Thursday, February 22, 2018

St. Blaise Healing of the Throat Miracle in Tulsa, OK!!!


Preface: permission has been given to share this inspiring story, with the person's name and identity kept completely anonymous.  They hope it will encourage others to have faith in God. 

Introduction:

A retired, aged widow and mother from Tulsa, OK, a non-practicing Lutheran, whose late husband had been a practicing Catholic, with whom she raised a practicing,  orthodox,  Catholic family,  has often been invited to attend Mass year after year by one of her adult, Catholic children.  

But she has only attended a Catholic Mass, or any kind of church service, a handful of times in the last couple decades after her children were raised in the Catholic Church, though she does pray at home and maintains her Christian faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

     She admitted that she had once considered embracing the Catholic Faith, as her late mother had done later in life, but hadn't because she "felt turned off by negative, critical people at church" when she had attended Mass with her husband and children.

I think many of us can understand that.




           Holy Candles for the 
                St. Blaise Blessing

At age eighty-two, she has been suffering from a thyroid condition for the last two years, evidenced by multiple doctor visits, multiple blood tests each showing very abnormal levels of calcium, and chronic malaise.  Thyroid disease can cause very serious, chronic, debilitating symptoms, and in some cases death.  Frequent symptoms included fatigue, weakness, and insomnia, because of electrolyte imbalance.  

No specific treatment was given since the kind of thyroid disorder had not been nailed down, since she was uncomfortable taking a certain, confining test.  She is claustrophobic from working in the coal mines as a teenager.

The Saint Blaise Blessing:

The St. Blaise Blessing of her throat was given on Sunday, February 11, 2018, at a Tulsa parish where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered.   The priest was still offering the blessing, even though the Feast had been celebrated officially the week before last.  This aged lady, suffering from this thyroid condition in her throat region, among other ailments, asked on her own accord, ie without being asked, to go to Sunday Mass, the first time in seven years, two Sunday's in a row this February.  Later she stated she felt very happy after attending Mass.  

So,  who was St. Blaise?  St. Blaise was a physician, bishop, and martyr who lived in the 3rd century.  Fish Eaters website has a fine article about him HERE.  One of his miracles was curing a dying boy, related to a fish bone stuck in his throat.  After his canonization, the Church designated him one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers."  

As that article relates, at the Feast of St. Blaise every February, the parish priest will traditionally have the faithful come kneel at the communion rail.  As he stands in front of each person, he crosses two unlit candles across their throat, as he prays a special prayer of healing, invoking the healing powers of St. Blaise.  Asking him, a saint, to ask God to heal the sinner of their ailment.  

This practice is based on the Catholic doctrine of the "communion of the saints."  We ask saints to pray for our needs.

The blessing is for general healing and strengthening for any illness, but in particular for disorders of the throat.

How often this is observed today in the post-conciliar period, I am not sure, but it is still a Feast Day in February, and this blessing is still the custom prescribed in the Ritual for blessings (old and new ritual).  Does your parish give this "sacramental" for the sick?   Is it still commonly observed across our Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma (new name for diocese, by the way)?




For this bless-ed lady, the parish she attended was one where the Ancient and Venerable Roman rite is celebrated every Sunday, the truly "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite," as Benedict XVI called it.  And, Latin Mass-dedicated priests commonly uphold this merciful Catholic tradition every year.


                               
                                       Thyroid Gland
                                            In the Throat Region

                               (if you gently pinch either side of your        
                                mid-throat, you can feel this gland move)




                                 St. Blaise Blessing of the Throat


One Week Later:

One week later, this lady happened to have a checkup with her family physician, who ran another routine blood test to see what her calcium levels showed.  The next day, her doctor called her and told her it appears she no longer has a disorder in her thyroid gland.  The blood calcium levels had returned to normal! 

She asked the doctor, "What do you think about that, doctor?  Is it a miracle?"  The doctor replied, "Yes, I would definitely call this a miracle."

So there you have it folks.  A bona fide miracle, I'd say, though I'm no expert.  Will consult with the pastor though.  In the meantime, speaking to this lady, she was very emotional but joyful for this healing, and is asking to keep going back to Catholic Mass on Sundays!  

Please pray for her conversion to the Catholic Church, and her spiritual progress during this stage in her life. 

And she also asks to keep going to the same Latin Mass parish where she said she loved the traditional ceremony, the Gregorian chant choir, the friendly people, and the very personable pastor.

Final Thoughts:

God does work in mysterious ways to bring us to Him, I'd sure say.  Let's put it this way:


If an aged non-Catholic person, interested for years in the Catholic Church, finally coming several times to Mass to seek God's grace, receives the St. Blaise blessing to heal throat conditions, and then a week later their doctor/medical expert tells them their thyroid, throat condition is in fact healed (miraculously, as he stated)...IF that isn't a verifiable miracle, then folks I don't know what is!

I will be sharing this on Facebook, so please also share far and wide.  Plus I'll also email our bishop, Bishop Konderla, a link to this post, for his edification, and since he is our bishop I figure he is the main one who could verify this as a miracle worthy of sharing with the Church, if he thinks it prudent.

The Comment Box is Open.  



                            The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 
                                             His Divine Mercy


*  Note to the Sick.  If you are seeking healing for a medical condition, and an increase in God's grace, I recommend asking your pastor if he can still give the St. Blaise Blessing.  But also, I highly recommend praying to St. Padre Pio, as well as St. Cosmos and Damien, St. Raphael, St. Luke, St. Teresa of Avila, Blessed Alexandrina, and Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP (RIP:  Bishop Slattery had given permission to publicly pray to him after a miracle was attributed to him in the healing of a Clear Creek monk).  I prayed to these saints for several months to recover from my own medical crisis, recently,  and God healed me (and my physical therapist)! 




Saturday, February 17, 2018

My Refutation of Sedevacantism.

Introduction:

I've known a number of sedevacantists over the years, including in my own neck of the woods.  On some level, I can sympathize with them.  Yet, recently a sedevacantist organization called the CMRI, with a priest driving down to Oklahoma from Nebraska, has decided to try and set up a CMRI Mass presence here in Tulsa, as they now publicly list on their website.  It would seem a clever maneuver right after the closing of the SSPX's chapel in Tulsa.

The thing is, the theory of sedevacantism isn't a personal opinion, like choosing a political ideology or party affiliation.  If it is wrong, it means a formal schism, and automatic excommunication for the person who culpably embraces it.

Objectively, it means, by their own admission, rejecting the present pope, and ALL bishops, priests, and laity in communion with them.  That would be you and me folks. If the sedevacantist is intellectually honest, they would admit frequenting their own Masses is necessarily spiritually dangerous, IF their theory is in error

And it clearly is, as I will demonstrate later. 

Its History.

Sedevacantism, an off-shoot movement of the Latin Mass movement, post-Vatican II, originated with some books and articles written in the 1970s, mostly by laypeople.  Later it was one rogue bishop in particular who tried to give the sedevacantist movement credibility, and a valid line of bishops, namely Bishop Thuc of Vietnam.

He ordained God knows how many men around the world (hundreds?), some of them laymen, as valid but schismatic and illicit "bishops."   I don't think the Vatican even has fully identified all these individuals ordained in the "line of Bishop Thuc" (pronounced 'Tooc').




And some of the most socially dangerous traditionalist communities claim episcopal lineage tracing back to Thuc, one being the Palmarian cult in Spain, that has its own "pope." 

In the US, the Society of St. Pius V (not Xth), which was formed by expelled SSPX priests, seem to be among the most tame to hold this position, relatively speaking.  They have their own cult-like issues, including their internal schism founding "St. Gertrude the Great" in Cincinnati, a church, school, community compound, with its own very sectarian history.

There are very reliable, well documented, public resources online, and in print, warning people about these sects.

The most hard-lined, outspoken sedevacantist organization, which originated in Washington state, is called the CMRI.  Translating the Latin name, it means Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen.  Their founder, a layman, was later ordained a priest and bishop by another layman and acquaintance, themselves somehow ordained priest and bishop by a schismatic Old Catholic bishop.

Here is a very revealing and very relevant article about the CMRI founder, Francis Schukardt.   Click HERE.

Years later, the CMRI would also be named the "Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Church," i.e. in their mind the "true Catholic Church."  Schukardt was accused publicly by members of his clergy of having sex with under-aged "seminarian" boys, and illegal drug use. 


Mount St. Michael's (CMRI)

Now to the determined, hard-core sedevacantist, all of this is still, in the end, acceptable enough in still giving them support.  They reject the current hierarchical Catholic Church, and so they think they have nowhere else to turn, regardless of the scandalous history of these groups.

Interestingly though, a group of CMRI nuns converted back to the Catholic Church some years ago, renouncing their schismatic adherence to sedevacantism, and the CMRI's cultish environment, while remaining committed to the traditional Mass and Faith.  You can read about them HERE.


Before I give my own refutation, what exactly are the positions of sedevacantism?

In a nutshell, it claims that the Second Vatican Council taught formal heresies and therefore was an anti-council, that the new Mass and most of the revised sacraments are invalid, and that all conciliar popes and bishops are formally heads of a false, schismatic church they call the "Vatican II Church."

It also claims that a pope and ecumenical council cannot promote even doctrinal or theological errors, even in pastoral statements, and that all acts of the pope are infallible.  They take an "ultramontane" view of ecclesiology, where they believe that the human element of the Church cannot fall into error, sacrilege, or universal scandal. 



Sedevacantism will perform all sorts of mental gymnastics, to justify its dogmatic conclusions, citing very selective quotes from very select popes, councils, and theologians out of context, all the while setting aside the collective teachings of all the other popes, councils, and theologians on the subject.  To fit the pre-determined judgment. 

The core argument is usually boiled down to this,
ad nauseum by the way, like a broken record: 

     1. A heretic cannot be head of the Church. 
2. Conciliar popes are heretics because they accept the "heresies" of Vatican II.   
3. Therefore, they cannot be true heads of the Church or true popes.  Same for conciliar bishops at the level of the Local Church.

And shazam, a syllogism is all we need to give final, public judgment that all of us non-sedevacantists, from the Vatican down to you and me, are really members of a formal, heretical, schismatic anti-Church, and to break communion.


One aspect that discredits this position, in my opinion, is that 98% of the time I've encountered these arguments, hundreds of times online over the last two decades, dozens of times in the flesh, the sedevacantist will not even objectively and maturely discuss their belief, listening to both sides of the argument, like in a civilized debate. Often, in my experience, they will lower themselves to insults, even if you try and keep the discussion fair and objective. 

As if salvation isn't primarily based on personal sanctification by practicing the virtues, chiefly charity, but primarily by signing on the dotted line that you accept Sedevacantism. 




