Monday, May 31, 2010

The Gay Purge in Catholic Seminaries: Washing the Gay Right Out of Our Hair



Paul Vitello reports today in the New York Times on the implementation of the Vatican directives that call for a gay purge in Catholic seminaries to resolve the abuse crisis in the Catholic church.  Fr. Jim Martin has posted valuable commentary on the article at America magazine’s blog.

Fr. Martin’s commentary notes (citing Mark Jordan of Harvard Divinity School) the irony of the Catholic church’s choice to purge gays from the priesthood, when a significant percentage of Catholic clergy are gay, as are a significant percentage of seminary professors and seminary directors, and of members of the hierarchy itself.  Grand irony, indeed—irony that moves beyond the merely ironic to the absurd (and the obscene).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Retreat, Day One: In Which James Taylor and Carole King Sing, and I Say Yes



The bell has rung for grand silence.

But I’ve spent the whole day in silence, and the bell only loosens my tongue, makes me want to begin recording impressions of the day.  Impressions: touches in silence; silent touches; the pressing of (im-pressio) other spirit on mine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Retreat: Grateful for Readers' Advice and Support



Thank you all, profoundly so, for your replies and encouragement after my last posting.

I'm going through a soul-searching, life-assessment process right now.  I think it wouldn't be a stretch to call it a retreat--a time to think, read, pray.  And just be.

I feel the need for such a process because I'm aware of feeling frayed around the edges these days, and that feeling leaves me thinking that anything I post right now is bound to be off.  Out of kilter.  As unbalanced as are the churches whose lack of balance I'm decrying in some of my postings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Catholic Officials Continue Attacks on Women, and Yours Truly Has Had It



I haven’t commented yet on two recent stories that, in my view, have a shared theme.  That theme links, in ways clear to me, but perhaps not immediately apparent to others, to the story of the ladies of Llangollen about which I’ve just written.  One of the two stories has to do with the recent announcement by the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas J. Olmsted, that Mercy Sister Margaret McBride has been excommunicated. 

Sister Margaret’s sin?  As a member of the ethics committee of St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix, she participated in a decision to abort the 11-week old fetus of a woman who, expert medical consensus had determined, could not carry her child to term without risking her own death, and therefore the death of the child.  The mother was suffering from pulmonary hypertension that, left untreated, would almost certainly have resulted in her death and that of the fetus.  Pregnancy aggravates this serious condition.

The Ladies of Llangollen: On the Continued Need to Reclaim Gay History and Celebrate Gay Lives



A reader whose insights I value very much wrote me several days ago to ask about Elizabeth Mavor’s book The Ladies of Llangollen (London: Joseph, 1971), which I mentioned in response to a comment about a posting here recently.  Because at least one reader has expressed an interest in knowing more about the book, I thought I’d share a few reflections, now that I’ve finished it.

First, a disclaimer: I read this book, in part, because of an eccentric interest of mine that few readers would share.  And that means that I read parts of it sketchily, since my focus was on finding references that provide information about my particular interest.  That interest has to do with the family of one of the two ladies of Llangollen, the Ponsonbys.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bill Halter Runs Even with Blanche Lincoln: A Report from the Ground



One final news update--this one from the ground: as most readers will know from the international media, in the first round of primary voting yesterday in my home state of Arkansas, incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln ran dead-even against her challenger Lieutenant-Governor Bill Halter.  Ms. Lincoln had the backing of former President Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama.  The campaign was nasty on both sides, with lurid ads that went beyond stretching the truth to outright lying--though I fault the Lincoln campaign more in that regard than the Halter campaign.

I'm interested in Jane Hamsher's take on the election at Firedoglake today.  Hamsher thinks that many Arkansas Democrats are repudiating Lincoln because of her refusal to support the public option during the health-care reform process.  I also suspect that many of us are tired of her capitulation to wealthy interest groups, and her attempt to convince the people she represents (we're poor, uneducated, and many of us are African Americans) that those groups have our own best interest at heart.  When their real objective is to exploit us.

I think that there's, in general, a diffuse sense of rage in the air in this part of the country right now, which has several roots.  One of those roots is, sad to say, the deep, historic racism of many white citizens.  For whom having a black man in the White House is unthinkable.

Another root is, as I've noted, that we're generally an impoverished state with low levels of education.  That makes us sitting ducks for those who want to use us in battles we don't quite understand, because we lack the critical information necessary to help us understand.

Because we were perceived as a "swing" state in the health-care debate, with a number of blue dog Democratic political leaders opposed to health-care reform, we were inundated throughout the health-care deliberations with constant phone calls, letters, and television ads from both sides.  We were inundated with disinformation and lies that many of us do not have the critical tools to see as disinformation and lies: Obamacare will put Granny to death; Obamacare will take your good health insurance and give it to illegal immigrants and lazy (read: black) people who don't work; Obamacare is socialism, etc.

Being inundated constantly with toxic lies when you do not have the skills to identify the information you're being given as lies, when you are economically deprived and economically vulnerable, elicits rage.  And that rage is dangerous.  It is dangerous for the particular area in which the unfocused, inarticulate, destructive rage of people who have a right to be angry but whose anger is misdirected has been stirred up.

And it is dangerous for the nation as a whole.  Those bombarding the American people with a steady diet of toxic lies at present (read: most Republicans) are doing a tremendous disservice to the nation.  They are undermining its future.

And the consequences of what they're doing will become tragically apparent, I suspect, in the fall elections.  

(On a joyful note, a person I very much admire and am happy to call my friend, Judge Wendell Griffen, won a circuit judge seat last night.  A note of hearty congratulations to him.)

Mid-Week News Update: Stories from Marquette, Boston, Vatican, Portugal, and Malawi



A mid-week news update: articles that have either caught my attention because they seem to me to deserve careful reading, or because they update stories about which I’ve blogged previously here . . . .

Mary Hunt’s recent Religion Dispatch article about Marquette University’s rescinding of an offer of a position to lesbian scholar Jodi O’Brien fits both categories: it makes for fine reading, as with everything Mary Hunt writes; and it provides new information to update the story I told about this situation earlier in the week.

Oops: Representative Souder Records Abstinence Video. With His Mistress



In the “lines I wish I’d written category,” Attaturk commenting at Firedoglake this morning on the recent revelation that Indiana Congressman Mark Souder recorded an abstinence video in November 2009.  With his mistress:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"We Wouldn’t Be Here Without Heterosexual Intercourse”: Critical Reflections on the Biological-Imperative Argument That Same-Sex Marriage Threatens the Common Good



I’ve just posted about Fr. Jim Martin’s reflections on the statement of Pope Benedict in Portugal that same-sex marriage is an incomparable threat to the common good, on a par with abortion.

Even before Benedict reiterated this claim (which has now become a persistent theme of his papacy), I have already been thinking through one of the central arguments of some Catholics who oppose revision of the church’s stance on gay lives and gay relationships.  This is the argument that homosexuality is in and of itself an obvious threat to the continuation of life, because, as some bloggers put the point on Catholic blogs I read regularly, “We wouldn’t be here without heterosexual intercourse.”

‘Abortionsamesexmarriage’: Fr. Jim Martin on Some Catholic Leaders' Equation of Abortion with Same-Sex Marriage



After I posted yesterday about the story of St. Paul’s Catholic school in Hingham, Massachusetts, which recently announced that the son of a same-sex couple had been barred from the school, Fr. Jim Martin posted commentary about the same story at America’s “In All Things” blog.

As my posting did, Fr. Martin praises the Boston archdiocese for handling the question of children of same-sex couples in Catholic schools differently than the Denver archdiocese chose to handle it some months back, when a similar story developed there.  He does note “one oddity” in the Boston response, however.

Monday, May 17, 2010

John McNeill on Benedict's Most Recent Attack on Gay Marriage: What Alternative Universe Does the Pope Inhabit?



John McNeill has outstanding commentary on Pope Benedict's remarks in Portugal last week at his Spiritual Transformation blog.  And Jayden Cameron has posted a valuable summary of John's analysis at Open Tabernacle.

As I did in my posting about Benedict in Portugal at the end of last week, John McNeill wonders about the disproportionate emphasis of the current pope on gay marriage as an incomparable threat to the human race, one of the “most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good” faced by the human community today.  John notes that Benedict makes such proclamations (seemingly with a straight face--my take), while ignoring the nuclear arms race, environmental destruction, disease, poverty and starvation in much of the underdeveloped part of the world, and the increase in genocide, violence, murder, torture, and enslavement at this point in history.

Gays in Catholic Universities: A Stained-Glass Ceiling? Questions about Marquette and Seton Hall University

 
I wrote earlier today about a situation in the archdiocese of Boston in which the Catholic church’s longstanding practice of discriminating against gay and lesbian persons is being put to the test.  And in which there seems to be a discernible shift underway in how some lay Catholics, at least, react to decisions by Catholic leaders to continue anti-gay discrimination.

I’d like to address another situation that provides further evidence of the shift about which I blogged in my previous posting.  This has to do with a case at Jesuit-owned Marquette University in Milwaukee.  Tracy Rusch did a summary of this story at National Catholic Reporter last Friday. 

Update on Boston Archdiocese and Children of Gay Couples in Catholic Schools: Continued Protests, Backed by Financial Pressure, Prove Effective

 
Last Thursday, I noted the controversy that developed after a Catholic school in Hingham, Massachusetts, recently informed a same-sex couple that their child could not be enrolled in the school.  As my posting states, the archdiocese of Boston seems to have distanced itself from the decision of Fr. James Rafferty, pastor of St. Paul parish in Hingham, to exclude the child of a gay couple from the parish school. 

After controversy arose with the announcement of this decision, Mary Grassa O’Neill, secretary for education and superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese of Boston, issued this statement: “We believe that every parent who wishes to send their child to a Catholic school should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.”  O’Neill also noted that the Boston archdiocese does not have a policy prohibiting children of same-sex parents from attending Catholic schools, and that it now intends to develop a stated policy to prevent misunderstandings in the future.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Two Faces of Benedict: Dialogue on Wednesday, Dictation on Thursday

 
Well, it didn’t take long for the fizz to go out of the optimism bottle Pope Benedict uncorked early this week in Portugal, did it?  On Wednesday, the pope calls for a return to Vatican II’s insistence that dialogue with (and learning from) the culture in which it finds itself is integral to the church’s mission.  Benedict quoted Paul VI, who stated that “the church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it finds itself.”

Ramin Setoodeh on Girly Men: Newsweek as Gatekeeper of the Masculine (and Other Sacred Institutions)



The controversy following journalist Ramin Setoodeh’s recent Newsweek essay suggesting that straight actors can play gay while gays can’t play straight is fascinating.  I find it interesting from two standpoints.

First, it illustrates how mainstream the discussion of gay issues has now become.  Debates that used to occur behind the walls of the “alternative” media are now taking place in the mainstream media and online, where bloggers correct and heckle the media constantly.  And that seems good, both for the gay community and the culture at large.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Updates: Stupak, Catholic Schools and Gay Parents, Crookston Diocese, and Rekers and Rentboy

Updates to a number of stories about which I’ve blogged here in the past.  I won’t link to my previous postings about these issues.  You can find them either by clicking on the tags beneath this posting, or by searching for particular terms in the blog’s search engine, or both—if you want to find what I’ve said about these stories in the past.

First, the Bart Stupak story: Stupak is the Democratic congressman from Michigan who carried water for the U.S. Catholic bishops in their attempt to block healthcare reform their attempt to go beyond the language of the Hyde amendment with its already existing provisions against government funding of abortion, as they lobbied during the healthcare reform process.

