Archives for posts with tag: catholic

I have not posted in this blog for a long, long time. Unfortunately, it’s also because I’ve been spiritually weak for a long, long time. I hope to God I can find the strength to grow closer to him everyday again.

It might be the perfect post to ask why Catholics meditate on Christ’s Passion more so than any other Christian sect. In particular, Catholics pay special attention to Christ crucified.

Now, there are multiple places on the web where you can receive historic, philosophical, or theological answers to the question of the Crucifix. But after some contemplation, I realised precisely why we should meditate upon this graven image of Our Blessed Lord.

The Crucifix is a symbol of God’s love for the world.

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” John 3: 16.

Every time I feel that I don’t deserve God’s love, I’m at peace to see Him on the cross, for that is where He wants to be for me.

The Compassion, 1897, William-Adolphe Bouguereau

The Compassion, 1897, William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

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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. Matthias, positively male.

It’s amazing how the Catholic Church inspires Her enemies to put their two cents on how it should run. Didn’t the Devil, the greatest enemy of the Church, also tell Jesus how it should be done? My response to his increasingly fervent anti-Roman posts below, and yes, I’m aware I made a mistake of calling Barnabas the Apostle the original disciples added to the Twelve. St. Matthias, pray for us!

“Such a move would, overnight, confront the global mindset that the Roman Catholic Church denies equality and justice to women. By permitting women to serve as cardinals, the obsessions over male priesthood and episcopacy would be dispelled. This is not some superficial feminist revolution: it is Catholic theology incrementally adapting.”

It is a good thing, then, that the Roman Catholic Church does not care what the world thinks of it. In fact, in the words of Our Blessed Lord, they will hate the Church because they hated Him first. Christ did not care for his perception, and died because of it. I mean, that’s Christianity 101 (Or maybe it’s 304 now. It seems people think Jesus was a hippie peace-and-love figure who, through some ambiguous logic, volunteered himself for the Cross).

So we care not for perception. Which is good, because we do have a history of venerating women who strove to perfect their Christian virtue. The Blessed Virgin would be the first one, and ironically, the one every non-Catholic faith has trouble with us exalting. Next in line, Mary Magdalene, who we do not distinguish from Mary of Bethany nor the anointer of Jesus, and so venerate her incredible repentance and devotion to Our Lord and His Mother.

Then there is the Medieval Era, from which saints such as Hildegard von Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, and Teresa of Avila hail from. That would be the same Hildegard von Bingen who could rival even the most learned male theologians, Catherine of Siena who even commanded the Pope’s respect, Joan of Arc who shaped France through her zeal for Christ, and Teresa of Avila, the monastic reformer.

And then there’s also that poor case of Catherine of Aragon, who was cast aside by Henry VIII, but not before he and his English diocese decided to “reform” the Church in England so he could do so. It really didn’t matter if she couldn’t produce an heir, the Catholic Church could not annul the marriage based on her physical conditions (and/or the King’s infidelity). It would have been, y’know, against God’s will, precisely because it’s pretty sexist.

Now, come to think of it, the 15th century “reforms” had a lot to do with how reformers viewed women, and they weren’t for good either. Martin Luther could not keep it in his pants, and neither could the King of England. Hence married priests in Lutheranism. Hence divorce and remarriage in Anglicanism. The seeds for misogyny and sexism were engendered in the period of the Reformation, not Roman Catholicism.

So again, we’re not entirely concerned with our perception. The world will always distort the One True Faith. When Christ set out to appoint only men for administrative positions in the Church, it was probably for a reason. Surely if women were perfectly fine he would’ve chosen his Mother and Mary Magdalene, who were as zealous as even Paul and Peter for the love of God. Instead, he chose the twelve apostles to govern his Church. One man would betray him, and another ten deserted him at his Passion. When they regrouped at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit inspired them to chose Barnabas to replace their ranks. Maybe they should have sought a Barbarella instead.

Perhaps Cranmer, it was another case of where Our Blessed Lord had some silly ideals about how to live a Christian life. Already the reformers thought Christ’s command of the Sacrament of Marriage was naive, and then to hand down his Church to foolhardy men, and men only?

How silly the Son of God could be.

Cranmer, you are popular because you are a brilliant conservative political commentator, with a witty and sharp insight into a lot of the issues facing the world today. But if there was ever proof that the Catholic Church contained the Truth, your mental gymnastics in criticising her ways – far more bizarre than any of your other opinions – are certainly a good showcase.

I only hope that you pray as fervently as you blog.

In Christ.”

Pride.

It was the first sin committed against God by Lucifer himself. It is most common stumbling block amongst the elite and powerful. Each and every one of us has been struck by pride in their lifetime, and for many, it’s the constant source of their woes.

It’s personally my biggest failing for as long as I can remember. I have been blessed to have been given not only a superior intellect, but an unerring passion for knowledge and wisdom. Naturally, if people were to argue about things they have less knowledge, desire, and perception about, I sometimes brush them off and let them know it. Like the rich men in the Letter of James, through my superior power I can throw my weight around. For the briefest moment, it’s sinfully gratifying. But it’s also absolutely soul crushing. I feel haunted by tyranny for a long time afterwards.

Furthermore, I’ve caught myself doing the exact same things that we heard the Apostles did in the Gospel of Mark. John the Theologian said,

‘Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’

Jesus then tells him and the other Apostles to leave them alone… before lecturing them. Some might construe this as evidence against a visible hierarchy such as the Catholic Church, where mere faith in Jesus makes you a legitimate follower, though such views fall into the trap of cherry-picking Bible quotes (the reality, I think, was that those casting devils out were the other disciples of Jesus, just not one of the Twelve. In fact, it seems to confirm a hierarchy even while Christ was alive). The gospel makes clear that we, as faithful Christians, should never prevent others from worshipping God. That’s not to say we should tolerate incorrect worship – Christ did not tolerate the Pharisees, for example – but if we come between Christ and his faithful, we are liable to sin. The remedy to obstruction, then, is humility and meekness.

“And from pride preserve your servant, never let it be my master. So shall I be above reproach, free from grave sin.”

Our Blessed Lord always taught us to be humble and meek, yet it seems contrary to human nature. And surely, to aspire to share in the divinity of the Holy Trinity is to aspire to share in glory and greatness? However, no one can deny that living in humility and meekness keeps our minds clear, hearts settled, and souls satisfied.

It’s one of the many ironies of life, and thus of the Christian faith, and perhaps a mystery in which we must reflect and pray for understanding.

Num 11:25-29, Ps 19:8,10,12-13,14, Jas 5:1-6, Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48