Monday, April 30, 2012

Gender Gap in Higher Education in Utah: Women on Bottom

Writing in today's Salt Lake Tribune, Brian Maffly reports that for years now, women in Utah have not entered or completed college at the same rate as have men.  In 2008, 26 percent of Utah women had a bachelor’s degree, while 32 percent of Utah men did, according to a 2009 Utah Foundation study.  Women constitute 55 percent  of undergraduates nationally, but 45 percent in Utah.

Vatican Goes after Irish Priests and Theologians: Jesus or the Church Again

I've had a bit to say in recent days about the Vatican mandate that American religious women be "reformed" (though, curiously, no such mandate has ever come down requiring reformation of the hierarchy itself, as it has hidden and protected priests raping minors).  The crackdown on the LCWR in the U.S. is not the only aggressive action Rome has taken in recent weeks to claim unilateral control of the Catholic conversation, however.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Three Statements on Vatican Attack on U.S. Nuns: Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof, Ivone Gebara

Some statements about the Vatican's attack on American women religious worth reading, I think, as the week turns:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Europe's Resurgent Far-Right: "Same Politics of Scapegoating" (with a Catholic Footnote)

At Salon, Steve Weissman and Frank Browning report (as many other commentators in the U.S. and abroad are also reporting) that the far right is marching strong in Europe these days.  As the Anders Breivik trial unfolds in Norway, the media are paying renewed attention to the resurgence of a right energized by economic stress across Europe now.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Me and My Shadow (A Book Report Update)

A little note to readers as I continue grinding away at the final draft of the book on which I've been working, with the goal of having it in the hands of the press by early May: if I seem distracted as I blog here lately, I am!  I find the final stages of working on almost anything--an article, a book--far more difficult than the beginning stages.

Gerald T. Slevin: Philly Predator Priests & Papal Politics

As this work week ends, another outstanding piece from Jerry Slevin, commenting on the ongoing trial in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, the current political strategy of the Vatican and U.S. Catholic bishops, and the mandate to "reform" American religious women--and how these pieces fit together.  This is a rich and detailed posting, and I'm grateful to Jerry for providing this information to all of us who are trying to understand how these various pieces interlock.  What follows is Jerry's posting:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mary Hunt on LCWR Situation: "We Are All Nuns"

As ever, Mary Hunt is right on target with her commentary at Religion Dispatches about the Catholic hierarchy's attack on American women religious, entitled "We Are All Nuns."  An excerpt:

Romney and the Center: Mike Luckovich Cartoon Commentary

As a gloss on what I've just posted, another brilliant cartoon by Mike Luckovich at Truthdig about the "center" that Mr. Romney claims to occupy . . . .

LCWR Discussion Continues: Right, Left, Center

Lessons I keep having to learn over again.  Lessons I'm having to relearn again as Catholics from all sides of the political and theological universe now hash over the Vatican mandate that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious must be reformed: 

History, Racism, and the Catholic Vote: A Consideration

I think I've always thought with Faulkner that the past is never dead; it's not even past.  I had a version of this conversation recently at a Catholic blog site with one of many Catholics who now seem to feel it's absolutely okay to vent open and really toxic racism at these sites.  Who seem to feel it's okay to put their racism out there in black and white because, I suppose, hey imagine that their opposition to the first African-American president the country has had is self-evidently moral.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bishops and Religious Women: NCR Commentary

Rachel Weeping

As a brief postscript to what I've just posted, I want to make note of a valuable resource National Catholic Reporter has just created for those following the current politically motivated attack on U.S. religious women:

Catholic Bishops, Religious Women, Politics: Recent Commentary

In an essay just published in NY Review of Books entitled "Bullying the Nuns," Garry Wills argues that the following is happening as the princes of the church attack religious women: "The real Gospel must be quashed in the name of the pseudo-Gospel of papal monarchs."  As Wills notes, the priorities of the two groups have always been different: "The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them."

Monday, April 23, 2012

If You Read the Posting re: Jesus and the Church: Notice of Errors

For readers who may have read my posting yesterday about Jesus and the church: once again, that dratted auto-correct feature made some embarrassing changes in the text, and I wanted to make you aware of one of them, since the word it substituted yesterday made no sense at all:

Another Gay Teen in U.S. Kills Himself Due to Bullying: R.I.P, Kenneth James Weishuhn

In what I just posted, I once again noted the monomaniacal (and morally indefensible) preoccupation of centrist Catholics who continue to run interference for the morally indefensible U.S. Catholic bishops with pre-born human life to the exclusion of many post-birth human lives.  And their absolute silence about what the bishops have done and continue to do their brothers and sisters who happen to be gay.

Commentary on Vatican Attack on LCWR and on Jenky's Tirade: A Selection of Articles

Some recent commentary to which I want to draw readers' attention, about 1) the Vatican mandate that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the U.S. be "reformed"; and 2) the incendiary remarks of Peoria bishop Daniel Jenky about the current U.S. president.  I've blogged about both topics in recent days (herehere, and here):

Marilynne Robinson, American Christianity, and the Command to Be Liberal

David Sirota had an important piece at Salon last Friday (and elsewhere--it's been making the rounds online) about the striking difference in political outlook between committed Christians in Britain and the U.S.  Sirota is commenting on a recent article in London's Daily Mail, which finds that active and committed Christians in Britain 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jesus and the Church: To Forget the Church Is to Forget Jesus?

At National Catholic Reporter this past week, Joe Ferullo takes Andrew Sullivan's recent Newsweek article entitled "Forget the Church, Follow Jesus" and juxtaposes it next to a response to Sullivan that University of Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting recently published in the New York Times.  As Ferullo notes, Gutting's response concludes, ". . . [T]o forget the church is to forget Jesus."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: Philly Abuse Trial: More HBO Than MSNBC?

Jerry Slevin has sent another strong statement about the situation in Philadelphia, where, as he notes, the ongoing seamy revelations in the trial of Msgr. Lynn have become more HBO than MSNBC--though as Jerry notes, the American mainstream media appear to a great extent to remain reluctant to deal with the abuse story, even as they give the U.S. Catholic bishops extensive face-time to spread talk about their "religious liberty" crusade.

ALEC and "Stand Your Ground" Laws: Recent Commentary

For readers who may have missed the following significant articles in the past week about the powerful and well-heeled lobbying group the American Legislative Council (ALEC), a selection of pieces that strike me as important:

Anthea Butler Excoriates Attempt of Catholic Centrists to Give Cover to Anti-Semitism of Lefebvrists

At Religion Dispatches, Anthea Butler writes, "On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Catholic 'Liberal' Hails Return of Anti-Semitic Group."  Butler, who teaches religion at University of Pennsylvania, and whose work I've recommended here in the past (e.g., here), is commenting on Michael Sean Winters's article earlier this week at National Catholic Reporter carrying the headline, "Welcome Back Lefebvrists."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Ends: Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul and Bob Smith's Remembrance of Things I Forgot

Two books I've read lately (I'm actually still reading the second of these), both offering eye-catching aperçus about family behavior and family life, though that's not necessarily the major theme of either book:

Standing Ovation in Seattle Parish When Pastor Refuses to Attack Gay Community

Meanwhile, in Catholic reality land (I'm keying off the last posting about the magisterium and sci-fi fantasyland), Igor Volsky at Think Progress and Abby Zimet at Common Dreams report that when Father Tim Clark announced this past Sunday that Our Lady of the Lake parish in Seattle will not participate in Archbishop Peter Sartain's drive to gather signatures to remove the right of civil marriage from gay citizens of Washington, he received a standing ovation.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Heck Yeah . . . God Bless the Magisterium"

At a posting at the Commonweal blog site yesterday, Grant Gallicho notes that in a single day, Catholic officials announced

Vatican Targets U.S. Nuns, Welcomes St. Pius X: Good, Bad, Ugly

"Vatican Orders LCWR to Revise, Appoints Archbishop to Oversee Group"

"Welcome Back Lefebvrists"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Andrew Sullivan on Bishop Jenky's "Dyspeptic Eruption" about Catholic Religious Freedom Under Attack

Bishop Daniel Jenky

Andrew Sullivan on the absurd claims of Bishop Daniel Jenky (about which I blogged in my first posting today) that Catholics are under radical attack by the Obama administration: 

Katrina vanden Heuvel on Corrupt, Unhelpful "Center" and Its Flight from Reality

As a complement to the two postings I've just made: there's been valuable discussion recently of the shortcomings of beltway centrism and the predictable cry of centrists as each election cycle rolls around that we just need to get along, be more bipartisan and cooperative--and move right as the political pendulum moves ever more decisively to the right.  

And in the Real World: Real Issues Real-Life Catholics Confront Due to USCCB Pro-GOP Politics

And from the real world, as opposed to the upside-down world of unreality the USCCB's propagandist cheerleaders want us to inhabit (I'm building here on what I've just posted), a miscellany of real-life statements by real-life Catholics grounded in the real world, about real issues we lay Catholics have to confront because our pastoral leaders have long since unmoored our church from its gospel foundations and its foundations in Catholic social teaching, by their loud and clear endorsement of the Republican party:

USCCB Addresses Ryan Budget, USCCB Cheerleaders Respond

It's to the credit of the U.S. Catholic bishops that they have issued several mild statements about the moral shortcomings of the Paul Ryan budget.  This is in keeping with a rather predictable game the USCCB has played for some years now.  Here's the game: as a first step, when an election approaches, the members of the USCCB give every outward appearance and every strong sign possible of anointing the GOP as God's own party.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: Update--Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up

Jerry Slevin continues to be vigilant about what's happening with Catholic church officials and the child abuse cover-up, from a legal standpoint.  He has just sent another outstanding statement, this one about SNAP's filing last week of new charges updating their previous filing of criminal charges against the Vatican with the International Criminal Court, for the Vatican's internationally orchestrated cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.  

Romney Campaign and New Downtown Development in Salt Lake City: Intra-Mormon Discussion about Mormon Values

The glitzy new City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City, which opened before Easter, is provoking an intra-Mormon discussion about wealth, capitalism, communal solidarity, and traditional Mormon values that I find fascinating.  City Creek, with its mix of high-end stores, restaurants, and luxury condos, is across the street from the LDS temple, and is owned by the LDS church.  It frankly and unabashedly celebrates American capitalism and the cozy fit of many Mormons with the American capitalist economic system.

American Catholics Resisting Bishops' Faux Religious Liberty War: Brief Update

Bishop William Lori, Chair, USCCB Committee on Religious Liberty

At Religion Dispatches this weekend, Peter Montgomery enumerates signs of growing Catholic resistance to the bishops' faux religious liberty war.  He notes that a number of priests of the Pittsburgh diocese have met with bishop David Zubik, after Zubik accused the Obama administration of saying to hell with you to "Catholics."  The priests reported to Zubik that the unvarnished partisan political behavior of the bishops, and the attempt to give life to magisterial prohibitions of birth control long after those prohibitions have been ditched by lay Catholics, are angering many Catholics.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "What Really Did They Accomplish," Those Theologians of Vatican II?

Anonymous gets around a lot on Catholic blog sites.  (S)he often strikes me as having the temperament that ancient proto-psychological theories describe as choleric: given to fits of rage induced, the ancients thought, by an excess of bile in the system.  The term "chillax" hadn't been invented when the ancients talked about the four humors and what caused them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Poem, First Week in Easter

Seeing the celebrated actor
with his dimples and his abs
reminds me yet again:
     brains and beauty
     seldom bike in tandem.

But seeing Meryl Streep
makes me think:
     if she were a poem
I'd read every syllable
with delight.

And every night now
just as dark falls,
     a rat
comes careening
through our Judas tree:

Day moving after day,
night following on night.

The graphic: a picture Steve took in May 2005 from a café window, of a band marching down a street in Köln--why the band and why the celebration, we didn't know.

A Life Review, First Week of Easter

Some spiritual traditions (in the Catholic church, the Ignatian one; in Protestantism, Puritanism) emphasize a practice of ongoing review of life.  For Puritan strands of Protestant spirituality, this emphasis produced a strong tradition of daily journaling, in which one tallies up the good and bad one has done each day, and places it all in God's hands at the end of each day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New "Religious Freedom" Battle Cry from USCCB, Bully Bill Lets Loose about the Lesbians

This item is also end-of-week Catholic news, but I wanted to highlight it by posting this information apart from the news roundup items I just posted:

In Catholic News: Seattle Parishes Resist, Dolan's Verdun Strategy with SNAP Bleeds Church White

As the week ends, items in Catholic news that have caught my eye recently:

Gerald T. Slevin, Philly Priest Child Abuse Trial and U.S. Bishops Standard Operating Procedures

Jerry Slevin has sent another excellent statement about the abuse trial involving the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia.  The following text is Jerry's latest commentary on the Philadelphia trial:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jamie Manson on Marginalized as Pawns in USSCB Anti-Gay Political Maneuvers

I did want to comment, too, on Jamie Manson's very fine article at National Catholic Reporter right now, to which the comments of John Lyons that I featured in a previous posting this morning were directed.  Manson notes that the Catholic hierarchy is now--unmercifully and without any foundation in the gospels--making marginalized communities in general pay, as it zeroes in on gays and lesbians and tries to punish organizations with any ties to groups supporting gay rights.  She notes, as I did on Holy Saturday, that the USCCB is threatening to withhold funding from Compañeros, a group assisting poor Hispanic immigrants in Colorado, because Compañeros is part of an umbrella organization of social service agencies that includes groups promoting gay rights.

Ben Adler Visits Republican Women's Club in New York: Women in Denial

Ben Adler finds Republican women in denial about the deep damage their candidates' primary campaign has done to their political advantages, due to the current GOP war on women.  I find his analysis and his description of the brigade of hoity-toity platinum-blonde Republican women gathered recently at the Republican Women's Club in New York interesting.

Catholic Blog Sites and Homophobic Screeds: Made in Hell

What do you think might be going on when Catholics feel free--no, some Catholics apparently feel obliged--to post statements at Catholic blog sites characterizing entire segments of the human population as unfit to parent because "they" are given to "illegal drug use, sexual promiscuity, suicidal ideations, domestic violence," and are "'prone to spontaneous combustion' temper issues"?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Catholic Bishops Should Hire Most Aggressive Lawyers They Can Buy

My latest smelly dropping from the Catholic birdcage comes from Dr. William Donohue of the Catholic League, who recently wrote,   

USCCB Releases Results of New Abuse Audit: Credible Allegations Up by 15% in 2011

Yesterday, the USCCB issued the annual (self-) audit of abuse cases in the Catholic church in the U.S.  The news is not encouraging.  As Andrew Stern reports in the Chicago Tribune, the number of credible allegations of abuse by priests rose by 15% last year, and the church spent $144 million to deal with the scandal.

Catholic/catholic: Believing/Not Believing in the Church Today

Talk about religion gets people's blood flowing.  Yesterday at this site, I had responses to various postings from 1) a gay activist who has, on repeated occasions, larded the comments section of this blog with statements about how religion is absurd and those who believe in God are pathological, and 2) a devout practicing Catholic friend who bridles a bit at Anthea Butler's question to fellow Catholics, For those of you who stay, how can you do it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paul Krugman Talks Centrist Games, I Hear Catholic Centrist Games

Yesterday, I received an email from a Catholic centrist who holds court on the Commonweal blog site, among other sites.  I had mentioned him and critiqued his centrism in a previous posting here, and he was unhappy.  

Charles Blow on Trayvon Martin and the "Restoration of Faith": An Easter Meditation

Michelangelo, "Risen Christ" (1532)

Charles Blow writes that the national conversation about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman turns on the question of "restoration of faith": how to restore faith in our justice system as the perception of radically unequal treatment for a white man as opposed to a black teen eats away at the faith of many Americans in a just and honest society.

News: Homophobia and Repressed Homosexuality, William F. Buckley and Racism, and Adrienne Rich on Living Split

As David Edwards reports at Raw Story, a new study by a research team at the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara finds that it's themselves about whom strong homophobes are most concerned.  The researchers find that "homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires."

Anthea Butler on Philadelphia Trial: Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters

Anthea Butler says that, given how the hierarchy has handled the abuse situation, she's happy to be called a catholic, but no longer a Catholic.  And she puts an important question to Catholics who hang on and continue offering energy and support to the Catholic (as opposed to catholic) church:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Papa Bile and My Automatic Correction Minx

I mentioned in a previous posting that the computer I have now had from several weeks before Christmas came equipped with a devilish fill-in-the-blank feature that often changes words I type, with nary an indication to me that it is doing so/has done so.  I called the program a sly little minx in that previous posting, and I'm sorry to have to report to you that she continues to prove herself absolutely capable of slyness.  And minxiness.  

More Marilynne Robinson: Synchronicity, Synergy, and Nature as Shining Garment of Divinity

Marilynne Robinson finds science's inability to imagine the world analogically, or to speak of what it observes in analogical terms, a significant shortcoming.  The "scientific worldview" is altogether too narrow, she thinks, because it cannot fulfill its promise to explain everything that it observes, when it lacks the language of analogy to extend its definitions and observations beyond what is apparently only on the surface of "reality."