Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls

This post will be short. Come all Soul's Day, many will troop back to the cemeteries to remember their dear departed. I really hope that we will all pray for our dead loved ones from our hearts and not merely make this occasion as some sort of mini-family reunions and Halloween trick or treat affair, or we might find ourselves one day in the awful fires of Purgatory for our neglect. That one is definitely not a treat.

Praying for the dead is a spiritual act of mercy and there is a local apostolate in the Philippines dedicated for creating and spreading awareness of the plight of the Poor Souls in Purgatory. They are called Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls. I urge you to visit their beautiful website at and be a prayer warrior.

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

"It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mac 12:46)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Queer Rosary?

It's still the Rosary Month and so I think this post is still relevant . It's a disturbing report about some homosexual activist groups who are making an attempt to make the rosary more LGBT friendly. They call it the "Relational Rosary". Here's some backgrounder information about it:

According to the California Catholic Daily, McMullan and a Rev. Jim Mitulski taught a two-part class on “Praying the Queer Rosary” at an event for the New Spirit/MCC Church of Berkeley. The announcement for the class said it is “based on stories from the bible [sic] which depict Queer Families or Relationships.

Another event was hosted at Berkeley’s Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Parish, which announced a Rosary “in solidarity with LGBT Catholics” facilitated by McMullan and Mike Campos, another doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union.

The "Relational Mysteries" are listed as:

Fidelity — Ruth's pledge to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18)
Grief — The parting of David and Jonathan (I Sam 20:35-42)
Intercession — Esther intercedes for her people (Est 4:9-5:2)
Restoration — The raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44)
Discipleship - The two encounter Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).


I have no issues about persons with SSA praying the rosary. In fact, we need to pray the rosary to fortify us in our struggle to live chaste lives. What I don't like about this whole thing is when certain people distort and twist something in order to suit their own agenda, in this case the rosary. We as Catholics should not condone this sacrilege. Being accepting and tolerant towards our radical LGBT brothers does not mean condoning and accepting their "twisted" sense of spirituality.

If you examine closely this "queer rosary", it's not a rosary at all. The true rosary is always Christocentric, i.e., Christ-centered and also Marian. Notice the absence of this crucial element in the so-called "relational mysteries".

One pro-gay blogger's comment goes something like this:

"Praying a queer rosary is a way of healing the divide that has existed between religion and LGBT people. It's a practice meant to foster love and acceptance, and a practice meant to honor peaceful representations of Mary. There should be nothing blasphemous about that."

Well, I don't agree with his views. Some things in this world simply don't mix well. I can sense his desire to reconcile his ideologies and find acceptance within the Church, but that is where the main conflict lies - the gay agenda is radically incompatible with Christ's teachings - and the only way for anyone in the gay community to come into full communion with the Church is to take up his/her cross of same-sex attraction and follow Him. There is simply no other way and we at Courage strive to live this commitment despite the hardships and persecutions.

At this point, let us remember to include our separated Catholic LGBT brothers and sisters in our rosary in order that they may come to know the truth and embrace it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

News & Commentaries

1. Pope Benedict Approves Structure for Admitting Large Groups of Anglicans Into Catholic Church [weblink]

2. Pontiff Praises Bankers Studying Encyclical [weblink]

3. Lack of Concern for Sanctity of Life Due to Lack of Catechesis, Says Prelate [weblink]

4. Archbishop Chaput: "God Will Demand an Accounting" for Our Moral Indifference [weblink]

5. Christians on High Alert Over Hate Crimes Passage [weblink]

6. Condoms Promote Promiscuity and Lead to More HIV Infections, Says African Bishop [weblink]

7. Homosexual Activists Take U.N. Diplomat to Task [weblink]

8. New York Governor Says Gay "Marriage" Bill Back on Table for Upcoming Special Session [weblink]

9. U.S. House Bill Would Coerce States to Allow Homosexual Adoption [weblink]

10. Novelist Anne Rice Goes 'Angelic' [weblink]


"The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running." - Author unknown

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Religion and Homosexuality

This post is an excerpt taken from Dr. van den Aardweg's book The Battle For Normality pp. 85-87. Here, he makes a succinct observation on the interest and attraction of people with SSA to the religious life. The author also touched briefly on the incompatibility of reconciling the gay lifestyle with authentic Christian morality.

A young, homosexually inclined Christian told me he had studied the Bible and found reasons to reconcile his conscience with his homosexual relationship of that moment, provided he remained faithful. Predictably, after some time he dropped that pretension, but he continued on his course, and his Christianity withered. That is the history of many young persons who try to reconcile the irreconcilable. If they convince themselves that homosexuality is morally good and beautiful, they either lose their faith or invent one of their own, which sanctions their desires. Of the last possibility, examples abound as well as of the first. A well-known homosexual Dutch actor from a Catholic background, for instance, presently plays the role of a self-appointed priest, "blessing" young couples at marriage celebrations (not excluding homosexual "couples", of course) and "ministering" at funerals.

This brings up a topic of current interest: Why are so many Protestant and Catholic homosexuals, male and female alike, interested in theology, and why do they not infrequently want to be ministers or priests? Part of the answer lies in their infantile need for sympathy and contact. They view church professions as soft and sentimentally "caring" and imagine themselves in them as being honored and revered, elevated above common human beings. They see the Church as a noncompetitive, friendly world where they may enjoy high status and be protected at the same time. For male homosexuals, there is the additional incentive of a rather closed men's community where they need not prove themselves as men; women with lesbian feelings, on their part, may feel drawn to an exclusive women's community, like a convent. Unctuous ways, which they associate with "pastoral" manners and ways, moreover, appeal to some, being in line with their overfriendly, soft manners. And in the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, there is the attraction of the garments and the aesthetic rituals, which male homosexuals may, in their childish perception, experience as feminine and which enable a narcissistic showing off, comparable to the exhibitionistic joys of homosexual ballet dancers.

Remarkably, lesbian women may also feel attracted to the role of vicar and priest. In their case too the attractive element for those who feel they don't belong is the social recognition as well as the enjoyment of being able to dominate others. It is interesting that the attraction of homosexuals to priestly functions is not restricted to modern Christianity; in several primitive societies, as in antiquity, homosexuals have fulfilled the priestly role.

These interests stem for the most part, then, from an infantile, self-centered imagination and have precious little to do with the objective contents of Christian belief. What some homosexuals thus see as their "calling" to the priesthood is an attraction to an emotionally rewarding, but self-centered, way of life. These are self-imagined or "false" vocations. Needless to say, these ministers and priests are inclined to preach a soft, humanistic reinvention of traditional beliefs, especially of moral principles, and a distorted concept of "love". Moreover, they tend to create a homosexual subculture within their churches. There they undoubtedly pose a subtle threat for the orthodoxy and undermine church unity by their habit of forming subversive coteries that do not feel responsible to the official church community (the reader may recall the homosexual complex of "not belonging"). Otherwise, they generally lack the balance and the strength of character necessary for giving fatherly guidance.

Do real vocations never go along with homosexual interests? I do not dare to affirm that fully; perhaps I have seen a few exceptions in the course of the years. But, as a rule, a homosexual orientation, whether acted out or experienced only in the private emotional life, must certainly be regarded as a contraindication to the supernatural source of priestly interests.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Battle for Normality

I want to give an overview of this book by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D. entitled The Battle For Normality: A Guide For (Self-) Therapy For Homosexuality. I remember having bought this book while still in college in National Bookstore, but for some reason it came on as "too heavy" for me and so I just let it sit idly in my closet for years. Now, I am leafing through the pages of the book once again in search of answers that I hope I would be able to share with you through this blog.

About the Author

This is the latest book of Dr. Aardweg on homosexuality. He is a Dutch psychologist (a Catholic one I guess) who has treated hundreds of persons with SSA and has cured many of them. He dedicates this book to "men and women tormented by homosexual emotions who do not want to live as homosexuals, who want constructive help and support, and who are forgotten, have no voice, and get no answers in our society, which recognizes only the emancipatory homosexual who wants to impose his ideology of "normality" and "unchangeability" and thus discriminates aginst those who know or feel that that is a sad lie."

Gerard van den Aardweg studied psychology at Leiden University, and received his Ph.D. in psychology at Amsterdam University. He has had a private psychotherapeutic practice since 1963 in Holland, specializing in the treatment of homosexuality and marriage problems.


This book is essentially self-therapy intended for persons with SSA who want to do something about their "condition", but do not have the time or opportunity to visit a therapist with healthy ideas on the matter for there are very few of them. The author clarifies though that it does not mean anyone can "go it alone".

According to him, "He who wants to overcome emotional problems needs a realistically understanding and encouraging guide to whom he can speak his mind, to help him discover important aspects of his emotional life and of his motivations, and to coach him in his struggle with himself. That guide need not necessarily be a professional therapist. Preferrably, he should be, but on the condition that he has healthy ideas about sexuality and morality; if not, he may do more harm than good." I agree.


Here is a general outline of the topics covered in the book which might be of particular interest to you.


Part One: Insights

1. Homosexuality: An Overview
Insights in Brief
Not Normal
The Role of Self-Labeling

2. Development of Homosexuality
Homosexuality in the Genes? In the Brain?
Irreversibly Programmed in the First Years of Life?
Psychological Childhood Factors
The Masculinity/Femininity Inferiority Complex
Self-Dramatization and the Formation of an Inferiority Complex

3. Homosexual Drives
The "Search for Love and Affection"
Homosexual "Love"
Homosexual Sex Addiction

4. The Neuroticism of Homosexuality
Homosexual Relationships
Self-Destructive and Dysfunctional Tendencies
Remaining a Teenager: Infantilism
Neurotic from Discrimination?
Nonneurotic Homosexuals?
Normal in Other Cultures?

5. The Question of Morality
Homosexuality and Conscience
Religion and Homosexuality

Part Two: Practical Rules for (Self-) Therapy

6. The Role of Therapy
Sobering Remarks on "Psychotherapy"
The Need for a Therapist

7. Knowing Oneself
Working through Childhood and Adolescence
Knowledge of the Present Self
Moral Self-Knowledge

8. Qualities to Cultivate
Beginning the Battle: Hope, Self-Discipline, Sincerity
Fighting Neurotic Self-Pity; Humor
Patience and Humility

9. Changing Patterns of Thought and Behavior
Fighting Homosexual Feelings
Fighting the Infantile Ego
Mending the Sex Role

10.Relating to Others
Changing One's Views of and Relationships with Others
Changing Relations with the Opposite Sex; Marriage

Book Reviews

"There is a need for such a practical "guide" because there are very few able therapists who want to help the well-intentioned homosexual to change, and because most existing works on homosexuality - no matter how excellent their content may be - are chiefly about theory, not about every-day self-therapy. Theoretical subjects are discussed, too, insofar as they are necessary to be able to fight the homosexual inclination and to refute certain myths that may undermine the homosexual's confidence in the possibility of a change." - Richard Fitzgibbons, MD, Comprehensive Counseling Services

"Dr. van den Aardweg's book provides a useful, 'no-nonsense' guide for self-help therapy. His approach calls for an appreciation of traditional gender roles, and demands an unstinting self-examination and strong effort at self-discipline in the struggle the homosexual person faces toward full maturity. Many readers will be helped by this practical book." - Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. Author, Healing Homosexuality

"This scholarly tome is not for the mildly curious, but for those who are willing to take the time to unearth the depths of the root issues underlying the homosexual issue. The author reveals the key to this mystery, the problematic issue of self-pity. It is well worth the time it will take to digest its complex, detailed, in-depth study of homosexuality." - Anita Worthen, Author, Someone I Love is Gay

Sunday, October 18, 2009

News & Commentaries

1. Pope: Access to Food Included in Right to Life [weblink]

2. Manila Prelate Underscores Lessons Learned from Ondoy [weblink]

3. Pro-Life Youth Congress 2009 [weblink]

4. Eucharistic Miracle: 2009? [weblink]

5. Wealthy Homosexual Activist Advises 'Active Measures' Against Religious Opponents [weblink]

6. Gender Ideology Endangers Spanish Education, Expert Warns [weblink]

7. Obama Contradicts Nature and Nature's God by Declaring Homosexuality-based Relationships 'as Admirable' as Normal Couples [weblink]

8. Terminating the GOP Brand: Schwarzenegger Signs 'Harvey Milk Day' Bill and Pro-'Gay Marriage' Legislation [weblink]

9. Ex-Homosexuals Denied Equal Shelf Space [weblink]

10. Harry Potter and Dumbledore Used to Entice Fans into Activism for Maine Gay 'Marriage' Push [weblink]


"While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions." - Stephen R. Covey

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Journey To Healing

A Journey To Healing: Freedom From Emotional And Relational Hurts

A two-part healing, teaching and discipleship series

Part 1: An Introduction to Living Waters
November 6 (Fri) & 7 (Sat) each day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Explores the realities of relational and sexual brokeness and how all can journey to wholeness only in Christ.

Part 2: Living Waters Leadership Training
November 8 (Sun) at 7 p.m. to November 14 (Sat) at 8 a.m.

Equips Christian leaders to effectively minister to those who are hurting and struggling with fear of people, low self-image, gender confusion, sexual fantasy, past abuse, and different forms of addictive behavior.

To be conducted by a well-trained, international team of healing ministers from the US, Canada and Asia.

Venue: Bukal ng Tipan CICM Maryhill Compound km 22 (Road to Antipolo), Brgy. Dolores Taytay, Rizal

For registration and other details please contact: Tootsie Sobremisana at 0919-5123526 or email us at

The Living Waters Program

Jesus is committed to enabling everyone to love. This is the basic premise of the Living Waters healing model. But when we are pained by emotional hurts and other woundings, we get broken and confused about who we truly are. It binds us from loving others and even ourselves, as Christ wants us to. We need His restoring grace to heal us. When we experience that, we can in turn heal others.

Living Waters was developed by Andrew Comiskey, founder and president of Desert Stream Ministries. It is a program designed to provide a safe place for those struggling with low self-esteem, irrational fear, rage, gender confusion, abuse, emotional dependency, sexual addiction and unforgiveness.

Living Waters as a healing model is in more than forty (40) countries worldwide. It is now on its seventh (7th) year in the Philippines.

Application & Registration

Application forms are available from the address below. Filled-out application forms must be submitted to the same address below on or before October 15, 2009. (Pls. contact their office to inquire if they allow late participants just in case)

Living Waters Philippines
c/o Word Community Church
#352 Capt. Henry Javier St.
Bgy. Oranbo, Pasig City 1600
Tel. No. 910-0777 (only from 1-5 p.m., Tues-Thurs)

Online application is also available at


Part 1: P2,500 Nov. 6 to Nov. 7 (Each day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Part 2: P6,500* Nov. 8 (7 p.m.) to Nov. 14 (8 a.m.)

Includes board and lodging, Living Waters manual and teaching materials. *First paid meal will be dinner on November 8.

All registration fees must be paid in full prior to the start of the seminar. Unpaid balances need to be settled on arrival at the venue.

"Whoever believes in Me...streams of living water will flow from within him." - John 7:38

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sharing on 'Ondoy' Experience

It was not all gloom and doom when tropical storm Ketsana (Ondoy) ravaged the metropolis causing widespread destruction everywhere. I believe and I have witnessed with my own eyes how it also brought out the best in Filipinos, and this personal testimony from Bro. Rollie is one of those nameless and selfless acts of courage done for those in need. This is written in Filipino, a first in this blog, so to all my foreign visitors in the blog you've got to tug a Pinoy to translate this one for you.


Linggo, isang araw makalipas manalanta ng bagyong Ondoy sa malaking bahagi ng Luzon... napagkaisahan ng grupo ng Courage na magkita-kita pa rin sa lugar kung saan sila nagtitipon, upang manalangin sa harapan ng Santissima Sakramento at pagkatapos tingnan kung paano makatulong sa mga miyembro na nasalanta ng bagyo.

Matapos ang mataimtim na pagdarasal ng santo rosaryo at chaplet ng banal na awa, at pagninilay sa harap ni Hesus, inilabas ng mga miyembro na dumalo sa pagtitipon ang mga damit at pagkain na nakalaan na ibigay sa pamilya ng mga nasalanta. Naroon ang isang miyembro na taga-Pasig at inilahad niya kung papaano sa pag-uwi niya sa tahanan nila at nasalubong niya ang lagpas tao na baha sa bukana pa lang ng subdivision nila. Labis siyang kinakabahan kung ano na nangyari sa kanyang pamilya na hindi niya malaman kung nasa ikalawang palapag pa ng bahay nila o nasa katapat na simbahan ng Baptist. Bagama't me mga nasalanta rin na kapatid sa Bulacan at Las Pinas, dahil narito na ang kapatid na taga-Pasig na humihingi ng tulong at maaring gumabay papunta sa kanila, napagkaisahan na sa kanila na lang tumungo ang pitong miyembro na kasama.

Bumaba kami sa Rosario, Pasig at naghanap muna ng mabibilhan ng iba pang pagkain at pangangailangan. Me bumili ng pandesal sa bakery, at pagkatapos ay napadpad sa isang Mercury Drug at naghagilap ng gamot, tubig, biskwit, de-lata, noodles at iba pang maaring ipantawid gutom at uhaw ng pamilya ng kapatid namin. Matapos nito nagsimula na kaming maglakad patungo sa lugar na kinatitirikan ng bahay nila. Umabot kami sa tulay kung saan natatanaw na namin ang baha. Kinailangan naming umikot sa ibang daan para makababa sa parte na wala nang baha.

Magtatakip-silim na nang dumating kami sa bukana ng subdivision nila. Napansin namin ang evacuation tent at mga tao na nagkakagulo at duon tumambad sa amin ang lalim ng baha. Tanaw mo ang ilang residente na nakalutang gamit ang mga salbabida, inflatable swimming pools at mga galon ng tubig. Nagbiruan na lang kami "Level 2 na ito" at nagsimulang mag-isip paano kami makapunta sa kalye ng tahanan ng aming kapatid, na hindi man namin matanaw ay alam naming lagpas tao ang lalim nito. Maya-maya dumating ang ilang kapulisan dala-dala ang isang malaking rubber boat. Subalit ayon sa mga taong nakapaligid, para daw ito sa rescue operations ng mga tao na nais nang lumisan sa kanilang lugar at hindi sa pagdadala ng mga relief goods sa mga tao na ayaw lisanin ang mga tahanan nila. Huling byahe na raw nila iyon para sa araw na iyon, sapagkat mahirap nang sumagwan pagkagat ng dilim.

Isang oras ang lumipas. Mahirap pala ang ganung pakiramdam - parang nasa dulo ka na ng PC game na nilalaro mo at hindi mo na alam kung paano mag-level up kasi naubusan ka na nang powers. Me mga dala-dala kaming relief goods, kaya kahit naisin man namin na languyin ang kinaroroonan ng pamilya ng aming kapatid hindi rin namin madadala ang tulong na dapat namin maibigay sa kanila. Ang tanging pag-asa namin ay kung me rubber boat o bangka na magagamit kami na mapaglagakan ng mga relief goods at maibyahe sa tahanan nila. Subalit dumaan ang maraming minuto at walang dumating. Me isang grupo ng mga lalaki na dumating tangan ang lumulutang na styrofoam, subalit huling byahe na raw nila iyon kasi nilalamig na sila sa tubig baha. Nilusong na namin ng isang kapatid ang baha hanggang hita para makipag-unahan sa mga tao na nais makakuha ng tulong mula sa kahit anong lumulutang na maaring magamit pantawid sa mala-dagat na tubig baha. Parang walang pag-asa. Sumagi na sa isip ko na iwanan na ang kapatid namin kasama ng mga relief goods na binili namin sapagkat wala na ako maisip na paraan para makatawid sa dagat na iyon. Naisip ko rin na sana dumiretso na lang kami sa lugar na ito kasi nung maaga-aga daw ay marami pang mga bangka at rubber boats na bumabiyahe patungo sa kalye na dapat naming puntahan. Naisip ko mali siguro ang desisyon ko na unahin ang pagdasal sa banal na Sakramento. Hindi ko na alam ang gagawin, dahil bagamat nais naming tumulong sa aming kapatid, responsibilidad ko rin ang iba pang mga myembro na sumama kung matiyaga man kaming maghihintay na humupa ang baha o me dumating na bangka o bumalik ang liwanag ng haring araw. Nasambit ko "Diyos ko, tulungan mo naman kami".

Isang grupo ng mga lalaki ang nagdala ng bangka sa "pampang" ng tubig baha. Tinanong namin kung maaring mahiram ang bangka ang sabi nila sa barangay daw magpapaalam. Kinaon ko ang isang kapatid na ipagpaalam ang bangka, at nung pumayag ang barangay, tulong-tulong naming itinihaya ang bangka, nilagay sa gitna ang mga relief goods, at itinulak ito pabalik sa tubig baha hanggang sa lumutang ito muli. Ngayon ang tanong "Sino ang sasakay sa bangka?" Natigilan kaming lahat. Minasdan ko ang bangka - wala siyang katig o kawayan sa magkabilang gilid na siyang magbabalanse dito. Walang matinong sagwan kung hindi isang maliit na tabla. Delikado. Malalim ang tubig, lagpas tao - hindi ako marunong lumangoy. Subalit sa hindi maipaliwanag na dahilan, hindi ako natakot. Parang me bumubulong sa puso ko "Gagabayan kita. Tuturuan kita. Magtiwala ka". Binigay ko ang knapsack ko sa isang kapatid. Tumuntong ako sa bangka at dahan-dahang inangat ang katawan ko mula sa tubig baha para maupo sa unahang parte nito. "Sigurado ka Kuya?" me narinig ako nagsabi pero parang wala ako sa sarili. Sumunod na umangat sa bangka ang dalawa ko pang kasama - naupo ang isa sa likurang bahagi at yung kapatid na me pamilya na pupuntahan namin naupo naman sa gitnang bahagi. Nararamdaman ko na nanginginig siya kasi umuuga ng malakas ang bangka. Nasabihan siya na maging mahinahon at tumigil kaunti ang pag-uga ng bangka. Me nag-abot sa akin nang mga 3-metrong haba na kahoy, manipis sa isang dulo at makapal sa kabilang dulo - wari ko'y naputol na sanga ng puno. Sinubukan kong imaniobra ang bangka gamit ang mahabang kahoy subalit mahirap siyang gamitin na nakaupo, bumabangga lang kami sa mga sasakyang nakalubog sa baha. Dahan-dahan akong tumayo at sinubukang isagwan ang kahoy. Umuusad naman kami pero sa gilid ng mata ko alam ko ito'y dahil sa tinutulak kami ng isang kapatid na matapang na lumusong sa tubig kahit hanggang dibdib na ang taas nito. Nakaliko na kami sa unang kanto ng subdivision at sumigaw na yung kapatid naming lumusong "Kuya, malalim na dito hindi ko na kaya". Tumugon ako "Ok lang, ipagdasal mo na lang kami", sabay sagwan ulet ng mahabang kahoy.

Sadyang mahaba ang ipinangsasagwan kong kahoy kaya sumasabit siya sa mga kawad ng kuryente na abot kamay na lang namin. Kinailangan kong itaas upang hawiin ang mga kawad ng kuryente para mailusot ang sagwan kong kahoy. Isa pang "extra challenge" ay hindi pantay ang kapal ng magkabilang dulo ng kahoy - manipis sa isang dulo, makapal sa kabilang dulo. Kaya pag ginagamit sa pagsagwan hindi pantay ang takbo namin - me pagkakataong bumabangga kami sa gate ng bahay o sa poste ng Meralco o sa street sign (ganoon kataas ang tubig baha!) Ilang beses kaming umiikot-ikot para maitama ang orientation ng bangka namin sa tuwing bumabangga kami sa mga bagay-bagay. Nagbiro nga ang kasamahan namin "Level 3 na ito!" Nanginginig pa rin ang kasamahan namin na nakapwesto sa gitna, kaya sabi ko magdasal na lang tayo kaya sinubukan naming sambitin ang Ama Namin at Aba Ginoong Maria, pero sa tuwing nababangga kami, natitigil ang pagdasal namin. Sinubukan kong dasalin ang St. Michael prayer pero lalong umuga ang bangka namin - naisip ko tuloy hindi ito oras para kalabanin ang mga pwersa na me pakana ng kalamidad na ito. Tumahimik na lang ako at kinausap ang Diyos sa aking puso "Tulungan mo po kami, Lord". Dumiretso ang aming pag-usad kaya napausal ako nang malakas "Thank you Lord!" Me mga residente na naroon pa rin sa ilang tahanan na iniilawan kami ng kanilang flashlight - alam ko isang malaking tulong na ito sa amin dahil malalim na ang gabi at madilim na ang paligid. Kaya sumisigaw rin ako sa kanila ng "Thank you po!" Nang umabot kami sa susunod na kanto, isang malaking hadlang sa amin ang nakaharang na mga basura at water lily sa aming dadaanan, kasabay ang mababang mga sanga ng puno na sumasabit sa kahoy sa bawat pagsagwan ko. Ilang minuto rin kami urong sulong sa kanto na iyon bago namin tuluyang naalis ang harang na mga water lily at basura sa daan. Tanaw na namin ang bahay ng kapatid namin - katulad ng lahat ng mga bahay, ikalawang palapag na lang ang nasa ibabaw ng tubig. May ilaw ng kandila sa palapag na iyon, kaya nang malapit na kami nagsimula na niyang tawagin ang kanyang pamilya. Unang lumabas ang kanyang kapatid na lalaki sa balkonahe ng ikalawang palapag nila. Tinawag ang iba pang myembro ng pamilya na dali-daling lumabas ng balkonahe. Inikot namin ang bangka para makalapit sa kanilang bahay, at nagulat ako kasi parang bihasa sa pagmaniobra ng bangka, naigilid namin ito sa mismong tabi ng bahay niya para maiabot ang mga dala-dala naming pagkain at damit sa pamilya.

Abot-abot ang pasasalamat ng pamilya ng kapatid namin sa tulong na iniiabot namin sa kanila. Mahigit isang araw na raw silang hindi kumakain, at basa na rin ang kanilang mga damit sa pag-ahon ng ilang kagamitan mula sa unang palapag ng baya patungo sa ikalawang palapag. Dahan-dahan ang kilos ng taong nasa gitna sa pag-aabot ng relief goods dahil kinailangang panatilihin ang balanse ng bangka. Nang maibigay na namin lahat ng pagkain at damit na dala namin, itinulak ko na ang bangka palayo sa bahay - hindi ako makapaniwala na narating na namin ang bahay at papaalis na kami, at hindi pa kami tumataob! Nasa gitna na kami ng daan nang me kumaway sa amin mula s bubong ng isang bahay - isang lalaki na gusto daw makisakay sa amin dahil bibili daw siya ng makakain ng pamilya nila. Nagdadalawang-isip ako kasi baka hindi kayanin ng bangka ang isa pang tao. Pero nanaig ang awa ko dahil naramdaman ko sa pamilyang tinulungan namin ang gutom ng taong hindi nakakain nang mahigit isang araw. Inilapit ko ang bangka sa bubong subalit nahirapan akong ipwesto nang maayos ito - nalaman ko me drainage pala na humihigop ng tubig baha sa likuran namin. Medyo natakot ang kapatid namin na nasa likod baka higupin ang bangka namin ng drainage. Pinanatili kong maging kalmado at sinubukan muli na ilapit ang bangka sa bubong kung saan naroon ang taong gustong makisabay sa amin. Dahan-dahan siyang bumaba sa bangka at umupo sa pinakaharapan nito. Naramdaman ko na me kaunting tubig na pumasok sa bangka, at inaamin ko kinabahan ako nun - mukhang me butas na ang ilalim ng bangka. Nagpakalma ulet ako at nang balanse na ulet ang bangka, itinulak ko na ulet papalayo sa bubong at nagsimula na ulet magsagwan. Sinabihan ko yung kapatid na nakapwesto sa gitna na me hawak na tabla na tulungan ako sa pagsagwan - sabay kami sa kaliwa tapos sa kanan hanggang naramdaman namin na mas mabilis nang umuusad ang bangka. Naroon ulet ang mga basura at water lily sa kanto kaya sinabi ko sa taong nakisakay sa amin na kamayin palayo ang mga ito para makadaan kami. Mas mabilis na kami nakaliko sa kantong iyon kaya natuwa na ako. Me tumawag ulet sa amin mula sa isang mataas na bahay. Mga lalaki ito na sa wari ko ay nagkakasiyahan sa balkonahe ng isang bahay. Gusto daw makisabay din sa amin papalabas. Sa pagkakataong ito, pakiwari ko hindi magandang ideya na ilapit pa muli ang bangka - baka hindi na kayanin ang isa pang bigat ng tao at tuluyan kaming lumubog. Tinuloy ko lang ang pagsagwan hanggang naaninag ko ang kapatid namin na lumusong hanggang leeg na naghihintay sa amin. Tinawag niya ang pangalan ko kaya alam ko na siya nga yun. Malapit na kami sa "pampang" kung gayon.

Lumapit siya sa bangka at sinumulang itulak sabay ang aming pagsagwan. Mabilis kaming nakaliko sa huling kanto at natanaw na namin ang mga tao sa "pampang" na wari'y nakaabang sa aming pagdating. Nakababa kami sa "pampang" at alam ko isang napakalaking ngiti ang nasa mukha ko nuon. Nagtagumpay kami! Umapaw ang laking pasasalamat ko sa Diyos na alam kong siyang dahilan na nakapunta kami sa pamilya ng kapatid namin at nakabalik kami sa "pampang" na hindi kami tumataob, sa kabila na mahirap ibalanse ang bangka dahil wala siyang kawayang katig. Nagulat ang mga kapatid naming naiwan sa bukana ng subdivision dahil hindi man nabasa ang aming mga damit - patunay na hindi kami tumaob. At noon ko lang napagtanto, nasa bulsa ko ang wallet ko at dalawang cell phones ko - kung sakaling tumaob kami sa gitna ng malalim na tubig na iyon, wala na ang mga ito. At dahil hindi rin ako marunong lumangoy, marahil ay wala na rin ako. Patuloy na nag-umapaw ang pasasalamat ko sa Diyos kabilang ang paghanga ko sa aking sarili at sa mga kasama ko sa bangka sa nagawa naming iyon. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord!

Matapos maligo sa alcohol at yung kasama namin na nilusong ang baha ay magpalit ng pang-itaas na damit, naglakad na kami pauwi. Hindi namin alintana ang haba ng nilakad namin dahil punong puno kami ng kwento kung paano namin sinuong ang baha at kung paanong milagro kaming nakaligtas sa pagtaob ng bangka. Pagdaan namin sa simbahan ng Rosario, narinig namin na kinakanta na ang Ama Namin. Dahil ang ilan sa amin ay hindi nakapagsimba dahil sa ginawa naming pagtulong sa isang kapatid, minarapat na naming dumaan sa simbahan. Pagpasok sa loob, napansin ko agad ang istatwa ni San Lorenzo Ruiz sa harap ng altar. Bisperas nga pala ng pista ni San Lorenzo! Nagpasalamat din ako sa kanya marahil isa siya sa mga gumabay sa amin sa pamamangka namin - sapagkat siya rin mismo ay nakaranas ng delubyo sa gitna ng dagat sa paglalakbay nila kasama ang mga misyonero. Thank you San Lorenzo! Tapos napansin ko ang larawan ni Santa Teresita - isang litrato siya ng kanyang maamong mukha, at waring nangungusap ang mga mata niya sa akin. Naalala ko na siya ang nagturo ng "spiritual childhood" sa Simbahan. At duon ko napagtanto - isang aral ng spiritual childhood ang naranasan namin ngayong gabi. Mga katagang "trust and obey" ang paulit-ulit na umapaw sa puso ko. Napuno ako ng galak sa nalaman ko.

Oo nga naman. Kaya ako tumayo sa harap ng bangka sapagkat narinig ko ang Diyos sa aking puso na nagsabing "Gagabayan kita. Tuturuan kita. Magtiwala ka". At dahil sumunod ako, sumunod kami, sa narinig ng puso ko - napatunayan ang mga katagang ito. Tunay ngang ginabayan kami, tinuruan kami ng Diyos sa kabuuan ng aming pamamangka. Hindi ako marunong sa pamamangka, ni hindi nga ako marunong lumangoy - pero nung makita daw ako ng mga kapatid na tumayo at simulang isagwan ang mahabang kahoy, mukha daw akong ekspertong bangkero! Nag-umapaw muli ang pasasalamat sa aking puso. Thank you so much Lord!

Subalit kadalasan sa ating buhay, sa aking buhay, hindi ako ganoon magtiwala sa Diyos. Madalas nasa pampang tayo at natatakot "to go into the deep" kasi walang kasiguraduhan ang paglalakbay na gagawin. Kaya pala siya tinawag na "leap of faith" kasi literal na iaangat mo ang paa mo patungo sa isang lugar o sitwasyon na hindi mo alam. Isang pagtitiwala ng isang anak sa kanyang ama na bagamat hindi niya tantya kung gaano kataas ang babagsakan niya, tiwala siya na sasaluhin siya ng kanyang butihing ama sa ibaba. Complete trust and surrender to God - ito ang kailangan natin lalo na at nasa sitwasyon tayo na sa maraming tao ay wala nang pag-asa. Mahirap subalit kailangang gawin. Ang bangka na sasakyan natin - ang komunidad na ibibigay sa atin - para makarating tayo sa patutunguhan ay hindi perpekto. Madalas walang katig at kailangang bumalanse ang lahat ng taong sasakay para manatiling nakalutang ang bangka. Dun ko nakita ang halaga ng bawat miyembro ng komunidad - bawat isa ay may kakayahang itaob o panatilihing nakalutang ang bangka. Nawa maisabuhay ko - natin - ang mga aral na natutunan sa karanasan nating ito. Nawa maging inspirasyon ito sa ating lahat na bagamat sa pananaw natin wala nang pag-asa, lagpas tao na ang problema natin sa buhay, mayroon pa ring bangka tayong sasakyan, at ang matibay na pagtitiwala natin sa Diyos na lubos na nagmamahal sa atin ang siyang magiging tanggulan natin anumang unos ang dumating sa ating buhay. Ang lahat nang ito, nang dahil sa bahang dulot ni Ondoy.

Salamat sa ating Diyos!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Engaging the Same Sex Attracted

This is an old NCRegister article on John Heard forwarded to me by Fr. Dan. I find his practical no-nonsense style of blogging interesting. John mostly blogs about SSA in the light of the Catholic Church's teaching on human sexuality. What is most interesting about this prolific blogger and speaker is how he came to reconcile the "irreconcilable" - namely his personal struggle with SSA with that of the Church's teachings - as you can read in this brief interview below.

Q: Tell me about your background.

John: My family is Catholic, and we are Polish-Catholic on my mother’s side. For many years, the Polish Pope and my Polish grandfather were interchangeable in my imagination. They looked similar, they sounded the same, and they both provided a solid, faithful witness. From my earliest memory, then, my experience of Catholicism was bound up with questions of justice, and the great political and philosophical struggles of the age were filtered through a religious lens.

That is how I learned to love the Church: It was the one thing that made my serious family members grow silent. I observed their reverence. Like most of my male relatives, I was an altar boy, and the beauty of a carefully planned and properly served liturgy seduced me. I served until I grew out of the cassocks.

When I arrived at college and law school in 2000, a residential college entrusted to the care of the Jesuits, my untutored faith was challenged, stretched, formed, purified and finally fortified. I was exposed to some of the great minds of the Christian tradition: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman, alongside John Paul the Great and Cardinal Ratzinger. It was a shock to me to discover that not only had so many eloquent, brilliant Christians been there before me, but their ideas and teachings were more than a match for the ideas and movements offered by secular modernity. The sensual boy’s faith was therefore tempered by the intellectual rigor of the saints and other great figures of the Christian past, and I joyfully became an adult Catholic.

Q: What was your earliest experience discovering that you were a same-sex attracted person, and how did that affect your faith or your perspective on God?

John: At roughly the same time, during college, I started to interrogate my actions. I had lost my virginity to a girl during the first week of term, and I had had covert, casual sex encounters with males and females. On the surface, I was the guy who arranged Masses in the chapel, and I enjoyed defending the Church’s teachings in class and other settings. Behind the scenes, however, the conflict between my beliefs and my personal life was becoming unbearable. If I really believed the things I was defending, and I wanted to attend the holy sacrifice of the Mass with a pure heart and clean hands, something had to give. That something was my life of lies.

Like many young same-sex attracted men, however, I thought the proper response was to doubt the things I had always believed. I became something of a cafeteria Catholic, publicly defending those teachings that seemed relevant to me, but falling silent when the Church’s teachings on human sexuality came up. I subscribed to the homoactivist view of human sexuality and hoped the Church would “catch up.”

Q: How did you come to start the Dreadnought blog, and where did the name come from?

John: I started a blog because I felt the pull of Christ in the most unlikely places. In the middle of a dance floor or at some gay bar, he called out to me to follow him. When I looked in the mirror, I could not see the brave new man of the “sexual liberation”; I saw instead a pitiful creature, someone who was nothing like the “measure of all things” I was reading about in class. No matter how hard I tried to hide, I needed the love of God. I needed to be perfected in him. I kept coming to familiar lines in ancient prayers — “make us worthy of the promises of Christ” and “Blood of Christ, inebriate me” — and finding myself undone.

At first, I blogged disingenuously, and I tried to parse Vatican documents on homosexual acts and “gay marriage.” I looked for any solid way to apologize for the homoactivist lifestyle within the Catholic tradition, but, of course, I couldn’t find one. My public wrangling attracted a fairly substantial following, especially in the United States, and a cloud of intense onlookers — some undergoing a similar process of reconversion — gathered around my inbox. The “comments” boxes on the website were always full.

I encountered for the second time in my life, then, the conflict between my participation in homosexual acts and the Catholic teaching on human sexuality. One Dreadnoughter wrote to ask me what would happen if/when I fell in love with a man and I was forced to choose between the man and Christ. I wrote back joyfully that, as a Catholic, I must choose Christ, and that I was blessed to have the choice. This time, I meant what I said.

I then restarted the Dreadnought website in submission to this remarkable idea: I would not question the Church; I would serve her. I would not second-guess the Pope; I would defend him. I would not always come with a posture of distrust; I would love the faith — and obey. This new style of writing attracted another sort of attention. I was asked to write for the national media in Australia, and I started to appear on television, radio and in public.

I named the website Dreadnought for two reasons. First, the Dreadnought-class battleship was exponentially more powerful than anything that had gone before it. By massively upgrading particular aspects of traditional battleship design, the designers of the Dreadnought changed the world. I hoped the website, however humbly, might also work creatively within tradition and help to reveal the Catholic teaching on human sexuality in all its beauty.

Second, Winston Churchill was a key player in the planning and rollout of Britain’s Dreadnought-class battleships. I identified with Churchill’s struggles against a popular sentiment very much against what he held to be basic, true and pressing (in his case, about military planning; in mine, about the Catholic teaching on human sexuality).

Q: What was your intention for the Dreadnoughters Facebook Group?

John: Over time, the “comments” boxes (on the blog) had become unwieldy; there were sometimes hundreds of intense replies, so I shut down the comments. But my readers continued to ask for a place where they could gather together with me to explore Church teaching on human sexuality.

Time and again, men wrote to me of the loneliness they felt they would experience if they took the Church’s teachings seriously. I began to understand that this was not an intellectual objection to the teaching itself, rather a deeply personal expression of shame, fear and the sort of loneliness all human beings experience.

People need to learn from each other and stand by each other. Christians flourish together. Facebook provided the ideal site for a Dreadnoughters group, a place where Catholics, Christians and seekers after truth could gather together and discuss human sexuality and Catholic teaching.

By forming the group, I intended to provide an online, virtual home for the sometimes geographically disparate, always diverse collection of committed Catholic readers my writing attracts.

Through the base level of personal contact available on a social networking site, lonely and isolated same-sex attracted Catholics, otherwise angry lapsed Catholics or non-Catholics from all over the world can participate in the profound and enlightening experience of Christian fellowship: We are not alone. Now it also works as a discussion forum where we can interact with seekers from other traditions, especially otherwise hostile groups and people (atheists, homoactivists, liberal Protestants).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

News & Commentaries

1. Pope: RP Needs 'Honest' Political Leaders [weblink]

2. Pope Awards Highest Honor to EWTN Founder Mother Angelica and Chairman [weblink]

3. Manila Offers Plenary Indulgence, Promotes Pilgrimages [weblink]

4. US Bishops Reject All Current Healthcare Bills [weblink]

5. Obama to Keynote at Anti-Christian Homosexual Lobby Group 'Human Rights Campaign' [weblink]

6. Survey Finds Majority of Americans Still Against Same-Sex 'Marriage' [weblink]

7. Homosexual Unions Are Not Marriages or Families, Says Mexican Bishop [weblink]

8. It's High Noon for 'Harvey Milk' Bill [weblink]

9. Gender Theory a "Lethal Ideology" Alien to African Culture African Prelate Tells Synod [weblink]

10. Fatima Movie Release (with YouTube movie trailer)[weblink]


"Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?" - St. Gerard Majella

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Learning to Live Chastely with SSA

Here is an old Zenit article forwarded to me by a Courage brother's wife. We definitely can relate to this very well.

David Morrison Tells How He Ordered His Passions With a Life in Christ

Many people with same-sex attractions believe that they must be defined by their homosexual behavior.

But one man who grew up acting on his same-sex attractions has learned to embrace chastity as a Catholic convert. Journalist David Morrison, a former activist, is author of the book Beyond Gay (Our Sunday Visitor) and founder and moderator of Courage Online, an online support community.

He shared with ZENIT how living chastely helped diminish the degree of his same-sex attractions.

Q: What do you think contributed to your same-sex attractions?

Morrison: Whether same-sex attractions have a genetic origin or component, or stems from relationship problems during early life provides one of the more energetic contemporary scientific debates.

Unfortunately, the discussion has a tendency to slosh out from the purely scientific and into the headlines, but given the broader culture I suppose it's probably inevitable that it do so.

In my own case, I believe significant relationship problems with both of my parents, as well as with my peers, contributed to the development of same-sex attractions in my life and personality. I don't blame my parents at all; they became the people they were because of the upbringing they had and they tried to do the best they could rearing me. But my father was very emotionally distant throughout my childhood, while my mother was likely too emotionally available.

In addition, my parent's marriage was strained in many ways and that cannot help but have been felt by a child. If pressed on the matter I guess I would say it was possible that I might have had a sort of personality that might have been vulnerable to the development of same-sex attractions. But at the bottom line I think certain relationship and environmental factors needed to be in place for it to flourish.

Q: Did outside sources, such as the media culture, influence your ideas about same-sex attractions? How?

Morrison: I was born in 1963 and probably the key time for the culture to have a big influence on me was in the period from 1976 to 1986.

It was around 1976 that I became sexually aware -- I began to have sexual desires and began acting out sexually, initially with myself through masturbation but also with other, older, boys whose bodies, experience and authority I tended to idolize. Looking back on it I can say that they, to some extent, took advantage of having a younger boy around with whom they could satisfy some fundamental lusts.

I don't recall too many explicit fag jokes. As the homosexual liberation or gay movement drew more attention nationwide I remember there being jokes about that and about AIDS. But I was always able to hide my same-sex attractions, and the older boys with whom I sometimes acted out sexually did not seem to associate my willingness to have some forms of sex with them with definitive homosexuality on my part.

Probably the biggest cultural influence on my same-sex attractions came when I was around 19 or so and it was more or less inevitable that, if you lived with any same-sex attractions, you would have sex and define yourself as gay. The only alternative the culture provided -- simply not telling anyone that you lived with same-sex attractions -- was unacceptable since that was a ticket to a truly miserable and fearful life.

In retrospect I would have appreciated a cultural alternative to the extremes of either walking around afraid of anyone finding out that I lived with same-sex attractions or defining myself as gay and hitting the party scene.

Q: At what point did you discover a way to counteract your same-sex attractions?

Morrison: I am not sure I have discovered a way to counteract same-sex attractions. Rather, I think I discovered some of the same things that anyone who moves from a life defined by a temporal desire to one defined by seeking Christ also discovers.

The degrees of temptations we face often fade when we stop indulging them; seeking chastity and reigning in one's passions weakens them and, in the case of same-sex attractions, I believe living chastely helped diminish the degree of same-sex attractions that I experienced.

For the record, I believe men and women can diminish same-sex attractions over time and to varying degrees. In my own life that has been my experience, even though I have never sought therapy to diminish those same-sex attractions.

Even though I still live with a degree of same-sex attractions, that degree is less now than it was three years ago and I expect I will experience it even less strongly three years from now.

I haven't sought therapy to diminish the same-sex attractions I experience because such therapy is expensive in money, time and emotional energy and, given my background, I have had bigger obstacles to overcome in therapy than same-sex attractions.

Q: How did you decide to change? Was there a special moment of conversion?

Morrison: I never really decided to try to change my sexual desires. I did convert to a belief in Jesus Christ and to seeking him, first to Anglicanism and, later, to Roman Catholicism.

I came to Christ because, like the blind man on the roadside, I was in despair and had nothing to lose. No one evangelized me or offered to bring me to Church.

By roughly age 30 I had achieved a lot of what contemporary gay culture said a man could achieve. I had a lover of seven years. I had a good job and was respected by my peers at work. My partner and I owned property together and enjoyed an active sex life. I was openly gay in all quarters of my life. But nonetheless I remained unhappy. With everything I had, life seemed and felt empty.

For a long time I thought the problem lay in something about my life and I tried to change different things to see if they might make a difference.

One day, when I had the house to myself, it popped into my mind to pray and I prayed the classic Skeptic's Prayer: Lord, I don't even know if you exist, but if you exist I sure need you in my life. He came into my life and nothing has been the same since.

Q: How did your faith play into your struggle to change your homosexual behavior?

Morrison: I didn't come to obedience to chastity immediately. I spent a couple of years trying to straddle the line between obedience and sexual activity by calling myself a gay Christian, someone who could believe in Christ and still have gay sex.

But as I came to pray more and learn more about Jesus Christ, about historic Christianity and about the saints, and as I saw the witness other faithful Christians made about the role of Christ in their lives, I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to be a gay Christian.

I wanted to be Christ's, and if loving him meant living chastely, and if he was willing to help me do so, then that is what I wanted and what I want today.

Q: Have the teachings of Pope John Paul II helped you? Why?

Morrison: I think John Paul has performed a service to Christians and even some non-Christians by his careful explanations and annunciation of the theology of the body.

I think there is such confusion today about the role our bodies play in our spiritual lives and the importance of our bodies as part of our creation. John Paul II has laid a foundation for a very important part of the Church's message for the next millennia.

Q: How can the Church encourage people who engage in homosexual behavior to be celibate and live chastely?

Morrison: The Church can do all single people a favor by encouraging them, whether or not they live with same-sex attractions, to develop deeper and stronger relationships and friendships that don't involve sex.

So many people today, and not just the young, are confused about what genuine friendship is and how important it is to have emotional intimacy in our lives. The Church instructs single men and women to live chastely, but she does not instruct us to live in isolation.

The Church needs to help educate people that emotionally and intimately satisfying lives can be had without sexual activity.

Q: What advice do you have for others who have same-sex attractions?

Morrison: Don't think that your same-sex attractions must, per se, define your life. The human person is too magnificently complex to be boiled down to the label I am a gay man or I am a lesbian.

Particularly if you are young and have not acted out sexually, don't believe that you will necessarily experience the same degree of same-sex attractions that you do today.

Don't imagine that because you live with same-sex attractions God must not love you or that you can't seek him or that you cannot seek to become a saint.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Confession and Growth in Chastity

This is an excerpt from an article of John A. Hardon, SJ on the value of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently in our pursuit to grow in the virtue of chastity. It's a timely read for us since we will have another opportunity to avail the sacrament this coming Sunday with our spiritual director, Fr. Dan. (Welcome back!)

On a personal note, it seems as though, with repeated offenses and habitual falls, that it is of little to no use to go back to Confession. This is obviously a dangerous trap from the enemy. You will only give him much pleasure if you give in to this thought. It is like telling you not to take a bath often because you are going to perspire and smell awful at the end of the day anyway, right? Oh, please be kind with your neighbors!

We must acknowledge though that acquiring this virtue is difficult but not impossible. On the contrary, having frequent recourse to this sacrament helps us to grow in humility and gives us the opportunity to persevere in our commitment to live authentic Christian lives. Humility and perseverance are indispensable in our struggle to be chaste.

The Value of Frequent Confession

There is no doubt that the practice of frequent Confession, in the absence of mortal sins, is a relatively recent development in the Catholic Church. Such development under divine guidance is part of the genius of Catholic Christianity. It is also one of the signs that the Church is an organism that is growing and thriving for the best of reasons: the Church is alive.

Consequently anyone who frowns on frequent Confession and goes back to dusty volumes about the practice of sacramental Penance in the early Church is behind the times. People, who would not be caught dead with a copy of St. Augustine in their hands, will dig up obscure passages from the Church’s ancient practice in their effort to discredit the value of frequent Confession. These critics, I must say, are behind the times. They are reactionaries who fail to realize that the Church is the living and therefore developing Mystical Body of Christ.

Pope Pius XII rebuked those who criticized the long lines of penitents who had nothing more to confess than failures in patience and charity. What he then said, deserves to be memorized:

"It is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways that are to be highly recommended. But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the practice of virtue, we will that the pious practice of frequent Confession, introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, should be earnestly promoted. Through frequent Confession genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is obtained, and grace is increased by virtue of the sacrament itself (Ibid)."

The Pope wrote these words in 1943. In the light of what has since happened, I consider his strong defense of frequent Confession prophetic. We shall not restore the Church to her former glory and, please God, to a more glorious future until we bring back frequent Confession.

Growth in Chastity Through Frequent Confession

We return to where we began. How does the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession enable us to grow in fruitful chastity? The answer is really the eight ways in which the Vicar of Christ tells us that frequent Confession is beneficial to our spiritual life. Each of these eight ways contributes to our growth in what we are now calling the reproductive virtue of chastity.

1. Frequent Confession increases our self-knowledge. If there is one knowledge we all need it is the honest appraisal of our own selfish selves. We therefore grow in chastity by the clearer understanding of how naturally egotistical we are. The grace we receive from the sacrament of God’s mercy helps us realize what our Lord meant, that we are His disciples in the measure that we love others as He has loved us.

2. Frequent Confession helps us to grow in Christian humility. As we have said more than once, God punishes the proud by depriving them of the power to control their sexual drives. This sacrament gives us the light to see our nothingness and thus provides us with the grace we need to grow in chastity.

3. Frequent Confession corrects our bad habits. Another name for a bad habit is vice. Among the vices of our fallen nature, lust is second only to pride in its constant need for conversion. The more often we receive this sacrament, the more chaste we become as our lustful inclinations are subdued.

4. Frequent Confession resists our spiritual neglect, which is a synonym for tepidity. In the language of the Bible, a tepid person is lukewarm in the service of God.

Christ could not have been more emphatic than what He told the apostle John, speaking to the people of Laodicea, “I know all about you; how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelations 3:13-14). There is nothing more important than to overcome tepidity in the spiritual life. Why? Because tepidity deprives us of the grace we need to preserve our chastity. The frequent reception of the sacrament of peace gives us stability in resisting the demon of lust, and thus growing in angelic chastity.

5. Frequent Confession purifies our conscience. We know that conscience is our mind passing judgment on the morality of our actions. A pure conscience is conformed to the will of God. The more often we go to Confession, the more clear our conscience becomes. In other words, the better we see what God wants us to do, and not what we prefer. God wants us not only to master our sexual passions. He wants us to reproduce ourselves in spirit, which is another name for reproductive chastity.

6. Frequent Confession strengthens the will. A strong will is a generous will. A weak will is a selfish will. How the philosophy of the world has perverted the very meaning of words. In the language of our secular culture, strong-willed people are the proud titans of industry and commerce and politics who dominate others in order to assert their power.

Never before in human history has there been more need for human wills to be strong in their sacrifice of themselves and submission to the will of God.

God humiliated the proud Romans of the first century of Christianity by allowing them to become slaves of their sexual passions. He is doing the same in our day. One so-called developed nation after another, intoxicated with pride, is wallowing in lust.

The frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance strengthens our wills to overcome the worst enemy in our lives, which is our own self-will. But more than that, the more we sacrifice our selfish desires, the more we grow in humility, which is the foundation for the virtue of chastity.

But there is still more. The prevailing culture of our day calls for reparation. The crimes of lustful pride which have created a culture of death demand expiation before the offended justice of God. What better reparation can we make than by the practice of what I do not hesitate in calling heroic chastity. This is a chastity that witnesses to a world drunk with pride and sunk in lust. However, where can we get the strength of will needed to practice heroic chastity? Only from Christ, by receiving His Body in Holy Communion and receiving His grace in the sacrament of mercy.

7. Frequent Confession provides us with salutary self-control. It is impossible to be too clear on the meaning of self-control. What is this self which needs to be controlled? It is the Ego which the English language from time immemorial has capitalized. This is the Ego of which Christ spoke when He defined His true followers. “If anyone wishes to come after me,” He declared, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

The term “self-control” is ambiguous. In the mind of Christ, self-control means self-denial. It is nothing less than mastering the most assertive part of our created nature, which is to be absolutely independent.

How, then, does the Sacrament of Confession give us self-control? It gives us what we most need in life, namely to subdue our egomania, that does not stop even at dictating to our Creator and Lord.

This self-control is at the root of Christian chastity. Those who are chaste, on the Savior’s terms, not only restrain their venereal appetite. They love God so deeply that they want to share His love with others. If they are married, they wish to cooperate with the Creator in reproducing themselves not only in body, but also in fact especially in spirit. If they sacrifice marriage, in Christ's words “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven,” they do so in order to be more fruitful in reproducing offspring for eternal communion with God.

We are not quite finished. The Church tells us that through the sacrament of Penance a salutary self-control is obtained. The mastery of our self-will is salutary from the Latin word salus, which means “salvation.” The frequent confession of our sins is a divinely ordained promise of everlasting salvation. Why? Because only the chaste of heart will see God. Chastity of heart includes purity of body; but more important, it requires purity of soul, which is another way of saying total freedom from adoration of Self.

8. Frequent Confession increases divine grace in virtue of the sacrament itself. What are we saying? We are saying that every time we go to Confession, we infallibly increase the presence and power of our supernatural life. We become more holy, more pleasing to Christ, more believing, more trustful, and above all, more loving of God and more lovable to God.

In the deepest sense of the word, we become more chaste. We become more purified of the worst stigma that can stain the human spirit, the stain of a sterile self-love.

Growing in the Likeness of Christ

I would like to close this article with the beautiful tribute authorized by Pope Paul VI. It is one of the most eloquent pleas in papal history for frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance. Issued after the Second Vatican Council, it emphasizes that this sacrament is not only for the remission of mortal sins. It is an infallible means of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.

Says the Holy Father, “Frequent and reverent recourse to this sacrament, even when only venial sin is in question, is of great value. Frequent Confession is not mere ritual repetition, nor is it merely a psychological exercise. Rather it is a constant effort to bring to perfection the grace of our Baptism, so that we carry about in our bodies the death of Jesus Christ who died; so that the life Jesus Christ lives may be more and more manifested in us. In such confessions, while indeed confessing venial sins, penitents should be mainly concerned with becoming more conformed to Christ and more submissive to the voice of the Spirit.”

What is the successor of St. Peter telling us? He is saying that by frequent Confession we grow in the likeness of the all-chaste Son of God, whose chastity is another name for His sanctity.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

News & Commentaries

1. Pontiff Sends Message to Filipino Flood Victims [weblink]

2. Pope Offers Prayers for Indonesian Quake Victims [weblink]

3. CBCP Head Sees Warning Sign in Calamities, Calls For Praying the Rosary [weblink]

4. Archbishop of Manila Orders Special Collection as Typhoons Ravage the Country [weblink]

5. Sex Abuse in Catholic Church was Homosexual Problem, not Pedophilia: Vatican [weblink]

6. Homosexual Agenda Bills in Congress 2009 [weblink ]

7. Hardcore Adult Porn Contributes to Child Sexual Abuse: MIM Report [weblink]

8. Study: Religiosity and Parental Involvement in Sex-Ed Protect Youth from Risky Behaviors [weblink]

9. Breast Cancer Link with Abortion and Hormonal Contraceptives Featured in You Tube Videos [weblink]

10. Media Morality [weblink]

Note: I share this YouTube video especially for all those afflicted by the recent typhoon and those who perished in the flood. May we always find strength and solace in Him alone.


"What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only when He Caresses us, and to be cold immediately once He afflicts us. This is not true love. Those who love thus, love themselves too much to love God with all their heart." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Prayer In Times of Calamity

I got this short prayer from our e-group and it is a very timely prayer especially now that we are in the midst of calamities one after the other. Let us pray.

Almighty Father, we raise our hearts to You in gratitude for the wonders of creation of which we are part, for Your providence in sustaining us in our needs, and for Your wisdom that guides the course of the universe.

We acknowledge our sins against You and the rest of creation.

We have not been good stewards of Nature.

We have confused Your command to subdue the earth

The environment is made to suffer our wrongdoing, and now we reap the harvest of our abuse and indifference.

Global warming is upon us. Typhoons, floods, volcanic eruption, and other natural calamities occur in increasing number and intensity.

We turn to You, our loving Father, and beg forgiveness for our sins.

We ask that we, our loved ones and our hard earned possessions be spared from the threat of calamities, natural and man-made.

We beseech You to inspire us all to grow into responsible stewards of Your creation, and be generous neighbors to those in need. Amen.