OK, I am falling into sarcasm, but am I not relieved that the US Government blog just announced that doomsday is not December 21st for clarification? I reprint one of the cartoons I had on earlier this year here for your enjoyment. Oh, how about two?
EDITORIAL The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.
The most egregious statement in the Nov. 19 press release announcing Roy Bourgeois' "excommunication, dismissal and laicization" is the assertion that Bourgeois' "disobedience" and "campaign against the teachings of the Catholic church" was "ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful." Nothing could be further from the truth. Bourgeois, attuned by a lifetime of listening to the marginalized, has heard the voice of the faithful and he has responded to that voice.
Bourgeois brings this issue to the real heart of the matter. He has said that no one can say who God can and cannot call to the priesthood, and to say that anatomy is somehow a barrier to God's ability to call one of God's own children forward places absurd limits on God's power. The majority of the faithful believe this.
Let's review the history of Rome's response to the call of the faithful to ordain women:
In April 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded unanimously: "It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate." In further deliberation, the commission voted 12-5 in favor of the view that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women, and 12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ's original intentions.
In Inter Insigniores (dated Oct. 15, 1976, but released the following January), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said: "The Church, in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination." That declaration, published with the approval of Pope Paul VI, was a relatively modest "does not consider herself authorized."
Pope John Paul II upped the ante considerably in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (May 22, 1994): "We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." John Paul had wanted to describe the ban as "irreformable," a much stronger stance than "definitively held." This met substantial resistance from high-ranking bishops who gathered at a special Vatican meeting in March 1995 to discuss the document, NCR reported at the time. Even then, bishops attuned to the pastoral needs of the church had won a concession to the possibility of changing the teaching.
But that tiny victory was fleeting.
In October 1995, the doctrinal congregation acted further, releasing a responsum ad propositum dubium concerning the nature of the teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: "This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium." The ban on women's ordination belongs "to the deposit of the faith," the responsum said.
The aim of the responsum was to stop all discussion.
In a cover letter to the responsum, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then head of the congregation, asked presidents of bishops' conferences to "do everything possible to ensure its distribution and favorable reception, taking particular care that, above all on the part of theologians, pastors of souls and religious, ambiguous and contrary positions will not again be proposed."
Despite the certainty with which Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and the responsum were issued they did not answer all the questions on the issue.
Many have pointed out that to say that the teaching is "founded on the written Word of God" completely ignored the 1976 findings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
Others have noted that the doctrinal congregation did not make a claim of papal infallibility -- it said what the pope taught in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was that which "has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium." This too, however, has been called into question because at the time there were many bishops around the world who had serious reservations about the teaching, though few voiced them in public.
Writing in The Tablet in December 1995, Jesuit Fr. Francis A. Sullivan, a theological authority on the magisterium, cited Canon 749, that no doctrine is understood to have been defined infallibly unless this fact is clearly established. "The question that remains in my mind is whether it is a clearly established fact that the bishops of the Catholic Church are as convinced by [the teaching] as Pope John Paul evidently is," Sullivan wrote.
The responsum caught nearly all bishops off-guard. Though dated October, it was not made public until Nov. 18. Archbishop William Keeler of Baltimore, then the outgoing president of the U.S. bishops' conference, received the document with no warning three hours after the bishops had adjourned their annual fall meeting. One bishop told NCR that he learned about the document from reading The New York Times. He said many bishops were deeply troubled by the statement. He, like other bishops, spoke anonymously.
The Vatican had already begun to stack the deck against questioning. As Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese reported in his 1989 book, Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church, under John Paul a potential episcopal candidate's view on the teaching against women's ordination had become a litmus test for whether a priest could be promoted to bishop.
Less than a year after Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was issued, Mercy Sr. Carmel McEnroy was removed from her tenured position teaching theology at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana for her public dissent from church teaching; she had signed an open letter to the pope calling for women's ordination. McEnroy very likely was the first victim of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, but there have been many more, most recently Roy Bourgeois.
Blessed John Henry Newman said that there are three magisteria in the church: the bishops, the theologians and the people. On the issue of women's ordination, two of the three voices have been silenced, which is why the third voice must now make itself heard. We must speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels.
Our message is that we believe the sensus fidelium is that the exclusion of women from the priesthood has no strong basis in Scripture or any other compelling rationale; therefore, women should be ordained. We have heard the faithful assent to this in countless conversations in parish halls, lecture halls and family gatherings. It has been studied and prayed over individually and in groups. The brave witness of the Women's Ordination Conference, as one example, gives us assurance that the faithful have come to this conclusion after prayerful consideration and study -- yes, even study of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
NCR joins its voice with Roy Bourgeois and calls for the Catholic church to correct this unjust teaching.
This story appeared in the Dec 7-20, 2012print issue under the headline: Correct an injustice: Ordain women .
One can ask to have one's purgatory on earth. This is not the same as going through the purgative stage of holiness. Allowing one's self to take on pain on earth for the reparation of one's own sin is not only laudatory, but recommended by some of the saints.
The purgative stage happens before one gets to the stage of experiencing suffering for the sake of love. That second description is what one experiences in purgatory. One has seen God in all His Beauty and loves Him. The separation from that Love is part if not all of the pain of purgatory.
The stage where one begins to suffer for one's sins in order to be perfect before death comes at the beginning of the unitive state or the end of the illuminative stage. This is when the soul yearns to be with God and the final perfection of the soul with regard to sin and the effects of sin is under way.
I wrote about simplicity earlier today. That one gives up all one has is not enough. One must give up the desire for things. Yesterday, walking through the lovely shopping district of central Dublin and seeing the happy shoppers, I happened to be in the neighbourhood of the jewellers. Now, I have no jewellery at this time. I dress simply and if I did have anything bling, it would be simple. I discovered yesterday, however, the twinge of desire still in me. How horrible to face that sinful desire for things of the world. It is not enough to give all away, or sell what one has and give the money to the poor, one must follow Jesus into the dark realms of the heart so that one can be purified. I used custody of the eyes and moved on from the area. How good God was to show me this imperfection.
Because one wills to have one's purgatory on earth, God blesses one exceedingly. Accepting pain freely now is of much more merit than the necessary purging of purgatory. Remember, only the perfect see God.
As I quickly walked past the shops, I prayed to be delivered from all desires except for the desire for God. If I had not seen the bling in the windows, I would not have realized the depths of my imperfections. This is good. Only God can change the lasting remains of worldly longings in my heart. If I actually had the bling, I would not want it. But, the desire must be purged from my heart, no matter how small it is. Of course, Satan tempts us and we must know the difference between temptation and a desire. Thankfully, temptations can be refused. I was tempted to look and feed desire and I refused. A quiet peace follows these decisions.
To pray for such purification of heart and mind now, and to desire to only want to love God and to love Him with all one's heart and mind and soul is the goal of this journey of perfection.
One cannot be attached to anything-neither the opinion of other people, status, comfort, family. This is purgatory on earth. Choose it. It is actually attainable. God will never deny us graces for which we sincerely ask. The unitive state is one which St. John of the Cross expresses in this poem. He is in the unitive state. He has experienced the Love Who is a Person.
St. John of the Cross on the Desire for God
I live, but not in myself, and I have such hope that I die because I do not die.
I no longer live within myself
and I cannot live without God, for having neither him nor myself what will life be? It will be a thousand deaths, longing for my true life and dying because I do not die.
This life that I live
is no life at all, and so I die continually until I live with you; hear me, my God: I do not desire this life, I am dying because I do not die.
When I am away from you
what life can I have except to endure the bitterest death known? I pity myself, for I go on and on living, dying because I do not die.
A fish that leaves the water
has this relief: the dying it endures ends at last in death. What death can equal my pitiable life? For the longer I live, the more drawn out is my dying.
When I try to find relief
seeing you in the Sacrament, I find this greater sorrow: I cannot enjoy you wholly. All things are affliction since I do not see you as I desire, and I die because I do not die.
And if I rejoice, Lord,
in the hope of seeing you, yet seeing I can lose you doubles my sorrow. Living in such fear and hoping as I hope, I die because I do not die.
Lift me from this death,
my God, and give me life; do not hold me bound with these bonds so strong; see how I long to see you; my wretchedness is so complete that I die because I do not die.
I will cry out for death
and mourn my living while I am held here for my sins. O my God, when will it be that I can truly say: now I live because I do not die?
Since last January, I have highlighted the five stages of persecution now and then. You can use the search tab or click on the " persecution" tag at the bottom of this and other posts.
The tags bring up many articles. Yesterday, several sites, includingLifeSiteNews, picked up the theme, listing the same five stages I did earlier this year.
Also, yesterday, I spoke with a highly spiritual, intelligent priest who is one of only three people I have met personally who understand that what we are dealing with is a lost war. He said as we were standing in the cold at the rally that Eire has lost the culture war. I know that. It is obvious.
Interestingly, he is the first priest to state that the faith in Eire was superficial for a very long time before the collapse. This is an essential truth that must be faced. Where adults have a faithlite, there can be no cultural revolution for Christ.
Adults not living in an energetic or committed adult faith as a society for over 60 years or maybe longer here in Eire has led to a secular society. This happening did not occur quickly. Like mold in a house, the lack of the living faith grew until the culture became unhealthy. Now, all breath in the polluted air.
These evil trends cannot and will not be stopped.
Do not have false hopes or think that there will be a glorious reign of Christ on earth, or a resurgence of Christianity.
I tried to share this with some nuns and lay persons recently who, simply, are not facing reality. If you pretend, you will not be ready.
We as Catholics were in the fourth stage of persecution before the election in America, which is a turning point for the entire world. We are witnessing the triumph of evil.
That persons in Europe who are Catholic cannot see this is painful to me. I am not a Pollyanna. People do not want to hear bad news. Cassandra was not a popular lass.
But, not to be prepared for the coming severe and physical persecution is naive at best and deceptive at worst,.
My perfection series is here to help you get to where you will need to be when the hellish days begin in earnest.
Many of you will lose your jobs for being Catholic.
Some of you will be fined and imprisoned for not cooperating with evil.
All of you will experience real loss of income, status, family relationships.
Some of us have experienced this already.
I shall not apologize for the bad news. One can prepare for a holy either slow or quick death.
Romeo and Juliet, 1968
You and I have no choice but to be ready.
This does not mean that we merely sit on the rooftops and wait for the flood. But we must realize that political pressures are not the answer. We need to convert those around us and those to whom we are sent.
Some Catholics think we shall be spared. That is naive at best and deceitful at worst. Like the prince in "Romeo and Juliet" facing the funeral where both families are grieving at the loss of their heirs who states, "All are punished", we shall not escape the consequence of sin.
I only know three other people who know we are in the last stage before open persecution leading to death. Why are not others facing this? I have known this trend would lead to an age of martyrdom since the mid-70s. I fell asleep for a few years, but woke up again in the late 90s. Wake up, please. Find God in your own hearts and live with Him daily.
There is a fallacy among Americans, at least, that simplifying a lifestyle is enough for happiness.
It is a start, but the search for Zen-like gardens and minimalist furnishings in a house, which has been so popular for the past twenty years or so. is a mere deception.
Simplicity of life means nothing if the goal is not holiness. If we merely want to avoid tremendous responsibilities and clutter, simplicity is a temporary not eternal solution.
In and of itself, there is nothing salvific about a simple life.
I have known two wealthy people seek out the simple life. One went to live in the mountains of upper state New York. He lived in a small château at the edge of the mountains. He learned hunting and shooting and read Japanese and New Age spirituality on the simple life.
Yet, he lived without repenting of some serious sins. He was not a happy man. He was trying to simplify his life in order to find meaning. The meaning was not in the simplicity but in his facing the need to become a new man in Christ. I hope he found Christ.
One thing which can cause us to lose simplicity is too much activity. We do not have to do everything we think we must do. Busyness can be a sign of a lack of inner simplicity. Part of real simplicity is seeing what is around you, paying attention to details and then moving into the peace which only God can give in giving up those details. That is part of contemplation-letting God purify the imagination and our hearts.
The second person, a millionaire, did something similar. This very good person simplified his life and dropped membership in the country club and pulled back from what he saw as the empty pursuit of California social life at the very top echelons He did simplify, but could not believe in Christ. He tried to deal with the reality of the Incarnation and live a moral, generous life, but he never became a Christian. Simplification did not lead him to Christ. It lead him to a new level of clarity of thinking, but not to the step of accepting Christ as his Saviour and God.
Simplicity is a beginning, but never an end in itself. This is true of so many things we choose to do, but if the goal is not oneness with Christ, we shall never find true meaning.
Part of the mystery here is that Faith is a gift. Some people strive and strive, and never take that step in admitting that Christ is True God and True Man.
The desert fathers lived extremely simple lives, but not for the sake of simplicity. They lived day to day in poverty for one reason.They were in love with God.
If we seek the means to become holy, we must fall in love with God. Then, simplicity becomes an act of worship and a sharing in the mystery of love.
Simplicity then becomes a means to concentrate on Christ, the Beloved more and more without distractions. Suffering pares away the excess.
One of the saddest days of my life was when I was in Mississippi helping out after Katrina. If one did not see the horror of that storm, the damage and disruption, one cannot understand what people experienced. The sad thing I saw was not the devastation, but a person I met who immediately built a bigger and better, more extravagant house than he had before the storm. He was very wealthy, but had learned nothing by losing all his belongings. To make the point more pathetic, he established his new house in an area of destruction in the style of a Roman villa. with Zen influences. It was as if a survivor of the Fall of the Roman Empire just moved to another area and built another pagan temple to the same gods who had not protected him-those gods who cannot see and cannot speak. The entire project seemed so futile and empty to me. Had this person learned nothing from his huge loss except to build something bigger and more outrageously elegant? Yet, he did it in a Zen style, as if to say that he had learned simplicity. A hut would have been more appropriate. Everyone else at the party was praising his project. I felt sick and saddened that he was still in the dark, but was covering his grief with a panacea which would not cure his inner emptiness.
There were so many stones in the house, I was afraid to turn around and start an avalanche.
Only love changes us. If we can reach through the suffering and loss and find God Who waits for us in the ruin, we have learned the lesson of dying to self. Then we find love.
If I love someone, do I not want to be in his presence and just be there?
Simplicity allows us space to love God, not merely space.
The Eucharist is our example of extreme simplicity. So is the Babe in the manger. We can approach the God Who gave up all in order to be like us. Therefore, we can give up all to be like Him.
One of my favourite BBC series a long time ago was "The Little Princess" from the book by Frances Eliza Hodgson. Hodgson is one of the original New Age writers, so I do not recommend her books lightly. For a particularly solid child, one who knows the Faith, this book and "The Secret Garden" are fine. The trouble is that Hodgson did not see any differences in religions and was one of the original "relativists". In the BBC series from 1987 won a BAFTA award and can be recommended for some children. (The Shirley Temple version is not true to the book.) If mothers want a short view, here is one. The entire thing is on line but fuzzy.
The point for this post, however, is that the young girl, named Sara, lost her wealth, status and love when her father died of an illness brought on by an unwise financial investment. She remains a peaceful and strong character despite abuse in a school. Of course, all ends well, when the man who felt responsible for the losses tries to find Sara and give her the wealth her father really did earn. Of course, it is no accident that he, Carrisford, just happens to move in next to the horrific school where Sara is being mistreated like a slave in order to pay off the debt to the school her father could not. That the story ends happily ever after is what makes it a tale of patience and suffering ending in reward. At one point, and I am writing from a memory of 15 years ago or so, Sara states that she was not a princess but that " I always behaved like a princess," even when being abused by the evil Miss Minchin, played by Maureen Lipman, CBE. There are many great actors in this series. The fact that Sara could act like a princess under a very abusive regime is part of the point of the book--character is formed early. The life of the virtues can be encouraged at an early age. Suffering can lead to great holiness, instead of bitterness and hatred. One responds to grace. This is also a theme in "The Secret Garden" , where two very scarred children are healed through love and acceptance of each other through the example of a servant boy. Now, sanctifying grace is not mentioned at all by the New Agey Hodgson, but one can extrapolate. Grace is given to those who desire it and seek after virtue. Of course, we know as Catholics that only the sacraments give sanctifying grace and we have an entire "cloud of witnesses", the saints, who are princes and princesses in Heaven. This is one of the titles in the Narnia tales as well. "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia". Baptism makes each one of us a child of God and heir of Heaven. We are adopted by God. We are called to a life higher than that of an earthly prince or princess. Now, fairy tales are supposed to help parents communicate character building to children. We need stories to teach virtue. I used to read "The Book of Virtue" at our house. Examples are good.
Being a prince or princess is not automatic in these stories. One is tested, tried, overcomes obstacles in order to become noble. That we teach our children and grandchildren to overcome suffering by joining it to Christ is part of their journey to holiness. Instead of watching the Disney flicks, I suggest something with more meat and a Christian basis.