Making Benedict's "Optimistic" Words Count: Ten Theses about Moving from Words to Action



I ended my posting yesterday about Benedict’s recent “optimistic” Portuguese address with the following observation:

The church finds itself in its current “terrifying” position due to decisions the current pope himself made as John Paul II’s theological watchdog, which he has not effectively reversed through his actions up to this point—as fine as his recent words sound.

And so to make my critique constructive, what actions would I hope to see Benedict undertake, if he is sincere about reviving Vatican II’s call for affirmative dialogue with the world, which recognizes that the church can learn from the Spirit’s leading in other religious traditions, as well as in cultural developments and movements?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

John Allen on Affirmative Orthodoxy and Jim Martin on Price of Restorationism: Two Faces of Benedict

 
I find it instructive to read Fr. Jim Martin’s fine statement about Pope Benedict’s recent remark to reporters that the abuse of children by Catholic clerics is “truly terrifying,” side by side with John Allen’s declaration that Benedict’s address at the Cultural Center of Belém in Lisbon was a “tour de force” for what Allen calls “affirmative orthodoxy.”

Allen finds Benedict seeking to strike an “optimistic” note about the church’s encounter with contemporary culture.  He notes that Benedict’s address stresses the need for dialogue between the church and secularism; the need to move towards positive appraisal of various cultures and worldviews with the recognition that they can enrich the church; and the need to retrieve Vatican II’s positive appraisal of the Enlightenment and the Reformation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interracial and Same-Sex Marriage: Reflections on the Religious Right's Attempt to Play the Two Against Each Other.

 Quote for the day: Ellen Degeneres on her Cinco de Mayo show last week,
There’s nothing wrong with two adjectives in a row, especially when the word is “wonderful.”  I don’t know why there should be any rules against that.

Still hosting a house guest, and since hospitality is a sacred obligation (Let every guest be received as Christ), I haven’t found much time to blog today.  I have, however, continued to follow and participate in the discussion on the Commonweal thread to which I directed readers yesterday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This-'N-That Monday: More on Cardinal Schönborn, The Elena Kagan Nomination, and Theological Conversation



Monday is often a this-‘n-that day for me: catching up on blogs I haven’t read carefully enough as I blog during the week, planning Tuesday’s grocery foray, and (today) preparing for a friend’s visit that begins today.  So I haven’t had time to give much attention to this blog.

I do want to recommend, though, Colleen Kochivar-Baker’s powerful statement to Cardinal Schönborn at Enlightened Catholicism last Friday.  Colleen calls on Schönborn to walk his talk about church reform.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Because It's Mothers' Day



Because it's Mothers' Day, and because a number of websites I've been visiting today are inviting readers to post childhood pictures of themselves with their mothers, this photo has been on my mind today.  It's one of my favorites from childhood, taken when I was around 3 years old, I think.

To all my friends and family members who are mothers, and to readers of this blog, a happy Mothers' Day.

Memories of a Jesuit Education: Rose Gardens and Open-Toed Sandals



A story half dream, all remembrance, evoked by the memories of high-school Latin class I shared earlier in the week:

I go off to college, Latin medal in hand.  Because the scholarship I’ve earned seems to be premised on majoring in theology (I had to write something on the form, when it asked about my plans for a major), I seem locked into a theology major.

