Which fellowship should I join?

When someone wants to join a 12-step fellowship for alcoholism, they join AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).

When they want to join a program to help with various drug addictions, they join NA (Narcotics Anonymous).

When they want to join a program to help with eating disorders, they join OA (Overeaters Anonymous).

When they want to join a program to help with sex addiction, they join SA (Sexaholics Anonymous).  Or do they join SCA (Sexual Compulsives Anonymous)? Or do they join SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous)?  Or do they join SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous)?  Maybe they join more than one.  Maybe they attend open AA meetings instead.  Maybe they join a Christian program like Celebrate Recovery which combines the teachings of the Bible with the steps and principles of AA to work on all addictive behavior (N.b.: This is a non-denominational program founded by a Protestant pastor, John Baker, of Saddleback Church).

Read more…..

Whit Monday: Paul weeps.

Today is Whit Monday, the Monday in the Octave of Pentecost.  Or it was.  But still is.  Or…wait, let me explain.

How we worship as Catholics is central to expressing our identity as Catholics, and how we relate to one another and to the world as Catholics.  There can be different modes of expression, certainly, just go to an Melkite, Maronite, or Ukrainian Catholic Church.  Better yet, go to them all.  However, all of these rites grew up organically in different cultures as expressions of their particular culture.  They were not contrived by a committee to be forced on the whole world.

In the late 60s, rule by committee is exactly what resulted in what is termed the Novus Ordo Missae or the “Ordinary Form” of the Mass.  I am not opposed to the Novus Ordo; it is not inherently defective as many opine.  It is, however, inferior to the Extraordinary Form, or the “traditional Latin Mass.”  There are many reasons I say this, but the simplest is its origin.

Without getting into any conspiracy theories (there are plenty), let me summarize my issue in a clear, non-controversial (?) statement: the Novus Ordo was contrived by a select few men and was not an organic development of the expression of the faith of a community.  For this reason, it is culturally inauthentic and inferior to other liturgies, valid though it may be.

Why am I posting about this here?  As sex addicts, community is essential to recovery.  As Catholics, our community is principally expressed in how we worship.  But the form of worship that most Catholics participate in divided us from the centuries of tradition that proceeded it.  We have divided ourselves from our elders in the faith.  I remember struggling to understand many writings of the Saints on the Mass, until I came to understand that my Mass was not just theirs in English rather than Latin; it was radically different by design.

But do you mean I shouldn’t go to Mass at St. Lively’s Catholic Community? No, I’m not saying that at all.  If the Mass is reverent and it draws you closer to God, keep going, and by all means, be active in your parish! If you tried your local traditional parish (one that’s approved by the Archdiocese such as those run by the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, or a diocesan priest; avoid SSPX if possible until they’re fully reconciled; do not enter the doors of an “independent” Catholic Church or a sedevecantist [“no-pope”] sect like the SSPV or CMRI), but they’re all bitter fogies who are negative about everything (it happens, but it’s not common), do not think you’re obligated to go there. Pray, follow the Church, and go to confession.  My comments are my experience, strength, and hope, not my commandments.

Back to Whit Monday.  Fr. Z has shared a story over the years that is an anecdote about Paul VI.  Take it for what it’s worth, but it illustrates well this concept of division.

Some years ago … gosh, it was decades now… I was told this story by a retired Papal Ceremoniere (Master of Ceremonies) who, according to him, was present at the event about to be recounted.

You probably know that in the traditional Roman liturgical calendar the mighty feast of Pentecost had its own Octave.  Pentecost was/is a grand affair indeed, liturgically speaking.  It has a proper Communicantes and Hanc igitur, an Octave, a Sequence, etc. In some places in the world such as Germany and Austria Pentecost Monday, Whit Monday as the English call it, was a reason to have a civil holiday, as well as a religious observance.

The Novus Ordo went into force with Advent in 1969.

The Monday after Pentecost in 1970, His Holiness Pope Paul VI went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments, for the Octave everyone knows follows Pentecost, there were laid out for him vestments of green.

Paul queried the MC assigned for that day, “What on earth are these for?  This is the Octave of Pentecost!  Where are the red vestments?”

Santità,” quoth the MC, “this is now Tempus ‘per annum’.  It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost was abolished.”

“Green? That cannot be!”, said the Pope, “Who did that?”

“Holiness, you did.”

And Paul VI wept.

Logic

A logical argument must meed three conditions:

  1. The terms must be clear.
  2. The form must be valid.
  3. The premises must be true.

A basic syllogism looks like this:

  • Premise #1.
  • Premise #2.
  • Conclusion.

If the terms are clear and the form is valid, the conclusion must be true. Channel your inner Vulcan and put your feelings away, for no amount of hurt feelings will make the illogical logical or the logical illogical. There is no tantrum of any size that will make the true conclusion false or the false conclusion true.

What do each of these conditions look like? Continue reading

Garden

All is settled, and
All shall settle.
A cool drip of water
A breeze, breeze wet and cool.
And the dirt rubs off
The dirt from breaking the land.
It is scarred in my small world
In my universe
From my actions
For my ends
The fruits of which whither,
And fester, and rot
Into compost.
A garden of life and vegetables, Amen.

Oh! My brethren, how shall we admire the loving-kindness of the Saviour? With what power, and with what a trumpet should a man cry out, exalting these His benefits! That not only should we bear His image, but should receive from Him an example and pattern of heavenly conversation; that as He has begun, we should go on, that suffering, we should not threaten, being reviled, we should not revile again, but should bless them that curse, and in everything commit ourselves to God who judges righteously. – Saint Athanasius, Letter 2.5

Going too far

When working with teenagers at my church on the subject sex and chastity, the question often asked is, “How far is too far?”

My addict brain asks the same question. “What can I do that won’t cross into my inner circle?” I would mistakenly believe that the middle circle is for behaviors I “get to do” rather than the ones that lead me to my inner circle.

The question is best answered this way: if I want to know how far I can lean over the edge of a cliff without falling, the only way I’ll find out is when I start to fall. 

Stay away from the edge.