Sunday, May 27, 2012

Further Notes on the Vatileaks-Vatican Bank Situation

1. From midday yesterday until this Sunday morning, the head article at Huffington Post (U.S. edition) has been "The Butler, with the Documents, in the Vatican."  Click the headline, and it leads you to an AP article by Nicole Winfield reporting on the arrest of longtime papal butler Paolo Gabriele.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vatileaks and Vatican Bank Fallout: A Brief Footnote

For those following the intertwined Vatileaks-Vatican Bank story, two brief footnotes to what I posted yesterday about the latest revelations in the story:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Notes on the Vatileaks Scandal: Hell Breaking Loose, According to John Allen

I'm away from home, and it's a holiday weekend in the U.S., and I imagine many readers in this part of the globe have as little time to read blog postings today as I do to read and write.  (I'm tagging along on a business trip Steve has made to Houston, and am visiting my uncle, who turned 92 this past Sunday.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "A Prophetic Voice Is Needed to Shake People out of Their Moral Lethargy"

Eerie, isn't it, to re-read Legionary of Christ and teacher of moral theology, Father Thomas Williams now, in retrospect, on issues like scandal and shaking folks out of their moral lethargy--now after we know what we know was going on in his own life (and which his superiors knew) even as he uttered these words:*

Here Comes Nobody: Bishops Keep Decreeing, Catholics Keep Talking

Maureen Dowd stands James Joyce's famous description of the catholic church--"Here comes everybody"--on its head in an op-ed statement this past Sunday, and Michael Sean Winters goes ballistic in response, with predictable over-the-top rage (remember his column on President Obama and the HHS guidelines, in screaming capitals resurrecting the Dreyfus affair: "J'ACCUSE!"?).  Michael's constant, recurring meme about Maureen (and uppity women in general: he's recently attacked Professor Anthea Butler of the Department of Religion of University of Pennsylvania, too) is that Dowd is stupid.  She doesn't know from stupid, Michael insists; she doesn't know what Michael and other beltway insiders with direct pipelines to the bishops know.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bishops and Lady Parts: Kalli Joy Gray at Daily Kos on Waning Moral Credibility of U.S. Catholic Bishops

And finally this morning, for a glimpse of how the eminently unpastoral behavior of the Catholic bishops is now causing them to be seen by many U.S. citizens these days in the public square: here's Kalli Joy Gray at Daily Kos, with an article, "Catholic Bishops Threaten to Sue for Their Right to Hate Lady Parts":

Shepherds, Sheep, Listening, Caring: More on the Santa Clara Conference on Catholic Abuse

And as a companion piece to what I just posted about Richard Sipe's presentation to the Santa Clara conference on sexual abuse in the Catholic church: at National Catholic Reporter last week, Joshua McElwee provides an overview of the event and what its primary speakers said.  As McElwee notes, Father Tom Reese defined the core theme of the conference through the following trenchant observation:

Richard Sipe on Sexual Abuse as Product of Clerical Culture

Richard Sipe's presentation to the recent conference at Santa Clara University whose theme was "Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002-2012" is now online at the Voice from the Desert site.  As with everything Sipe writes, it's clear, insightful, and powerful.  Testimony from someone who was formed by and once lived within the clerical system that he now rightly sees as the dark heart from which the abuse crisis proceeds--a voice that system sorely needs to hear, but to which it does not intend to listen . . . . 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On Names and Naming: A Cousin Asks for Advice

Jacob and Sophia are the top baby names for this year, I just now read at the Yahoo news site.  And as I did so, I thought of a conversation several weeks back when my aunt and her grandson came by for supper one evening.  Business brings my cousin to town frequently these days, and he had spent the day with his grandmother, asking her to help him and his wife think of names for their first baby, which will be born in a few months.  Family names, he wanted, in particular.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dr. Robert Spitzer's Significant Apology to the Gay Community

This is a very important story for a number of reasons: as Benedict Carey notes in today's New York Times, in 2003, Dr. Robert Spitzer published a study that claimed to validate "ex-gay" therapy.  Because Spitzer had played a leading role in the movement that resulted in the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's list of diagnostic disorders, his endorsement of ex-gay "conversion" or "reparative" therapy naturally created quite a stir in 2003.  It gave heart to people attacking the gay community, including faith-based groups offering therapies that many gay folks--and the vast majority of mental health professionals--have for some time now recognized as not merely spurious, but actually harmful to those on whom they're practiced.  

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: How Should Charlotte Catholics React to Democrats in Our Midst?

This is from an interview with Charlotte, North Carolina, bishop Peter Jugis in the local Catholic newspaper, the Catholic News Herald.  I ran across the interview in the past week or so as I read about the shameful involvement of Jugis and his brother bishop Michael Burbidge in the recent political drive to enshrine anti-gay discrimination in the North Carolina constitution, and about the response this involvement was eliciting within the Catholic community these bishops lead. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Political News: Marriage Equality and Obama, Traditional Marriage, and GOP Goals

Congressional Religious Freedom Hearings, Feb. 2012

And in recent news commentary (also with religious themes) about the decision of President Obama to affirm marriage equality:  

This Week in Catholic News: Whole Lotta Crazy Shaking Down

As the work week ends, some valuable commentary on Catholic-themed news that has caught my eye in the past several days:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sister Joan Chittister: News Flash to Catholic Leaders--How about Trying Gospel Instead of Law for a Change?

With her usual stellar commentary, Sister Joan Chittister looks at Catholic officials' current attack on the Girl Scouts (!) in her latest NCR piece, and finds the reliance of said church officials on the law to be self-defeating.  She suggests that they try gospel, instead, for a change.

SNAP Responds to Story of Legionary of Christ Priest Thomas Williams

Barbara Blaine of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests has released a press statement about the story of Legionary of Christ priest Thomas Williams about which I blogged yesterday.  As she notes, Phillip Pullella of Reuters is now reporting that top Vatican officials and top Legionary of Christ officials have known about Thomas Williams's reported transgressions for quite some time now, but have kept silent about them.  

More on Millennials Walking away from Homophobic Churches: Andrew Sullivan and Amanda Marcotte

Interesting overlap between what Andrew Sullivan posted here early yesterday afternoon, and what I had posted around noon on the same topic.  My posting notes that 

of those millennials who happen to have roots in the churches, a significant proportion are walking away as fast and as furiously as they can, to distance themselves from the ugly and unholy behavior many "Christians" continue to be intent on displaying towards human beings who happen to be born gay.

Gerald T. Slevin: More Papal Fears for Children, Women, Nuns, Priests & Gay Persons--Do Only Cardinals Matter to Our Pope?

As the work week nears its end, another outstanding and well-reserached essay by Jerry Slevin--this one arguing that more and more diverse Catholic voices are now harmonizing in an ever-increasing song calling for fundamental hierarchical reform in the Catholic church.  What follows is Jerry's posting:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Catholic Let's-Pretend Game and Legionary of Christ Priest Thomas Williams

About the let's-pretend game-playing that seems to be working with ever diminishing effectiveness for the Catholic magisterium and those who defend it (I have been talking about that a bit today, haven't I?): 

Why the Millennials Are Walking away from Churches: Reminders from Peggy Drexler and Dan Savage

For Catholic centrists who continue (entirely fatuously) to imagine that they can maintain a vibrant sacramental community and vibrant sacramental presence in the world while pretending that their gay brothers and sisters just aren't there and that their testimony about the pain some Catholics inflict on them shouldn't count:

Holy Things for the Holy: Debate about the Sacrament of Marriage among Catholics Today

Garry Wills writes in the New York Review of Books that marriage is a "natural" institution and a natural union that was sacramentalized only late in the history of the Christian churches, when the secular state, which had previously regulated this natural institution, began to fall apart (as the Roman Empire fell apart, that is), and the church began picking up the pieces.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Political Application of the Bible in American Culture: Gay Rights Discussion Keeps Conversation Going

Two more valuable pieces at Religion Dispatches catch my eye today:  

Readers and Links: Bilgrimage Readers on Abuse Crisis, USCCB Attack on Girl Scouts, Clerical Celibacy, and the Purity Trap

As a new work-week begins, I want to take a moment to catch up to some links good readers of Bilgrimage have posted here in recent weeks.  For me, things have been a bit hectic lately, in terms of communication and information sharing, because of my constant work on the draft of the book I'm now finishing (I hope to have it complete by the end of this week).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day, a Look at the Bishops' Attack on American Nuns (and now Girl Scouts!)

Cardinal's Couture

And speaking of mothers, who, like the little girl with the little curl, when they're good, can be very good, but when they're bad, can be horrid:

On Mothers' Day: Remembering Mothers

Remembering my mother this mothers' day:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Visit North Carolina Facebook Page Shuts Down after Hearing from Folks Angry at North Carolina's Bigotry

North Carolina, later the same day--a quick update to what I posted earlier today about the North Carolina constitutional amendment vote this past week:

Fr. Tom Reese on Need for Preferential Option for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Fr. Tom Reese of Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, former editor of America magazine, has just made an outstanding address to the Clergy Abuse Conference at Santa Clara University.  America's "In All Things" blog has helpfully made the text of the address available online.

