Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ed Kilgore on White Evangelicals as Heart of Trump Base: "Committed to a Common Desire to Take America Back to Its Days of Greatness in the 1950s"

In "White Evangelicals Are Still the Heart of Trump's Base," Ed Kilgore comments on new Pew Research Center data that some commentators are erroneously interpreting to mean that white evangelical support for Donald Trump is waning. As Ed Kilgore notes, it's not waning. To the contrary, it remains robust, especially among the most churchgoing and committed of white evangelicals, 70 percent of whom report strong support for Trump.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

More on Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican: The Dark Heart of Martel's Story — Corruption of Pretend Heterosexuality Coupled with Abominable Treatment of Queer People

I have now made my way about halfway through Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), and am finding the book grim going. It's, as many commentators have noted, eye-popping, and overwhelming in the detail with which it tells — and documents — its story of corruption. To quote Mary Oliver in her poem "The Chance to Love Everything," this is for me the dark heart of the story here: it's a story of incredible corruption running through the governing structures and clerical culture of a major Christian institution, a story that does a very convincing job, I think, of rooting that corruption genetically in the intense homophobia of the governing elite of this institution.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Now New Zealand: Murderer's Manifesto Proclaims Trump as "Symbol of Renewed White Identity and Common Purpose"

Things I've read this dark morning that are illuminating, and which I want to pass on to you:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Pell Conviction in Light of Frédéric Martel's Exposé of the Gay "Parish" Inside the Vatican: Twisted Connection of Catholic Officials to Gay Community

In commenting on Cardinal Pell's conviction and sentence, Michael Cook's Lessons from Cardinal Pell’s 6-year jail sentence makes a move that should trouble all of us concerned about shoring up the legitimacy of court systems and criminal justice systems in democratic societies. Cook opens by reminding us of that Pell was conficted on the basis of the testimony of one person testifying behind closed doors.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Trump Signs Bibles: Golden Calves, Get 'Em While They're Hot! — Commentary on White Evangelicals' Idolatrous Cult of Trump

Some things I've read this past week that I want to pass on to you:

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Pell Case, the Continuing Vast Gulf Between What Francis Says re: Abuse and What Really Happens, and the Anger of Catholic People

Another set of items that have gotten my attention lately, with a theme binding them together:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Connections: UMC Hardening vs. Queer People to Catholic School Barring Child of Gay Couple to Failure of Utah Bill Outlawing "Conversion" Therapy to "Pro-Life" Administration Caging Children

I offer you today these selections from items I have been reading lately, because — to my way of thinking, and I am hoping you'll agree — there's a common theme here. These stories interlink:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tara Westover's Educated: Questions re: the Anti-Government, Anti-Schools, Anti-Science, Anti-Medicine Lifestyle of Many Americans Today

Sorry to have been silent the past week. As I mentioned previously, I have had an onerous textual revision process on my hands, and I was also asked last week to do a media event on behalf of SNAP, which is calling on the Catholic bishop of Little Rock to explain why several names of credibly accused priests on other lists have been left off his diocesan list of credibly accused priests with ties to Arkansas, and to add those names to his list.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican: Valuable Commentary — "A Dishonest System Cannot Demand Honesty"

I have not read Frédéric Martel's explosive new book In the Closet of the Vatican, about which there has been a flurry of commentary since it was officially released this past week as the Vatican meeting on sex abuse began. So I'm not able to comment on the book itself. I do intend to read it soon. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Belmont Abbey, Where I Met Waterloo as a Theologian, Back in News: Two Abbey Priests Who Served at the College Appear in List of Accused Priests — Footnote

Belmont Abbey, Where I Met Waterloo as a Theologian, Back in News: Two Abbey Priests Who Served at the College Appear in List of Accused Priests

Readers of this blog who have followed it for any length of time will know the story of how my career as a Catholic theologian and that of my now-husband Steve were destroyed by a Benedictine college in North Carolina, Belmont Abbey, with the active assistance of the diocese of Charlotte. The "About Me" section of Bilgrimage's home page contains a brief biographical statement with links to a number of postings providing details of that story. Please click them if you want further information about this story. A compendium is here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"Everything in This Spreading Crisis Revolves Around Structural Mendacity"; "Poland's Most Senior Nun Has Been Banned from Further Media Contact": Talking Abuse

Talking abuse, Catholic context and Southern Baptist context: good things I've been reading and want to share with you:

Monday, February 18, 2019

McCarrick Defrocked, Abuse Summit Convening, and NY Times Lets Gay Priests Speak: My Twitter Commentary

Like the man in the White House, I've been tweeting this morning — but what preoccupies my attention is perhaps quite different from what preoccupies his. Here's a selection of tweets from this morning that, to my way of thinking, tell a certain story when they're read together.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Stephanie Krehbiel on Religious Groups Facing Abuse Revelations: "Godly Men, Be Quiet"

I have written here in the past about Stephanie Krehbiel's important commentary on abuse in religious communities. If you click her name in the tags below this posting, the string of other posts in which I've featured or mentioned her will pop up. Stephanie is a scholar with a background in American studies and gender and sexuality studies. She's executive director and co-founder of Into Account, a group that provides resources and advocates for survivors of abuse as they seek accountability.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Southern Baptist Abuse Report, Next Installment: "Preying on Teens"

The third installment in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News investigation of abuse in Southern Baptist churches is out today. It's entitled "Preying on teens: More than 100 Southern Baptist youth pastors convicted or charged in sex crimes." An excerpt:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Southern Baptist Abuse Report, Next Installment: "Offend, Then Repeat"

The next installment in the Houston Chronicle (and San Antonio Express-News) ground-breaking report on abuse within Southern Baptist churches and institutions has just come out. It's entitled "Offend, then repeat":

Monday, February 11, 2019

Houston Chronicle Invites Readers to Share Stories of Abuse in Southern Baptist Churches: My Commentary

Houston Chronicle is not playing, with its exhaustive investigation of abuse within Southern Baptist churches. On a page attached to its exposé report yesterday, the Chronicle invites readers to reply directly via an online form and share their own experiences of abuse in Southern Baptist churches with the Chronicle reporting team:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Remembering a Grandfather on the Anniversary of His Death: "Everything, in Time, Gets Lost"

As I've said here before, Daniel Mendelsohn's book The Lost is one of the most powerful books I've read in my long lifetime of voracious reading. I read it soon after it came out in 2006. It recounts the engrossing tale of Mendelsohn's years of searching for information about what happened to his relatives in Ukraine during the Nazi period. Mendelsohn’s obsession to find out the fates of his relatives began when he was a young teen, and continued into his adult life — and The Lost recounts the story of how, miraculously, he eventually discovered details about the final days of these relatives, their murder during the Holocaust.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock Updates List of Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse of Minors

This is another footnote to my posting two days ago entitled "As Catholic Dioceses Release Lists of Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse of Minors, Important Things to Watch for: The Case of Arkansas." In that posting, I told you that Father Bede Mitchell, OSB, of Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas, was listed by the Fort Worth diocese in its recent list of priests credibly accused of abuse of minors, but was not listed on the list of credibly accused priests released by the diocese of Little Rock last year.

Michael Iafrate on How Jurisdictional Mentality Protects Abusive Priests by Hiding Cross-Diocesan Connections in Lists of Abusive Priests

This is a follow-up/companion piece to what I posted two days ago about lists of priests credibly accused of abusing minors which are now being compiled and published by many Catholic dioceses* across the U.S. (and by some religious orders). As I noted in that posting, as more and more Catholic dioceses (and some religious communities) release names of priests credibly accused of abusing minors, it's important that we monitor those lists to spot "cross-pertinent" information that may be omitted from any given list. In many cases, priests named in one place have also had pastoral assignments in other places.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Covington Catholic Pro-Life MAGA Boy Threatens Wide Legal Action v. Journalists and Dioceses as "Operation Stand Your Ground" Rolls Out on U.S. Campuses

And now there's this development in the story of the Covington Catholic pro-life MAGA boys, as Sarasi pointed out to us in a comment here yesterday: Carol Zimmerman writes,

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

As Catholic Dioceses Release Lists of Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse of Minors, Important Things to Watch for: The Case of Arkansas

As more and more U.S. Catholic dioceses — but not the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, which remains "one of the least transparent" dioceses in the nation — release names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, I am following those lists to see if I spot names of priests with connections to my diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm doing this, in part, because I think it's important that we inform ourselves of what's happening in our own back yard as we talk about bigger problems that manifest themselves in more than one place in the world. I also want to note that others who are monitoring these lists have been very generous in pointing me to important Arkansas-themed information in them: this is not a project I'm undertaking all on my own, but a collaborative one.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Covington Catholic Pro-Life MAGA Boys: A Canadian Catholic Educator's Perspective

Before we let the discussion of the Covington Catholic pro-life MAGA boys recede forever as new brouhahas (the latest in the U.S.: Virginia governor Ralph Northam's racist pictures from back when, and his disgraceful reaction to their discovery), I wanted to share some valuable commentary a reader of Bilgrimage sent me soon after the Covington Catholic pro-life MAGA boys' story broke. I've been exchanging emails with this good reader of this blog, and he has sent me several pieces of commentary that I'm weaving together here, with his permission, as a guest posting. Part of what makes the commentary valuable is that this is a Canadian reader of Bilgrimage, offering one Canadian Catholic's perspective on this story.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Janelle Wong on How We Are All Evangelicals Now: "Evangelicals Embody U.S. Racial Attitudes on Steroids"

