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Monday, November 30, 2009

Calling all Mothers..and those who Aren't.

Recently after Mass, I was chatting with some friends of mine who happen to be parents of a few children, who naturally exhibit their childishness in very dramatic ways characteristic of their littleness.

There was a woman nearby who was somehow engaged by one of the children, exclaimed over them, and then, from where she stood, was clearly speaking to the parents of the children, admonishing them with great joy to "Have more!"

Certainly I agree with the sentiment, especially given our culture, wherein the default condition is to kill the child and lament later,  but I have to admit, a directive to "Have more!" actually rubs me in much the same way as the admonishment to "Stop having kids!" does from the polar opposite side of that spectrum.  Truth be told, I was a little offended on behalf of my friends who ARE having children and don't find it necessary to consult anyone other than God as to how many they should produce.

So I chose to just ignore the woman who clearly wasn't speaking to me, anyway, considering that I don't HAVE any children and I'm just the local spinster-in-waiting who happens to have a lot of friends with big families.

Oh, but wait....

As I was standing next to the father, I didn't initially realize that the woman in question was actually speaking to ME, and so I didn't understand why she continued speaking as the mother stepped away either in order to chase one of them down or to speak to someone else. In any case, I suddenly became aware that Ms. Admonishment was looking at ME and telling me to "Have Faith!" from what I could ascertain (from what I could hear), and to "Trust in God and His timing!" and all that.

I seriously could not figure out why she was looking at ME while saying all these things, considering that I clearly was not a mother, nor married, nor a parent of any kind. I couldn't figure out why she was continuing to lecture even as the father of the children wandered away looking for one of them.

It was the ongoing lecturing that got my attention as she raised her fist in the air in some form of encouragement to have more children and trust in God and have faith.  I was trying to figure out exactly WHO she was talking to considering that the children who had enamored her were all over the place, their parents were chasing them, and I was standing in one place just waiting for it all to come back to center again.

After a minute or so of me looking at her strangely, wondering if she was somehow trying to communicate with someone, I finally realized that she thought I was the mother and she was TRYING to talk to ME!

Oh, dear, and,

While I thought it flattering that she assumed the adorable children at hand were MINE, when I finally realized she was directing her commentary towards me, and, in response to my very strange looks in her direction, was interpreting said confused countenance as a return expression of hopelessness and denial, I realized I had to set the record straight.

I sincerely had no idea what she had been saying before that but for those few quoted phrases, for she was standing too far away, speaking in a low tone, and since I wasn't the mother, I honestly hadn't paid much attention to her since obviously she could NOT have been speaking to me.

As it was, I did finally explain to her that I was just PRESENT in that particular space and had NOTHING to do with the presence of the children themselves. It was my great honor to point out their true parents.

This woman apparently was on a "CHILDREN!" kick, though, and apologized for her mistake as she patted me on the shoulder and repeated some of her previous litany of  "God is faithful!" and "Trust in Him!" but to this she added, "Maybe soon!"

"Um...NO. I don't think so."

She interrupted to encourage me further in what she assumed to be my future Vocation, that being to get married and have as many children as she deemed appropriate.

I thanked her but said calmly that no, I am not called to marriage.

She seemed to be completely SHOCKED by that statement. I actually reached out to hold her up because I thought she was going to fall over.

Quickly, though, she recovered herself and I held my breath, waiting for her to switch to the other extreme of exclaiming over the idea that I'm going to be a nun, and how wonderful is THAT!?

Thankfully, she made no further assumptions, apologized profusely (which was totally unnecessary given our low-key exchange) and in fact, I patted her own shoulder as I dismissed her apology as unnecessary. I was actually quite amused, and even flattered that she thought such beautiful children could have come from me.  It was very sweet.  :-)

I am who I am, though.

Simply put, I am a woman trying to find my way in the world, neither chosen nor having been chosen, only in waiting, in preparation, knowing there is more....but not knowing what that means yet.

It is a grace simply to know what it ISN'T.

We all have a calling. While I love children and of course, the ones in question are very dear to me, as are their parents, that love doesn't change the sense of knowing it isn't my Vocation.

Whether male or female, those who are not called to marriage often have assumptions made about them. On the extreme end, many assume that we hate children, hate families, etc.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

I have to admit, though, that before the recent exchange, I hadn't ever considered how certain people, in wanting to encourage life, really come across to mothers as, in their zealous love for the pro-life cause, almost DEMAND more children in exactly the same way the culture of death people try to DEMEAN the idea of more children as abhorrent and detrimental to society.

It has given me even MORE respect for larger families, and perhaps any mother, for the demand made upon them comes from all sides. Not just from the pro-death side that thinks children should be omitted in any way possible, but from those who are over-zealous and also forget that children come from God and that parents who are happily having children don't actually need pressure to have more. Aren't they already doing everything right?

Isn't GOD really in charge of life?

I have to admit I had a mad desire to compliment the woman on her interest in my reproductive system, but managed, for once. to hold my tongue. Of course she meant well, and of course she was paying me a compliment in what she thought was my motherhood...which it wasn't.

This very short, innocent exchange, though, revealed a few things to me that maybe I hadn't previously understood:

1. Firstly, that people often cross the line in their interest in very personal matters that belong only to a married couple and God. tell people to have MORE children or LESS belongs to the same category of rude presumption. One never knows what people are suffering or have suffered.

(Lest someone come along and suggest otherwise, I am not speaking here of dissent against Catholic teaching on contraception and the horror of abortion. I am speaking here of someone personally ordering another person to stop having children or to start having more when that couple is clearly living in such a way as to seek God's will in their marriage, and happen to be blessed with a few children!)

 2. Secondly, that single women are STILL looked upon merely as future heifers and the very statement that we are not called to marriage is sufficient to cause a heart attack, or at the very least, a syncopal episode.

3.  Even those who are zealous for married life and children don't actually consider religious life to be the obvious alternative (WHEW! I'm SO glad I wasn't going to be the cause of TWO syncopal episodes in 30 seconds!)

4. Some people don't know how to handle the fact that you might actually KNOW you are ore AREN'T called to something, and so the calm revelation that their pet project isn't in your discernment process is sufficient to stop the spiritual assault.
Now, lest some of my commenters get huffy and think I am not being charitable, realize that I DO think the best of this dear lady who clearly was very interested in the number of children she assumed my reproductive system could handle. I further recognize her concern with regard to wanting to encourage me in finding my alleged future husband, even though he does not exist. These are laudable things. They are false, but the intent is laudable. I was not offended and she was not offended. Therefore, none of you should be offended, either.

I do find it humorous even as I see the serious points, and realize that we have a LOT of work to do to educate even the best Catholics about the reality of Vocation.

Yes, I continue to seek mine. I know I am not called to marriage. That isn't a bad thing, as some want to assume. It doesn't mean I'm about to don a habit. It doesn't mean anything right now. It means only that I am seeking God's Will, His timing, and coming to know myself through knowing Him.

And dammit, it's a painful process, at least for some of us.

I'm seeing more and more, though, that it's hard even after the reality is discerned...because those who are married and do all they are supposed to are STILL subjected to random public opinion.

You know...the Church would be GREAT and we could all be so Holy...if it weren't for all the people around us......(1 Corinthians 12: 7-10) 

...Just making an observation..... ;-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Celebrity Worship

One of the things about our culture that drives me crazy belongs to the Cult of the Celebrity.  I simply don't understand it.

Fair Warning:  this post is NOT going to be among my most popular; in fact, I am quite certain I will be losing readership over this one. Don't say you weren't warned, but you knew what I was when you started following me.  If you haven't been offended by my opinions, then you haven't been following long enough.

If I'm not honest, I'm not Adoro.  Just sayin'

Teen Celebrity Infatuation:

As a teen, of course,  I went through that particular phase of infatuation, writing letters to a few chosen male celebrities which were never answered (oh, thank God for that, I so wish I could forget those letters!), and went so far as to hang pictures of them on my walls. But I passed through that phase and moved on with my life. Admittedly, it was in moving on that I also let go of wanting to be an actress or famous person myself.

At that point, I finally began to see celebrities as people just like me with all the very same failings. I discovered at the same time, that if I was in the public eye, it wasn't comfortable, not fun, not glamorous, and actually...seemed overall to be quite ridiculous.

Over the years I've met a few celebrities, both secular and Catholic, and found them to be...well...average people.  I liked them just fine, but didn't find anything there to make me turn myself inside-out with adulation in their presence.

Yet I continue to see people rolling like submissive dogs peeing all over themselves when they read the words of this or that Catholic celebrity.

Clearly, as this is a Catholic blog, I'm focusing mostly on the ecstatic behavior of the average internet Catholic in the internet presence of some Catholic celebrity.'s downright embarrassing to witness.

Now, certainly, Catholic celebs don't have the worldly panache of the seculars, nor should they. And indeed, those held in high esteem are wonderful role models, based on what can be witnessed in the public eye.

Still, even with a good example, I don't see anything of them that is worthy of the public worship that is given to them day in and day out. I don't see why people find they need to hang on every word, or work so hard to be noticed and approved by this or that Catholic celebrity figure. It's almost like some people think their existence and very Catholicism must be recognized and ratified by some of these celebs in order to be authentic. 

