Saturday, July 6, 2019

Ruth Krall, Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems (2)

Ebola: Transporting a Sick Child to a Care Facility

This is the second part of Ruth Krall's essay "Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems." The first part is here, and that link also points you to links to three previously published essays in the same series, which Ruth has entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." This current essay follows on the three preceding essays, in which Ruth which hypothesizes the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers. The current essay continues this theme by asking what might be the role played by various ideologies in establishing institutional climates that faciliate abuse and then cover it up. 

Because this posting is a continuation of the first half of "Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems," footnote numbers start at the point at which footnotes in the first part of the essay left off in the previous posting. Ruth's essay follows:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Ruth Krall, Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems

Ebola: Transporting a Sick Child to a Care Facility (1)

The essay by Ruth Krall that follows below is the fourth in a series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice," which I've had the honor to publish on Bilgrimage in the past weeks. The first essay in this series appeared in two installments, here and here. The second appeared in another two installments, here and here. The third essay is here. As Ruth's introduction to the essay below notes, it follows on her three preceding essays, which hypothesize the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers by asking what might be the role played by various ideologies in establishing institutional climates that faciliate abuse and then cover it up. As with some of Ruth's previous essays in this series, I'm posting this one in two parts: part one is below.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Margaret Renkl on Obligation of Catholics to Defend Their LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters — Even Against Archbishops

Despite the archbishop's words [i.e., Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis addressing his orders to two Catholic schools to fire gay employees], his behavior does look very much like a witch hunt. He has apparently not directed Catholic school officials to fire teachers who practice birth control or divorced teachers who remarry without benefit of a church annulment. In calling for the dismissal of all teachers who fail to exemplify every teaching of the Catholic church, the "categories of people you would need to fire'"would amount to "a huge list," the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America Magazine, told The Times. Persecuting teachers in same-sex marriages is Archbishop Thompson's specific focus. … 
Catholics today don't hear much about the primacy of an informed conscience because many priests take the position that a conscience at odds with the church is by definition insufficiently informed. But the primacy of an informed conscience belongs as deeply to church tradition as the current brand of pastoral authoritarianism does. It is time for Catholics to remember it again and stand up for their brothers and sisters in same-sex marriages, as Brebeuf Jesuit has done, even if it means defying the teaching of their own imperfect church.

Everybody Has a Story: Updating You on Recent Events in My Husband Steve's and My Life

Weeks back, I alluded to a hard patch through which Steve and I have been walking, and told you readers of Bilgrimage that I would say more about this when the time was ripe. I am now free to talk. I shared the following statement on Facebook yesterday. I feel a certain ambivalance about making this story public, and I think the ambivalence arises from my concern that I not target the individuals who created this hard patch for Steve and me.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Indianapolis Archbishop Claims Firing of Gay Employees Necessary to Address "Public Situations": My Response

Masha Gessen, "Coming Out, and Rising Up, in the Fifty Years After Stonewall," on the Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

Archbishop Charles Thompson said during a news conference that he didn't seek out information about the marriages involving the teachers but had to respond to what he called a "public situation" of Catholic school employees not following church doctrine.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Thoughts on Sharing the Photo of the Drowned Bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and His Daughter Valeria

We must force ourselves to keep seeing.
Yesterday, on social media, I shared a photo of the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria who drowned recently trying to cross the Rio Grande and enter the U.S. after weeks of waiting to enter. As I shared the photo, I stated that, though some media outlets had chosen to hide it behind a click-screen, in my view, we must not let ourselves look away: we are doing this to fellow human beings, and we need to see what we are doing.

"If Evangelical Christians Stood Up for These Children…"

If evangelical Christians stood up for these children, things could change in the camps very quickly. 
~ Caitlin Flanagan, "Christ in the Camps"

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Indescribable Cruelty": Commentators on the Concentration Camps Now Being Operated by the United States Under Donald Trump

The firing of gay employees of Catholic institutions is hardly the most horrific thing happening in the world today. There's also this:

WaPo: Indianapolis Diocese Threatens "To Strip Away Catholic Identity" from Schools "That Employ People Who Are Not Heterosexual"

The statement I've underlined from this Washington Post article will be challenged. People will say this is not about punishing schools that hire employees who are not heterosexual. It's about going after gays who don't behave themselves and who publicly dissent from Catholic teaching, they'll maintain.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse — What Language Shall We Use?

Citrus Trees Ready for Harvest (1)

This essay is the third in a series Ruth Krall has written with the title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." The first essay in the series was published in two parts (here and here), and was followed by another two-part essay (here and here). As Ruth notes below, "In the first two essays, I utilized the language of public health to explore issues of prevention, containment and treatment. In this essay I have raised questions about how we begin to study these issues. I have raised the question of our research language as essential."

As she further states, "Vis-à-vis the current clergy sexual abuse issue in multiple world religions, we need, I believe, an enhanced vocabulary. We need this enhanced and more precise vocabulary in order to comprehend the complex institutional forces at work in today's religious communities as they experience and/or demonstrate the affinity sexual violence phenomena." Here's Ruth's valuable essay:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"The Saint of Dry Creek": Story Corps Remembers Stonewall Uprising

I shared this "Saint of Dry Creek" video back in October 2015. I'm very happy to see Story Corps circulating it again on social media this week as part of its #StonewallOutLoud initiative.

It's a keeper, in my view.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach (Part 2)

Transferring an Ebola Patient for Transport to a Care Facility 

Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach

Ruth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhD

This is a continuation of an essay by Ruth Krall, the first half of which was posted a few days ago.  As that previous posting noted, this essay, entitled "Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach," continues Ruth's analysis of religious leader sexual abuse of vulnerable individuals from the standpoint of public health. It proposes that "any effort to eliminate sexual abuse as a public health problem must, therefore, be both a national and an international effort. It must also be pan-denominational — reaching into multiple religious communities." Here's the second half of Ruth's outstanding essay — note that footnote numbers begin in medias res because this part of Ruth's essay links to the part previously posted: 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Abuse Whistleblower Rachael Denhollander on Why Survivors Know How Extensive Abuse Is in Southern Baptist Churches

Rachael Denhollander was a courageous whistleblower in the case of Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted her at age 15. When she came forward with her claims about Nassar, Immanuel Baptist, the church to which she and her husband Jacob Denhollander (a Southern Baptist seminary student)  belonged, refused to support her. They then left that church and joined another.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach

Transferring an Ebola Patient for Transport to a Care Facility  

I recently had the privilege of publishing an essay by Ruth Krall entitled "Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking" (here and here). That essay challenged readers to re-think how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts, and to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health (e.g., epidemic, endemic, or pandemic) to this phenomenon.

"Prolegomena" is the first in a multi-part set of essasys on which Ruth has been working, with the title (for the entire series), "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." In her manuscript gathering essays together under that title, Ruth includes a dedicatory note acknowleding the influence of her father Carl S. Krall on her life, work, and thought. It reads,

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Southern Baptist and U.S. Catholic Leaders Meet in Same Week, Both Confronting Serious Sexual Abuse Problems: A "Gender Hurricane" Results

At the same time, the Southern Baptist Convention is holding its annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Catholic bishops are meeting in Baltimore. High on the agenda of both sets of gentlemen: what to do about sexual abuse of minors and other vulnerable church members? What to do about the fact that the public knows and will not now unknow? 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Ruth Krall, Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking (Part 2)

This posting is a continuation of an essay by Ruth Krall, the first part of which I posted several days ago. As that previous posting notes, Ruth's essay, entitled "Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking," invites readers to re-think how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts. Ruth urges us to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health to this phenomenon. Is this abuse an epidemic in religious contexts today? Is it endemic in religious structures? Is it pandemic?

Because the essay belows continues (and links to) the first part published previously, the endnotes begin at xvi rather than 1. Here's the second part of Ruth's valuable essay:

Bishop Bransfield Authors "One of the Finest Pastoral Letters on Poverty" Michael Sean Winters Has Read: My Response

In an essay about the scandal that is Bishop "$182,000 for Cut Flowers" Bransfield, entitled "Lavish living by Catholic hierarchy is moral corruption," Michael Sean Winters says that Bransfield has published "one of the finest pastoral letters on poverty I have read."

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ruth Krall, Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking

Ebola Virus Isolation Unit — A Visual Metaphor to Ponder (i)

I'm very pleased to be able to share once again an outstanding essay by Ruth Krall. In this essay about re-thinking how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts, Ruth urges us to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health. Is this abuse an epidemic in religious contexts today? Is it endemic in religious structures? Is it pandemic? Because Ruth's essay is dense and long, I've broken the essay into two parts. The second part will follow in a day or so, and will link to this first half. Here's Ruth's essay:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Owen Jones on Obligation to Confront Trumpism, "A Resurgent Global Far Right" That Is Racist, Xenophobic, Misogynistic, and Homophobic

Owen Jones is rapidly becoming a journalistic hero of mine. In the clip above a few days back, after Theresa May shed tears on announcing her intent to step down and the media found those tears the most important thing in the world to talk about for a time, he stated,

Monday, June 3, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — On the Pastoral Implications of Aquinas' Recognition That Homosexuality Is Natural

In my last posting some days ago about Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2015), I noted that Oliva finds Thomas Aquinas teaching that sexual attraction to members of one's own sex is natural for those who are homosexual. As part of the natural order, the homosexual inclination some people have is to be treated with every bit as much respect as is reserved for the sexual attraction that the majority of people display towards members of the opposite sex.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Apologies for Falling Behind Responding to Comments

I really do apologize to you all for being behind the curve in responding to comments via Disqus. I appreciate your comments. I'm a bit frayed these days, and having trouble keeping up — though trying. I did also promise you more on Adriano Oliva's book, and have not forgotten that promise. I have some notes gathered for at least one more posting on the book, and will complete that project soon.

"With Nationalists Topping the Polls in Two of Europe's Three Main Founding Nations, It's Hard to See How Any of This Is Worth Celebrating"

It's very foolish for us to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that what is unfolding around us is not actually happening, and that the recent European elections give us reason to breathe a sigh of relief and say that the hard fascist right is not making inroads in very many places in the world now — when this is simply untrue, and this development should intently concern us:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Why I Continue to Insist That It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia: A Footnote to My Recent Response to Responses

It's certainly true that every society or nation is different, and what applies to one won't necessarily apply to another. But I'm pointing out that there's a wave of manufactured right-wing rage across societies today, and asking why that wave is roiling society after society. It's entirely unhelpful to respond to such a sounding by saying, "Ah, but they're all different from each other, and you're not seeing the difference." This is to ask us to see only trees and pretend a forest is not growing there.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Why I Continue to Insist That It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia: My Response to Your Responses

Thank you all for your thoughtful and valuable responses to my reflections about the wave of manufactured rage (racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic) now driving political movements in many places, in my view. I've read and considered them. My thoughts:

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Wave of Manufactured Rage Sweeping Across Societies Now, and Silliness of the "Economic Alienation" Explanation: It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia

Shorn of any ideological hue, this is populism distilled into its purest form: a pared-back rage over an apparently corrupt political establishment's failure to abide by the democratic will of the people. 

Farage and Brexiters are now riding a wave in England. Hard-right fascist-leaning movements are gaining strength globally, including across Europe. India's far-right groups just won a major victory in that nation. What Trump and his supporters represent in the American context is cloned again and again across nations now. My reading:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Aquinas on Inclination to Homosexuality as Natural

As I have promised in previous postings, I'd like to share some more reflections about Adriano Oliva’s book, Amours: L’Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2015). In several recent postings (here and here), I've discussed the first part of Oliva's book, which deals with Thomas Aquinas' theology of marriage and its implications for the debate about how the church should deal pastorally with divorced and remarried Catholics. I've also offered an excerpt from the second part of Oliva's book, which is about how Aquinas treats the topic of what we now understand as homosexuality. Now I'd like to offer some further reflections regarding that second part of Oliva's book (pp. 75-124):

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Response from a Reader re: Aquinas' Theology of Marriage

One of my Facebook friends, Jean-François Garneau in Montréal, has responded to my recent posting about how Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — deals with the topic of procreation in Thomas Aquinas' theology of marriage. As my posting noted,

Friday, May 17, 2019

Notes on Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — On Sexual Relations Between Women as Less Sinful Than Sodomy

As a footnote to what I posted yesterday regarding Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Cerf, 2015) and its discussion of Aquinas' views regarding the sacrament of marriage, I'd like to offer  you the passage above as a reminder of some aspects of Aquinas' worldview that affect his understanding of sexuality, gender, and marriage. I offer this passage from pp. 78-9 of Adriano's book both as a footnote to the discussion of his theology of marriage, and as a prelude to his discussion of homosexuality, on which I'll focus in my next posting (or two) about his book.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Notes on Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Procreation in Aquinas' Theology of Marriage

Back in January 2016, I shared with you some notes about Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Cerf, 2015). As I shared my comments about Oliva's book, which was written as theological reflection on issues central to the synod on the family in 2015, I told you that my comments were more a set of notes than a review of the book per se.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ruth Krall, A Considered Response to a Canadian Catholic Educator's Quarterly Review of the Covington Catholic Story

Ruth Krall was inspired by Paul2port's quarterly review of the Covington Catholic story last Saturday, and in response to it, she has offered some reflections, with a helpful bibliography for further reading. I'm very grateful to her for this thoughtful response. Ruth writes: 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Canadian Catholic Educator's Quarterly Review of the Covington Catholic Story: "Get Serious About Living Your Faith"

Near the start of February, I posted commentary from a Canadian Catholic educator, Paul2port, regarding the story of the young men from Covington (Kentucky) Catholic high school and the controversy that ensued due to video coverage of their actions as they left the March for Life in Washington, D.C., this year, sporting MAGA hats. Paul2port has continued to think about this story as a Catholic educator, and has sent me a "quarterly review" updating his commentary of early February. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tom Doyle on Why Clericalism Is Primary Root of Catholic Abuse Horror Show (Contra Benedict)

The emeritus pope recently published a statement about the abuse horror show in the Catholic church which makes absolutely no mention at all of the roots of this horror show in clericalism, and which takes no responsibility, on the part of the clerical governing sector of the church, for this horror show and the cover-up of clerical abuse for years. The emeritus pope's statements blaming the Catholic abuse horrors on the 1960s, not clericalism, were followed by a statement by the emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, affirming the emeritus pope's analysis and suggesting that the clericalism explanation of the abuse situation in the church is "ideological."

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Where's Solidarity When You Need It? Letting Off a Bit of Steam

I don't need this.

Today, I shared on Facebook the following statement by Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain from a Guardian interview published online today:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources" (2)

As I stated yesterday in introducing this two-part posting in which Ruth Krall offers us a valuable new resource for studying sexual abuse of minors in religious settings, all of us concerned with this issue owe Ruth a debt of immense gratitude for her generosity. She has made available to us resources that reflect her years of intensive study of the topic of sexual violence, rape, and abuse of minors in religious settings. What follows is the bibliography of resources Ruth is offering with this latest contribution to this research field; yesterday's posting featured Ruth's introductory essay for this important resource.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources"

L'Osservatore Romano/AP Pool Photo, BXVI's 65th anniversary of ordination, 28 June 2016
Pope Francis (i) with Pope Emeritus Benedict (ii)

All of us seeking to understand and deal with the abuse of vulnerable people within religious communities owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ruth Krall. In one powerful essay after another, she has unpacked years of her research in this field, making insights and titles available to a wider community. Over the course of several years, Ruth has been producing extensive annotated bibliographies reflecting her years of study in this field. What follows is Ruth's latest contribution to the documentation of abuse in religious communities, of studies of this abuse and its roots, and of resources for combating such abuse. The essay below is Ruth's preface to the study bibliography of resources she is providing with this new document. The bibliography itself will follow in a subsequent posting:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Christ Has No Body on Earth Now But Ours": An Easter Meditation on Hands and Feet by Jessica Pegis

In her recent essay at the Women in Theology site entitled "Hands and Feet," Jessica Pegis notes that one of her favorite icons, depicting Jesus washing his disciples' feet, shows Peter touching his head. This is, as she notes, a gesture noting divine epiphany in ancient Greek culture.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sri Lanka, the Spiral of Violence, and Global Turn to Strongmen Messianic Solutions: The Temptation of This Moment

I grieve — so very much — the carnage we've just seen enacted in Sri Lanka, on the day many Christians consider the holiest day of the liturgical calendar. I grieve above all the enormous loss of life, the manifestation of gross religious hatred we see on full display in this event, and the way in which it's very clear that this latest act of religious hatred is immediately rooted in the atrocious act of religious (and white supremacist) hatred we saw recently in New Zealand. As Dom Hélder Câmara reminded us over and over, violence spawns more violence in an endless chain of reaction until someone finally has the courage and compassion to break that chain.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What They're Saying About the Mueller Report: "Russian Government Interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election in Sweeping and Systematic Fashion"

What They're Saying About Barr's Press Conference: What Checks? What Balances?! — Commentary Hot Off the Press

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Tara Westover's Educated: "What my father wanted to cast from me wasn't a demon: it was me."

Having finished reading Tara Westover's Educated several weeks ago, I've been thinking about what I'd like to say as a concluding statement about it. I've blogged about Educated previously — here and here — noting that Westover grew up in a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho. Educated recounts the story of her attempt over the course of years to emerge from the prison in which her upbringing put her. It tells us about her father's wild delusions of grandeur, his belief that he was directly guided by God and watched over by angels — and of his danger-courting and relentless attempts to control his daughter with threats of damnation when she sought to move beyond his control.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Bannon Link: Using Trump Playbook to Attack Pope Francis

Yesterday, I wrote,

Benedict's poisonous letter; Cardinal Sarah's toxic bile: these are part and parcel of a bigger initiative, coordinated and heavily funded by right-wing Catholic money, especially in the U.S., to Trumpize the Catholic church. Bannon is at the very center of this.

Friday, April 12, 2019

More Valuable Commentary on Benedict's Poisonous Letter: Part of a Bigger Initiative of Catholic Right, with Bannon at the Very Center

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Benedict Undercuts Francis on Abuse Narrative: The 1960s Made Us Do It

Pope Benedict has written an astonishing letter on the abuse situation, which he calls a set of "notes" on this topic. Here’s my summary of his notes:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Civil Rights Center in Tennessee and Black Churches in Louisiana Burn as Hate Crimes Increase

Tweets and articles with a common theme that have caught my eye in the past few days, which I want to share:

Monday, April 8, 2019

Paul Elie on "Seeming Transparency" of Dioceses Releasing Lists of Priests "Credibly Accused" of Sexual Abuse of Minors


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kathleen Holscher on Lack of Attention to Colonialism and White Supremacy in Accounts of Catholic Abuse Crisis

In today's Tablet, a valuable reminder from historian Kathleen Holscher of the University of New Mexico that how we view the abuse story in the Catholic church depends on how we frame it — and on who is doing the framing: Holscher writes,

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

SNAP Holds Media Event in Charlotte: Bishop Peter Jugis Endangering Children by Refusing to List Names of Predator Priests

An update for you about the continuing refusal of the Catholic diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, to release a list of names of predator priests who have served in that diocese — even after the second in command in that diocese, Monsignor Mauricio West, stepped down from his position as chancellor last week (and here) after the diocesan review board found credible allegations that he sexually abused a student at Belmont Abbey College when he was Vice-President for Student Affairs there in the 1980s.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

My Gratitude for Your Birthday Wishes

Miriam Toews' Irma Voth and Tara Westover's Educated: On Patriarchal Religion and Misogynistic Violence

It's by accident — or synchronicity — that I happen to have read Miriam Toews' novel Irma Voth at the same time that I'm reading Tara Westover's Educated. Toews' book explores the lives of several young women and girls in a Mennonite family in Mexico, which previously had roots in Manitoba (and before that in Russia). Westover focuses on her experiences growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in Idaho.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

On My 69th Birthday, Words That Touch My Heart

Today, on my 69th birthday, these words to me from a reader I've met through this blog, who inspires me constantly by her lived witness to the beatitudes, touch my heart deeply:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Footnote to Story re: Resignation of Chancellor of Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, Mauricio West: The Damage Clericalism Does in the Catholic Church

As I think about the story I shared with you today — yesterday, it was announced that the chancellor of the Catholic diocese of Charlotte, Msgr. Mauricio West, had resigned after the diocesan review board found credible allegations that he made repeated sexual advances to a student when he was Vice-President of Student Affairs at Belmont Abbey College in the 1980s — I keep revisiting in my mind some crystallizing incidents involving West that for me epitomize the rank, ugly clericalism that is the root of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. As I noted this morning, West was previously a Benedictine monk at Belmont Abbey monastery, which owns Belmont Abbey College. He left the monastery in the early 1990s and was immediately made chancellor of the Charlotte diocese by Bishop William Curlin, and was then retained in that position by Bishop Peter Jugis.

Chancellor of Charlotte Catholic Diocese and Fomer Belmont Abbey College Administrator Resigns: Credible Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican: Concluding Remarks About Why This Book Matters — The Extensive Damage Done by a System "Perverted Since the Outset"

I've now finished reading Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, and want to share some concluding thoughts about the book. Two interrelated points strike me as I think about the book as a whole. The first is that the book's importance lies in how it moves what has been far too much a parochial Catholic conversation into the public sphere. The second, and related, insight is that this move is entirely necessary if the Catholic church wishes to regain any measure of moral credibility or pastoral or theological relevance following the abuse revelations.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Frédéric Martel on the Tragedy That Is the Pastoral Career of Joseph Ratzinger — A Tragedy for the Entire Church

From Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, on the tragedy of Joseph Ratzinger's (Benedict XVI's) pastoral career:

Friday, March 22, 2019

More from Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican on the Source of Corruption in the Catholic Church: Not Glitches, but a System

As I keep reading Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, I'd like to say more about the theme of corruption I featured in my last commentary about this book. I noted, pointing to several important passages in Martel's book as documentation, that  much of the corruption in the Catholic church right now is rooted in the historical matrix of the papacy of St. John Paul the Great. The corruption is rooted quite specifically in the following: while hiding homosexual secrets, the powerful Vatican courtiers surrounding John Paul chose to mount war against the queer community, combating its rights, scapegoating LGBT people — especially for the abuse crisis in the church — and targeting theologians calling for compassionate outreach to queer people.

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: