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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Super Blood Moon, The Church, The Pope...No Step Forward

For a few moments last night I was in awe of the universe. I had dragged out a tripod given to me when I left the last parish I served. Then I mounted my camera on the tripod. I took a few pictures, but nothing great. I did see the moon at about half eclipse. Then I saw it at full eclipse. There was just a glimmer of light. There were some clouds so it was difficult to sort out.

The moment of awe occurred when I focused the camera on the moon coming up in the eastern sky. I imagined the sun to the west at my back. I was standing with my camera in the driveway focused on the rising moon then overwhelmed by the universal movement. Along with the earth I was casting my shadow on the moon. I have seen the blood moon before. I was hoping to see that. It was getting late so I retired.

This morning at 4:00 AM I woke and went back outside. I thought I might see that blood moon. The eclipse was over. The sky was much clearer. The moon was bright, full, high in the sky, and beautiful. I took a few more pictures and went back inside.

Then I started to reflect...a very good priest friend of mine always told this story about Cardinal Robert Bellermine. It was the time when the controversy was;  Is the sun or the earth the center of the universe?  Galileo determined that the earth moved around the sun. This was contrary to official church teaching. Galileo invited, so the story goes, Cardinal Bellermine to look through his telescope and then he would believe. Bellermine refused. The story continues that Galileo muttered to himself...It [the Earth]  still moves. Well we know the rest of the story. It took the Roman Catholic Church and St. John Paul the Great four hundred years to apologize for the church's error.

It's wonderful that Pope Francis is a scientist...a chemist. I am thrilled that he has moved climate change to the head of the church's agenda. I applaud the pope's other initiatives on immigration and concern for the poor.

My question? My wonderment? What about the human sciences like psychology and sociology and more specifically human sexuality?  It seems the Roman Catholic Church has not made room for this kind of science. What about the research into gender identity?  Why won't the church engage even in conversation with those who experience different sexual attractions?  Yes, Pope Francis may have brought the church into a new century, but the theologies that the church continues to hold on issues of sexuality and gender are still stuck somewhere back in the dark ages.

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