Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Yet more evidence of just how badly our bishops need our prayers:  
The Diocese of Little Rock is selling special photo packages of its movie-star bishop for all of his fans.

Fan club members have a choice of  the bishop's casual look:

or his formal look:

With all due respect to this bishop and the others, isn't this a bit much?  What next?

Next Post:
Altar Girl of the Year Beauty Contest

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fruitful Vocations: Habit Forming
Extinction: The Art of Ignoring the Obvious

The Nashville Dominicans:  It's Getting Kind of Crowded, Don't You Think?

It was surprising to discover that some people found my previous post offensive, since it was merely pointing out the obvious:  Habits worn by religious are a sign to the world.  Since 2002 we've read plenty about what priests can get away with when they're out of their clerics.  And since 1970, we've seen what happens to women's religious orders when they abandon their habits (and their original charisms):  vocational suicide.  

It doesn't take a genius to see that the lay-clad religious "communities" of women are liberating themselves into oblivion.  The same angry sisters who are insulted that the Vatican dares to investigate them should be far more concerned about something else:  They are an endangered species.  No, let me correct that.  THEY ARE A DOOMED SPECIES.  

There is no way that these orders can possibly survive so long as they persist in serving the false gods of feminism, community organizing, peace and justice, administration of non-profits, social work, union leadership, enneagram workshops, reiki, labyrinth-walking and the like.  

Catholics miss nuns who had the simple vocations of educating children, caring for the sick (no, not managing health plans), praying for priests, and being signs to the world of renunciation of vanity and riches for the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven.  

So why are habits so important?  Because they are a SIGN that a nun is following a traditional vocation just as the polyester pants suit is a sign that Sister Ralph isn't about to take orders from any male authority figure.

Here are a few photos of some women's religious groups.  You may notice some older ladies in the habited photos.  Thank goodness for their leadership.  What I was really looking for in my photo search was younger women among the habitless groups.  They just weren't there.  And if they are, there don't seem to be many who want their pictures taken, and certainly not enough to keep these orders going. 

Juxtaposed for your consideration:

The Children of Mary

The Poor Clares of Minneapolis

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Kansas City, KS

Benedictine Nuns, Indiana
(keepers of the "business suit" habit)

Franciscan Sisters of Renewal, New York

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, New York

Servants of the Lord and Virgin of Matara

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, New York

Capuchin Sisters of Christ

Sisters of Mercy, Knoxville
(Are they nuns or lawyers?)

Handmaids of the Precious Blood

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Little Sisters of the Lamb

Sisters of Loretto

The Sisters of Life

Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange

Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sovereign Priest

Benedictine and Mercy Nuns combined

Dominican Nuns, Springfield, Illinois

 Nashville Dominicans

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Behold the Dominican nuns pictured above.   We cannot see their faces, but we are instantly attracted to and fascinated by them.  And we all know why.  IT'S THE HABITS.

Nuns wearing habits are beautiful, enchanting and wonderful.  They are a bold rebuke to a corrupt society hypnotized by its own vanity.  They are a mystery.  Those habits are an invitation to God.  They preach to us.  They say, "I have something deeper that gives my life meaning and I don't need or want all that other stuff."

And nuns in habits almost always look happy.  Very happy. 

If you've ever moved to a new parish and been surprised to find that the older woman in the polyester pants suit sitting near the front every week was really Sister Pat, welcome to the club.

Why do nuns need to see hair stylists?  Why must they suffer the indignities of scanning the selections at Lane Bryant and Woman's World?  Does it bespeak their vows of poverty when they have to find just the right earrings or necklaces?  Do nuns really need makeup?  Does it show fidelity to the Church when their clothing is a product of the same modern world that has given us bikinis, breast implants and birth control pills?  

Does it convince the laity that a woman has renounced all personal vanity when she has to look "smart"?  Can the average layperson believe this is a woman "set apart" for God when she looks like everyone else?

Oh, we've all heard the arguments against habits:  

Many of these nuns work in the world, and habits just won't fit in.  Nuns in habits are not "approachable".  We need to make sure that the laity can see that nuns are real people just like you and me.


Of course nuns are real people!  Do you think those are martians in those habits?  There is no more approachable person you will find than a Catholic nun.  And, for the record, nuns are not "just like you and me."  They are ladies set apart, spouses to Our Savior, immersed in love and service.

Are you still not convinced?

All right then.  Here are 10 reasons why nuns should wear habits:


Sister Joan Chittester


Sister Jeanine Gramick


Sister Patricia Cruise


Sister Margaret Mary McBride


Sister Donna Quinn, OP


Sister Camille D'Arienzo


Sister Elizabeth Johnson


Sister Carol Keehan


Sister Barbara Reid, OP


Sister Mary Ann Hinsdale

And for all you "But what about Vatican II?" folks:

"The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God, should be simple and modest, poor and at the same becoming. In addition it must meet the requirements of health and be suited to the circumstances of time and place and to the needs of the ministry involved. The habits of both men and women religious which do not conform to these norms must be changed."

-Perfectae Caritatis 
 Vatican II Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life 

The key word here is "changed".  It doesn't say "eliminated".

Do you know of any religious orders without habits that are "renewed"?  

Finally, just in case you've missed the obvious, there's an eleventh reason nuns should wear habits:  They look more feminine.  Definitely.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet choose one of their own for a complete wardrobe update 
and makeover on TLC's 
What Not To Wear 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A little-known fact about the US Bishops:

Did you know that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has no power within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to make policies?

Did you know that the USCCB has "no relationship" with the laity of the Church?

Yet that is exactly what their attorneys have proclaimed in court.

In a 1996 lawsuit filed by clients who were abused by three Dallas priests, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB, which later became the USCCB) was named as a defendant, accused of engaging in a decades-long conspiracy to protect known sexual abusers.

Water under the bridge you say?  

You could be right, but it is instructive to understand why the bishop's attorneys made these assertions.  The attorney for the victims, Sylvia Demarest, said this:

" their legal papers, they say lay Catholics are 'strangers to the Bishops' conference,' and since the conference had no relationship with them, there was no duty to protect them, even from known danger.

"What lay Catholics need to know is that the Catholic bishops of the United States are telling a judge that they are not the shepherds of the Catholic flock, and they have no duty to protect them from a danger they knew about and, in fact, they created."

If you find this legalese employed by the NCCB to cover their backsides as despicable as I do, good.  You still have a moral compass.   

If you agree with the arguments of the bishops attorneys, bad.  You have forgotten what it means to be Catholic.

Your bishop IS your shepherd, regardless of what any attorney says.  There is one Judge who cannot be bought or bribed and when we appear before him, there will be no attorneys collecting any fees.

But let's go back to the USCCB (formerly the NCCB).  As a body, they DO NOT have quite the authority many of them would have us believe.

They do not have the power or authority to contradict the pope.

They do not have the right to subvert or violate canon law.

Their endless policy statements on topics as diverse as the economy, poverty, immigration, ecumenism, the environment and voting are condescending, tedentious and just plain irrelevant.  This is the same conference that cannot find the moral backbone to warn voters against specific candidates who are clearly pro-abortion and refuse to to stand up as a body to pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians.

So, if these bishops, as a body,  have no authority over us and if they have no relationship with the laity, why are they wasting our collection dollars to hire consulting firms and fly to semi-annual meetings at five-star hotels to make decisions that should have no bearing on us (by their own attorney's admission)?

Why indeed!  But that's the USCCB.

Now, back to YOUR BISHOP.

He DOES have authority.  He IS your shepherd.

Some of us have terrific bishops.  Many of us have so-so bishops.  Some of us have terrible bishops.  A lot of us can't tell what kind of bishop is running our particular diocese.

St. John Chrysostom warned us that the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.  But it is too easy for us to blame the ills of our Church on the bishops and turn the TV back on.  We have a responsibility to our Church.  As your shepherd, your bishop deserves your prayers, regardless of what kind of bishop he is.  If he is one of the bad ones, it might just be that your prayers could save him from paving Hell with his skull.  

If you really think your bishop's skull is destined for the walkways of Hell, pray, pray, pray.  You don't want to find yourself stepping on it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It has been reported that the Vatican is establishing a commission under the umbrella of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) to promote sacred art, sacred music and church architecture in various dioceses throughout the world.

One might describe the latter part of the 20th Century as the
"Age of Ugliness" in Catholic church architecture, so it is hardly surprising that CDW prefect Cardinal Canizares Llovera describes the creation of this committee as "very urgent."

Indeed, we have an entire generation that has grown up with a confused liturgy that has been further confused by what Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli describes as "avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church."

This is not an exaggeration. The photos speak for themselves:





The commission will do more than simply "recommend" any particular type of architecture. It will have the judicial power of the Congregation for Divine Worship to act.

How unfortunate that this commission did not exist a few weeks ago. Perhaps it could have stopped the Diocese of Orange's outgoing bishop, Tod Brown, from making the most embarrassing and permanent blunder of his tenure, the purchase of Robert Schuller's "Crystal Cathedral" in Garden Grove to use as the Diocese's new cathedral.


Sadly, many of these monstrously hideous relics of "secular Godlessness gone churchy" will be with us for generations. That is, unless the CDW implements the final solution. Let us pray that they do:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Month For Real Charity

Every day, people do heroic acts to help others. Firemen rescue people from burning buildings. Police rescue victims from their persecutors. Missionaries deliver food, clothing and education to the poor. Yet, one of the greatest areas of need remains ignored: The fate of the poor souls.

Purgatory is a fact. Catholics are REQUIRED to accept Purgatory as a dogma of their faith.

You never hear it preached? It's still there.

You don't like to think about it? It's still there.

How can a merciful and loving God permit such a thing?


Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God. God would not be a God of mercy if he were not also a God of justice. God is infinite in both virtues. Purgatory exists because we could not bear to be in the Presence of God with any kind of attachment to sin. God has sent his Son to forgive our sins and they are forgiven by baptism, penance and sacramental confession, but forgiveness does not severe our attachments to and the effects of our sins. If we visit our relatives for Thanksgiving and we fall in the mud, we are still invited to dinner--but would we want to come to the table dressed in our muddy clothes?

God has given us a way to attend His Heavenly banquet with unstained garments--and they have to be cleaned for our attendance.

It is cruel to neglect the souls in Purgatory. Jesus promised us that we will be shown mercy when we are merciful.

Would you leave your mother or father, brother, sister, son or daughter burning if you saw them on fire? Wouldn't you run for a bucket or hose to quench the flames?

Many of our deceased relatives and friends are burning. They are helpless, but we can help them. And by showing them mercy, we atone for our own sins and guarantee that when they are in heaven, they will intercede with God to show us the same mercy!

November is the month to quench the fire!

November is the month of the Holy Souls!

Pray. Offer your sufferings. Attend Mass. Tolerate annoyances. Pray the rosary. Pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

And do it for the Poor Souls. They are on fire.

Stop staring at the hose and turn it on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thomas Merton Said THAT?

"I am truly spry and full of fun, but am pursued by the vilifications of progressed Catholics. Mark my word man there is no uglier species on the face of the earth than progressed Catholics, mean, frivol, ungainly, inarticulate, venomous, and bursting at the seams with progress into the secular cities and Teilhardian subways. The Ottavianis was bad but these are infinitely worse. You wait and see."

-letter to Robert Lax, poet and friend of Merton, 1967