Okie Traditionalist's Short and Sweet Refutation of the Theory of Sedevacantism:


I've read books and articles promoting this theory, and against it, but when I encounter the same old pro-sede line of argument for the hundredth time, I often think to myself, "this doesn't seem so complicated to disprove."

Firstly, the famous quote typically referenced first and foremost, by St. Robert Bellarmine, how a heretic can't be the pope, is very, very selective.  The sede is ignoring what this saint concluded in the following paragraphs (not to mention the Doctors of the Church as a whole):  paraphrasing,

even if a pope can fall into heresy, the laity, priests, bishops, even an association of bishops around the world, DO NOT have the authority to publicly determine a certain pope is a FORMAL heretic, and therefore publicly denounce him as not being the pope.  Only a Council of Cardinals, or an Ecumenical Council, could possibly do that, according to their primary source.
 
Hello.  When the main quote almost always referenced as the primary source and support of the theory is grossly taken out of context, and backfires, it takes a special species of circular reasoning to still insist the theory is certainly true and absolute.


Sold by Angelus Press

That's because, if you spend enough time engaging with sedes about their position, that very position
resembles more a gnostic conspiracy theory, than a spiritual act of faith and adherence to the Church. 

Secondly, sedevacantism rejects an essential guarantee Our Lord gave to His Church, that there will always be bishops on Earth who directly obtain from the pope ordinary jurisdiction to govern that part of the Church assigned to them.  Virtually every sede apologist I've ever read, including the admittedly very scholarly Fr. Anthony Cekada (online sede apologist priest, out of the St. Gertrude compound), is known for dodging this one essential problem:

For the sedevacantist, there is literally NO bishop on Earth left who possesses the jurisdiction to RULE or GOVERN in an authoritatively binding way, as bishops have always done.  At best the sede bishop, or priest, is a source of valid sacraments, with "moral authority" over the congregation who consents to attend Mass at the church property he administers. 

Our Lord established a hierarchical Church with a three-fold authority:  to teach, to sanctify, and...to GOVERN!  That's the third function deemed non-essential today by the sedevacantist, in practice if not often on paper.

And you don't have to be a Catholic to see how that is a recipe for forming a privatized cult, or sect, or whatever you want to call it.  The authority of the sede bishop or priest does not come from any authorized Church authority, but is self-proclaimed and ratified by their following.
It then is no surprise when their "authority" is called into question or rejected.

It boils down to this.  For the sede, the Church has been literally reduced down, or perhaps always has been, to a loose coalition of believers gathered in private chapels.  The priests and bishops act more like sacrament machines and charismatic-figure heads than authoritative members of the hierarchical Church.

I'm not even sure there is a close parallel like this general sect, in the history of the Church, not even the Jansenists or Old Catholics.


Don't Drink the Kool Aide

Conclusion.  You don't need to read whole books about sedevacantism to determine it is an absurdly erroneous and gravely dangerous position.  It categorically flies in the face of the Catholic Faith, and is objectively a Formal Schism from the Catholic Church.  If culpably embraced, it means automatic excommunication.

The Comment Box is Open.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Revealing "Critique" of my Blog from Someone who Lives near Clear Creek. Good Times.

Intro:

For the last year and a half I've enjoyed networking with my fellow Okie Trads who read my blog, while I write about anything that comes to mind.  They've offered counter-points of view, offered correction of factoids, shared stories, and said thanks for the essays and stories I record here that are aimed at encouraging and supporting my fellow traditional Catholics, in particular.  I often get emails from supporters, including several who live out at Clear Creek. It has been edifying.




At the same time, once in a while, I get an email from a complete Nutter.  For example, this one time a guy, out of state, sent a short email asking if I believed Pope Francis was a valid pope.  "Should I respond to this kind of seemingly bating email?"  I do want to befriend readers, to promote my hobby.  But sure enough when I politely but shortly responded "Yes I do," I got, I kid you not, 5 pages of heated arguments for sedevacantism (the belief the pope's since Vatican II are anti-popes), highly individualized towards me and my blog.  

In hindsight, I shouldn't have responded at all (I'm still on a learning curve with blogging), but when I sent a short email response expressing my concern at the length and personalizing tone of the "essay," guess what?  I got another 5 page essay basically condemning me to hell.  Sorry, H-E-Double Hockey Sticks for the scruped out trads out there.



But until recently,  I really have never received a judgmental, personal critique of my blog by a reader here in the Sooner State, within my own Local Church. From a fellow Latin Mass-attendee no less. Gee, thanks. 

In their first email, they actually demanded in their own odd way that whatever they put in an email I do not print on the blog. Alrightee then.  I'll just summarize below in my own words, and won't give any information as to their identity.



I love Clear Creek and the people, but let's face it, most Clear Creekers readily know there are some nutters living in its woods.  I've visited there over 30 times since 2000, with lots of adventures among the monks and laity alike, and can verify that observation.  My purpose here then is to discuss the critical rant made by this reader, or rather that pathological spirit of criticism that is so sadly pervasive today even in our own practicing Catholic ranks.  I will try and be philosophical and humorous.  In the end,  God bless this person, but this post is about Catholic Nuttiness.


Email Comments from our Clear Creek Reader: 

Their initial email.  Long introduction about their ideological views and demand I not publish their words.  Mentioned several past blog posts I wrote. 

Me.  Short polite response.  Asked what they thought about one of the posts they mentioned. 

Their response.  About 4.5 pages long,  if put in a Word document,  single-spaced, critiquing the last several posts on the blog,  objecting to the language I used (gave several examples), to my cultural references (objected several times to referring to "modern culture references"), and then gave a long list of apparent spelling and formatting errors. Concluded that basically, paraphrasing here,  "you're doing good things, but you need to go further.  You need to wait days or weeks before you post an article (as if they know how long I wait to post it)."  Among other incoherent tangents about the modern world. 



My Comments:

For the love of God, and all that is holy.  Why oh Lord, why?  lol  I'm sighing and looking upward shaking my head. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  (rhyme intended)




When I think about the person who wrote this editorial review of the blog's style and methods, I am mystified how such a mind could have become so distorted, how they have fallen into these attitudes? Is there a gene for fanaticism?  I hope there is, it would mitigate their culpability.  But this frame of mind is just too prevalent in conservative and traditional Catholic circles, online and in the flesh, to be silent about it.  I think most of us are aware of this Elephant in the Room.

First point, if you want a stranger blogger to take your Catholic critique of their blog seriously as something sincere and well-meant, and rational, ask first if you can offer criticism, especially if you are going to write them a long essay.  Who raised you?  I only skimmed it, and you know why?  Because I am not retired or disabled or interested in reading the unsolicited Diatribe of a stranger. 

The disproportionate length and judicial tone of this edit of my language and methods is indicative of a disproportionate mind.  God knows the degree or cause of disequilibrium, but common sense tells me this individual is being angry and mean-spirited, and for no apparent reason.  If this isn't an example of traditionalist anti-sociality, I don't know what is.

Second point, who gives a Rat's Ass if I use phrases like "Rat's Ass?"  That isnt objectionable from a Catholic point of view, unless I suppose you subscribe to Jansenism or some other such religious form of fundamentalism. This person identifies as a lover of Chesterton, so you'd think they would understand the occasional, calculated rhetorical use of vulgar terms, that it is not intrinsically evil.  Chesterton cussed all the time.  I bet Our Lord once in a while cussed a bit when he would stub his toe, or wake up with a rock under his back.   Like us in all things but sin,  and cussing isn't essentially a sin.  

I have no problem with our president calling traitorous, lying members of the media "losers," or Duterte calling out politicians guilty of crimes against humanity as "Sons of Bitches."

If a politician profits from sex trafficking of children, then yeah, he is a Son of a Bitch, to say the least.  Saying so is neither tasteless nor inappropriate.

Its the same for making cultural references using photos and videos, from things like movies and TV shows. 

And this touches on Catholics retreating from the world, like those who join Catholic communities, such as the Clear Creek community, based on the Benedict Option.  I'm all for that on paper,  but not for turning your back on living in the modern world, and living a primitive 
and anti-social life.  Its a fine line, but you know it when you see it.  Or read it.


Third point, my work load is much more than 40 hours a week, so it takes a special kind of fascism to expect a casual blogger to cross all his T's and dot all his I's those late nights he is able to put down some thoughts as a post.  Blogs are blogs are blogs.  Hello.  This isn't a professional journal or newspaper.  Its a blog.  Look up that word. You know, a personal website, an informal, personalized recording of thoughts and experiences, like a journal, to share reflections on the subjects of life.



Last Thoughts:

Folks, I welcome criticism of my blog!  Always have, when it is civil.  I draw the line there.  Other Catholic bloggers may be fine with the incivility.  But when it is pharisaical, I can't help scratch my head and breath a deep sigh.  I need to guard against religious hypocrisy "to the right" just as much as against sins of the flesh "to the left."   

I mean something like half of the Gospel sermons from Our Lord are condemning sins of the spirit, his repeated example being the sins of the Pharisees.  Hello. 


The Comment Box is Open! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ruminating and Reflecting on: The Collegium, Friendship, Ollie's Restaurant

Just polished off a Mexi-dip-and-Chips from Taco Bueno (mmm), very popular here in Oklahoma, and I'm kicked back in my new leather (truth be told, faux leather) recliner Santa brought me Christmas.  Oklahoma weather has been predictably unpredictable.  Arctic the last few days, today warmish with lots of sun.  "Oooooklahoma where the winds come running down the plain..." as it were.

Mexi-dip-n-Chips


There is a reason, after all, the #1 Meteorology School in the World is at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma.  It would take an army of AI computers to predict with any kind of real accuracy weather here.  I remember a roommate in college leaving very early Saturday mornings to go tornado chasing with the meteorology department.

And so I thought I'd reflect on some musings that have been circulating around my head lately.

The Post about the New Traditional Catholic College:

So, I've circulated  that post to the community out at Clear Creek, but no interest yet from anyone, to meet with the man trying to start this college when he visits CC in a couple weeks. 

As a blogger, I need to be fully responsible with anything I put out there for wide consumption (that post has now gotten over 1,500 views), so I'll address any potential questions, that I anticipate others are asking, which hopefully Dr. Schaefer can help with, if people meet him.  I've always been a "look at both sides of the coin" kind of person.



1. Who are the other Co-Founders?  On the website, there is only mention of Dr. Schaefer, but no mention of public co-founders or their names, though he assured me on the phone there are co-founders. Since on paper his credentials check out, it would help to know what other professional educators or members of the hierarchy have publicly backed his fundraising campaign.

2. How will it operate as an officially Catholic college, without having any permission from a bishop to be founded, or the sponsorship of a religious institute, such as a traditionalist society of priests?

