Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seeing Visions and Dreaming Dreams: Impending Socioeconomic and Ecological Crisis and Religious Theories of Change



In a two-part interview with Xavier Casanovas, Oscar Mateos, Santi Torres, and Nani Vall-llossera in Cristianisme i Justícia (via Iglesia Descalza, here and here), Benedictine Sister Teresa Forcades continues to insist that all viable, effective change in both church and society happens from the bottom to the top, not vice-versa: when the interviewers ask her about the euphoria surrounding Pope Francis and his papacy, she replies, 

Catholic Moral Theologian Lisa Fullam: An Argument for a Catholic Moral Obligation to Support Civil Marriage for Same-Sex Couples



At Bondings 2.0, Catholic moral theologian Lisa Fullam takes a careful look at the U.S. Catholic Bishops' argument that Catholics must oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples. She concludes that, in fact, Catholics appear to have a strong moral obligation to support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Holy Thursday Again, and Return of the Don't Let Women Get a Foot on the Altar Debate



And, as if to prove President Carter's point that in many of the world's religions, male religious leaders frequently read "their" scriptures in a highly selective way to demean women and exalt men at the expense of women, this year, as Holy Thursday approaches, there's the usual controversy about whether the feet of women may be liturgically washed by priests —even though Pope Francis did precisely that last year, washing the feet of a number of young women at a juvenile detention center in Rome. As David Gibson notes for Religion News Service,

Former President Carter on Women, Religion, Violence, and Power: An Interview with Sister Maureen Fiedler



For Interfaith Voices, Sister Maureen Fiedler interviews President Jimmy Carter about his new book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power. The book looks at the influence of religion (at a global level) on the lives of women and girls — as either an oppressive or a liberating force. What follows are my transcripts from and observations about the audio version of the interview to which the link above points.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Reader Responds: There's a Big Difference Between Believing Homosexuality Is Immoral and Claiming It's Clinically Disordered



On Sunday, I noted that the fateful 1986 document on the "pastoral" care of gay people issued by Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) arrived on the scene soon after the major psychological and medical professional organizations throughout the developed sector of the world stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. The 1986 document speaks of gay human beings as suffering from a "disordered condition" and a "disordered inclination."

A Reader Writes: "When Religion Becomes Unbelievably Corrupt . . . The Temple Is Due to Be Destroyed"



On Saturday, I noted on the eve of Palm Sunday that many biblical scholars connect the decision of Jerusalem's Roman rulers to put Jesus to death to his cleansing of the temple, which was an act of outright defiance of the social and religious norms on which the Roman rulers, abetted by the religious rulers controlling temple worship, counted in order to maintain social stability. I pointed out that Jesus's cleansing of the temple evokes echoes of the prophetic insistence that God's house is made for everyone — and, in particular, for the outcast, the least among us, the barren woman and the eunuch — and that it's the accent on "for everyone" in Jesus's revolutionary message and his practice of open commensality that made Jesus so very dangerous to the powers that be that they sought to squeeze him like human junk from their world's operations.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Father Tom Doyle and Jerry Slevin on Abuse Crisis and Pope Francis: When Will Words Yield Actions?



I highly recommend Father Tom Doyle's recent presentation (pdf) to the group Voice of the Faithful regarding where we find ourselves with the abuse crisis in the Catholic church today. It's entitled "Clergy Sexual Abuse and the Church Today: Turning Talk into Action." Doyle's assessment of where we find ourselves is sobering (and, for my money, right on target):