I wonder at the reaction to these people, whose gifts given by God have placed them in the public eye, giving them a certain "Catholic Celebrity" status, and who, to so many, seem to be the final word on ANYTHING going on in the Church.

It fascinates me.

It fascinates me especially because I am sure that most of them, if not all, would not WANT the adulation of the masses, and probably didn't ask for it, and would further prefer that people NOT hang on their words.

Admittedly, though, I wonder at a few of these Catholic celebs who seem to crave that adulation and beckon it onward. The sad thing is that I've seen it not only via the internet, but also in person, in, for example, the "cult of the priest". There are certain priests who have a certain following of people who apparently see him as a kind of Savior...and will follow him ANYWHERE he goes. (I am not speaking here only of the internet, but also of a certain few priest-cults in my own diocese. But lest you are Protestant...check out the cult following of the charismatic pastors of the "Free Churches" in this area. suffer the same scourge and spiritual danger Maybe even MORE so for there are fewer of you.) 

Ew. Creepy.  

What I don't understand is WHY this behavior isn't so creepy over the internet? Isn't it the same thing?

I am seriously concerned that good, knowledgeable Catholics spend so much time hoping for the approval of certain Catholic "celebrities".

I am truly amazed that, in the past when I happened to criticize this odd obsequious behavior directed toward a certain personality, I was villified and quite literally admonished to "SHUT UP!", and even further, was calumniated by my accuser who said that all I talk about is "this" topic.Yet I had only brought it up once before with the very same question:  "What's the big deal about X Catholic Celeb?"

No one has been able to give me an answer, and so in place of the answer, they chose to insult me with an ad hominem attack...which I expect on this post as well, even though I've not given any names.

I'm sure all my readers have their favorite Catholic Celebrities, and some of you assume I'm talking about YOURS.

So I'll let your comments reveal what's in YOUR heart: who do YOU worship? And why will you tolerate no criticism against your hero or heroine?

And what does your lack of tolerance reveal about your own spirituality, lack thereof, your attachments, and how far you've fallen from Our Lord and His Mother if you're so ready to shut down a legitimate question about a mere mortal man or woman celebrity?

Seriously...if you rely so heavily upon some celebrity, whether it is an internet celeb, a priest, or an alleged visionary such that any legitimate criticism of them and their humanity pisses you off, it's a sign you need to get a grip and spend more time at Mass, Confession and Adoration and LESS time on the internet peeing all over yourself in hopes of being noticed.

That's all I have to say about that. Let the hate mail begin...combox is open for discussion.

P.S. ~ The com box is NOT a litter box. If  you have need to relieve yourself, I suggest you find appropriate facilities elsewhere.  

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Divine Justice and the Ransom of Israel

The Mass readings leading up to Advent, and even entering Advent give us pause. They speak of destruction, of our ends, and of final Justice.

They do not help us enter into warm and fuzzy consolations, but rather, force us to face the cold, hard reality of our final ends when we are called to our own particular judgment. They call us not to sleep in comfort even as we continue to embrace our favorite sins (for we ALL have our favorite sins), but to let them go, knowing that sleeping in comfort is a luxury we can't afford when we must contemplate the face of Our God.

I lament the fact that we so rarely hear, in homilies, of the last four things:  Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

The fact is:  we will all die, and it's not going to be a predictable moment for the vast majority of us.

Advent calls us to take some time to truly examine ourselves and see if we are prepared, for even as we look forward to the celebration of the birth of the Messiah, we also look towards the Second Coming. While it is a joyous occasion, it is also one of sobriety, for  it is entirely possible that we will NOT measure up. It is entirely possible that we have become well acquainted with mortal sin and habitual venial sin, and give ourselves as slaves to our passions instead of dedicating ourselves to love of Our Lord.

It is a time to remember that at any moment, we may be standing before Jesus Christ as both Judge and Savior, and it depends on US as to what role He will fulfill in that moment.

What have we chosen in life?  EVERY act of sin is a decision AGAINST true charity. EVERY mortal sin is a decision to sever our own lives from Christ.

Every decision to receive Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin not only compounds our terrible deathly state, but is in itself an act of sacrilege.

The Crucifix is Divine Justice

Every time we look upon the Crucifix, while it is important that we see there the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, we must ALSO recognize and take to heart this very personal act of Divine Justice.

Jesus didn't suffer his Passion and Death in order to lay the foundation for a dramatic screen play.  He didn't give himself over to the extreme torture of scourging and crucifixion in order to satisfy a mere myth and give people something to talk about for awhile.

The Crucifixion was all about Divine Justice, just as it was about Divine Mercy.  The problem is that all we tend to hear about these days is Divine Mercy.

We need a balance, for one part of the message is completely useless without the other.

We have to remember, when we recall the mercy of Jesus Christ, that His bloody visage wasn't just a weird moulage so a few EMT's could practice their trade on a real victim.  He TRULY suffered every penalty assigned to Israel for their sin.

Jesus suffered all the thorns that were prescribed to Adam and his descendants, and in fact, was scourged by things that tore into his flesh even more effectively than even the worst thicket of buck thorn.  The crown of thorns that was woven and placed around and into the tender flesh of his head was a revelation of the prescribed remedy for sin, and in fact, being hung on a cross of wood fulfilled the condemnation in Deuteronomy regarding the Accursed. God Himself directed that any that were hung from the tree were Accursed in His sight, and those who were accursed...were not in line for redemption.

Sacrificial Lamb

Throughout the Old Testament, we read of the sacrifice of atonement, of the lambs led to slaughter, and recall to mind Abraham, who was directed to offer his only son for sacrifice to the Lord. I still remember the first time I heard that story, and my utter horror that God would do such a thing, only to learn it was a test of Abraham's faith, an event proleptic of God's Justice.

God did not exercise His Justice in demanding what He was not willing to offer. In fact, He Himself was made Incarnate so that He could be offered in the place of all His beloved;  He offered HIMSELF as the eternal Sacrifice, the ONLY one who could truly make atonement for our sins.

Justice DEMANDS sacrifice, for Justice is nothing more than rendering to another what is due. As humanity in its fallen nature could not possibly pay the penalty for sin, God Himself became one of us in order to pay that ransom; it is here that we understand His Mercy, for we recognize that without Mercy, there is no Justice, and without Justice, there can be no Mercy.


Advent is a time of Justice and Mercy both.  It is a time to recall who we are in relation to God, and what we have done to offend Him that makes His Sacrifice necessary.  We cannot look at the Infant Jesus in the manger without recognizing that the same wood upon which He rested is the very same wood of the Cross of Sacrifice.  He was born to feed the world with His own flesh and blood, with His own Divinity, given first to the most lowly, and thirty-three years later, crucified in order to render Justice for sinners, for we cannot save ourselves.

We enter into Advent with an eye towards our final ends, for we cannot welcome God Incarnate without the recognition of the Justice to be rendered on our behalf.  We cannot look upon the Nativity without recognizing the Crucifixion. We cannot look upon the innocence of the Virgin and her Son without being accountable for our own guilt.

If we are honest with ourselves, we have NOTHING to offer the infant, for on our own, we have no merit.

Even if we offer ourselves, everything we have, everything we are, everything we have been and will ever be, we give this child a tainted gift for it is not within us to offer perfection. We NEED this child in order to BECOME perfected.

He, through His Mother, accepts what we offer in our poverty, and makes it, and us, glorious.

If only we are willing. If only we can become humble as He in His infancy. If only we can trust in His Mercy while knowing we deserve Justice, and as long as we understand that Justice would require OUR own lives.

We cannot look upon the Crucifix, then, without seeing Justice rendered, without knowing Mercy is applied, without knowing that Charity is about sacrifice...

Advent calls us to enter into this mystery, become a part of it, turn from sin, and know that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among order to save us from our sins, rendering Justice on our behalf.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...and ransom captive Israel....

Friday, November 27, 2009


Last summer, while visiting convents, two Sisters asked me, "What do YOU want?" Sure I want what God wants for me. But what IS that?

I've spent the last few months searching deeply, and still, I don't have the answer to that question. Yet I find that asking the question itself forces me to confront who I really am, and this weekend, I also realize how THANKFUL I am to God for His Providence. I don't know what it all means, but His hand has been there all along, molding me into the person I am now so that eventually I can be the woman He has called me into existence to be.

This weekend, I watched "August Rush" with my family, and was struck anew by the themes in the movie: about life, about chances, about the threads that bring everything together into an incredible symphony. This afternoon I watched the movie "Sylvester" about a Texas cowgirl who, through the support of family and friends finds her way to an Eventing trial with a mustang she trained and recognized for his talent.

I find that these movies are, in a way, a part of my story, too. Both, in some way, make me look into myself and remind me from whence I came...and the great gifts I have received.

Po' Roots and Welfare Offices

We grew up poor. Dad's parents emigrated to the United States, me here, and he was born here. They weren't "privileged", but worked very hard for their average American existence. Mom was from a large Catholic farm family who knew their share of tragedy and poverty.

We grew up in a little neighborhood where Mom and Dad eked out our home life through hard work, wanting to give us what they were never able achieve. In the end, it wasn't about the money they'd wanted to save, but rather the work ethic they instilled in us, the desire to do something better but not be satisfied with remaining in the dirt.

