Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Birthday Note (My Birthday, That Is) to Readers

Dear Friends,

Today's an anniversary for me--my birthday, actually.  My 60th, and so a certain kind of milestone.

Because of the anniversary, I may be quiet for a bit, as I do a few birthday things and think about what it means to reach this particular milestone.

If I'm slower to post in the next few days or so, please know that I'm occupied with birthday events and the  thoughts they elicit.

It might be good for me to be silent a bit, in any case.  As you may have realized, if you've followed this blog for some time now, I feel a certain . . . deep frustration and admittedly, pain as well . . . at the capacity of many of my fellow Catholics of the center in the U.S. to accept and even excuse some forms of abuse and exclusion within the church that have, for me, become unthinkable.

Unthinkable if we're to talk honestly and with any credibility at all about what it means to be catholic.

It doesn't surprise me to hear those centrist brothers and sisters now playing the "on the one hand, but on the other hand" game--once again--with revelations about how deep the abuse of children has gone in our church and its institutions.  It does grieve me, though.

What those with the superior vantage point that permits them to remain objective and unengaged while children are abused (and gay and lesbian people bashed) have, I don't have, it seems--the stomach to live with each new set of horrific revelations and to carry on, comfortably ensconced within an institution inflicting horrific pain on many of its members, including the most vulnerable of those members.

It's clear to me that no amount of talking is going to shift the complacency of the center, with its pretense to be uncommitted, but with its real penchant--always--for standing with those who have power.  Because objectivity in a structure or system in which one side wields far more power than the other is really merely an option for the powerful.  

And so a day or two of silence may be better than the many words I keep casting into the wind, re: these issues.  

Better, if for no one else, then for me, and my own peace of mind and heart, as I join those who have asked to celebrate this birthday with me.  And better for those who have to listen to the same old song and dance all over again, with its sometimes sharp refrain that is perhaps not always so kind as it should be to those who see things differently than I do . . . .  A refrain that grows sharper and perhaps less charitable when I am frayed, angry, and full of sadness, as I have been lately, with the most recent revelations and the predictable push-back from those who will always find a way to excuse the operations of malignant power.

And so more in a day or so, perhaps, from a man now older and probably little wiser--with good wishes to all of you and gratitude to you for continuing to read and respond to my meandering postings.

And then again, it's entirely possible I'll find I'm even ornerier at 60 than I was at 59, and I'll go on posting without any hiatus at all.