Friday, August 31, 2012

End-of-Week Miscellany: Joan Chittister on Ethic of Life, Harvey Cox on Pussy Riot, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo on Hispanic Catholic Voters' Guide, Michael Sean Winters on Sarah Posner

A miscellany of end-of-week items touching on various issues we've discussed here recently:

The picture of Sr. Joan Chittister above, with a statement of Sr. Joan about the consistent ethic of life, is from the Facebook page.  It has been making the rounds of my Facebook circle, and I'm also seeing links to it at other blogs around the Internet.  It's circulating with good reason, I think, since it sums up what's at the heart of the Catholic principle of respect for life far better than I hear most of the men leading the church summarizing this teaching right now, as they attempt to bring in the vote for the GOP.

And in case you haven't grown weary of theological commentary on the Pussy Riot trial in Moscow: at, Harvey Cox notes that he was jailed during the Vietnam War for collaborating with several nuns to distribute the Prayer of St. Francis in the Air Force Academy in Colorado.  And then he asks whether the conviction of the three young women in the Pussy Riot group for inciting religious hatred stands scrutiny.

As Cox notes, there's a long, deep history within many religious traditions including Christianity and Judaism of choosing the "temple area" to act out warnings and denunciations.  Jesus did it when he overturned the money changers' tables.  Luther nailed his theses to a cathedral door.  The Reformation got going in Scotland when Jenny Geddes lobbed her stool in the church of St. Giles at Bishop David Lindsay for praying out of a book.

The early Quakers made their choicest protest statements in churches, as they disrupted divine worship.  Bal Shem Tov encouraged the Hasidim to sing and dance outside synagogues to bring life to services he considered dryasdust.  Gandhi brought the untouchables into temples to show that they were, after all, human, too.  The Pussy Riot group stands on solid theological ground, Cox thinks.

At Catholics United's Our Daily Thread blog site, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo takes a close look at the recent "Catholic Voter's Guide" released by the Catholic Hispanic Leadership Alliance, and finds it insulting to real Latino leaders.  As he notes, though the guide claims to be non-ideological and non-partisan, it's entirely partisan, and "it attempts to baptize positions as if they were catechism responses."

Finally, at Religion Dispatches, Peter Montgomery tackles Michael Sean Winters's recent ad feminam attack on Sarah Posner, in a National Catholic Reporter statement.  As Montgomery notes,

He does not engage substantively with a single one of her arguments, but goes straight to ugly name-calling, asserting that Sarah hates not only the Catholic Church (numbering her among “enemies of the Church”) but also religion in general. 

And this invective, this tired tripe about "enemies of the Church," is all too typical of Winters's diatribes about those who don't buy the USCCB party line.  Particularly when those non-partisans happen to be women.

No comments: