Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I’m so Catholic I’m Goth

I first posted this in November of 2007. I edited it and reposted it on September 8, 2009. Originally posted to MySpace, I just thought I'd move it. Since it makes me laugh and I don't use MySpace any longer. It’s meant to be funny. Don’t read it if you’re squeamish.


I was having a good laugh the other day, reading Lotus Rose's "I'm so Goth" page. One of the statements was "I'm so Goth I'm Catholic." Which of course, got me thinking.

I love to think.

Catholics are the original Goth Subculture. The original "left of center" underground society. Most people, even most Catholics, have forgotten that. Some are completely unaware. Like we popped, fully formed, right out of a box marked ‘Holy See.’

For over 300 years we hid in the darkness. Persecuted (and executed) by anyone who recognized us for what we were. Our celebrations - hidden among the festivities of others. Wearing dark clothes. Black and grey robes, the original garb of the penitent.

Our Savior? A convicted criminal sentenced to death and tortured. Many followed him willingly, having spend long hours contemplating death and longing for the crown of martyrdom. Torn apart by lions. Roasted on grills. Beheaded. Stoned to death. Riddled with arrows like a pin cushion. Hung, drawn, quartered and boiled alive.

While singing His praises!
Blessed be God
Blessed be His holy name
Blessed be His angels and saints
You guessed it, the Wiccans "borrowed" Blessed Be from us. It's a very old Catholic prayer called Divine Praises. You won't find it attributed to anything witchy prior to the 60's. But for us it is 6 or 7 hundred years old.

Sanctuary candles. Incense. Gold cups. Robes in purple, black and rose. Feast Days. Things seen as decadent by the Puritans.

The original men in black! The Benedictines. St. Benedict wrote the original rule for monks in which he states one must contemplate death daily. The original women in black. Remember Nana in her Widow's Weeds?

Requiem Mass. Especially if you're a Spaniard like me. We're neck and neck with the Irish there. Visiting cemeteries, ah Joy!
Skulls and dark creatures figure prominently in Catholic art.

The Rosary. A string of prayer beads that end with an effigy of our murdered Savior. Constantly in hand. Need I even say it? The Sorrowful Mysteries.

We were the first to use Sorrow as a name. Dolores. And pray for the intercession of Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows.) Not to mention the multitude of Catholic children named after people who'd been brutally killed.

We value, and love to ponder, suffering. Books and websites devoted to suffering and its necessity in our lives. Some of our best work has been done when we're suffering. Ever read the section on prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? It's a thing of poetry and beauty written by a Byzantine Catholic while in prison for his faith.

Stations of the Cross. The Sacred Heart. The Immaculate Heart.

We are the people of the Stigmata. Over 300 scientifically verified (an unexplainable) cases of open bleeding wounds. Padre Pio, one of the coolest stigmatists ever!
Who else could look at a death shroud as a thing of beauty? Or a crucified man as a Glory personified?

We invented the Memento Mori (remember death).

We are constantly surrounded by the dead. Prayers for Holy Souls as we contemplate those in Purgatory. The Communion of Saints.

Relics! Who else do you know happily carries around body parts (a first class relic)? During the many time of our persecution, we were constantly sneaking in to execution yards to steal away with our dead. During the "Reformation" the King of England passed a law banning us from meeting in cemeteries.

Let's talk about The Incorruptibles. Catholics are fascinated with the biblical statement that God 'will not let his beloved know decay.' So we dig up our dead and take a peek, then put their incorrupt corpses under glass for all to see. How morbid is that? Many of our greatest cathedrals look like they have a minor exhibit from Madame Toussaud's Wax Museum.

Speaking of Cathedrals. Our most beautiful cathedrals are not works of Gothic architecture because they were built by Goths. No. They were dubbed Gothic as a way of picking on us. Calling us barbaric and morose. Always sitting in the chapel pondering death.