As I reminded us yesterday, it's not just white evangelicals: white U.S. Christians — of all confessional stripes, right and left, across the board — are chiefly responsible for preventing a much-needed national conversation about race that is necessary if American culture is successfully to negotiate its Trump-era political-religious crisis. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

James Cone, Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody, on What It Is to Be Black in America Today: What U.S. White Christians Refuse to Hear

Here is more from James Cone's book Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2018) which glosses what I posted earlier today about the conversation white American Christians, who are singularly responsible for the nightmare that is the Trump presidency, refuse to allow the nation to have:

Yes, More on Catholic MAGA Boys: Conversation White Americans (& Especially White Christians) Refuse to Have, or Why Trump Is in the White House

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Some Final Takeaways from the Covington Catholic Story: "Conservatives Have Realized They Can Construct a Parallel Reality and Have It Accepted," but "I Know What I Saw"

The Twitter gods and social media gurus and faux-liberal nannies have decreed that We Shall No Longer Talk of Covington Catholic. Since I have been out of commission due to my tooth extraction, however, I'm behind the curve. I still have things to say, and am of a mind to say more. Here's a selection of commentary I want to bring to your attention today:

Monday, January 21, 2019

Apologies for Being Behind in Responding to Comments Here

My apologies to all of you good readers who have left comments here in the past several days, to which I have failed to respond. This is another of those periods when I find myself falling behind — too much to read and write about, all happening too quickly. I have also been wrestling with tooth pain which should, I hope, abate after the offending tooth is yanked out tomorrow — and the dull, constant ache leaves me a bit lethargic (and also prone to mistype words here, for which I also apologize). I surely do appreciate your comments and am reading and learning from all of them.

P.S. If you have read my posting earlier today, please note three important footnotes I have now added to it as documentation for some of its assertions.

Have Watched Additional Footage of Covington Catholic Boys, and People Are Right: Such Questions It Raises! — Here Are Mine

I've watched the additional footage of the Covington Catholic boys and Nathan Phillips circulated on social media yesterday, and it has really shifted my perspective. Now I have so many questions:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Viral Video of KY Catholic Teen "Pro-Life" Marchers Taunting Native American Elder Puts "Pro-Lifers" in Spotlight: "A Feature Not a Bug" of "Pro-Life" Movement

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Kentucky Catholic Students at Pro-Life March Mock Native Americans; Michael Sean Winters Chides Catholics Lukewarm to Pro-Life Movement — Side-by-Side Stories

Friday, January 18, 2019

Celebrating Mary Oliver & Asking: Do We Want to Be the Kind of People Celebrating Mary Oliver, or the Kind Celebrating Karen Pence & John Finnis?

That's the big question, the one the world throws at you each morning, "Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?" 
     ~ Mary Oliver, Long Life (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2004), p. xiv. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

On McCloskey's & Opus Dei's "Outsize Impact on Policy & Politics," & Attempt of Right-Wing Religionists & Journalists to Veil That Influence

In the statement by Terry Mattingly to which I linked yesterday, a statement which argues that the media have been much more focused on the story of Opus Dei priest John McCloskey's fall from grace than they have been on the fall from grace of Cardinal McCarrick, Mattingly states,

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

McCarrick Story Continues to Chug Along, While McCloskey Story Loses Steam: Why?

Two More Valuable Resources re: Opus Dei: Betty Clermont's and Penny Lernoux's Books

I'd like to add two valuable resources to the primer of books and articles about Opus Dei I posted this past weekend. That primer was not intended by any means to be an exhaustive list of the wealth of good commentary on Opus Dei that one can easily find by a Google search or a conventional search of library resources. It was, in fact, a recycling of something I had shared in the past, written for a specific purpose at that time. Because of its contextual nature, it missed some resources I did not think to share, but now want to recommend, after a good comment by Betty Clermont spurred my memory of these items:

Monday, January 14, 2019

This Has Happened: What to Make of Recent Chain of Events from Opus Dei-McCloskey to Cardinal Burke to Peter Steinfels to Archbishop Viganò?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Front Page News Today in Charlotte, North Carolina: "PRIESTS ACCUSED OF SEX ABUSE — The Charlotte Diocese Has Not Released Lists"

On the front page of today's Charlotte Observer: a headline reading, "PRIESTS ACCUSED OF SEX ABUSE," with a notice that the Catholic diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, still has not released names of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. The headline points readers to an article inside the front section of the paper that appeared several days ago in the online copy of the paper, but is being published in the print-media copy for the first time for today's Sunday edition. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Opus Dei, Its Wealth, Power, and Widespread Hidden Influence: A Primer of Informative Resources

I'd like to propose the following — an intuition of mine, rather than a proven conclusion:

Friday, January 11, 2019

News Continues to Break re: McCloskey + Opus Dei: "Catholic Right … Does Not Want to Grasp the Gravity" of Catholic Church's Sex-Abuse Crisis

As I have mentioned in my several previous postings about this story, I happened to be scanning Twitter right around the time Michelle Boorstein broke the McCloskey story on Twitter this past Monday evening, 7 January. I shared Michelle Boorstein's link breaking the story, and almost immediately, got pushback from a young Catholic whose Twitter profile states that he's connected to the right-wing Catholic publication First Things.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Catholics Who Have No Problem with a President Boasting About Grabbing Women's Genitals Appear to Find It Refreshing When a Priest "Only" Assaults a Woman

How did Catholics get to this point, many of them? How did some U.S. Catholics get to the point at which they find it refreshing when a priest "only" assaults a woman, and when revelations about a superstar politically prominent priest sexually molesting a women become the occasion for yet another outpouring of homophobic discourse blaming gay priests for the abuse horrors?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Addendum to McCloskey Story: Opus Dei Priest Speaks Out: "He Was Around for a Year After We Were Informed. … It's Not Good. But We May As Well Own It"

More is coming out now about the McCloskey story. A few minutes ago, Michelle Boorstein tweeted out a link to a new Washington Post article entitled "In emotional interview, Opus Dei spokesman said he 'hated' how prominent priest’s sexual misconduct case was handled." Here are some pertinent passages in this article — which I encourage you to read in light of my previous posting about the McCloskey revelations earlier today:

Opus Dei Reveals It Paid Nearly $1 Million to Settle Suit vs. D.C. Superstar Priest John McCloskey: Questions We Should Ask

One of today's big stories: Opus Dei has revealed that it paid nearly $1 million in 2005 to settle a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against the superstar Opus Dei priest John McCloskey. Michelle Boorstein broke this story in Washington Post last evening. As she reports, McCloskey has been well-known in religious and political circles due to his close association with such luminaries of the political right as Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, and Larry Kudlow, all of whom he ushered into the Catholic church.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Commentary re: Religious Issues, Hot Off Press: Catholic Abuse, Evangelicals & Trump, LGBTQ People & Church, U.S. Catholic Resistance to Pope Francis

"Whom Would Jesus Shoot?," Karen Fiorito

From the graphic above through the tweets and article excerpts below, some valuable commentary on a wide range of matters religious (and political) I've gleaned from social media or browsing the internet in the past several days. Hans Zollner's good statement on the spiritual damage done by sexual abuse of minors dates from a year ago, but is receiving attention right now because Mark Stephen Murray tweeted this article again today.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

As U.S. Bishops (Some of Them) Pray Together, Twitter Comments: "Through It All, and Still Today, the Bishops Have Attempted to Deflect Blame for the Crisis Onto Others"

Twitter keeps talking about the pray-and-repent retreat of the U.S. Catholic bishops this past week, and I keep finding tweets I think are worth sharing with you. In the thread below, I've repeated one I've already shared from Michael J. O'Loughlin, in tandem with ones from Michael Bayer and Legionary of Christ priest Father Matthew to illustrate a point one constantly encounters in discussions of Catholic matters online: where does the truth lie? When one person's set of facts appears flatly to contradict another person's set of facts — and those peddling false information almost never apologize for doing so and retract their, em, well, perhaps it's uncharitable to call them lies, but….

Friday, January 4, 2019

Tweets About the Bishops' Retreat: "Secrecy, Hypocrisy, and an Arrogant Refusal to Be Held Accountable"

Here's a selection of tweets commenting on the U.S. Catholic bishops' retreat in Chicago — with one or two comments focusing on the state of the U.S. Catholic church in general:

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet for Prayer-and-Repentance Confab: Some Valuable Responses

As the American Catholic bishops meet in Chicago for their prayer-and-repentance confab, here are some responses/commentary I have read in the last day or so that catch my eye, and which I want to pass on to you:

Garry Wills on How Celibacy Is Not the Cause of the Sex-Abuse Crisis — The Priesthood Is: "The Priesthood Is Itself an Affront to the Gospel"

Responding to a prediction by Father Tom Reese that the Catholic church will begin relaxing its celibacy requirement for priests this year,  I wrote

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Father Tom Reese's Prediction for 2019: Catholic Church Will Loosen Celibacy Requirement for Priests — My Response

The series that Religion News Service is now running with predictions of what will happen in the world of religion in 2019 from various religion gurus in the U.S. has a statement by Father Tom Reese entitled "Catholics will loosen up on clerical celibacy — but for real thi …" Father Reese notes the growing shortage of priests in Catholic communities around the world (a problem that has been with the Catholic church for quite some time now), and predicts that there will be a loosening of the requirement that priests vow themselves to celibacy as a way of addressing this crisis.