Fr. Jacques Hamel ordered “Begone, Satan!” as his killers attacked.

Watching the beautiful response of the French, both Christian and Muslim, to this heroic priest, I’m beginning to think ISIS may have unleashed a very powerful intercessor  against themselves in the heavenly host.  This is the way of it in the Kingdom.  Evil destroys itself by inflicting death on Christ.  There’s already been one very public conversion.  There way well be more.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. ¶ Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Re 12:10–12).

Badassest nun of the Old West is being proposed for canonization:

The Italian born Segale, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, came to Trinidad, Colorado, in 1877 to teach poor children. After being transferred to Santa Fe, she co-founded public and Catholic schools, worked with the poor and sick, and advocated on behalf of Hispanics and Native Americans who were losing their land to swindlers. During her many years working in the West, she met with the leaders of the Apache and Comanche tribes.

Her most famous encounter, however, was said to have occurred between herself and the outlaw, Billy the Kid.

According to the Associated Press, she allegedly received a tip one day that the gunslinger was coming to town to scalp four doctors who had refused to treat a friend’s gunshot wound. Segale nursed the friend back to health and when Billy came to Trinidad to thank her, she convinced him to abandon his violent plans.

As the Sisters report on their website, “Stories abound of how she calmed mobs of armed men from taking the law into their own hands, helped criminals seek forgiveness from their victims, and even saved a man from a hanging party by facilitating reconciliation between him and the man he shot before he died. Her adventures were also the subject of have been featured in novels, television programs, histories, and a comic book. In 1966 her story of bravery was told in a CBS series Death Valley Days episode, The Fastest Nun in the West, where she faced down the barrels of guns to find justice.”

Faced down Billy the Kid, stopped a lynching, subject of a comic book and a Death Valley Days episode.  Good enough for me.  Santo Subito!  Lock, stock, and two smoking censers!

Anything that starts this way:

If the Catholic Church makes G. K. Chesterton a saint—as an influential group of Catholics is proposing it should—the story of his enormous coffin may become rather significant. Symbolic, even parabolic. Chesterton’s coffin was too huge, you see, to be carried down the stairs of his house in Beaconsfield, its occupant being legendarily overweight at the time of his death, in 1936. So it went out a second-floor window. Very Chestertonian: gravity, meet levity. Hagiographers might pursue the biblical resonance here, citing the Gospel passages in which a paralyzed man, unable to penetrate the crowds surrounding the house in Capernaum where Jesus was staying, is lowered in through a hole in the roof. Or they might simply declare that Gilbert Keith Chesterton’s was a spirit too large to go out through the conventional narrow door of death—that it had to be received, as it were, directly into the sky.

In his vastness and mobility, Chesterton continues to elude definition: He was a Catholic convert and an oracular man of letters, a pneumatic cultural presence, an aphorist with the production rate of a pulp novelist. Poetry, criticism, fiction, biography, columns, public debate—the phenomenon known to early-20th-century newspaper readers as “GKC” was half cornucopia, half content mill. If you’ve got a couple of days, read his impish, ageless, inside-out terrorist thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. If you’ve got an afternoon, read his masterpiece of Christian apologetics Orthodoxy: ontological basics retailed with a blissful, zooming frivolity, Thomas Aquinas meets Eddie Van Halen. If you’ve got half an hour, read “The Blue Cross,” the first and most glitteringly perfect of his stories featuring the crime-busting village priest Father Brown. If you’ve got only 10 minutes, read his essay “A Much Repeated Repetition.” (“Of a mechanical thing we have a full knowledge. Of a living thing we have a divine ignorance.”)

….and ends this way(in The Atlantic of all places):

The campaign for the beatification of G. K. Chesterton has now reached the prayer-cards stage. Late last year, I walked into a Catholic church in Stowe, Vermont, and found on a table near the entrance a stack of cards inviting me to pray for Chesterton’s intercession “so that his holiness may be recognized by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed.” In other words, I should ask him for a miracle. All right then, Gilbert, here it is: grant me a flash, just a flash, of your double-natured vision, the intuition that I, James Parker, have been summoned out of an “almost nihilistic abyss” into a world of radiant ordinariness, that my existence depends second by second upon the creative gesture of a loving God, continually renewed, and that I should be astounded and grateful. Make that happen, you rocketing squirrel in a fat man’s body, and I’m down for the cause.

…is worth reading.

And for the record, I am morally certain Chesterton is a saint, though I shall, of course, refrain from venerating St. GKC that way till the Church makes it official.  The only thing that will get in the way (and not a few fellow Chestertonians tear their hair at me when I say this) will be his conventional Victorian and Edwardian views on Jews and some of his remarks on race.  However, it should not be forgotten that GK’s life, like that of any saint has a story arc and that he changes over time under the influence of grace (which is what makes any person a saint).  We don’t canonize people because they were flawless, but because they submitted their flaws and their virtues to the will of Jesus Christ and tried to do his will.  GKC is, for me, a great window on to the work of Christ in the soul of a good man.  I owe, not merely his writings him–he himself–a debt of gratitude for showing me what goodness looks like.  To read him is to breathe fresh air.

Santo subito!

to the silly Puritan attempt to deny the sanctity of Chesterton based on his enjoyment of food and drink.

Shouting “Fatso!” is a curiously favored tactic of two classes of people in my experience: Reactionaries and schoolyard children.  I don’t know why somebody would use it to try to stop the no-brainer belief that Chesterton was saintly.  Even the far more well-grounded evidence that Chesterton struggled with a typical Victorian and Edwardian hostility to Jews (hoo boy does saying this get me in trouble with some Chestertonians!) is not sufficient evidence to deny his obvious goodness and sanctity in my view.  It’s not the raw material we are given, but what we do with it, that makes or breaks us as saints.  Chesterton, under grace, made a great and good saint of himself, despite his flaws.  Santo subito!

Helena Theresa Athy Archer

Helena Archer, a member of St. Madeleine Sophie Parish, died July 17. She was 90.

She was born in County Mayo, Ireland.  She worked as a beauty consultant, and lived in Washington state for the past 11 years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Denis. She is survived by her son, Paul; and four grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. at St. Madeleine Sophie Church.

She’s nobody you’ve ever heard of, but there are few people I have ever met about whom I would have less hesitation saying, “She went straight to heaven and it is we who should ask her prayers rather than sully the air with our unworthy petitions on her behalf.”  Still and all, it is fitting we do pray for her as God commands.  May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  And also, Father, may I just add “Santo subito!” through Christ our Lord. Mother Mary, pray for her and Denis!

Santo Subito! American author calls for his own Sainthood, now
Ahead of John Paul II, popular SIRIUS/XM radio host desires canonization

ATLANTA, Sept. 4, 2013 – Widely known for his wit and humor as the host of “The Catholic Guy” on SiriusXM Radio, Lino Rulli believes that, like Pope John Paul II, his own Cause for Canonization should be addressed by Pope Francis immediately.

If Rulli has his way, he will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, which, allegedly, is when Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonized in Rome. (The official announcement will be Sept. 30.) Rulli provides evidence for his Cause (and yours) in his latest book, SAINT: Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away, released this week from Servant Books.

Speaking as a Living Saint myself, I can only say, “Get in line behind me, Rulli. I AM THE HUMBLEST!”

in a piece that takes various Chesterton quotations that generally preserve quite a lot of common sense and then subjects them to flat-footed heckling for no particular reason other than being contrarian and jerkish.

Much of the heckling works if you are into that sort of thing, sort of like a 13 year old’s heckling “works” as pure logic when the snot-faced little brat retorts to Mom’s “I said come here immediately” by jail-house lawyering what “immediately” might mean: “Measured on the basis of quantum physics, ‘immediately’ is not possible since no human being can move in a space of nanoseconds.” Any clever high schooler can pick apart random sentences from a FB page. You can do it with aphorisms from the Sermon on the Mount (“Oh yeah, like a camel can literally go through the eye of a needle! Why not just say that our job creators are all going straight to hell, Jesus!”). But none of this constitutes real critical thought. It’s just heckling and the kid deserves the slapped face he gets.

Several of the deconstructed quotes, ripped bleeding from their context, can be ridiculed if elevated to the status of the Ten Commandments(something that would have horrified Chesterton). However, some of the nitpickiness by the First Things author seems to me to be wilfully obtuse and ultimately contrary to the Faith out of spite, such as:

  • “Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.”

Love means to love what is worthy of love; everything else is vice.

  • “There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

This is basically a Sartrean thesis: The will by choosing to love something endows it with the value which makes it capable of being loved. I don’t think I need to explain how pernicious this thought is, since we all know from Thomas “quia bonum intellectum est obiectum voluntatis.”

Both passages suggest a complete unfamiliarity with the fourth and fifth chapters of the epistle to the Romans or with, well, ever having been around parents of people like the author of this piece, who doubtless had moments where they chose to love their sneering, superior know-it-all child when there was not much for the neighbors to appreciate. The secret of grace–as of parenting–is the love of “God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). That is why

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man–though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.  But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5;6-8)

Still I was prepared to cut the piece some slack since I–yes, even I–think that Chesterton is misquoted at times or his word misused to support agendas rather remote from his intentions. That is, until one of the commenters, one AF Zammoro, wrote:

Were you perhaps frustrated at how such a second rate, miseducated, and fat Englishman could have such cache (sic) amongst a certain class of Catholic reader? Did you trip over a hardcover of the collected works this morning? Did you find yourself looking at some photo of Chesterton or other and just think, “Goodness, what an ugly man”?

And the author of the piece responded:

Of the commenters so far, AF Zamarro has things more or less right.

At which I realized the author is a second rate, miseducated ass who seriously believes “Chesterton was fat and ugly” constitutes brilliant argumentation. May he find the love and generosity he refuses to extend a good man like Chesterton extended to him from God, that he might cease to be a malicious ass and become a saint–as Chesterton is.*

First Things: What happened to you guys?

*Note to panicky readers who fret about such matters: no, I am not claiming the authority to canonize saints of Holy Church. This bogus and deeply stupid complaint was first leveled when I mentioned that I consider Perry Lorenzo a saint and a mob of self-appointed Inquisitors with no sense of irony whatsoever took it upon themselves to don their paper mitres and threaten me with excommunication for admiring a man I think was deeply admirable and thinking he lived a holy life. As anyone not wilfully obtuse can grasp, Catholics have a long and happy tradition of saying, “Aunt Agatha was a saint” without expecting that people will take that opinion as some sort of serious claim to unilateral papal authority. That’s why, when the crowd shouted “Santo subito!” at JPII’s funeral, Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t tell them to shut up and stop usurping the Church’s authority to canonize saints. But then, Cardinal Ratzinger was a real bishop with common sense, whereas combox and Facebook bishops imagine false claims of episcopal authority to canonize where none are being made even while themselves making real claims of episcopal authority to excommunicate where they emphatically do not exist.

Bottom line: I pray for Chesterton’s intercession when I write because it is my private opinion that the man was a saint and now enjoys the beatific vision. If I’m wrong, I’m sure God will understand. I hope and trust that GKC will merrily pray for the spiteful little men who seriously believe “Chesterton was fat and ugly” is just the sort of argumentation the readership of FT needs.

I’ve been pondering last week and trying to understand the reactions to my remarks about Perry Lorenzo, as well as the curious disconnects between me and some readers (and several strangers) have sort of fractalled off into space. I am, for instance, rather astonished that I could begin the week registering my intense dislike of Dan Savage’s (typical) act of narcissistic gay bullying of a bunch of teenagers (which, of course, sits atop a pile of blog entries registering my rejection of gay “marriage” as an ontological impossibility, and my years long affirmation of Catholic teaching on human sexuality (hint: I agree with it)–only to find by week’s end that a single post expressing admiration for a chaste homosexual who, so far as I can see, totally agreed with and lived out the Church’s teaching, though perhaps with the stumbles to which weak flesh is heir–has somehow transformed me into an apostate who is now “out of the closet” on my “support for homosexuality”.

Part of the confusion, I will grant, turns on a linguistic choice I deliberately made: that is, I chose to describe Perry as “gay” and not “same sex attracted”. I did so for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the ordinary descriptor of all same sex attracted people, chaste or not, in English. Second, I was writing with a view to a larger audience than simply the small bubble of conservative Catholics who have never felt homosexual temptation (I am among those who have never experienced it) and trying to engage those for whom such temptation is a struggle, or who have people dear to them who struggle with it. In various ways, I hear from people a lot who, at the end of the day, get the impression that there simply is no place for SSA people at all in the Church. So I wrote to point to a man who, I think, lived out very beautifully one way (no doubt there are many other ways) that a person could be gay, fulfilled *and* enthusiastically faithful to the Church’s teaching on faith and morals, including her sexual morals.

This is, of course, where the shock sets in, since Perry had a “companion” as he was described in the obituary, and this companion describes their relationship as “monks in love” and their first “date” as (typically for Perry) going to Mass. That’s more than a lot of people can bear. And after it is pointed out that all the Church asks of homosexuals is that they refrain from homosex, a number of readers who felt themselves empowered to be more demanding of homosexuals than Holy Church insisted it was not enough that they lived chastely. One said he should not receive Christian burial. Others assumed he was sexually active. Some complained that it was sinful to charitably assume that somebody who always voiced his full love of the Catholic faith–and often to a deeply hostile gay culture here in Seattle who regard the Church as the enemy–was in fact chaste. The shock when I said I regarded it as none of my business what his private life was like was felt deeply here, and many people couldn’t figure out what I meant. So, to untangle a bit…

I’ve said many times that the private lives of other people are not my business. I don’t want to know if you made love to your spouse last night. Not my business. I also don’t want to have the private lives of homosexuals thrust in my face. This is, in fact, one of the things I object to most about gay culture is the insistence it has on rubbing the noses of total strangers in things that are properly private. It’s part of the disordered nature of disordered sexuality, both gay and contraceptive. So, for the same reason, I object to Sandra Fluke simultaneously demanding I “stay out of her bedroom” and then force-marching me into her bedroom and putting a gun in my ribs with a demand to pay for her contraceptives. I would, in fact, *love* to stay out of her bedroom (in more ways than one) just as I would *love* it if the gay community would just get on with their lives and stop laboring to make me celebrate their disordered appetites as great and good. Not. My. Business. So stop trying to make it mine. Homosex is not good. So stop trying to force a confession from me that it is. It’s a free country, do as you like in the privacy of your home. But don’t expect me to depart from the Church’s teaching and approve of it when you commit homogenital sex. I won’t, cuz it’s, you know, a grave sin.

That said, however, I have always thought that C.S. Lewis was right when he said that he refrained from discussing temptations to which he himself was never subject. So you won’t find Lewis talking about gambling or homosexuality among other things, because he never felt the temptation. Lewis has always resented pep talks to men in the trenches from ninnies who had never been on the front line, so he had a scruple against giving free advice about stuff he had never struggled with. I feel the same way. So you will note that while I have always reiterated my belief in the Church’s teaching on sexuality, and played defense against people who wish me to reject it, I have never played offense and tried to tell people struggling with homosexuality or porn addictions what they need to be doing. Why? I haven’t had those struggles, just as alcohol has never been a temptation for me, so I don’t feel I can in good conscience wade into the lives of tormented people and say, “Hey! Just don’t be tempted! Like me! It’s easy!” I routinely defer to actual spiritual directors and confessors and therapists who actually have real knowledge and experience dealing with such disorders. And one of the things I hear from them is that the black and white simplicities of scorched earthers in comboxes are not how the the tricky complexities of tangled human appetites, whether sexual or otherwise, are usually dealt with. Consider, for instance, this (emphatically heterosexual) tale of people who wisely listened to somebody with some knowledge of the human heart and some empathy for weak human flesh struggling to be free of the coils of sin in the midst of all life’s complexities). Note also, this other story in the combox on the same blog entry.

In addition to all this is that haunting passage from Screwtape: “If I, being what I am, can consider myself in some sense a Christian…” Some people hear that as carte blanche for excusing anybody who calls themselves Christian of any grave, persistent sin, but of course, that’s not what I mean. In the case of Perry, it meant that he was somebody who was obviously and even passionately living a Godward life. How can he have done that if he was in love with a man? Because he brought who he was, disordered appetites and all, to the altar and bore witness to the love of Jesus. He also, as far as I can tell, lived chastely, which is all the Church asks. That is, after all, all we can do is bring who we are to Jesus. What Jesus asks of gay people, as near as I can see, is summed up here:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

I do not see anything in this which declares that a chaste gay couple cannot love one another or spend time together, or have a fulfilling non-sexual relationship. Nor do I see anything in here that says that somebody like me, who has never borne this particular cross, has the job of telling somebody who clearly loves Jesus and his Holy Church and is dedicated to leading others to become His disciples that I must somehow assume a lack of chastity on his part when he himself give me no indication that he edits the faith in any way.

Finally, when I consider the place that he occupied in the Seattle community, I have to ask myself this: Since I am obviously *not* the person who can speak to a rampantly promiscuous and Church-hating gay culture and say “There’s a place in the Church for you where you can find fulfilment in Jesus Christ in chastity” (not having any inner experience with what that looks like or feels like since I have never grappled with the temptation) then who is?

I remember Perry describing the day he took non-Catholic gay friends to Mass with him and explained for them what was happening in the liturgy. I remember him talking about how these gay friends (who assumed the Church was their enemy) who were *astounded* when they found out that the point of incensing the congregation was to communicate that each person in the congregation was holy and precious to God and was, through the Eucharist, a participant in the divine life of the Blessed Trinity. They had no idea and were moved to tears. That was in hard-boiled, anti-Catholic, secular gay Seattle. The guy was an apostle to the gay community. And, as far as I can tell, he did it without editing the faith in any way, demonstrating that you could be gay, fulfilled, and an orthodox Catholic all at once. Did he ever fail in chastity? Don’t know. Don’t care. Not my business. King David certainly failed and in ways that were spectacularly worse. But he too lived a Godward life and overcame. My confidence in Christ was that a man as dedicated to the glory of Christ as Perry was also overcame whatever sins he committed (and I repeat that I have no reason to think he committed the sin of unchastity). So I honor his memory and pray for him.

One final point: one of the sillier complaints about last week was that my saying I consider him a saint was a shocking act of presumption since only the Church can canonize blah blah. Yes. I realize only the Church can canonize. And yet, there’s that crowd of rowdy Romans shouting “santo subito!” at JPII’s funeral. How dare they? There’s fifty million Catholics who talk about their “sainted aunt Margaret” or saying “My wife is a saint for putting up with me”. Come on. We talk this way all the time. We mean, “Here is somebody who, despite the tough hand life dealt them, offered themselves to God through Christ the best way they could and who inspires me to try to do the same”. Not a bad definition of a saint really. Will Perry ever be canonized? i couldn’t care less. I simply know that he was a man who offered himself to Jesus, just as he was, and appears to me to have done so without reservation. If I can do as much I’ll have lived well.

has a line of work people are dying to get into:

If you’ve longed for that simple JPII pine box funeral (without the global media coverage, immense liturgy, and hundreds of heads of state, dignitaries, bishops, priests and an audience shouting “Santo Subito!”) Marcus is your go to guy for the pine box part.

You can find him online here.

…something else is happening this weekend in addition to the Royal Wedding.

Some sort of religious thing in Rome about a figure who was important to a couple of people a few years ago. Can’t remember his name.

Santo subito!

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