Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From the Blogs: Raining Gays, Nuns and More Nuns, Rats and Regnerus, and Jesus

At Huffington Post, Larry Womack notes that  "[w]hen it comes to sex, study participants lie a lot."  This may be particularly true of LGBT folks who live in places where honesty can come with a very high price.  And so how do we get a fix on the percentage of the U.S. population who may be gay?  Womack proposes looking at studies of who googles to find gay porn.  The surprising finding: some of the most conservative anti-gay states in the U.S.  (hint: Texas, Florida) are high on that Google list.

At America's "In All Things" blog, Nicholas Cafardi finds it . . . interesting . . . that, when it comes to rebels, to outright schismatics (think SSPX), the Vatican is willing to do somersaults to bring the schismatics back.  When it comes to faithful dissenters (think American nuns), not so much.  Cafardi has a Swiftian proposition for the LCWR: go into schism.  Then the Vatican might treat you decently for a change.

At Enlightened Catholicism, Colleen Baker agrees with Cardinal Levada, the nuns' present inquisitor, that there can hardly be a meeting of the minds between the Vatican and American religious women.  As she points out, with the men in Rome, it's all "obeying and being rewarded by external authority--especially for Catholic women."  With the nuns it's "about internalizing Catholicism and living it reflexively . . . ."  And it's hard to find a bridge between those alternative universes of empty, coerced external conformity and lived, practiced internalized Catholic values.

At Heresy and Humor, TheraP notices the same disconnect, and the bizarre need of Catholic conservatives to play the numbers game when it comes to nuns: our traditional communities have more nuns than your Vatican II communities!  We've won, you've lost.  An argument that, as TheraP proposes, has little to do with Jesus, who "said nothing about numbers proving anything," but who suggested that we can judge the quality of spiritual life by the fruits it bears.

At Yes!, Mark Engler finds the Vatican parodying itself these days with its attack on American religious women.  As he points out, we've all long known the pope wants a smaller, purer church.  But "little did we know that women would be one of the groups he would be willing to purge in his misguided quest for purification."  Thanks to Michael Bayly at Progressive Catholic Voice for providing Engler's article.

At The Worthy Adversary, Joelle Casteix wonders how the Vatican point man for the LCWR inquisition, Archbishop Sartain of Seattle, dares to put faithful religious women's lives under the microscope when he has a bit of a log in his own eye with his handling of clerical abuse cases.

At Hepzibah, Alan McCornick provides the cleanest, most concise summary of what's wrong with Mark Regnerus's "gay" parenting study that I've yet to find.  Alan: "It takes no time at all before one can smell a rat in these conclusions."  Because, as he points out, the study is about dysfunctional as compared to intact families, and not about gay parents and their children at all.  Though that's not how the media mavens enthralled with the big $$$$ laid out by Bradley and Witherspoon intend to spin the study.

At Slacktivist, Fred Clark takes a sharply focused look at how the political and religious right manufacture totally false resentment memes to pander to resentful tribalism in American culture.  Fred focuses on the candy-canes parable, as he notes how, in American culture, resentment flows curiously backwards.  It's the haves who, we're told, have the right to resent the have-nots, the powerful who should resent the powerless, whites who must resent blacks, men who should slap women down.  As Fred concludes, this manufacturing of such counterintuitive resentment takes time, work, and money.  There's a whole industry involved in its creation (see: Mark Regnerus, NOM, the Bradley Foundation and Witherspoon Institute, and media mavens like Ross Douthat): "It’s not easy to make resentment flow backwards. It takes work. It takes design, intent, choice and effort.  And it takes stories. Lots of stories."

At Andrew Sullivan's Daily Beast Blog, Sr. Jeannine Gramick looks at the biblical basis of an ethic that includes gay human beings in the church, and stops reducing, demeaning, objectifying, attacking, dehumanizing, and lying about them: "If we could have any text on our foreheads, I think that's the one we should emblazon: "In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, neither heterosexual nor homosexual.  We are all one in Christ."

Sullivan's site has a video clip in which Sr. Gramick spells out this exegesis.  It's a  valuable reminder of why the men running the Catholic church so powerfully fear the women who actually put Jesus's teachings into practice in their lives.  Against such displays of conscience, witness, compassion, and solid biblical and theological grounding, it's hard to argue, though the centrist defenders of the indefensible keep right on nattering (and shaming themselves) with demands that "true" Catholics absolutely have to "embrace" the Catechism!

The graphic is from the Greater Cincinnati Solidarity for Sisters Facebook page.

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