413 “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world” (Wis 1:13; 2:24).
414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

Fr. Sosa goes on…

“Good and evil are in a permanent war in the human conscience and we have ways to point them out. We recognize God as good, fully good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality,” he added.
Sosa’s remarks came after he participated in a panel discussion at a Catholic gathering in Rimini, Italy, organized by the Communion and Liberation ecclesial movement.

Sorry, Fr. Sosa. The devil is a real being, not a state of the mind.

The Catechism of the Catholic teaches that “Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: ‘The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.’”
Angels, the Catechism says, are “spiritual, non-corporeal beings.”
“They are personal and immortal creatures,” it adds, who “have intelligence and will.”

Tsk..tsk…tsk..Father Sosa! It is not a teaching of the Catholic Church that non-corporeal beings are fantasy or merely symbolic. There is really one of three things going on here: (1) you are stupid enough to think this; (2) Satanists in Ottawa that just held a black mass have more of belief in the devil, the Real Presence and Christ than you; or (3) you know darn well the devil is way more than merely symbolic and you are doing his will in promoting that he does not exist. Which is it?

Sosa, 70, was elected the Jesuits’ superior general in 2016. A Venezuelan, he has a pontifical licentiate in philosophy and a doctorate in political science. He served as a Jesuit provincial superior in Venezuela from 1996 to 2004, and in 2014 began an administrative role at the general curia of the Jesuits in Rome.

OK, I guess I left one off: (4) he’s 70 and dementia is kicking in? Look, I’m not saying many Jesuits don’t believe EXACTLY as Fr. Sosa, but at least they’re cunning enough not to spell it out.  I’m guessing he’ll be getting a pink slip soon.

Sosa has offered controversial comments about Satan in the past. In 2017, he told El Mundo that “we have formed symbolic figures such as the Devil to express evil.”
After his 2017 remark generated controversy, a spokesman said that “like all Catholics, Father Sosa professes and teaches what the Church professes and teaches. He does not hold a set of beliefs separate from what is contained in the doctrine of the Catholic Church.”

Oh, all’s good then. Not.

Assumptions on the Assumption by Sr. Carolyn

Our Lady is awesome and, right after one of her feast days, I feel the need to thump one lady’s notions. No, Mary doesn’t need my defense, and she really doesn’t need Sister Carolyn’s, but I feel compelled to defend Truth, which isn’t found anywhere in her lame video. Please feel free to check the link because it’s not worth my time to alter the HTML code to embed the video. The pseudo-transcription is courtesy of the YouTube transcript I found. Before anyone goes on a justifiable rant on women doing the homily, she’s not.  She just wishes she could, so she makes videos instead.

The Feast of the Assumption means that Mary is just as good as the guys.

What in the what?!?!?! I think Mary is a bit better, I’d say! I think Sr. Carolyn was probably going for the “Women are equal, gosh darn it!” message, but sadly she goes on to actually downplay all things Mary. The liberals just never quite know what to do with Mary and this bi-polar piece nails that. “She’s the same as the guys, but if she had been a prostitute then she’d REALLY be something special!” is kind of where they usually end up.  She’s a BIG inconvenience to them.

There’s Jesus, of course, and we tend to talk about his Ascension and Mary’s Assumption as if he did it on his own and she needed some help.

Oh yeah, there’s Him. Ho-hum. Thanks, Sister! What would we do without your astute insight??? Unbelievably, people paid money to have this lady teach them. I’d be looking for a refund right about now. As for the rest of the sentence, I’m pretty sure there’s a wee bit of heresy in there, and Fr. Martin unsurprisingly just gave that a plug. I actually tripped over this via Fr. Martin’s Facebook page.
Yes, Sister, there actually is a difference between the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Christ. Does this really need to be said?  I guess so. Maybe read a few more bible verses and, oh, maybe some Church documents?
Christ said he would ascend.  This is in the Creed, for heaven’s sake. “He ascended into Heaven” It’s not “He was assumed into Heaven.” I don’t know. Maybe you don’t say this one because there are too many gender specific pronouns to sub? Sigh. Can you stop playing “Wheel of Heresy” for just a second, Sister? Honestly, I’m pretty sure her little “homily” contains more than a few. My smart readers will have to start naming them for me.
So let’s look at your lack of bible verses and church docs, shall we?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.
John 6:62 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
John 20:17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.

And then there’s the dogma of the Assumption:
That’s apparently not good enough for Sister Carolyn, though:

But if you look carefully at a good translation of the story of Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:9 you’ll see that he too was lifted up and received into heaven on a cloud.

And this is why Catholics don’t believe in private interpretation of Scripture. I realize you think you have some magical authority to set cherry picked bible verses against Church teaching, but you don’t.

But Jesus and Mary are by no means the first to have been thought to go up into this, out of this life – to somewhere up there where God is. You will of course remember Elijah and his fiery chariot in 2 Kings 11 but even before him Enoch was taken up by God and seen no more as Genesis 5.

OK, I’m not going to quibble about the fact that they had some sort of special exit, but to say we know exactly where they went and how it happened? This has never been said by the Church and has been mulled over by many. Also, again, you misquote. It’s actually “taken by God” not taken up. Then there’s Elijah who was taken up to “heaven” but did that just mean the sky?  Who the heck knows? Not Sister Carolyn. Not the Church Fathers. No definitive teaching on that, and since the gates of Heaven were closed until “Jesus, of course,” the Church Fathers leaned heavily toward the Limbo of the Fathers. Regardless, none of this at all changes the differences of the Ascension of Christ and Assumption of Mary. Mary did “need help” with that. She wasn’t God after all. Maybe you’re the reason Protestants think we worship Mary?

But it’s not only biblical figures who were believed to be taken up to heaven. Livy reported this of Romulus one of the mythic founders of Rome. Roman emperors were depicted being taken up that way, Augustus Titus and Constantine among them. Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina are depicted heading for heaven held up by a nude adult male winged figure, with fig leaf added in the Renaissance, on a massive column base in the garden of the Vatican Museum and it’s still there. Even one imperial woman got her own depiction of being conveyed to heaven, Sabina, the wife of the Emperor Hadrian.

Now we’re talking about the Assumption in the same breath as mythical characters? Kind of telling, don’t you think, Sister? I’m kind of surprised you didn’t throw a little Greek mythology in there, too. Just an FYI, Christians looked kindly on the few good Roman emperors who cared for their people. What a shocker. I’m quite sure people hoped for Heaven for them.

So the Ascension of Jesus the Assumption of Mary are by no means unique rather they conveyed a message to their world. Jesus and Mary rate with the great ones.

Jesus and Mary simply rate with the great ones like, say, Romulus?! Oh my. You really got a winner there, Fr. Martin! Yes, sister.

The tradition of including Mary is surprisingly early possibly late fourth or for sure early fifth century.

Maybe as early as the time she was assumed into Heaven? Sigh. By the way, she’s wrong.  It appeared in Transitus Mariae in the second or third century. That said, that’s not when the “tradition started.”  Sister is trying to get people to believe this is just a nice little mythological tradition with no real importance. WRONG! And the “it suddenly became a belief when…” is really what Protestants say. Again, rather telling about Sister Carolyn’s beliefs.

We might be tempted to think of a feast like this as quiet and peaceful, a time for calm, rejoicing.  maybe the image in your mind is the Assumption of Mary by Murillo. Oh, a very common one. Mary quietly joins her hands and looks upward blue mantle flying while a bunch of chubby little angels push her cloud heavenward.

I don’t know.  Going to heaven sounds pretty peaceful and a reason to rejoice to me.  Yes, there are many depictions of the Assumption, Murillo’s is one of them, but many look rejoicing and rather victorious.

But no, our readings for the Feast suggest something different. Being with the great ones isn’t peaceful. It means struggle. In our first reading from revelation the dragon threatens the life of the child. His mother must flee to protect him like so many immigrant and refugee mothers whose children are not rescued at the last minute as this one is. It’s a struggle for survival for this woman and her child a reflection of the struggle that continues age after age in our world.

Oh my gosh!  She just had to find a way to work the border thing in there, didn’t she? Let’s just get this straight, in this day and age EVERY bible verse is about Trump and the border.  Is she saying that this is what Heaven is like?  Kind of a weird reading of Revelation.  The part of Revelation that addresses Heaven is:

And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men: and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more. Nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. Rev 21:2-4

But you can’t really make a reference to the border with that one.
Yes, of course this feast day is a reason to celebrate and rejoice! I’m not sure which “great ones” she’s referring to, but it’s not those in Heaven with the angels and the saints experiencing the beatific vision. More specifically, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sister Carolyn might want to crack that one open every once in a while) says this of Heaven:

1023 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:598
By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment – and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven – have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.599
1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.”

Seems pretty peaceful and with a lack of struggling to me.

1025 To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,”600 but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.601
For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.602
1026 By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened” heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.
1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”603
1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision”:
How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends.604
1029 In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for ever and ever.”605

Why she doesn’t embrace this view is beyond me. Sign. Me. Up. (Well, after I’ve had much time to do penance, please.)

The familiar Gospel reading from Luke portrays Mary as she journeys to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth and the encounter of the two expectant mothers and their, as yet, unborn sons. Mary’s response is the ecstatic song that we usually call the Magnificat. Those who pray evening prayer regularly recite this canticle and perhaps familiarity makes us numb to its promises and its threats. Mary’s song is not peaceful, rather, it’s unsettling it proclaims the upheaval of quiet lives. The proud will be scattered, the mighty will be cast down from their Thrones and the lowly, and the connotation of the word in Greek (insert Greek because the translation didn’t) means pressed down or oppressed, not those who practice the virtue of humility, they will be raised up and the hungry will be filled with good things. So look out those who sit on thrones of worldly power!

Who’s she gunning for with that one? Trump? The all-male clergy? Conservatives? So many possibilities!
I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Magnificat as a threat. I see it more as the truth of what happens when we trust in God, follow him and keep his Commandments or we don’t. The choice is ours. It’s not about the power we hold or where we sit, rich, poor, powerful or weak. It’s about the choices WE make, not the ones made for us. The most peace I get (and I fail this one often as a mom) is to do what I THINK God wants me to do, pray and trust. Mary is the model of this for us.
Let’s actually look at the prayer from Vespers:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

And, interestingly enough, the antiphon for the day was:

Ant. Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever.

Completely peaceful for those who put their trust in Christ and do his will. Oh, and those who practice the virtue of humility, which actually helps with trusting in Christ and doing his will.  Not sure why Sister Carolyn is down on the virtue. Maybe she’s not into striving for that one. It’s so tiring to see “people who are leaders are bad” and “only poor, oppressed people go to Heaven.” Both groups can fail at gaining Heaven without practicing virtue, and both groups can succeed when their focus is on God. The “rich bad/poor good” is a literalist interpretation the Church does not hold.

Now the problem with this is that in Luke’s Gospel it’s all in the past tense as if it has already happened. A quick look around our world today prompts the wonderment. What? Let’s leave that question for a moment and go to the second reading which I skipped earlier because I think it’s better to deal with it last.

Luke, your gospel has problems, man.  You need to run these things by Sister Carolyn. New Testament scholar. Umm, could it be because it actually had happened in the past? Mary was saved in a special way by God at the moment of her conception.

In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul is grappling with his attempt to explain the mystery of the Resurrection to people, who apparently, were pretty skeptical about the idea. Paul too speaks of a struggle. In the end he says Christ will hand over everything to God his father once he has put all enemies under his feet an allusion to Psalm 110;1 which was already considered to refer to the Messiah. But says Paul the last enemy to be destroyed is death. The resurrection of Christ has begun to put that defeat of death in motion. We’re not there yet and that’s why Luke’s Mary and her Magnificat can see from the same perspective that Paul sees here. That last enemy will be destroyed. And when that happens, that’s when we can say that all God’s promises have been accomplished so why celebrate the Assumption of Mary? Because of what it promises.

Why? Well, the Church told us why in Munificentissimus Deus:

42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

Back to Sr. Carolyn:

Mary too is caught up in this great process of realizing the effects of the resurrection. It’s not a promise of peace during the course of the process rather it’s a promise of tension and struggle. We live in time and we touch eternity.

I have no idea where she’s going with this one.  Kind of rambling, but if she’s saying “God is outside of time”, “The battle has already been won”, and “We need to carry our cross”, then I can agree. If she’s saying Mary’s Assumption (you know the thing this is supposed to be about) is somehow stressful to Mary, uh… Her Assumption is just what the Church said it was. It’s an example of the “lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined.”

I have a favorite poem that speaks to me of all of this. GK Chesterton’s Regina Angelorum written in 1925. It’s about the Assumption of Mary. I share it with you the last two verses only because Mary is in heaven she is exploring her new place.

She quotes it a little poorly, but the emphasis on her big and likely purposeful change is all mine.

But ever she walked till away in the last high places,
One great light shone
From the pillared throne of the king of all the country
Who sat thereon;
And she cried aloud as she cried under the gibbet
For she saw her son.
Our Lady wears a crown in a strange country,
The crown he gave,
But she has not forgotten to call to her old companions
To call and crave;
And to hear her calling ONE might arise and thunder
On the doors of the grave.

I just can’t believe these old biddies are so jealous of men that they have to “translate” their favorite poems for us. That “one” should “a man.” I’m not offended at Chesterton’s use, are you? Why anyone would change literature to suit their ridiculous agenda is beyond me. Kind of shocked any oppressive male pronouns actually made it into her translation at all.
This woman doesn’t represent me. She represents dissent. If she and her ilk spent more time focusing on virtue and getting to Heaven instead of championing priestesses (a colossal waste of time), this Church would be a better place. She’s just an embarrassment to my sex.

Dissent with a Side of Dissent in Portland

I’ve been spending some quality time with the family so I’ve ignored a lot this week, but after the summer vacations and having to leave my sweet little bunker parish and go out into the rural “real” world to get my annual dose of reality of the ugly in our little Catholic family, I finally had a chance to sit and read this piece of work today.  It’s really downright disgusting but really shows why so few have a belief in the Real Presence. By the way, people seemed shocked at the Pew Poll, but I can’t for the life of me see why. Of course, I come from the land of liberal so, if anything, I was surprised to see the belief number actually made it that high. In my area, we’ve had years steeped in the 1970s and have dealt with the likes of these bitter gray-haired narcissists for so long that belief in the Real Presence is probably much lower here. 
Let’s take a look:

Reverence and resistance in one of Portland’s oldest Catholic churches
Updated 10:24 AM; Posted Aug 11, 2019
By Peter Talbot | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Uh, reverence for what?  It ain’t the priest, it ain’t the Mass, it ain’t the bishop, and it certainly ain’t the Real Presence.  Seems like these curmudgeons only revere themselves.

The new priest took charge of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church more than a year ago. Week after week, parishioners said, George Kuforiji changed their church in ways they didn’t think he ever could.

Would that be FATHER George Kuforiji? Seriously, right off the bat the dissent for the hierarchy of the Church is in full display. There’s zero reverence for the sacred priesthood.

They talked to him, wrote letters to the Archdiocese of Portland about their frustrations, resisted change and protested during Mass.

Seriously, who in the heck do these people think they are?  It is not THEIR church, it’s Christ’s.

But after a while, some couldn’t take it anymore. They left the Southeast Portland church for other parishes or their own spiritual groups. Others said they would stay to the bitter end.
The parish where some had prayed for decades was slipping away.

It was slipping away long before that.  Portland isn’t exactly a small town and they hardly have anyone in their pews, so this is nothing new. They’re not attracting anyone, they’re repelling people.  This is the type of parish “Susan from the Parish Council” is based on. You know the saying, “If they’re not crying, they’re dying?”.  When the average age of your parish is 75, it is done.  It’s just a matter of time before the parishes in the area are merged and one is sold off. It’s probably why Fr. Kuforiji was put there in the first place.  Archbishop Sample is trying to inject some life back into it.  How has that been shown to be done, time and again?  By introducing true Catholicism.  You know?  That type of faith people would die for instead of the one that’s killing the parishes.

St. Francis is one of the oldest churches in Portland. It has long been known as a bastion of progressive Catholic faith.

And that progressive faith has led to the demographic looking like this:


Parishioners have marched in the Portland Pride parade,

There’s a shocker.

fed and given shelter to people experiencing homelessness

And they want a big old pat on the back for that one.

and worked to make the traditionally patriarchal institution more inclusive of women.

And that’s what it really comes down to.  It’s a bunch of bitter women who are pitching a fit because they can’t have their way anymore. 

For several years, a banner hung above the church steps that read “Immigrants & refugees welcome.

Wait! Wait! Wait! Apparently, they welcome immigrants and refugees UNLESS you are a faithful priest from Oshogbo, Nigeria!!! Oh, my gosh. This is insane. Let’s see, who knows immigrants and refugees better?  The priest who is an immigrant or the bitter, old, dissenting WHITE folks? Look around at the parish, people. Where are all those immigrants you’ve welcomed? Get something straight: you people of the radical, dissenting generation are engaging in tokenism. Immigrants and refugees can see right through that.  Again, Fr. Kuforiji might have a wee better handle on the situation.

Now, the banner is missing. Vestments and one of several treasured photographs of the homeless community that had lined the walls of their parish had been piled in a trailer headed for the dump.

Honestly, I can’t blame him for getting rid of them. They were hideous vestments and the homeless pics might have been fine for their dining hall but have no place in a church that’s supposed to be for worshiping God, not their good deeds. Looks like that’s been a big problem in that church for some time now.

Many felt the new priest aimed to better align St. Francis with the archdiocese, who some feel is out of step with Catholics in Portland.

Apparently, the parish is out of touch, not Fr. Kuforiji, or it wouldn’t be a dying parish.
<Snipping the usual “Nobody likes the hierarchy” shtick.>

The Roman Catholic Church is rooted in tradition and hierarchy. Jerry Harp, chair of St. Francis’ pastoral council, is struggling to understand how he relates to this structure of authority. It was this hierarchy that was roiling his parish.

Read the saints and the Church Fathers, Jerry. I’m sure that’s something that’s been missing in your life because those of us that do understand this quite well. 

Harp considers himself a devout Catholic. He starts every morning with mediation and prayer and prays the Hail Mary at least once a day. He tries to attend Mass every Sunday. When he was in his 20s, he said he wanted to follow every rule he could. Now he questions how those rules bring him closer to God.

Yeah, Jerry, go with dissent against the Church Christ founded.  That’ll bring you so much closer to God.

“Some would say ‘Well you have to relate to the authority structure by following them to the letter,'” Harp said. “Well how do you know that? It’s perfectly legitimate for other people to have other answers.”

Following what to the letter?  Doctrine and Canon Law??? Who are these other people with answers and what authority do they have?

Long-time parishioners knew the answer. They didn’t like being told how to worship.
This was their church.

Again, not so much.
<Snipping stuff about some parishioners.>

After the Second Vatican Council convened in the mid-1960s, church leaders reconsidered traditional church practices and thrust the Catholic Church into the modern world with their changes. It emphasized the role of priests to help parishioners connect with God.
Don Durand, pastor at St. Francis at that time, helped usher in those changes, Hogan said. He and parishioners created progressive liturgy, embraced folk music during services and emphasized a social justice mission.

And the parish dwindled.  How’s that working for you? Wouldn’t it be groovy if the emphasis was on God?  Go, Fr. Kuforiji!

That social justice work manifested in the soup kitchen at St. Francis. Started in 1979, the kitchen was run by the Catholic Worker Movement, but by the mid-1990s the parish had taken it over.
Now called the St. Francis Dining Hall, the facility is key to the parish’s mission to provide food and other services to people who are homeless.

Well, I’m hardly going to fault them for that, but there’s more to the Faith than “social justice.”  You can’t really have justice without God as your center.

Valerie Chapman served as St. Francis’ pastoral administrator since 1993, leading the congregation alongside several priests over the years. Some parishioners said seeing a woman in such a role is what first attracted them to the parish.

Enter Susan from the Parish council and her sidekicks! What a narcissist.  Translation: “They saw how large and in charge I was and wanted to be like me!” I don’t know, I consider myself a strong woman (surprise, surprise!), but this really churns my stomach.

Chapman retired in 2017. Monsignor Charles Lienert came out of retirement to take over as administrator, but only for a year. When his assignment was over, George Kuforiji was assigned to St. Francis by the archdiocese and took over July 2018.

Interesting how “Monsignor Charles Lienert” gets a title but it’s just plain “George Kuforiji” when it comes to the current pastor.  I’m sure they’ve probably canonized Msgr. Lienert since he let them continue on in their folly for so long.

Parishioners said the changes he made were almost immediate.

Good! Great! And FANTASTIC!

For years, St. Francis used inclusive language in its scripture readings. With references to God, for instance, they avoided using “he,” “lord” or “king” and instead used simply “God” or “creator.”
Kuforiji switched readings to traditional scripture, no longer allowing the new wording.

Uh, maybe because it’s not Catholic and denies the truth?

St. Francis outlined their values in a community commitment that parishioners would read after the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed. Kuforiji replaced the pamphlet and cut out the community commitment.
Parishioners brought their own copies and still said the words.

So not only is it their church to decorate but it’s their Mass to trifle with?  Blech.  Again, good for Fr. Kuforiji!

The parish’s handwoven altar cloth was a gift from a village in Guatemala the parish had helped. Parishioners showed up to Mass one Sunday last summer to find that Kuforiji replaced it with a plain white cloth.

Because it’s just not Mass with the rainbow altar cloth from Guatemala?!

Parishioners also had cherished vestments worn by the priest — some they’d made by hand. When two parishioners found the vestments, along with banners and other valued items in a trailer headed for the dump, tensions boiled over.
Dianna Shaffer and Melody Ghormley went to St. Francis June 27 to prepare for a parish clean-up scheduled for the next day. When Shaffer arrived, she saw Ghormley talking with Kuforiji and Deacon Kevin Welch in the sanctuary.

Even the deacon gets his title mentioned?!?

Shaffer and Ghormley noticed the vestments were missing, along with the large “Immigrants & refugees welcome” banner. Black and white photographs of homeless people served by the church were stripped from the walls. Both said Kuforiji told them he didn’t know what happened.

Probably told someone to pack the ugly things up and they just tossed them. But, hey, let’s accuse the pastor of nefarious deeds.

Sacred objects still usable but no longer needed can be given to the archdiocese, other parishes or missions, according to the Portland Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook. Sacred objects no longer usable can be disposed of through traditional burning or burial.

I have no argument with that, but I will point out the irony of the people who think they can just do what who suddenly check the liturgical handbook.  Remember this little tidbit quoted above? “Some would say ‘Well you have to relate to the authority structure by following them to the letter,'” Harp said. “Well how do you know that? It’s perfectly legitimate for other people to have other answers.” Gotta wonder if Talbot bothered to read the rambling.

Albert Alter, a parishioner at St. Francis since 1975, said he went to the church that day and talked with the maintenance man who would be hauling the trailer where the vestments and banners were found. He said the man told him the trailer would be hauled to the dump Sunday.
Alter, Shaffer, Ghormley and several other parishioners spent six hours the next day going through the trailer and the church.
Now, Alter said, the banners and vestments are in his private storage unit.

I thought they were supposed to be given to the archdiocese, other parishes or missions, or better yet, burned and buried?  Hmmmm???

At a parish meeting July 7, parishioners said Kuforiji told them he was sorry the vestments were put in the trailer and that they should have been boxed up. David Renshaw, the archdiocese spokesman, said in an email that items were placed in a box for parishioners to sort through, but the box was mistakenly put in the dump pile. He said he did not how and apologized for the “oversight.”
But parishioners had been pushed too far.

More like they found the bone to sink their teeth into and they’re not going to let go and they are going to hope that people find the pastor just a big ol’ meanie.  

“I don’t know anyone that would come to a parish and go to the vestment closet and take all the vestments, still on hangers, and throw them into a trailer without somebody of authority having instructed them to do so,” Alter said. “Trying to destroy the parish is really what I’m thinking is happening.”

Getting rid of the rainbow stoles and ugly vestments can only improve a parish. But, still, let’s go with evil intentions.
And here’s where it gets ugly and shows that very few in that parish understand this is a house of worship.  For them it’s a place to protest.  Pretty darn disgusting. I firmly believe some parishes should just be razed and reconsecrated after all the desecration that’s probably been going on there for years.

June 30 was a Sunday, and Mass was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. But before hymns could be sung, prayers could be said or the bread and wine consecrated, parishioners protested.

Yeah, the video doesn’t quite show that.  The priest is standing at the altar so it appears that Mass has already begun.  This is shameful and a “look at me” moment instead of a “look at God” moment. 

Days earlier, they’d found cherished items in a trailer headed for the dump. Now, 16 mostly gray-haired parishioners stood on the church steps facing Southeast 12th Avenue. Most were dressed all in white and held the large black and white photographs that had been stripped from the walls of the church.

And they marched into the church and disrupted (probable) or prevented (if I’m generous) the celebration of the Mass. These people have decided it’s sooooo much about them that they completely disregarded our Lord in the tabernacle all while saying they were doing it to be an example of Him.  Makes me irate.

Videos taken by parishioners that morning show them holding signs and singing as they walked through the front doors. Some wore T-shirts during Mass that read “Jesus resisted the Pharisees” on the front. The back of the shirt read “Question authority.”

I should also like to point out the photo caption that tells how they disrupted Mass. Satan must have been pleased.  He wants all Masses stopped, and he got this one thanks to the old, gray-haired dissenters.

Parishioners stand in front of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church before Mass June 30. During Mass, they protested.

During the prayers of the faithful, a time for community prayer, parishioners prayed for what happened to the vestments, yelling from the pews.

Yeah, because that’s what supposed to happen at the “prayers of the faithful.”  How prayerful was that?

Kuforiji stood at the pulpit with his arms outstretched, silent.
In the pews, one woman stood with her face buried in her hands. Another said the protesters should respect the church they were standing in. She walked off. A few others followed her out.

Thank goodness for those who defended Our Lord from the lack of reverence. If I were them, I’d probably have started sprinkling a bunch of holy water around because this was rather demonic.

At the end of Mass, Karen Mathew, former music director at St. Francis, took the pulpit to lead the congregation in song. The song began, and Kuforiji walked away.
On one side of the aisle, parishioners shook maracas, hit tambourines and clapped their hands. They sang loud. On the other, parishioners were quiet.

I highly doubt Mass took place.  How in the heck could it?

After the song, Melinda Pittman, a parishioner who has been at St. Francis for 30 years, took the pulpit. She said she had walked out to talk with Kuforiji when the song began.

Let’s be clear.  It was hardly a hymn to praise Our Lord, it was a song of protest.

“I said that for the last year we have been wanting real dialogue,” Pittman said. “I said we are being abused. We are being abused in the Catholic church by this priest and by this archbishop.””

Um, the only abuse was by you, lady.

“Boo,” a man yelled from behind the pews. “This is a holy priest.”

By the way, thanks to you, sir.  Isn’t it funny that the only people without white hair seemed to be defending Fr. Kuforiji??? Like I said, the ‘70s are over.  Your generation has hurt my generation immeasurably and we’re not gonna take it anymore. 

“You don’t belong here,” parishioners yelled back.

Wow! There’s some welcoming behavior for you! Guess he just wasn’t an immigrant or refugee?

Kuforiji was near the back of the church. There, another long-time parishioner, Rebecca Boell, confronted him.
“How can you be a priest?” she said. “I’ve been here over 15 years. You’ve been here a year.”

It’s called ordination. You, Rebecca, are the wrong matter for the sacrament. Get over it.

“Do you have reverence for God?” Kuforiji asked her.
Parishioners say they’ve shown it is the authority of the church they do not revere. They resist authority and find God in their resistance.

They find God in their resistance? Well they sure didn’t notice him in the tabernacle while they were supposedly resisting, so I’m not too sure how observant they are!

Some St. Francis parishioners used the word “abuse” to describe what’s happened. Others just felt sad. Infuriated. Heartbroken. Someone came into their community and started picking it apart.
They had conflicts with the archdiocese in the past, but the community had stayed strong.
Now people were leaving because the things that kept them coming back to Mass were being taken away. They were being told the things they cherished weren’t good enough for God.

Somebody came in and did what nobody has done in a long while, they showed true reverence for God and his Church!  What a novel idea!  These people are so confused all they can do is spit fire.

Jan Rose, who has knowledge of the church’s finances, said some parishioners have even stopped giving money to St. Francis, knowing a percentage will be sent back to the archdiocese. Instead, they donate directly to the dining hall.

Alright, readers, you know what to do! Let’s make some donations to this parish!

Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

330 Southeast 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214

or on their website at

And specify just why you are doing it and where you’d like the money to go! How about donating it toward the church building improvement fund? I’m sure Fr. Kuforiji would use it to draw attention to Our Lord!

One of the main complaints of St. Francis parishioners is that Kuforiji has not involved them in most decisions. His changes have been unilateral and in line with the archdiocese.
Priests putting themselves at the center of the church is an idea that predates the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. But the attitude is increasingly popular among newer priests, said Patricia Killen, who until her recent retirement was a professor of religious studies from Gonzaga University.

Aaaaaand…here’s why they can’t bring themselves to refer to Fr. Kuforiji as “father.”  Sorry, ladies, he is the head of your little parish family. As a side note, is it any surprise she used to teach at a Jesuit institution?

The Catholic church is diverse, Killen said, adding that you can find parishes like St. Francis as well as parishes that celebrate Mass in Latin. She said that nationwide, liturgy has been more varied since Vatican II.
“But a significant number of its institutional leadership really are pushing to try and make things more uniform,” Killen said.

Might have something to do with that whole “One, holy and apostolic” thing.

Two popes among those elected after the Second Vatican Council leading up to Pope Francis’ installment, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, had sensibilities tied closer to pre-Vatican II liturgy, Killen said
“A lot of the priests now being assigned to parishes refer to themselves as John Paul II priests,” she said.

Some would call them “faithful” but, whatever.
Kuforiji may fall in that group. Before coming to St. Francis in 2018, Kuforiji served at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Bandon on the Southern Oregon Coast for nearly three years, according to The World newspaper of Coos Bay. He was ordained in June 2015.

He is fairly active on Facebook, often sharing Catholic memes and articles from Catholic news outlets such as Catholic News Agency and LifeSiteNews, which the Associated Press has described as “ultraconservative.”
One meme he shared in October 2018 showed a black and white photo of men kneeling in the mud in front of a priest.
“Back in the day in Slovakia when the priest would walk by with the Eucharist through town, people would drop instantly to the ground,” text under the photo reads. “Be it mud, water, snow, thorns, whatever they would drop in reverence and awe.”

And that’s a problem because…?  Going back to the whole lack of belief in the Real Presence, it is priests like Fr. Kuforiji who are going to be the ones to fix that little issue.  We need to back them to the hilt.

One article he shared praised Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò for condemning homosexuality as the root cause of Catholic sexual abuse.
“It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy,” the article quotes Viganò. “It can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons.”

Shall we take a little wager that Fr. Kuforiji just got a bunch of friend requests. Let me help him out. Thank you, dissenting liberals, for pointing that one out!

Archbishop Sample doesn’t share articles from ultraconservative news sites on Facebook, but through pastoral letters and columns in the Portland-based Catholic Sentinel, he has advocated for more traditional liturgy.
Sample was installed in 2013 as Archbishop in Portland. An Oregonian/OregonLive article at the time described him as a rising star in the Catholic church hierarchy.
A few months before Kuforiji was assigned to St. Francis, Sample made two changes to the liturgical handbook. One change instructed parishioners to kneel after the Agnus Dei during the consecration.

I love these guys!  Please send them notes of encouragement!

St. Francis parishioners continued to stand. Standing, one parishioner explained, is raising your heart to God.

Isn’t that sweet.  Wrong, but sweet.  Get your lazy knees down on the kneelers and learn just a little humility. Christ died on the cross, I think you can manage to do something that is just a little uncomfortable for you.
<Snipping useless stats.>

For many St. Francis parishioners, their faith wasn’t about the rules or rituals. That wasn’t what fed them.
They came back for the community and joy they found each Sunday.

Anyone remember the whole Eucharist thing? Mass ain’t a social club. Gag! Head to the Elk’s lodge if you’re there for the social scene.

Cory Cachola said he still considers himself a core parishioner of St. Francis. He had been going there for more than 8 years. His daughter was baptized a few months before Kuforiji arrived. But now he and his family go to St. Andrew Catholic Church in Northeast Portland.

Sorry for St. Andrew’s, although you might just deserve him.

He’s among many parishioners who’ve left for more progressive parishes.
As St. Francis used to be, St. Andrew and St. Philip Neri are among Portland churches known for their progressive and welcoming nature.
Frustrated St. Francis parishioners are worried these other parishes could also feel the squeeze of Portland’s Catholic hierarchy.

Please, yes!

Frank Mathew, a long-time parishioner, said he wanted to speak publicly about St. Francis because he wants other parishes to know they may face the same fate.
“I don’t want the public narrative to become ‘Oh that was a really wild outlier parish that was unique and not like anyone else who is Catholic,’” Mathew said.

Sadly, tis true. The Archdiocese of Portland has been a mess for a long time. Went to a Mass not too long ago and had to debunk the outright heresy in the homily for my kids. Oy. Archbishop Sample has his work cut out for him.

He and others who stay at St. Francis have said they keep coming for the community. Albert Alter said he stays because it’s his parish and he needs to be there to be able to say he disagrees with the changes.
“I don’t leave a bad movie, I don’t leave a bad play,” Alter said. “I stay to the bitter end.”

Wow!  Nice way to think about Mass! Protesting is always the reason to go to a church.  Sigh.

Mass is quieter now.
In the days before the Aug. 4 Mass, every member of the choir quit. This day, when the Mass began, one woman sang and played piano while a man sang and played an upright bass.
And they play before a much smaller group. Parishioners estimate about 50 fewer people typically attend Mass on Sundays – about half of what it was a year ago.

I’m sure that Mass attendance will bounce after people find out there’s a faithful one to attend.  I’m reasonably sure I’ll be going there when I’m in the area.

On this day, it was 24.
Still, parishioners hope to bring in mediators to help them discuss the changes at St. Francis with church leaders. Hogan said he also plans to send a letter to the Vatican reporting what he feels is spiritual turmoil.
Just last week, Catholic Charities announced the nonprofit will temporarily take over the St. Francis Dining Hall. One parish leader said it may be good to have the help. But he and others also worry about losing the dining hall’s “radical and inclusive hospitality.”
To many, it feels like another loss for the church community.

Is the dining hall there to feed people or to be radical? Are they serving up a little dissent with the supper? My gosh. Just care for people.

Despite such losses, parishioners have continued to resist. They sang songs they had used for decades and passed out instruments for people to play in the pews. They said their community commitment after the Nicene Creed, creating a discord of voices between them and the newcomers. They stood when told to kneel.

Their community has commitment to what? Discord?  Banner.

At this Sunday Mass, however, there was practically no one left to resist.
New faces were scattered across the church. Tom Hogan said many were either recruited or from the neighborhood.

Wait, what?  The people who actually live in the neighborhood are starting to attend Mass there? Oh my! How awful!

The music was subdued, reverent. People held songbooks and sang. They didn’t clap. No one shook maracas or hit tambourines.
After the Nicene Creed, no one said the community commitment.

Like I said, send money!

 Kuforiji began to consecrate the bread and wine, kneeling cushions creaked as worshippers pulled them down from the pews.
They knelt.


Tom Hogan and five others stood.

And that speaks volumes. Not quite saying what Tom and company hoped to accomplish, though.

Because There are Consequences for Actions, Fr. Martin!

Over on Twitter and Facebook, Fr. James Martin, SJ, is beating the same old dissenting drum. Well, he is when he’s not mourning the death of over-sexualized, sometimes pornographic author, Toni Morrison.

The Archbishop of Indianapolis has denied a Jesuit high school’s request to hold their traditional “Mass of the Holy Spirit” to start the school year. Why? Because the school refused to fire a gay teacher who was legally married.

Why? Might it be because it would totally be scandalous to have a school allowed to hold Masses when they have lost their Catholic identity? James Martin, SJ, is conveniently forgetting to include that inconvenient little piece of information. For those who missed it, the short story is that Archbishop Thompson removed their Catholic identity after they refused to obey him. Over across the diocese, another school in the same situation is being allowed to carry on as normal because the leaders of that school actually obeyed the bishop.
Anyone else here find the qualification “legally married” a bit weird coming from a priest? You should. This isn’t a secular institution. This is supposed to be a CATHOLIC institution where “legal” has little to do with it unless we’re talking Canon Law. “Legally married” is just a euphemism for saying “sodomizing couple.” Let that sink in. When teachers make known that they are in a sexual relationship that is contrary to the Catholic faith sexual relationship known, do we really think that high schoolers don’t know what’s going on? Could we maybe give them a little more credit? “Legally married men” aren’t sitting home knitting on a Friday night. (Apply brain bleach here.)

In other words, the Archbishop is denying the Eucharist to high school students at that school at the beginning of their school year. In other words, he is preventing priests in good standing from celebrating a Mass for young people. Brebeuf Jesuit Prep is appealing to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.

That would be your words, Fr. Martin.  In reality, the archbishop is protecting the youth and the Eucharist from grave scandal – like the soul-killing kind. Wouldn’t it be nice if you did that for people? Instead, you’re encouraging people to read Toni Morrison trash, often mention Game of Thrones, and tell us how vibrant a group “Out @ St. Paul” is.  What’s next? The Handmaid’s Tale? So, yeah, I’m going to profusely thank Archbishop Thompson for probably being one of the few adults around to truly care about their souls. It’s certainly not the “legally married” guys. In fact, nobody seems to care for their souls either at Brebeuf.

To put it in context, the Archdiocese said earlier that both the private and professional lives of school employees must “convey” and “support” Catholic teaching. But they do not require schools to fire Catholics who are divorced and remarried without annulments, who use birth control, who use IVF, or who do not attend Mass every Sunday (all against Catholic teaching). Nor do they require schools to fire Protestant, Jewish, or agnostic employees (whose lives also don’t “support” Catholic teaching). Nor do they ask them to fire teachers who do not give to the poor (against the Gospel, which is the heart of Catholic teaching).

Thanks for giving us your desired context. A couple of things. One, how do you know for what past teachers have been fired? Two, it’s pretty easy to tell who is in a same-sex marriage (especially when they’ve made it public), but how would you know who is divorced and remarried? Using birth-control? Engaging in IVF? Don’t attend Mass on Sunday? And why would we expect a non-Catholic teacher to be an example of Catholicism? Etc., etc.? I asked Fr. Martin before how I would know someone’s private sins simply by looking at them. He didn’t respond.  Now, as I’ve said before, for two dudes wearing wedding bands and making out, the sin is obvious. Two dudes who post their wedding pic to Facebook and Instagram? Even more obvious. Should a teacher put a picture of their preferred birth-control method on-line, I would hope they would be fired, too. Catholic teachers do that how often, though?
What Fr. Martin doesn’t want you to understand is that there are sinners who champion their sins and then there’s the rest of us in the Body of Christ who struggle daily with our faults. We know they are sins, we admit they are sins, and we try our hardest to overcome them. That is not the Brebeuf teacher. He’s flaunting it and the school is letting him. As usual, the Jesuits don’t let us down in the area of letting us down. Very consistent.

The only employees whose lives are placed under a moral microscope are LGBT people. This is clearly discriminatory. Denying the Eucharist to schoolchildren for this reason only makes it worse.

More often than not, the only employees who flaunt their sins on Facebook are the “LGBT” teachers and/or raging feminists. Deal. So, will there be a higher percentage of them fired? Absolutely. Don’t want to get fired, don’t flaunt your sins. It’s super easy. Not sure why Fr. Martin is missing this one. He, himself, tries super hard to maintain plausible deniability. He just slips up every once in a while. He wants martyrs for his various causes. He’s just not willing to be that martyr. So, he will remain ever ambiguous.
The “worse” in this scenario is the scandal of school children caused by a man who publicly lives his life in contradiction to the truth of the Church yet is still allowed to teach in a school pretending to be Catholic. The “worse” is the students being taught that it’s just fine to dissent against Catholic teaching. The “worse” is having students being taught dualism. The “worse” is definitely NOT Archbishop Thompson protecting the students from scandal and the Eucharist from sacrilege. I’d be worried about millstones if I was opposing him.

Statement from William Verbryke, SJ, the school’s president:…/
NB: The Archbishop permits the 7:45 AM Daily Mass to be celebrated (typically, in high schools for a smaller number of children, though all students and faculty are invited) but not for the traditional “Mass of the Holy Spirit,” where the entire student body and faculty attends. Which makes the rationale all the more inexplicable.

Excuse me while I chuckle a bit. I went on-line and looked for pics of the Brebeuf chapel. I found a total of one that may or may not be it, and I consider myself pretty proficient at Googling.  Couldn’t even find one on their web page. So, forgive me if I wonder if the students would even know where to find the chapel, and I can’t help but doubt the multitudes that would show up early for school to attend. This Mass is most definitely for the Jesuit community. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old sanctions on the SSPX.  They were allowed to have Mass for those that lived in their community day and night. The Jesuits still retain their priesthood even at Brebeuf. The school has just lost its Catholic identity. When you lose that, there are consequences for all involved. I’d be a bit more worried about millstones. Just saying.

Sick of Shootings? Promote Authentic Catholicism for a Change USCCB

***UPDATE*** I posted this last night before today’s tragic shooting. Same thing applies. I hope our bishops will actually try to fix the real problem instead of making politically correct platitudes.
I am sooooo sick and tired of the American bishops (not all but a good lot) squandering their moral capital on ridiculous moves such as this.
US bishops call for new gun legislation after garlic festival shooting
 July 31, 2019
Catholic News Agency
SAN JOSE – After a shooting at a food festival in California on Sunday in which the gunman killed three people and injured 15, the US bishops’ representative for domestic justice called for legislation to prevent such losses.

Just what legislation do you think would have prevented this, my dear “US bishops’ representative for domestic justice?” He already broke many laws.  What makes you think that any legislation would have stopped him when he was filled with so much hate?  Let me help you: none.  Even a total ban on guns wouldn’t have stopped him.  He would have just simply moved onto another weapon of choice, and since it was clear he wasn’t very proficient with the one he had, a knife might have even been more effective for him. 
You lame people at the USCCB don’t get it. Instead of seeing the real problem, which is the rejection of the principle that all life is sacred, you want to throw spitballs at some other issue. Give me a break. You want to make great strides for once?  How about you act like Humanae Vitae is important???
At this point, why would anyone think life is sacred or that hell is real or that the Church teachings matter when you dole out Communion to public obstinate sinners.  Of course, they probably don’t buy it either, since you rarely bother to mention sin or the sanctity of life from your pulpits.

Santino William Legan, 19, opened fire at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., 30 miles southeast of San Jose, the evening of July 28. He was shot dead by police shortly after beginning to fire a rifle. Police have been investigating reports of a second suspect.
Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose said July 29 that “our hearts are heavy with sadness in the wake of the horrific shooting … I am grateful for the first responders and individual citizens whose quick thinking and professional actions saved countless lives.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, survivors and their families in this time of sorrow. May God, the source of our faith and strength, grant comfort and hope to all those affected by acts of violence. May grief give way to healing and grace, as we work together to protect the innocent and prevent future massacres, so that peace may prevail in our hearts and communities.”
The Diocese of San Jose held a bilingual prayer vigil July 29 at St. Mary’s parish in Gilroy.

I really don’t know much about Bishop Cantu yet, but this was a good response. I might just have added “May all people come to realize the sanctity of life so that this horrible violence may end.”
Contrast that with this awful statement:

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice in Florida, chair of the US bishops’ committee on domestic justice and human development, said July 30 that “our legislators must make changes to our gun policy to prevent the loss of life.”
“As Americans, we must be honest with ourselves that we have a sickness, almost a plague, with the problem of gun violence. As Christians, we must look to the cross, repentant of the ways that have led us to this point and, with God’s grace, abandon such senseless, inhuman acts. Let us resolve to make the sacrifices necessary to end the violent killing that saturates our nation.”
He added that “the Lord calls us to comfort those who mourn and to be peacemakers in a violent world. We pray, and we must, for the victims and their families. The Church should act in ways that heal and support all those affected by gun violence.”

I would just like to clarify that Bishop Dewane seems like a bishop I would like which kind of makes this naive statement a bit annoying. It would have been so easy to get it right and consult people who understand the “gun issue” instead of weighing in on an idea already shown to have failed time and again because it doesn’t get to the real problem.
As one of my Twitter followers pointed out, the only statement the USCCB should make these days is “I’m sorry.”
Might not have been so pathetic if he would just admit that the USCCB and the bishops who don’t regularly preach Humanae Vitae have failed us all. Calling out “gun violence” is ridiculous when people in “gun free” countries are killed and maimed with a myriad of other weapons.  It’s violence period, Bishop Dewane. Stop using “gun” as if it somehow makes you look in touch. You are not.
Again, if Catholics don’t even value life, why would we expect the rest of the world to follow? People are disposable and even preventable if they don’t bring us anything short of pleasure. If children aren’t a blessing, then why would we consider anyone else to be such?  Seriously, USCCB, get your pompous, politically correct heads out of the sand and realize that this is YOUR fault. You have failed to hold Catholics to the truth. You never seem to think this is a big deal, but we do because it results in lives being lost every single day. Blood is being shed in the streets now, yet you still can’t admit that you have failed.  It’s just the mean ol’ guns.  Please.
So here’s my plan for stemming violence, and I say stem because murder has existed since the days of Cain and Abel, be it by gun, rock, rope, knife, poison, etc. And, sadly, it will exist until the end of time because of satan:
1) Tell the people in the pews that all life is sacred and that birth control, abortion, euthanasia, pornography, suicide,  IVF, and the like are EVIL.  The lack of resolve in this area is literally killing your flock.
2) Ask parents what kind of example they are giving to their children.  Do they make them feel that they are sacred and worth it, or do they want to limit the number of their siblings because they’d rather have a more luxurious lifestyle? Have they put off having them until they “felt fulfilled?” Have their parents created them outside the marital act and denied them the right to their biological parents for THEIR pleasure? Humane Vitae was downright prophetic in this area. When we start treating children as if they exist to please us, what do you think is going to happen?
Let’s just pause and look at the news this week. Andrew Klavan nails it here: .  Bushnell represents the mindset of a good chunk of society. Why does she regret not having kids? It’s not because they are a gift from God and life is sacred, it’s because of what they could have done for her in her old age. She’s not objectifying children at all. (Insert disgusted look.) Pathetic, but sadly, this is the view to many pew sitters.  Kids are possessions.  It’s sick. And we wonder why youth nowadays have so little self-worth that they are killing themselves or others, literally or through their immoral lifestyles.
3) Act like supporting all of the bad things listed in #1 are actually serious sins. NOBODY should be able to receive Communion while advocating or participating in these activities. If someone is publicly, obstinately sinning, stop handing them Our Lord’s Body and Blood like it’s a right until they publicly repent. This should include everyone who is publicly championing the use of birth control or publicly supporting abortion in some way, from your everyday flock to the politician who does the same.  I don’t care if they are the poorest of the poor the richest of the rich.  It’s scandalous and it devalues life. For the private sinner, like most of us, urge confession, confession, confession every homily.
4) Teach about heaven and hell.  Seriously!  Most of the people in the pews probably think little of either. Most youth, like the one involved in the shooting in Gilroy, don’t believe there are any everlasting consequences for their actions. They are in pain due to absent teachings from many in our church and those substituted by society. When the Church is silent, society is more than willing to fill that void. Nobody is telling them there’s something greater to come and most don’t understand this world is temporary and that the results of their actions in it are not. Some days I have to wonder if most of you believe in the lessons taught at Fatima.  What did God show the children?  Oh, yeah, hell.  Most of you seem to want to protect the “feelings” of your flock over their immortal souls. Honestly, if one more of you uses the term “Building Bridges”, I might be sick. What good is it to build a bridge if people are using it to jump to their deaths???
5) Tell people to pick up their crosses! Personally, I’d for my family and I to have more company in this area. I’d also like to help others who struggle.  How about just encouraging people to go a day without their favorite treat for starters? Challenge people, for heaven’s sake. Empower them to overcome sin and temptation. Don’t tell them they are slaves to their whims, fantasies, challenges, proclivities, etc.  These do not make up who they are. They are children of God, for goodness sake.
6) Encourage the use of sacramentals and devotions, because satan and demons do exist. They are not fantasy. Imagine what the world might be like if we all took the time to sprinkle holy water wherever we went.  The Rosary?  Remember that? Remember what the countless saints have said about just these two and the spiritual world?  Act like you believe it. Act like it’s not superstition. I’m going to challenge each one of you to give your parishioners a rosary and a bottle of holy water and encourage them not to leave home without them. I’m going to give you a tip.  It’s holy water even if there’s no gold cross on the bottle.  The TSA has made nice little plastic bottles very accessible and cheap, and I’m sure you can find some rosary-making group to give you the rosaries. No excuses. In fact, clergy, I bet if you posted in the comments that you wanted these, readers would ask you where you want them sent. These are the top two weapons around here, and everyone is given them. So simple and yet so ignored. Parents! Take all the stinking help you can get! I doubt my kids even realize how often I’ve been in their rooms sprinkling them as well as everywhere else in our house. I take St. Teresa very seriously.

From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again.  The also flee from the cross, but return; so holy water must have great value.  For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation.  In fact it is quite usual for me to be conscious of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling an inward joy which comforts my whole soul.  This is not fancy, or something which has happened to me only once, it has happened again and again and I have observed it attentively.  It is let us say, as if someone very hot and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he would feel the refreshment throughout his body.
I often reflect on the great importance of everything ordained by the Church and it makes me very happy to find that those words of the Church are so powerful that they impart their power to the water and make it so different from water which has not been blessed.
One night, too, about this time, I thought the devils were stifling me; and when the nuns had sprinkled a great deal of holy water about, I saw a hug crowd of them running away as quickly as though they were about to fling themselves down a steep place.
I will only describe something that happened to me one night of All Sous Day.  I was in an oratory: I had said one nocturne and was repeating some very devotional prayers which follow it – they are extremely devotional: we have them in our office book – when actually the devil himself alighted on the book, to prevent me from finishing the prayer.  I made a sign of the cross and he went away.  I then began again and he came back.  I think I began the prayer three times and not until I had sprinkled some holy water on him could I finish it.” – St. Teresa of Avila

I could go on for days with more practical solutions than saying “guns bad!” and I’m sure my readers will, but I think I’ve given you all enough to start cleaning up the daily violence which is not longer plaguing far away lands but has now reached our neighborhoods.. Unfortunately, most of you will probably just point to the gun like you point to McCarrick. It’s all somebody else’s fault. In your minds, it has zero to do with the lack of authentic Catholicism taught in your churches. So, as usual, thanks for nothing USCCB.
Please remember Stephen Romero,  Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby and their families in your prayers.  May Perpetual Light shine upon them. Please also pray for Santino Legan and other broken, damaged youth like him.

A Tale of Two Screen Shots

Two screen shots from Fr. Martin say what we all know but I’ll just paraphrase: “I have no say in what is published at America Magazine unless I want you to know I do!” Posted a mere half an hour apart. Apparently he doesn’t remember how plausible deniability works.

And Another Thing, Massimo…

I’d really, really like you to explain why you singled out three bishops whom you declared “devout schismatics” when there are 40ish American bishops (depending when the list was published and who has since passed away) who declared support, admiration, or simple credibility of Archbishop Vigano’s letters. Where’s the accusation of “devout schism” for all of them? I’m reasonably sure most are also fans of the Rosary, oppose candidates being pro-abortion, and fight for traditional marriage. I realize that these are things you would consider a part of a “particular conservative political culture,” but most of us simply call that “Catholic.” I know you still have a problem understanding that distinction, so how come they didn’t make the schismatic list you’re creating in your head? I mean, I would at least think Bishop Paprocki and Bishop Thomas Tobin would have made your list! By the way, these lists below of supporting bishops are from last year, too. Wonder where the number is now that so much more of his testimony has been proven to be true by others? Hmmm, Massimo?
It would seem you must have some personal vendetta against these particular bishops to overlook the vast number of others who believe the same way. I realize that you’re banking on the faithful not to bother fact checking anything you say, but you might have learned by now that’s not going to happen.
I think Villanova might want to reconsider Massimo’s employment for, at best, rash judgment. It is kind of a big deal, Villanova, when one of your employees declares some pretty awesome bishops to be in schism. How many of your other employees fail to have a rudimentary knowledge of the definition of schism and also leap to rash judgment? Not really a selling point for your university.
Might be nice to drop Villanova a big ol’ note. 
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA
Office of the President
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Phone: 610-519-8881
Fax: 610-519-4514
Alumni, you can also go here:
Alumni Relations
Garey Hall
Phone: 610-519-4580
Fax: 610-519-7583

Massimo's "Look at Me!" Moment (AKA, Life)
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 18, 2019 / 06:35 pm (CNA).- A Church historian at Philadelphia’s Villanova University has said three U.S. bishops are “devout schismatics” who try to diminish the authority of Pope Francis.
“They are devout in the sense that they publicly display their preference for a traditionalist Church and its devotions, such as the rosary. They are schismatics because they openly promote the undermining of the bishop of Rome among the Catholic faithful,” Massimo Faggioli wrote in a July 16 essay for La Croix magazine.”

What the what???? Does the Rosary scare you that much, Massimo? Seriously, this is the most outlandish accusation I’ve EVER seen. We’re going to lump saying the Rosary with removing submission to the bishop of Rome????  Really?!?!?! This really deserves about a hundred more punctuation marks but…?!?!?!?!?!?!  Massimo kind of needs to take a sabbatical and reflect on, well, anything other than himself.
Massimo has got no game, so he’s just going to throw out the schismatic bomb with ZERO back up. When has Cordileone, Strickland, or Chaput EVER removed submission from the Holy Father? The “Let’s throw it out there and see if it sticks” method won’t work here, because I, and anyone with half a brain or access to Google, am going to call you on this.

Faggioli made specific mention of three U.S. bishops: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, and Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas.
The historian said the “schismatic instincts” of those bishops were manifested when in August 2018, when they “sided with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to Washington who called on Francis to resign.”

Hey, Massimo, which bishops/archbishops called on Francis to resign? Oh, yeah, none.  Give me a break. You know very well that some of them appealed to Pope Francis to respond to the “Vigano” letters, while others just said that Vigano was simply a man of virtue and that the whole thing was troubling and should be dealt with. It’s quite interesting you seemed to focus on those who most defy your mission in life, since there are many others who sided with them, but whatever.

Viganò released on Aug. 25, 2018 a “testimony,” which, among other things, accused Pope Francis of ignoring warnings about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual deviancy, and then raising McCarrick’s status within the Vatican.
After the testimony was released, Strickland issued a statement calling Vigano’s allegations “credible,” and Cordileone said he could confirm that some of Vigano’s statements were true.

Do you have doubt of that, Massimo?! I think we can safely say that many of Archbishop Vigano’s statements have been proven to be quite true over the last year. Are you saying otherwise? If so, which ones? Put your money where your keyboard is. Regardless, neither of these statements would constitute “schism” as you would suggest. I realize you’re just an historian and not a canon lawyer but maybe you should actually a look at the definition of “schism” before you start flapping you gums. 

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the christian faith. Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.  

The article goes on…

Contrary to Faggioli’s claim, however, Chaput did not endorse Vigano’s allegations. While a spokesman told reporters in August that Chaput “enjoyed working with Archbishop Vigano during his tenure as Apostolic Nuncio,” he declined to comment on the former nuncio’s allegations.


The spokesman said that the Chaput could not comment “on Archbishop Vigano’s recent testimonial as it is beyond his personal experience.”
In 2013, Chaput told radio personality Hugh Hewitt that the election of Pope Francis had made him “extraordinarily happy, because quite honestly, he is the man I was hoping would be Pope eight years ago.”

Double oops!

Two years later, Chaput hosted Pope Francis in Philadelphia for the 2015 World Meeting of Families. Reflecting in 2018 on that meeting, Chaput wrote that the pope’s “time with us was filled with powerful public moments and deeply grace filled intimate gatherings hallmarked by an overarching spirit of mercy, compassion, and charity.”
“[Pope Francis] has repeatedly challenged us to bear witness to Christ through concrete action—by serving the poor, by helping immigrants, by preserving families, and by protecting the sanctity of life. It’s the kind of challenge we can and should answer with a hearty yes each day,” Chaput added.

You’re a three time loser, Massimo. 

In his essay criticizing “devout schismatics,” Faggioli wrote that “dissent against this pope has become radicalized with schismatic instincts because this kind of political devotion is more about a partisan ideology than about the Church. Catholicism was exposed to ideological manipulation by those who do not really care for the Gospel, but who are more interested in a particular conservative political culture.”

“Particular conservative political culture?” Normally if you follow the teachings of the Church and Canon Law, you’re considered a faithful Catholic. In Massimo’s mind you’re somehow “interested in a particular conservative political culture.” I totally agree that Catholicism was exposed to ideological manipulation but it had little to do with a “particular conservative political culture” and everything to do with a bunch of narcissistic, liberal minded ideologues that thought of themselves far more than they ever thought of the teachings of the Church!

“Chaput, among those identified as a “devout schismatic,” has frequently emphasized his unwillingness to align with a political party.”

So, Massimo is totally wrong again. Shocker.
Just a few more little pesky facts Massimo didn’t bother to look into before he started spouting off. Both Archbishop Cordileone and Bishop Strickland are canon lawyers.  They might know a thing or two about schism even if Massimo doesn’t quite get it. Next, Archbishop Chaput campaigned for Robert Kennedy and supported the election of Jimmy Carter. Of course, today’s democrat isn’t grandma and granpa’s democrat but still. Archbishop Chaput has made it quite clear that the teachings of the Church trump all political parties.
Last time I checked, Massimo does not have canonical jurisdiction to declare schism and his lack of knowledge on the matter gives him even less jurisdiction. If “devout” is a reason to declare “schism”, then a whole lot of people are going to be found in such a place. This is just stupid.

In 2016 he criticized Catholics, especially politicians, who accept “the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new ‘Church’ of our ambitions and appetites,’ in order to achieve political or personal goals. The group of those who do so “cuts across…both major political parties,” Chaput said.:
“Quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new “Church” of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They’re part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties.”

And? There’s a problem with that statement, Massimo? If Massimo considers Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden to be faithful Catholics, I have oceanfront property in Iowa to sell him. By the way, here’s the quote in context.

The Church’s canon law defines schism, the charge Faggioli makes against the three bishops, as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

See? And while Massimo is totally happy to declare three bishops schismatics, he’s perfectly fine not showing proof when he declares them such.

Faggioli could not be reached for comment.

Totally not surprising. He’s stepped in it deeper than normal and can’t actually back up the accusations. Don’t you kind of feel like he lost a bet with someone? I guess when someone jumps the shark this big you kind of hope there’s some sort of rational explanation for it. Maybe his ratings are down?

USCCB Accidentally Hires Strong, Faithful Catholic Woman

I’m sure people have noticed that I’m not a huge fan of the USCCB. Honestly, I think it’s as useless an organization as the United Nations, and like the UN, usually does more harm than good. I think it also tends to be an organization that hog-ties the more faithful of the Catholic bishops and wastes a whole lot of time putting out fluffy documents trying to make the bishops in the U.S. look relevant. Maybe it’s just me, but there it is.
So, what’s the flap over at the USCCB this week? It looks like Judy Keane has been put on leave, which I find completely pathetic. It’s unbelievable what wimps are over there at the USCCB.
Now, I didn’t know of Judy Keane before this, but I looked her up and she’s exactly the kind of person I’d want at the USCCB. She’s a faithful Catholic, and that doesn’t mean someone who just acts like they are a martyr because they attend Mass every Sunday. She knows her stuff. You can read some of her writings here to see exactly why the liberal and immoral folks have such disdain for her.
Most of you know I was not a fan of Trump during the election, but I can’t complain about much or even most that he’s done. Oh, and he’s way better than Hillary or Barack! Like a thousand percent better.  I’m hoping the lives saved due to his presidency will earn him some leniency for any past, present and future errors, and our country owes him for these babies and their mothers. However, now the liberal/liberal Catholics are whining because a USCCB employee dared to put out facts on Trump’s employment victories on her personal Twitter account. Ooooohhhhh! I didn’t realize things like high GDP and employment stats were so anti-Catholic! The horrors! As far as I know, her tweet was not actually opposed to anything the Catholic bishops are opposed to, unless I missed the USCCB comparing detention facilities to concentration camps, even though their official position on immigration is less friendly than Trump’s.
The USCCB seems to have accidentally hired what we’ve all been told we need. A woman. A woman with an opinion. A strong woman. The only problem is that this woman apparently doesn’t fit the liberal feminist mold so, oops. Looks like they finally made a smart move at the USCCB, which leaves us all to wonder when they’ll throw her under the bus and dash a little sanity. I highly encourage the USCCB to “man up” for once and point out that the tweets were about accuracy, of which the USCCB should be fond but isn’t always. And, they weren’t on the USCCB Twitter account. Yes, I’m a big believer of the fact that what you put online can and should have bearing on your jobs. The USCCB, however, might do well to remember that the majority of their flock probably thinks a lot like her. Caving to the squeaky, whiny liberal Catholics would be HUGE mistake, especially with your past (and some present) ridiculous ties to pro-abortion organizations.
Somebody smart also hired this gal. The old gray-haired out of touch crowd who likes their felt and hopes they live to see the day women are ordained probably can’t stand her either, but she’s actually engaging the culture. These are the type of women we’re told we should listen to, except these two haven’t railed against Church teaching, which is why they’ll only be maligned in the end.
The USCCB really needs to decide if they’re going to listen to the old, bitter liberals who have failed us all, or if they’re going to listen to the rest of us who are hungry for truth out of the USCCB for a change! If they’re smart, they’ll issue a statement along the lines of this: “On further investigation, we have researched Judy’s tweets on her personal account and have found no conflict between them and the Catholic Church. In other news, Cardinal Blasé Cupich and Bishop John Stowe, among others, will be taking a leave of absence.”

Be obstinate. Be proud. Be lost. Or truly be free!

Before I start, I’d like to thank James Martin, SJ for providing the transcript for me. I hate having to find it on Youtube and hoping the transcription in there. Next, I’d like to say I love the beard your sporting these days. Good look on you, Fr. Martin. Now onto the not-quite-so-nice.

Homily for the LGBT Community | World Pride NYC 2019
Be tough. Be free. Be hopeful.
Homily: Pre-Pride Mass, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, June 29, 2019
Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62)
What does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be free? What might it mean to be all these things as a Catholic, as an LGBT Catholic, or as the family member or friend or ally of an LGBT Catholic?

While you don’t answer these questions in clear terms, Galatians totally does.  It’s like you went from Kings to Luke and didn’t look at the true slavery defined in Galatians.

At first glance, you might not think that these readings would have much to say to us. After all, the First Book of Kings, was written in roughly 550 BC, when the Hebrew people were in exile in Babylon; St. Paul’s Letter the Galatians was written around AD 55; and the Gospel of Luke, the most “recent” of our readings, was written around AD 85. You might not think they would have much to say to contemporary Catholics, and maybe even less to LGBT people, but of course they do. The Bible is the Living Word of God and, if we are open to it, God’s voice will always be revealed when we read or hear these readings, no matter how ancient.

On the contrary!  I think they say quite a bit to anyone struggling with sin and the temptations of this world. It’s kind of interesting that they fall in “pride” month, but that relatively lost on you.
Please read all three passages, but pay particular attention to Galatians, which James Martin, SJ, skipped almost completely. They all go together quite nicely and show how the “pride” movement leads people into slavery, not away from it.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;[c] only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,[d] but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
The Works of the Flesh
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.”

And for good measure and definition of what you so woefully try to keep from the faithful, let’s just throw in the next two verses which are rather inconvenient for you, Fr. Martin. What exactly are those works of the flesh that are opposed to the Spirit?

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[e] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The highlighted ones epitomize the “pride” movement. Now, lest Fr. Martin point how I don’t equally apply these verses to heterosexual people, I do. I apply them to you and me and everyone in between, but he’s the one always suggesting “loopholes” apply to one class because the teachings offend them or they are somehow not equally applied in his mind.

Let’s start with the Gospel, where Jesus confronts, head on, the demands of his ministry.
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where he will meet his destiny—his passion, death and resurrection. Even before he gets there, he’s facing opposition, and he knows it. He has just passed through Samaria, where the people have rejected him. “They would not welcome him,” says Luke. Why? For religious reasons: the Samaritans had very different idea of what good Israelite was, and didn’t even recognize the Jerusalem Temple as the seat of God’s presence. In response to their rejection, his disciples want to punish the people of Samaria, but Jesus says no. He’s not going to punish them, but he’s also not going to be dissuaded.

Meh, not exactly.  In the first verses, Christ had already told them what to do if the people wouldn’t listen.  He told them to “shake the dust”, which is a rather big slam in that region even today.

5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Fr. Martin goes on:

Then Jesus turns his attention to the demands of discipleship. And he is extremely blunt with the disciples. He fully understands the costs of discipleship and wants them to as well. “I’ll follow you,’ says one. “Really?” says Jesus. “You’re not going to have anywhere to sleep if you follow me.” Now, not all his disciples followed Jesus along the road—some stayed at home, like Martha and Mary—but many were indeed, like him, itinerant. That’s part of the deal, he’s saying. Two other disciples offer excuses based on family responsibilities: “I have to bury my father,” says one. “I have to say goodbye to my parents,” says another.
But Jesus sweeps these excuses aside. Now, does he really expect that dead people will bury dead people. No, he doesn’t. But he is not above using hyperbole to make a point. If you’re going to follow me, you’re going to have to be tough. And if you’re going to follow me, you can’t look back.

More like you’re going to have to set aside your temptations and proclivities and pick up your cross. It was a serious opportunity to teach, but a huge swing and a miss by Fr. Martin. Missed is generous. I can’t even say overlooked. It’s more like very purposely avoided because he can’t talk about denying oneself.

Jesus goes even further than the Old Testament prophets. In the First Book of Kings, we see Elijah anointing Elisha as a prophet, by throwing his cloak over him. But first Elisha says he needs to care for his father and mother. Once he does so, he follows Elijah.
Jesus goes beyond that. No, he says, no using your family as an excuse. Nothing comes before following me, not even duties to your family. Jesus makes that point elsewhere in the Gospel, when his family comes from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee to confront him. We don’t talk about that episode very much because it shocks many Christians. But the Gospel of Mark reports that his family thinks that Jesus, who has just started his public ministry, is “out of his mind.” So his extended family travels all the way from Nazareth to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, where he is living, to “restrain” or “arrest” him. But when Jesus is told that his mother and brother and sisters are waiting outside his house, he says, “Who are my mother and brothers and sisters? Those who do the will of God.” Ties to God are more important than ties to the family.

(In my greatest TV narrator voice) Also starring in the role of “extended family”, Father James Martin, SJ. And yet he seems to have missed that.

Finally, to drive his point home, Jesus uses an image that people in this agrarian society would have known well: once you put your hand to the plow don’t look back. Because what happens if you take your eyes from the team of oxen? They will plow in the wrong direction. Stay focused.

Riiiigggghhhhhttt!  You, however, Fr. Martin, are the one who is distracting. One of my readers very well described Fr. Martin’s tactics as “whataboutisms.” “Look over there! And over there! And over there!” Look anywhere but to your own sins and shortcomings which is where we should all be focusing.

Now, each of these readings, though ancient, has a great deal to say to all of us today, especially LGBT Catholics. Let me suggest three things.

I would like to point out, once again, that he’s just about completely ignored Galatians.

1) Be tough. The last few years have seen many positive steps for LGBT Catholics. And there are two big trends. The first can be summarized by two words: “Pope Francis.” His five most famous words are still, “Who am I to judge?,” which was first a response to the question of gay priests and then expanded to LGBT people. Francis is the first pope ever to use the word “gay.” He has LGBT friends. And he’s appointed many LGBT-supportive cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Another trend is that as more and more Catholics are coming out and being open about their gender identity, they and their families are bringing their hopes and desires into their parishes, and slowly the culture of the church is being changed.

I would consider that quote as infamous, not famous. Regardless, it seems interviews and quotes are only highlighted if they promote the “pride” agenda. The pope compares gender ideology to a nuclear weapon and we get crickets.  Martin?  Martin?  Bueller? Anyone?

Yet it’s also a hard time to be an LGBT Catholic. Catholic schools are still firing LGBT employees who are civilly married when many other straight church employees, who are also not following various church teachings, have no problem keeping their jobs. Church leaders publish documents, issue statements and offer quotes to the media that betray not the slightest evidence that they have listened to the experience of LGBT people or their families. And of course on the local level, we still find in some places homophobic pastors, pastoral workers and parishioners.

Insert the eye-roll of a professional teenager. Hey, I’m all for cracking down on anyone who publicly flaunts their sins against the Church teachings on morality. GO. FOR. IT.  Not that I really think that’s what Fr. Martin is going for, but hey, I’d agree to that. Fr. Martin would have you believe that every sinner posts it on social media. I’d have to think most don’t. Privacy means something to most people. Yes, there are the twits who want to tell you exactly what’s going on in their bedrooms, but I have many secular friends and they don’t all run up to me to tell me what birth control they are using. (Thank goodness.) If they did, I’d probably suggest they not be allowed to teach in a Catholic school either.

All the more reason to be like Jesus: that is, tough. And to, first of all, claim your rightful place in your church. Look, if you are a baptized Catholic and you are LGBT or are an LGBT parent or family member, you are as much a part of the church as the Pope, your local bishop, your pastor, or me. Root yourself in your baptism and claim your place in your church.

Enter god-complex. The difference between us and Christ is that he was God. (I know Fr. Martin sometimes has issues with this but, I promise, it’s true.) We are sinners. He is God. “Our place” in the Church is kind of irrelevant. Anyone else think of James and John who were worried about where they should sit?! Every time I hear Fr. Martin say, “claim your place,” I think of this. Ironically, Christ’s response was the same as it is in the Sunday readings at the heart of the homily. Be a slave to everyone else and don’t let your sins enslave you by rejecting the cross.

But make no mistake, Jesus is telling us: sometimes it’s going to be hard. Sometimes your family may misunderstand you, as Jesus’s family did. Sometimes you’ll feel unwelcome in places, as Jesus did in Samaria. Sometimes it won’t feel like you have a home, like Jesus felt when he had to sleep by the side of the road. Sometimes you’ll find that your friends disagree with you, as Jesus did when he told the disciples that revenge was not his way. But it’s all part of the journey. It’s part of being with him.

Question: If we’re all struggling to do as Christ demanded – denying ourselves, refusing to be enslaved by sin, and taking up our cross – why would anyone feel these things?  Answer: It’s our sin that is enslaving us. Our freedom is in our rejection of sin. You, sadly, are not encouraging that. You’re just whining about those who get away with sin as if it somehow excuses those who are not. It’s, well, sick.

Throughout all this, Jesus invites you to be tough. Claim your place in your church. Be rooted in your baptism. Know that you are fully Catholic. You know, lately I’ve been hearing that it’s not enough for the Catholic church to be “welcoming” and “affirming” and “inclusive.” And I agree. Because those are the minimum. Instead, LGBT people should fully expect to participate in all the ministries in the church. Not just being welcomed and affirmed and included, but leading. But to do that you have to keep your hand to the plow and you have to be tough.

What EXACTLY do you mean by welcomed, affirmed and included, Father? I think you’ve been ambiguous enough.  SPELL. IT. OUT. Do you think we should affirm, welcome and include peoples’ sins? No, thank you, and the first one that does that for me and my sins should be proverbially shot.

2) Be free. A second lesson from today’s Gospel is Jesus’s supreme freedom. Look again at what the Gospels say about Samaria: “They would not welcome him.” But Jesus doesn’t care if Samaria rejects him. Certainly, he would like the Samaritan people to hear his word. We know this because, in the Gospel of John, he speaks at length to a woman from Samaria, the famous “woman at the well,” and she later shares their encounter with the people of Samaria. But if the Samaritans don’t want to welcome him, fine. He’s free. He moves on.

Uh, Jesus’s supreme freedom? That’s what He gives, not what He gets. He’s God. That’s found in carrying our cross and being a slave to others. It’s not fine for us to reject Him and have Him move on. It’s our complete and utter destruction.

Jesus is free from the need to be loved, liked or approved of. He is free from the need to be loved by the Samaritans. He is free of the need to be liked by the disciples, as when he rebukes James and John. And he is free of the need to be approved of by his family, who early on think he’s crazy. He is supremely free. And what is he free to do? To follow the Father’s will.
Many people in the LGBT community feel unwelcome, like Jesus felt, as well as excluded, rejected and sometimes, as Jesus was, persecuted. It can be painful and enraging. And it’s okay to feel those things. It’s human and it’s natural, and sometimes those feelings should stir you to action on behalf of people and groups who are being persecuted! But, ultimately, Jesus asks us to be free of the need to be loved, liked or approved of. And to be confident in who you are.

I’m not really sure how many times I can say this. He is God. We are not. Rejection of our sinful acts is not persecution. It’s love. Once again you are trying to confuse the rejection of sin and the rejection of the sinner. It’s still not the same no matter how many times you say it. 

Notice that Jesus is also free of the need to punish. James and John wanted to “call down fire from heaven” to destroy the Samaritans who rejected Jesus. But Jesus “rebukes” his disciples for this. That’s not his way. He is free of the need for revenge. So be like Jesus. Be free.

Are you really suggesting that no punishment is coming for those who reject the teachings of Christ? Again, that’s not revenge. The question is, do we want to suffer here on earth or do we want to suffer for eternity.

3) Finally, be hopeful. The life of Christian discipleship is not simply a hard row to plow, it’s not simply tough, it’s not simply a chore. As St. Paul says in today’s reading, “For freedom Christ set us free.” Isn’t that beautiful? The Christian life is not some terribly burden or “yoke” as St. Paul says, echoing the plow imagery of Jesus. No, it’s an invitation to live in freedom. Just as Elijah covered Elisha with his cloak, so all of us, LGBT or straight, who accept Jesus’s invitation are wrapped under what the theologian Barbara Reid calls the “protective cloak of his spirit.” We live in freedom. And in joy!

Your definition of “freedom” doesn’t resemble what St. Paul said. You might have noticed it if you actually bothered to quote it.

And in hope too! It’s tempting for LGBT Catholics and their families to look at the present reality of the church and say, “This will never change.” Or “I feel unwelcome.” Or “I have no place here.” But that is not the only place Jesus wants us to dwell. The future will be so much fuller than the present, and Jesus knows this. We keep our hands to the plow not only so that we don’t lose our way, but so that we don’t take our eyes off the horizon.

To my SSA friends, please note that you are welcome in the Church, and I would love to struggle along with you in overcoming our sins. Please see Fr. Martin’s babbling as what he intends it to be – discouraging and divisive. Our true happiness will come from overcoming temptation. Let’s do it together and don’t let anyone tell you that it is impossible or that the Church wants less for you than everlasting life.

“Sometimes LGBT Catholics say that they’re done with the church, with the faith and with God. Yet when looking for Christ in the church often they’re only seeing the present. But suffering and death are not the only things that Jesus experiences in Jerusalem. They’re not even the most important things. The most important thing is the Resurrection. And the Good News of the Resurrection is that hope is stronger than despair, suffering is never the last word, and love always triumphs over hate. Love always wins. So be hopeful!”

Fr. Martin, I know you like to downplay this, but none of us can get to the Resurrection without first taking up our crosses. I mean, for heaven’s sake, look up the verse that you halfheartedly referred to.

You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

That’s the problem. You don’t ever explain what “drinking the cup” means. You’re leading people to believe that it’s freely indulging in sin. That is so wrong.

These readings, so ancient, so different, so seemingly far away, are actually tailor made for us today, for all of us who are called to encounter God. In these readings we hear God say to us: Be tough, be free, be hopeful. Be proud to be Catholic. And for my LGBT brothers and sister and siblings, be the LGBT Catholic whom you are called to be by Jesus Christ himself.

You’re giving them stones when they ask for bread. Hopefully they will come to feast, despite your best efforts. #pridebeforethefall

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