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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

You got to pick a pocket or two-ooo----Olympic disgust two

Anti-Olympic post two--check this out, please.


The Mystical Marriage of the Consecrated Virgin

St. Catherine of Siena's Mystical Marriage

To you, young people, I say: if you hear the Lord's call, do not reject it! Dare to become part of the great movements of holiness which renowned saints have launched in their following of Christ. Cultivate the ideals proper to your age, but readily accept God's plan for you if he invites you to seek holiness in the consecrated life. Admire all God's works in the world, but be ready to fix your eyes on the things destined never to pass away.
The Third Millennium awaits the contribution of the faith and creativity of great numbers of young consecrated persons, that the world may be made more peaceful and able to welcome God and, in him, all his sons and daughters. Blessed John Paul II

This quotation is from the Apostolic Letter Vita Consecrata explained below.

I write this for my English friends, and some young people in Malta, who had not heard of the life of the Consecrated Virgin. Starting with this excellent website, I shall merely list a few points on the vocation. Personally, I know two and both woman work for the Church in various capacities. Both are professional women and wonderful lights in the world. I highly suggest that some of the single persons who are women look into this as a possible call from God. The beauty of this life involves several levels of holiness-poverty, celibacy and obedience. One becomes a "sign of contradiction in the world".

Let me start with the Vatican document on the consecrated life. On March 25th, 1996, Blessed John Paul II promulgated the apostolic letter Vita Consecrata. Blessed John Paul II began this letter referring to love and the Mystery of the Transfiguration. His description of the call of virgins to this rule is sublime. One can click on the name and follow the text. Here are a few sections from this beautiful letter:

Consecrated persons, who embrace the evangelical counsels, receive a new and special consecration which, without being sacramental, commits them to making their own — in chastity, poverty and obedience — the way of life practised personally by Jesus and proposed by him to his disciples. Although these different categories are a manifestation of the one mystery of Christ, the lay faithful have as their specific but not exclusive characteristic, activity in the world; the clergy, ministry; consecrated men and women, special conformity to Christ, chaste, poor and obedient.

The Institutes of Consecrated Life, through the profession of the evangelical counsels, must be conscious of their special mission in today's Church, and we must encourage them in that mission".The Fathers of the Ninth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops echoed this conviction: "Throughout the Church's history, consecrated life has been a living presence of the Spirit's work, a kind of privileged milieu for absolute love of God and of neighbour, for witness to the divine plan of gathering all humanity into the civilization of love, the great family of the children of God".The Church has always seen in the profession of the evangelical counsels a special path to holiness. The very expressions used to describe it — the school of the Lord's service, the school of love and holiness, the way or state of perfection — indicate the effectiveness and the wealth of means which are proper to this form of evangelical life, and the particular commitment made by those who embrace it.It is not by chance that there have been so many consecrated persons down the centuries who have left behind eloquent testimonies of holiness and have undertaken particularly generous and demanding works of evangelization and service.

Consecrated persons are asked to be true experts of communion and to practise the spirituality of communionas "witnesses and architects of the plan for unity which is the crowning point of human history in God's design".The sense of ecclesial communion, developing into aspirituality of communion, promotes a way of thinking, speaking and acting which enables the Church to grow in depth and extension. The life of communion in fact "becomes a signfor all the world and a compelling force that leads people to faith in Christ ... In this way communion leads to mission, and itself becomes mission"; indeed, "communion begets communion: in essence it is a communion that is missionary". In founders and foundresseswe see a constant and lively sense of the Church, which they manifest by their full participation in all aspects of the Church's life, and in their ready obedience to the Bishops and especially to the Roman Pontiff. Against this background of love towards Holy Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15), we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for "the Lord Pope",the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called "sweet Christ on earth",the apostolic obedience and the sentire cum Ecclesia of Saint Ignatius Loyola,and the joyful profession of faith made by Saint Teresa of Avila: "I am a daughter of the Church".We can also understand the deep desire of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: "In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love".These testimonies are representative of the full ecclesial communion which the Saints, founders and foundresses, have shared in diverse and often difficult times and circumstances. They are examples which consecrated persons need constantly to recall if they are to resist the particularly strong centrifugal and disruptive forces at work today.


