About Me

My photo
United States
Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

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