Thursday, September 30, 2010

Senator Saxby Chambliss Removes Staffer Who Blogged Anti-Gay Remark, Apologizes

An update to my posting earlier today mentioning Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and the hate message one of his staff members posted to the Joe.My.God website some days ago: I'm just now reading a report of Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin noting that an investigation has now identified the staff member, and Chambliss has removed him from his staff.  And has called Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God blog to apologize.

Honorable actions by Senator Chambliss.  As Timothy Kincaid says, this was a dignified way for the senator to handle this issue.  And I agree.

Nicole Sotelo on Minnesota Catholic Bishops and Knights of Columbus: Blatant Politicking for Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Emmer

Excellent commentary by Nicole Sotelo at National Catholic Reporter right now, on the overt partisan political game that the Catholic bishops of Minnesota are playing with their anti-gay marriage video.  Sotelo incisively analyzes the role that the Knights of Columbus and National Organization for marriage are playing in collusion with the Minnesota bishops in this bid to put Republican Tom Emmer in the Minnesota governor's seat.  And her breakdown of the specific reasons why the bishops' production and mailing of this video is overt politicking on behalf of Emmer is outstanding.

With each article that Sotelo writes for NCR, I become more impressed with her.  She is an outstanding journalist, and it's to the credit of NCR that they're providing a place for her.

Brief Blogging Hiatus

Dear Readers,

There may be a slight hiatus in my posting here in the next several days.  Steve's paternal aunts are visiting us now--Benedictine sisters from Minnesota, both of them, and wonderful folks.  

So with the need to attend to our very welcome guests, offer opinions about who might be older or younger in this family picture or that one, listen to fascinating stories about crucifixes that grandmothers brought from Austria (really, Bohemia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and show a few local sights to the sisters, I will probably not find as much time as I normally do to blog in the next several days.

I will check in, though, as I am able to focus.

More on Andrew Shirvell's Cyber-Stalking of Gay College Student: If This Is Normalcy, I'll Take a Big Helping of Abnormal, Please

That bizarre story about the right-wing Catholic Michigan assistant attorney general who is cyber-stalking a gay college student continues to unfold.  

Last night, Anderson Cooper interviewed the boss of the Michigan official in question, Andrew Shirvell.  Shirvell reports to Michigan attorney general Michael Cox.  From the moment the camera catches Cox, he looks like an extremely agitated cat on a baking tin roof.  If we could be given a penny for every time he blinks to beat the band in the short interview, we'd all be Croesus.  Cox is clearly anguished by the spotlight that Shirvell’s activities are causing to shine on his office, and with good reason: as Cooper notes, Cox campaigned for office using hard-line Republican anti-gay family values rhetoric, and Shirvell is his crony.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ABC News Reports on Epidemic of Suicides of Gay Teens

An addendum to what I posted earlier today on the spate of recent suicides of gay teens: I'm just now seeing at Box Turtle Bulletin that Jim Burroway has linked to ABC news coverage of this tragic problem, with information about Dan Savage's It Gets Better project to support gay youth experiencing bullying.

Kudos to Diane Sawyer and ABC news.

Right-Wing Catholic Michigan Assistant Attorney General Cyber-Stalks Gay College Student

Absolutely creepy.  And I don't mean Anderson Cooper or Chris Armstrong.

I'm talking about Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell.  Another gift to the world of that illustrious new right-wing Catholic university founded by pizza magnate and Republican king-maker Tom Monaghan, Ave Maria University (and here).

Wayne Besen on Rash of Suicides of Gay Youth: Target Homosexuality, and You Target Real People

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out on the rash of suicides of gay youngsters now occurring in the U.S.:

When you target homosexuality, the result is persecution and punishment of LGBT people, and in many cases it leads to gay bashing or suicides.

I find Wayne Besen's analysis here powerful.  You can't target an abstraction--homosexuality--without targeting a reality--gay and lesbian human beings.

My Numbers Are Bigger Than Yours: Irish Priests' Association Challenges Irish Bishops on Assessment of Mass Boycott

In August, I blogged about a boycott of Sunday Mass on 26 September being organized by an 80-year old grandmother in Co. Cork, Ireland.  Jennifer Sleeman called on Catholic women of Ireland and those who stand in solidarity with them to boycott Mass last Sunday in protest of the Catholic church’s continuing mistreatment of women.