Heather Havrilesky on the Dénouement of "Lost": Hooked on Hope

Wonderful Sunday-morning musings by Heather Havrilesky at Salon about why some of us (and Steve and I are among those some, I confess) keep watching the t.v. series “Lost” even as it creeps in its petty pace towards its last signifying-nothing syllable:

Back then, like teenagers at a Baptist retreat, we thought the big, bad world would add up to something, that every confusing twist was laden with hidden meaning. Now we know better. Now we get up in the morning and put on our Sunday best and trudge off to church on the off-chance that the Lord Himself will appear and shine His glory on us in person. Now we watch because we were once “Lost” fans, and here it is the final season, and there are only a handful of episodes left. Even though the long-awaited answers we're looking for are offered in such blunt, unimaginative language that we feel like we're reading first drafts: “I'm a smoke monster.” “You're going to have to kill the devil.” “It's all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything..” And if we wanted to waste six years in a Judeo-Christian allegory, we would've just followed a Jehovah's Witness home a long time ago. At least their Armageddon should be a little bit gripping and suspenseful.

Yep.  Been there.  The Baptist retreat.

And I seem still to be there, hoping against hope that every confusing twist bears hidden meaning.  And so I’m watching “Lost” until the every last nodus dénoues in the madcap world of meaningless clues the show is becoming as it ends, furious at myself for sticking with the insanity.

Hooked on hope.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vienna's Archbishop Cardinal Schönborn Calls for Curial Reform (and Reassessment of Catholic Approach to Divorced and Gays)



Another weekend update: I blogged some weeks back about Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the current Dean of the College of Cardinals and formerly the Vatican Secretary of State.  As this posting notes, abundant credible evidence indicates that Sodano (who interrupted this year’s Easter liturgy at the Vatican to make a statement of praise of Pope Benedict) thwarted Rome’s investigation of the sexual improprieties of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, for years. 

Sodano was for many years one of Maciel’s top supporters in Rome, and in the view of author Jason Berry, who has exhaustively researched the Legionaries and the Maciel scandal, he was among those chiefly responsible for leaning on Pope John Paul II to protect Maciel and not to proceed with Vatican investigation of his ethical lapses.  Berry has also uncovered extremely troubling information about sensational business connections between Maciel and Sodano’s nephew Andrea Sodano, who was indicted in New York in 2008 for fraud and money-laundering. 

Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Craig Ferguson on Dr. Rekers: Why His Business Is Our Business



A quick follow-up to what I posted last evening about the Rekers story: Anderson Cooper did, indeed, do a segment on Rekers last night at his CNN 360 show.  In the clip, Randi Kaye interviews Jo-Vanni Roman, who confirms that his contract with Rekers as they traveled in Europe specified that he provide daily massasges for at least an hour in their shared room.  Roman characterizes the massages as “sexual massages.”

As Roman tells Randi Kaye, Rekers, of course, did not want Roman divulging information about the massages.   And he denies that any sexual behavior took place.

More Congratulations: Michael Bayly's Progressive Catholic Voice Also Makes Top Catholic Blog List



Yesterday, when I congratulated Colleen Kochivar-Baker whose Enlightened Catholicism blog just made the top 50 Catholic blog list at Online Christian Colleges, I didn't realize that another blog I very much admire (and recommend here) also made the same list.

This is Michael Bayly's Progressive Catholic Voice blog.  As with Colleen's blog, you'll find a link to Michael's in the blog list on the right side of the Bilgrimage page.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Update to Rekers Story: Anderson Cooper Will Interview Jo-Vanni Roman Tonight



At the end of a long day of reviewing grant proposals (God finds inventive ways to make me pay for my sins), a quick update to something I posted earlier today.

In my posting today about the latest installments in the story about Rev. Dr. George Rekers, I noted that Anderson Cooper would interview Jo-Vanni Roman, the young man whom Rekers hired for his European travels, on CNN soon.

I'm now reading online that this interview will (may?) air tonight on Anderson Cooper 360.  And that Rachel Maddow may also be doing a Rekers story tonight.

Latin and Then Latin: More on the Church's Call to Be a Sacramental Sign of God's Salvific Love



Jim McCrea has just emailed me (and others) a copy of Jerry Filteau’s NCR commentary on the Tridentine liturgy that Bishop Slattery celebrated at the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception on 24 April.  It’s fine commentary, indeed, with its sharply insightful conclusion that such liturgy is “an elaborate ritual manifestation of ecclesiastical rank, not a Mass in conformity with the fundamental Vatican II mandate for full, active participation by the faithful.”

And yet I find myself cold after reading this account of Slattery’s Mass, and I’m wondering why.  I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s the Latin.

At Week's End, the Rekers Story: Long Strokes and Little Mercy


 It has been a roller-coaster week, with the back-and-forth story of George Rekers.  The latest from his side is that he’s (of course) denying allegations of sexual activity with his rent boy and threatening to sue the “alternative newspaper,” Miami New Times, that broke the story.  

Rekers’ denial claims he had no sexual involvement with the young man he hired from Rentboy.com to travel with him.  In an email he sent to reporters around the nation on the day he posted the denial on his Professor George website, Rekers also launches into a bizarre diversionary point-by-point rebuttal of incidental aspects of his story, as it’s been told in the media—a rebuttal that focuses on questions like who lifted whose luggage, rather than the obvious question of why one would hire a luggage carrier through a website that specializes in offering prostitutes.  (A picture of Rekers and Jo-Vanni Roman, his young traveling companion whose identity was made known by bloggers shortly after the story broke, shows Rekers hefting his luggage in the Miami airport while Roman stands by.)

Congratulations: Enlightened Catholicism Makes List of 50 Best Catholic Blogs



News that brings delight to me as this day begins: a blog I very much admire, Colleen Kochivar-Baker's Enlightened Catholicism, has just appeared in Karen Anderson's list of the 50 best Catholic blogs.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

As Catholic Dioceses Fund Anti-Gay Movements, Churches and Schools Still Close: Update of Crookston, Minnesota, Story



The following is a quick update of a story about which I last posted in early April.  This update links to what I posted earlier today about the inability of the Catholic church to develop a credible apologetics for the new millennium while its leaders’ lives and actions belie the core teachings they want to offer us.

Back in April, when the story of a priest’s abuse of two girls in the Crookston, Minnesota, diocese (and the priest’s return to India to escape legal action in the U.S.) made international news, I noted that the Crookston Catholic diocese gave a substantial sum of money to the diocese of Portland, Maine, in 2009 to help remove the right of civil marriage from gay citizens of Maine.

Cardinal Levada on Catholic Apologetics in New Millennium: When Pastoral Leaders Become a Counter-Sign



Cardinal William Levada has just issued a call for a new Catholic apologetics.  This call occurred in an address that the cardinal gave recently to a conference on “A New Apologetics for a New Millennium” at the Legionaries of Christ’s university in Rome, Regina Apostolorum.

Among the points that Cardinal Levada makes is that if a new apologetics for a new millennium is to be credible, it must be rooted in “a sacramental vision of the world.”  I agree.

Stephen Colbert Lampoons Rev. Dr. Rekers: "Looking for Somone to Hoist His Sack"



It takes a Stephen Colbert to do justice to the lunacy—but toxic lunacy—of the Rev. Dr. Rekers saga.  Once again, Joe.My.God is all over this story, and has a link to Colbert’s commentary about Rekers yesterday.

Which is full of delicious one-liners like, “Technically, I believe, he was looking for someone to hoist his sack.”

Joe Jervis is also reporting that bloggers have shut down the Facebook page of Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida, as they log in at that site in the past two days to ask McCollum how he justifies paying $87,000 of taxpayer funds to bring the Rekers fraud show to Florida.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Strange Saga of Rev. Dr. George Alan Rekers and His Rent Boy: Exposing the Underbelly of the Ex-Gay Racket

Readers of this blog will probably already know something about the story of Rev. Dr. George Alan Rekers, a leading proponent of “ex-gay” therapy and co-founder (with Dr. James Dobson) of the anti-gay Family Research Council.  Rev. Dr. Rekers is also an officer of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which promotes the view that homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be cured.  And he’s an ordained Southern Baptist minister with a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, a Th.D. from the University of South Africa, and an MBA from Southern Wesleyan University.

