Liturgy and Lethargy

Lethargy is the wrong word: it means weakness and lack of enthusiasm.
Lethargy is the right word: it means weakness and lack of enthusiasm.

Lethargy perfectly represents what I want to describe.

Many Masses in my life always left me confused, especially as I grew in love for the Lord and His Church. If Holy Mass is the most important prayer of Christians, if the Eucharist is truly Christ’s Body and Blood: true Food and true Drink, if this is true, then why have so many Masses been lame? Lethargy.

Ever since learning that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is actually Jesus nailed on the Cross because of your sins, my sins, our sins—that Jesus teleports us to the original moment of His sacrifice—I cannot ignore the jarring clash between crucifixion and birthday-bash trying to show through at the same time. The energy and enthusiasm put into a party-style-Mass means “lethargy” is the wrong word. So much effort wasted on the wrong details.

But don’t take my word for it. Have a look yourself:

Step One: watch this excerpt of Jesus rescuing you and me from Satan and our sins, watch how He is lifted up for us to see what He does for us:

Step Two: watch how this Mass (from 2008) totally matches the theme of Christ’s crucifixion:

Step Three: this 2018 Mass (with German cardinals and bishops) also gets the point across:

And the point is (in case you didn’t catch my sarcasm): how did we get to this mess, instead of Mass? How do we have such a mess in theme? How did such liturgical abuse become a thing?

Mass never was about fun, entertainment, relevance, and needing to be cool or interesting. Sacrifice is never about those things.

Instead, sacrifice is a labor of love. Mass used to be (and can still be) solemn, reverent, powerful, deep, and intense:

Because Jesus is not partying it up on His Cross—He is dying because of my selfish and terrible choices to go to Hell. And I should not act nor expect this moment to be a birthday bash (or a tango dance-off).

And I’m not about to let this end with that tango video *shudder*. Instead, here’s an uplifting and helpful tip how we can start to reclaim our Lord’s Mass, with song and singing:

Chinese Church Chaos

Blessings this Feast of Candlemas,

To commemorate this feast, let me hold out a candle and shed light on another crime that has been wounding our Mother Church. As our Lord had warned: there is nothing done in secret that will not be revealed.

CHNUnderground1WARNING: Before reading this article, please first read this post on Wolves in Wool for context and a good footing in the faith.

The truth will set you free, and truth is: arguably one of the most terrible ongoing failures of Pope Francis has been his dealings with Communist China. Yet, Pope Francis is in the unique and powerful position to solve this disaster, if he would only choose to. It has become apparent he lacks the will, and his mishandling here has harmed many in the Church. Perhaps my family background (Catholic-Chinese-Vietnamese) makes this hit closest to home, and perhaps I know not all the facts, but here are indeed troubling implications that must be known so that we can fast and pray all the more for our Pope:

      1. Pope Benedict XVI attempted to restrict the predatory McCarrick in 2008. McCarrick ignored the sanctions. If you need to know why McCarrick deserved to be restricted (and tried and imprisoned), see commentary here and one of his victims’ testimony here.
      2. After Francis’ 2013 election, McCarrick continued his agenda, despite the restrictions. In fact, during the Francis papacy, “McCarrick’s travels on behalf of the Church increased” even. That’s right: the corrupt cardinal got a promotion.
      3. One of McCarrick’s deeds was his frequent travels to China and meetings with Communist authorities and party-approved clergyman (fakeful bishups). His work went so far as to state in 2016 that Pope Francis and the Chinese dictator have “similarities that could be a special gift for the world.
      4. In 2018, Archbishop Vigano’s testimony against McCarrick and Francis fueled the ex-cardinal’s laicization and apparent quiet retirement (though he should have been–I repeat–tried and imprisoned).
      5. Then from 2018-2019, Cardinal Joseph Zen of embattled Hong Kong came forward with the nightmarish results of the China Deal, presumably designed by McCarrick, Parolin, and Francis (“presumably” since the details of the deal remain secret to all except its architects and the Communists).
      6. Moreover, it is concerning that the entire China Deal was drafted and signed without any input from legitimate Chinese Catholic bishops and cardinals (where’s subsidiarity in that?). That McCarrick was involved should have rendered the deal suspect and worthy of a second look, but instead the Pope has moved forward with it, despite protests from his persecuted Chinese cardinal and his persecuted Chinese sheep under an emboldened Communist president (people are dying). Though “provisional” in status, the deal’s done nothing good for the Church in China, and yet it remains, and remains a useful tool to the Communists who continue using it to draw out confused Catholics from the underground Church.
      7. The China Deal has zero merit, and it is increasingly obvious. Because it is now even obvious to a simpleton like me, it is only a matter of time until other communist countries (i.e., Vietnam, North Korea) catch on that they too can get away with culling the Church’s children without the shepherd of Rome even lifting his staff:
      8. And if one needs a reminder that Communist China is evil (despite the claim of this Vatican official saying China is the “best implementing the social doctrine of the Church“), please view this and see how China persecutes political and religious dissent (Christian, Muslim, and otherwise):
      9. Finally, see here for a decent and recent summary of all the terrors involved and lives at stake.
      10. I love the pope and pray for him everyday, but because of what I now know, I sadly cannot trust him. May Mother Mary severely discipline all disciples who have become lazy servants, “beating the menservants and the maidservants, eating and drinking and getting drunk” because of our Master’s delay (Luke 12:41-48). With our Blessed Mother’s help, may we all become good and faithful servants, doing whatever He tells us.CHNUnderground7