Mom and Dad divorced when we were kids, the bank foreclosed on the house, Mom applied for welfare, and I'll never forget those dingy government offices with the terror-inducing "AIDS epidemic" signs, sterile orange plastic chairs set on a brown tube attached to the wall, and the condescending attitude of overweight, middle-aged white-trash social workers who clearly thought Mom and I and every other person in the lobby was the scum of the earth for daring to be poor and yet continue to exist for the paperwork we caused them.

We never had much, so we didn't get to do the things our friends got to do. Our clothing consisted of "hammy-downs" (which, oddly, never smelled of ham) and whatever we got at Christmas or on birthdays. We became accustomed to nice people with big smiles dropping off bags of food for us for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter every year. Mom just told us that it was a gift from our parish, because Churches give Christmas gifts, too, and we should be thankful and write thank-you letters for what we were sent.

We were taught never to complain about our food or what we had, because EVERYTHING was a blessing; everything was a gift.

Blessings of Horses....

Like every little girl, I was a dreamer, and because we grew up in the age before massive dependence upon new technology, my "daydreams" found their "reality" in make-believe games, whether in private as I wandered around our yard, or in collaboration with friends as we wandered the forested hills and trails that linked our homes together. Our winters were taken up with sledding, our summers with wading pools and hiking and random games. No one had air conditioning, even in the Illinois humidity, but no one cared. How could anyone miss what one had never had?

But I always loved horses, and mostly from afar. We had a neighbor with a Shetland Pony, and I visited her often, and once I learned and received permission, I would leap upon her back as she grazed. She didn't seem to mind as I demanded nothing of her but her company.

Ah, I'll always have a place in my heart for bay-colored horses.


Blessings of Music...

I also loved music. I would "dance" to The Sound of Music and the Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul, and Mary on our record player. As Mom went about chores, I danced in circles, singing, playing, and reveling in the various combinations of notes and movements.

We begged and begged for a piano, but Dad fell in love with a two-octave organ and bought it without Mom's approval. We started to practice, ran out of keyboard, hated the fake notes of this machine, and eventually it just became another object that existed for the purpose of gathering dust.

It wasn't that we hated music; it was that my brother and I hadn't found our instruments.

After we moved to Minnesota, I convinced Mom that I REALLY wanted to play the flute. Nothing else would suffice. As it turned out, an aunt bought a used flute for me, and Mom paid her back, $10.00 per month. It took YEARS for her to pay off that Gemeinhardt flute, and I STILL have it.

It nearly brought me to college with a music scholarship, in fact.

Last night as my brother, his girlfriend, Mom, and I watched August Rush and discussed music, I realized that only Mom had not studied it. My brother nearly majored in it, having studied classic guitar and music theory. His girlfriend played viola but loved the cello. We knew music.

Maybe our conversation last night was a blessing to Mom, for she had, in fact, provided her children with something never available to her. In spite of our poverty, we were all in possession of something that, throughout most of the world, belongs ONLY to the rich. Not to po' welfare kids from some neighborhood in Illinois.

Blessings of Horses - Part II

Back when I was 13, Dad, always wanting to indulge my love of horses, paid for riding lessons for me. He gave a choice, and let me pick the school. I decided upon English lessons because I felt I would learn things that would not be taught in the Western style, and with my big dreams, I wanted the best.

It didn't matter to me that here in the Midwest, Western style dominates and is most useful. I wanted to be an Olympian, and if that was to be, it meant I had to start out the right way.

In fact, that gift from my Dad, even though he couldn't afford it and it lasted only a year (every other week) has been a gift that continues to this day. It has benefitted me even in Western riding, and even though I never learned to jump, I was able to apply the principles and often leapt a fallen log while on a trail ride, discovering that when it is done right, it really DOES feel like flying.

I also learned that if your balance is off and you land on the hard, high edge of the back of a western saddle it's REALLY PAINFUL but less painful than being impaled on the broken tree that created the forest jump in the first place.

Just sayin'....

But What Do I Really Want?

In meditating upon that question, I am drawn back to these memories spanning from childhood to adulthood. The question makes me look at what I must truly value.

Certainly, as a child, I dreamed of owning a big mansion like in the show "Dallas" and I wanted a car like Kit from "Knight Rider" and I wanted to wield a lazer sword like Princess Leah, fly like Supergirl, lasso like Wonder Woman, be rich and own horses and go downhill skiing. Oh, and I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be an actress because that way I could be everything and always be learning new things for new adventurous roles.

Ah, how we are tempered by reality. Yet, I have to admit, I never really believed in the dreams I had for myself. I NEVER believed they would become reality. Truth: I NEVER wanted those things.

In all honesty, in looking at what I loved most deeply then and recall most fondly now: it is the same thing. I am the same person now as I was when I was a child.

I loved horses, not so that I could ride them to fame, but for the purity of their beauty and the freedom in the experience of riding them, growing in skill, in communication, and, well, let's face it: FUN! A few years ago while galloping along a Minnesota River trail, I was living a childhood dream, and it's a memory I hope to hold dear until the day I die.

Music is another deep, deep love. I don't play anymore, but used to be good. Maybe that dream of playing for the New York Philharmonic COULD have been a reality, had I continued. I'm saddened that I've lost my art, but I have discovered that music never leaves us and once we love it, we can never stop. My fingers itch to caress the keys again, the breath in my lungs longs to be expressed through trills, scales, and vibratos, and united with the harmonies of a thousand different instruments.

Every so often, I "write" symphonies as I fall asleep...and yet I never learned the skill.

It is only dormant...not crushed.

I am Thankful

I'm thankful for growing up in poverty, for it taught me to use my imagination and value the gifts I was given.

I am thankful for all that I have, for I realize I possess even now more than Mom and Dad, together, materially possessed...ever.

I recognize that the things I value most do not belong to the material world. They belong to simplicity, to basic gifts of God that were extended to me, required money to pay for, but once they were given to me...I possess them for life.

No one can un-teach me how to ride a horse or to enjoy their very existence. No one can make me forget the joy of playing complicated music after hours and hours of practice.

But....WHAT do I really WANT?

I guess, after all this musing, what I'm trying to say is that I am maybe coming closer to the heart of the question posed to me this summer. Or at least the heart of the answer.

I don't want fame and fortune. I am grateful to be a homeowner for the sake of having a roof over my head, but I don't value it as a possession. I am grateful for my possessions, but they don't bring meaning into my life.

Rather, I most frequently recall the "insubstantial" moments in my life, and with incredible gratitude. Things that cannot be purchased, cannot be repeated, and yet, in a way I can't articulate, define me in some fundamental way.

I don't yet know what I want, but I am thankful for what I have been given, what I've experienced in life.

Yes, I am thankful, I am grateful. For all of it.

Thank you, God.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving: What, Exactly, Are We Celebrating?

Adviso! This is one of those epically long posts that might qualify as "Story time with Adoro". It's part rant, part history, part Adoro being Adoro. So settle in with a leg of turkey from your annual sacrifice, some mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean hotdish with French's onions on top, a dinner roll, cranberries and a nice glass of Riesling or Gwertztraminer or maybe a Pinot Noir, because you aren't going anywhere any time soon. Don't say you weren't warned. Even my UK and Australian readers may want to read this one...your ancestors might be involved, too.....

Every single year it happens: we Americans get together and exclaim over cutesy Pilgrim and Indian figures worshiping a cheap plastic squash holding court in the center of the table while we eat great quantities of food and then nap because we can't move our engorged bodies, so besotted are we with triptophan and wine.

Every single year, as we ramp up for this "Holiday", while we use the word "Thanksgiving" officially, the REAL meaning of the day is summed up in popular parlance: "Turkey Day".

Yup. It's all about the Almighty Turkey. As Fr. Charles succinctly observes, we even make sure those who cannot afford one to worship ( uh, I mean roast) have one, or a few, if need be. Not ham. Not chicken. Not roast beef. TURKEY. As the good Father says:

People start to show up at the door of the church to "get their turkey" with a spirit similar to the one that brings out the hordes to "get their ashes" or "get their palms." It cracks me up because turkey is actually very cheap as edible proteins go, and not without hazards and pitfalls when it comes to preparation. It's a symbolic thing, I know, a graced transaction that has more depth of meaning than economic need reveals.

In a thousand years, archaeologists are going to dig into our decaying yet somewhat-preserved belongings and our literature and our celluloid (film) and ascertain that we, as a culture, one day out of the year lose our minds and worship one of the dumbest and most useless animals on the planet.

I remember as a child, a CATHOLIC child, learning in public school about the Puritans who were escaping England in search of "religious freedom". Their biggest enemy: The Big Bad Catholic Church, under the auspices of the Church of England, but was the "Romanists" they hated the most.

These poor innocent people, thanks be to God, arrived on the shores of the New World where they nearly died as a result of their ignorance and complete inability to survive. We all remember the story of Squanto, the nice Indian who taught them about corn.

I still remember decorating a paper bag and making a headband with "feathers" in his honor in school. I loved the "Indian" stuff. The Pilgrim things always seemed lame to me. Maybe it was because they were slandering my religion and I was on to them even before I realized how far their hatred of us went.

