Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: Mother Petitions President Obama to Combat Organizational Child Sexual Abuse

Another very important posting sent to me today by Jerry Slevin, which relates to his call for President Obama to establish a national commission to combat child sexual abuse.  This gives us something concrete we can do to make our voices heard--sign a petition and circulate it as widely as possible.  What follows is Jerry's text:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Running the Slur Piece" about Fox News Priest "Beneath Contempt"

National Catholic Reporter does take heat from some Catholics for circulating fact-based stories about how some American Catholics deal with their gay brothers and sisters.  Yesterday, when Dennis Coday linked to a NewsHounds article about Father Jonathan Morris of Fox News in his "Morning Briefing" column, several readers of Coday's column vehemently objected.  

Story of Minnesota Teen Denied Confirmation for Supporting LGBT Rights Continues to Circulate

Lennon Cihak

National Catholic Reporter continues to air the story of Lennon Cihak of Barnesville, Minnesota--the teen denied confirmation (and here) by his pastor Father Gary LaMoine and by the bishop of Crookston, Michael Hoeppner.  If I understand correctly, his parents have also now been denied communion by both gentlemen.

And Then There Were Nineteen: GOP Makes Its (White Male) Committee Appointments

So yeah, this is what you can clip and save for the next time someone in the beltway tells you how seriously the Republican party is taking its diversity problem this year.  Clip and save, fellows.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Apologies for Mistakes, Previous Posting

Dear Readers,

I've just re-read my previous posting and found several egregious errors.  I apologize for them.  I've now corrected the posting, and hope that if it seemed more than ordinarily jumbled to anyone who read it earlier, you might have another look at it.  

This should be a reminder to me not to rush to post something I've written when I'm a bit under the weather!

The Ongoing Challenge of Dealing with Child Abuse in the Catholic Church: Testimony of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

As I offer my ten notes about the problem of child abuse and Jerry Slevin's valuable proposal for a U.S. national commission to address this problem, I want to offer as well a reprise of some notes from the powerful and prophetic book of Australian bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus (Dublin: Columba, 2007).  I've blogged about Bishop Robinson's book in the past.

The Need for a National Commission to Address Child Abuse: A Checklist of Ten Notes

With the establishment of a royal commission to investigate child abuse (and its cover-up) in Australia, I've been going through a checklist of mental notes I've made about the issue of child abuse over the years.  I've blogged about most of these items.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fred Clark on Overlap Between GOP and White Evangelicalism in Post-Election Analysis

At his Slacktivist blog site, Fred Clark notes that post-election analysis of the challenges now facing the Republican party seems to dovetail neatly with analysis of the challenges now facing the white evangelical communities in the U.S.  As he notes, 

Charles Curran Remembers Bernard Häring: "Hope Even in the Midst of Darkness"

At National Catholic Reporter, moral theologian Fr. Charles Curran offers a loving remembrance of his mentor Fr. Bernard Häring, who would have turned 100 on 10 November if he were still living.  Curran sees in Häring a lesson in hope:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mormons and Marriage Equality: More by Johnny Townsend

If you read my posting on Saturday about gay ex-Mormon Johnny Townsend's letter to the Salt Lake Tribune re: his experience discussing his plans to marry his ex-Mormon partner at Mormon blog sites, you may be interested in an essay by Townsend at Religion Dispatches right now.  As with his letter to the Salt Lake paper, Townsend reports that while some Mormons love and affirm their gay brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, and uncles, others still find it impossible to offer love and affirmation.

Commentary on the Fiscal Cliff: An "Austerity Bomb" and "Artificially Contrived Trap"

Several interesting educational resources today about the so-called "fiscal cliff" in the U.S.:

Matters Catholic: Church "Implosion," Cost of Clothing Cardinals, Sociopathic Lack of Empathy of Many Church Leaders, Cost of Anti-Gay Attacks by Hierarchy

A number of very good articles (and a video) today, all having to do with Catholic news stories: Robert Mickens on the implosion of the governing structures of the Catholic church; Fr. Anthony Ruff and Andrea Tornielli on the cost of clothing cardinals; Anthony Foster on the sociopathic lack of empathy of a particular cardinal, Pell in Australia; and Human Rights Campaign on the cost to American Catholics of this campaign cycle's attack on LGBT citizens by Catholic leaders:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mormons and Marriage Equality: Testimony from Salt Lake Tribune

Writing in the Salt Lake Tribune, gay ex-Mormon Johnny Townsend finds that some Mormons have made a graceful transition to a world in which gay and lesbian human beings increasingly enjoy the same right to marry that straight people enjoy.  Other Mormons?  Not so much.

Jayden Cameron on Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles as Love Story for Gay Teens

At his marvelous Gay Mystics site, Jayden Cameron provides a thoughtful argument for why educational programs for teens should include Madeline Miller's prize-winning retelling of the Iliad as a classic love story between Patroclus and Achilles.  Jayden writes,

Bishop John Shelby Spong on 2012 Elections: U.S. in a "New Place"

And yet more post-election commentary, this from noted Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong, who maintains that the 2012 elections move the United States to "a new place."  Frank Douglas at the Voice from the Desert blog helpfully provides the entire statement from Spong's site, which requires registration to access the text.

More on GOP Rebranding: Andrew Sullivan on Conversion of Straight-Ticket Republican to Straight-Ticket Democrat

More commentary to complement what I wrote yesterday about the GOP's seemingly impossible task of rebranding itself after the 2012 elections:

Father Roy Bourgeois's Defrocking: More Good Commentary

More good commentary on the story of Father Roy Bourgeois and his dismissal from the priesthood because he supports women's ordination, about which I blogged yesterday:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage and Families of Gay Couples: Two Theological Perspectives (and a Poem)

The video: poet Alvin Lau declaiming his poem "Full Moon" at the opening round of individual finals at the 2006 National Poetry Slam.  The poem reflects on the marriage of Lau's sister to another woman.

More Catholic News: Father Roy Bourgeois Defrocked for Supporting Women's Ordination

And yet more Catholics-in-the-news news:

Father Geoff Farrow on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's "Meteoric Rise" in American Hierarchy: Aiming for Red Hat as He Targets Gays

More Catholics-in-the-news news:

Catholics in the News: Cardinal Newman Society Hyperactive after 2012 Elections

And in Catholic news as this Thanksgiving (in America) week ends--a series of consecutive postings  focusing on particular issues, beginning with news about the shadowy but exceptionally well-heeled right-wing Catholic academic watchdog group, the Cardinal Newman Society, about which I've written frequently in the past (click on the label beneath this posting for my previous statements about the Cardinal Newman Society):

Recent Commentary on GOP's Rebranding of Itself: Faith-Based Party Remains Faith-Based

Yesterday's national American holiday is rich in myths that "our" founding fathers and mothers of the Puritan colony in Massachusetts (the foundational myth deliberately forgets that the Jamestown settlers preceded the Puritans and held a Thanksgiving observance in 1610) built an exemplary city on a hilltop to show all the world how things should be done.  Woven through the mythology of American Thanksgiving are myths about divine guidance, American exceptionalism, and the virtue of the European appropriators of the land of the native people.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks for . . . You

As the American Thanksgiving holiday nears, I want to issue a note of profound thanks to all the readers of this blog who contribute so much to Steve's and my life on an ongoing basis.  The supportive comments many of you made in response to my meditation yesterday about events in his home Catholic diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, mean a great deal to both of us.  I read them to Steve this morning, and he was very touched by the support.

Attacking Marriage Equality: Catholics Choosing Fundamentalist Biblical Proof-Texting

It fascinates me to note how much the conversation about marriage equality among reactionary Catholics has shifted from a defense of the procreative norm as a basis for denying same-sex couples the right of marriage, to an overt and rather brutal biblical proof-texting approach more consonant with American fundamentalist groups.  This shift is on full display in Frank Gibbons's response (#47) to Patricia Bergeron (#42) in this America blog thread responding to John Coleman about the Barnesville, Minnesota, story I discussed yesterday.

Baking Bread, Leavening Dough: A Thanksgiving Meditation from Steve

Steve, as he and I walked this morning (we were talking about an essay I read yesterday by Michael Weingrad about why there's no Jewish Narnia): 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Thanksgiving Open Letter to Catholics of the Crookston, Minnesota, Diocese

To the Catholic People of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota

Dear Fellow Catholics:

As you know, the day after tomorrow will be the Thanksgiving holiday.  This holiday has become in the American psyche a time to celebrate family, a time when family gathers from far and near to sit around the family table and share a meal of thanksgiving together.  

Forbidden Marriages, and States' Rights: A Story from the Past

Here's a case drawn from my research into my family's roots, which illustrates the kinds of tangles that can develop when one state permits couples of a certain sort to marry, while another state refuses to recognize marriages legally enacted in states permitting couples of a certain sort to marry:

Monday, November 19, 2012

El Alma de Maria: Theological Implications of Jesus's Taking Flesh from Mary

The photo is one Steve snapped recently, of a depiction on a tile of an icon much loved in Spanish-American Catholicism.  Icons depicting the Virgin Mary with a dove as she says her fiat to the angel announcing the divine birth to her or as she holds her holy child are called, in this tradition, El Alma de Maria, the soul of Mary.

GOP's Southern Strategy and Race-Baiting: I Remember When

Integration Protest, 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas

In my mind, it's always 1957 sending the snatches of conversation, the turns of phrase I never hear any longer, back into my head.  Or is it 1964?  They all blur together, those years of the 1957 integration crisis in Little Rock, when Eisenhower had to order the federal troops in to quash our defiance, and 1964, when the defiance defeated by Eisenhower's troops met added humiliation in Johnson's passing of the Civil Rights act.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: Why President Obama Must Now Act to End Organized Child Abuse

Another extremely important essay by Harvard-trained former Wall Street lawyer Jerry Slevin.  Jerry argues that "it is the right time for President Obama to act" to protect children from childhood sexual abuse, as the Catholic hierarchy clearly remains intent on stonewalling, diverting, and covering up.  What follows is Jerry's essay:

Bilgrimage: Whys and Wherefores of This Blog

A regular reader of Bilgrimage has asked me recently via email who sponsors my blog.  

Colleen Baker at Enlightened Catholicism on Savita Halappanavar Story

Savita Halappanavar

Because I'm away from home and working on a number of non-blogging research projects right now, I'm blogging on the fly, as it were.  And so I didn't see Colleen Baker's outstanding commentary on the Savita Halappanavar story at Enlightened Catholicism when I blogged about this story yesterday.  I want to take note of Colleen's analysis this morning.

Alex Gibney's "Mea Maxima Culpa" and Defrocking of Catholic Hierarchy

I linked yesterday to Andrew O'Hehir's review of Alex Gibney's HBO documentary "Mea Maxima Culpa" without commenting on the documentary itself.  I can't comment on it, since I haven't yet seen it.  But I can definitely comment on some of the statements now being made about "Mea Maxima Culpa" after it was released yesterday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Bishops' Meeting and Abdication of Pastoral Leadership: Catholic Laity as Future of Church

Yesterday, I wrote, vis-a-vis the total silence of the U.S. bishops at their recent meeting about the presence of a convicted criminal, Bishop Robert Finn, in their meeting,

In the Catholic News: Abortion in Ireland, Gay Marriage in Minnesota

I'm sorry to be slow to post today, dear readers.  I'm out of pocket and not finding a lot of time to blog.  But several stories with Catholic content catch my eye, and, since I think they may interest readers of Bilgrimage, I thought I'd at least offer links to them:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romney Doubles Down on 47% Rhetoric: Joan Walsh Responds

Joan Walsh's rejoinder to Mitt Romney's beyond-shabby self-defense after he lost the election is fantastic.  As many folks will know, in a call to his super-rich donors, Romney has just echoed his 47% remark from the campaign (doubling down on dumbness just like the American Catholic bishops), claiming that President Obama was re-elected because he dished out "gifts" to minorities.  Gifts, as in forgiveness of student loans to young folks, contraceptives for women, Obamacare to people of color and Latinos, and citizenship for children of "illegals". . . .  The only thing Romney failed to leave out of his checklist was Obamaphones!

Catholic Bishops Meet: People of God Talk about Dumb Doubling Down, Laughing, and Crying

On her Posner Show, Sarah Posner interviews Anthea Butler about the U.S. Catholic bishops' "takeaway" from the recent U.S. elections.  Do the bishops get what's wrong?  Will they get it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anti-Gay Legislation and the Real-Life Families of Gay Parents: A Case from North Carolina

I said yesterday I had a story to share.  And so this morning, I'd like to tell it:

Peter Laarman to Samuel Rodriguez: Theocratic Agendas and Aging White Men

At Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman writes a heartfelt open letter, ordained pastor to ordained pastor,  to Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the "Hispanic Karl Rove," as Greg Metzger characterizes him.  Rodriguez gave the opening benediction for this year's Republican National Convention, and is unhappy that President Obama was re-elected.  As Mark Silk notes, Rodriguez is now being promoted as the Great Brown Hope of the GOP at a moment in which the Republican party is having to come to terms with its serious lack of support among Latinos.