Not that I am knocking the Goths. They gave us one of our most striking bibles. Codex Argenteus. Silver ink on purple paper. A true work of art. And the Gothic (Mozarabic) Rite? Stunning! Still used in Spain.

Many non-Catholic Christians still think of us as witches. Even today you find some denominations will happily sidle up to an obvious Wiccan in an attempt to save their soul. Yet, they'll run screaming from anyone carrying a rosary, announcing with absolute certainty that we are damned for our evil ways.

Few people realize that the Burning Times were years of Protestant Reformation. Compare maps and times. They were burning Catholics. Elizabeth I was said to have burned 800 witches a year. While I think that may be an exaggeration, she did view Catholicism as witchery. She called priestly robes the garments of conjuring. A priest, such as Edmund Campion, if caught saying mass, would be tried for treason and executed on Tyburn Tree. But what of the nuns? Call them witches and burn them.

I mean really. Is there any other faith or race for that matter where "Bonfire Night" would be allowed? Remember Remember the 5th of November. Even today it's a big party in England where Catholics are still burned in effigy. God bless Guy Fawkes. He was the fall-Guy for anti-Catholic conspirators. My hero!

Which brings me to Anchoresses and Anchorites. All over Europe before the Reformation. Men and women dressed in black and grey who lived alone in solemn contemplation. The Requiem Mass was said and they were essentially, dead to the world. Some were walled up within a church. Some had access to gardens. Many just wandered out into the woods to live a solitary life, their minds constantly on death and the hereafter. Wiped out as heretics during the Reformation. Slowly returning today. Hundreds of years later.

We memorialize execution sites such as Golgotha and Tyburn Tree.

Long black communion veils (which are making a come back).

Washing in the Blood of Christ? Ok, non-Catholic Christians often do that too, but they don't eat the body and drink the blood!
Which brings me to Adoration. Spending an hour with the Body of Christ! The Protestants used to say, "It’s all a bunch of Hocus Pocus." A derogatory term from the consecration. ‘In hoc corpus meum.’ Which means this IS my body.

Who else thinks fasting, penance, and martyrdom is cool?

The most obvious evidence? The Capuchin Bone Chapel in Rome.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Troubles with the LCWR

These "religious sisters" are out there spinning tall tales trying to make the church look bad. 'Oh that mean old church is trying to stop us from helping the poor.' Not so. These women have go so far afield. They demand the ordination of women to the point of rejecting the Eucharist.

A few months back, I saw a profile about the inquiry on Good Morning America. What a bunch of schlock that was. Still, it pictured these cute little old ladies. Dominicans on Long Island. Aww, aren't they sweet? Mean mean ol church.

Well, I had read in "Making of an Exorcist" that some religious sisters in Amityville had taken up witchcraft. Doesn't surprise me. After seeing the GMA clip, I knew it was those cute little old ladies.

Sure enough, here is a partial transcript of a 1997 radio show from "Living On Earth"

"Sister Jean Clark points to some newly plowed ground with a few green shoots poking through the late winter soil. Growing an organic garden is just one of the ways the Amityville sisters are reconnecting with nature. They perform outdoor rituals on the winter and summer solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes: ancient Earth festivals which some Catholics still regard as Pagan. And recently, they passed a resolution which expands the definition of their religious community to include the land and its nonhuman inhabitants."

They reject the Eucharist and perform solstice rituals. Why do they even call themselves Catholic any longer?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Yahoo headline today reads "Vatican orders crackdown on US nun association." The comments below the article are loaded with ignorance.  But then, so is the article.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has nothing to do with nuns. They are an "association" of religious sisters.

What's the difference between a nun and a religious sister? Vows. Nuns take solemn vows and go to a cloister. Religious sisters take simple vows. They usually live in a community of their order. But these days many live in private homes. Most have shunned the habit. Looking over the LCWR website, not a single one is in a habit. 

Why is the habit important? It is an outward sign of service. I am neither a nun nor a religious sister. But people seem to recognize me as a religious person. Probably due to my long skirts and my Tau, the symbol of my order. Third order. Many people come to me for comfort and advice. To shun one's habit is to shun one's life of service to others.

