December 11, 2018

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY CERTIFICATE COURSE IN TORONTO--JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019!






MOVIES: "SEARCHING"




A brilliant new film entitled "Searching" is about a loving father and his teenage daughter who are both grieving the recent loss of their wife and mom to cancer. What makes this film brilliant--beyond nailing the experience of grief and sometimes awkward or tense father-daughter dynamics? The fact that the entire film is told through screens. When I heard about this film, I thought "not possible," or "gimmicky," but it's nothing of the sort. Instead, we watch just how organic our online lives have become (without it even feeling hi-tech or unnatural). The human elements of life are wonderfully preserved. However, the peril of anonymity and illusion are showcased as well.

What is utterly fascinating is the blend of video and the printed word (mostly texting and online posts) forwarding the story. The thoughts and sentiments people begin typing and then, on second thought, erase is just as important as what they actually wind up sending.

The father-daughter pair actually have a very close relationship and are in constant communication via media devices. The question for parents that always arises as young people individuate and maintain secrets and private lives is "how well do I really know my child NOW"? And, of course, the intense and fluctuating emotions, challenges and choices that pave the way to adulthood are exponentially exacerbated by these digital tools. But it is also these same tools that give insight into and externalize what young people are dealing with and may find hard to express otherwise--at least they give insight in this film where Dad eventually has access to his daughter's innermost world.

BUT why is it that parents who are doing a pretty darn good job at parenting always beat themselves up--and those who could use years of classes on parenting skills think they're amazing? This cinematic Dad falls into the first category. If you watch and listen carefully for the moral of the story, it's the fact that it's always better to talk about it, to go there. Our young people--despite all appearances and attitudes--desperately want and need to talk it out with us, but WE have to provide that space and keep at it.

"Searching" is a mystery, a crime drama, a twisty thriller and a tender familial love story all in one. Kind of a perfect film.

(Perfectly OK for pre-teens and teens.)






December 10, 2018

GREAT INTRODUCTION TO DR. JORDAN PETERSON


Not too familiar with Dr. Peterson?

This is a great introduction. He gets contraception wrong (thinks it's a good thing), but the rest is mighty fine.

Of course, Natural Family Planning is a good thing, but it is qualitatively different from contraception and a completely different lifestyle. In fact, the difference between contraception and Natural Family Planning is so huge that JP2G called it: "two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality" (Familiaris consortio, 32). 

EWTN: McCARRICK CLERGY SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR SPEAKS OUT


November 27, 2018

NETFLIX: "THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA"

I have not watched this propaganda for the kingdom of darkness and I won't. You shouldn't either and you shouldn't let your kids. But DO watch the trailer below to get the gist. Note the fun music and campy feel given to things that can never be fun or campy because they are pure evil.

I'm sharing a letter below (about the series) from a fellow Sister who teaches at a Catholic high school. Note the interweaving of deviant sexuality/sexual practices with Wicca, Witchcraft, Satanism, etc., and...So. Many. Bloody. Killings.

Why does there seem to be so much more blatant Satanism everywhere (not just on the screen)? Nature abhors a vacuum. Is Christianity in decline? Well, there are lots of other spiritualities that would love to and are filling that void. When the salt departs, the meat goes bad.

At the very end of this blog post is a promo video for Celine Dion's new "gender neutral" clothing for babies/children. Note the same fun music and campy feel given to an ideology straight out of hell.

Welcome to the 2018 phase of the Antichrist where Satan no longer even tries to hide. (Read this WHOLE article: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/armstrong/exorcists-warn-about-dangers-of-wiccan-spell-to-bind-donald-trump )

Why did I hide Sister's identity below? Because Satanists, like their master, are a hostile bunch and go after those who critique their religion. She has already experienced it.




"Dear ______,

A friend of mine, who is a priest who is training as an exorcist, watched the first season of "Sabrina the Teenaged Witch" on Netflix with me. We watched it because we had a sneaking suspicion there was something really, really bad about it. 

Currently a few hundred satanists or wanna be satanists and general trolls are blowing up my twitter for warning people against the show.

When I was a kid I watched "Sabrina the Teenaged Witch", the one with Melissa Joan Hart in it. It was about her being a witch, but nothing within it had anything to do with explict satanism or was overly dark and creepy. The Netflix remake is nothing like that one. 

The premise of the show is that Sabrina was consecrated to satan from birth by her father, promised to him. Her mother, knowing this was coming, had her secretly baptized, which invalidated her consecration from birth because the "false god" had already claimed her. (interesting, eh?). 

Sabrina lives with her two spinster aunts who are also witches. Her father was the high priest, but he died (I cannot remember how) so the aunts raised her. She is considered a half witch, as her mother was a mortal. 

Sabrina takes place in many rituals and spells. They are all in Latin (and accurate Latin, so the exorcist and I suspect they are probably from real satanic rites). Regarding the episodes, this is what I remember (I wasn't taking notes):
  1. Sabrina finds out she is a witch and will be signing her name in the Book of the Beast, vowing her life to satan, on the evening of her 16th birthday. Then she will go to the "Academy of the Unseen Arts", where she will study the ways of the coven. The 3 "weird sisters", who are orphan witch children, place a blood curse on Sabrina. The girls being harassed by boys at her normal high school (non witch) start a club to rally against the patriarchy called "Wicca". 
  2. We meet "Father Blackwell" who is the high priest of the Church of Night, the coven that Sabrina's aunts and family line belong to. He is also the principal of the Academy of Unseen Arts. Sabrina and her WICCA friends are harassed by boys so she teems up with the 3 weird sisters to punish them. The boys join them for a make out session in the mines, but the weird sisters do a spell and the boys are making out with each other. Sabrina's aunts have a fight, Zelda kills Hilda, who is latter resurrected (apparently this happens a lot). Dressed as a bride, she goes to a halloween party, promising to make it to her "dark baptism" into the coven at midnight. She is a bit late, but arrives dressed as a bride, but ends up refusing to sign. Her family is humiliated. This is a wholesale mockery of baptism with "unholy godmothers" and such. The rite of Baptism is quoted, but with everything inverted to have an evil meaning. 
  3. Sabrina is put on trial for breaking a contract with satan because she was promised to him as a baby. It comes to light that she had a Catholic baptism, meaning the devil could have no claim over her. She is free to choose if she wants to belong to satan or not and sign the book of the beast. We find out that witches go to hell when they die, but satan doesnt torment them since they served him in this life. Sabrina is not found guilty by the witch court, but Father Blackwood says she must begin her study at the Academy of Unseen Arts immediately, attend weekly Black Mass, and break with her non-witch friends. 
  4. Sabrina is subjected to the "harrowing", which is a hazing like initiation for new students. She meets the ghosts of students who died from it. Sabrina learns to astral project. We see the statue of satan surrounded by children in the center of the school (remember the one the church of satanin Detroit had made a few years ago and is now on display surrounded by statues of children? its the same one--Baphomet). 
  5. Sabrina's family is tormented by a sleep/dream demon named Batibat. The episode involves more astral projecting and spells. 
  6. A friend's uncle Jesse is demonicaly possessed. Sabrina exorcises the demon, which she can do because she is a half witch.  They make the comment that this is something usually the Catholic Church specializes in. The demon is named Apophis, the devouring worm. Uncle Jesse is murdered by a witch whom we will later discover is Lillith. 
  7. Horrible episode about the "Feast of Feasts", which commemorates Queen Freya, a witch who fed her coven with her own body during a bleak winter of starvation. Each year 14 witches are chosen and the "dark lord" as they call him (satan) picks one to be the queen of the feast. She is celebrated and then slaughtered and eaten by everyone at the feast day celebration. Many obvious symbols point to this being a mockery of the Eucharist.
  8. Two gay warlocks get together, if you catch my drift. A curse is made on some humans who are descendants of witch killers, causing a horrible accident in the mines, killing several people. Father Blackwood hears Zelda's "satanic confession" (as they call it). He assigns them both a BDSM (bondage/domination-discipline-submission/sado-masochism) "penance" involving a cat of nine tails.. its disgusting. Again, mockery of a Catholic rite - this time confession. 
  9. . Sabrina tries to do a resurrection spell, which involves killing someone in exchange for the person she wants to resurrect, her boyfriend's brother who was killed in the mines. It goes horribly wrong. She creates a zombie, which has to be killed. Her boyfriend kills his own brother. 
  10. The season finale -- We find out that one of the characters is the demon Lillith, who is trying to bring Sabrina to agree to be satan's bride. The Red Angel of Death is summoned to kill the first born of all families, witch and mortal. I believe Sabrina signs the book of the beast. 
Lots of echoes of "praise satan" and "satan willing" are spiced throughout the show. Its really horrible. The exorcist thinks that some of the rituals within the show are possibly real. He is at a meeting of exorcists this week and he will discuss it with them. I posted on Twitter that its bad and like I said, I'm getting all kinds of attacks. There is definitely something evil behind this. its not like the usual fantasy witch craft show... this shows actual satanism."

Sincerely in Christ,

Sr. _____________

NETFLIX: "CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES"



"Christmas Chronicles" (Netflix) is a cut above the usual cutesy, cheesy, syrupy, sappy Yuletide flix. Great bro/sis relationship. Let yer kids watch for some mindless, Christless Christmas fun. Kurt Russell=SUPERB as a non-annoying smart-alecky Santa. (KR is always superb in my book. I am totally BIASED.) Well, it's not totally Christless. The kids stop briefly at the doorstep of a church (with a good purpose).

CC starts off in Massachusetts and winds up in Chicago (with a whirlwind tour of the world on Christmas Eve).

Watch till the bitter (no, actually, it's sweet) end for a surprise and a great moment for the brother. SHOCKER: "Chronicles" features a postive father figure! (And it's not just Santa!)

Yes, some plot points are stolen right out of "Elf," and the whole "true believers" thing always borders on the blasphemous for me (see also my screed against the "Believe!" theme in "Kung Fu Panda," and anything Disney that invokes "Believe!")--but, in this day and age to find something that features regular kids with regular kid problems and solid, loving adult mentors? I'm gonna let that slide.








November 24, 2018

MOVIES: "TULLY"





In the recent flick, "Tully," a mother of two young children is very pregnant with her third. Charlize Theron plays Marlo, burnt-out and easily-unhinged Mom. Not only are there the physical discomforts to deal with and a rather MIA husband--her six year old seems to be on the autism spectrum but is undiagnosed, and the principal of his school is gently attempting to expel him--or could it be he just takes after his free-spirited Mom?

For a middle-class matron, Mom is crass, in more ways than one.* (If I weren't a nun I would suggest doing shots every time you hear her favorite word: a-hole.) We feel sorry for her, but also not. There is something so worn-out and depressing about this story. In order to get some energy going for the plot, Mom uses spicy language and has continual angry outbursts. We have seen this trite tripe before: Adults Disillusioned By Marriage and Family Life (ADBMAFL). They pine for their younger, wilder selves (Marlo also had female lovers before tying the knot). I also don't buy Theron's portrayal. She just seemed like a complacent, veteran, "arrived" actress skating through a role (think Nicholas Cage).

There are lots of jolting, on-the-nose Stock Feminist Catchphrases plopped in here and there just in case we're too enamoured of the motherhood thing.

Against her protestations, Marlo's brother hires a night nanny named "Tully" for her, who turns out to be the best thing since sliced bread. Marlo gets some serious sleep and begins to come back to life, back to herself and feel refreshed and positive. Tully loves babies and wears a sexy crop top (remember, Marlo is "bisexual") while everyone else is bundled up indoors. Tully is a fairy godmother who is literary, sexy, fun, intelligent, knows science, biology (esp. baby biology); she's caring, sensitive, tough, funny, kind, etc., etc. She's too good to be true, but at her wisest, she tells Marlo that she's here to take care of Mom more than the baby, and she helps Mom fall in love with her own progeny whom Marlo can only experience as a burden right now.

SPOILER ALERT: The night nanny is, in part, a figment of Marlo's imagination, a kind of shadow self. If you keep this in mind, certain scenes won't be shocking at all. We are introduced to this fact, or rather, this fact is confirmed at the end in such a subtle manner that the viewer could easily miss it and just wind up confused.

My positive takeaway of this earthy film (besides some good and true lines) is that being pregnant can be a real hardship in various ways, and, newsflash: Moms (and Dads) of infants and small children need help! Lots of help! In this day and age of the nuclear family, where are grandparents and aunties and extended family that can lend a hand, where a child is still among relatives and being raised by their own kin? I just met a young married Mom who has had multiple miscarriages, traumatic births and severe post-partum depression. She made me think instantly of this film.

In the end, "Tully" is a bit of a stinker. If it's supposed to be "honest" and "heartwarming," it really didn't make its case very well. Marlo is so condescending toward her husband that there's no way they can really be or become "one." She only married him because he's boring and safe and she finally decided that's the life she wanted, so she hand-picked him, but he's not in on the joke. At the beginning of the film, we think that Dad might be a horrible person, but then we realize that their relationship is mundane, but supportive, comfortable, caring. However, we get the distinct impression that only girls can really understand other girls, and same-sex romantic relationships are just soooooo much more exciting and compatible!

Oh, and OF COURSE, porn is just a neutral fact of life. OF COURSE Both husband and wife use porn (separately). OF COURSE.

This is a movie I kind of wish I hadn't seen. Not because I'll be "haunted" by its banal and (a few) crude images, but because it was one of those "waste of my precious time" movies. It didn't make me care about the characters or make me believe that suddenly, with the wave of a magic wand, it would all work out in the end. This inchoate attempt at chronicling the travails of motherhood had potential and promise but falls flat. DEFINITELY ONE TO SKIP.

______
*So crass, in fact, that Hollywood slips in a completely unnecessary comment about masturbation, spoken by Mom to her young son. Seriously??? It's quite isolated as far as the rest of the film is concerned, but it once again showcases the ever-present pedo cesspool side of Tinseltown that doesn't even care if we "catch it."




WHY THEOLOGY OF THE BODY IS THE ANSWER TO THE CLERGY SEX ABUSE CRISIS



Permission to speak freely?