Brother Daniel Horan's Dating God Blog on Vatican II and Equal Rights of All People

At his Dating God blog site, Brother Daniel Horan notes that while there's a lot of talk about Vatican II, much of this talk is ill-informed, because it fails to focus on what the council actually said.  Horan suspects (and I think he's right) that many of those talking about Vatican II have not even read its documents, let alone studied them with care.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Walking, Talking Pathology of Catholic Officials and "Orthodox" Catholics Responding to Marriage Equality: A Postscript

A short addendum to my posting earlier today about the seemingly voracious appetite of some of my fellow Catholics (and fellow Christians and fellow citizens) to imagine what I do in my bedroom: Steve and I have a friend who is one of three sisters.  Our friend and one sister are whatever the opposite of homophobic is.  They have a wide range of gay and lesbian friends, artist friends, black friends (these are white women), Latino and Latina friends: you name it.  Their circle of friends is Kooks R Us, everyone welcome.  And I'll be writing down the road about a story one of these two women has just shared with me about her niece.

Reaction of Catholic Officials and "Orthodox" Catholics to Marriage Equality: Pathology Walking, Pathology Talking

And it's not just race that's energizing the haters and dividers following the re-election of the nation's first African-American president last week (I'm alluding in this opening sentence to what I just posted about the non-post-racial America in which we Americans still live).  For Catholics of a certain stripe, the issue eliciting hate and the desire to divide the church continues to be homosexuality.  The victory of marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, and the choice of the voters of Minnesota to reject an ugly, divisive, hate-oriented amendment to their state constitution targeting a vulnerable minority group, have a certain group of Catholics up in arms right now.

A Post-Racial America? Think Again

They're talking secession again.  The Southern states, that is, along with a handful of other states most of which are in the deep-red swath of the heartland.  I frankly cannot remember a time since the 1960s when the rhetoric about race was this overheated in my part of the country, though, admittedly, much of the rhetoric streams forth sub rosa, under the guise of (self-) righteous complaints about welfare moochers demanding Obamaphones and Obamacare from hard-working righteous white Christians.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fred Clark's Christian QUILTBlogs: Recommended Gay Christian Blog Sites

I'm certainly grateful to Fred Clark at Slacktivist for including Bilgrimage in his list of "the 66 Very Best Blogs by LGBT Christians in the Entire World."  And, of course, I'm smiling wryly as I type that hyperbolic description.

Father Tom Reese's Advice to Bishops As They Meet: Start by Listening?

As the Catholic bishops gather for their annual meeting in Baltimore this week, Jesuit father Tom Reese (and former editor of America) has advice for them: "Clearly the political strategy of the bishops is not working."

Geoffrey Stone on Why GOP Won House with Minority of Popular Votes

At Huffington Post, Geoffrey R. Stone explains how the Republicans won the House of Representatives last Tuesday--though more than half a million more votes were cast for Democratic House candidates nationwide than for Republican ones.  And though the Republicans ended up with 55% of House seats, while only 48% of votes nationwide were cast for the Republican presidential candidate Romney.

Abby Zimet on a Tale of Two Men

Abby Zimet at Common Dreams on how the two presidential candidates spent last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning:

Steven Hahn on Political Racism in Age of Obama

Steven Hahn in the New York Times on political racism in the age of Obama:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Also in the News: The New America and Challenges Ahead

And yet more end-of-week snippets of news on themes political and religious, from commentary that caught my eye in recent days:

Vatican Response to Marriage Equality Victories: We're Winning!

And the Vatican's response to the news that Maine, Maryland, and Washington have chosen to permit civil marriage for gay citizens, while Minnesota voted down an amendment that would have inscribed anti-gay prejudice in its constitution--despite millions of dollars spent by the bishops and their allies to prevent these outcomes: we're winning the battle!  As Alessandro Speciale notes at Religion News Service (via National Catholic Reporter), historian Lucetta Scaraffia proclaimed in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Friday that 

2012 Elections as Day of Reckoning for Catholic Bishops: Recent Commentary

His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Now that the 2012 U.S. elections are over and the dust settling, there's weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth among the religious right, which failed to deliver the vote promised by long-time activists like Ralph Reed.  Reed had foretold that the nation would turn solid red as right-wing evangelicals and right-wing Catholics swept to the polls to elect Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan (on Reed's promises, see Rob Boston at Talk to Action).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: About Obama's Papal Victory--Are Bishops and the Pope Now Chastened? Is Constantine's Curse Now Lifted? Are Catholic Children Now Protected?

Another brilliant posting by Jerry Slevin, which asks what will happen now with the leadership of the Catholic church, after a geo-political strategy which absolutely required it to defeat the current U.S. president has just failed spectacularly in the 2012 U.S. elections.  Here's Jerry's response to that question:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dogs Who Committed Voter Fraud on Tuesday

And to offset my political-religious blathering with a bit of levity: Jason Gilbert's shocking rogues' gallery of dogs convicted of voter fraud on Tuesday.   In case you missed this on election day itself . . . .  I find the sassy minx who's #7 in the line-up especially reprehensible, as she attempts to commit double fraud.