Iowa Catholic Bishops Collude with NOM to Combat Gay Rights: Local Catholics Fight Back

I’ve just noted a new watchdog site monitoring the activities of the National Organization for Marriage, as that non-profit amasses huge amounts of money from undisclosed donors and seeks to determine the outcomes of elections in several states it has targeted for pro-Republican political activism in the fall elections.  One of the states in question is Iowa.  As the new NOM Exposed site about which I’ve just blogged notes

New National Organization for Marriage Watchdog Site Launches: NOM Exposed

I’ve blogged in recent days about the . . . remarkable . . . confluence of the political activities of the National Organization of Marriage in Minnesota right now with the political activities of the Minnesota bishops and Knights of Columbus.  As I’ve noted, NOM is openly campaigning for Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.  And, though the head of the Minnesota Catholic hierarchy Archbishop John Nienstedt has maintained that the anti-gay marriage videos he’s distributing, which were paid for by a donor who wishes to hide his/her identity have no political intent, these videos strongly echo NOM’s political ads for Emmer.  And the Catholic bishops of Minnesota have chosen to send these videos to all Catholic households in the state as the election nears.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

President Obama on Human Rights: Missed Opportunities, Serious Failure of Leadership

I follow Charles Blow on Facebook because he's one of the best political commentators around, in my view.

And so I'm interested to see him today commenting at his Facebook page on the revelation that the Obama administration wants to make it easier for federal snoops to wiretap the internet.  Charles Blow's Facebook comment: 

Gay Republicans Invite Ann Coulter to Dialogue and Sup: Coulter Lectures and Dines on Gay Republicans

I've just blogged about stupidity.  About the stupidity of many of us, as we invite those exploiting and demean us to keep on exploiting and demeaning us, while they preach to us about how God placed them in power over us.

And now I'd like to notice another spectacular piece of mind-boggling stupidity that Candace Chellew-Hodge dissects masterfully at Religion Dispatches today--the decision of gay Republicans at GOProud to invite inveterate homophobe Ann Coulter to a banquet for a "real conversation."

Challenges to Democracy: Wealthy Men Using Religion as Political Tool, While Rich-Poor Gap Widens

And when heterosexual men sense that their control of everyone and everything is waning, they are likely to go ballistic.  They are likely to predict apocalyptic destruction of everything, and then they're likely to set that apocalyptic destruction into motion to fulfill their prophecies.  And they are very inclined to use religion and religious groups as a vehicle for that destruction.

I've also just blogged about how at least one religious group--the Catholic bishops of Minnesota--are willing to pimp themselves out as a political front group for a wealthy hidden donor or donors intent on throwing the Minnesota governor's election to the Republican candidate in the coming elections.

Democracy for Sale: Minnesota Catholic Bishops Play Partisan Politics as Front for Unnamed Donor

One of the most disturbing aspects of the decision of the Catholic bishops of Minnesota to mail a video attacking gay marriage to the state's Catholics right before the fall elections, about which I've been blogging, is this: the leader of Minnesota Catholics, Archbishop Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has noted that the funding for this political venture comes from an unidentified donor.  Who intends to remain anonymous.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Arthur Delaney on Bank of America and Mortgage Modification Program: Stubbornly Refusing to Assist

I last blogged around the end of June about Steve's and my attempt to modify the underwater mortgage on our house in Florida.  As that posting and previous ones on the same topic note, our experience with Bank of America as we tried to renegotiate the mortgage under the new federal Home Affordable Modification Program was abysmal.  

Angry White Males Continue to Chart Course of American History: Gender Gap Widening as Elections Near in U.S.

I noted in a post about a week ago that polls are showing that men are angry in the U.S., and are poised to turn out in record numbers in the coming elections to put the Republican party--the party of the angry no--back into the power seat.  

Ben Smith confirms that analysis in a post at Politico yesterday.  Smith cites a number of pollsters who are reporting that the gender gap for the coming elections is wider than any they have seen in a long time, since the angry-white-male dynamic first emerged in American politics to sweep Ronald Reagan into office.  As Smith notes, "[a]nalysts cite a political climate that is apparently ineffably male" at this particular point in American political history, though the reasons for the discernible gender gap as the elections approach are less clear.

Andrew Sullivan on Bishop Eddie Long Case: One Way Out, To Love and Not Hate (But What about Minnesota Catholic Bishops?)

I find Andrew Sullivan's commentary on the affair of Bishop Eddie L. Long in Atlanta poignant and thought-provoking.  Long, who pastors the New Birth Missionary Baptist mega-church, and who has been a vocal anti-gay activist and friend of key Republican leaders including George W. Bush, is now credibly accused of having seduced a number of young men in his congregation.  The men's testimony is strengthened by the fact that several of them went public with their accusations independently of each other and without having even known each other.  And yet the stories the young men are telling are all remarkably similar.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CNN Report on What the Pope Knew: Final Impressions

I did watch the CNN documentary on Benedict's role in the sex abuse crisis last evening.  I found it balanced and well-done, despite persistent claims by right-wing Catholics that it is nothing but another anti-Catholic hit-campaign to embarrass the pope.  If anything, the documentary bends over backwards to permit John Allen and David Gibson time to make the case that, in contrast to his predecessor, Benedict has moved more quickly than the Vatican normally moves to address the sex abuse crisis.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project: A Resource to Combat Bullying of Gay Teens

As the list of interests enumerated on my profile page for Bilgrimage notes, one of the interests that motivated me to start this blog is to stop bullying of LGBT students in schools.

For those who share this concern (and it's a significant need, as one gender-questioning teen after another commits suicide after school bullying), I'd like to note a valuable new educational resource.  This is a YouTube project that journalist-blogger Dan Savage and his partner have created, called It Gets Better.

Virginia Executes Retarded Grandmother, Pro-Life Catholic Attorney General Cuccinelli Issues Notice of Execution

As the Commonwealth of Virginia executed Teresa Lewis, a grandmother who was classified as borderline retarded, in the past week, I have seen commentary about the execution on various Catholic blog sites.

But never a mention at any of the sites where I've read commentary from a Catholic perspective that the attorney general of Virginia is a staunchly pro-life Catholic.  It was Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, Jr., who released the press statement notifying the public of Ms. Lewis's execution by a " just sentence of death."

Who Knew? What Reading Newman Did Not Prepare Me for When I Became Catholic

I’ve mentioned  before on this blog that one of the motivating factors in my fateful decision to become Catholic as a teenager was John Henry Newman.  I encountered Newman in high school.  Both his Apologia and Development of Christian Doctrine were on the reading list of my school’s accelerated English program—along with, as I think of it, Merton’s Seven-Storey Mountain, Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, Pascal’s Pensées, and a rich assortment of other philosophical and religious writings from around the world.  It was a truly catholic reading list, and reading Newman only underscored the commitment to catholicity of thought--the commitment to read widely and think carefully--that I was taught by the best teachers who taught me in high-school.

Reviews of CNN Special, "What the Pope Knew"

Some good reviews today of the CNN special "What the Pope Knew" that will air tonight, about which I blogged yesterday.

At Beliefnet, John W. Kennedy praises the documentary's "rock solid" journalism and concludes,

Friday, September 24, 2010

CNN Airs Report about Sex Abuse Crisis, "What the Pope Knew"

An event for your calendars: on 25 September (8 P.M. ET) and 26 September (11 P.M. ET), CNN will air a one-hour special entitled "What the Pope Knew," reporting on what Pope Benedict knew when about the Catholic sex abuse crisis.

On this report, and on a lawsuit that Terry Kohut, a deaf man who says that he was repeatedly raped by Fr. Lawrence C. Murphy when he was a boy and a resident of St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, see this report by Scott Bronstein at CNN's religion blog.  Kohut has named Benedict as a defendant in his lawsuit.

Protesters During Benedict's British Tour: New Additions to the Story

Meanwhile, and as a continuation of my postings arguing that the mainstream Catholic media spectacularly missed the point during the papal visit to Britain when they sought to lump all protesters together with secularists and atheists: good reports with moving, cogent statements by Catholic (and other) protesters of the papal visit are now appearing on various blogs.

New York Times on Shadowy Army of Non-Profits Funding Republicans: The Case of the Knights of Columbus

Mike McIntire reports today in New York Times about “a shadow army of benignly titled nonprofit groups” that increasingly determine the course of American political life by stealth donations and tax-exempt partisan campaigning disguised as “issue advocacy.”  McIntyre notes that such groups have already spent more than $100 million this election cycle—mostly on behalf of Republican candidates.  As tax-exempt non-profits, these political lobbying bodies do not have to report their sources of income or be transparent and accountable to the public for how they use money to influence the political process.

Tom Doyle on the Catholic Clerical Sexual Abuse Situation: Circles Inside Circles

A few weeks ago, I noted that Dominican priest Fr. Tom Doyle had begun posting a series of articles analyzing the roots of Catholic clerical sexual abuse of minors.  Tom Doyle's series of articles analyzing this situation are appearing in Voice of the Faithful's e-newsletter "In the Vineyard."  As my 12 September posting summarizing Doyle's analysis in the first article in the series notes, he sees the sexual abuse situation implicating all Catholics, and not just the hierarchy.  It implicates all of us because it is rooted deeply in structures of the church itself that involve all of us, and that, collectively, we all have the power to change--if we use that power.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cooking to Save the Planet: Traditional Southern Fried Corn

It's hard to imagine that the posting I did back in early August about frying okra is showing up on my stats counter as one of the top-read postings on this blog.  Admittedly, the "real" stats counter went down unexpectedly when I shifted to the new blog template towards the end of August, and I haven't been able to figure out how to get it up and running.  But this one is useful to track data that the flag counter on the home page of the blog doesn't count.  As I've noted before, the count of daily pageviews hat the flag counter provides is, for some mysterious reason, lower than the one embedded by Google in its blogger program.  And I didn't install the flag counter until two years or so after I began blogging, so it provides a very incomplete picture of readership over the full time I've maintained this blog.

Gays as Self-Indulgent: A Meme Unsupported by Reality

To link to what I have just posted, using liberation theology's analysis of how the socio-economic, political, or religious centers of society treat some human beings as non-persons: it's important to note that the center turns some human beings into non-persons (and shoves them to the margins) through the use of rhetorical devices designed to deny humanity to these non-persons.  And through rhetorical devices that diminish the humanity of those the center wishes to designate as non-persons unworthy of humane treatment.

The DADT Vote in Light of Catholic Centrist Conversations: A Personal Response

I'm sure any regular readers I may have will have noticed I didn't blog yesterday.  I am, I'll admit it, taken aback by the fate of the DADT repeal in the Senate.

Since two of my own state's Democratic senators are among those who voted with the Republicans to block the attempt to end DADT two days ago, I feel the vote at an even more existential level than I might otherwise have done.  And my silence yesterday was the result.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DADT Remains in Place: Arkansas Senators Pryor and Lincoln Vote with Republicans

Just now seeing the news that my two "Democratic" senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln voted with the Republican bigots in the Senate against the attempt to end the filibuster of the Defense Authorization bill today.  And so these two "Democratic" senators have voted with their Republican colleagues against ending don't ask, don't tell.

All the more reason I'll be voting for Lincoln's Green party rival in the fall election.

Mary Lee Settle, John Henry Newman, and Roger Williams: Musings on Authentic Catholicity

Becky Garrison's interview today at Religion Dispatches with Wake Forest's Bill Leonard about Roger Williams catches my eye for a very particular reason.  Yes, I've always been interested in Roger Williams and his contribution to American religious (and political) thought, because that contribution was drummed into me as a child in Sunday School.  As I was growing up, many evangelical churches had not yet abandoned their longstanding commitment to separation of church and state (they've done so now with a vengeance), and still held up for veneration figures like Roger Williams, with his courageous defiance of the attempt of the Puritan majority in New England to suppress freedom of conscience via state control of religion.

Democrats Ditch Progressive Base Again, as Elections Near

And how are Democrats in the beltway preparing for the onslaught of angry male voters and angry tea party theocrats this fall?  Well, they're doing so in typical two-left-feet fashion by assaulting their own base.  They're once again knocking the progressive wing of the Democratic party in the futile hope of convincing independent swing voters to dance to the center-right Democratic tune.

Glenn Greenwald comments at Salon about President Obama's recent slam of his progressive base at a $30,000-per-plate DNC fundraising dinner at the Richman home in Connecticut (no, I am not making this up).  As does Jason Linkins at Huffington Post.

