Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Roman Catholic faith is elegant. Not that other faiths are not, but, as a person goes through life as a Catholic it is reaffirmed in many ceremonies and celebrations. Each married couple, once they have children relive their growing up years as they had experienced them. There is a bond that is created between parent and child. A sameness. It is reliable and a point of reflection. Each knows where the other one 'lives' so to speak.

The Vatican has served as a place where spiritual policy has been written for eons, it seems. All that is interesting and I could write about it, but, when one reflects on what matters, it is the Sacraments. The very rights of passage that bind people into families and into lives of commitment and purpose.

The Vatican is in the process of choosing a new Pope. There will be sameness and continuity. There will not be radical changes to the faith. The Sacraments will not change and it is there we find the faithful. 

So, while The Vatican is awash of scandal and human indignities, the faithful and their marriage to god will continue without interruption and the confessional, penance and rosary will continue to be the place where god sets policy.

The Vatican has problems with it's views of life of their faithful. That negligence of 'living' in a world where practicality meets spirituality is overlooked by the hierarchy of The Vatican. To the Pope, the Cardinals and others being in 'the light of god's graces' is where all should be. That is not realistic for people assigned to live outside the walls of Vatican City or a priest's residence or a nun's dormitory.

Denying the human condition of it's members is an imperfect ministry for The Vatican and causes real suffering in the real world. Women assign themselves multiple births and divide their parenting skills among many children and find they are mired in hopeless poverty for the sake of following the rules. There is a reason for forgiveness and Roman Catholics have a benevolent god that believes in a moral content to life. If only The Vatican could find that benevolence and interpret it so it applies to the sheep as well as the Shepard.

The last, never not the least, of the Sacraments is "Anointing of the Sick"

Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. The Catechism explains, "This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord" (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15). 

It is the final right of passage as a Catholic faces days where life ends. It is a comfort. A spiritual comfort. As some of us might view it as a small miracle for a final resting place of a life well lived.

The sacrament provides God's grace to resist temptation in the face of death and the grace to prepare for it. At their weakest, the recipient is placed in union with the Passion of Christ, thus making their suffering holy. If they cannot receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation then Anointing also provides for the forgiveness of sins. The nature of this wonderful sacrament is to turn the recipient away from fear toward hope. Hope in God's mercy and salvation, in His restorative power for the soul and for the body as well.

The second Sacrament of Service is Matrimony.

The First Sacrament of Service is Ordination.

Before a candlelit altar, a young groom takes the hand of his bride and vows: "Today I commit my body and spirit to you.

I promise to try always to make our relationship grow through openness in communication; through trust in your willingness to work toward our mutual good; through faith in our love for each other even when that love seems hidden for the moment.

"Today I promise you the freedom to grow and develop your talents and capabilities. I promise to rejoice in your personal growth and to work out with you any problems this growth entails.

"Today I pledge to join with you in a union that is meant to be fruitful. I promise to join with you in establishing a household that is open to the needs of others, where we can, so far as we are able, provide a place of warmth and belonging to those who have none."

I didn't read ownership or possession in any of that, did you?

They call it, "Holy Orders."

The official word is Ordination.

Priests are able to preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, hear confessions and give absolutions, anoint the sick, and celebrate the Eucharist or the Mass. Some priests are later chosen to be bishops; bishops may ordain priests.

It is the absolution part that is most important to most human beings in the Catholic Church. Although in our family we like when they coming on golf outings, too.

Order is the appropriate disposition of things equal and unequal, by giving each its proper place (St. AugustineCity of God XIX.13). Order primarily means a relation. It is used to designate that on which the relation is founded and thus generally means rank (St. ThomasSupplement 34.2 ad 4um). In this sense it was applied to clergy and laity (St. Jerome, "In Isaiam", XIX, 18; St. Gregory the Great, "Moral.", XXXII, xx). The meaning was restricted later to the hierarchy as a whole or to the various ranks of the clergyTertullian and some early writers had already used the word in that sense, but generally with a qualifying adjective (TertullianExhortation to Chastity 7, ordo sacerdotalis, ordo ecclesiasticus; St. Gregory of Tours, "Vit. patr.", X, i, ordo clericorum). 

Order is used to signify not only the particular rank or general status of the clergy, but also the outward action by which they are raised to that status, and thus stands for ordination. It also indicates what differentiates laity from clergy or the various ranks of the clergy, and thus means spiritual power. The Sacrament of Order is the sacrament by which grace and spiritual power for the discharge of ecclesiastical offices are conferred.

Holy Orders is not sainthood. I heard someone state the other day about wayward priests, "They never incorporated the definition of their lives that the church intended for them." That is by far the most decent statement I have heard.

I never had a bad experience with any priest, bishop or cardinal. Never met the Pope. Our local parishes were run by talented men dedicated to the people and carried out their responsibilities with dedication and grace. No lie. They were educated, worldly and rejoiced in the accomplishments of their flock. Basically, nice guys.

If there were relationships among them, no one had a clue. They were all wonderful men and women dedicated to their professions.

I don't doubt the church has a problem. They also need to mind their own business and seek to heal their flock in their day to day lives and leave national politics alone. The church hurts itself in many ways, including excluding men and women who could bring about favor to it; in exchange for power over the uterus. It is wrong and they need to stop playing god in the lives of an entire nation.

Priests sometimes fall out of love with their faith, no different than a man and woman falls out of love with each other. It happens. It is human.
Now that adulthood has arrived there is a branching of the path forward. There is becoming a nun or a priest or a person committed to another in marriage. 

Both paths are similar.

They are both forms of marriage.

One is to a partner for life and the other as a partner to god.

Most everyone becoming a dedicate person to god usually states it is a 'calling.' A longing, if you will.

There is a dear friend that once believed he was destined to be a priest. He went to the church to receive the sacrament for the priesthood, but, he left. He stated, there was a common ground most of the other men experienced that he did not. They all spoke of their experience before they became a priest and it was indeed a calling. An emotional experience to move them to the priesthood. He stated for as much as he loved god, he never had the experience that all the others did. At that point, he thought he was there for his love of god and not god's love of him.

He never married. 

So, if you aren't confused enough after communion, then comes this name change thing.

It is called confirmation. It isn't nearly as much fun as what the Senate does to a Secretary of Defense Candidate, but, you get lots of presents and money, so why ask questions?

But, you have to have another sponsor. This time you get to ask someone you approve of because you can ask for yourself. So, it is a favorite Aunt of Uncle or neighbor that belongs to the same church that knows all the things you told the priest in confessions all these years.

Then there is a name you have to choose. I took my mother's middle name. I kinda felt I had to because otherwise she would have cried or something. I wanted to take the name Virginia for obvious reasons. It's a god thing, ya know? But, what the heck, Grace was close enough.

This is the right of passage into adulthood. It happens about the same age at the mitzvahs. 

 "God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your heart."

Yep, that lasted until I got serious with my boyfriend and went on the pill at seventeen. Then even Grace didn't seem like an appropriate name anymore. What the heck. My best friend was valedictorian of our class and she was asking me for advice about her boyfriend and the pill. We had confirmation on the same, too. Ah, those sweet years before college. Proms. SATS. Football. Cheerleaders. Indeed. Achievement.

It is called Confirmation because it confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.

Baptism, Communion and Confirmation are all ceremony of initiation. Catholicism is a community commitment. It is a celebration of an individual life. Every life. Not just a congregation, but, every life is initiated into the holiness of the church. Every person has a place. It seems so very strange to me to have individuals left out of the church when they have done nothing but be human.
I can't find a picture anywhere of the Pope-copter when it landed at the castle.

Immediately upon landing there was smoke coming from the engine area. It looked like pink smoke. 

Then the next thing that happened was for the Pope to get out of the Pope-copter and the next picture was him standing next to a man in a metalic suit. 

I think those fellas in the metalic suits douce the engine with some kind of fire retardant before the Pope gets out. That is my best guess.

They probably want to avoid this:

Just thought I'd bring it up since no one else did.

The name given to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar in its twofold aspect of sacrament and Sacrifice of Mass, and in which Jesus Christ is truly present under the bread and wine.

Other titles are used, such as "Lord's Supper" (Coena Domini), "Table of the Lord" (Mensa Domini), the "Lord's Body" (Corpus Domini), and the "Holy of Holies" (Sanctissimum), to which may be added the following expressions, and somewhat altered from their primitive meaning: "Agape" (Love-Feast),"Eulogia" (Blessing), "Breaking of Bread", "Synaxis" (Assembly), etc.; but the ancient title "Eucharistia" appearing in writers as early as Ignatius, Justin, and Irenæus, has taken precedence in the technical terminology of the Church and her theologians. The expression "Blessed Sacrament of the Altar", introduced by Augustine, is at the present day almost entirely restricted to catechetical and popular treatises.

So, it is sorta like getting married to god. Basically. The Holy Communion is the way a person is told for most of their lives it is okay to be human. A person can go about their lives and commit sins, confess those sins, make an act of contrition and go back to being who they are while still being 'good enough' for heaven. All tied up in a neat little package for the rest of one's life.

It is amazing to realize a little wafer cookie can do all that. I mean they aren't even cooked by the Girl Scouts.

"Shazam, I'm good to go."

The Church likes to say the next Sacrament is Communion. Not really.

The next sacrament that scares a kid half to death is penance. It is considered a sacrament of healing.

In order to accept Communion (the body of Christ - I'll get to that) the church sees this sweet innocent child as tainted.

So, a child bearly in the second grade has to come to terms with the idea they are sinful in life. It is kind of a weird thing, but, you sort of get your head around it by reciting the Ten Commandments and the Fourth one is the real clincher. 

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which The Lord your God gives you." Exodus 20:12 RSV

The Fifth Commandment did it for most of us. We got the picture. Obey Jesus like you obey parents. That pretty much says it all, so going into the confessional was kinda okay. You could tell a man on the other side of a curtain that you stole your sister's allowance and all you had to do was say enough prayers to cleanse the soul. He never made you give it back. That was cool. So going to confession was like the best thing that could happen, unless you were really convinced you were going to die between Sundays and and Saturday evening confessions.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good 
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.

Bless me, father for I have sinned.
It has been seven days since my last confession
and I have...and please don't tell my mother.
Baptism can occur at any age, but, for Roman Catholics it usually is the right of passage to protect the soul after birth.

Baptism is the first sacrament, and through it a person is washed clean of the stain of original sin, enters the state of grace, and becomes a member of the Church. The action of baptism is the pouring of water while saying the following: I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. A priest is the usual minister of baptism, but in very unusual circumstances (such as danger of death) ordinary lay people can administer it. People of any age can be baptized, but the traditional Catholic practice is to baptize infants and unbaptized adult converts. The person who is baptized has one or two sponsors, who are known as godparents, and the godparents pledge to assist the parents in the religious education of the child. In the solemn baptismal ceremony, the person baptized is anointed with two different consecrated oils. 

    Baptism imparts a special mark or character on the soul, and a person can only be baptized once in his or her lifetime. Baptism is necessary in order to receive the other sacraments. Baptism is said to be one of the “sacraments of initiation,” the other two being confirmation and Eucharist.

See, as a Roman Catholic you are fucked right from the start unless Mom and Dad get you to the baptismal before something terrible happens and you go to hell before you know what hell is. So, parents are sincerely traumatized by the very idea of the child until baptismal happens.

Original sin dates back to Adam. He screwed up. Literally. The price one pays. I always wanted to know if Adam made it to the pearly gates and if Eve was there to greet him. Just one of those things a soul has to wait to find out. But, as a Catholic Kid it plays with your head, ya know?

Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.
From the earliest times the latter sense of the word was more common, as may be seen by St. Augustine's statement: "the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin" (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43). It is the hereditary stain that is dealt with here. As to the sin of Adam we have not to examine the circumstances in which it was committed nor make the exegesis of the third chapter of Genesis.

It it is good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for anyone.

When he was thirty, he began to preach on the banks of the Jordan against the evils of the times and called men to penance and baptism "for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand". 

He attracted large crowds, and when Christ came to him, John recognized Him as the Messiah and baptized Him, saying, "It is I who need baptism from You".

The Sacraments are the essence of the Catholic life.

The Latin word sacramentum (click here) means "a sign of the sacred." The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. That's what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God's grace.

The Sacraments are more important than the very doctrine the church holds dear to it's reason for existing.

It would be nice of Roman Catholics actually had a Pope rather than a political agitator.

The Guardian

...Instead, (click here) the papacy of Benedict has made inescapably thorny problems harder to solve. And Cardinal O'Brien has been caught by the spire of a narrow church that he helped to build.

The Roman Catholic has no place discharging it's own reality to act in denial to speak out politically against sexual behavior of the flock. At least the flock is moral and socially sanctioned.

The Catholic faith is a rather beautiful religion. It provides right of passage through a person's life time.
It' Sunday Night

Luciano Pavarotti - Ave Maria

Ave Maria, gratia plena.
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris,
Ventris tui, Jesus.
Ave Maria

Sancta Maria,
Ora pro nobis,
Nobis peccatoribus,
Nunc et in hora
Mortis nostrae.
Ave Maria

The majority of Americans don't share the sentiment.

...When asked about (click here) what it's like to watch Washington from the outside, Mitt responded, "I wish I were there. It kills me to not be there, to not be in the White House doing what needs to be done."... 

He stated President Obama didn't believe "The Sequester" would happen? Why did President Obama seek the help of Americans to stop it, if he didn't believe it would happen?

It is not politics. "Those terrible Republicans aren't willing to come together." Well?

And as far as getting along with Democrats, he passed the nation's first comprehensive health care law in Massachusetts. What wasn't there to get along with?

"What I said (at the 47% video) is not what I believe." I bet. Then why say it? Money? Mitt Romney needed money from a man and his friends that had sex parties? Look, can a man say he affiliates with people he disagrees with on a moral level and take funding in the spirit of democracy? What does say about the man running. The 47% video was more telling than anyone wants to admit. 

Mitt Romney is a man constantly conflicted with morality. He was conflicted with Bain Capital and the fact he put people on unemployment roles while he bankrolled huge amounts of money for investors, but, he yet wanted to put Americans back to work. 

He was conflicted when he met with funders of his campaign when he stated there were American people that were basically leaches on the country. The people in the room were not offended by his statements.

He was conflicted about his statement about including women in his administration. "Binders of women" is not a way of seeing women as valuable. Not in a way that matters. What women? Random women? What women are significant in the building of the USA? Can they be found in binders? Or are they found in history books? Or are they found anywhere in the annals of this country, other than sewing the nation's flag?

Where were the minorities in his life? On the periphery because they weren't his investors or funders?

No, thank you.

No one is really surprised the drone program was not to be recognized by the White House press secretary, right?

It is a concern of Americans and rightfully so. There are basically two issues. When is the use of drones by the USA considered war and what gives any such program the right to exist that is a direct threat of American lives?

Robert Gibbs brought up an interesting point. This program existed before President Obama took office. In all honesty, we don't know how rigorous this program was before it has become a focus of the media after the death of an American citizen in Yemen followed by his son. The reason I believe the program was not a focus is because Iraq was. 

The American people were vigilant of their soldiers in Iraq. They were being killed as well as neglected by the government. They were initially sent to war without sufficient armor and literally dropped off in Iraq to make the most of a bad situation.

When the Iraq War ended and the troops ended their presence there, the American people were then presented with a new reality. Drones and their threat to Americans. 

There is a good chance the nation won't know a great deal about the program until it is declassified a couple decades from now. We can monitor it and read about it and decide about the appropriate nature of the program as we understand it now, but, whether or not today's reality is a good measure of the program since inception is hard to say.

No news agency should be seeking to protect First Lady Obama when she is not politically correct.

I believe her candor is more important and a clear demonstration of her honesty and honor.

There is silly discussion about whether or not ABC was seeking to hide their reasons to edit the First Lady's words about 'automatic' weapons. I find it refreshing the First Lady is not parsing her words and seeking to be politically correct. She is Mom. She wants the violence to stop and I applaud her for being as public as she is about the issue.

I and I believer many in the country are tired of the idea that every word spoken has a deep dark meaning of some kind of political INTENT. That is nonsense. She is about the sweetest lady we could hope for with young children. The girls are wonderful. If the First Lady states the weapons were automatic I am quite certain she is about as innocent of any political agenda as any other parent in the country.

I don't know about the First Lady's thoughts about all this, but, when children are dead it sure as heck feels as though it is automatic weapons. The First Lady is innocent of being political and is as dedicated as any of us seeking to end this madness. I congratulate her and am grateful for her to speak so easily and willingly about the issue of securing our children from harm. I don't care if ABC believes they have to modify her words to protect her from those desiring to harm her politically. It was somewhat kind of them to do so, but, in all honesty, it isn't worth the wrath from other media sources to conduct any editing that would be propagandized as political to taint the message of the NRA or others.

It is fine for the First Family to be human. It makes it real and palpable and I find that refreshing.

Tuesday ABC's "Good Morning America" (click here) edited out an inaccurate assertion by First Lady Michelle Obama that the gunman in a Chicago killing used an "automatic weapon."
Regarding the death of teenager Hadiya Pendelton, Mrs. Obama asserted, "And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need." This quote appeared online, but not in the February 26 interview with Robin Roberts that aired on the network.
The Chicago Tribune explained "...a day after her homicide on Jan. 29, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the gunman possibly used a revolver because no bullet casings were found at the shooting scene — as there would be if a semi-automatic or automatic weapon had been used."

"Argo" is a film about Hollywood. So, it was an award to Hollywood by itself.

I still don't understand why the main character was played by Ben Affleck. I believe the main character was Menendez. He should have been played by a Hispanic man. The scene where he tucks a prayer card in his papers before leaving for his mission to bring the six Americans home, was an obvious statement about the culture of Hispanic Americans. I found it odd Affleck played the main character. Argo had superior editing. The editing made the film, but, I still don't see it as Best Picture. The editing was definitive to the suspense in the picture.

Menendez was given awards for his bravery, but, Hollywood never was recognized for the vital link it played to the success of saving lives. So, basically, Hollywood provided an award to it's greatness and patriotism. And it was. There is no doubt if Hollywood was not involved, Menendez would never have succeeded and there may have been dead Americans instead of those that returned to the USA well ahead of everyone else.

"...he doesn't want to do war...." President Obama needs to call the guy. Stop standing on ceremony. Please.

North Korea is not going to destroy the USA, so there is no reason to continue that dialogue. North Korea is unable to destroy the USA.

Dennis is right. It seems as though Kim needs to come to the USA for talks. He

Kim needs to begin to find his way out of the maze of hatred and oppression. The North Korean people need a break. Kim, Jr. might be the very person that can bring about that paradigm shift. Seriously.

This entire escalation of tensions and muscle flexing does seem like a scenario to be taken seriously. It is not as though North Korea doesn't have capacity, but, in realistic terms their options are limited. Damaging, of course. But, for Kim to actually articulate his willingness to talk in a serious way to prevent confrontation is more than welcome. I would not trivialize it.

I would like to see the end of the DMZ and a tourist attraction to a peace marker of the border with the ability of families to visit each other. I'd like to see free trade between the North and South. I would like to see NORMALIZATION of relations between the two countries and talks to what the identities of a divided peninsula really means.

There are huge deficits between the quality of life of the two countries on a single peninsula. I'd like to see the people of North Korea eating and kept warm. I'd like to see their fisherman providing a healthy diet to their nation. I'd like to see products of North Korea sold in the USA to consumers. I'd like to see cultural exchanges. I'd like to see a laundry list of consumer demands by the North Koreans the USA could bring to them in a measure of peace, prosperity and well being. 

If Dennis can do that, he can do anything.