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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Peace Filled New Year!

Yes, that is me, aka emenence, in Santa hat and gold cardinal Rode look alike garb, next to Barry playing the accordion. I joined some of the neighbors to go caroling last Sunday. Here we are on the front porch of one of our neighbors bringing the tidings of the Season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pope and Bishops Grasping for Political Power As Credibility Wanes

Stephen Fry


With the pope and some American Roman Catholic bishops getting more and more political, I wonder if this movement into the political arena is a way to compensate for a loss of power and authority because of the huge exodus of Catholics from the church.

With people leaving the Catholic Church the bishops still seem to need to satisfy their power urges. The pope and many American bishops are now overstepping into the political realm.

Some of these American bishops are involved in trying to criminalize abortion or taking away or taking back legal marriage for gays. Some use the Eucharist as a weapon. It seems they are grasping for the power and control they are losing because within the church their teaching is without credibility and folks are leaving.

The following is a video of Stephen Fry in a debate on whether the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. It aired on November 7, 2009 on the BBC World News. He rather eloquently presents the case why these bishops should get back to being shepherds and not politicians.

UPDATED 12/26/2009

Fry says that because of all the politicization by the pope and bishops even the Galilean carpenter would not be welcome in today’s Catholic Church.

Stephen Fry’s remarks begin at about 1:30 in the video clip.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Response To The Manhattan Declaration

From Davey Wavey in Rhode Island

I'd offer this as one response to all those serious minded hierarchs who signed the Manhattan Declaration.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November Bishops' Meeting Is All About Control

As the American bishops prepare to hide behind closed doors this afternoon to try to figure out how to better control universities like Notre Dame, and newspapers, like the National Catholic Reporter, I am reminded of this quotation from Emerson.

You have probably heard it. I think it fits this crop of bishops. In his essay on "Self Reliance," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a now oft-quoted admonition that, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Here is a further comment about this meeting. I have also posted this at Enlightened Catholicism.

When Cardinal George leads the American bishops behind closed doors this afternoon to, in his words, love Notre Dame, the National Catholic Reporter, and some of us back into uniformity with what the bishops think, he will do so by ignoring reality and some other principles that exist for Catholics. He will have to ignore the reality that universities and even Catholic universities like Notre Dame exist for research and the free exchange of ideas in the search for truth. The same can be said for Catholic newspapers like the National Catholic Reporter. Good newspapers exist to uncover the facts in the search for truth. And finally Cardinal George will have to ignore or make light of the fact of the right of individual conscience in the pursuit of truth.

Cardinal George might talk of love, but does not seem to know much about love. What he does seem to know a lot about is uniformity and control. I am sure Cardinal George is a very smart man. He is also slick when he tries to couch the closed door session in terms of love. Here he is more like a used car salesman than a pastoral leader.

Actually, this closed executive session may be good for the bishops to talk to one another, and they will come from the meeting and say there was a good exchange among them. They will feel good. The Catholic Church on the other hand will not benefit. A better use of those three hours would have been to invite the president of Notre Dame and perhaps several other presidents of Catholic universities to talk with them. A better use of the time would have been to invite the editor of the National Catholic Reporter and several other editors of independent Catholic newspapers to talk with them. A better use of the time would have been to invite a group of Catholic blogger to talk with them. It will not happen, not with this crowd of bishops. They are about control, not love, even if that is what Cardinal George says the meeting is all about.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thoughts on the Proposed Sexual Pastoral of the American Bishops

If our peacock hierarchy, I love that, cannot in their ignorance consult with all the people they will be condemning as intrinsically evil, then I think their pastoral letter should be marked: "Return to Sender."

Then let those affected: divorced and remarried, gays and lesbians, cohabitating couples, those practicing contraception, women who have had to deal with the issue of abortion gather in interest groups and write their own pastoral letter or letters.

The American bishops have no credibility on the issue of sexuality. The failure to look beyond their own narrow group and interests when addressing those who have had to contend in real life with the issue of sexuality, is an added affront.