Tea Party's Religious Right Roots: Mainstream Media Finally Corrects Its Meme

I just mentioned the coming elections in the U.S., and who wants to do what to whom in those elections.  As an addendum to this analysis,, I'd like to point out two among many excellent articles about the links between the tea party and the religious right, which are coming out now as the election nears.  I recommend these articles because they provide a valuable corrective to a (false) mainstream media meme that the tea partiers have transcended the religious right roots of neoconservatism and are interested only in economic issues--not in imposing a theocratic agenda on America.

Saving the Male-Female Binary Model: Mating Is Fundamental Reason for Marriage

Meanwhile (and as a counterpoint to what I just posted about how much Catholics have to learn from Christians of some other faith traditions about what it means to be authentically catholic), look who's funding the National Organization of Marriage, with its vociferous broadside attacks on the humanity of gay and lesbian citizens of the U.S.: 

Lutherans Modeling Different Attitude towards Gays: Listen, Learn, Include (Can Catholics Learn?)

Dennis Coday featured the following quote yesterday in his "Quote for the Day" column at National Catholic Reporter.  It's from a Rite of Reception used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on 18 September to welcome three openly lesbian pastors to the ELCA roster of official clergy: 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Musings on History: Tortuous Paths, Ambiguous Legacies

I'm going to take a break from blogging about heavy issues this afternoon and post about something that interests me, and is unlikely to interest 99.99% of the rest of the world.  So please be forewarned.  I am pretty much worn out with political and religious topics at the moment, and as I noted in a recent posting, have been trying to deal with learning that I'm diabetic over a month ago.

In Summary: Mainstream Catholic Media and Reporting on the Papal Visit--Continuation of the Personality Cult of the Papacy, at High Price

Some final thoughts about the reporting on the papal visit to Britain, re: which I’ve been blogging the past several days:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Austen Ivereigh on the Papal Visit: Contributing to the Echo Chamber about "Gay Rights Activists, Secularists, and Professional Atheists"

So the circle is complete with Austen Ivereigh’s glowing reports at the Jesuit journal, America magazine, about the papal visit to England.  I want to focus here on the persistent subtext in Ivereigh’s reporting on the papal visit—the subtext about the pernicious attempt of those nasty “gay rights activists, secularists, and professional atheists” to subvert the papal visit, countered by the loyalty of “the” Catholics—who stand resolutely against said gay rights activists, secularists, and professional atheists.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

John Allen on Papal Protesters: "Secularists and Atheists, Gay Rights Activists"

As a quick addendum to what I said earlier today about the constant refrain running through John Allen's reporting about the papal visit to Britain--the insistence that "secularists" and "secularist gay-rights activists" are contesting the claims of the head of the Catholic church:

Bearing Witness: A Gay Employee of a Catholic School Writes, and I Respond

I intend to keep harping on the theme of what the Catholic church actually does to gay and lesbian persons in Catholic institutions, despite what the church proclaims about human rights and the immorality of discrimination.  I intend to keep this topic alive because 1) the Vatican and top Catholic officials relentlessly continue their campaign for the "right" of Catholic institutions to discriminate against LGBT persons in hiring and firing, and against gay marriage, and 2) influential mainstream Catholic talking heads continue to provide cover for this discrimination, by pitting "secular" gay activists against "the" Catholic position on homosexuality.

And so I want to lift an exchange between another poster and me from my "Bearing Witness" posting yesterday, summarizing the primary takeaway points I encourage readers to hear in my two postings earlier in the week about what many gay and lesbian Catholics continue to experience working in Catholic institutions.

Benedict Sets the World Straight Again, Nobody Listens: Ecclesiological Reflections on the Failure of the Pope's Message

It’s interesting that though the usual hired guns are doing their usual shameless shilling for the Vatican as Benedict visits the British Isles, few Catholics except those of the extreme political and religious right seem to be nibbling at the alluring bait.  Hardly anyone seems interested in snapping up the bait that the spin-for-pay journalists are putting out now, as they breathlessly describe how the Holy Father takes “secularist” godless Britain, with its amorphous Anglicanism and softness on gay rights, to task.   

John Allen on Britain's Equaliity Law: Catholic Concerns about Violating Catholic Teaching

Reporting today at National Catholic Reporter on Pope Benedict's meeting yesterday with Harriet Harman, a British political leader, John Allen writes:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bearing Witness: Ongoing Discrimination Against Gay and Lesbian Employees in Catholic Institutions, Ten Takeaway Points

And so what’s the point I wanted to make with that diptych of confessional (as in autobiographical) posts (and here) in the middle of the week, about my dismal experience and Steve’s, as a gay couple, with the Catholic academy?  What’s the bottom line?  What would I hope Catholic leaders and leaders of Catholic institutions might take away, if—miracle of miracles—anyone from that club might happen on this story?

In the News: DADT, The Centrist Game, and the Papal Spectacle in Britain

Several news items that catch my eye as this week ends:

First, a good editorial in today's New York Times calling for the Obama administration to stop enforcing don't ask, don't tell (DADT)—the federal regulation which requires that openly gay or lesbian service members be dismissed from the armed services or barred from service if they declare their orientation prior to enlistment. Readers will no doubt know that last week, federal judge Virginia Phillips in California found the regulation unconstitutional. It violates the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens, subjecting them to a standard based solely in prejudice, which has no foundation in factual claims and is not applied to other groups seeking to serve in the armed services.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two Snapshots of the Future of American Catholicism: Younger Catholics Dealing (or Not) with Injustice to Gay Brothers and Sisters

It's interesting (and very instructive, I think) to read these two articles as a diptych: two side-by-side snapshots of the future of American Catholicism. Michael Sean Winters reports at National Catholic Reporter on a new generation of Catholic theologians in the U.S., who, we're told, want to transcend the polarization of the post-Vatican II church, bring everyone to the table, and craft a Catholicism in which fundamental disagreements about "secular political categories" no longer divide the church into camps.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bearing Witness: Healing the Tear in the Soul of American Catholicism--A Call for National Dialogue (2)

This post continues the one preceding it:

So here’s what happened.  When I wrote the first edition of the ethics textbook in 1989 and the Catholic lay ministry program that commissioned the work published it, the program director told me he had sent the textbook in draft to various American bishops around the country.  All of whom (or their chancellors), without exception, wrote back to tell him the textbook was a fine, sound foundation for teaching fundamental ethics to Catholic lay ministry students.  The only negative letter, I was told, came from a chancellor in a diocese on the East Coast who had a long history of attacking this particular lay ministry program.

Bearing Witness: Healing the Tear in the Soul of American Catholicism--A Call for National Dialogue (1)

This is a post I find difficult to write.  Part of the reason for the difficulty is that this is a story that can be told from several different angles.  And because I have a tendency to go all over the map with a narrative line, and to try to connect every possible dot, I hesitate to launch into the narrative.

I also intend—as with everything I write on this blog—to tell the gospel truth.  And that means watching every word I write, like a hawk, to be sure it rings with the truth I know I’m called to tell here.  And which is exceedingly slippery, because that’s the nature of truth: it’s elusive.  And we’re self-serving and see only the shining edges we want to see.

Weeping Jesus and Benedict in His Popemobile: Reflections on the Abuse Crisis on Eve of Papal Visit

It’s refreshing—well, in a grim way, I suppose—that a leading Catholic prelate has finally admitted that the cruel, inhumane treatment church officials have visited on those who suffered childhood abuse by clerics is all about money.  It’s all about protecting the church’s assets in the end.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Johann Hari's Challenge to British Catholics on Eve of Papal Visit: Where Do You Stand?

Johann Hari's question to British Catholics (and here) on the eve of the papal visit is a hard one, akin to the hard questions the gospels place before Jesus's followers: where do you stand, they ask?  And Hari asks.

The Newman Wars: Papal Visit to England and Battle over Newman’s Legacy

As Benedict's visit to England nears, it's fascinating to watch the drawing of battle lines among Catholic commentators on the visit, re: the legacy of John Henry Newman. Better thinkers and more astute bloggers than I am are already commenting on this topic, including James Martin at America's "In All Things" blog, John Cornwell in London's Financial Times, Colleen Baker at Enlightened Catholicism, Michael Bayly at Wild Reed, and Andrew Sullivan at his Daily Dish site. And then there are Ann Widdecombe at the Telegraph and Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter.