Archives for the month of: April, 2013

A fantastic explanation of our Blessed Mother 🙂


Scott Hahn posted this video in celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Scott Hahn explains about Mary as the New Eve and is very informative so I have posted the video today.

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St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, pray for us.

As Catholics, we know what love truly is, and romantic love, a subset of this all-encompassing “agape”, must be expressed correctly in order to receive true joy. When we reject correct expression – whether through harboring hatred, deceiving, dishonoring elders, impeding the growth of children, and misusing human sexuality through unorthodox practices, etc – we fall short of how we are designed to live, and society breaks down. Almost everyday you will hear all of those rejections happening in the news. Almost everyday you hear that society is getting worse.

My local parish priest is an interesting case. I believe he use to be part of the military, so you could imagine he is very precise and unwavering. Perhaps you would think he is intimidating, as many in the parish have. When I confessed a lot of things to this priest one day, however, he did something none of my super-liberal, self-professed tolerant ‘friends’ never really did: he listened to me, and he listened to me with the most utmost compassion. I hardly ever went to that parish at that point, mind you. But he listened to me as if he knew me since I was a child.

That is not why I remain devoutly Catholic, because my feelings were not hurt by a good guy. I’m never one to be convinced by emotional pandering. Rather, good knowledge and honest wisdom no matter how you break it will always receive my attention. What he explained to me next was so simple, yet so appealing to my intelligence: live your life correctly, and everything will follow suit.

Many people in today’s world would be at a loss to understand what ‘living life correctly’ entails. Our forefathers of modern society did us a great disservice in leading us to ideologies which are dangerous to our souls. Men such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, David Hume, and Michel Foucault among many others have poisoned the mind of Western society beyond repair. Many people repeat these mens’ worldviews without even knowing who they were by name or deed. These men have destroyed our society so much that even discerning the good life is considered a futile task, hence “live and let live”. Those uncultured then, live like rabid dogs. Those esteemed, write their own realities hopelessly. All remain stupefied as to why the world cannot find true peace.

Anyway, using the Aristotelean and Thomistic notions of ethical living is simple, if yet very insightful, and a lot of it remains grounded in natural law; that being the derivation of morality and ethical behaviour from understanding how the universe works. To keep on topic, I won’t make an example of Aristotelean or Medieval ethics, but suffice to say, my priest desired me to live chastely. Living chastely does not mean simply abstaining from sexual desire, which is what many caught up in a sex-obsessed world would automatically think. No, to live chastely (or continently) means to control your entire being. It is to practice the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. It is, in essence, calming your soul, and steering it in the right direction.

And never to downplay Catholic spirituality, my priest told me to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion as often as possible. Again, this is not exclusively because of sexual lusts, but all the sins one can accumulate over a period. Christ instituted these Sacraments for this very reason, for reconciliation with God. It is a shame not many people today receive Holy Communion. It is a shame that those who do receive Holy Communion, do so without going to Confession.

Unlike Protestants and evangelicals who believe their healings happen in one of their emotionalist clown services, it has been an interesting, rocky, but deeply fulfilling path I have taken over the last several years. Not all of it is easy sailing, and I have fallen into old sins more often than not, but I have a greater discernment and zeal for what is right and just, and what the priest has promised me is happening: my soul is definitely stilling. The flip side, of course, is that now that the storm inside of me is withering away, the storm outside of me is increasing tenfold. I would assume many of my peers are starting to find me very irritable, perhaps thinking me overzealous, and even a little crazy. A bit like how the crowds viewed Our Blessed Lord and the Apostles, then.

How living chastely specifically affects my sexuality though, is probably still in the minds of some readers. If it wasn’t clear before, the fact is I’m attracted to both sexes to different degrees. Relationships with both men and women are very difficult for me, which is partly the reason why I don’t get along with virtually anyone (to the few I meet up with on an occasional basis, I can’t thank you enough). I suppose, if I chose to, I could sustain a marriage with a woman ’til death do us part. The tricky bit is that I don’t want to. In fact, over the last year, I’ve been seriously contemplating celibacy. The continence I have developed over the years is becoming sturdier than I imagined, and I hope soon enough that the joy in living the lifestyle St. Paul recommended outpaces all other desires.

I want to call on the intercession of St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church for this one. Augustine too was once a young man plagued with incessant sexual longing, and it was not until he gave up his desire for material glory (good wife, children, wealth, esteem, and so on) did he find true peace and joy. Ironically, he would become one of the most famous men in history.

St. Augustine, pray for us.

As I write this, the legalisation of same-sex ‘marriage’ in New Zealand has already been passed. I’m not surprised, I’m not shocked. I’m rather sad, but also pretty angry. But most of all I feel lonely. Take a look at this:

I was told many stories of how if one does not conform to this “LGBT movement”, even (or especially) as someone with same-sex attraction, you would be skewered by those that demand ‘tolerance’ and ‘love’. I really did not feel the effects until that great example hit me last night. I apologize for my bad language, but I was really riled up and hurt then. I haven’t officially told everyone I have SSA, so I might have spilled the beans previously. Even so, why would this person continue to ridicule me considering my affliction? The person has not come forward and offered an apology. For that matter, no one else has come forward to offer me consolation, despite filling up the newsfeed with praise and joy for the newly passed Bill. So much for tolerance, love, and compassion from the pro-LGBT crowd huh? If you’re one of those that are reading this and haven’t done as such: firstly, I’m use to it. Secondly, shame on you.

Anyway, the feeling of loneliness is a combination of many things, including then, my sexuality.

I did not grow up in a healthy environment. I’ll spare the details for the sake of my beloved family, but it’s the type of stuff Hollywood writers dare to dream. Being both physically and emotionally distanced from your parents and siblings has a dire effect on your psychology, exacerbated perhaps by pre-existing mental conditions that I have, and the things that have gone on in the last 10 years.

However it came to be, my sexuality failed to develop properly. I felt more at home in the company of women, and always found my male friends a little distant. If the buck stopped there, that would be an easy diagnosis of same-sex attraction. It didn’t, because despite admiring many qualities in men, I could never find myself carnally desiring them. In the company of women, however, chatting as women like to chat, I found that I was attracted to their bodies, even if I couldn’t stand the way women think (I suppose I think too much like a woman to care). I really believed I got away scot-free.

No, things spiraled way out of control. There are things I’ve thought and acted upon that would make NAMbLA blush, and this is not a gossip column anyway. The fact of the matter was, I started questioning the validity of heterodox sexual ideologies.

Because of the way I thought, acted, and felt, I had the slightest feeling that heterodox sexual ideologies simply cannot be alternative, healthy, normal, or even real orientations for that matter. It had to simply be damaged heterosexuality. After all, if it was normal, shouldn’t our bodies follow our orientations? Does a man with same-sex attraction have the ability to impregnate another male, or a woman another woman? Does the same man still have the ability to impregnate a female, and does the same woman have the facilities to be impregnated by a male? If so, why is it not called abnormal to have such an attraction? There is obviously a discord between mind and body, of which it must be an error. If you don’t accept this, you’re living a lie.

It should not have been to my surprise that such a lie was lived from the beginning. The LGBT movement spent three years, from 1969 to 1973, waging war against the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a psychological disorder. You heard that right: they removed homosexuality as a disease through militant political propagation, not newfound medical evidence. Check this badge out:

It just screams tolerance, compassion, and love!

And here’s a picture from the notorious conference which changed the LGBT movement forever.

Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, and Dr. H. Anonymous.

That’s not a still from a 70’s horror movie, but it could well be. In the middle there is Frank Kameny, who bullied his way into getting the APA to listen, not unlike how the mafia gets their interests heard by the government. And why was Dr. H. Anonymous so scared to reveal himself in front of his peers? Because, let me reiterate: the removal of homosexuality as a psychological disease was never a medical decision, but a political one. See that woman on the left, Barbara Gittings? This is what she had to say about the momentous decision:

“It was never a medical decision – and that’s why I think the action came so fast. After all, it was only three years from the time that feminists and gays first zapped the APA at a behavior therapy session to the time that the Board of Trustees voted in 1973 to approve removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. It was a political move.”

From that point on, until today, the LGBT movement has not provided an iota of truth in their cause. It’s full of emotional pandering and political cajoling. You can even read about how they did it in this handy dandy LGBT movement book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays. Here’s their three step guide to get you in the mood:

  1. Desensitise people to the idea of homosexuality. Throw it out everywhere.
  2. Victimize yourself to get people on your side. Demonize those who oppose you.
  3. Getting your foot in the door is not enough. Simple toleration is unacceptable. Everyone must be converted to the new ideology.

Sounds a little bit tyrannical, doesn’t it? You would think with all this dreadful history, pro-LGBTers would think twice about their movement. The trouble is none of them even know it. None of them seem to want to know it. And this is scary, because such decisions clearly affect people. Furthermore, considering the means in which the agenda has been propagated, common sense will dictate that effect for all parties it won’t be good.

That’s all for Part 1. For Part 2, I will talk more about how I’ve dealt with my defection personally as a devout Catholic.

Not sure who to ask for intercession for this particular case, but someone that seems to always stand by me in times of great duress is St. Philomena, the young virgin-martyr. St. Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for peace in our time.

The Boston Bombings are just another symptom of a very sick disease plaguing our decadent society. Just how long are we going to continue on our path to self destruction before we realize we’re the orchestrators of our own demise? Our Beloved Mother, pray for us.

‘The Problem of Evil’ is a term that has recently made its rounds in ethical discourse. It is a necessary term because in our world, moral relativism has no room for the idea of an objective evil. Naturally, I don’t like it. There is no ‘problem’ of evil. Such a term obfuscates its reality. It attempts to trivialize and remove ourselves from evil things, but in doing so, ironically increases our ability and capacity to do evil things.

It is like being ignorant of food nutrition. Say you like drinking soft drinks (fizzys as it’s called in the States). It is quite a popular beverage, and full of sugar. Say you love it so much, you begin to ignore the nutritional information on the label in the first year so you don’t feel guilty from excessive consumption. Your health deteriorates. Then in the next year, you become sceptical to the unhealthiness of soft drinks, perhaps suavely persuading naysayers that you have cut out other sugary foods anyway, while your health continues to deteriorate. Then the next year, you lash out at anyone that dares to try and tell you you’re slowly killing yourself. You know all there is to know about soft drinks right? So why the bloody hell wouldn’t you know what you’re doing? Your health continues to deteriorate. By the next year, you can’t ignore your body any longer. It might have even developed diabetes, and yet you continue to silently suffer in your own sugary addictions, probably still in denial. You try to find the ‘problem of nutrition’, except you are too far in obfuscation to accept your love for soft drinks was the cause of it all.

That is how the discourse of evil has come to its ‘problem’ in recent years. At first, we let our guard down to objective evil (for example, eternal union in holy matrimony). We then start talking about necessary evils (for example, divorce). And before we even realized it, we pretend evil doesn’t exist (for example, the problems of pre-marital sex). But it is real, and when it hits us, our elite intellectuals attempt to figure out why it exists. The idiots.

What I’m about to say next is what has been said a thousand times before. I find the only reason people won’t accept the premises is because it seems too easy to grasp, and the key to unlocking it of course, is a matter of faith.

In a perfect world, there would be no evil. We know this in our hearts. From the beginning, God desired to create a perfect world, a perfect union between Him and his creation. It was also to be a perfect union in love. In order for such a union to happen, a key component was freedom: the freedom to love. Without the freedom to love, a perfect union would be nothing. We would all simply be automatons bidding to His will, and our God isn’t the narcissistic type. With the freedom to love, however, comes the freedom not to love; a freedom to be selfish, and thus destructive; a freedom to be evil. Knowing that some of his creation would use their freedom to choose to not love him, God still created each and every single one of us. Why? Out of His own pure freedom to love, it seems.

Our brothers and sisters who choose evil have a very real effect on the rest of us, let alone themselves. Almost officially even, our society has chosen not to love God, but itself. It is no wonder so many hurtful things are happening in the world today, especially in the United States this past year. It is not even external forces it has had to be worried about, it is its own damned citizens that are wreaking terror amongst the population. This is not normal.

It is not stretch to say that in our time, we are at one of the furthest points away from God than we have been throughout history, and we have chosen this ourselves. Sacred Scripture clearly depicts what happens when we lose sight of the truth of our being, instead turn inwards towards our own selfish lusts. I’m reading 1 Maccabees at the moment, and boy is that one tragic story. It is also a very hopeful one, but only if the few and valiant turn back to God out of love.

Here’s a beautiful quote from Pope John XXIII about evil:

“All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth–and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. Thus arise all manner of errors, which enter the recesses of men’s hearts and the bloodstream of human society as would a plague. These errors turn everything upside down: they menace individuals and society itself.” -
Ad Petri Cathedrum, June 29, 1959

If that doesn’t succinctly describe the dreck we find ourselves in right now, I don’t know what does. May the peace of Christ be with us all.

The Orthodox community really do live up to their name when it comes to the liturgy. How I wish Catholic Masses the world over could be as beautiful as described by Gabe Martini!

Just a really old car.

If you know me real well, you know that I absolutely adore cars. I think it is one of the greatest inventions ever. To put that into perspective, the first true car was built in 1870, over 143 years ago. And I’m claiming this young invention is some of the best in our 6000 year recorded history.

It’s also a very good opportunity for me to reflect on my attachment to such things. Is my love for cars evil? Is it contrary to what God commands human beings to do?

I think the answer is both yes and no. An inanimate object is not usually good or evil, but they can sway the souls of people towards good intentions and bad intentions.

For example, if my sole goal in life was to own the absolutely beautiful Mercedes-Mclaren SLR, and in order to own one I ignore, reject, and deny my duties as a human being, then it would be a totally evil desire that I’m harbouring in my heart. The SLR costs over $1 million dollars (in any currency, really) and to work towards earning that amount is no small feat. Perhaps on my journey towards automotive nirvana I stopped being charitable, or stopped putting money in Offertory, or practiced malicious business strategies to win my way to one million; and in doing so, I’ve committed many sins to get there. That’s not good. In fact, I may have won my Merc-Mclaren in the end, but I’ve certainly lost Heaven.

You don’t even have to desire a supercar to fall into the mortal sins of greed and envy. I see people unashamedly drooling over smart phones, clothes, music concerts etc, and all it’s ever got us in was a massive economic debt which we still don’t know how to steer ourselves out of.

“So are you suggesting we become puritan and burn all our material wealth in a big bonfire?” Well no, I’m neither Gnostic nor Buddhist. As Catholics, we believe God made everything good in the world. He gave us brilliant minds to conjure brilliant things. So brilliant, in fact, there are such things as Ferraris running around. What I am suggesting, however, is that if every Ferrari in the world was destroyed in a blazing fire, we’d nevertheless remain joyous in the hope of the Lord.

Christ’s victory is all that matters.

That is not all, however. St. Paul implied in his (second?) letter to the Corinthians that he hoped everyone would live like he lived: poor, chaste, and ascetic. As a 21st century gentleman, those are some bitter, bitter pills to swallow. Why would St. Paul ask us to live poorly, chastely, and ascetically? Why would he ask me to rid my desire of owning a sublime super car?

“The Assumption of the Virgin”, 1475-1476, Francesco Botticini

To put it quite simply, there are no super cars in heaven. In fact, there’s very little of what we know and cherish from this world. Many people think of heaven as a place with palm trees and piña coladas, crystal chandeliers and Christmas hams. Sounds a lot like what we hope heaven to be, rather than what it is. What it really is, is a place of intense love between God and his creatures, both men and angels. Some have even suggested the love is nigh-orgasmic, but discretion in metaphor is advised due to our concupescience. But yeah, all signs point towards that kind of blissful experience.

It’s not that rejecting our love of material wealth and sulking on the streets is what attains us the glory of heaven. It’s realizing that everything we previously thought to be beautiful is nothing compared to what God has planned for us, and we must fervently desire it to get there.

To finish things off, let’s remind ourselves that Heaven isn’t an egalitarian society. It has a hierarchy, and there are those who are some way away from God’s light, while others are completely bathed within it. According to tradition, The Blessed Virgin is the most exalted of all God’s creatures, and not even the Seraphim have a higher honor than her. There is also a less well-known one in which one of our Catholic saints asked who was the next most exalted of our brethren. Apparently, that person is St. Francis of Assisi. Mary, Mother of God, is honored for her meekness and humility. Francis was made pure by his complete rejection of personal wealth, and vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Somehow I don’t think either of them would ever desire a Mercedes-Mclaren SLR, and I ask them to pray that I too, can rid myself of excessive pleasures in order to love God all the more.

Pope Francis at the altar at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

On his first day as the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis humbly went on his way to St. Mary Major Basilica, to pray to Our Lady for guidance. It was a stunning moment. If that wasn’t enough, the Holy Father knelt and prayed at the tomb of St. Pius V, the great Pope of the Counter-Reformation. Just exactly what does all of this mean though, and why should we expect something exciting?

The veneration of Mary is the most misunderstood aspect of Catholicism today. Both non-Catholic Christians and unbelievers think that Catholics worship Mary as a god. The former think its a form of idolatry, and the latter is convinced it’s proof that Catholicism is nothing more than pagan belief.

Nothing could be more further from the truth.

While it is not necessary for your salvation to have such a devotion, Devotion to The Blessed Virgin is one of the oldest aspects of Christianity. Jesus Christ himself venerated his Mother, and we are called to imitate Him as Paul mentions in his first letter to the Corinthians. Non-Catholics might claim that His devotion was as natural as any son would love his mother, but the focus on this blog is what it could mean for Pope Francis to make a humble, yet public veneration to Our Lady (in any case, read the first bullet point below to get a taste of why it’s faulty theology to assume the above).

In history, every time the Catholic Church becomes more orthodox and much stronger, devotion to Mary is the first sign. When the Catholic Church weakens, Mary is the first to go absent. Here are some highlights:

  • The Third Ecumenical Council in 431 defeated the poisonous heresy known as Nestorianism, by affirming Mary as the Theotokos, the “God-bearer”. This was to ensure that the understanding of Christ was not split between his humanity and divinity (coincidentally, the council first convened at the Church of Mary on June 22nd, my birthday =D)
  • The Medieval period is most famous for the development of Mariology, and mistakenly thought to be where devotion to Mary developed. Rather, the incredible strength of the Catholic Church during this period was founded in subliminal devotion to Our Lady built up over many centuries.
  • Protestant disdain for Marian devotion was rooted from the beginning, in the 16th century. 400 years later, Protestant churches today are in worse shape than even the dreadful state of the Catholic Church.
  • The Council of Trent, responding to the Protestant heresies, reaffirmed many Catholic practices, including devotion to Mary and the Saints. Thus began the Counter-Reformation and Baroque Period.
  • The Battle of Lepanto, one of the most decisive battles in history, the battle which prevented the Ottomans from invading and allowing Islam to spread throughout Europe; its victory is attributed to the intercession of Mary, implored through widespread use of the rosary before the battle.
  • In the last 50 years, devotion to Our Lady and the saints has decreased significantly among the faithful, let alone references and intercessions being taken out of liturgies. Look at the state of the Church now.

Through this very brief and amateur highlight of the last 2000 years, a pattern emerges in which veneration of Mary among the faithful increases the strength of the Church. When Pope Francis went to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, it was a plea to Our Lady to pray for us. That alone is a little ambiguous, but Pope Francis also went to pray before the tomb of Pope St. Pius V, the man who lead the Counter-Reformation and rejuvinated the Church against the attacks of many external forces.

For those that are still a little confused, it seems the Pope is anticipating a massive tide of change for Christ’s Church in our time on Earth, one in which there will be a lot of prayer, fasting, pain, and persecution. These are the consequences of being unfaithful to God, and while the Westboro Baptist Church and similar evangelicals may proclaim hellfire only on the heathens, the truth is that the hellfire first rains down on the Bride of Christ before it ever touches unbelievers.

And so, we pray to Mary, not only to protect the innocent who may suffer in the time to come, but for ourselves, that we turn to God, through Christ, and make ourselves unfailing temples of the Holy Spirit. That is, after all, what we were born to do.

I hope to do more posts concentrating on the theology of devotion to Mary, commonly known as Mariology, in further posts.