Thursday, June 30, 2011

Matthew Fox on the Rancid Boys' Club Running (and Destroying) the Catholic Church

Matthew Fox, in an interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge at Religion Dispatches, speaking about his new book The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade has Imperiled the Church and How it Can be Saved:

Peter Hess on Continuing Infatuation of American Public with Rapture Thinking

Peter Hess at Huffington Post on the continued appeal of "rapture thinking" among Americans: 

Warmed-Over News: Some Final (?) Nagging Questions about the Corapi Story

This is old news.  And nothing is less appetizing than a warmed-over dish of last week's hot news.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Terry Weldon on Catholic Role in New York Marriage Equality

I'm just now seeing Terry Weldon's outstanding analysis of the role played by Catholics in the human rights victory in New York last week, at his Queering the Church blog.  Terry centers his commentary about why growing percentages of Catholics support marriage equality around family values, a theme that resonates with Catholics, values they want to see extended to others seeking to form stable, productive, generative unions that build stable, productive, generative societies.  Terry writes:

Lincoln Mitchell on Obama's Marriage Equality Miscalculation: Leadership Failure

And talking further about being stuck in 1967 while people with good sense and sound consciences want to move towards 2011: here's Lincoln Mitchell at Huffington Post today on the colossal political miscalculation Mr. Obama is making with his retrogressive, principles-lite stand on marriage equality:

Baseball Tim and Manly Bishops: Sports, Machismo, and 1967 Prescriptions for a 2011 World

Speaking of being stuck in 1967, have you ever noticed how those bishops the luminaries of the American Catholic intellectual center keep supporting just don't know how to quit those nifty macho sports metaphors, when they talk about women theologians (and here and here) or gay men?

What's that all about, I wonder?  You'd almost think that the sports metaphors are deliberate, and chosen to demonstrate the macho power God wants His bishops to exercise over others.

Bishops who are, let us not forget, each and every one of them heterosexual to a man. 

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: American Catholics Throw a Human Rights Party

National Catholic Reporter has now posted a good reflection--Jamie Manson is the author of this piece--about the recent human rights breakthrough with marriage equality in New York.  Manson (rightly) stresses the growing disparity between what the Catholic hierarchs (and their centrist apologists: my addition to the analysis, and not something Jamie says) want to think about marriage equality, and what growing numbers of Catholics think about the issue.  As Catholics.   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New York Victory and Unfinished Business: Catholic Church Still Anything but a Welcoming Place (4)

And so my response to the question a blogger at the Catholic blog site Commonweal  asked me several days ago, which I’ve chosen to answer here and not at the Commonweal site (to make sense of this opening statement, you’ll need to read my posting of earlier today): 

New York Victory and Unfinished Business: Catholic Church Still Anything but a Welcoming Place (3)

In the past several days, I’ve used the recent decision of the New York legislature to permit same-sex marriage as a springboard for discussion of how or whether the Catholic church welcomes (or doesn’t welcome) its LGBT members.  And how or whether its leaders and those who stand with them promote anti-gay discrimination in American society and other societies.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Postscript: Life Intervening as I Blog

A quick postscript to my posting earlier today: I do have more to say on these points, and have a posting sketched already.  A tiny bit under the weather these days, though, with a summer stomach bug.  We also had house guests yesterday and overnight, and I've been distracted by the hosting and talking and laughing, and now the need to do some tidying of the house.

New York Victory and Unfinished Business: Catholic Church Still Anything but a Welcoming Place (2)

When I have taught introductory courses in moral theology over the years, one of the principles I emphasize most strongly is that a mature, developed moral sense aims at trying to understand and empathize with those whom we conceive as radically different from ourselves.  Developing a mature moral sense calls on us to see life from the vantage point of others—and, in particular, those others whose lives seem most distant from our own; in particular, those others who live on the social margins.  A mature, developed moral sense requires us to place ourselves inside others’ circle of experience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Will Catholics Celebrate This Sunday?