3. How will this new college have a daily, and a weekly Latin Mass, similar to Fisher More College (RIP)?  Has the bishop given any support to provide a priest-chaplain who offers the TLM?  I don't see the SSPX helping, considering they have their own 4 year college in Kansas (though only offering an Associates, though with plans to offer a Bachelors in the future).

Dr. Schaefer definitely has the credentials for this undertaking, but hopefully he will be able to address these issues to his donors, on his website. 

And to any Okies when he visits 2/26 - 3/1.

The Post a Few Posts Back about Friendship:

If you really knew me well, you'd know that I am simultaneously a man with few friends, and paradoxically at the exact same time a man constantly trying to gain new friends and nurture existing friendships.  Whether with neighbors, people from church, work, or people you meet in the marketplace.

One example, there is an older, little Filipino man I often stop to chat with who works in the produce section, so often for some months we now have eachothers' phone # and are planning to get together.  Frankly, I don't see much in common with him in terms of religion, culture, or personal interests.  But the man is a friendly guy and a member of the human race.  He is personal. He asks questions.  He takes interest.  Now he could be a gay, axe-murder, but my antennas tell me he is a salt-of-the-earth human being who just wants a new friend.

But, I stand by my suspicion:  it seems to me, for the most part, by and large, mostly, FRIENDSHIP is DEAD.  Real friendship, that is.  Not a symphony of perfect, harmonious balance, but a meeting of minds and hearts, consistently sharing time, with a genuine interest in the betterment of the other person.



Now, that's all I have to say about that, as Forrest says.


Except this point: the Church teaches the necessity of practicing true friendship, so I for one won't stop trying!



Ollie's Restaurant, near the FSSP Parish in Tulsa

Had a most peaceful and spiritually profitable Sunday this last weekend.  Attended the truly Extraordinary form of the Roman rite at Most Precious Blood Parish--FSSP.  The setting is idyllic.  Just 5-10 minutes from downtown Tulsa, nestled in the countryside near Chandler Park.

The pastor Fr. William Define, FSSP seems to be a singular force that keeps the parish growing!!!  To me anyway.

Then went to Ollie's Restaurant near the parish.  Leaving the parish parking lot, turn left, take the road all the way to the end, turn left, then after a mile or so its on your right, surrounded by trains and railroad tracks.  Near a very nice little suburb town called Berryhill (might make a good place to raise a family, near daily Latin Mass). 

Ollie's is a really neat restaurant, with descent food.  A toy train runs on a track around the walls of the restaurant, the whole place being decorated with a railroad theme.



Well, there you have it.  My lately rumination and reflection.  You all enjoy the rest of your week.






Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mohawk Park in Tulsa

Last Saturday we had a BBQ at Mohawk Park, on the north side of town near the city zoo,  and I wanted to share the experience for anyone who lives in or near T-town.  I think it's definitely a Must-Visit at some point on your family timeline.  Something I'd categorize as a "local secret gem."  Like Oklahoma,  it's on the plain side,  but if you look between the cracks,  there's plenty of beauty and recreation opportunities there. 




First,  the basic facts about the place. I believe it's off 36th street,  the entrance on the north side of the road.   You can get to 36th street like you are going north to Owasso on 169, or to Bartlesville on 75.  Probably about 10 minutes from the city scape. 

A winding road takes you maybe a half mile or a full mile north and to the east,  to Oxley Nature Center,  a museum about the outdoors with a nature preserve and hiking trails.   About half way through the park on your left is the entrance to the zoo,  open year round, after which the road splits, taking it to the left, you'll pass a rock-climbing wall and wrap around Mohawk golf course.   Tucked away in a small golf course neighborhood is a really neat,  country-esque, cabin-like Knights of Columbus lodge, which is very active with excellent Lenten Friday fish-fries. 

Back to the park,  what is so cool about the place,  to me,  is the very wide open space immersed in pure nature that really stretches far,  plus what is really extraordinary are several large,  open-aired cabins with indoor picnic tables and fireplaces.   The park closes at 9pm, so you and your family can enjoy a camping-like daytrip there. 

We showed up late,  so I didn't have enough time to gather firewood before dark, but we had an amazing barbeque.   Me,  if I could,  I'd add Barbeque Master Chef to my resume.  :)

Let's see we had 6 meats: chicken breast,  chicken legs,  pork chops,  brats, thick smokey bacon,  steak.   There was then enough heat left from the coals to grill 9, count 'em 9, vegetables:  potatoes,  onions,  red/yellow/orange bell peppers, a tomato, corn, a zucchini,  and a yellow squash.   All just with a dash of EVOO and s/p.

mmmmm

Top 5 Things I love about Mohawk Park:

1. So close to the city,  but so immersed in nature.   Great way for city-slickers to commune with creation. 

2. Those cabins.   Really neat looking.  And free! 

3. So many activities in one place. 

4. The little river that runs straight through the park.   I fished a bit,  but didn't catch anything, but a coworker swears he's pulled some sizeable fish from its waters. 

5.  Part of Tulsa tradition.   Families have been picnicking there since it was built in the 1930s.

For more info,  email me at: 
JosephOstermeir@gmail.com

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Catholic, Christian Meaning of Friendship. Is it Dead?

Peanut is sitting in my lap as I sit up in my Okie Armchair this Thursday night.   My "man's best friend."  That little "material soul," as St. Thomas says of animals, would die for me,  I have no doubt.  If not by a mechanism of will or choice, then I suppose by an innate instinct that drives her nature to serve God's natural Providence.

When it seems the KEY that opens the door to friendship is socio-economic status,  physical appearance,  and an exuberant ego,  it all begs the question:  is real friendship dead?   That is the true Catholic, Christian meaning of friendship.  The kind exemplified by Our Lord at the Last Supper, in his most sacred and intimate communion with his disciples.  Friendship where true friends would literally die for one another.  Where it is based on a shared faith, wisdom, and virtue, and not as much on secular status.  Do you ponder these things too, like me?



Friendship among Practicing, Believing Catholic Christians.

In the life of our society,  Christianity is largely dead,  and the materialist wasteland is also spread throughout every sector of the Church.  Every sector.  Its just a matter of degree. 

In my 18 years actively supporting the Latin Mass Movement, I've made countless attempts at genuine,  lasting friendship among my fellow Latin Mass Catholics.  And I am still asking myself, even in church circles, is true, Christian friendship dead?  Is "dead" the right word?  Is it that bad?

The kind of friendship where the other person isn't some strange,  foreigner with a blank slate,  but a child of God,  just like them,  with their own rich history and talents they bring to the table, to be discovered and nurtured.  A friendship where evaluation comes slowly based on direct,  personal experience observing the person's habits over time,  in particular the habits how they interact with and treat others,  rather than suspicious, oblique, superficial views of a person's appearances,  and even more superficial, gossipy, background chatter about the person.  



Catholic friendships where you can still be friends despite differences of opinion,  which Mass you attend,  or lifestyles.  Or any other variable under the Sun.

Consider this.  Every person sitting next to you in the pew will be either somewhat more conservative or progressive than you, on the conservative-progressive spectrum.  I will always be forced by the facts of this life to be patient when my fellow Catholic takes a more rigoristic or more lenient view than me, or is more pharisaical vs. wordly.

Patience is a Virtue.

We must tolerate eachother.  Better put, we must put up with one another, to be patient with one another despite our differences in temperament, or character, or life progress.  

So the other person isn't as fit,  confident,  or successful as me.  They lack popularity.  I'm sorry, but who gives a rat's ass? 

And I feel I'm not just speaking for your socially challenged, struggling Average Joe's out there, but actually for most men and women,  even those with clout and community influence,  a six figure income, and an abundance of social support.

The culture says to size everyone up.  And you know why?  Because everyone else is sizing you up.  It's one big dysfunctional, self-defensive, coping mechanism, Darwinian cluster you-know-what.   A Circular Firing Squad.


 

I have many vices, and I don't pretend to be an outstanding friend,  but friendship is something I highly value and continuously try and nurture with those souls that cross my path, or who I seek out. It may not appear that way, since I have the misfortune of too few friends, than I'd like, but appearance does not equal reality.  No man is an island.  Aristotle, in the first part of his Ethics wrote about friendship,  how it is necessary for personal perfection and growth.


We all need True Friends

This problem even extending into trad and conservative Christian/Catholic circles, in my opinion, has always seemed to me a side effect of the necessary, relative retreat from the mainstream of pagan society and the modern church.  That retreat is a necessary evil,  but we have to treat the evil side effects too.  Side effects untreated spell illness and lack of function.  Which hurt!



The dynamic of traditionalists driving from all over Timbucktoo, each with their highly individualized experience with the current state of the Church, and formation in catechism,  is at risk of introducing forms of anti-sociality into the mix.  Of introducing anti-social undercurrents into the Latin Mass community.  The Elephant in the Room. 

The kind of anti-social nonsense that absurdly looks at every newcomer as a Question Mark.  The kind that is not open,  freely discussing,  full of life. That builds an open, growing, dynamic church community, built on the living ecclesial tradition, with a strong long-term outlook.  But instead is statuesque, fearful,  and stoic, that begets doubt about the future, a recipe for future decay.

My Own Experience with Catholic Friends.

I kid you not, I've befriended about 8 fellow trad men over the last two decades, plus another 10 or so who were more acquaintances.  Not to mention 5 or so more conservative and religious Catholic friends before I embraced Catholic tradition.  I'm typically not bothered at all by minor differences, and I think I'm still accepting despite major differences.  Not that I don't recognize and respond to the differences, but typically they are not deal breakers for me in the least. 

If my fellow traditional Catholic male is a rabid sedevacantist rigorist, or an unmotivated, uncouth unskilled laborer, or dating a married/separated woman still waiting for her divorce/annulment, or an arrogant blowhard, or a money-obsessed libertarian capitalist, or a member of the traditionalist elite...truly for me, all that is still quite tolerable enough to hang out and have a beer, or go canoing, or whatever!  We all fall short. 


As long as they are a relatively descent individual, and more pointedly a committed, sincere friend, and we share common interests or goals, then its a go!  Does that make sense? 


You know.  A friend who really takes the time to get to know you, directly, in your conversations.  Who isn't fickle, fair-weathered, or a user.

But unfortunately none of these friendships or acquaintences have substantially lasted, though I hope they still would, in my estimation because of apparently intolerable differences, where going forward without friendship, at least with that person, is easier and less painful than the sacrifices sustained friendship brings with it.  

I have to ask,  is it me?  Perhaps at times, yes Joe.  I know my weaknesses and faults, and am ready to correct them, especially when reasonably pointed put.  But, I know I'm not alone. I've heard many traditional Catholic men talk about their male friendships,  or lack thereof,  and a serious lack of sustained, long term,  meaningful, helpful friendship, including in trad circles. 

Is Friendship dead?  Even among practicing Catholics?  Including fellow Catholic men?

Solutions?  

I have a few to suggest, which I do try and practice.

1. Seek out real,  charitable, humble friendships,  as close to the Catholic ideal as possible. Even if it ends up being your honest,  descent,  agnostic next-door neighbor.  But also keep trying for full Catholic friendships.  Never think you don't need friends.  Or real Catholic friends.

2.   Stop all the constant,  superficial judgments already.  Be patient with one another, by enduring through differences. Look at the Mexican immigrants to the US.  Some are Catholics,  some are Protestants. Some are born poor,  others more middle class.   But do you know how they have been able to survive and better their lives here?  By sticking together,  despite their differences. Traditional Catholics are like 0.000001% of the population.   So we should drop all the judgment about differences between us in terms of money, popularity, appearances, personality, and come together.  Hello.  Help eachother get through life.  To our eternal goal.

3. Trads need to drop the individualism because that's only going to make you more isolated and depressed.   We must be sources of encouragement and support.  I for one am committed to that.

4. Yet make friends with anyone who shows wisdom and virtue,  who encourages you in life, even the secularists.  They can be some of the best friends to have.   My best friend in all my life was in high school,  a non-practicing Baptist redneck, each of us getting to know each other very well.  He was loyal,  dedicated,  and someone with whom I enjoyed many adventures, before our paths in life diverged.

5. Ask the potential friend standing in front of you direct questions about themselves.  Hello.  It is as if our highly technological society has destroyed the most basic social skills,  and social etiquette.  I find it strange to eat a meal with Catholics, or like-minded people, and have serious conversation about the Faith or say politics or culture,  and the other person asks you almost nothing about yourself.  Its as if conversations often devolve into taking turns intellectually masturbating.

6. Persevere.  Forgive faults and tensions.  Endure, keep trying.  I know we can't force friendship, but we can keep trying to have friendship.  Its as necessary as the air we breathe.  Our life depends on it.  How often we are fickle about friendship, wanting it to fit into a narrow box following a tight list of self-written rules.  Think of true friendship as one long walk against a strong, wild wind.  We have to lean forward into the wind, and keep walking.  Not run away. But have the courage to weather all the little and bigger storms and crosswinds that friendship brings with it.

7.  Keep promoting and seeking true Catholic, Christian friendship everywhere you go.  Ask yourself, isn't friendship a key part of being a true Christian, a happy human being?  Not just to be a mother or father, or provider, but a FRIEND.

Conclusion.

Well I know this post is being frank, and I hope you do not take it personally, but this has always been a very important subject for me, which I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about.   I suspect many of you share my thoughts and feelings about the current state of friendship in our society, including in the Church.  If ever our paths will cross, despite any tensions of my own I would ever exhibit, despite any substantial differences, know that I want to get to know who you are.  Your work, your family, your background.  Your passions, strengths, hopes.



"That's all I have to say about that."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Night Podcast, of The Okie Traditionalist Show. Cletus Clampet Fillin' In

Hey Everybody,  Fella Okie Trads and Beyond.  Including anybody of any persuasion on God's Green Earth. 

What a break from the arctic cold.   A weekend of Spring-like bliss.  Typical Oklahoma. 

Still editing the history I wrote up of the Latin Mass in the Tulsa Diocese Local Church,  post-Liturgical Revolution. 

This Sunday my bestist buddy,  a fella Okie Trad from Miami, Oklahoma,  Cletus Clampet,  filled in for me for The Okie Traditionalist Show.  Thanks Cletus.  See below. 

He introduced himself small town Okie style, and chatted about 5 ideas we have for people to have Podcast Discussions with:

1. Our Bishop,  Bishop David Konderla. 

2. Mr. Tom Montgomery,  elder at Most Precious Blood in Tulsa. 

3. Fr. William Define, of the Society.  Society of St. Peter that is.  :)

4. The Catholic Manshow Guys. 

5. Sir Charles Coulombe. 

Without further adieu...

Part 1: with Cletus Clampet

Part 2: with Cletus Clampet


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Daily News about the Francis Pontificate. Help!!

I don't know about you, but whenever I visit fellow trad blogs I notice a pattern: often the subject matter is the present occupant of the Chair of St. Peter, and the news is usually negative. It lowers my serotonin levels more than watching CNN.



                       Turn that Frown, Upside Down
                                           Holy Father!

But I relate to it.  For a year or two after Francis was, it seems, elected by a secret society of liberal Cardinals, the blogosphere was abuzz about the Synod and whether or not Francis would allow
Communion-for-the-divorced-and-remarried (quite the mouthful).  I confess, I was hooked.
Remnant videos from Rome, Michael Voris and Company sitting around their news table analyzing the latest phase in the Francis Revolution.  


                       
                   I remember watching this a year ago.
                                     What a great night!

The Francis Revolution:

Admittedly, the constant Francis Watch News has opened up more eyes across the Church to the Crisis She is presently plunged into.  It shows the next phase of the conciliar Revolution to change the Church into something created by Man.

Quite the paradigm shift.  Francis leaves us orthodox Catholics missing the good 'ol days of Benedict, even John Paul II.  It is as if the last Synod was Vatican III, and the pre-Vatican III papal Magisterium is now in question, as was the pre-Vatican II Magisterium after the Council.

The Facts are alarming.  Pope John Paul II clearly condemned any reason to give Communion to those living in adultery (see his encyclical Familiaris Consortio on the family).  Now clearly Pope Francis allows it, even making his letter to the Argentinian bishops a part of his Magisterium.  For real?  Ecclesiology, infallibility, indefectibility.  These terms become as morphed as a mutant in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall.



                               Morphed

The Risk I Take:

But I also take the risk of perturbing some of my fellow trads by saying with gusto:  I am really nauseated to follow Church news right now, about what is coming out of the Francis Pontificate.  There is only so much absurdity the mind can take, when I yearn instead for the mental clarity of a crisp, January morning in Oklahoma (19 F here in Tulsa today! brrrrr).

If you need to stay tuned into that news on a regular basis, I understand.  But here are ten things I would rather be doing than reading daily homilies bashing orthodoxy from the Francis pulpit:

Ten things I would rather be doing than reading daily homilies bashing orthodoxy from the Francis pulpit

10.  Fishing in the cold.  Tried recently to catch a fish on the stream running through Mohawk Park in Tulsa.  I caught nothing, but the setting was serene. Serene!



9.  Trying to master my new Straight Razor Santa Claus brought me for Christmas.  I studied Youtube videos, and am still cutting myself!  But it makes me feel alive (vs. numbed).


8. Waiting for Youtube to reload on my tv.  I've got a good data plan, but its been getting stuck lately.
Still more serene and productive than watching Christopher Ferrara analyze Francis for the 300th time with Michael Matt on Remnant TV.  Good guys, but come on.  Is that what its taking to sell Remnant newspapers?

7. Taking in a weekend of hospitality at Clear Creek Abbey.  Need to call Fr. Brown to see if the big guest cabin is free (just give a modest donation).  Would be awesome to stay overnight, cook up some chili, have a fire in the fireplace, and hear Mass chanted in the traditional rite.



6. Blogging.  After doing those podcasts on Thomistic Philosophy (look up there in the upper right hand corner), I need to get back into putting out at least one post a week.  Infinitely more fun than the ecclesiastical nightmare.

5. Standing 2 hours in line at the DMV. I have a Class B, which means a very long wait at the old
Eastgate Mall in Tulsa.  But a nice time to play Solitaire on my phone, while listening to the waterfall that is still there.  Relaxing.

4. A Beer at Arnie's Irish Pub in Downtown Tulsa.
Awww, Arnie's.  I love that place.  As Salt of the Earth as it gets.  I should ask Arnie if we can add some Irish Catholic art to the place.  Definitely a place where you can be in touch with reality.



3. Daily Mass at Most Precious Blood in Tulsa.
I love daily Mass, when I can get off my butt to get there.  The most beautiful thing this side of heaven, I should be there more often.  What I love about Catholic tradition is that it is like a serene, deep, slow moving river.  Still waters run deep.
To the modern, the Latin Mass may seem foreign.
The daily Low Mass a bore.  But in and through the liturgical tradition is a living reality more live-giving and sustaining than any ranting blog post about the latest from Francis.  I can really rant myself, but I prefer to turn away from that noise towards those deep waters.  Know what I mean?

2.  Making a big, hot, wintery pot of Tortilla Soup.
Decades ago, somehow our family got the famous recipe from Full Moon Cafe in Tulsa.  Next to my beef jerky recipe and my pork rind nachos, its my favorite thing to cook.  Makes me happy.

1. Making Podcasts!  So I liked making the podcasts.  I have some ideas up my sleeve.  We've got a few months of short, cold days ahead of us, before I can start my Spring garden, so I think I'll shift my Okie Armchair activities towards producing some good, entertaining, informative, and funny talks.   A friend of mine named Cleetus Clampet from Miami, OK will be filling in, hosting The Okie Traditionalist Show from time to time.  Should be a hoot!




So did I lure you to tune out of the hypnotic state of daily, toxic church news?  By the cold, crispness of winter weather, or the daily chant of Benedictine monks?  Or do you still need your daily fix? :)


Saturday, January 6, 2018

10 Podcasts about Thomistic Philosophy

These 10 talks summarize the main topics from within the major subjects of Thomistic philosophy.
I especially hope that priests or seminarians, with little or no Thomism from the seminary, might find these informative and inspirational to continue learning traditional Catholic philosophy. 

I decided to just go ahead and knock out this project with one fell swoop.   Sat up late New Years Eve in my Okie Armchair and recorded

me ruminating and reflecting on the angelic thought of the Angelic Doctor. 

Apologies if I talk fast or mumble in places,  it's more me thinking out loud, recalling what I can remember taking Thomistic philosophy eons ago.


Some of the talks took a little longer than planned,  doing two fifteen minute podcasts instead of one. 


Great to listen to it your car,  especially if you have Bluetooth. 


Podcast


#1 Introduction.   Click HERE.


#2 What is Philosophy? Click HERE.


#3 Intro. to St. Thomas. Click HERE.


#4 Logic.  Part ONE.  Part TWO.


#5  Cosmology.  Click HERE.

#6  Philosophy of Human Nature.  Click HERE.

#7  Ethics.  Part ONE.  Part TWO.

#8  Political Philosophy.  Part ONE.  Part TWO.

#9  Metaphysics.  Click HERE.

#10  Thomistic Revival.   Part ONE.   Part TWO.