As readers probably know (this story is viral now), Rev. Dr. Rekers was spotted (and photographed) in April in the Miami airport with a “rent boy” whom the reverend doctor had hired to shlep luggage on a trip to Europe.  When confronted with evidence that he had rented a rent boy from the website Rentboy.com, Rev. Dr. Rekers initially stated that he had rented a rent boy without, it appears, having realized he had rented a rent boy.  Without having realized that the website Rentboy.com specializes in, well, renting boys—in providing young male prostitutes to gay men looking for such companions.

Rev. Dr. Rekers initially claimed that he had found out his rent boy from Rentboy.com was a rent boy only part-way through their European trip, and that his rent boy was solely for the purpose of luggage transportation.  When pressed on this point by Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God, Rev. Dr. Rekers then allowed as how he had rented his rent boy primarily to evangelize him. 

On Roman Polanski's Self-Defense and the Patriarchal Roots of the Catholic Abuse Crisis

 
Amidst the current crisis of the Catholic church, it is interesting to read Roman Polanski’s recent defense of himself after he left the U.S. some years ago, having served only 42 days for anally raping a 13-year old girl he had drugged before he raped her.  Polanski’s self-defense was published several days ago in the journal La Règle du jeu, published by his friend and staunch defender Bernard-Henri Lévy.

As Michael Stickings points out in the HuffPo summary of Polanski’s statement to which I link above, Polanski deserves the same right anyone accused of a crime should have—the right to defend himself.  But what’s troubling, Stickings notes (and I agree), in Polanski’s current self-defense is that he continues not to accept any responsibility at all for his actions. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Challenge of Catholic Reformation: On the Necessity and Impossibility of Reform Via Mitered Wonders



And as a follow-up to what I just posted about the obvious need for systemic reformation of the Catholic church, a selection of articles commenting on the challenge of achieving such reform—and the systemic problems that both demand reformation and make it exceptionally difficult to achieve: 

A Church in Crisis: Signposts to the Need for Catholic Reformation

And on the topic of reformation (with which I just ended my last posting):

1. The Catholic church still desperately needs reform.

2. And it’s going to be very difficult if not nigh impossible to reform the church, given the current regime and the episcopal appointments the last two papacies have made made (and the regime represented by the last two papacies is, of course, the very reason the church desperately needs to be reformed).

The Maciel Story and Its Aftermath: Rome Punts, Evades Responsibility (and Money Still Talks)


 I’m assuming that most readers of this blog will know that the Vatican has just released its game plan in response to the investigation of the religious community founded by Spanish priest Marcial Maciel, the Legionaries of Christ.  If you haven’t read that news, a valuable summary of the story appeared at Colleen Kochivar-Baker’s Enlightened Catholicism site on the weekend. 

And on the inside-Vatican politics that make it so difficult for church authorities at the highest levels to address Maciel and his legacy, see Daniel Wakin and James McKinley’s analysis in the New York Times on Sunday.  As they note, Rev. Alberto Athié Gallo, who has tried to obtain Vatican action in this matter since 1998, maintains that the Vatican cannot get to the bottom of the problems with the Legionaries of Christ, because to do so, Vatican officials (including the pope) would have to out themselves—as willing to tolerate Maciel’s abuse for years despite what they knew of Maciel’s activities.

Matthew Rindge on the Abuse Crisis: Jesus's Command to Create Sanctuary for the Vulnerable



It has proven difficult to post regularly in the last several days.  All kinds of reasons for that.  The moon has waxed and is now on the wane, and as with the moon, so with my creative energy. 

More to the point, it’s that week or so of transition when a semester ends and summer activities haven’t yet begun.  For my nephews, that is.  Colin came home from school this weekend—for good.  He’s finished, except for a summer stint studying Arabic and Moorish culture in Morocco, for which he’ll leave in a few weeks.