The prophetic task of the consecrated life is brought into play by three major challenges addressed to the Church herself: they are the same challenges as ever, posed in new ways, and perhaps more radically, by contemporary society, at least in some parts of the world. These challenges relate directly to the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, impelling the Church, and consecrated persons in particular, to clarify and testify to the profound anthropological significance of the counsels. The decision to follow the counsels, far from involving an impoverishment of truly human values, leads instead to their transformation. The evangelical counsels should not be considered as a denial of the values inherent in sexuality, in the legitimate desire to possess material goods or to make decisions for oneself. Insofar as these inclinations are based on nature, they are good in themselves. Human beings, however, weakened as they are by original sin, run the risk of acting on them in a way which transgresses the moral norms. The profession of chastity, poverty and obedience is a warning not to underestimate the wound of original sin and, while affirming the value of created goods, it relativizes them by pointing to God as the absolute good. Thus, while those who follow the evangelical counsels seek holiness for themselves, they propose, so to speak, a spiritual "therapy" for humanity, because they reject the idolatry of anything created and in a certain way they make visible the living God. The consecrated life, especially in difficult times, is a blessing for human life and for the life of the Church.

Realizing this is a long post already, I would like to add the following from the website above. This list will help clarify the call. This call involves a commitment, and is a vocation. These women do not, obviously, belong to those groups of singles who do not commit themselves to anything. I would read and ponder this lovely detailed examination. I am so happy Blessed John Paul II re-organized this life-style. I hope readers understand that to make a decision for Christ should involve a relationship with the Church in a formal way, as we were not meant to be alone in the world, tossed and turned by circumstances, without focus.

From the Code of Canon Law:
• The virgin is consecrated to God by the diocesan Bishop according to a rite approved by the church. [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 922-924]
• She is betrothed mystically to Christ and dedicated to the service of the church.
• She enters a public state of consecrated life in the Church.
• She lives her life individually, under the direction of the diocesan Bishop.

From the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity:
• The consecrated virgin is constituted a sacred person in the Church. [Introduction, No. 1]
• No particular service or spirituality is imposed; the consecrated virgin's time is spent in works of penance and of mercy, in apostolic activity, and in prayer, in accord with her state of life and spiritual gifts. [No. 2]
• She is strongly advised to recite the Liturgy of the Hours daily, and is committed to praying Morning and Evening Prayer. [No.2]
• Her life is one of perpetual virginity. [No.5]

Secular State:
The consecrated virgin remains in the secular state, providing completely for her own material needs, medical care, and retirement. At no time is the diocese financially responsible for her. [Sr. Sharon Holland, Consecrated Virgins for Today's Church, 1998, as printed in Consecrated Life, Vol. 24, No.2, pp. 257-75]

The consecrated virgin does not wear habit or veil, nor use the title "Sister," nor write "OCV" after her name. She witnesses subtly, but publicly and powerfully, by her virginal life given exclusively to Jesus Christ. Consecrated virgins today wear their ring, but their comportment, modesty in dress, simplicity in lifestyle all betoken their living of the evangelical counsels. [from Archbishop Burke, Questions and Answers in "Preparation Process," USACV Information Packet, revised August 2009]

I was going to post this tomorrow, but some readers wanted to know more about this. God bless you all. Tomorrow I shall write on the Order of Widows, which does not exist at this time, but did. There are some in Europe and the Vatican is working on a Rite.

Catholic Extinction: EU singles and other thoughts: seven

I was looking outside my window on Tuesday, and noticed something very interesting. The stones used to build my dwelling, circa 1880s, are full of fossils. I can see on the outside ledge the fossil remains of sea creatures and sea plants. Most are small, but the details are clear and fascinating. I have found something similar online above. One piece looks like bones, and another is in the shape of a small crustacean. I was thinking of how my dwelling is built with the ruins of another ancient time of ancient creatures which were once alive. Will there be any building of new homes after Catholics disappear in certain areas? I am surrounded in my London area by people from all over the world-and so many of the Catholics are old, beyond child-bearing in my parish. At daily Mass, many of the women I talk to live alone.

This is Europe today-dying, making entire cultures extinct through the lack of marriage, contraception and gay life-styles. Dysfunctional societies die. Unless the Catholics realize and repent, they too will go the way of those small animals and plants on my window-sill.

EU statistics on households are daunting. Here is a summary of 2010-11 statistics.

For single women without children, the shares varied from 9% of all households in Cyprus and 11% in Spain, Malta and Portugal to 23% in Finland, 21% in Germany and Lithuania and 20% in Austria and France. In all Member States, there was a higher proportion of women living alone than of men. 

Now these statistics are households, not actual female single persons who live with each other or at home.

England, I repeat, has 33% of its households led by singles. However, more women than men want to get married. 

Why are America and England so lopsided in these statistics? I find this very interesting. These statistics have nothing to do with the number of admitted Catholics in these countries. Note that Malta, supposedly one of the most Catholic countries in the world, (but those who read this blog know better), has 11% in the single women living alone range. No ages are given.

Catholics may be a majority religion in some of these countries, but the practicing Catholic populations are low.  One can look at France, as an example. Here is a snippet from an article from CNA/EWTN last Autumn.

.- New research suggests there are now more practising Muslims in France than practising Catholics.

While 64 percent of French people describe themselves as Roman Catholic, only 2.9 percent of the population actually practice the Catholic faith. That compares to 3.8 percent of the population who practice the Muslim faith. The research was carried out by the French Institute of Public Opinion on behalf of the Catholic newspaper La Croix.

More worrying for Islamic authorities in France is the finding that only 41 percent of the country’s 6 million Muslims actually describe themselves as “practising,” although 75 percent are happy to label themselves “believers.” Seventy-percent also claim to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Most French Muslims hail from the country’s former colonies in North and sub-Saharan Africa.
There is also further evidence that mosques are being erected at a much faster rate than Catholic churches. Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the Muslim Council of France, last month estimated that 150 new mosques are currently under construction across the country.

By contrast, the Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches. Many of these are now destined to become mosques, according to La Croix.   

Interesting that the word "Eurabia" was first used in in 1975 in France. One culture can easily take over another by such movements of people in an nation or entire continent. Much to think on...

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On the Single Series-Six

For all those who wrote in personal stories of pain and suffering regarding the single state, I shall pray for you all. The feedback has been moving. Someone suggested I would start a Supertradmum courting site. No thanks, anyway. But, many single women of all ages have written to me in the past few days on this subject. Most are in cities. The same has been true of the single men, although less, who have sent notes. Of course, I do not publish the anonymous, or those who ask me not to do so. I also pray for those who have had a vocation, but it has failed, and find themselves alone in the world. Again, mostly women have written of this.

The Church needs to deal with this seriously and quit pretending that loneliness and childlessness is a normal way of life. I challenge priests to rethink the standard teaching of the last fifty years on this subject. Many years ago, I heard an excellent Tridentine Mass priest address the young men in the congregation at Mass. He said quite bluntly that if they were sitting all by themselves and had not considered a vocation to either the married or religious or priestly life, they should to it "now". The priest was being a real pastor.
48% of adult women in the States are single, a 2011 statistic. That is shocking to me. Here is a chart. I really do not believe that men cannot find the woman they want. What do they want? I know what Catholic women want: a protector, dependability, love, children, shared prayer life, shared Catholic Faith, leadership, commitment, security and some brains....and at least some ability to work and move in the big world. We Catholics may simply become an extinct group in some areas. I shall look up statistics for the EU for another post.

Here are two charts from the same site: one can see trends. Interesting that some of the women who have talked to me about these problems are from some of these areas.

Here is a list on cities with the most single men. It would be interesting to know if the Traditional Mass goers in these areas reflect the trends. I would also wonder if some of these places were meccas for gays, thus effecting the statistics from 2009. Women should not go looking for men. They will find the wrong types of they do this. The real Protectors will seek them out, if they are in the right place and if God is in charge.

1. Seattle, WA
2. Denver, CO
3. San Jose, CA
4. San Diego, CA
5. Austin, TX
6. San Francisco, CA
7. Minneapolis, MN
8. Dallas, TX
9. Atlanta, GA
10. Portland, OR
11. Houston, TX
12. Las Vegas, NV
13. Los Angeles, CA
14. Boston, MA
15. Chicago, IL
16. New York, NY
17. Miami, FL

On monasteries, convents and suitable mates....still on the single series

Several questions have arisen from readers on the series on being single. I hope to address some today. Tomorrow I shall post about the Order of Widows and Consecrated Virgins, about which some people in England have expressed to me, they know nothing. I have two acquaintances who are Consecrated Virgins. As to the Order of Widows, last year I heard that at least on bishop in the States wanted to resurrect that old tradition. But, first, let us consider the religious state.
May I add that in a dysfunctional society, there should be MORE vocations to the monastic life, as in Benedict's day, when society was changing so quickly at the Fall of the Roman Empire and the aftermath of that huge upheaval. But, first, let me address some concerns brought up either in comments or in conversations. As a reminder to readers, the official Fall of the Empire dates at 476, and the foundation of Monte Cassino is 529. For example, one man from Spain told me today that young men are not making committments to marriage as there jobs are so insecure. Well, in the past, many of those young men would have followed Benedict or Francis or Dominic. Look how many nobles followed Bernard into Citeaux-30. In times of upheaval, there should be more, not less, religious vocations. The following of a celibate vocation in the Church requires that one views the Kingdom of God as now. Citeaux has only 35 men at this time. It should be full. 

Now, back to 2012 and answering questions or comments.

Firstly, the question of dating. Now, I am an old-fashioned Catholic who firmly believes that one does not date if one is not in the pool of marriageables. Dating should be called "courtship". If one wants to get married and sort out the Predators and the Peter Pans from the Protectors, that should happen in a discernment period. The new marital interviews in the Church before a wedding can help. Men and women should not see dating as "entertainment".

Secondly, the question of who is suitable has come up. For a Catholic, for me, IMO, this means a Catholic, first and foremost. Then, it means a man who can afford a wife and family for a woman, and a woman who is willing to have children and be a stay-at-home mom for a woman. Now, stay-at-home moms can do lots of things. I set-up and ran a Montessori school as a stay-at-home mom, and I taught some RCIA classes. Plus, I was in the church choir. I also home-schooled and helped out in home-schooling-cooperatives. I painted and did all the home decorating.  I blogged, eventually. I have been told I was hyper-active. Life as a stay-at-home mom is great fun and very rewarding.

 I also cooked hot meals daily, entertained my partner's work buddies, students, and priests, and had a great time.

Many years ago, in 1994, I read the great novel A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It was fascinating to finally see the choice of the young lady in her husband. Of course, as the story was set in India, it involved a decision in which the entire family took place. However, the decision was her choice. I shall not spoil the plot for those who have not read it, but let's just say some were surprised. ( I have not read all of the world's longest novels, but some.)

1520 Church Window-note dog on bed-Tobias and  Sarah
Suitable means something I put in the very first blog in this recent series, although I have written about this earlier. The word indicates common interests, common culture, common religion, common goals, common morals. And, if there are no singles in your area, move. I am serious. If you feel called to marriage and can move to a place where there are many Catholic singles, do so. Why not? This is not a new idea.

People of all ages who could not find mates moved in order to do so, even in ancient times. In fact, read the Old Testament stories and you will find that many times the young men had to leave their homes in order to find their God-given mates. This would be an interesting Bible study for some of you. Here is a list of couples who were not from the same area: Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, Tobias and Sarah, Esther and King Ahasuerus, Ruth and Boaz, Moses and Zipporah, etc.

Thirdly, some singles think the spouse has to be everything to them. No, only God is Everything. Think about that.

This entire discussion has also included the call to the religious life and the priesthood.
As to a religious vocation, too many singles I have talked to have never visited a convent or monastery. How do they know they are called if they do not try? Go, look, see. Please, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. I am so amazed at this. At one time, it was normal for a girl to at least spend some time with sisters or nuns to see what the life was like.

How many times I have been in discussions with singles, talking about religious vocations, only to find out that these delightful people have never visited or stayed in a monastery or convent. One must try and discover one's vocation, if it is not obvious to one. Most orders of women take girls and ladies up to 45. Most orders of men do not have upper age limits.

Lastly, our society has delayed adolescence into the thirties. Fight that horrible trend. Too many people are getting too much unnecessary, unused education. Pray, think, act.