In light of the ever-burgeoning, ever-more-bizarre Catholic Church Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2018 Plus (I add "Plus" because a host of other irregularities, malfeasances, ongoing mysteries and behaviors have attached themselves or are organically attached to this juggernaut like remora fish on a nurse shark). As many have already mentioned, not even Malachi Martin or Dan Brown could have made up some of this heinous and outrageous stuff.

PROCLAIMING THE BAD NEWS

Until 2002, I had no idea that any kind of sexual abuse was being perpetrated by Catholic clergy--it was that clandestine and successfully buried. However, when the bad news broke back then and I began rabidly researching and reading about the roots of the crisis, I learned that clergy sex abuse was nothing new in the Church. In one form or another, it went all the way back to at least the beginning of the second millennium, to the times of St. Peter Damian, who, in his "Book of Gomorrah," railed against sexual crimes and sins in the clergy, particularly priests having sex with boys and young men (which, is, incidentally, an ancient pagan Roman and Greek custom). Intentional disciplining, clean-ups and purifications would transpire through the ages, but somehow, persistent, systematic, often incestuous patterns would rear their ugly heads over and over.

I told myself in 2002: This isn't over. A subculture of evil and perversion fortified by an ironclad code of silence and absolute authority does not just roll over and give up the ghost. The wagons will be re-circled and eradication of the malaise will be an ongoing battle. But little did I realize that CSA 2002 was just the tip of the iceberg--no, glacier. Little did I (or anyone else not deep "in the know") realize that the code of silence was backed up by fear and  intimidation employed by powerful cloak-and-dagger hierarchs over their own, those lower in the ranking system, or those not really or fully part of the good old boys club.

EVIL NEVER SLEEPS, NEVER GIVES UP

If we truly want to understand this perplexing and devastating mess, the first thing we must do is stop thinking like nice people for whom certain things are just unthinkable and certain lines uncrossable. Go ahead and think the worst. Do not even try to imagine the wolves as the shepherds they are not. Holy Mother Church has been "infiltrated" by people who are not nice, not at all. What did Joan of Arc mean when she told her politicized, ill-willed clergy interrogators/persecutors: "You are not the Church!"? Surely she knew they were validly ordained and had every "right" to take the steps they were taking against her. Yes. But she also knew that they "cared nothing for God nor man" and may very well have been endangering their immortal souls on account of that fact, and that their "election" may not be "permanent" in the Mystical Body of Christ come Judgment Day. We must also ask ourselves: Can Satan do more harm outside the Church or within the Church? Don't you think he tirelessly assaults the gates seeking entrance--and sometimes succeeds?

THIS BUD'S FOR YOU

So how is John Paul II's masterwork, his magnum opus, the "Theology of the Body," the answer to today's current iteration of clergy sex abuse? For anyone inside or outside the Church: who isn't sure what it means to be human; who isn't sure what God's plan and destiny for the human body-person is, male and female; who chafes against God's divine order and design; who believes God's ways aren't golden for us; who has not entered into the sacred mystery of their sexuality which makes us most in the image of God; who have repressed or indulged their sexuality; who believes that God's Word is an impossible ideal with regard to the body, sexuality, love and marriage; who are clergy who have compromised their belief about and promise of celibacy; who are shepherds who believe their job is to water down the ancient faith and encourage their sheep to put down their cross? This Bud's for you.


JESUS CHRIST OUR HIGH PRIEST

CSA 2002 and CSA 2018 has given me a deepened love for priests and the priesthood and I have redoubled my prayers for priests. What do I ask most for them? That they know who they are. That they understand the priesthood. I pray that we all understand the priesthood. If we don't? Then we don't understand Jesus Christ. There is only one priest: Jesus Christ, our High Priest. Every bishop and priest share in His priesthood. At ordination, a man enters into the sacrament of the priesthood--with his male sexuality and spirituality inextricably linked--as an icon of Jesus Christ. If he doesn't understand what this means, how do to this, that he is a real bridegroom and father, he will be lonely, unfulfilled in his masculinity, constantly tempted to dissemble, compromise, weaken his resolve, and, at best, be some kind of "presider" or "administrator." If he doesn't know how to channel the "fire that is male sexuality," he will be prone to destructively burning himself and/or others up.

In the credible book, "Michelle Remembers," a woman who was ritually abused as a child (by a Satanic cult) recalls a demon chanting taunting words to the effect: "The priests don't know who they are."

THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION EMASCULATED MEN

Men are now systematically beaten down in our culture. If there is a "War on Women" there is also a "War on Men," because the feminine and masculine will always fall or rise together. May I encourage you to watch this video where Dr. Jordan B. Peterson talks about "the tyrannical patriarchy"? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZYQpge1W5s

I was recently speaking on Theology of the Body at a parish in a part of Atlanta which is home to some very high-powered CEO's. (The CEO of Coca-Cola lives in the parish.) One of these "types," a gentleman, approached me and critiqued: "It seems to me that the Catholic Church forms beta males." I instinctively knew what he was saying, and I regret that we didn't have time to chat more. Certainly the world and the Church needs beta males (in the best sense of that word--and not all men can be alphas), but it also needs alpha males--true alpha males, good, strong men who do the right thing no matter what it costs. Perhaps this Atlanta parishioner diagnosed a big part of our problem. But are we (whether we're male or female) also a big part of the problem? Do we actually believe in our heart of hearts that masculinity can be nothing other than "toxic," and that male sexuality is some kind of necessary evil, intractably dominating, arrogant, violent, and better not talked about or dealt with, but just shamefacedly swept under the rug? Or do we believe that male sexuality/spirituality is a gift that needs to be renewed, redeemed and rejoiced in in every age? Has the Church internalized the emasculation of the Sexual Revolution where men get free sex, a pass for their misdeeds and irresponsibility, while nothing is required of them?  

ACCEPTANCE OF ACTIVE HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE PRIESTHOOD
EMASCULATED MEN


Active homosexuality in the seminary/priesthood/episcopate is sinful. (By way of refresher: sin is evil. It's a turning away from God and breaking of God's law, always detrimental to all involved, and unrepented, can lead to final impenitence and damnation). Active homosexuality in the priesthood is a breaking of promises/vows, it's a form of fornication and/or sodomy, it's leading a double-life, it's living a lie. Unless one is married, one is called to celibacy. Celibacy means no sex with anyone: oneself, men, women, teens, children, animals, objects, digital images, etc. 

Since men tend to organize themselves into hierarchies anyway (Sociology 101), the "homosexual secret" (because it can't just be blatantly trumpeted to laity, family, donors, etc.) turns into a homosexual "network" or "current" or "cabal" and suddenly it's a homosexual culture and a culture of corruption (read: exclusion, intimidation, indulgence, blackmail, etc.). Should this lifestyle turn toward recruitment, seduction, pedophilia, hebephilia, ephebophilia--we have just entered egregiously evil waters that spiritually/sexually destroy whatever they come in contact with...in different ways.

Please read these articles about what happens to young men in "lavender seminaries" (please note, not all seminaries harbor abusive/predatory priests, superiors, rectors, professors OR allow/condone homosexual activity among seminarians!):



https://catholicpsych.com/the-problem-with-the-bishop-scandals/

And this is how seriously lack of celibacy and homosexual activity was dealt with in seminaries/priesthood in the recent past (but, it seems, no longer):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgwVjNuRDzk

If it's true as has been estimated by various sources* that close to 50% of the U.S. episcopate is SSA (same-sex attracted, celibate or not) due to the fact of SSA priests and bishops recommending and promoting one another up through the ranks (a particular form of "clericalism," you could say), and a large but lesser percentage of U.S. priests also are SSA--then I think this has answered two of my biggest puzzlements of Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2002 (if a clergyman is homosexually or even otherwise sexually active):

1. I thought men wanted to be heroes and protect women and children--not harm them or cover up for those who harm them??? [If a man doesn't feel himself a bridegroom to the Church, the Bride of Christ, and if he's not a pure, chaste father to this children, he's not going to care much about sticking his neck out to protect them.]

2. Why has our Catholic Church of late been so mediocre and dead and sick; rife with watered-down mamby-pamby liturgy, preaching, catechesis and doctrine at best...and heresy at worst? Where is the virile adventure of the defense of truth for the sake of the flourishing of the flock? [If one's main focus is secrecy and acquiring status and power to maintain a particular lifestyle, or to pander to those in power just to survive, then a campaign to change God's Word in Scripture and Church teaching to suit oneself, to abolish one's sin, or simply to make life easier may very well be one's contribution to the life of the Church.]

It took 16 years (2002-2018) for me to figure this out. Now I get it. Now it all makes sense.

But do NOT mistake me here. We need our priests! We need our bishops! We want good, holy, virtuous, courageous men to lead us! If men ever doubted that the world and the Church needs them, just look at what happens when bad men lead and good men fail to! Also, Jesus Christ constituted the Church as it is, and it's instrincially good (not an instrinsically flawed system/structure or some kind of necessary evil to "get the job done") and that's never going to change.

The clergy sex abuse scandal is actually very simple. It's the bad guys vs. the good guys. We pray for you daily despite...or rather because of our righteous anger. But we also know many of you personally--and we love you and are so grateful not only for your ministry, but for who you are.

At this juncture in the horror show, no amount of spin can get the bad guys (or even the good guys at this point) out of the mess they've created--and the bubble they've created around themselves seems to be preventing them from even realizing this fact. The whole world--via various forms of media--saw the almost total lack of reaction, remorse, emotion, outrage, and worst of all, the lack of swift action on Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2018: Chile, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, McCarrick, Vigano, Honduras seminarians, USCCB annual meeting in November, and then a host of smaller, ongoing, bizarro cases and incidents. Secrecy, inaction and deflection is not going to work in the day and age of the internet, social media and independent Catholic news outlets. The active participation of the laity in building up the Church called for by Vatican II is in full swing.

