I've been busy of late counting Samuels and chasing Nathaniels (more on that later, perhaps), and have fallen behind in blog-reading. I've fallen behind in reading blogs that comment on the news more than report it. As I catch up today, I thought I might share with you some of what I've been reading. Many of these pieces provide interesting perspectives on stories we've already discussed here:
1. In the Sarah Palin does not heart Pope Francis category:
You'll probably have read that Rush Limbaugh now does not heart the pope, either. Andrew Sullivan suggests why Mr. Limbaugh is ranting about Francis's call to remember that the poor have primacy of place for followers of Jesus: Limbaugh knows nothing about Christianity.
As Frank Cocozzelli points out, what Limbaugh is railing against as Marxism is the venerable theory of distributive justice:
Its roots are found in the works of Aristotle, Cicero, Maimonides and adopted into Catholicism by Thomas Aquinas.
The distributive justice model differs from the laissez-faire model . . . in its understanding that a just form of capitalism requires a sturdy government guarding against exhibitions of arbitrary economic power. Its mechanisms include the governmental oversight of financial institutions, progressive taxation and policies that favor the distribution of profit primarily based upon an individual's contribution in creating such profit.
2. On Pope Francis's judgment that the reservation of the priesthood to males is not open to discussion, Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea responds*,
I agree that it's not discussed, but the denial of the priesthood to women is questionable, since it isn't supported by any biblical or theological argument.
The sacramental commitment, proclaimed at the moment of consecration, must be inclusive of women and men. It is the commitment to dedication and service that springs from deep within men and women, joyfully proclaiming the Gospel! Commitment can not just be exclusive to males. The Eucharist is made and lived in Community!
Here’s Fr. Roy Bourgeois writing in September: "In July, Pope Francis told reporters, 'On the ordination of women, the door is closed.' He should know that no one — not even the Pope — can close a door that God wants to open."
Bourgeois is right, and Francis' "door is closed" comment is discouraging. But then even a closed door is still a door and not a wall. And even though Francis just again reiterated that "The reservation of the priesthood to males … is not a question open to discussion" that door remains a door, and closed doors intrinsically await opening.
3. On the continuing controversy being caused as non-Catholic hospitals merge with Catholic ones, and as the latter demand the right to impose Catholic moral strictures about medial treatments on the merged hospital systems:
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver reports at Commonweal on a case recently filed by ACLU against Mercy Health Partners in Michigan after it refused to terminate the pregnancy of a young woman when it appeared obvious that she could not carry the pregnancy to term and that the fetus would not survive. Peñalver suggests that, by pressing for more and more religious exemptions for church-affiliated institutions, religious groups--including the U.S. Catholic bishops--are opening the door to lawsuits of the sort ACLU has just filed:
As mainstream religious groups become more assertive about their entitlement to exemptions, I think we can expect to see more complaints like Tamesha Means's in the future.
Mary Elizabeth Williams looks at the same case and flatly concludes,
The barbaric policies of Catholic Health Care Services are not, as so much of the adorable baby imagery of the anti-choice lobby wants you to believe, about saving “innocent” lives. They are about selfishly disregarding the medical realities of pregnant women and their babies – not all of whom are healthy and viable.
Worryingly, more than a tenth of American hospitals are run by the Catholic Church and if such barbaric acts are continually justified with religion, we’ll start to see more and more women denied health care based on inhumane biases that value ideology over humanity.
4. Regarding USCCB president Cardinal Dolan's recent observation that the gays (and Hollywood, and politicians, and the media) have "out-marketed" the Catholic church on the issue of marriage equality:
John Stewart (by way of Dan Savage) begs to . . . laugh (and that's the video at the head of the posting).
Rick Garcia maintains that the U.S. Catholic bishops are seen as anti-gay because they are anti-gay:
The Church is perceived as anti-gay not because it teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman but because its bishops have lied about gay people and our lives, have demonized us and have persecuted priests, Sisters and parishes that minister authentically to gay people and our families.
And see Michael Bayly's valuable extracts of two other responses to Cardinal Dolan (Michael also points to Rick Garcia's response).
5. On that Vatican questionnaire (which the U.S. bishops are still withholding from American Catholics, though some dioceses have made it available):
Where the questionnaire asks what might be hindering "the full reception" of the church's teaching on matters of family, contraception, same-sex marriage, and divorced, Questions from a Ewe replies:
The church hierarchy is not seen as a light to the nations. It is seen as homophobic, sexist, misogynist, antiquated, pre-occupied with protecting financial assets and image, and aligning too closely with oppressors rather than the oppressed. Indeed the church is seen as oppressor in the US, especially with the Catholic hospitals forcing their ideology upon non-Catholic employees and patients.
6. And, finally, don't miss Crystal Watson's very helpful juxtaposition of Father James Martin's response to journalist Bill Keller on clerical celibacy, and Father Anthony Ruff's response to Keller (which also responds to Martin). The Martin-Ruff interchange is at America's "In All Things" blog.
*Thanks to Rebel Girl at Iglesia Descalza for the English translation of this article from Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles.