Saturday, May 20, 2006
LOVECRAFT IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S OPINION JOURNAL
H.P. Lovecraft's Afterlife
He was an atheist and a nihilist, and he's more influential than ever.
BY JOHN J. MILLER
Tuesday, March 15, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST
For a man who didn't believe in the afterlife, H.P. Lovecraft sure is having a remarkable one. Few people had heard of him when he died at the age of 46 on this date in 1937, and fewer still had read the stories he sold to tacky pulp magazines. Nowadays, however, Stephen King and just about everybody else in the know recognizes him as the 20th century's most influential practitioner of the horror story--a claim he arguably clinched last month with the publication of his best works in a definitive edition.
If our country's literary canon has a dress code, then surely it involves those shiny black jackets covering the volumes produced by the Library of America. Lovecraft's new one runs for more than 800 pages and includes 22 novellas and short stories with titles such as "The Horror at Red Hook," "At the Mountains of Madness" and "The Thing on the Doorstep." There are now 25,000 copies in print, which is an above-average number for the nonprofit publisher. (A book of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and other writings, released at the same time, has an initial printing of 19,000.)
If I made the following connection, you guys would say I'm imagining things, so I'll let the WSJ make it:
Yet "The Call of Cthulhu" is also strangely engrossing, and contains many elements that will be familiar to fans of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown: The main character is an Ivy League professor determined to investigate ancient mysteries and their lingering effects on the present day.
CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS AND SCIENTOLOGY
The Church of the SubGenius has invited UK pop singer Robbie Williams to join its ranks.
[ClickPress, Wed May 17 2006] In May of 1996, pop singer Robbie Williams announced his intention to start his own mystical religion dedicated to extraterrestrials.
In response to this statement, the Church of the SubGenius has made an offer for Williams to join their ranks. Church member Reverend Modemac stated, "If Mr. Williams wants to join a UFO cult, then have we got one for him!"
The Church of the SubGenius is a popular organization often seen as a "parody" of religious cults, including Scientology, the Raelians, and the Unification Church.
From a Discordian message board:
Quit your job for "Bob"! Hallelujah! As a REAL SubGenius you are Blessed! Yes, sheer Slackful BLISS is yours for the TAKING. The SubGenius I'm talking about may fear Cthulhu but still is guarded by the Bleeding Head. And YES! he revels FOREVER in the joy of his newest ShorDurPerSav! The forbidden sciences teach that the slightest offhand comment made by "Bob" operates by HOLY instinct. The inner certainty of the SubGenius is living proof that the REAL SubGenius nature is DOOMED to perish in flames without Dobbs! Yip! Yip! YEEEEEEEE! Ever since PREHISTORY, since ATLANTIS! What about the Norms? I'll tell you about the CYNICAL pathetic humans who are DOOMED, their souls will be tasty TREATS for the monstrous one, the Anti-"Bob"! They will perish in their BILLIONS on X-Day! They are the PROLETERRORISTS, the TIME-servers, the Normals!(bolding mine - ct)
This website, folks, is what a Catholic apologist's blog will take you to if you start looking at Cthulhu websites. No "Abuse doesn't negate use" argument will excuse it. Sorry. Any true Catholic would recognize that to promote any aspect of the Lovecraft mythos is to oppose the Catholic Church. It's blasphemy pure and simple.
Cthulhu Vagina Enthusiast
From the website:
Come on, ladies - this isn’t sex, this is a Cthulhu attack. As always, the only sensible solution is lesbianism. By which I mean TATU style “Catholic schoolgirl lip kissing and breast caressing” lesbianism, not the smelly armpit style. Sparky, you start.”
In response, Sparky whipped up this picture of two lesbian Cthulhus muff-diving!
Then wrote this:
Here you go, Doc — lesbian Cthulhu porn. Above is a screengrab from either Miskatonic Mischief or Yog-So-HOT! — don’t know, but it sure is Great Racy, huh? Don’t ask me how you can tell if they’re both girls, or what that peach plastic THING is for. There are some things mankind just isn’t meant to know.
God, she’s great, and I’m as tickled pink as her fluorescent shock of hair to have her read my blog. Go preorder her game already, people!
PERUVIAN CHURCH OF CTHULHU
Not catholic, cthulolic
I live in a country (Peru) with a very strong catholic church. Even the constitution recognizes it as one of the main institutions here. In schools, everybody takes “religion”, which is just “catholicism”. Everybody seems to be catholic (or christian) here.
What is funny, is that most of these people don’t even know enough about their own religion or the bible to have a decent conversation (I have read the bible entirely a couple of times, it is one of my favorite science fiction books ever, the book of Job is amazing).
I am a “cthlulolic”. I am a member of the Peruvian Church of Cthulhu. Our beliefs are simple, we will all be killed, eaten and destroyed by Cthulhu. That’s all. It’s just a matter of who will be eaten first.
INTERESTING BITS OF INFORMATION FROM THE MAY 2006 "THE CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT"
In a segment on "Papal liturgies under review", a brief article about Archbishop Piero Marini, who has been the Papal Liturgist since 1987:
Archbishop Marini became involved in liturgical affairs as a young priest, serving as personal secretary to the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, a principal architect of liturgical changes in the wake of Vatican II.
I didn't know till last night that Marini was associated with Bugnini.
The article indicates that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has critized Marini's liturgies in the past, and that Benedict is "more demanding than his predecessor in watching plans for liturgical celebrations at the Vatican." Marini is quoted as saying "With John Paul II I had a bit more freedom..."
Uhm, yeah, that's one way of putting it!
Then there is the news brief titled "Anti-Christian campaign denounced: A 'Wave of Hatred'" which is Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina's plea for the world to recognize and to "respond with 'noble firmness' to the 'dominant and shameless' wave of hatred against Jesus Christ and the Church that he says has spread across the world." He is quoted further as saying:
We are not talking about isolated incidents"...but rather a series of simultaneous events that bear the "markings of a conspiracy."
An archbishop says there is a conspiracy??
Perhaps he didn't check with those solid American Catholics who think conspiracy theories are just foolish imaginings of fevered brains.
The article continues:
The archbishop mentioned several examples of attacks on Christianity, such as a recent issue ofRolling Stone magazine in which a famous rapper appeared wearing a crown of thorns; a short movie on Christmas in which Jesus and Santa Claus were in a fistfight; obscene cartoons about Jesus in a French newspaper, and the logo of a popular Swedish brans of jeans depicting a skull with an inverted cross. "More than 200,000 pairs of the jeans have been sold, and the designer has said his intention was to speak out against Christianity," the archbishop stated.
Other examples cited by Archbishop Aguer included the "infamous fables of The Da Vinci Code, which will gain new strength with the upcoming release of the film," and the so-called Gospel of Judas, a Gnostic writing that was rejected by St. Irenaeus in the year 180.
It's hard to overlook the fact that all of this is taking place at the very time when the Church is at Her weakest point thanks to the sexual abuse scandal. And it's hard to forget that comment in the book THE HELL-FIRE CLUBS by Geoffrey Ashe that "The Hell-Fire Club arose...at a juncture where more people than hitherto were looking upon the Church as discredited, and fair game."
That Hell-Fire Club is a prelude to Aleister Crowley's activities, which are a prelude to contemporary chaos magick activities that use the Cthulhu mythos.
There's a conspiracy afoot, alright, and its leadership resides in hell. The human conspirators are having a field day with Catholics right now. Hang on, it promises to be a bumpy ride with friendly fire all along the route.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
is the title of a new book on the subject. This one, too, claims that there are problems with accepting this apparition as genuine.
Friday, May 19, 2006
FINDING AN ANTIDOTE
After discovering Jimmy Akin's enthusiasm for Cthulhu I needed an antidote. Something to restore my faith in the saneness of Catholicism, something that demonstrated that the Church really does know there are evil powers out there that must be left alone. I found the antidote in a book titled The Necromancers by Robert Hugh Benson.
The book is available to be read here, and free for the printing if you want to read it offline. Fr. Benson is best known, I suppose, for Lord of the World, but he has other works to offer, many (all?) of them online. The Necromancers addresses directly the occult world.
A novel, the book was published in 1909. It concerns a young man, living in England who is a recent convert to Catholicism, and who falls in love with a young woman who dies shortly thereafter. The young man is devastated by the loss, and unfortunately happens to meet up with a spiritualist right after the girl's funeral, at a time when his greatest wish is to see the girl one last time. Ripe for the picking, he falls for the schemes of the spiritualist and her friend the medium, attending seances and hoping to be able to speak with his lost love. Eventually a materialization is attempted and accomplished successfully, but things go horribly wrong for the young man.
As the story unfolds, the dangers of dabbling in occultism become obvious. The story ends with an exorcism of sorts that is successful in finally rescuing him from his wayward pursuits.
With this story Fr. Benson lays out Catholic theology on spirit contact in a way that the Church understood it until, perhaps, Vatican II. There is no room for a priest who considers the possibility of aliens being children of God in Fr. Benson's cosmology. There is no room either for dabbling in the kind of myths that Jimmy Akin is prone to if his blog can be believed. The story is an entertaining, easily read, exploration of the deceits of the powers of hell that is as fresh today as it was when Fr. Benson wrote it.
In Chapter III there is a description of an out of body experience that nearly ends in tragedy when the young man was momentarily unable to get past the "watcher" who guarded the threshold through which he needed to pass in order to return to his own body. Finally he cries out to God and is then able to pass. A bit further into the story "The Watcher on the Threshold" is described by a medium this way:
"I'll tell you all we know," he said again quietly. "It's not very
much. Really the phrase I used just now sums it up pretty well. We
who have tried to get beyond this world of sense have become aware of
certain facts of which the world generally knows nothing at all. One
of these facts is that the door between this life and the other is
guarded by a certain being of whom we know really nothing at all,
except that his presence causes the most appalling fear in those who
experience it. He is set there--God only knows why--and his main
business seems to be to restrain, if possible, from re-entering the
body those who have left it. Just occasionally his presence is
perceived by those on this side, but not often. But I have been
present at death-beds where he has been seen--"
"Oh! yes. Seen by the dying person. It is usually only a glimpse; it
might be said to be a mistake. For myself I believe that that
appalling terror that now and then shows itself, even in people who do
not fear death itself, who are perfectly resigned, who have nothing on
their conscience,--well, personally, I believe the fear comes from a
sight of this--this Personage."
The Watcher is still being mentioned today in occult literature. In fact The Watchers Out of Time is the title of one of August W. Derleth's books in the Cthulhu Mythos series. Derleth was Lovecraft's executor, and continued what Lovecraft had begun, taking it to new levels of evil.
Fr. Benson knew in 1909 what is still true today. He wrote in regard to the medium in the story:
He's the most dangerous of the lot. Just because he's honest."
"Good God!" broke in the other again suddenly. "Do all Catholics believe this rubbish?"
"My dear friend, of course they don't. Not one in a thousand. I wish they did. That's what's the matter. But they laugh at it--laugh at it!"...His voice cracked into shrill falsetto... "Laugh at hell-fire..."
The laughter, it would seem, continues with some young and not so young Catholics who flirt with diabolism and think that it is amusing to do so.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
TDVC THE MOVIE
opens today. The spin in Dom's blog is that the early reviews are bad so the movie may not have a chance. Or, conversely, the later reviews will uphold the party line that is anti-Christian, and so will be positive despite a bad film.
Jesse Walker at Paranoia on Main Street takes a slightly different tack. He believes this movie is not going to follow the red state-blue state divide, but rather a different divide that I tend to think is more accurate:
If there's a conflict here, it doesn't pit heartland churchgoers against the Hollywood/MSM secular elites of Michael Medved's fever dreams; it's a divide between orthodox Christians and New Agers, coming at a time when the New Age has deeply penetrated Christianity itself. Look at the ranks of the Da Vinci Code believers—yes, this potboiler's thesis has attracted actual believers—and I suspect you'll find a lot of people who were high on the angel craze 10 years ago.
One group you're sure to discover is Catholics disillusioned by their church's recent sex scandals, now primed to believe in all sorts of improbable Vatican cover-ups. When pundits try to explain this book's remarkable success—over 40 million copies have sold so far—one of the first factors that comes up is its publication date. It was released in 2003, on the heels of the biggest uproar to hit the Holy Mother Church since Vatican II.
Hollywood didn't cook up this movie to insult the great American mainstream. It made it because the great American mainstream had bought millions of copies of the book, making it a genuine grassroots hit even among people who don't ordinarily read at all.... This isn't some edgy indie flick from Darren Aronofsky or a subversive genre exercise by the Wachowski brothers. It was made by one of L.A.'s most middle-of-the-road directors, Ron Howard...
Oddly enough Walker offers another viewpoint that seems to dovetail with the material in this blog over the last week:
Inadvertently, he landed in the perfect position to launch a cult. Since it doesn't claim to be the literal, infallible truth, The Da Vinci Code isn't easily damaged by the sort of skeptical inquiry that digs out contradictions or obvious inaccuracies in holy texts. Like many writers before him, from H.P. Lovecraft to Robert Anton Wilson to Neal Stephenson, Brown has written a yarn that will attract believers no matter how many times its author assures them it isn't true. In this case, unlike the others, the author isn't eager to make those assurances.
There are people who believe Middle-Earth is real, too. I doubt they fall neatly into camps of Red and Blue.
That, in essence, is what I see happening. A cult is developing, similar to the cult centered on Lovecraft/Cthulhu, and it will not be defeated by tales of inaccuracy, because those who embrace it will be quite willing to admit to its inaccuracy while at the same time embracing it.
In chaos magick this thinking is called "simultaneous belief." It explains why TDVC has gained such extensive popularity much better than anything else I've seen. One puts on a belief as one puts on a dress for the prom. A person chooses to believe it in the way that a person enters a role-playing game by taking up the identity of a character. The lines between myth and reality are blurred to the extent that dual realities exist in the mind of the believer.
I think that is the consequence of the Western civ. doctrine of relativity that Benedict repeatedly speaks against. Pluriform truth.
Ultimately it is the doctrine of the enemies of Christ who are willing to settle for dual status as godhead for the present. As we were told in Eden, "You, too, can be a god." Once the deceiver has convinced men that he is equal to Christ, the next step would be a rise above Christ. The blueprint for that is already written in Theosophy. It looks to me like it is being written into the American Dream. And Jimmy Akin seems to prove my point.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
It's another rainy day in northeast Ohio. One of far too many of late. The sun made an appearance, and I thought I had spoken nicely about it in the hope that it could be persuaded to stay around awhile, but alas...
Got the lawn mowed yesterday, thankfully. Grass grows quickly tall when it's watered well. On the bright side, the new grass seed I had planted is turning into lots of green shoots, so the bare spots are getting smaller.
The groundhog made a brief stop in the year on his way to greener pastures beyond the neighbor's fence. His home seems to be under another neighbor's storage shed. Since the shed was sold recently, along with the house, and the new neighbors were busy working in the yard yesterday, he must have been looking for quieter surroundings under our storage shed after the lawn had been mowed. In any case, he is no longer two-tone. Last time I saw him, the back part of him was a dark gray-brown and the front part of him was tan. Today he is a dull brown.
The woodpecker made a stop at the feeder earlier, but I haven't seen the rosy throated grossbeak since his visit last week. He must have been on his way to summer feeding grounds elsewhere.
The clemantis is about to burst into bloom now that I have finally learned that you don't cut them down to the ground in the fall if you want to see blossoms the following spring. There are a lot of buds on it.
Now that I've bored you to death with this nonsence, I'm going back to the book that has my full attention today. When I get it finished, I'll tell you about it.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
CORRUPTION IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Christine referenced this article in a comments box below.
Some days it seems as though there is no pocket of goodness left to believe in anywhere in the world.
In the book THE HELL-FIRE CLUBS, in the chapter titled "A Dukedom in Hell", Geoffrey Ashe wrote: "The Hell-Fire Club arose...at a juncture where more people than hitherto were looking upon the Church as discredited, and fair game."
Christianity seems to be "fair game" right now. And the doctrine of hell is rising even in the very bosom of the Church.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
CUSTODY OF THE EYES
The term usually comes up in regard to sexual matters. I would suggest there are other areas where some thought must be given to this.
Once the Roman Catholic Church thought the same thing. There was an Index of Forbidden Books, for instance, and a Legion of Decency. Then the windows to the world were opened, and the world flew in. The Legion of Decency was an early casualty. Today a Roman Catholic will see any movie that comes along, no matter the content.
It's interesting to contrast that with the teachings of an Orthodox priest, particularly in light of the fact that John Paul II called for a renewal of holiness, and Benedict has not curtailed the call. Orthodox priest Fr. Demetrios Carellas has offered the following instruction. I hope that he will not mind that I am posting it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus,
Christ is risen!
Recently, I read the following statement of the Church of Greece on The
"Quite apart from the fact that the book attacks Christ, it also
the Church, directly accusing it of lying and deceiving the faithful."
It was refreshing to hear such a strong comment from an Orthodox source
--- especially from that of an Autocephalous Church. However, the final
quote from the article brought sadness to my soul. The Church of
Greece(or, at least, the person who spoke for the Church) stated that it:
"does not call on people either to see or not to see the film, or to
read or not to read the book ... but it is sure that those who do, will see
the lies and reject its ridiculous content."
I pray that this is not the official position of the Church of Greece
---that, as they say, something was 'lost in the translation.' As a
priest in the Holy Orthodox Faith, I feel compelled to adamantly disagree with
the assumption that the Orthodox clergy should not entreat the precious
souls under there care to avoid both the book and the movie.
It is not necessary for me to have read the book in order to reject it,
since it openly proclaims that the Word of God - the second Person of
the Holy Trinity, Who received our human nature in the womb of the Most
Holy Theotokos - married St. Mary Magdalene and produced a daughter. This
is blasphemy, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. The book further
asserts that the Divinity of Christ was never a dogma of the Church,
until the 1st Ecumenical Council in Nicea 'created' it by a majority vote!.
How can any Orthodox Christian even entertain the possibility of
reading a book, or viewing its movie version, when it contains such
soul-destroying content? If you knew of a poisonous drink that tasted delicious and
made you feel great for a few minutes before you died from it, would you
tell someone, 'I am not going to say whether or not you should drink this.'?
When it comes to things that can destroy one's soul, however, we seem
to leave everything in the care of an individual's fallen reason. Even if
the person regards the blasphemous statements in the book/movie as
being "ridiculous," his/her soul becomes 'infected' with a sinful wound that
could eventually bring great harm - even death - to his/her immortal
It is like a person who chooses to look at pornography on the
internet: If he does not repent and confess this sin, then he could lose his
salvation - his 'birthright - for something much worse than the "bowl
of porridge" for which Esau willingly gave his to Jacob.
To those of you that have read this book, I humbly entreat you to beg
our All-merciful Lord to grant you a spirit of repentance that will lead
you to immediately seek the healing grace of the Sacrament of Confession.
If you have a copy of the book, I encourage you to throw it in the garbage
at once. Because of its content, the very presence of the book is a
source of demonic influence on your soul --- and the souls of anyone else who
enters you home. I advise you to have your home and/or car blessed with
holy water, in order to remove any demonic presence from the book.
While holy ikons within a home bring protection against the demons, books
such as this become 'doorways' through which they can enter. As an act of
almsgiving to benefit your own soul, you could also give to a poor
family (or charity,Monastery, etc.) an offering equal to - even double - the
cost of what you paid for the book. If you have yet to read the book, I
entreat you to never do so.
The movie will be out in just a few days. As an ordained priest, I beg
you never to see this --- in a theatre, on DVD, the computer or any
other means that may soon become available for its viewing.
Finally, I suggest that you not spend time reading books that expose
the falsehoods within The Da Vinci Code. By doing so, you keep its
contents fresh within your memory. It is best simply to reject it, and
concentrate on feeding your soul from the endless spiritual banquet present within
the Mystical/Ascetical life of our Holy Orthodox Faith.
Forgive this sinful, unworthy priest for my boldness; but I believe in
my heart that I have not said anything that goes against the Gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Bride. However, since the
words are being offered from my impure heart, I pray that my sinfulness
will not inhibit you from receiving anything that may have the
blessings of our risen Lord Jesus.
Truly He is risen!
Your useless servant in the Lord,
+Fr. Demetrios Carellas
What a difference between the Roman Catholic approach and the Orthodox approach represented by this priest. What a call to holiness he has issued!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
THE CULT OF CTHULHU
From the website of Darrick David Dishaw, High Priest of the Cult of Cthulhu:
It's very hard for me to believe that Anton Szandor LaVey meant for his organization to live on as an impotent, static, magic-less, mindless, and Satan-less bureaucracy. Therefore, I put on the Devil's horns and consider myself his successor in spirit, or his spiritual successor as the unofficial Crimson Archduke of the Satanic Church as well as the Cult of Cthulhu's High Priest!
The point of all this is to enact change. Let it be known that there are true-blooded Satanists practicing the Black Arts and actually paying homage to the Horned One, so this treatise is to inform, not indict them. My brief accusation and manifesto is not to waste love (or revenge) on ingrates, but to initiate a religious and magical revolution. The Cult of Cthulhu is a Left Hand Path sect, meaning that nature should fall in line with the magician's will and not the other way around.
SHILLING FOR THE OPPOSITION
Recently I participated in a discussion in Jimmy Akin's blog about the merits (or lack of them) of H. P. Lovecraft's novels and his monster Cthulhu. In that discussion I argued that Lovecraft's work has overtones of sado-masochism, and that it is a gateway to the teachings of the enemies of the Church.
Akin also has an entry for Lovecraft at the fiction link on the left of the main blog page. (To read what he wrote at both of these links, scroll up.) Commenters rejected my arguments against Cthulhu, indicating that I had no proof, and argued that "abuse does not negate use", a common argument to justify hanging out with the wrong sort of people and ideas. They charged that my argument was based on "guilt by association" and even rejected the words of a priest. I was not able to convince Jimmy and those commenters posting there that having a tribute to Lovecraft in a Catholic blog is working for the enemy of Christ.
Since Akin is a Catholic apologist who works for Catholic Answers Live, an organization engaged in apologetics and sponsored by Ignatius Press, the Pope's publishing house and the only sponsor listed on the Catholic Answers homepage; and since there is a link on the Catholic Answers homepage to Jimmy Akin's blog, I am not willing to let this issue drop. He is a public spokesperson for the Church in which I place my faith.
Does a Ford executive buy a Cavalier? Does a Democratic senator promote the Republican campaign? Does a faithful husband take the new secretary out on a date? The issue is not only the content of the Cthulhu mythos, but also the context. Cthulhu is the myth of the enemy of Christ. It's a loyalty issue. In other words, who do you love?
I would ask you to read an article titled "The Lam-Serpent Sadhana" by Michael Staley at P. R. Koenig's O.T.O. website. Near the end of that article the following passage appears:
When the Ajna chakra has been attained, the initiate should pause for a while, strengthening and consolidating the presence of the Lam-Serpent. Then, there should be a final surge into the Sahasrara and Beyond. At this stage the call "OLA-LAM IMAL TUTULU" is uttered. This call appears in the seventh chapter of Crowley's Liber VII, received in 1907. Nowhere does Crowley comment upon this call, thus giving us freedom in its use. We note the presence of-LAM and LAMA in the first two words, albeit in reverse; as for the third word, it suggests Cthulhu. There is a parallel between Cthulhu and Kundalini-shakti: both are masks for the dynamic energies of consciousness, the function of which is to blast away the delusion of divided consciousness. "Cthulhu lies dreaming", and so does the Shakti. It is Her dreaming which gives rise to the lila, the play of manifestation.[emphasis mine - ct]
A Catholic parent, pleased that their teenager was reading the blog of a Catholic apologist, would be appalled to discover that it was from that very blog that the teenager was introduced to Satanism. It is scandalous that a Catholic apologist cannot comprehend this. What sort of spokespeople has the Church been reduced to?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, May 15, 2006
SPRING MUST BE HERE
The orange barrels are blooming.
is being installed today.
An article in "The Plain Dealer" sets out the challenges that he will face, and perhaps gives a hint as to why this particular man was chosen to lead the Cleveland Diocese.
Cleveland is not alone in considering reorganization. Ninety-three dioceses have undergone such plans since 1990.
However, as other major dioceses in Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago have closed churches on a large scale - some more than once in recent decades - Cleveland avoided cuts.
Boston, for example, has about 300 churches to care for 2 million Catholics; Cleveland has 233 parishes for 800,000 Catholics, just two fewer parishes than it had in 1970.
Officials here said the Cleveland diocese, which does not have the same financial pressures that contributed to the recent closings in Boston, has chosen to involve parishioners.
"We still have to make the hard decisions, but people will still have a voice," said Mary Pat Frey of the church planning office.
Bishop Lennon has prior experience with parish closings:
In a recent interview, Lennon, who administered the church-closing plan in Boston as an auxiliary bishop, said it will take him a while to learn the needs of the Cleveland diocese.
Those needs are great. We have a critical clergy shortage - thanks, I presume, to the lavendar seminary. Fr. Donald Cozzens, afterall, who wrote one of the first books on the state of Catholic seminaries, wrote from Cleveland. The article spells it out:
Not enough priests are available to meet traditional expectations, and the remaining clergy are aging. From 1970 to 2005, active diocesan priests declined from 598 to 296. Priests under 40 dropped from 240 to 29.
By the diocese's estimate, the priest shortage will become much worse. Assuming the retirement age remains at 70 and five priests are ordained per year, the church estimates the number of active diocesan priests will decline again by almost half, to 151, by 2030.
Can a diocese be run without a staff?
Oh sure, there are plenty of nuns willing to fill in. But running a diocese depends first and foremost on the ability to dispense the sacraments. If you haven't got sacraments, you might as well gather up the candles, roll up the altar cloths and go get a job in industry. So Bishop Lennon has some challenges ahead of him.
On the positive side, other articles indicate that he knows the scope of the problem. In one he is quoted as saying that the laity want to meet him and to find out "who does he root for?" That really is the heart of the problems in our diocese. Either we root for God and God's laws or we root for the oppposition. It's become rather obvious that some bishops in the Church in America have been rooting for the opposition.
Bishop Lennon also seems to know that he needs to be visible.
Lennon reached out to those gathered, saying he wants to visit as many of the 240 parishes in the diocese as he can in coming weeks. "So I can come to know you, and you can come to know me," he said.
Trite it may be but talk is cheap and the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we'll see. There are a lot of parishes to visit.
In any case, a new era begins in Cleveland on this rainy Monday in May. A chance to move beyond the sexual abuse scandal resides in Bishop Lennon. May God grant him the strength, the wisdom, the grace to meet the challenges and turn this diocese around. May the Blessed Virgin be his constant companion.
And now...let the sit-ins begin!
THE BASKET PARTY REINCARNATED
Tupperware, jewelry, make-up, baskets, candles...if it can be sold in a souvenir shop, it can be sold at a home party, where the sales lady has a captive audience. Most of the women in America have been trapped at least once. How do you say no to a friend?
Well, there's a new party in town. Now you can catch a tarot party, as long as you leave the First Commandment at home.
Both a clairvoyant medium and tarot reader will come to your house to perform a private demonstration for the attendees and will be able to deliver personal messages from departed loved ones. Information is given by loved ones to verify who they are and relevant messages are given from them to attendees.
I was talking with a friend the other day who happened to mention that she had discovered something new about her sister. Her sister had attended a reader party where the reader read hands, not palms [??? - ct], and the reader was accurate. In fact she knew far too much for it to be coincidental or clever guessing. And now apparently her sister is considering making some major changes in her life.
"But," I said to her, "Isn't your sister Catholic?"
"Yes." She responded. "Legion of Mary and Holy Rosary Society. She is very much Catholic."
"But that's against the First Commandment" I commented.
"Yeah. I know," she responded. "Like I said I'm still learning something new about her even after all these years."
The midwest is not exactly filled with small town life and farm country anymore.
Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the chief exorcist of Rome, has some things to say that apply to tarot parties. Under a sub-heading titled "The Gifts of Satan" he writes:
Satan has the authority to give certain powers to his faithful. Since the devil is truly a liar, at times those who receive these powers either are not or do not want to be aware of their origin; they are all to happy to receive these free gifts. It may happen that one person is given the gift of clairvoyance. Others, simply by sitting in front of a blank piece of paper with a pen in their hands, are able to write page after page of spontaneous messages. Yet others feel that they can bilocate and that part of them can enter buildings even far away. It is very common for many to hear "a voice" that at times suggests prayers and at other times anything but prayers. ...(AN EXORCIST TELLS HIS STORY, pp. 39-41)
Let us not forget that the Bible gives us examples of extraordinary deeds performed by God and by the devil. Some of the wonders that Moses performed at God's command before Pharaoh were mimiked by the court's magicians. That is why wonders of this kind, taken by themselves, do not point to their source.
Often those who are struck by evil disturbances are gifted with particular "sensitivities". For instance, they are able immediately to sense negativity in others, they can foresee future events, or at times they have a strong tendency to "lay hands" on psychologically fragile people. Other times they feel that they can influence others' lives, wishing them ill with a meanness, almost a dominance, that comes from within. I have witnessed that there is only one way to be healed of these disturbances; that is to fight and conquer these tendencies.
I think it's time to start rehearsing before the pinch arrives..."Oh, it sounds like fun, but I'm busy on Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and...)"
And if I get really brave, maybe: "A tarot party? Oh really? Well, no, I'm afraid I'll have to decline. It's against my faith."
Sunday, May 14, 2006
JUST TO BE SURE YOU MOTHERS ARE SMILING...
Why God Made Moms: answers given by elementary school age children
Why did God make mothers?
1. She’s the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.
How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic, plus super powers, and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom, just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.
What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair, and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men’s bones. Then they use mostly string I think
What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.
What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.
Who’s the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has too, because Dad’s such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than Dad.
What’s the difference between Moms and Dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers with scaring them
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power, because that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend’s.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.
Why does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. She doesn’t have spare time
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.
What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside, she’s already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I’d diet, maybe blue.
If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I’d get rid of that.
2. I’d make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.
Two children ordered their mother to stay in bed one Mother's Day morning. As she lay there looking forward to breakfast in bed, the sound of cooking and
the smell of bacon drifted up from the kitchen,
but no breakfast tray appeared.
After a long wait she finally went downstairs to see what happened. Both children were sitting at the table eating bacon and eggs.
"Do you like our Mother's Day surprise?" one asked. "We made our breakfast all by ourselves."
“Dear Lord”, the preacher began with arms extended and a rapturous look on his upturned face: “With out you we are but dust….”
He would have continued, but at that moment one very obedient little girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, “Mommy, WHAT is butt dust?”
Church was pretty much over at that point….
Hail holy queen enthroned above,
Hail mother of mercy and of love,
Triumph all ye cherubim,
Sing with us ye seraphim.
Heaven and earth resound the hymn.
Salve, salve, salve regina. :
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY !
DOM HAS WRITTEN A LOVELY TRIBUTE TO HIS WIFE
and soon to be family. Go read it.