This article claims that the "conference's" 1500 members represent 80% of the women religious in the US. This is not just an exaggeration, but an outright lie. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

If you take a good look at their website you can see that these women have left Catholicism behind. From their very own website. And yet this article paints them as unjustly accused.

I will tell you from personal experience, back home, I had two such sisters who lived up the street from me. They rented a small house. Looking at them, you would not know they were religious at all. Talking to them you would not know they were religious.  They were Mercy Sisters. They supported themselves by runnng a massage parlor out of their home. Did they have a bible study? No. Did they serve at the church across the street? No. Did they assist at hospitals, food banks or homeless shelters? No.

While other sisters are giving freely to those in need, these sisters are charging. For MASSAGE! That is not sisterish at all. It is not a ministry.

I attended a Divine Mercy Conference with a friend. A Vincentian religious sister. Sister does wear a habit. Her ministry is prisons. She goes to prisons to bolster the spirits of individuals there. She gives spiritual advice and religious education. We bumped into the two Mercy Sisters there. They looked down their noses at her in her habit. Dear Sister was undaunted and utterly kind in the face of their rudeness.

Many of these free wheeling sisters have embraced ideas that are outside of Catholicism. As such they should excuse themselves from Catholicism. Rather than throwing tantrums about being questions, just admit to having beliefs outside of the church and leave their orders. Stop claiming to be representative of something that you are not - and may never have been. And definitely STOP claiming you speak for others who are in agreement with the church.

Fr. Frank Parvone immediately issued a thank you to the Holy See for it's review of the LCWR. Their stance, or lack thereof, on abortion and euthanasia goes against everything we as Catholics stand for. These ladies reject priestly ordination, and thereby question the Eucharist as source and summit of our faith - since it requires a priest.

Go ahead, disagree with the church. Tell Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that he is not welcome in your worship because he requires a priest and you reject that. But when you do these things -- do not call yourself a Catholic organization.

LCWR Assessment

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Mass means new missal.

Mass is not Catholic Entertainment, people. It is participatory. We are meant to pray along. It's called "assisting at mass." We all assist the priest by praying along.

It's taken me until April to figure out what to buy. So many of the American missals aren't available yet. I do not understand that.

I've been using an older version of the "Daily Roman Missal" for years. It's one of the earliest published ones where the readings were still from the original 1966 "Jerusalem Bible," which is what Catholics use overseas. It was the first bible updated using the very old Hebrew scrolls found in the caves of Qumran. I love the "Jerusalem Bible." It is an elegant read, at a college reading level. Since the 60's it has been the ONLY bible that did not white-wash all the names for God to "Lord." It is far superior to the "New American Bible" or the "NAB Revised Edition." These are both written at a 6th grade reading level.

Please note, there is more than one Jerusalem Bible. American translators created the "New Jerusalem Bible" by editing the original "Jerusalem Bible" to be "politically correct." Thereby significantly changing the meaning of some passages. It is NOT approved by the Holy See. The European "New Jerusalem Bible" has not been corrupted this way, but was not sold here due to copy-right infringements. Same name, different bible. Still, you can find a copy of it second hand on Amazon now and again.

Anyway, I used the older "Daily Roman Missal" because it had both the "Jerusalem Bible" readings and the mass text in Latin along side the English. I love my Ecclesiastic Latin!

The Catholic Truth Society (CTS) has come out with the New Catholic Bible which contains the original 1966 Jerusalem Bible edited to contain the 1963 Grail Psalms. I plan on buying one as soon as I have a little extra money. I want a compact version to carry with me. This one has been edited to white-wash all the names for God. It makes me sad. I do understand what Cardinal Arinze means about not offending our Jewish brethren. However, my private bible reading shouldn't offend anyone. I wish they'd just changed it in the missals. The Holy Father's guidance was only that God's special names, such as Yahweh, not be used during public worship.

The CTS has put out two missals. Daily and Sunday. These both also use the 1966 "Jerusalem Bible and 1963 "Grail Psalms." There is a seller on Amazon who is carrying CTS items. You can also buy from the CTS website directly. They are set up for sale sand shipping to the US. Prices are marked in both Euros and Dollars.

I purchased the Sunday missal from a local seller on Amazon. It arrived very quickly. This missal is sublime. The text is crystal clear. The images are gorgeous. The rubrics are clear. Just another reason more people need to be using a missal. So few people know what is going on during mass. The rubrics tell you what you should be doing. There are times when I am the only one standing. The English text is right next to Latin text.  It is very easy to follow.

It is not meant to be used in the US. So the texts are slightly different. The US uses the "New American Bible." Mind you, the US recently got approval for NEW translation of the Grail Psalms.  I don't know why. The 1963 Grail Psalms are used in our US version of the Liturgy of the Hours and Christian Prayer. With the (substandard in my opinion) New American Bible texts. The 1963 version is lovely. It reads very well.

The Proper of Saints in the CTS missal is very small. Only a handful of holy days. Not so important for me as a professed Franciscan. We have a two booklet supplement which is meant to be used with the St. Joseph's missals. It contains all the very important saints for me. Still, I think I'll keep my old "Daily Roman Missal" on hand for some of my favorite non-Franciscan saints.

Very few priests announce which Eucharistic Prayer they are going to use. Most parishioners do not pray along making it generally unimportant. So my one recommendation is to enlist the help of a slip of lined paper as a book mark. Write the prayer number with the first line of text and the page number it begins on. It makes it easier to flip to at the appropriate time.

The CTS missal has plenty of additional prayers. The prayers for before and after mass are lovely. As well as the section on not being able to get to mass, which contains a prayer of spiritual communion. Also plenty of guidance texts from various popes and saints.

I do wish they had soft version. Even the leather version of the new CTS bible has a hard core. It does make it easier to use during mass as nothing is bending back. But I like the feel of soft covers better.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Reclaiming Catholic Identity

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. But I’ve got something on my mind.

One of the absolute worst things to come out of Vatican II was the stripping of our Catholic Identity. The whitewashing of our faith. For almost 2000 years we were a faith of science, of magic and mysticism - of Eucharistic miracles, stigmata, flying friars and visionary nuns. Catholics invented the telescope, posed the Heliocentric Theory and the Big Bang Theory - among other leaps.

Our Protestants cousins rejected the magic and mysticism. "It's all a bunch of hocus pocus," they said. Derived from "en hoc corpus meum" - this is my body. They’re afraid of science. What’s that about?

After 700 years of fighting we made a misguided attempt to lure them back. It didn’t bring them back. But it certainly chased a lot of Catholics away. Most feast days are barely acknowledged, vigils are quite rare and early in the evening. Minimal candles. No more incense. No more Gregorian chant. No more Latin. Today, most Catholics have no idea exactly when transubstantiation happens during mass. In fact, they don’t understand the mass at all. They arrive late just in time to receive the host and then leave. The only point to mass is "get the host."

So much as been lost!

I am pointedly leaving out the "traditionalist movement" because I find the bulk of them use their faith as a means to be cruel. Some of the most informational websites about traditional Catholicism are inhabited by harpies. I am a very Old School Catholic. I refuse to define myself by terms so often used justify bigotry and hate. God is love. Period.

There once was a time when not a one of us would consider going to church in jeans or sipping coffee during prayer time at home. The fall out of this whitewash is that God has become a casual friend. One very few people aspire to know better. One we feel we can treat like a doormat. No need to get dressed up when we visit Him. Shorts and flip flops are fine. No need to show respect for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Chit chat in the sanctuary, talk smack about the priests. Bring cheerios for the kiddies. Dump them all over the pews. It's ok. Be disgusting pigs in the bathroom. It's only the House of God. No matter.