UPDATE 2/14/2020: Cardinal Zen gives this thorough interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo:

UPDATE 3/10/2020: Sociologist Steven Mosher, who has studied and monitored Communist China for decades, has this to share:

Order and the Border

060617-A-3715G-017In the last few weeks, there’s been a ton of yelling and shouting about the immigration system and situation in America. But sadly, because our national discussions are manipulated by an unreliable media, all this attention will be replaced in a few weeks with another topic–whatever topic makes the media more money. Think about it! What topic was dominating our time and minds just a few months ago?* And today nobody in media remembers or cares.

So before immigration is replaced with another money-making topic, let’s order things out and think through the deeper issues that all the hateful yelling and ad hominems are smothering:

  1. pexels-photo-311884Asylum seekers do not want to come to America. Some might, but they all want their own nation of origin to have been worth staying in. Refugees wish they never had to leave their homeland. Nobody desires to abandon and forsake the country of their culture! When my parents (and hundreds of thousands of other refugees of the Vietnam War) escaped to America, they longed for freedom and dignity to determine their lives. If Vietnam was a free country, with human rights respected, nobody would have risked death crossing jungles and oceans to find freedom elsewhere. So the deeper crisis is how to help nations of origin improve their economies, governance, and societies so that their own citizens are glad to stay and build up their nation. Just imagine how bad the reality must be for refugees to flee the only home they’ve known! If we don’t think creatively and effectively here, then we’re not solving any core problems–we’re just putting bandages on a busted Titanic. America cannot physically and realistically take in every Earthling–even if she wanted to–and especially when so much of the rest of the world is gorgeous but tragically doomed because of corruption and poverty. But corruption and poverty are solvable through hard work! Let’s stop overthinking how to bandage the sinking ship, and focus on how to prevent ships from hitting icebergs, and then people will stop desperately resorting to lifeboats because their own ship is in great shape! Long-term solutions typically have long-term results.
  2. 34984422_10155910751409032_4960135220503248896_nAmerica is not safe for anyone. There is a secret system of legalized prejudice and murder in this country responsible for at least 50 million victims since 1973. Anyone serious about welcoming immigrants and refugees must be even more serious about abortion, or else risk being a hypocrite. How can we say we care for those in danger when we allow children to be murdered in hospitals and clinics? How can we fight for children being separated from their mothers when we already allow children to be slaughtered from the womb of their mothers? If we want America to be a land of welcome to every human life, then we must actually welcome every human life. That’s only consistent and to be expected. We can start by diverting federal funding for abortion (millions of bucks) to helping refugees and Americans in need (babies and struggling parents included). If we do not generously love our own children, then how can we… (finish the logical conclusion).
  3. America is not at her best right now. For our nation to be even better, she needs to know Christ and His Church. The only reason why we have a culture and civilization that seeks to care for the suffering and the struggling is because Jesus Christ taught us to (and slowly His teaching became general civil law). So do not think we will solve this situation, nor any situation, without God. We need prayer to replace all the shouting and attacking. If only the most vociferous and outspoken among us and in government and media were just as insistent with their prayer life… if only…
  4. Lastly, I leave you with balanced thoughts from this insightful and real article, and from Fr. Mike Schmitz:

 

*Hint: it was about school violence.

Don’t Meddle with this Medal

CollectionIn 1830 France, our Blessed Mother went out of her way to design a medal for us earthlings. That’s right: there’s a medal in our Catholic Christian heritage that originated from Heaven–truly out of this world.

Popularly known as the Miraculous Medal, the Medal of the Immaculate Conception (Nov. 28th feastday) has the reputation of working wonders for those who live or seek a life of faith in Jesus Christ. Basically, the medal is a sign we can wear to remind us who our Mother is, what it means to be her children, and how to follow her Son–our Lord. I myself have worn the same Miraculous Medal for over five years now; I intend to wear it for the rest of my life. I’m sure I will eventually know how this sign of faith has helped me, but for now, let me share how it has truly been miraculous for these two sons who did not know her Son:

  1. A Jewish man who became an atheist has a crisis of meaning in his life. He meets a beautiful woman, knows intuitively that she is from Heaven, and asks if she has a favorite prayer. What she eventually admits is the very same prayer on the Miraculous Medal: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. But don’t settle with my measly summary, have a listen for yourself!
  2. An ex-Satanic high wizard receives a Miraculous Medal and is pulled out of Satan’s slavery. The Blessed Virgin Mary recruits him to join her Son’s army instead. But like I said above, don’t take my summary as is; listen for yourself! And trust me, just have a listen…

So there! Two testimonies about why you don’t meddle with this Medal. It’s connection to the super-saint (Mary) means you should respect it, wear it, and pray it. In fact, it’s probably my most often used prayer, and I customize it most of the time, replacing the us with any specific names of persons I know who need her prayer and power. Example: O Mary, conceived without sin, please pray for Pope Francis who has recourse to thee.

head-logoAnd now allow me to introduce Rosa Mystica Medals, a small family business based in Atlanta, GA that salvages and recasts replicas of traditional medals so that we can enjoy them today (they definitely make medals like they used to!). Rosa Mystica was kind and generous enough to send me a sterling silver antique Miraculous Medal to review, and I must say that I am very impressed with the quality of the cast (made in Murica). Please visit their site and have a look at their extensive collection, and pray for their continued success!

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Wolves in Wool

LeavePeterNOTICE: any minors who read and are affected by this article, please talk immediately with your parents or any trusted adult about what you feel and think.

Our Lord warned us they would come–wolves dressed in wool, disguised as priests, and even as bishops, but actually minions of Satan working to deceive and sow dissent. Jesus went so far as to give us examples in Judas Iscariot, and also St. Peter (before his repentance).*

The brutally bare warnings are throughout the New Testament, but my personal fave (if there must be such) is from the repentant St. Peter himself (2 Peter 2:1-2):

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.

The rest of the passage is even more brutal, yet this is my favorite passage on false shepherds because it comes from a man who denied our Lord, knows the terror and despair of denying Christ, and returns to the Church to strengthen us evermore as our first pope (Luke 22:31-32):

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

This gives me hope that despite the vomit-inducing evils of some members of our Church leadership, the grace to repent and convert exists for them and for all of us sinners.

paedophileThat being said, I must also clearly say that any child or young person who has been harmed in any way (mentally, physically, spiritually) by any cleric/teacher must not only inform their parents immediately, but must also report everything to police without delay–even if it happened long ago. Tragically but realistically, we can no longer only trust our Church’s authorities to protect our most vulnerable; we must also turn to civil law and authorities (yes, call 911).

After scandal after scandal, cover-up after cover-up, victim after victim, and even a full-length film, I can no longer in good conscience remain publicly silent about this filth in the Church (quoting Pope Benedict XVI). My students, the youth I mentor, and my god-children (and all adults who love them) deserve to know the truth and how to hold abusers accountable. We must not fear any threats from any abuser! Criminals frighten victims because they are afraid of what victims can do to them. Criminals actually fear victims because they do not want to face justice. Helping false shepherds keep their evils a secret only encourages their abuse to continue, and even keeps them from a chance to repent.

We must help the Church clean house. And mark my words: if any of my beloveds are abused by false shepherds and teachers, I will not hesitate to report everything to police. That is a promise to my Lord and my God, and to the little ones and to the Church that He loves.

Mother Mary, protect us and keep up close to your Son, especially those furthest from Him.

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For more information on this filth, please see these articles (click author names for full statements):

  1. Dr. Janet Smith: It is very painful for any Catholic to learn of the shocking and immoral behavior of Cardinal McCarrick, which exploited, violated and betrayed the trust of so many young men. Even more appalling is the fact that his success in the Church reveals a continued existence of a culture within the Church that permits such behavior to take place and prevents it from coming to light. Bishops, priests, religious and laity must band together to find a way to eradicate what has been repeatedly spoken of as a network of homosexuals who abuse people and who control too much of what goes on in dioceses, orders, and even in the curia.
  2. Christopher R. Altieri: At a bare minimum, you must see to it that the children and young people everywhere are safe, and that vulnerable people are protected; that no seminary should become or continue to be a farm for perversion, nor any chancery or chapter a hotbed of corruption and disorder – for, so long as they are, parishes and schools and oratories cannot fail to become playgrounds for perverts. I say again: it is your duty to see, and to act – even to see and to denounce your brother bishops’ failures and misdeeds and miscarriages of duty when and where you do see them.
  3. JD Flynn: But when a bishop behaves with sexual immorality, the effects ripple across his entire diocese. Priests and seminarians who object to that sexual immorality leave quickly, or find themselves marginalized. Those who rise to leadership positions are those who are left: those who are willing to accept the bishop’s sexual immorality, those who are complicit in it, or those who are too naive to notice it. Those in the first two categories, being willing to accept some rejections of Catholic teaching, are usually also likely to accept other rejections of Catholic teaching. That can be reflected in their pastoral leadership and catechesis, and consequently, an entire diocese can be formed with a theological perspective framed by relativism, tolerance of immorality, or compromise. The effects of a bishop’s sexual immorality can lead to spiritual and catechetical decline across an entire diocese.

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*A possible reason Jesus gave us the example of Judas and pre-repentant Peter: to show us that we are all capable of betraying and denying Him, and to rely on His grace to not fall away, and to repent if we do. Moreover: to show us that our faith, hope, and love must be in Jesus alone–not in any mere man, even if he is a priest/bishop/pope.

Chris Pratt is Wrong (a little)

jurassic_3So it’s no surprise the famed Chris Pratt is a believer, and a brave believer! He went before a public audience and shared (in between jokes and sarcasm) that:

  1. We have a soul, and it must be cared for.
  2. God exists, and He is love.
  3. We must pray. MUST.
  4. We are imperfect, and God’s grace is sufficient for us. Anyone who says we are perfect the way we are is deceived, or lying.

Please watch his award speech if you haven’t already. It really is something! But while you listen, see if you can pick out his small error that can have huge negative consequences on our Christian faith.

Now believe me, I hate being a nit-picker, but as soon as I heard Pratt’s error, I couldn’t ignore it. I tried ignoring the whole past week, but I would remember it and shudder… until now I must say something. I believe that’s how the Holy Spirit usually works on me; He nags my conscience and makes it obvious I must respond.

So here goes: at the 3:33 mark, Pratt says “there is a powerful force that designed you [as imperfect].” THAT IS NOT TRUE. Everything else Pratt says about God (and about feeding meds to dogs, and pooping, and helping others, and being a turd) is true, but NOT THIS.

God did not and does not make us imperfect. He absolutely did not design us that way. Instead, sin made us imperfect. From Original Sin* to each personal sin we commit: a little bit of us dies with every sin we choose. When we commit venial sins, a bit of us dies, and when it’s a mortal sin, a huge chunk of us dies.

Our sins deform us, like drugs and alcohol in the womb of a mother. Our sins corrupt us, like lies and evil in our minds. Our sins fool us, like pride and selfishness, into thinking we are the most important person in our lives. Sin makes us imperfect, and God’s grace, given to us through the precious blood of Christ, pulls us out of sin so that we can choose to live forever in HIS perfection, in a perfection that goes beyond perfection, forever better than perfect.

If you’re curious why God would even allow us to freely sin, please see my post on the Lego Movie.

So I hope that clears things up, because I haven’t seen anyone call Pratt out on this little error (with big ripples). May God continue blessing Pratt and his beloveds, and all his fans, and may Pratt continue glorifying God more and ever more!

Image: 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards - Show

*Original Sin was a doozy: it took out the entire human race until Jesus nuked it with His Passion and Resurrection. While Original Sin can now be washed away in Baptism and free us for Heaven, its vestiges still linger in biological disease, concupiscence, psychological disorders, etc.

The Snow Children: Human Life from Zygote to Zombie

SnowChildrenSince completing my MA Theology thesis on Our Lady of the Eschaton, I just thought I’d finally get around to sharing the thesis from my past B. Philosophy studies as a seminarian (2015), fully titled The Snow Children: Human Life from Zygote to Zombie.

That’s right: I used the word zombie in my thesis title (I considered posting a picture of zombies here, for effect… but am afraid it would have been a tad too effective in the wrong direction).

The thesis is about the consequences and controversies behind freezing human embryonic persons–namely how are they actually persons, and how should we care for them? And there are perhaps millions of them, frozen and forsaken.

If that sounds interesting, it’s because it is! And very important as medical science continues to creep on human rights and the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. So take a look for yourself at my attempt to tackle this question philosophically (not theologically, though that can be done as well and in a different post).

*May our Blessed Mother watch over these poor banished children, forgotten in storage.