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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is That A Dollar Sign On Cardinal Dolan's Chasuable?

Picture credit: Photo: Cardinal "G.O.P." Dolan "...was blind but now I...uh...I'm still blind." from

"Outmarketed" on gay marriage! Those are the cardinal's words. It seems they are a rather unfortunate choice of words. Here is a supposed religious leader, Dolan, hawking moral values using capitalistic language. I appreciate Bill Lidsey at Bilgrimage for taking up this discussion about being "outmarkedted" and the many wonderful comments that follow.
Bill Lindsey's Bilgrimage Blog On The Money and Dolan

Dolan is doing this after the new pope, Francis, has just released one of the first letters of his papacy criticizing capitalism.
Pope Francis -- Evengelii Gaudium

Not only are Pope Francis' statements about capitalism an affront to Cardinal Dolan's vision of went wrong with his anti-equality crusade,  now there are reports that Pope Francis leaves the Vatican at night to go out to visit with the homeless in Rome.
Pope Francis really meets with and knows the poor...

I will not expect Cardinal Dolan to go out and spend a night on the streets with the homeless of New York. Rather I'd just like for him to meet with a group or even groups of gay and lesbian people. I want Dolan to meet with at least one gay couple, maybe a couple who have been married for years.

It Seems to me, Dolan and his capitalist language and opposition to gay marriage always, always reduce gay and lesbian people and their relationships to an object. It's easier to hate an object. Has Cardinal Dolan ever met, well has he ever gone out on the street to meet gay and lesbian people?

If Pope Francis can leave the Vatican going out and sitting with being with the homeless of Rome, what would keep Cardinal Dolan from talking with and visiting a gay or lesbian couple? If Cardinal Dolan would meet with real gay, lesbian, transgender-ed, even queer people or just  a committed gay or lesbian couple, he might not be so quick, to reduce them to a dollar sign.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Message For The 30th. Sunday In Ordinary Time - Cycle C

Historical Marker at the Corner of 4th. and Walnut in Louisville, KY

      This gospel parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector is one more of those parables only found in the gospel of Luke. It’s a great story. Two attitudes are portrayed one by the Pharisee and the other by the tax collector. At the end of the story only the tax collector goes home “justified” in contrast to the Pharisee and those represented by his attitude who are convinced of their righteousness and critical and despising everyone else. 

       At times we can be a little like the Pharisee seeing sin everywhere around us while absolving ourselves. It’s like saying: “Let me get that spec out of your eye all the while overlooking the beam in my own eye.” This led the Pharisee and can lead you and me to that attitude of holding all others in contempt. There is a classical rule in spiritual direction that reminds us to be careful about judging because what you despise in others is probably part of your own behavior. 

      The lesson from today’s gospel is that we are all sinners. It is the tax collector who humbly acknowledges that and is the one who stands justified before God and can go home with a peaceful conscience. Even Pope Francis made more news lately in one of his interviews when the reporter asked the first question. “Who is Pope Francis?” He answered: “I am a sinner.” Yes, we are all sinners. It is an important reminder from Luke in today’s gospel.

      I’d like to end this reflection this morning by going in a slightly different direction to a different time, place, and person for an example of taking these words and the attitude of the Pharisee that he is better than everyone else and turning them, well upside down. The time is March 18, 1958. The place is a busy and crowded street corner in Louisville, Kentucky. The corner of 4th. and Walnut. The person is Father Louis or as he is better known, Thomas Merton, a monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani near Louisville. 

      There is now one of those historical markers put there by the State of Kentucky to commemorate the event. It is called a "A Revelation". Here is the text from that historical marker, put up around 2004. “Merton had a sudden insight at this corner Mar. 18, 1958 that led him to redefine his monastic identity with greater involvement in social justice issues. “He was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that he loved all these people…” He found them “walking around shining like the sun.” The experience is related in his book: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

      Merton at this time had been in the monastery for about sixteen or seventeen years. He had gone there to find God and become holy through a routine of prayer and discipline by taking himself out of the work-a-day world of everyday life. Then Merton has this Revelation on this busy street corner on a late winter day. Merton in his description of this moment says that he almost blurted out: “Thank God, thank God that I am like other men, that I am only a man among others.” He adds that we do not know it, but we all are going around shinning like the sun. Merton adds if we could see that in one another: "There would be no more war no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed."  Yes, we are sinners. We are also, you and I, going around shining like the sun.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Better Put Those Capae Magnae In Moth Balls Too, For Sure...

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in a vintage BMW

Just note the cost of the bath tub in his new palace...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Now It's A Mystical Experience...

In his latest explaination for his resignation, Benedict claims it was a mystical experience.
Francis' charisma confirms that this was God's will.

Perhaps, Benedict was just starting to feel good about himself for the first time in a long, long time. Benedict claimed that his resignation was a good thing and must be God's will because there has been such a warm response to Pope Francis.

I think that maybe Benedict realized that he was tired and worn out from being an intrinsically disordered pope. In February when Benedict announced his resignation, Andrew Sullivan raised some questions about the pope's motivation and more about the special arrangement with Georg.
What about this relationship between Benedict and Georg?

Pope Francis liberated him. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Recently, another Jesuit, Fr. Frank Brennan SJ, an Australian, said in an interview that he did not think it was helpful to talk about the homosexual orientation as a disorder. This is what he said: "It's time we dropped the unhelpful, judgmental language of intrinsic and objective disorder when respectfully trying to determine appropriate laws and policies for all people who want to support and nurture each other and their children."
Reflection of Fr. Frank Brennan

Father Brennan is talking about a recent interview conducted by Australian television which included Penny Wong, an openly lesbian politician who with her partner is raising a child. This is what Fr. Brennan said: "Much of the two-hour discussion was not put to air by SBS. At one stage of the discussion in addressing Penny Wong, I said that I found talk of homosexuality being a disorder unhelpful. Addressing Penny Wong, I said that I thought her homosexuality was as natural, complex and mystical as my heterosexuality."

Could it be that Francis was talking about Benedict and Georg? Could this be the source of Benedict's mystical experience?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Few Thoughts On The Pope's Airplane Presser

I am in the “yes and no” group of those commenting on the significance of Pope Francis’ statement that he would not judge gay priests. It is significant that Francis used the word “gay”. It is probably the first time, as many news reports are saying, that a pope has publically used the word. I think that is significant. 

I remember when I first started to use the word “gay” to describe myself and how the word would get stuck in my throat. Over the years I could talk about myself as homosexual because I was aware of my orientation from a pretty early age; but using the word gay to describe myself at mid life as I was really in the process of trying to  own and integrate my sexuality in a more profound way was a big step. A friend of mine describing my journey said that I not only opened the closet door but ripped the door off the hinges. 

Pope Francis’ use of the word “gay” is also significant, if it is true, that as the archbishop of Buenos Aires he was supportive of gay civil unions as a compromise in the movement toward full marriage equality. Taken together the pope’s use of the word “gay” and his seeming support for civil unions gets us past the US bishops’ fit, called a “fortnight of freedom”. It also gets past Cardinal Dolan’s “dirty Freddy” analogy.

It is significant, too, if finally the pope’s use of the word “gay” gets beyond the “intrinsic disorder” characterization that Cardinal Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI, used to describe the homosexual orientation.

I don’t think the pope’s use of the word “gay” is significant unless he will find some other way to update other parts of the church’s understanding of sexuality. The news reports all seemed to indicate that Francis’ use of the word “gay” was situated within references to the Universal Catechism stating that all homosexual acts are wrong and the fact that the ordination of women was settled.

It seems like a step forward has been taken. It might be akin to some cardinal saying to himself four hundred years ago that maybe it is true that the sun is the center of the universe. It only took four hundred years for the church to come around and apologize to Galileo for his mistreatment by the church at the truth he spoke. I hope the church’s updating of its understanding of sexuality does not take as long. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cardinals, Bishops, People of Rio Dance With Pope

Well this is refreshing. The exact quote and source escape me. However, someone said if you are an evangelizer and  preaching the gospel and your people are dancing in the city square, you need to be there dancing, too. I think Francis is on to something.

Flash Dancing in Rio

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yesterday's Homily on the Good Samaritan

This is something I wrote. It is yesterday's homily for the 15th. Sunday in Ordinary Time. I was a substitute in a real RC parish, mostly white and German background. Reactions are always interesting.

I have never posted one of my homilies. My reason for doing so today is that I quote Pope Francis. I may have mentioned or quoted the pope in homilies over the years, but nothing to this extent. I am still holding my judgment on Pope Francis. 

It is a relief that Pope Francis has put aside all the denunciations on gay marriage, birth control, and abortion. I will be interested to see where he goes with all that. For now, his style and message is refreshing. 

Here's the text of the homily, if you care to read.

This gospel parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke certainly gets into our imaginations. You only need to think of all the hospitals and ministries name Samaritan or Good Samaritan.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates well Luke’s understanding of Jesus as compassionate and looking out for outcasts, those on the fringes of society. The story of the Good Samaritan is only found in Luke’s gospel. If you want a couple of other examples of how Luke presents Jesus in his gospel as compassionate and focused on people on the fringes, there is the parable of the Prodigal Son and the story of the healing of the ten lepers where the only one who comes back offering thanks, is once again a Samaritan. These parables are only found in the Gospel of Luke.
Part of the reason this parable of the Good Samaritan gets into our imaginations is that it is such a good story. Jews and Samaritans did not get along. It is the Samaritan who stops and takes compassion on the victim of the robbers, not the priest or levite in the story who are both Jewish Temple functionaries. When Jesus asks the question: “Who do you think was neighbor to the man who fell victim to the robbers?" The scribe cannot even say: “The Samaritan." He simply answers Jesus’ question by saying: “The one who showed him mercy.”
Perhaps Pope Francis was looking ahead to this gospel a week or two ago. It was the Fourth of July weekend. While we were contending with lots of rain, the pope on July 7th. took his first trip outside of Rome since being elected to visit the tiny island of Lampedusa. This island is located midway between the northern coast of Africa and the large island of Sicily.  There are about 5000 inhabitants on the Island of Lampedusa who earn their livelihood in the tourist industry or by fishing.
That tiny island in the Mediterranean has become a stepping stone for many migrants and refugees fleeing Africa to escape poverty and political unrest there particularly after the Arab Spring. They are fleeing to find hope for a new life in Europe. Recently a number of folks trying to reach Lampedusa died trying to make the trip. The pope wondered what he could do to support those refugees and migrants as well as the native people already living on the island.
The pope’s trip generated a good amount of media coverage, but we may have missed it because of the holiday and the glut of other news. I just want to highlight a couple of remarks from the pope’s homily that day on the island of Lampedusa.
The pope greeted many of the migrants presently living on the island waiting to get to the mainland. Many of the migrants were Muslim and were fasting in preparation for the Feast of Ramadan. Pope Francis also thanked the people of Lampedusa for taking these strangers in and caring for them. He praised these islanders for rising above selfishness in the face of what the pope called the “globalization of indifference”.
Pope Francis said: “Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters. We have fallen into the hypocrisy of the priest and the levite whom Jesus described in the parable of the Good Samaritan: We see our brother half dead on the side of the road, and perhaps we say to ourselves; ‘poor soul’! And then go on our way. ‘It’s not our responsibility’…” The pope describes this globalization of indifference; “We have become used to the suffering of others; it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!”
            What do you think motivated the people of Lampedusa in the pope’s words to rise above this “globalization of indifference” and respond to these brothers and sisters in need? What do you think motivated the Good Samaritan to be a neighbor and help the man who fell in with robbers on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho? I’d suggest an answer to these two questions. The people of Lampedusa and the Good Samaritan listened to their heart. Often it’s our over rational head that keeps us from being neighbor, from making something our business and showing concern. 

There are these few lines from the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy that answer those questions for me about the people of Lampedusa and the Good Samaritan. The text says: “There is nothing mysterious about God’s law. It’s not far distant. It’s not hard to understand. It’s not up in the sky. It’s not across the sea.  No it’s something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts. You have only to carry it out.” I think that describes the Good Samaritan and people of Lampedusa very well. Listen to your heart. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Why Can't Bishops Love ?

Jeanne Manford The Founder of PFLAG Holding a Picture of Her Gay Son Morty

Today this diary titled If Bishops Loved As Mothers Do by Dutz Fredley appeared in the Community Spotlight section of Daily Kos. 

This seems as good as any response to those wondering whiter the Catholic Church or at least whither the bishops in the USCCB are going in this new moment of gay liberation. 

Dutz Fredley wonders: 

"And so when a religious leader says in reference to gay people as New York's Cardinal Dolan did recently on television, 'I love you, too' it's hard to know what he means. In the context of his Church's teaching and actions that cause real pain and damage to gay people, that statement sounds grotesque. In this context, Holy Mother Church is a mean mother."

Dutz's conclusion is that the bishops really do not know how to love and until the bishops learn to love as a mother or a parent of a gay or lesbian child; the Roman Cahtolic Church, at least its leadership, will only appear as a mean mother.

Dutz continues: "But it makes you wonder. Are any of the bishops close to someone who is gay? Do they love a gay woman or man as a friend? Could they look such a person in the eyes and say, 'I love you.' But it is sinful for you to show your love to someone with your full humanity, to express it sexually with tenderness and affection?

And this is the essential fault in the Church's teaching about homosexuality: It is heartless and inhuman. And now many people, including many Catholics, know and understand this."

 Here is the link to the entire diary

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Waiting for the Supremes' Decisions on Gay Marriage - Freedom - Religious Freedom - And the Bishops' Fortnight of Rage

I was in a real parish this past weekend. I actually presided at three Masses. I was the supply priest since the pastor was on vacation. There was a big part of me that did not want to go.

This is the weekend that begins the bishops’ fortnight of rage. I did not know how I would react if there was a bulletin insert. Should I get a stack of bulletins and rip the things out? Should I announce at the time for the homily that I believe in gay marriage and was self excommunicating myself and walk out, leaving all these folks with their obligation unfulfilled?  Well there was no bulletin insert. There was a letter from the local bishop decrying how Catholic religious freedom was being denied by the Health and Human Services Mandate. I read the bishop’s letter. Most of the focus was on the fact the bishops could not enforce their morality on others if they were getting federal money. The protest was: “It’s against our conscience”. Well, don’t take the money.

This raised a few questions for me. Many of the formerly Catholic hospitals in my area have merged with other hospitals, not Catholic even secular. They still bear the Catholic name in most instances. One question would be: “Aren't your sacred moral imperatives already compromised?”

The argument of the bishops goes on that their morals will compromised if their “catholic” adoption agencies are forced to place children with gay couples or cohabiting couples. I noticed that the bishops link gay couples with couples that seem like they are living in sin. Sinister bishops!

I have no problem with the Catholic Church if it needs to turn down federal money for their agencies if their moral ideals are offended. They can even close those adoption services. If the church wants to keep them open and preserve their faith ideals, let them do it with their own money. This is America not some Roman Catholic Fiefdom.

There was something that did impress me this weekend. It is the resiliency of the Catholic people. I observed lots of things today. I saw devotion. I saw it in the old people and the young people. There was a healthy vibrancy. Yet I knew I was sitting with a parish community like most other Catholic communities that have had to have seen and perhaps even been involved in the sexual abuse crisis. Now they are suffering through the clergy shortage crisis. I suspect this parish while resilient in many ways has been decimated.

Over the weekend I grew to like this place. I did not throw any kind of tantrum. When we prayed for married couples, I prayed quietly for the some of the gay married couples I know. I trust that the even the all powerful bishops can’t block sincere prayers. I was able to share something of myself over the weekend; and while I might be presumptuous, I like to think these folks, if they really knew more about me would not throw me out or deny my religious freedom. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Fathers' Day Gift To Myself

Thanks to Bill Lindsey's blog Bilgrimage I was put on to this story today by New York Times opinion writer Frank Bruni. 

Bill Lindsey's comments on Frank Bruni's Column

It always takes me awhile to get up to speed. I guess I have been reading Frank Bruni's writing in the New York Times for a good while and ignorant of the fact that he is a gay man.

Bruni Talks About RC Hate and  Sexual Ignorance Toward the GLBTQ Community - Link to Frank Bruni's Column

Because of his informative and timely piece today in the New York Times, I am adding Frank Bruni's blog to the blogs I follow.

I have some thoughts on why the Catholic Church is so violently opposed to gay marriage. The one that has been on my mind lately is that if gay marriage continues to be accepted by society, it will completely undermine and demolish the present sexual theology the church has advanced for years. That is, it is still grievously (mortal) sinful for any sexual thoughts to be entertained, or actions committed by even straight folks unless you are married. Dolan's model is two gay men can be friends, but no amorous looks, thoughts, or feelings. I guess for Dolan two gay guys could go watch the New York Yankees play baseball and maybe sit together. I like Sister Jeannine Gramick's characterization of this as: "It's like saying, 'You're a bird, but you can't fly.'"

There are other older reasons the Catholic Church has spoken so hatefully about guy people. I would refer anyone interested to look into Mark Jordan's work and one theory he advances. Jordan takes that piece "that the lady protests too much" and argues rather forcefully that the Catholic Church's real macho stand against anything gay was to mask and distract anyone from looking too closely at the Roman Catholic Priesthood. Bruni in today's column picks that argument up citing Rev. James Martin of America magazine estimating that his estimate of the population of gay priests is about thirty percent.

In my opinion, if Pope Francis wants to address the issues of the Vatican Gay Lobby, whatever that is; he could begin by taking steps to update the Roman Catholic Church's theology of sex and marriage.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Father Andrew Greeley

Andrew Greeley was one of my heroes, probably one of the earliest. I read that he had died in the morning paper which I don’t usually read but subscribe to for my elderly mother. The notice of Father Andrew Greeley’s death came on the day on which I observe very quietly the day on which I was ordained forty-three years ago today. I still function as a Roman Catholic priest to the chagrin of a few folks, although I am retired. 

This morning I welcomed some of the memories. It was the mid sixties. The Roman Catholic Church was waking from its four hundred year slumber since the years of the Council of Trent. These were the years when the winds of the Spirit blew through the church and the world. These were the years of Vatican II with its promise of a renewed, modern, and participative church for everyone.

I recalled this so well today. I was preparing for the priesthood and was a very conservative and traditional individual. I have to say my classmates were more liberated than I was in those years. The highest virtue in the church at that time was obedience. I believed in total obedience. The man in charge of our formation, in retrospect, seemed to be undergoing a conversion himself. As part of our reading at meals our director selected this 1964 article from America magazine to be read for our reflection. 

Andrew Greeley's Article in America on the "New Breed" from May 23rd, 1964

I am grateful to that person who was in charge of my formation in those days. Listening to that article by Andrew Greeley talking about the “New Breed” made me want to be one of them. There was something in that article by Andrew Greeley with the profundity of his analysis of the times that resonated deep within me that roused me to want to be part of the “New Breed”. I needed to catch up with the times.

Obedience was being dethroned. Greeley was talking about love. We wanted to be lovers. Obedience was still esteemed, but not without giving reasons and not without a real interchange and, yes, dialogue with the person in authority. For me the ascendancy of love and the dethroning of obedience arrived with the Civil Rights Moment and Martin Luther King’s marches for freedom. I recall a very spirited discussion when some fellow priests who wanted to go and march in Selma. Bishop Toolen, at the time the Bishop of Mobile, Alabama, was ordering outsiders not to come. In those days we used to say: “ A doubtful law did not apply”. There were bishops on both sides of this issue, so it was doubtful law. My confreres marched.

It seems that over the last two pontificates that the church has slipped back into a church which honored obedience over all. So when the new pope suggests that good, kind, and charitable atheists might be saved, there is a storm of criticism to the point where it seems the Vatican spokesman is correcting the infallible pope. Maybe love will prevail again in the church under Pope Francis.

It seems to me that it’s time for a new generation of "New Breeders". May Andrew Greeley rest in peace. Thank you for your service to the church. From your place in heaven,  send out some of the fire of your wisdom upon the present day Catholic Church.

Monday, May 27, 2013

If You Heard Something Disturbing About Gay People Today, Consider Contacting Equally Blessed

There is also this response to Cardinal Dolan and the Anti-marriage equality Sunday bulletin insert at The New Civil Rights Movement. 
A Response to Cardinal Dolan and the US Bishops

I particularly like this comment by Alex Parrish from the comments section. I include that person's comment here.

"Dolan is perfectly free to expound on on the Roman Catholic understanding of marriage, but, in the United States of America (as in many other nations) marriage is at the discretion and under the law of the State. Many churches have ceremonies surrounding the occasion, and the R.C. Church even calls it a sacrament but NONE of them can perform a valid (meaning state-recognized) marriage without a license of the state. Period. End of discussion. Dolan is a myopic sectarian bully -- and I know where of I speak; he was archbishop in my city before going to NY. The fact is that marriage equality has already come to NY and nearly a dozen other states and he is pissed-off about that. Too bad. There is no way in hell the SCOTUS is going to uphold DOMA in such a way as to invalidate all those marriages but, being a bully, Dolan is throwing a tantrum about that which is beyond his control. I certainly hope that the IRS is keeping a close watch on the RC church as other states consider equality because I expect more illegal political action from them, and sentiment is stirring to remove the tax-exempt status of sects which overstep the boundaries of what is permitted of a tax-exempt organization."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Diocese of Columbus, Ohio Brought This On Themselves

For responding to an anonymous complaint and then firing Carla Hale. 

The group Anonymous plans to look into the lives of others working for the Diocese of Columbus.  Now if Anonymous finds some men who are not living according to the ideals and standards of the Diocese of Columbus and not fired, then the diocese could be facing sex discrimination charges. The diocese is already in violation of a City of Columbus ordinance on non discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Local Columbus News Story With Anonymous Link

There is also an another Anonymous video talking about a planned demonstration on May 3rd. in Columbus to support Carla Hale.

Link to Anonymous Video Supporting Carla Hale

Monday, April 8, 2013

UH OH ...Excommunicated! ...Again ...Update ...Three Cardinals Support Civil Unions.

This time I am asked to excommunicate myself. Why? I support same sex marriage. Where does the church find these hirelings?

The last time I think I was excommunicated was when I flew over the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska while being a member of Call To Action. I am not sure I was still a member of Dignity USA at the time. It would have been double jeopardy.

Is this the best a bishop can do? Excommunicate people. No wonder "Former Catholics" is one of the fastest growing denominations. There are so many other issues other than same sex marriage that call for attention even in the marriage/relationship realm. 

It does not seem that the bishop of Detroit has got the message of the new pope to smell like the sheep.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Passover - A Roman Catholic Perspective

This post began this morning when I saw a news account that President Obama would host a Seder at the White House this evening. I was thinking, what a wonderful religious experience for his own daughters, Malia and Sasha. Then the story indicates his daughters would be there. It would be a family gathering. 

President Hosts His Fifth Seder in the White House Tonight

Back many years into Vatican II history, as a rural pastor, we would hold a Seder as part of our Holy Thursday service. I probably continued this event because my predecessor did it; and I read a few articles in a liberal catholic liturgical magazine suggesting ways for a catholic parish to hold a Seder. Those were the days. The parishioners always appreciated this event. For the main meal we would serve turkey. My predecessor served goat because he said the scriptures said to take from either the sheep or the goats. 

I always loved this night in the parish and our celebration of Holy Thursday. To the temple police, I took a few liberties with the RC liturgy. I would consider the Seder as the whole first part of the Mass with the Jewish ritual prayers, blessings, and scripture readings as well as the Seder meal. We always had the Jewish ritual foods along with questions and answers. Why is this night different? Then we would clear the tables and celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass for Holy Thursday. At the end of Mass we would reserve the Sacrament for adoration in the church.

I think I was respectful as I prayed the blessings over the ritual foods and wine. It was a wonderful educational event for Catholics and me as we tried to gain some sense of our Jewish heritage. President Obama talks about what Passover means to him. Even today with a new pope the message of Passover resonates. Catholics like our Jewish brothers and sisters still look for deliverance from all forms of slavery as we acknowledge God’s continuing presence with us. 

I thought that President Obama celebrating a Seder in the White House would be so educational for his own family. One of the reasons he does this is for his daughters. It is the fifth time President Obama has hosted a Seder. This is the communist, heathen, socialist, anti religious, anti God, president holding a sacred Jewish religious ritual in the White House.

They would say in the bible belt that we had a good fellowship at the meal. Eventually I stopped doing this because I wanted to be sensitive to the fact I was not really Jewish. It would be like folks trying to simulate a Mass. Yet, during those years when the parish celebrated a Seder, I learned much and hoped the parishioners did from this celebration each Holy Thursday. That news story this morning brought back the memories. 

I tried to allay concerns about trivializing the Seder and Passover. I recall, now after a few years, that I invited to the parish Seder a Jewish family that I had come to know in the town where I was a pastor. They came and were welcome and seemed appreciative of our efforts. 

I would try to offer a few reflections, a homily after the meal and before we brought forth our own bread and wine. It always seemed to me that it was easy to preach after a few glasses of wine. Actually, it was a blessing, the words in that context of Holy Thursday and the Christian memorial of the Last Supper seemed to flow so easily.

So on this Passover as Catholics wonder where Francis will take the church, I want to be one with my Jewish brothers and sisters who have their own hopes and struggles on this Sacred Night that is so different than all other nights.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

For Pope Francis

I have always liked this image by William Blake illustrating the opening of the 8th. chapter of St. John's Gospel.

 On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, I offer my little blessing to the new pope.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, For Pope

I have my candidate for pope, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Why my vote is for the queen.

The queen supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians.  If that is not enough, hear what she has to say if Kate's expected child is a girl.

"The Queen will tomorrow back an historic pledge to promote gay rights and ‘gender equality’ in one of the most controversial acts of her reign."

The charter, dubbed a ‘21st Century Commonwealth Magna Carta’ declares: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’ The ‘other grounds’ is intended to refer to sexuality – but specific reference to ‘gays and lesbians’ was omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws.

The Vatican under the last two popes have not spoken out very forcefully on these draconian laws. Well, the Vatican probably ranks right up there with those countries with draconian anti-gay laws, at least with their rhetoric and thinking on queer matters.

I forgot, only a baptized male can become pope. That rule should change. I’m sure Jesus would pardon the cardinals if they chose to amend that little man made law.

Her Majesty is older, and probably wiser, than all those octogenarian men in red who are going into conclave in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to select a new man-in-red to wear the white and red, Dorothy, slippers.

The queen's  Red Hat is actually more wonderful than all those old men's red beanies.  The Queen's Red Hat is, well, fabulous. I'm sure the Queen could best the new man in attire, even Ex Pope Benedict who has been described as the best dressed pope. Benedict, the Best Dressed Pope

More than best dressed, Her Majesty has poise and charm. No need to worry cardinals! She probably could fix the Vatican Bank.

The big difference is that the Queen has been free to think, not so the ancient men in red, until they prove it.

This would also be a wonderful ecumenical gesture, Roman Catholics reaching out in a real effort of unity with the Church of England in a joint undertaking for justice and freedom, not some kind of bizarre unity based on repression as engineered by Ex pope Benedict. I mean, Benedict, welcoming as Roman Catholic priests Anglican clerics who could not support the equality of women on the issue of ordination or for that matter an openly gay bishop. Poor Cardinal O'Brien.

So, if I, a real Roman Catholic, had a vote in the conclave on Tuesday, I’d vote for experience and a proven winner, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Viva La Papessa!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

While the World Waits...I Actually Like It With No Pope...Everyone's On Their Own

This is from Bill in Portland Maine, one of the resident satirists at Daily Kos in his diary Cheers and Jeers from yesterday...

This is a test of the Sistine Chapel pope-selection smokestack.  This is only a test:
Smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel
attribution: Unknown
If this had been an actual pope selection, the media would have had an orgasm (within the context of marital fidelity, of course) and you would have been subjected to non-stop coverage until you puked.  This concludes this test of the Sistine Chapel pope-selection smokestack.  Now back to Cheers and Jeers

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Word in the Defense of Cardinal Keith O'Brien - with update - Cardinal O'Brien Has Resigned

                                                   Cardinal Keith O'Brien

UPDATE  February 25, 2012 ***Cardinal O'Brien Has Resigned

I heard this on the morning news. Now Cardinal O'Brien will not be going to Rome to vote for a new pope. I'd still like to hear his story. Perhaps, the cardinal will find his voice now in retirement as a number of other bishops have discovered once they are no longer holding an "official position".

I want to offer a word of defense on the part of Cardinal Keith O’Brien. I really do not know much about the man other than what I have read the past few days. He says now he wants to end mandatory celibacy and examine the role of women in the church. I think this is very good. Now why would he advocate such progressive positions?

First of all, from what I am reading, all the accusers were adults at the time. So this should not be confused with child molestation. There certainly is the issue of power involved in the stories of the four men bringing their accusations. 

It may be, as Richard Sipe says: “Business as usual.” From some of the other information on Cardinal O’Brien in all these news stories, I would suspect he could be or was a very closeted homosexual. He might still be. 

Perhaps, there is some growing personal sense of sexuality with the cardinal. The accusations go back thirty years. There has been much progress in the understanding of sexuality, sexual orientation, and relationships in that time span. I can understand “business as usual” and also see someone caught in a homophobic situation and trying to deal with it, perhaps in a clumsy way.

It would be wonderful if we could come to the point where Cardinal O’Brien could offer some explanation of his evolution of thinking on celibacy and the place of women in the church. I wish he could share that in the conclave. Hopefully, some development of his thinking on gay relationships would not be far behind.

Now this would be extraordinary. Cardinal Keith O'Brien introduces his same sex partner and lover of many years to the cardinals in the conclave.

I am pained by the abuse of children by priests. I had a post up linking to the HBO film: Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. I found one site offering the entire video free. It was embedded with some soft porn which I am sure most readers here could overlook. It did not seem appropriate for me to offer this when there is a serious discussion happening. So I took my whole diary down which I had labeled as my Lenten Reflection. Know there is a free video out there. I am more than halfway through watching it. My opinion is that there is enough right there to explain Benedict’s resigning. With all the talk now of gay cabals in the vatican and the accusations against Cardinal O’Brien the story of sexual abuse of minors seems lost. That story should not be, especially, as the cardinals come to the conclave.

What all this says to me is that we need to keep the issues in focus, and it is past time, if the Roman Catholic Church wants to have any credibility, to open up a serious worldwide discussion on the issue of, yes, sex and sexuality. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Benedict Loses His Inflatability

Father Lobardi has been busy lately explaining that Pope Benedict will lose his powers of infallibility when he leaves office.

Benedict Infallible No Longer

The cardinal electors are lobbying to speed up the process to elect a new pope. Could they be worried that a long inter-regnum could leave the faithful adrift for too long?  Too many gay marriages happening. Couples making up their own minds about family planning. Who knows what else these men fear. It sounds like Benedict could not even figure it out.

Cardinals Speed Up Election

Monday, February 11, 2013


Well this was a surprise to wake up to before the first cup of coffee. Just wanted to jump in on the news. Read about it everywhere...

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Scales Fell From Their Eyes: Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper Leave Westboro Baptist Church

                                          Megan Phelps-Roper

Here is a story of conversion. It began being aired about two days ago. The line from Acts describing Paul’s conversion seems appropriate in the accounts of two granddaughters, Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper, who belonged to the “God Hates Fags” church of their grandfather Pastor Fred Phelps. 

Here is a portion of the statement Megan and Grace released.

“We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people. Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren’t so, and regret that hurt....Up until now, our names have been synonymous with ‘God Hates Fags.’ ...and that the changes we make in our lives will speak for themselves.”

Megan says that she is with her sister Grace. Apparently they journeyed to Brooklyn, New York and were with a writer Jeff Chu who met them more than a year ago in Kansas when he was writing a book, Does God Really Love Me? A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America,  about the Westboro Baptist Church. Chu writes a first hand account on his blog titled: “Damsel, Arise: A Westboro Scion Leaves Her Church.” In the article Chu talks about being with the two sisters this past Sunday at Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn. There is a link to his story here. First Hand Account by Jeff Chu

In his account Chu writes: “I could not have imagined that some fifteen months later, we’d be having a conversation in which she [Megan] tearfully told me that she was no longer with her family or with the church.”

When Chu asks Megan what she is going to do now. This is her response: “I have no idea,  I mean, I have almost no idea. I know I want to do good for people. And I want to treat people well. And it’s nice that I can do that now in a way that they see as good too. How exactly do you accomplish that? I’m not sure.”

JeremyL wrote a diary at Dailykos about this event. The last I looked there were 319 comments. A link to that diary is here. JeremyL's Diary at Dailykos about Megan and Grace

My contact or lack of contact with the Westboro Baptist Church are these. About ten years ago Fred Phelps and his band came to the historic Catholic Church in my neighborhood. I suspect they may have been in town for a military funeral. Why they decided to protest at this church I have never figured out. The pastor was an elderly man who was certainly not any outspoken advocate for gay rights. I sometimes think maybe they were there to protest about me. I had recently been outed by a very conservative catholic group. I was not in town that particular weekend, and I seldom attended this historic church. I could easily see this historic Catholic Church across the street from my residence. I did witness several weddings there. My neighbors told me about the event and how they carried cards to block the media from taking pictures of the Westboro Baptist Church people.

Two years ago I was at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. I heard that Fred Phelps was positioned on a nearby street corner preaching. Since I had never seen him or his band of followers, I wondered over that way. I could not get very close since there was a large crowd. I witnessed a young, probably collage age fellow, lob a string of beads over his head in no particular direction in frustration. Shortly a burly Chicago cop waded into the crowd, grabbed the fellow and shoved him up against a building. I am sure that fellow has his own memories.

Anyhow, I welcome the statement from Megan and her sister Grace that they have hurt people. I wish them well and many blessings as they move on to a new chapter in their lives.

Conversion still happens. Jeff Chu writes about that journey in a wonderful way in his article referenced above. The Link to Chu's Article ...Again

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Breen Brothers Continue to Lead the Local Church--This Time on Gun Control

Joe Pat is a Vatican II priest who has taken on the Vatican and popes especially on married priests and the ordination of women. Joe Pat and his priest brother Phil provide progressive leadership in their diocese. Either one of them could have or should have been the bishop. Today Joe Pat spoke out on the issue of gun control, specifically calling for the ban of assault rifles.

"The priests want to initiate a nationwide movement supporting Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force."
Here is what Joe Pat had to say. Father Breen Speaks Out For Gun Contol  

I was just reflecting that I had a shotgun that I used for hunting during the years I lived in the deep woods of Mississippi. When I moved to the inner city of Nashville I sold that gun. I lived there for seventeen years in a wonderful inner city neighborhood. I never felt the need for a gun even though there was gun violence around me.

The State of Tennessee has avoided becoming once again the laughing stock of the nation by taking away this guy's right to carry concealed weapons. State of Tennessee Revokes Yeager's Permit to Carry Concealed Weapon 

Thanks for priests like Joe Pat Breen and his brother Phil.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Signs of the Time -- New Gay Congressman Sworn In Surrounded by Family

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s brother Mark Maloney, left, sister-in-law Sharon Maloney, Speaker John Boehner, partner Randy Florke, daughter Essie Maloney Florke, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, daughter Daley Maloney Florke and son Jesus Florke pose during Maloney’s mock swearing-in ceremony. / Courtesy photo

Here is a picture of House Speaker John Boehner swearing in the new Congressperson from the 18th Congressional District in New York, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18:).  The picture shows Congressman Maloney with his husband, Randy Florke and their children.

Scott Wooledge has a lengthy diary up over at Dailykos about the picture and how much progress has been made on the issues of same sex marriage and rights for gay, lesbian, bi, and transgendered people.  Link to Scott Wooledge's diary at Dailykos  

The first comment following the diary remarks how uncomfortable Speaker Boehner looks. Well, Speaker Boehner is from southwest Ohio, Cincinnati originally. Now, Mark Twain is quoted as saying about Cincinnati that he wanted to be in Cincinnati when the world ended because everything gets there ten years later. In ten more years just maybe John Boehner will be more comfortable with same sex marriage. Nancy Pelosi if she was fortunate enough to have been returned to the Speaker’s Chair would not look uncomfortable in this situation. I am amused that both John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are Roman Catholic. It seems that the Roman Catholic bishops in this country continue to live in some other world even beyond Cincinnati in their continuing bigoted rant against same sex marriage. No telling how many years it will take them to catch on and catch up.

Scott Wooledge’s diary begins with how Maggie Gallagher the founding president and board chair of the National Organization for Marriage is taking leave of the organization and its publication is being shut down following this past election.

Maggie Gallagher is not happy about all this and still holds to the belief that same sex marriage is wrecking straight marriages. Scott Wooledge's diary is worth the read as he shows the weaknesses of most of Maggie Gallaher’s arguments. It seems to me that if Maggie Gallagher's passion was more focused on helping and supporting all relationships then all marriages would be helped. She wouldn't have to fret that the gays are tearing apart straight marriages. The bishops could help, but alas they are lost in another world.