Not long ago a Catholic home could be recognized in an instant. Images of Jesus and Mary decorated the walls. Statues of the saints held special places. Holy water font at the door. We stopped at noon to pray the Angelus and in the evening for the Memorare. Every Catholic home had an altar complete with sanctuary candles blessed at Candlemas - a very specific place to go and pray. Lauds and Vespers, from the Liturgy of the Hours, would be prayed there, as well as the rosary. Your auntie would call because she was going to pray a novena for this or that intension, the entire family would light a fresh sanctuary candle and join in.

The cycle of our Liturgical Year would be celebrated for all to see! Special meals, special decorations, specific colors. Make enough to take some next door. Today most Catholics don’t know what the Liturgical Year is. When it begins, what it entails. How to celebrate the Holy Days. Yes Virginia, there is a Catholic origin to the word "holiday."

Jesus told us it’s not easy to be in this world but not of it. As Catholics we’ve really lost our way. Lost our identity. Many young people have a genuine thirst for the spiritual and they are not finding it in our church. They are lured into Wicca and various occult practices by way of discipline! A special outfit for meeting one’s god or goddess. Decorations for the home to celebrate the "Wheel of the Year." Focus during spells. They would never dream of sipping coffee during candle lit meditations to their gods and goddesses, chanting prayers in lost languages.

I hope I am not offending my Pagan friends out there. I say all of this with the highest of praise for your devotion. And in criticism of Catholics for their lack of it.

The reason Catholic youth loved John Paul II so much is because he called them to this kind of discipline. Pulled out all the stops - telling them the easy way was no way at all. Put on your scapular. Pray your rosary every day. Make a difference. Volunteer at the shelter. Make pilgrimages. Offer up your suffering. At the very least learn your basic prayers in Latin. Pray and pray hard! Be in this world, but not of it. And most of all: Do Not Be Afraid!

Statistically speaking, we are coming around. We are taking great steps, well, backwards. And it’s making us better! Catholics are returning to practices that were essentially cast aside after Vatican II. Celebration of feast days, the chapel veil, kneeling to receive Jesus in the Eucharist directly on the tongue, the scapular, the rosary, the home altar. After ages of decline, third orders are seeing a huge influx of new members. Especially third orders with habits such as the Franciscans of the Immaculate who offer the layman’s habit.

Ladies, if you’re looking for a husband - the chapel veil is a good way to send up a sign. Historically, a white veil means you’re available - a black veil means you are not.

Start now! Bring home a bit of identity. Centuries ago, September 29th, the Feast Day of Saint Michael was one of the biggest Holy Days in the Liturgical Calendar, second to Easter - before St. Francis made Christmas cool. In fact, St. Francis observed a 40 day fast, just like Lent, each year before the Feast Day of St. Michael. It represents the year turning from summer to fall. There are wonderful books out now about seasonal celebrations in the Liturgical Year. Hit the library or a search engine.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ember Wednesday

Today is an Ember Wednesday. The word ember is a corruption of Tempora - the proper term being Quatuor Tempora - which means 4 times. They are seasonal celebrations to do penance and give thanks to God for the bounty heaped upon us by His grace. As the beginning of Summer heads our way, the Ember Days of Pentecost are celebrated.

So, I find myself in the middle of two birthday celebrations at my office on a day I should be fasting and doing penance.

How does one handle that?

The Gospel of Matthew - Chapter 6 tells us that when one does things for others to see, one has received his reward. God sees the actions of our hearts and accepts them accordingly.

So I don’t make a fuss. I don’t call any attention to myself or my actions. I accept my cake. Poke it with my fork a bit and say I’m saving it for later, when I have a good cup of coffee to go with it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wow. It's been a very long time since I've posted to this blog. Unity Publishing has requested that I reboot my chastity blog. I'm pretty certain I've deleted it. But, Our Lady of America calls. Who am I to say I'm too busy?

Out of all my readers, I think only my dear Claudia has followed me to MySpace, Facebook and even Twitter. If any of you still check in on this, I've moved to Las Vegas.