But I can certainly say I NEVER knew that it was at the hands of the Catholic Church that the Pilgrims survived...through the intercession of Squanto.

This information isn't contained in popular History. I don't know why. It's one of the BEST stories I've ever read about history, and I read it today, and reproduce it, in part, for you thanks to the good Fr. MacRae, who hails from his unjust imprisonment:

"Before boarding the Mayflower, the Pilgrims were called 'Separatists.' The religious 'persecution' these Puritan Fathers of America came here to flee consisted largely of their wish to expunge the remnants of Catholicism in the established Church of England. Philip Lawler summed this up in his book,The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture" (Encounter Books, 2008) :

“ …the Puritans were campaigning against the lingering traces of Catholicism. Decades of brutal persecution – first under Henry VIII, then under Elizabeth I – had eliminated the Roman Church from English public life in the sixteenth century; the country’s few remaining faithful Catholics had been driven underground. For the Puritans, that was not enough … They were determined to erase any vestigial belief in the sacraments, any deference to an ecclesiastical hierarchy.” (The Faithful Departed, p. 22).

G.K. Chesterton once famously remarked, “In America, they have a feast to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. Here in England, we should have a feast to celebrate their departure.”

Despite their disdain for Catholicism, it is one of the great ironies of American history that the Mayflower’s Puritan Pilgrims owe their very survival in the New World – indirectly at least – to the Catholic Church.

Are you intrigued? Read on:

In 1614, six years before the arrival of the Mayflower, Captain John Smith (the same man rescued by Pocahontas in another famous tale) led two vessels to the coast of Maine to barter for fish and furs. When Smith departed from the Maine shore, he left a lieutenant, Thomas Hunt, in command to load the smaller ship with dried fish.

Without consultation, Hunt sailed his ship south into what is now called Cape Cod Bay. Anchored off the coast of Patuxet (now Plymouth) in 1614 Hunt and his men invited two dozen native villagers, including Squanto (Tisquantum) aboard their ship. Once aboard, the Indians - as the Europeans came to call them were forced at musket point into the ship's hold where they were chained. Kidnapped from their village and families, Hunt too them on a six-week journey across the Atlantic.

Not all the captured Indians survived the voyage. Those who did survive, Squanto among them, were taken to Malaga off the coast of Spain to be sold as slaves.

Fortunately for Squanto – and, later for our pilgrims – Spain was a Catholic country. In 1537, Pope Paul III issued “Sublimis Dei,” a papal bull forbidding Catholic governments from enslaving or mistreating Indians from the Americas. The Pope declared that Indians are “true men” and could not lawfully be deprived of liberty. The papal document declared that any Spanish intervention in the lives of Indians had to be motivated by benefit to the Indians themselves, and not to the Spanish

As a result, the Catholic Church in Spain strongly opposed mistreatment of Indians and opposed bringing them to Europe against their will At Malaga, Thomas Hunt managed to sell several of his Indian captives before two Catholic priests intervened. The priests seized and rescued the unsold Indians, including Squanto who somehow convinced the Spanish speaking priests to return him home.

Take note of the year: 1537. Note that in the meantime, Mexico was also being colonized by the Spanish, Missionaries were being sent, and note well that the Catholic Church was then and has ALWAYS been against slavery. This information will arise in another post more specific to that topic.

Go to Fr. MacRae's post to read about how Squanto (Tisquantum) found his way back to his Native soil to find his entire tribe dead, and, as the only Native American fluent both in their languages AND in English, convinced the Native leader, Massasoit, in what we now recognize as Plymouth, Massachusetts NOT to kill the Pilgrims, but rather, to allow him to speak for both.

It was because of Squanto that the Pilgrims survived. It was because of the Catholic Church that Squanto survived and returned to save them.

You won't read about that in school. Are you WILLING to read about it NOW and fall on your knees in Thanksgiving for God's Divine Providence? Go back and read the ENTIRE POST Fr. MacRae has to offer.


I don't intend this post to be about the anti-Catholicism of the Pilgrims. Regardless of their hatred of us, of their faulty ideology and their complete ignorance, we owe them a debt of gratitude. These people risked their lives, many lost them, and it is because of them, in part, that this country was born. We owe them thanks for what they did, we should be offering prayers for their souls (because as they don't believe in Purgatory there is no one praying for them but us) and we owe Thanks to God for all He has done to make this country great.

It seems to me, though, in reality, we owe a far greater debt, to the Native Americans than we do the Pilgrims, for it is the Natives of this country who helped our founding families live, when they COULD have allowed them to simply starve to death. Yet, it seems to me that those who were branded as "savages" for so long were far more humane than those they harbored and taught to survive: the pathetic, ignorant, weak, anti-Catholic-to-the-death pilgrims.

Still, I'm not entirely sure that the Native Americans would look upon Squanto as a hero, and sadly, we who are of European descent have never been taught of his entire history and role in our survival. This is a HUGE disservice, both to the Native peoples and to our own ancestry. Can it be surmised that Tisquantum's actual life story is not presented to children or to the larger American audience because of the ties to the Catholics and Catholic ideology that saved him from Protestant slavery? It would be impossible to share his story without discussing what was behind it, and it seems to me it has been very purposefully suppressed. Why else would a nation fail to mention such a fascinating and epic life story of a man who united two worlds?

Such a history from the experience of a REAL hero is quite inconvenient to the romanticism and perfection of our founding Protestant European "saints" isn't it?

Five Kernels of Corn

We have to ask anew, after all this, WHAT, exactly, are we celebrating each year? How can we know if we've forgotten or have NEVER KNOWN our roots? All most of us know is the romanticized comfortable version of the first people to touch the shores of America, which doesn't tend to recognize the people who were already here and who enabled us to survive. It doesn't tend to mention, in the history books, the Hand of God who orchestrated the survival of our ancestors, or the heroic actions of real people like Tisquantum (Squanto) who gave his fiat to God in true charity, on behalf of the most destitute; our ancestors.

Our entire Nation is built upon poverty in every form.

A few years ago, one of my professors gave us a Thanksgiving lecture in the midst of our Scripture class, and I've never forgotten it. I can't forget his passion or the tears in his eyes, or the tears that fell from my own during his lecture. I was deeply moved. It should be mentioned that my professor had been raised and had been a Pastor in a Protestant religion, but had converted to Catholicism, so perhaps had a particular pain in his heart at the disunity and war that has always been present at the heart of America.

I posted this a few years ago but find it necessary to post it here again today, in its entirety. You can find the original here:

Many years ago, a ship set off from Europe, seeking greener pastures, a land of promise. They landed off course in winter, but decided to remain and eke out their new existance, and indeed, there the people settled. Their code was basic; the Lord is your God, and those who do not work shalt not eat.

That winter, food was rationed, and these completely unprepared people were also completely unequipped to battle for survival. Were it not for the intervention of the Native peoples, they all would have perished. During their worst days, all they had to eat, PER DAY, was 5 kernels of corn. Many died that winter.

And yet, they still had to continue working for survival, even under those rations:

Some of them survived, and their new friends taught them how to plant corn and how to survive in this new land. When they had their first bountiful harvest, they celebrated. And it was not for only one day. NO! They celebrated as in Biblcal times...for a week! But they remembered their previous winter, and so to begin, they were each rationed 5 grains of corn, as a reminder. It was a solemn moment. There they were, before a repast fit for Kings and their Courts, and yet, in humility, they remembered their moments of the most abject poverty. They remembered the lives lost, the terrible journey, and the friendship and hard work that enabled their survival.

They knew they owed their very lives to God. And only 5 grains of corn was enough to remind them of their humble positions before their Maker.

Deuteronomy 8: 1-20

1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

DO NOT take the Lord's mercy for granted. Do not make your "Thanksgiving" a moment of self-praise about what YOU have accomplished and built. Remember that the Lord, your God has given you EVERYTHING that you have, to the very air in your lungs. As you sit around the table before a sumptuous repast, remember our forefathers and what they suffered, remember your own moments, if you had them, of absolute poverty, and remember that all you now have is a gift. Invite God into your celebration, and if it so helps, as you offer your Thanksgiving prayers and blessings, set before you 5 grains of corn. And Remember whom you serve, and who it is who holds you in existance...and Praise Him.


Thanksgiving, 2009

My friends, Give thanks to God for what you have received. Remember the humble roots from which you spring. Remember the sacrifices of the pilgrims, the origin of our nation, the importance of our Catholic faith, so ignored and even vilified with regard to the founding of this country. Take pride in who you are as Americans and remember that many martyrs made this country great. Remember the heroism of the Native Peoples who taught our beloved ancestors to survive, recognizing that were it not for them, we would not be who we are.

God bless you all, have a blessed Thanksgiving, and let the five kernels of corn forever remind you of the humility of your roots and the hand of God in your very being in ever single moment.

Give thanks to God...His mercy endures forever!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pondering the Wound of Charity

For a couple weeks now I've been thinking about love, and by that term, I mean Charity. This comes partially from my Moral Theology class regarding the Theological Virtue of Charity, and partially from my own musings over time on the Passion of Our Lord.

It should go without saying that when I look upon the Crucifix, I see love in its most pure form. There, in that moment, is contained....EVERYTHING. Even I, in my utter insignificance and desolation am caught up and drawn in to those Holy Wounds, becoming even less so that He can be revealed as more.

While attending a talk, some of the words of the priest who was speaking struck me and caused my "contemplative" side to make a connection. Nothing new or interesting, but only one of those little arrows from God that we all experience from time to time, when a teaching is suddenly internalized.

REAL Charity Wounds

I considered how real Charity creates a wound, a blessed wound that continually bleeds in such a way that it can't be staunched. This is not a "mushy" love, but rather, a type of pain not held inward, but expressed outwardly, like the very gush of arterial blood. It can't be contained. Yet the more it gushes, instead of causing mortal death, it rather is the very expression of the font of life.

Every so often I feel that blessed wound, and know that it has changed me. At times the bleeding is only a trickle. At times I staunch the wound myself with my sin, cutting myself off, refusing to serve the Lord. I let the blood flow clot, I wrap it up and I turn away.

It is only through the Sacrament of Confession that I bring that bandage in to be removed, for through God's grace, He reminds me of His own deep love for me, prompting me to realize that I cannot stop this flow and SHOULD not, for by bleeding, my own blood is united with that of Jesus.

I go to Confession and reveal this encrusted, infected bandage, this terrible blockage, this monstrous clot to the priest, who removes it gently and tells me how to let this blood of Charity flow more perfectly, how to, through this wonderful wound, unite myself to the eternal Word who waits only for me to stop placing obstacles in His way.

For when my blood, in this sense, flows, it is truly His, not mine. This wound that in life would be mortal death, in the Spirit, belongs to the mystical nature of our supernatural relationship with our Beloved Savior.

As He suffered and died, so are we all called to do, according to His Most Holy and Divine Will. Not on the natural plane, but the supernatural.

Purity of Love

I have been pondering my own dedication to Jesus, the purity of my love for Him. I have such a devotion to His Passion, and prefer to look upon the bloodiest of crucifixes to remind myself of the blood He shed...for me. I have a hard time accepting that very personal sacrifice, that it was done for ME.

In all honesty, I have a hard time considering that ANYONE would die for me, for I don't think I am worth such a sacrifice. I get caught up in looking at my nothingness, my sins of omission, my lack of importance in the world. Why would ANYONE think my life would be worth THAT sacrifice??? What a waste!

I find it hard to believe anyone would find ME worth dying for. If they were pondering it, I'd stop them and put my own head into the noose, or point the deadly scimitar to my own heart.

In my Pride, I wouldn't let anyone die for me so personally, for if I ever met someone so magnanimous, I would want them to live for they could contribute so much more to the world than me. Someone so brave is worth far more than me. It is I who should go...not them. In fact, I've experienced this, in part...a story for another post.

In any case, I didn't have a choice in the Sacrifice of Christ, did I? So I realize in that thought process that I think as Man thinks, not as God thinks. The God who called me out of eternity, through love and into being, continues to hold me in existence, and in fact, DIED for me on the Cross! In spite of who I am and who I am not.

The more I ponder the Cross, the more I love God, the more I understand the necessity of sacrifice, the more I expect the "curse" of suffering. For in order to be conformed to Christ, we have to suffer and become the Accursed ourselves.

Why Do I Love?

My own Love, my own Charity is imperfect.

The other night, while praying Compline before bed, I gazed upon the Crucifix and upon my picture of Jesus in His Agony. His love for US isn't in question. His very personal love for ME isn't put to the test; it has been clearly defined.

Rather, I considered the hierarchical nature of creation, of the Church, of love itself, and how God's own love begets love. We return to Him what He gives us, and the more we return, the more we grow. The more we allow to flow through us, the more we are given. The font of charity never decreases, but only becomes greater, even if it were to flood the world, it would not be enough.

I looked upon Our Lord and wondered: Do I love Him ONLY because of what He did for me? Is my love for Jesus dependent upon His Sacrifice on my behalf? If so, then it means I only love Him for what He has done for me. It means that my litmus test for God is, "What have you done for me lately"?

Do I love Jesus ONLY for what He did for my Benefit?

Can that be accurate? If SELFISH!

I had to seriously consider that. Am I in love with Jesus just because He is the ONLY one who would ever die for me?

If love is conditional. My love is based ONLY upon something that He DID...not who He IS.

That ISN'T love. Love isn't selfish.

I had to ask myself: if Jesus had NOT died upon the Cross for me, would I still love God? Or would I be selfishly looking for benefits of knowing Him?

Where is my focus? Am I just "receiving" or am I willing to GIVE?

Am I bleeding freely in union with Christ...or am I placing a barrier between my own personal sacrifice and anyone who might benefit from my immolation?

When I look back at the Prophets, at the great Women of Israel; they operated on Faith. They loved God not for what He DID for them, but for Who He IS. Even the Prophets, BEFORE they knew God, loved Him. Before they were privy to the Divine Processions...loved God in a particular purity of heart and intention. They knew the Mystery and loved because they recognized God was worthy of their Love...even before the Sacrifice.

The recognized God, they loved Him, and they poured their ENTIRE BEING out for Him on behalf of their people. It was THEIR sacrifice that preceeded HIS. It was THEIR Sacrifice that was proleptic of HIS and in fact, it was HIS Sacrifice that made theirs both meaningful and possible.

It was their FAITH expressed through WORKS that called down God's Justice. They raised their souls to Him and let their blood flow in a fountain we recognize even today. They sacrificed themselves in divine Charity, Hoping in what they could not see, having Faith in what they did not experience.

That wound of charity, that wound that comes only through the love of Christ Himself, binds mystically as it flows.

It is no wonder this doesn't make sense to the natural world, for it seems oppositional. Yet it is, as we read in the Gospels, that we lose what we try to gain and gain what we are willing to lose.

I realize that I do not love Jesus as I ought. I recognize that my love for Him is conditional, for my blood does not flow freely. I keep bandages on hand so I can stop the arterial rush when it becomes too much for me. I reserve that flow for my own desires, rather than trusting in God. In my imperfection, as that blood overflows, I don't recognize it as grace, but as my life leaving my control and so I grasp even at impure wrappings to slow it all down.

I do not love God as I ought. I have been deeply wounded by the Charity of Our Lord, but instead of letting the blood flow from me as it did from His wounds and His side, I bind it up in fear and trepidation.

Oh, that Jesus would rip those bandages away and force me to hold my hands outward so that His love could overflow!
Why, oh WHY can I not TRUST in His Divine Salvation?

Why, oh Why do I try to staunch the wound given to me through His Love?

Why, oh Why, can I not love as I ought, and why do I attach conditions upon what I am willing to give in spite of what has been so freely given?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Guppies

When I was a child, we had a fish bowl without fish. We had everything needed for them: little blue and grey stones covering the bottom, a little castle tower and some plastic "weeds". I constantly begged Mom to let us get a goldfish for the little bowl.

In school, we learned about guppies, and studied them in a fun class. Our classroom even had guppies and we got to name them, and the teacher told us where we could get them for ourselves if Mom and Dad said we could! They didn't seem too expensive, so I asked Mom if we could get a couple guppies. I promised I'd take care of them!

Mom replied that I didn't do my part to feed the dog each night, or check on her water, so how did she know I'd be faithful to the fish? I PROMISED I would be faithful and give them their food and water, and pleaded that it would be "a GREAT learning experience!" Finally she relented, we went to the pet store, and upon seeing the small cost of the little fish, she let me pick out two to take home.

I still remember carefully carrying them home in their little plastic bag. I didn't understand how they could just swim in there and not die. After all, WE couldn't breathe in plastic, and if we caught bugs, we were supposed to poke holes in it for air! Mom had to stop me from opening the top to "let more air into the water."

Swish and Stripe

The fish bowl was waiting for our new pets when we arrived home, and so I carefully poured my new little friends into their new home. They swam around, inspecting their bowl, so I went about my day, satisfied, but often returning to visit them.

I decided to name them "Swish" and "Stripe", for I loved their features and thought the best names were truthful ones that said something about them.

True to my promise to Mom, I was Johnny On The Spot with the food for the little fishies. I realized that they must be hungry after their long journey to our home, and so I made sure to feed them in the proper quantity: about the amount I would give the dog. The little flakes of what I imagined must be "manna" floated on the surface, and I was gratified to see that Swish and Stripe darted for it, biting off little chunks.

But they left most of their dinner uneaten. I thought that maybe they weren't so hungry because, well, maybe they were scared. So I stayed and talked to them and pushed the food towards them. They seems uninterested. Well, I didn't like it when Mom made me eat, either, so I left them alone. It was there if they wanted it.

Over the next few days I was quite careful to make sure they had the proper food at the proper time. And of course, since they never finished a meal, I figured that perhaps I was insulting them by not feeding them ENOUGH so I went back and gave them seconds. I didn't like soggy bread, either. The fresh stuff was the best.

But still, they didn't eat their dinner. I was getting very very worried. I must not be a good Mom.

Then one day I saw that they weren't moving so freely, didn't seem so interested in anything. Swish was starting to float a little. I poked him and he wagged his fins and swam away. I thought maybe they needed more food to keep up their energy, so I gave them some more.

All day long, their condition was of concern to me. Both were listless, partially floating, partially swimming. Their water was cloudy, and so I thought maybe if I cleaned the bowl, they'd feel better. It would be like getting fresh air.

Cleaning the Bowl

So very very carefully I picked up the bowl and took it into the kitchen. I ran the water, testing it to be sure it was cold (because it was always COLD water that revived people, it was logical to think it was the same for fish!).

I put the plug in the drain and slowly poured the water into it. The fish were caught against the trap as the rest of the bowl water poured over them, even as the cold, rushing water from the faucet infused it. The fish both wagged their fins, so I thought they were enjoying their bath. I made sure they were nice and clean before I took the water away in order to refill the bowl.

While it filled, I apologized to Swish and Stripe, and explained that they'd be back in their clean house in a minute, and I knew they needed water and felt bad about taking it away for a second.

As soon as there was enough in the bowl I put the fish in by dumping the trap into it, and then I ran the water into the bowl some more.

But Swish and Stripe didn't seem interested in swimming and exploring. I thought they were bored, so I set the castle up again, and the little seaweed. But still...nothing. One floated. The other, barely wagged his fin.

So I decided they must be hungry and gave them their dinner early. Then I left them alone; maybe they were just napping.

Later that day, I discovered both floating, and neither moved when I tried to encourage them to swim. I went and got Mom, saying the fish were sick. She told me she was sorry, but they died.

Sadly, I told her that I would bury them. They were mine, and I should take care of them, even that hard part.

So I found a napkin and laid it next to the bowl. With my own hand, I lifted them out, each in turn, said I was sorry but I would send them home to God, then placed them on the napkin. Together. I folded the top of the napkin over them, and then folded it again to make their shroud.

I went to my room to get my little shovel and my prized purple plastic flower. It was one of my favorite possessions and my little friends deserved to have it at their grave. I made a little cardboard "headstone" reading "RIP Swish and Stripe".

Before we went out, I remembered that when people die, there are prayers said, so I took a book from the shelf so that I could find a passage which I was hoping God would help me to miraculously read. (I couldn't read yet, but I knew my alphabet!)

The Funeral

Slowly, tenderly holding Swish and Stripe and all the implements of burial, I processed all alone out to the Maple Tree in the front favorite place. At just the right spot, where I knew I could look out and see and remember them, I began to dig.

When I thought the grave was deep enough, I carefully placed the little shroud containing Swish and Stripe into it and picked up the book. Turning to a page somewhere in the middle, I looked, hoping at some point the letters would make sense. I saw the word "The". So I began to "read" about how Swish and Stripe were good fish and that God must love them, too, but maybe more than I did. And so because God loved them, He wanted them to be with Him in Heaven but first we had to put them in the earth. I told God I was sorry I didn't feed them enough and that I hadn't done the right things to keep them alive and hoped that He could do a better job with them. And then when I couldn't think of any more, I closed the book and tossed it solemnly aside.

Slowly I shoveled the dirt over the napkin and packed it on top, then set the headstone and put the flowers on it. I said goodbye to Swish and Stripe, picked up the shovel and the book, and went inside.

I was very very sad. My friends had died, and I had a sneaking suspicion it was my fault, but I didn't know what I'd done wrong.

Sneaking Suspicion...

For a couple weeks, I went out to visit the grave and make sure the flowers were still there, and the headstone. The headstone was gone, maybe blown away, and the flowers moved, but I planted them deeply in the dirt to make sure they would stay. I knew the cardboard would be in terrible condition anyway so let it go. I knew where my fish were.

But as I dug the flowers into the grave, day after day, making sure they weren't lost, I began to wonder about the fish.

What happened to them after they died? Where did they go? Were their bodies still intact? What did they look like?

I tried not to think of these things. I knew it was "sacrilegious" to dig people up...did that apply to fish, too? Once in the ground, weren't they supposed to STAY there? But how could they be BOTH in the ground AND with God at the same time?

So finally, overcome by curiosity, I decided to check on them.

One afternoon I got my shovel and carefully removed the dirt. It was easy to pull the dirty napkin out of the grave, and as I did not intend offense, I "prayed" with my book before I dug them up.

When I lifted it, at first it seemed there was nothing there. Were they like JESUS??!!

Slowly I opened the top of the napkin. And stared. Fascinated.

All I saw was an outline of each fish, what remained of their scales. An outline on the bottom, a little on the "top". Swish and Stripe were GONE. I couldn't even see their tiny bones!.

Slowly I covered them up again and put them back into their grave. I paused as I re-buried them.

Looking up towards the sky I said, "Dear God, I hope YOU took Swish and Stripe, because if you didn't, that means the cat ate them!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Sacred Seal of Confession

Fr. Z. has a post and commentary on a Zenit article about the Seal of the Confession on trial. What's so chilling about this is that one of the things we hold most sacred really IS being attacked, more and more, in our society.

In summary, the case in question is especially appalling, because it surrounds the violation of the Seal of Confession: The State recorded an inmate penitent's Sacramental Confession heard by Fr. Mockaitis. I remember reading about this some time ago, and recall that as soon as he learned of this, documents were filed to suppress the tape, and I believe suit was quickly filed to protect the Seal, demanding the destruction of that tape.

Ultimately the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that recording a Sacramental Confession WAS a violation of the First and Fourth Amendment, thus the recorded Sacramental Confession was illegal, and the tape was ordered to be destroyed. Now, ten years after the fact, the tape STILL exists.

Yeah. That's a problem. Are you angry yet? You SHOULD be, whether you are Catholic or not.

Many people don't understand the Sacrament of Confession and why we must go, the spiritual benefits, the graces, or the absolute necessity of it. They DO understand, however, the confidentiality of the practice, although maybe they don't realize that the Seal of Confession doesn't just extend to the Priest, but even further. ANYONE who overhears a confession must keep their trap shut..for life. The Seal applies to even the non-ordained. For example, if I was in line outside of the Confessional and a person with a little too much confidence in the sound-deadening properties of "the box" spoke so loudly that her confession could be clearly heard, well, anyone standing there is bound to the same Seal.

By the way, the example I true to life. Thankfully I didn't hear what the person said, but I'm quite certain everyone in the chapel thought I must really have a huge bullfrog in my throat giving the amount of time I spent clearing it and coughing a little just to ensure I COULDN'T hear what was being said, hopefully making sure no one else did, either. But if I HAD...let's just say if someone had asked me to repeat what I'd heard or die, well...I'd better be choosing death in that case.

The movie, "I Confess" by Alfred Hitchcock reveals very truthfully the importance of the Seal of Confession. In the movie, a murderer confesses his crime, and when the Priest himself is accused and goes on trial, he utters not a peep either to the man who was walking around free and often in his presence, and gives no indication to the authorities that he knows anything at all. He can't.

Throughout history, Priests have gone to their deaths rather than ever reveal what a penitent said to them in Confession.

Several years ago, when I was finding my way back into the Church, my biggest struggle being the Sacrament of Confession, this very topic happened to come up. My boyfriend at the time, a non-Catholic, non-religious person, said something to me about the government probably putting recording devices in Catholic Churches. He wasn't condoning the practice; in fact, he was only advancing a conspiracy theory that would not surprise him given how we were all watching our freedoms eroding away. I actually demanded that he shut up, in no uncertain terms. I didn't want to hear him even talk about it. I asked him if he realized how SACRED was the Confessional, how ABHORRENT it was to even THINK that this could be happening! I didn't know of Fr. Mockaitis's case.

As it was, at my boyfriend's very suggestion at this violation, I was so deeply offended, and even wounded, that, even to my surprise, I burst into tears. I had never before that point realized how FIRMLY I believed in the Seal, even as I questioned the Sacrament itself. I knew, without a doubt, that ANYTHING I told a Priest in Confession would go with him to the grave. Thus the very violation of that moment was, akin to me, Spiritual Rape.

This life or death bond of confidentiality transcends any mere law of man; it is the law of God, and it's one that is written upon our hearts, whether we are Catholic or not. Even non-Catholics understand very clearly the importance of the Seal, and what it means for ALL Faithful of any religion should the State interfere in this religious practice.

I shudder to think what would happen if the State had ruled other than it had. I shudder to think of how many people would refuse to go to Confession, to bring their sins to God and receive absolution...for fear of someone overhearing, intentionally, and using their most vulnerable moment against them.

For now, the Sacrament is safe, and we DO need to fight for our very lives here. Our lives, and more importantly....our souls.

You can read the article either at Fr. Z's blog (linked at the top of the post) or go straight to Zenit to read it without his commentary.

In any case, I encourage you to fully read the article, which is an interview with the priest in question, and he answers many common questions about the Seal, the court case, and why this is so important for us ALL.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dangerous Cult Mentality

I know a few people who have been involved in cults, usually religious ones, and they talk about how quickly one can get sucked into it.

Until the past few days, though, I really hadn't personally witnessed or experienced cult manipulation or recruitment techniques. Yet now that I have, I find that in good conscience, I must ask all my readers of good will and who aspire to holiness to heed the warning of Bishop Lennon who issued the Decree advising of the non-supernatural status of "Holy Love Ministries." Not just because the Bishop said so, but because I see very strong evidence that HLM, if it can't be considered to be a cult yet, is quickly headed in that direction. The warning signs are DEFINITELY present.

Based on information I obtained (and quoted in bold in several places below) from, there are several warning signs that something might be a dangerous cult, a major one of which is the use of Mind Control, which may take several forms. I've chosen a couple that seem to apply to "Holy Love"

1. A normal religious organization would not have any trouble with you moving to another similar organization as long as you stayed in that same religion. Because it is the belief system that matters, not membership in an organization. For example if you were a Christian then you could move from one church to another and still be a Christian.

However cult leaders will tell you can only be "saved" (or can only be successful) in their organization alone. No other organization has the truth, all others miss the mark. So it is not the belief system that decides your future, but it the belief system AND your membership with that particular group.

I highlight this particular section because of the alleged "messages" saying that people MUST believe in the messages or they risk not being saved. Here is one example, among many:

November 10, 2009:
"While the flower of this Mission continues to open and to bloom, drawing thousands to its presence with the fragrance of its grace, there are still and always will be the detractors - the ones who deny the legitimacy of Heaven's Mission here. These are the ones who do not search out the truth but look for any reason to deny the truth itself."

"Heaven does not intercede here to compete with any existing authority, but to save souls - a goal which should be shared with one and all. Those who do not understand this must also not understand that in Heaven there are no labels as to beliefs or opinions. All of that is left behind. The only vestment that follows the soul into Heaven is the Holy Love he holds in his heart. It is man that opposes Holy Love out of error. It is God who calls you to peace through Holy Love."

There are some HUGE problems with this message. First the messenger clearly is using this to undermine legitimate criticism of the claims being made. It also undermines objective Truth, in the second paragraph, opening wide the gates to a warm and fuzzy relativism "believe what you want" as long as what people believe is the "Messages". They also clearly aren't speaking of the virtue of Charity, but of the MISSION of "Holy Love" the fraudulent institution. This theme is found THROUGHOUT these messages and it becomes more and more clear to anyone grounded in actual Truth.

So we see, there is ONE of the warning signs of mind control.

Another example of Mind Control is the use of Character Assasination, which can have different degrees:

2. Character Assassination is used to help create the guilt in you. Character Assassination is a type of false reasoning used by people and groups who have no real arguments. The technical name for Character Assassination is "The Ad hominem Fallacy".

This is what I experienced through some of the followers of the "Holy Love" Cult in Ohio, and the reason I had to go to comment moderation. The commenter commented several times, and along with other commenters from that place, kept telling me "Do not be afraid." They also suggested that I don't know my Faith, because if I did, therefore I must see that there is NOTHING wrong with the Messages at Holy Love. Ignoring, of course, the fact that I cited specific messages and pointed out the Doctrinal errors. He went on to berate me for refusing to publish one of his comments that included a link to a dissident site we both denounce. Because I didn't publish it, he insinuated, then I MUST be giving tacit approval for such a group. Bullying at its best.

Now, to be fair, this was very mild "Character Assasination" but it falls under that heading because they were clearly trying to INSPIRE fear in me that I was doing the wrong thing, they were trying to tempt me into DOUBT that the Bishop might be wrong, and therefore, in their lack of logic, if the Bishop is wrong then I am offending God.

In fact, one commenter stated very clearly that I had deleted Our Lady's words and that I will answer for that at my Judgment.

All I can say is: I certainly hope so! For all the times I have sinned, I will be glad to realize that for once, I actually did something RIGHT!

The basic premise of "Character Assasination" or maybe "Intellect Assasination" is to exert mind control over you, to make you doubt your own intellect, and through their circular logic, or if they resort to it, outright bullying (i.e. you're going to Hell because you deleted Our Lady's words), will, in a person of weak will cause them to give in. In someone with a stronger will but who must ford such tactics constantly, they may finally one day just say, "Oh, fine, if it'll shut you up, I'll go with you!"

Maybe some of you who know people involved with "Holy Love Ministries." Was THAT how they got involved? Did they have reservations but with people spouting propaganda, attacking their legitimate use of logic, attacking their character finally give in just to "shut them up" only to be taken in when surrounded by the crowd hysteria?


Intense Unrelenting Pressure
They call repeatedly. Meet you on campus or outside your work. Trick you into coming for only an hour and then lead you into a long study, meeting or talk. They have to keep the pressure on, otherwise you might snap out of the mind control environment they are trying to immerse you in
While as a blogger I'm a bit immune to such a technique with regard to the HLM fiasco, my guess is that those techniques are going on all over the place in the Cleveland Ohio area, or any area where the "Messenger" goes to speak and see her alleged visions. I will say though that these commenters who bombarded me repeatedly said that I should go there, wanted to press points, continued to quote messages at me, etc. VERY cultish behavior. It's why I refused to post the comments. Seriously, I took a nap today, came back to check email and had SEVERAL messages from the same person!

It's a big red flag that someone associated with that place would care so much that I don't believe in it and think it's bunk. So much so that he was sent to recruit me and turn me to their side. If they weren't a Cult, then they really wouldn't care. After all, if I sat here and wrote up a treatise of why I think the theology of the Baptist church down the road has faulty theology, I can guarantee you no one would care. They're probably just say, "Oh, well, she's Catholic, we don't expect her to agree."

But Holy Love Ministries clearly will tolerate NO DISSENT against their beliefs or messages or messenger. DANGER!

Now, here's a REALLY fun one, and I will end this treatise with a PERFECT example from "Holy Love" herself:


This is a preemptive strike against the warnings from friends and family members which they know will come. In fact some cults go as far to tell you that Satan will try and dissuade you by sending family members and friends to tell you it is a cult. When this tactic is used then often a warped form of logic occurs in the recruits' mind, the "agents of Satan" do come and tell them that it is a cult. So since the group predicted that would happen, the group therefore must true! Basically if any group tells you that they are not a cult, or that some people call them a cult, then for goodness sake find out why!

Let me show you a PERFECT example of this from the messages at "Holy Love":

November 18, 2009:

"Please realize that Satan is actively opposing this Ministry. He is trying to transform belief in the truth of these Messages into a forbidden act of disobedience. Do not be tricked, but realize that Heaven is offering abundant graces and fruits here to those who will open their hearts."

"Here at this site Heaven is trying to win the war against evil in hearts. Such an effort should be encouraged by one and all. Instead, it is presented as something to avoid. It is mankind who seeks to destroy. Heaven will not be conquered by Satan's lies. Truth will reign victorious. No one can rule against Heaven's grace."

Although this was written AFTER the Bishop's Decree regarding the unsoundness of the place, it is clearly exhibiting the very form of mind control detailed above. They are inspiring people to DOUBT and DISOBEY the Bishops, but by no means should they disobey the messages of "Holy Love." I actually saw many messages, going back even beyond 1996, that continued to say that Satan would oppose their "ministry" and they shouldn't worry about that. THAT FAR BACK.

It is my opinion, based on this, and more, that Holy Love Ministries is probably a Cult, and it's getting more and more dangerous to souls by the day. It has been working long to exercise mind control over people, and now that there has been a Condemnation from the Diocese of Cleveland on behalf of the Faithful Catholics there, "Holy Love" has cranked up the message-generating machine in order to try to do "damage control."

Use extreme caution, and if you have loved ones involved with that place, realize now why you can't reason with them: they've given over their ability to reason to a Cult.

I'm actually sending this post and my findings to a few Cult Watch groups so they can apply their own expertise and warnings. I may also turn over to them the comments received by the Cult members, which I did not publish, but hold as evidence. What I found to be particularly damning to "Holy Love" was the way these Stepford Wives parroted the messages and slogans of the place. It made my skin crawl.

It occurred to me at Mass tonight how easy it is for any of us to lose our way. But when a place that predatory that disguises itself as an angel of light and pretends to be doing great things, but with a clear diabolical agenda...well...that's just plain scary.

Catholics, you don't need private revelations in order to be Saved. If you stay close to the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, spend time in prayer each day, read Sacred Scripture, practice virtue, and live your life as a Catholic seeking holiness, you'll be fine. That's what you need. Stay close to Christ.

If ANYONE tells you that you HAVE to believe in this or that private revelation or alleged apparition or risk going to away as fast as you can. They do NOT speak with the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Note: The usage of the word "cult" here doesn't refer to its original general context of "worship" but rather, of dangerous mind-controlling groups that prey on innocent people who are probably truly seeking a deeper relationship with God. Dangerous cults take small things, warp them, and exploit the faith of believers, which ultimately ends up pulling them AWAY from God. Or, in the present case of "Holy Love Ministries", it pretends to be Catholic while claiming to be Ecumenical, is heavily controlled by the "visionary" and points to the messages as the idol worthy of belief. It has separated sheep from their true shepherd by, like a mockingbird, imitating His voice through the mouth of a woman who is clearly making stuff up.

"HLM" is either Catholic or is not. If they are Catholic, they are disobedient. If they are not Catholic, they are dangerous to the Faithful who ARE under the loving authority of the Bishop who was ordained and given the authority to speak for Christ. "Holy Love Ministries" can't claim both, and in any case, the Catholics affected are bound by the Sacraments of Oil and Water and the very Body and Blood of Christ...NONE of which can be found through "Holy Love Ministries", a concept conceived in Hell and carried out through the Epic Pride of Maureen Sweeny-Kyle who has declared to her own Bishop, "NON SERVIAM! I WILL NOT SERVE!"

Last words of the Fallen Angels. The beginning of Hell.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Authority and Private Revelation

Satan HATES to be mocked...and so do his followers.

In watching the seizure, meltdown, and explosion at "Holy Love" which involves anything BUT authentic holiness or charity, but I have to say it's all very dramatic, in acquiescence to our modern age.

I see all of Satan's (and certainly Maureen Sweeny-Kyle's) juvenile idea of drama in "Holy Love", especially since the Bishop issued his lawful Decree on November 11. If it doesn't matter to them, why are they so up at arms? If they are merely "Ecumenical" why all the head-spinning? Why all the vomitous pea soup in the form of "charts" from alleged "Saints" (as you can see to your right)?

Maureen Sweeny-Kyle, Satan's minion against the Catholic Church and her Faithful is incorporating all the Shakespearean melodrama with the idea of cinematic effects of what modern cinematography could do with the melting witch of the Wizard of Oz. The effect is STUNNING!

I'd applaud except that I don't want to give adulation to a drama contrived in Hell and lived out in the real lives of real people who are truly seeking God but finding only a talking Barbie Doll, hiding behind a screen and selling, to great personal profit, a rosary containing images of dead babies, all the while telling people through a microphone or podcast that they must disobey the Bishop of Cleveland in order to find Salvation. They must believe HER and ONLY HER messages in opposition to the Bishop. And so the blind sheep-becoming-goats follow this 60-year-old woman who REFUSES to be held up to scrutiny, because she and her "husband" both know they can't be held up to scrutiny without being revealed as frauds.

Honesty and Understanding Towards My Atheistic Readership

Gosh, no wonder so many people think Catholics are totally nuts! I don't blame the atheists at all for being atheistic if THIS is their only perception of people of Faith. I just hope that they realize that we legitimate Catholics condemn such idiocy and blind devotion as witnessed at "Holy Love" as they do! I hate to say it, but really...the propensity to hysteria of private revelation devotees is as huge a cause of atheism as is nominal Christianity. No wonder you don't believe. And really, that kind of hysteria is EXACTLY what once drove me away, too.

Just know, my friends, that it isn't authentic belief, and isn't condoned by the Church, or by any person who incorporates both reason and faith.

Not that my observation in this matter is new, however. In fact, it's been around for a very long time, such that it was cited in Vatican II:

Undeniably, those who willfully shut out God from their hearts and try to dodge religious questions are not following the dictates of their consciences, and hence are not free of blame; yet believers themselves frequently bear some responsibility for this situation. For, taken as a whole, atheism is not a spontaneous development but stems from a variety of causes, including a critical reaction against religious beliefs, and in some places against the Christian religion in particular. Hence believers can have more than a little to do with the birth of atheism. To the extent that they neglect their own training in the faith, or teach erroneous doctrine, or are deficient in their religious, moral or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than reveal the authentic face of God and religion.

It is no surprise to me, therefore, when I look at fiascoes such as "Holy Love" that atheists and even others of Christian faith think that we're a bunch of nut jobs with no intelligence. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to evaluate such a site to realize there is NOTHING supernatural about it, and that it is nothing but a really embarrassing fraud. The fact that so many flock there and continue to support such an obvious offense against Truth, Faith, and God Himself actually makes me realize that intellect and will play a HUGE part in protecting us from giving into such an obsequious display of fawning, drooling, and mindless devotion to "divine messages" whose only real support is "Maureen's Voices said so."

**** The Message from today, November 19, 2009 takes the cake in idiocy, though, and so I post it here:

The alleged message, November 19, 2009, reads, in part:

"St. Thomas Aquinas says: "Praise be to Jesus."

In the Church itself, the Pope is infallible, but no one else. This is where human error comes into play. People often do not realize that they have a choice. They do not realize that not everything is infallible. They do not realize the graces they are missing for themselves and the world through 'blind' obedience."

"I have come today so that the world might see again the joys of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and open their hearts to the Truth of Holy Love."

Take another look at the bold text. "In the Church itself, the Pope is infallible, but no one else."

This is an outright example of the common-sense kind in which Maureen Sweeny-Kyle reveals has NO IDEA what she is talking about, and if she claims this to be from God, well....since when is God Mr. Magoo? Is He a bumbling idiot who has forgotten His own doctrines?


I direct you to this text from the Vatican II Document, Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church:

18.... This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father; and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion. And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful. Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God.

Wow, that seems to me to be a Dogmatic declaration, doesn't it? It makes it look like the Pope isn't the ONLY authority in the Church, is he? Could it be that infallible authority of the Holy Spirit extends BEYOND the Pope?

Let's continue:

19. The Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, calling to Himself those whom He desired, appointed twelve to be with Him, and whom He would send to preach the Kingdom of God; and these apostles He formed after the manner of a college or a stable group, over which He placed Peter chosen from among them. He sent them first to the children of Israel and then to all nations, so that as sharers in His power they might make all peoples His disciples, and sanctify and govern them, and thus spread His Church, and by ministering to it under the guidance of the Lord, direct it all days even to the consummation of the world.

I don't see anything in here indicating that Jesus would send His Faithful to some person claiming to speak for Him in Ohio in the late 20th/ early 21st Century. But let's read on with regard to the Infallibility of the Bishops under the Pope. This is getting GOOD!

20. That divine mission, entrusted by Christ to the apostles, will last until the end of the world since the Gospel they are to teach is for all time the source of all life for the Church. And for this reason the apostles, appointed as rulers in this society, took care to appoint successors.

Thus, as St. Irenaeus testifies, through those who were appointed bishops by the apostles, and through their successors [through] our own time, the apostolic tradition is manifested and preserved

Bishops, therefore, with their helpers, the priests and deacons, have taken up the service of the community, presiding in place of God over the flock, whose shepherds they are, as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing.

Don't tell Pope Maureen Sweeny-Kyle that! She'll be PISSED! Who KNOWS what her messages will look like if she actually realizes that she is WRONG!

*dramatic, shocked silence, waiting for the apocalypse*



The actual teachings of the Catholic Church are COMPLETELY detrimental to her plans! And if her followers find out....WATCH OUT! They will SPAM you with anonymous comments for which they can't be held accountable!

But WAIT...there's MORE!

Lumen Gentium, 2o: Therefore, the Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.

That's pretty damned condemning to "Holy Love" by Maureen Sweeny-Kyle's personal doctrine, isn't it? So much for "Only the Pope is infallible". Guess she forgot to read up on actual Catholic teaching. So much for "You don't need to listen to the Bishop". Guess actual authority outside of herself is too much for her.

(Hint!: if you're going to claim private revelation, make sure you know what magisterial documents actually say!)

Let's throw some more dirt onto Sweeny-Kyle's "Holy Love" coffin, just to be safe:

Lumen Gentium (LG, 22)

The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church, and made him shepherd of the whole flock; it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter, was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head.

It's important to add:

24. Bishops, as successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord, to whom was given all power in heaven and on earth, the mission to teach all nations and to preach the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain to salvation by faith, baptism and the fulfilment of the commandments. To fulfill this mission, Christ the Lord promised the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and on Pentecost day sent the Spirit from heaven, by whose power they would be witnesses to Him before the nations and peoples and kings even to the ends of the earth.

It seems, in God's plan and under the infallible authority of the Pope..that the BISHOPS are actually SIGNIFICANT to the Church and the authority of the Holy Spirit HIMSELF speaks through them! Wow! Let's read on!

25. ...Bishops are authentic teachers, endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent.

It seems that the Church has proleptically sealed the coffin of Maureen Sweeny-Kyle's claims that the local Ordinary (Bishop) has no authority over the souls, especially Catholics, in his diocese or elsewhere. But let's just shovel another load of Ohio Clay onto this dead horse, shall we?

...Individual bishops proclaim Christ's doctrinal infallibly whenever maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.

I encourage you to read ALL of Lumen Gentium, and with your eyes wide open. Especially if you think you can still hold to "Holy Love" and other private revelations (and here I include those others like Medugorjie or "Mediocrity" or however that place is spelled.)

In all of this, though, can someone please explain to me why I don't see mention in here of the necessity of the messages of "Holy Love" for our Salvation, and please educate me as to why the Bishops should be ignored/opposed in light of Maureen's alleged almighty infallible testimony? I have read of the infallibility of the Pope and the Bishops, but NOWHERE, but in Maureen's own personal, desperate, dramatic "LOOK AT ME OR I'LL TANTRUM!" plea for attention do I see any authentic requirement to look to her and her Voices for my eternal salvation. Or yours.

I'm sorry, but in light of all Jesus Christ has done for His Church as His Bride, and for me personally as my Lord, Savior, and Bridegroom, I guess I can't cast my salvation in with a woman whose sole authority is:
"My Voices Said So!"