Years ago Dignity did this on the issue of gay sex. It is time to say to the bishops: Enough!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Flaw In Solving The Priest Shortage In The US By Importing Foreign Priests

Archbishop Raymond Burke

There is a lot of talk today about the priest shortage. One of the ways some religious communities and dioceses have tried to deal with this shortage is to import priests from foreign countries. Bringing priests to this country from other countries is sometimes done without any preparation on either the part of the priest coming or the community to which they will be sent.

This is bad enough. Often this importing of priests from foreign countries is done in the name of multiculturalism. This is somehow meant to show the universality of the Roman Catholic Church as well as fill up for the shortage of native born priests. I think multiculturalism is

very important and a good thing. What I think is wrong is there are some subcultures that the Catholic Church does not acknowledge and in fact harbors a real animas toward. One such subculture is the gay culture which is very alive and well in the United States, and I would add in the Catholic Church.

This is an issue because the Roman Catholic Church particularly in the United States has not been able to accept even the smallest parts of the gay subculture within the ranks of its own priests and bishops. See issue #6 in this recent column in the NCR.

This lack of acceptance of the gay subculture manifests itself in a number of ways. Aversion to the gay culture presents itself in the Roman Catholic Church when it fails to address its own internalized homophobia. Gay people will tell you that it is the church’s inability to face the strata of gayness in its own ranks that is responsible for a number of the vile and hateful things said about gay and lesbians in some official church documents.

I suspect there is a high degree of latent homosexuality displayed in pictures like the one of Archbishop Burke that accompanies this post. You can also find this picture and a further comment about it here.

When the church imports priests in the name of multiculturalism and fails to address is own internalized homophobia and to recognize the degree of latent homosexuality in the priesthood then I think this is a dishonest appeal to being multicultural. This is why I think bringing foreign priests to this country to alleviate the priest shortage is really doomed to failure. I think that failure will happen on several levels. That will be something for another post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some Thoughts On the Ordination of Women, Sr. Louise Akers, Dr. Carol Egner, and Cincinnati

I am one of those people who support women like Sr. Louise Akers and Dr. Carol Egner. I also think there are solid reasons historically, scripturally, and theologically to support the ordination of women. An emerging field for recognizing the role of women and ordination of women are the studies being done into the non canonical gospels.

I do not know what Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is doing getting mixed up in all this since he is about to leave the scene as archbishop. Not too long ago he was thumping his chest saying that folks were considering him a liberal bishop. This may have been because he was not an advocate of no wafers for Obama supporters.

I grew up in the shadow of Our Lady of Lourdes parish belonging to one the neighboring parishes. From time to time I get back there and have noticed the drift back to pre Vatican II thinking in some of those big Catholic parishes on the west side. That is sad and disappointing. The parish I sometimes attend has gone from a place where we used to have dynamic preaching to sermons that are pitched to about eighth grade level. And, yes, the new pastor is a JPII priest. As I shop around for a parish with a good liturgy and preaching, I do not think I will need to go to Our Lady of Lourdes.

The women's issue and the ordination of women are not going to go away. For me the strongest arguments against those who favor an all male priesthood are that Christianity had its roots in the patriarchy of Judaism and that the canon of scripture was established by men. So you might get away with calling some of the non canonical gospels "gnostic" and not including them in the canon of scriptures. All male societies do things like that.

I think scholars are going to begin to find ways to challenge that kind of thinking. More and more we are going to discover religious meaning and value in those non canonical writings as research continues. As that movement grows it will wash over and silence once and for all those who would block the full equality of women in the church.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Four Hundred Years Since Galileo's Telescope

So today is the 400th. anniversary of Galileo’s telescope. I once paid my respects to Galileo in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence where he is buried. He is a hero of mine. Galileo was not afraid to question the established church authority.

I appreciate this story about Galileo and Cardinal Bellarmine. Galileo tried to persuade Cardinal Bellarmine to look through his telescope and then the cardinal would know that, indeed, the earth moved around the sun. Bellarmine refused.

It took the Roman Catholic Church 400 years to apologize for the treatment they gave to Galileo and to recognize his scientific discoveries.

The Catholic Church has made some advances over the years in making peace with the field of science particularly in the areas of cosmology and literary research that his given rise to a more scientific approach to understanding the scriptures.

It is sad that still today the Catholic Church cannot embrace any of the human sciences like psychology and sociology. If the church could do this then maybe it could update some of its teachings on sexuality, but that will likely take another 400 years. In the meantime millions will continue to leave the church.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hey,You, American Bishops!

Eat Your Hearts Out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Thoughts And Prayers Are With The Iranian People Tonight

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gary Macy Speaks on Women's Ordination at Vanderbilt University

Last evening about seventy-five people gathered in the Benton Chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville to hear Gary Macy speak on “A Higher Calling for Women: Historical Perspectives in the Catholic Church.”

Macy is the John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology in the Religious Studies Department of Santa Clara University, California. He is also the author of The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination (Oxford University Press, 2007). He is also a layman.

Macy began with the wry comment that history is the liberation from the tyranny of the present. He then went on to argue that there is no question that historically women were ordained. He reviewed some of his ten years of research on this topic for the crowd last evening. At the same time he said that from a theological perspective there is disagreement about what “ordination” means in regard to women. As a historian he would leave this argument to the theologians.

In his talk last evening Macy pointed out that about the time of the crusades in the eleventh and twelfth centuries there began a great wave of anti-women rhetoric and activity which until that time found numerous examples of commissioning rites for women, instances of women’s ordination, and abbesses possessing almost episcopal power which included some of the insignia of the bishop’s office.

By the eleventh century canonists were arguing that the ordination of women was not an ordination but only a blessing. By the end of the twelfth century Macy stated that most canonists agreed that women cannot receive ordination. Even if a woman was ordained it would not be valid.

An interesting part of the evening occurred when Macy stated that he was full of hope for the Roman Catholic Church saying that the present time could bring about as much change as what took place during that rise of intolerance in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He said that no change would come from the bishops or the pope. Today leadership is coming from the laity who are doing eighty percent of the work in the church. And of that eighty percent, eighty percent are women. He suggested that maybe it is time to tell the bishop: “You make your own phone call.”

Macy also said that the number of priests today is about the same as the number in 1967 and that the number of Catholics in that time has since doubled. He suggested that there may not be priests to witness your wedding or baptize your children. The Holy Spirit will have to do something different. Macy suggested that She is already at work especially among the laity.

Our local bishop here in Nashville forbad any information about this presentation being placed in any Sunday bulletins in the diocese. So the intolerance goes on. Except this was organized by a group of laity and took place on a university campus where at least there still can be freedom of inquiry.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Catholic Bishops Are Hypocrites And Cowardly

We all know the roman catholic bishops never ever protested George Bush’s war or the fact that he signed death warrants one hundred and fifty-four times while governor of Texas.

Now the bishops are trying to protect Fortress Catholica with letters from themselves protesting President Obama’s commencement address and honorary degree at Notre Dame because of the president’s pro choice stance.

Have the catholic bishops or has any one catholic bishop ever had a discussion with the president before they started this letter releasing campaign? I doubt it. It is not their style. In the absence of any kind of dialogue in the face of what is basically a pastoral issue they condemn from afar. It is rather cowardly.

What I have heard the president say is that he would like to reduce the number of abortions. He would like to provide support for young mothers so that they don’t need to get abortions. Is there not enough middle ground here for the bishops to begin to engage in some kind of dialogue? Not for them it seems.

No, the bishops are going to continue to mix religion and politics forgetting that in this country there is freedom of religious expression and a wall that separates religion and government. It seems the bishops are forfeiting any voice they could have in effecting legislation that might, just might reduce the number of abortions because of their grandstanding. The bishops act like ecclesiastical policemen and certainly not like pastors. I long for the days when there will be pastoral bishops again!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So Goes The GOP, So Go The Bishops

Since the bishops continue to strongly mix politics and religion on the abortion issue, like denying communion to Catholics with the “wrong” position of life issues, read only abortion, I would say that like the GOP the bishops are making themselves more irrelevant.

This is what Kos had to say on the blog this morning.

So what's left? How can a regressive, reactionary party continue to function as a national going concern when its message appeals to a shrinking and aging base, and when the nation's youngest voters reject it by a margin of over 30 points?
Well, it can't, not when its base (unlike ours) is dead-set on keeping its party outside of the American mainstream.

Well the bishops will probably glory in the fact that they are being irrelevant, sort of a Jesus thing or martyr thing. Nevertheless, they are irrelevant. And I don’t think Jesus is irrelevant.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Love This, I Absolutely Love This

God's Holy and Humble People

A Response to Enlightened Catholicsim

My response to:

I think Benedict stepped in a pile of it with his Prada loafers when he lifted the excommunication of Bishop Williamson, the holocaust denying, Lefeberite bishop. Now the Vatican is using the investigation of American Women’s Religious orders to try to help wipe the stuff off.
Recall that back about November the Vatican was on the fast track to excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeios, M.M., the Maryknoll priest who faced death squads in Bolivia and is the founder of the School of Americas Watch. Father Roy refused to recant his support for the ordination of women and reminded the Vatican he is and has been a faithful Roman Catholic priest for thirty-six years.
Fr. Roy’s mistake in the eyes of the Vatican, was to appear at the ordination of a woman priest in Pittsburgh last August. Notice that number #1 on Lavada’s list of grievances against the LCWR and women’s religious orders is the matter of the ordination of women.
Well, it is now April and Fr. Bourgeios has not been excommunicated. He received a lot of support from these same women’s religious orders that are now being investigated. Benedict and the Vatican would look rather foolish lifting the excommunication of a holocaust denying, Lefeberite bishop and then excommunicating a faithful missionary priest and advocate for peace and justice.
At the time it made me want to say: "Excommunicate me, too" "Excommunicate me, too!" This all makes Benedict and Vatican’s weapon of excommunication look foolish as well as toothless. And Benedict has dirty Pradas.
I think the LCWR and women’s religious orders are smart enough and wise enough not to be used by the Vatican to clean up the pope’s mess.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maybe It Is Time For Gays To Abandon The Sense Of Victimization

I tend to see value in this article from April 12th. in the Washington Post by James Kirchick titled: "Are Gays To Wedded To The Cause?"

The following is one paragraph from the article. The wisdom here is for the gay community to move beyond a perpetual state of victimization. And the truth is the gay community is so much more.

"Mission accomplished" is one of the most difficult things to say when your organization depends on working toward a cause, but Love Makes a Family did it. And other gay groups may soon need to follow suit. If the gay community truly wants to achieve equality, it will have to overcome a victim mindset that is slowly becoming obsolete.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Walking Out Of Holy Thusday Mass

I am posting this from Daily Kos. I have already commented on this person's diary. My comment is below the link to the diary.

Thank You For Writing This Diary
This kind of abuse of the liturgy and the pulpit needs to be exposed. I totally agree with what you have said. True there are some good pastors and preachers around in the Catholic Church. Those pastors and especially preachers are few and far between these days. I find nothing of the Good News in what you say Fr. Larry was preaching. People like him need to be banned from the pulpit. Then you might need to ban a few bishops from there, too. So many shepherds have lost their way.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I agree with this from Enlightened Catholicism

"I am getting so tired of legal solutions for pastoral problems. Please bishops, stop testifying in front of legislatures and cameras, and start being pastoral. Catholics don't need the state to enforce Catholic dogma, they need pastoral workers to help them through their moral choices. Is this really so difficult to understand? Using the state to enforce doctrine your sheep don't necessarily agree to is abrogating your pastoral responsibility. Maybe it's time you actually listened to the bleating of the sheep."