I like Tim's point very much today, at his Following the Voice Within blog: as he notes, in some Christian liturgical traditions, yesterday was the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.  As Tim describes it (extremely well), here's the point of that liturgical remembrance: 

Commentary on Role of Catholic Bishops in Marriage Equality Debate: Widespread Recognition of Shoddy Legacy

Interesting commentary this morning at many blog and news sites on the role of the Catholic bishops of the U.S. in opposing civil rights for LGBT citizens:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Human Rights Advocates Celebrate, Centrist Catholics Grouse about Religious Exemptions

I see that the important people, the people who set the tone for the American Catholic academy, those who hobnob with the bishops and stand in the door to determine who will and will not be permitted into the inner circles of conversations that determine the future of the church:

Thanks, and News about a Good Doctor's Report

A quick note of thanks (and apologies for interjecting this trivial personal note into a discussion of the far more significant news today): thanks to all of you who have asked about my doctor's visit yesterday.  Since I blogged about that, and a number of e-friends and blog readers have asked me about it, I did want to report that the blood tests were fine.  Actually, better than that, the doctor indicated.  He says I'm in some ways a model patient who could be used as an example for others, to show that adult-onset diabetes can be turned back, arrested, if not eradicated, through diet, exercise, and weight loss.

New York Victory and Unfinished Business: Catholic Church Still Anything but a Welcoming Place

And as I sit on this glorious landing place (this in reference to my previous posting about Langston Hughes) for a while, and rest a bit, I open today's newspaper (metaphorically speaking, since I'm reading online), and I read the following from Alex Pareene at Salon

Climbin' On, and Reachin' Landin's, and Turnin' Corners: Yesterday's Victory in New York

An historic day.  A day of jubilation.   

I begin the day listening to the voice of a gay man who died in 1967, not ever having felt able, somehow, to tell the world who he was in the innermost recesses of his being.  To tell the world whom he loved.  How his heart loved in that specific intimate way of heart speaking to heart for which every human being longs.  Which poets have made a primary theme of their poetry throughout history.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In the News: Obama and Marriage, Catholic Church's Welcoming Problem, Jim Wallis and Sojourners Again

As the week ends, a selection of articles from the week's news that have caught my eye:

A Week Ends, and I Prepare for the Doctor

Don't you hate those weeks--the ones that begin with a call from your doctor's office, the nurse on the other end saying, "Your blood work is in, and doctor wants to talk to you"?  For me, that call came Tuesday, and it's been rather a long week of waiting for the appointment today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tyree Keeps Spouting Off: "Don't Want My Kids to Think Homosexuals Are Normal"

And so now we hear from Mr. Tyree re: what it's really all about for him, when he calls same-sex couples "unnatural and spouts off about what his bible says:  it's about the children, for God's sake!   It's about that old canard to which NOM and other anti-gay hate groups inevitably return, when they gather than people's appetite for gay bashing is waning: it's about the old insinuations that "unnatural" gays are out to molest and recruit my children.  

David Tyree and NOM: Deconstructing the Latest Arguments against Marriage Equality

As New York legislators continue to haggle about whether to recognize the civil rights of LGBT citizens in the area of marriage, anyone following the debates will know that one of the spokespersons the anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage has pushed into the limelight to make its case now is a former member of the New York Giants, David Tyree.  I had decided to ignore Tyree and his case against gay marriage up to now, because it's, frankly, not in the least compelling or intelligent.

Continued Rumblings in Kansas City Diocese: New Allegations Issued v. Diocese in Current Lawsuit

The situation in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese continues to rumble along.  Yesterday, Joshua McElwee reported at National Catholic Reporter that Bishop Finn has now directed the diocese's office of worship to "remove its participation in" the upcoming Latin Mass to effect diocesan unity, about which I blogged yesterday.  What's that about, I wonder?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

America Editor Mischaracterizes Bishops' Recent Involvement in Public Square: My Response

And, as a gloss on what I've just posted about the involvement of Archbishop Timothy Dolan in what's taking place in Albany, New York, right now: someone needs to help educate America magazine editor Karen Sue Smith about how Dolan and other Catholic bishops do their business in the public sphere of American democracy.  For someone who holds such a prestigious position and speaks on behalf of a distinguished American Catholic journal, Smith seems to be woefully ill-informed about how the U.S. Catholic bishops have been doing business in the public square, as they try to block and remove civil rights from a targeted minority.