Stephen Colbert Gets It Right about North Carolina

Stephen Colbert gets it right about North Carolina.  As someone who grew up in its neighbor state to the south and who knows the culture of the Carolinas well.  North Carolina's governor Bev Perdue (who courageously opposed Amendment 1, knowing as she spoke out against it that it would pass by a large majority), is now saying she's embarrassed that her state has earned the reputation of another Mississippi.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chaput Cleaned up the Legionaries, but He Didn't Clean Them up? Please Explain.

Maybe someone can 'splain this to me like I'm a two-year old:

Glenn Greenwald on Why Obama's Statement about Marriage Equality Matters

And, for an alternative to the moral "witness" of Bill Donohue, Timothy Dolan, et al.--for an authentic and credible voice that articulates a position of genuine moral leadership about these issues (I'm piggybacking here on what I just posted about Donohue)--here's Glenn Greenwald writing in the Guardian about why what Mr. Obama said this week matters:

Donohue Spells It Out: We Catholics Stand for Discrimination!

Not that we needed this spelled out, but, on the other hand, isn't it nice that Dr. Donohue has now spelled out for us, in black and white, the intent of himself and the Catholic bishops for whom he shills to keep active discrimination against gays and lesbians alive in the U.S.?  Dr. Donohue told Piers Morgan and Chad Griffin yesterday, 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Catholic Archbishop Advocates for Full American Dream for All!

Michael O'Loughlin heads his latest posting at America's blog, "Archbishop: Why deny full American DREAM?"

Andrew Sullivan on North Carolina's 1875 Constitutional Amendment: Historical Lessons Not to Forget

And speaking of the long, hard struggle that has attended every human rights breakthrough in American culture; and speaking of the price that had to be paid by many people of conscience for many years to obtain equal rights for African-American citizens of the U.S., as principles-lite liberals sat on the fence and pontificated from their perches of "objective," "centrist," uncommitted superiority:

More Commentary on the President's Statement: Balm for Souls of Gay Youth

More commentary on yesterday's statement: this set of articles all draw my attention because they note that, above and beyond any political haggling and calculation that may attend a statement like yesterday's statement, there are real human beings whose real human lives are radically affected by statements like the president's announcement yesterday--or, at the other end of the spectrum, by the actions in North Carolina the day before, and the ugly and downright demonic rhetoric now pouring out of the mouths of many Christians who fatuously imagine the North Carolina vote was a victory over evil.

The President Speaks on Principle, and a Cloud of Witnesses Surrounds Him

There's, of course, a lot of commentary rolling out now about the statements of President Obama yesterday in favor of marriage equality.  Most readers of this blog will probably have read much of the commentary.  But I thought it might be helpful if I gather a selection of pieces that seem to me to have made valuable points about yesterday's remarks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fred Clark on the (Non-Existent) Moral Authority of Those Promoting Anti-Gay NC Amendment

Fred Clark is not very much impressed with the moral authority of those who spearheaded the "victory" of Christians over "the evil" in North Carolina yesterday:

It’s ugly, stupid and deeply immoral. It’s supported by liars, by racists, by Neo-Nazis and by the Catholic bishops — none of which is the sort of authority that decent people can turn to for moral advice.

On the Amazing Beneficence of the 1%: Mr. Fish at Truthdig

A picture worth a thousand words that's knot to be missed: Mr. Fish at Truthdig on the amazing altruism of the 1%, who, after all, only want to be praised as the salvation of the rest of us, as Paul Krugman reminded Reuters earlier this week.

Cooking to Save the Planet: Pasta with Pecans, Cauliflower, and Carrots

From the sublime to the ridiculous: or is it precisely the opposite? I need these creative-diversionary reflections to balance the ugliness being enacted by many of my fellow Christians and fellow Catholics these days.  Enacted out right over the prone bodies of the gay and lesbian brothers and sisters many of my fellow Christians (and fellow Catholics) need to humiliate and hurt in order to assure themselves that they're among the good and righteous.

When Christian People Celebrate Humiliation of Others: Dealing with the Ugly

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Oh William, Please Do Not Equate Me . . . To Your Backward Southern Relatives"

I mentioned the following exchange at the Commonweal blog site in a comment to Michael Ferri earlier today.  I find the exchange amusing for a number of reasons: 

Maurice Sendak, RIP

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Pt. 1
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Puppet Masters of Attack on American Nuns Revealed: No Surprises, Continuing Deep Corruption in Catholic Leadership

2007 Knights of Columbus Annual Convention: Supreme Knight Anderson Gives Gaudium et Spes Award to Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, with Bishop William Lori, KC Chaplain

I'm quite a ways behind with preparing postings these days (and with reading material about which to blog with any coherence or intelligence).  Still immersed in footnote-checking for my book, and discovering--a disconcerting discovery--that one after another reference cited by other texts I'm using turns out to be wrong, when I head to the original source.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gerald T. Slevin: Sexually Abused Catholics, Religious Liberty & Papal Monarchy

As the week begins, another powerful and informative statement by Jerry Slevin.  Jerry is commenting in this posting on the news conference of Philadelphia archbishop Chaput last Friday.  What follows is Jerry's posting:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tom Fox on Vatican Bullying of U.S. Nuns: Men Battering Women

Writing at National Catholic Reporter, the paper's publisher Thomas C. Fox characterizes some of the U.S. Catholic bishops as bullies vis-a-vis their treatment of religious women.  Fox is admirably clear that  the bullying of the LCWR isn't, as the Vatican is claiming, about doctrine: it's about differing pastoral styles, as he notes: 

Leonard Pitts Addresses North Carolina Anti-Gay Amendment: Trying to Hide in the Bible

Gerald T. Slevin: Is Another Shoe about to Fall in the Philly Priests Horror Story?

Jerry Slevin continues to follow the trial of Philadelphia archdiocesan officials carefully, and has provided another statement responding to news that Archbishop Chaput convened archdiocesan priests yesterday and will hold a press conference tomorrow.  What follows is Jerry's posting:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

From the Blogs: Phillip Clark on Inquisition of American Nuns

We're often informed by reactionary Catholics that "all" younger Catholics want a return to a pre-Vatican model of Catholicism marked by rigid doctrinal uniformity and Tridentine liturgical practices.  We're told that the Episcopal church is "losing" and the Catholic church is "winning," since the more the Episcopal church moves toward liturgical and doctrinal pluralism, affirms LGBT persons, and allows women access to ministry equal to that of men, people walk away.  Especially the young . . . .

Funders of Anti-Gay Amendment in North Carolina Revealed: Catholic Bishops and NOM Near Top of List

We can't have meaningful [Catholic] conversation with the public square when we pretend that who the leaders of our church are and how they behave has nothing to do with what Catholic identity means in the public square. 

Fred Clark (and Marilynne Robinson) on Evangelical Tribalism: Implications for Catholics

Moving Beyond Tribalism

I very much appreciate Fred Clark's valuable work in defining and critiquing evangelical tribalism.  Clark's critique of evangelical tribalism parallels my own of Catholic tribalism, and accents points I accent as I critique the tribalism of my own faith community.  I began writing explicitly about Catholic tribalism when the U.S. Catholic bishops announced their current overtly partisan "religious freedom" war against the Obama administration several months ago.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

From the Blogs (Proving You Can't Shut Catholics Up)

Colleen Baker at Enlightened Catholicism on the threat of Bishop Robert Morlino to place St. Mary's parish in Platteville, Wisconsin, under a medieval "interdict" if parishioners keep rebelling against him:

Operative words are "and myself."

John Cornwell on Scruffies v. Straights and Unraveling of Catholic Conversation

In a lively opinion piece in the New Statesman, John Cornwell examines the refractory conversation that now constitutes worldwide Catholicism, and finds it breaking down in developed nations between "scruffies" and "straights."  Scruffies "strive for an inclusive 'big tent' Church (accepting a pluralism of viewpoints and practice, especially on sexual morality and gender)."  Straights "espouse a strictly defined identity, obedient to papal teaching, and declare, for instance, that you can’t help it if you’re gay but it’s a grave sin to get up to anything."

Fintan O'Toole on Vatican Bullying of Irish Priests: "Loud on Liberals, but Silent on Abuse"

Writing in the Irish Times, Fintan O'Toole laments the unbelievable cruelty (the "sadistic humiliation," he calls it) that top Catholic officials are now dishing out to a whole generation of post-Vatican II Irish priests (and, I'd add, nuns in the U.S.) who have served the church with their whole hearts, minds, and souls.  And who now become the enemy, to be hounded, hunted into the ground, whipped and cowed--as a demonstration of the power of the little, threatened men on top of the system.