One of the best (and most immediate) episcopal responses to CSA 2018 still remains Bishop Morlino's letter (may he rest in peace):
http://www.madisoncatholicherald.org/bishopsletters/7730-letter-scandal.html

DON'T RUN FROM TRUE, HEALTHY MALE SEXUALITY/SPIRITUALITY

Why is male sexuality linked to male spirituality? (And female sexuality linked to female spirituality, for that matter?) Because we don't "have" bodies, we "are" bodies. We ARE our bodies. Bodies R Us. Because human beings are body and soul. Different bodies, different souls. Our whole approach to life as males or females and our relationship with God is purposefully and blessedly different.

One of my Theology of the Body mentors, a Byzantine priest named Fr. Thomas Loya, has written a book on the topic of the priesthood and male sexuality/spirituality. When CSA 2018 hit, Fr. Loya emailed me his fear that now, more than ever: "the Church, priests and seminaries will run even further away from male sexuality instead of running toward it and entering into the gift of male sexuality and living it well." I can't recommend his book enough, for everyone. It's entitled "Priesthood, Manhood and the Theology of the Body": www.tinyurl.com/FatherLoyaPriesthoodBook. It unapologetically outlines why priesthood is an intrinsically male thing--and why that's a good thing. Every man is a priest in his own family, in society. Everything he does, he does as a man. Every time he helps, gives back, works for the good, he exercises his spiritual fatherhood which is life-giving. I have had the grace several times to present Theology of the Body to seminarians. My favorite question to ask them is this:

Q: If men engender love and life in their families, what do priests do?
A: Priests engender divine love and divine life--and it doesn't get any better than that.

The bridegroomship and fatherhood of priests is very real. If God is Ultimate Reality, the realest--then the sacraments which are God really working through matter to change our reality for the better and do good to us are also the realest.

RECEIVING THE GIFT

And what about women? The masculine priesthood is FOR the feminine. Everything Jesus did He did for His Bride, the Church. The priesthood is the masculine laying down its life for the feminine. The priesthood is the masculine becoming a saving victim, a sacrifice for the feminine. Women themselves are priests in two ways: Every human being is a natural priest because only human beings can offer Creation back to God in thanksgiving. Every baptized Christian woman has the priesthood of the faithful. But when it comes to the ministerial, ordained priesthood--it's the opportunity for women to now accept the gift. And this is why I think we women have the better deal. I know that Jesus said: "It's better to give than to receive," but seriously, would you rather have to give a gift or be the one to receive it? Think of Our Lady who graciously received the gift of her feminine authority, power, mission and influence with the words: "Be it done to me according to your word." Check out the definitive book, "The Catholic Priesthood and Women," by Sr. Sara Butler (a former proponent of "women's ordination" and a personal heroine of mine), and "The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church," by Monica Miller.

WHY IS THEOLOGY OF THE BODY SO NEGLECTED?

One of the first things I hear when people are introduced to "Theology of the Body" for the first time is: "Why aren't we hearing this from the pulpit? Why isn't this mandated in Catholic schools, parishes, universities and marriage prep?" Two reasons, I believe. First: Theology of the Body was not (and often, sadly, still is not) part of routine seminary/theological training and studies--not only as an academic exercise, but as formation for the men themselves. Second: If one rejects any part of God's/the Bible's/the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality, then Theology of the Body will also be rejected as naive, impossible to live, harsh, out-of-touch, non-progressive . I try to bolster TOB n00bs, novices and mavens alike with: "We don't have to wait for Theology of the Body to come from the top down! Theology of the Body is a grassroots movement and we get to be a part of it!"

BEDAZZLED

And what of the sometimes strange and baffling comments that are coming from the Vatican itself of late, and came from the Synod on the Family (2015) and the Synod on Youth (2018) regarding sexuality? A Cardinal at the Synod on the Family actually stated (as though he was unaware of even the existence of JP2's TOB): "We need a Scriptural study of the human body, human sexuality, marriage and the family." On hearing this, one of our Sisters could not contain herself any longer and tweeted: "The Synod Fathers are asking for something the Church has had for 30 years." The Youth Synod final document plaintively sighs about the "difficulty" of transmitting the Church's teaching on sexuality in the current cultural context. Yeah, well, life is difficult. The grace of God and Theology of the Body make it easier. The "broad" way leading to perdition will still have its sorrows. The "narrow" way leading to heaven that Jesus urgently counseled us to follow will definitely have sorrows, challenges and struggles, but they all have redemptive, eternal value in this life and the next.  "Better to suffer for doing good...than for doing evil" (1 Peter 3:17).

 And why is the "current cultural context" what it is? Whenever society goes astray, it's always the Church's fault. Jesus revealed the Truth, Way and Life to us and told us to make disciples of the nations. When Catholics fall down on the job or lack conviction or courage and fail to evangelize and catechize, the world will be the worse for it. Every time. When the Church doesn't evangelize the culture, the culture evangelizes the Church.

Why does Theology of the Body paradoxically make life "easier"? Because we can ground ourselves in the whole truth about our authentic identity, love, the body, beauty, sex, relationships and the eternal destiny of our bodies and souls. The alternative is to flail about guessing, taking detours, trying chimerical shortcuts and compromising with sin. The experience of us TOB presenters is not a wall of resistance from audiences, but their joy of discovering a mind-blowing treasure: hard, sparkling diamonds that simultaneously challenge us to their acquisition while they dazzle us in "this present darkness."


THE FINISH LINE
by Steve Taylor
(from the album "Squint")


Once upon an average morn
An average boy was born
For the second time

Prone upon the altar there
He whispered up the prayer
He'd kept hid inside

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These will vie to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel"

And I saw you, upright and proud
And I saw you wave to the crowd
And I saw you laughing out loud
At the Philistines

And I saw you brush away rocks
And I saw you pull up your socks
And I saw you out of the blocks
For the finish line

Darkness falls, the devil stirs
And as your vision blurs
You start stumbling

The heart is weak, the will is gone
And every strong conviction
Comes tumbling down

Malice rains, the acid guile
Is sucking at your shoes
While the mud is fresh

It floods the trail, it bleeds you dry
As every little god
Buys its pound of flesh

And I saw you licking your wounds
And I saw you weave your cocoons
And I saw you changing your tunes
For the party line

And I saw you welsh on old debts
I saw you and your comrades bum cigarettes
And you hemmed and you hawed and you hedged all your bets
Waiting for a sign

Let's wash our hands
As we throw little fits
Let's all wash our hands
As we curse hypocrites

We're locked in the washroom
Turning old tricks
Deaf and joyless
And full of it

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These have tried to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel
I will never kneel"

Off in the distance, bloodied but wise
As you squint with the light
Of the truth in your eyes

And I saw you, both hands were raised
And I saw your lips move in praise
And I saw you steady your gaze
For the finish line

Every idol like dust
A word scattered them all

And I rose to my feet
When you scaled the last wall
And I gasped
When I saw you fall
In his arms
At the finish line













TORONTO: WOMEN'S DISCERNMENT BOOK CLUB--EVERY 2ND WEDNESDAY OF MONTH--2019


Starts January 2019!


November 12, 2018

MOVIES: "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY"



Full disclosure. Before I review "Bohemian Rhapsody," you need to know that I have deep "Queen" roots. Engrained memories. I was a fan. Blame my brother who first introduced me to the band as a teen and bought me their sheet music so I could play their "Night At The Opera" album on the piano. Which I did. With great gusto and verve.

I must admit that at first, I wondered why/how my brother, a manly man (and other guys I knew) could accept the effeminate prancing of Mercury (and Bowie and other rock stars). I assumed they overlooked it because of the top-notch music, or they saw it as someone just doing their thing, or as just some theatrical, over-the-top showmanship.

TRULY PG-13

Now, the film. It's rated PG-13 with great accuracy. Freddie Mercury's spiraling down into a depraved lifestyle is very, very lightly touched upon (one or two same-sex kisses are shown). But the film is not about tragedy. The film is not even about the band or even Freddie himself who cannot but shine and shine. The film is about music. Queen's music. That's the only reason we loved them so much. Had they been four silent men, we would not have heard of them, we would not care. But their extraordinary-in-every-way music lifted our spirits and, yes, Freddie's soaring voice is simply inimitable. There is only one Freddie Mercury.

OR WERE THERE TWO FREDDIES?

It's actually kind of thrilling to see superstar-in-the-making, Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie's real name), saunter into a pub where a talented band on stage is well received, but...their lead singer is disgruntled. We know how this ends! The actors who portray May, Deacon and Taylor really look like them, as does Rami Malek who perfectly nails Mercury's swagger and ("darling") affected speech.

Mercury knew his own public persona so well, knew that he was simply born to perform--but alas, his private self was often sad, lonely and fragmented. How can someone give such enjoyment to crowds of music lovers, and yet not feel that joy down deep in their soul? But maybe that's the point. Maybe Mercury only felt good when he was connecting with audiences.

For me, having grown up when musical "giants roamed the earth"--and I think I can speak for my generation of fans--we never saw Freddie's braggadocio as arrogance, but simply unbounded confidence. Yeah, he thought he was the GOAT. But what if you actually are? We all kind of knew he was "gay," but nobody really cared. He was the eminently lovable Freddie Mercury. He was ours. And, it was always about the music for us. We were so spoiled in an era of eclectic, electric raw rock genius--and we knew it.

The band's meteoric rise is due not only to their incredible talent and originality, but their tightness as a "family," and their refusal to compromise on their creative vision. The personalities of the band members emerge early in the film.

LOVE OF MY LIFE

When Freddie slowly discovers his "bisexuality" or rather attraction to men after he gives "the love of his life," Mary Austin, a diamond ring, he embarks on a life of substance abuse and serious debauchery (barely shown in the film). In real life, Mercury carried out myriad reckless, compulsive sexual encounters with anything in trousers and contracted AIDS (untreatable at the time), dying at the premature age of 45, robbing the world of his multi-octave, mesmerizing vocalizations. Mary Austin remained his  truest, closest friend through it all.

Sadly, Queen had several horrible songs ("Tie Your Mother Down") and pulled several salacious stunts (all-female naked bicycle race, a music video in the 80's where the whole band dressed in drag--which caused an unintended backlash). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Mc-NYPHaQ  I remember editing these out of "my favorite Queen songs."

NOT A WELL-DONE MUSICAL,
BUT A WELL-DONE MUSIC FILM

What's best about this film? The exquisite, exquisite use of Queen's catalog. (Which is also a reminder of just how many monster songs they actually had.) So many films about singers or musicians beat us over the head with their greatest hits, box our ears with one full-length song after another throughout the movie, or try to cram (with abrupt fade-ins and fade-outs) an entire repertoire into a film, or, and this is the absolute worst, they keep some form of the troubadours' music grating below the entire film. Not "Bohemian Rhapsody." It's delicious. Just enough, well placed, well-paced, that keeps us wanting more while not feeling cheated. 

My one beef is actually about an omission. We positively needed to see/hear "Love of My Life" play at the "Live Aid" finale and watch the audience sing along. Not so much as a tribute to Mary Austin, but as the crowd's tribute to Freddie and Queen. At film school, we learned that there are certain elements of one's story must be on screen and not presumed or simply spoken of in the film. We must "show" some things and not just "tell" them.

Here's the real thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rb6jDvkcHs  Queen totally stole the show that day and angered all the other bands because...who could follow that?

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL

If my 13+ kid liked classic rock n' roll? I would let them see this film. Educate 'em. But also educate 'em about Theology of the Body and why Freddie, as far as we can fathom, was so unhappy and why excess, depravity and art don't have to go together. You may also want to show your young person the YouTube below where Freddie speaks fondly of Satan and tell 'em why that's so dangerous. Satan isn't a game. Satan plays for keeps.

What's also great to know is that the remaining members of Queen collaborated on the film and see it as a fitting homage to their shimmering frontman. RIP, Freddie.

OTHER STUFF:

--My mother (Ma) calls them "The Queen." But, of course, she also says "The Who's." Google is "Boogle," and, well, you get the picture.

-- One MUST stop on the station when one hears a Queen song on the radio and sing along.

--Freddie in his own words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7y7f27IJTw

--BUT! THERE'S ANOTHER SIDE, ANOTHER VIEW. WAS FREDDIE A SPLIT PERSONALITY? DID HE INDEED GIVE HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL, OR MAKE SOME DEAL WITH THE DEVIL FOR HIS TALENT? Some Christians believe Freddie gave his soul to Satan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrIzs6v1HOA (connections with sodomy with children/young men, Alistair Crowley and Alfred Kinsey, direct quotes from Freddie). So many British bands flirted with Satanism in the 60's and 70's: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones. One can only hope and pray that "they know not what they do," and that they repented or will repent (for those still alive).





November 8, 2018

TV SERIES: "GOD FRIENDED ME"



Watched 1 episode of #GodFriendedMe. Not perfect, but some good points.
Very contempo in a good way. Like, God is not irrelevant.
U just know that more often than not, love/mercy/the right thing to do?
It's gonna be the demythologized, horizontal thing to do.
God is PC.
BUT still worth a watch. Gonna keep 👁️ing.
My question is: WHY was this created? WHO created it? WHAT do they believe?
Is this another attempt to capture the "Christian market"? Is it a sincere exploration from within/without the believing world? Is it just an intriguing "subject"? Inquiring minds want to know!






October 21, 2018

CHRIST OF THE APOCALYPSE: A ONE-DAY BIBLE STUDY OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION--TORONTO




Msgr. Robert Nusca, PhD will present his new book, "The Christ of the Apocalypse."
We will explore the many faces of Jesus in the last book of the Bible
The Book of Revelation is the answer to postmodernism.

Copies of Monsignor's book will be available for sale.






THEOLOGY OF THE BODY IN CALGARY!



Calgary, AB
One-day retreat! All are welcome.