Marriage Equality Debate, Nature, and Reason: Historical Perspectives

One of the primary props of those arguing against marriage equality in the U.S. today is the constantly advanced argument that the "natural order" established by God dictates that marriage must be between a man and a woman, and tampering with that natural order will throw everything in the society that disregards natural order into chaos.  A corollary of this argument is that we know this "natural order" not only by divine revelation, but by reason, as well.

Turmoil in Kansas City, after Bishop Finn Hides Pedophile Priest: Finn's Response? Latin Mass

And so guess what song and dance Bishop Robert Finn and his supporters are cooking up now to juju the restless laity of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic diocese and divert attention from Bishop Finn's choice to shield a pedophile priest?  Last weekend, it was a public procession with jangling rosaries, Latin chants, girls in long skirts and lacy mantillas, and Our Lady of Fatima sweeping majestically by on a platform.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice: Still Bonfires to Jump (for Some of Us)

But, wherever a man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society (Thoreau, Walden, “The Village”).

Today's the summer solstice, the feast of St. John in the traditional Christian liturgical calendar.  The solstice and memories it evokes of the celebrations we used to see in our years in south Louisiana--bonfires lit along the levees of the Mississippi on St. John's night--have had me thinking all day long about the ancient pre-Christian roots of this Christian feast.  And of the similar bonfires we've seen being prepared in parts of Europe, including the small Bavarian village in the Oberpfalz from which Steve's maternal ancestors came and in which some of his cousins still live, when we happened to be traveling on St. John's day.

Academy of American Poets Celebrates Gay Pride

In celebration of gay pride, the Academy of American Poets' website offers a webpage full of rich resources for reading about the lives of gay poets, as well as reading poems about love written by LGBT poets.  Unimaginable, in my childhood or even young manhood, to come across such riches as these for gay human beings and those who want to understand the experience of gay persons, openly displayed by such a prestigious group.

We have come a long way towards humanity.  We still have far, far to go.

A Reader Writes: How Do We Tell When Pastoral Relationships Are Exploitative?

In response to what I posted yesterday about David Clohessy's press statement calling on the Minnesota bishops to denounce the attempt of Fr. Christopher Wenthe to undermine Minnesota laws prohibiting inappropriate behavior of pastors with those in their pastoral care, Gbullough, a good reader of this blog wrote, 

Monday, June 20, 2011

David Clohessy Issues SNAP Press Statement on Wenthe Case: Laws Apply to the Church, Too

In a response to a comment at the thread that has developed with my posting earlier today about the lawsuit of Fr. Thomas Wenthe in St. Paul, Minnesota, challenging the constitutionality of the Minnesota law governing inappropriate behavior of pastors with those under pastoral care, I mention that David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, had issued a press statement about the Wenthe case earlier today.  I have been watching for this statement to appear on SNAP's website, but haven't seen it pop up there yet.  When it does, I'll provide a link to the statement.

(Here it is.)

Marriage Equality Vote Nears in NY, and NOM (and NOM's Hate Group Cronies) Pull Out All the Stops

The National Organization for Marriage, which now functions as a virtual, if unofficial, arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in their attack on the civil rights and humanity of gay and lesbian citizens, is pulling out all the stops as a vote on marriage equality appears to be impending in New York.  On their website this morning, a smorgasbord of new offerings,

Minnesota Priest Challenges Law: New Apologetic Excuses Violations of Pastoral Relationships

It looks as if this may be a new trend among Catholics who continue to view the clerical abuse crisis as something manufactured by the media and attorneys, and as largely a matter of gay priests abusing pubescent boys: Fr. Christopher Wenthe of St. Paul is suing to have charges against him dismissed, in a case alleging that he abused his pastoral authority and a counseling relationship to seduce an adult woman.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Catholic Right Holds Back-to-Past March in Kansas City to Support Embattled Bishop Finn

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse (and Catholics concerned to see survivors healed and given justice):

Think the rabid right wing of the Catholic church really cares about you and about seriously addressing the deep rottenness from which the abuse crisis proceeds in the church?  Think again.

Maureen Dowd on Dolan v. Cuomo: "Gay Sera,Sera"

Maureen Dowd's op-ed piece in today's New York Times on Mr. Timothy Dolan's battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo--"Gay Sera, Sera"--is going to raise the hackles of all the centrist media powerbrokers who continue, even now!, to make one apology after another for the sorry men leading their Catholic church.  And, can we talk?, the primary reason those centrist media powerbrokers and the men they're defending get such vapors when Dowd opens her mouth again is that she's a woman.

Corapi and Feel-Good Catholicism: Greater Thrill Hath No Man Than This

Deacon Greg Kandra on Corapi's announcement that he's leaving the priesthood, in Jaweed Kaleem's summary of the story at Huffington Post:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interesting Times: National News Brimming with Catholic Stories This Weekend

No one's quite sure where the "Chinese" curse, "May you live in interesting times," originated.  Or if it's even really a Chinese proverb.  Or whether it's really a curse or a blessing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corapi Issues Annoucement, Plans to Leave Priestly Ministry

A reader, JKM, has just posted a comment in response to my recent posting noting that Deacon Greg Kandra had updated the Father John Corapi story.  I'm very grateful for JKM's update.

U.N. Resolution Recognizes Gay Rights, NY Catholic Leader Says Comparing Gay Struggle to Civil Rights Struggle "Odious"

Two worldviews, two opposing views of human rights: it's fascinating that on the same day the United Nations Human Rights Council passes a resolution calling for a worldwide study of rights of LGBT persons because anti-gay violence and discrimination is persistent around the globe, a Catholic leader in New York, Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Brooklyn diocese's Vicar for Communications, informs the media that it's "odious" to see civil marriage for gay couples as a civil rights issue.  And that the struggle for human rights for LGBT people can't be compared to the similar struggle for rights for people of color, because, 

In the News: Matthew Fox on Catholic Future, Boston Parish on Welcoming All, and John McWhorter on Tracy Morgan

As the weekend approaches, a selection of worthwhile articles on a variety of topics:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jan Morris on Holy Places: Valuing the View from the Interstices


I'm loving Jan Morris's book Europe: An Intimate Journey (London: Faber & Faber, 2006).  As with everything else she writes, it's always right at the intersection--of cultural crossroads, religious crossroads, ethnic and geographic crossroads, etc.  Right at the intersection of one crossroad after another, just as her beloved city of Trieste, to which she returns again and again in her books (this one included), is interstitial.  Liminal.  Full of ambiguity and a multiplicity of ambiguous, syncretistic meaning derived from the confluence of many different cultures none of which dominates in the cultural mix that has come to be known as Trieste.

What Really Drives Catholics Making Gays Unwelcome? Keeping American Catholicism Politically Pure

A thought that's been knocking around in my head since I posted about the recent discussion at the In All Things blog of America magazine about the controversy re: an All Are Welcome liturgy at St. Cecilia's parish in Boston:

U.S. Catholic Bishops' Leader Blasts Civil Rights of Gay Citizens (Again), Compares Struggle for Civil Rights to Totalitarianism

Though he was surely preparing for the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week--a conference of which he's president--Archbishop Timothy Dolan took time recently to issue yet another blast at his blog site against the rights of gay citizens.  Specifically, Dolan blasted the right of gay citizens to civil marriage as New York's Catholic governor Andrew Cuomo urges the New York legislature to pass a bill affording this right to gay citizens of that state.  Dolan's ongoing fixation on gay folks and their civil rights continues to attract negative attention in many quarters--right now, notably, in two good responses to his recent blog posting by Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches and Rob Tisani at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Catholic Blogsphere Abuzz with Rumors of Corapi Announcement: Deacon Greg Kandra Breaks Story

Deacon Greg Kandra is reporting the first tiny peep in months from Father Corapi--at least, the first one I've heard about, though I still occasionally receive zingy (and, often, frankly astonishingly nasty) comments from the Corapi fan club responding to my postings weeks back about his situation.  (I've just linked to the last of my previous postings; interested readers can follow the string back from that one).

Joan Walsh on the Story the Obama Administration Needs to Tell: Dangerous, Unprecedented Accumulation of Wealth at Top

Joan Walsh's analysis of the glaring moral failing of the Obama administration, and of the danger this failing poses to ordinary U.S. citizens, dovetails with Robert Scheer's at TruthDig, in the statement to which I linked yesterday:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As Southern Baptist Churches Lose Members, President of Southern Baptist Seminary Chides Anthony Weiner to Find Christ

One of the increasingly tired tropes found on many Catholic websites, when the right-wing brethren taunt their progressive brothers and sisters, is that membership in conservative churches remains robust, while it's falling in churches that cave in to liberalism.  

Robert Scheer on the Seven Republican Dwarves: Assault on the Idea of Government Protecting Citizens

Robert Scheer at Truthdig on the seven dwarves we saw cavorting on the Republican stage Monday night: 

Tea Partiers Sponsor Christian Summer School in Florida: Children Taught the Me First Gospel

Summer school, anyone?  If you have time and money to spend, and, more importantly, children to train up in the right and godly American way, you may want to consider the Tea Party summer camp being offered in the great state of Florida this summer.  Tampa Liberty School is for children ages 8-12, and will be offered by the Tampa 912 Project at the Paideia Christian school in Tampa.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remembering Harriet Beecher Stowe: The 19th-Century Debate about the Human Worth of Some U.S. Citizens

It's interesting to think of the current debates about including gay and lesbian persons against the historical backdrop of the similar debate about slavery in the 19th century.  Just as the debate about whether or not to welcome gay and lesbian human beings to the human community and churches now roils society at large as well as churches, the debate about slavery set brother against brother and sister against sister in the 19th century.

All Are Welcome (*Restrictions May Apply): Ongoing Discussion of the Place of LGBT Human Beings in Catholic Communities

I blogged on the weekend about the ongoing turmoil over issues of welcome, of inclusion or exclusion, centered on understandings of Catholicism in one Catholic family to which I have exceptionally close ties--the family of my longtime partner, Steve.  In case anyone imagines that this struggle to understand what Catholicity means against the backdrop of gay and lesbian lives is unique to this particular Catholic family, I recommend the discussion taking place now at America's "In All Things" blog as Michael O'Loughlin writes about what happened after a Catholic parish in Boston, St. Cecilia's, recently decided to sponsor a liturgy announcing that All Are Welcome during Gay Pride month.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cooking to Save the Planet: Southern Pan-Fried Chicken, Done the Right Way

Since some readers seem to like my meanderings about cooking, I thought I'd push the envelope (or my luck?) a bit and follow yesterday's posting with one today describing how my mother fried chicken.  She made the best fried chicken ever cooked, of course.  Even her in-laws admitted that.  So it has to be true (smiley face imagined here, because, of course, I'm teasing, though her chicken was uncommonly good).

Anthony Weiner and the Juvenilization of American Political Leaders

I haven't commented on the Anthony Weiner situation because, honestly, what's there to say?  Men behaving badly: it's hardly a new or engrossing script.  Powerful men behaving as if the rules of human decency that apply to ordinary mortals have no sway at all for them, once they obtain 1) money, 2) power, 3) cachet, 4) trophy women, 5) fill in the blank.