Sunday, September 30, 2012

Redefining Marriage: A Salient Reminder

From the Facebook page of Americans Against the Republican Party, a pithy reminder that we've already redefined marriage.  A long time ago (and over and over again), since marriage and family are institutions that constantly evolve and change.  Always have.  Always will.

Letter on MN Catholic Conference Website Takes Catholics Supporting Marriage Equality to Task: I Respond

The Minnesota Catholic Conference is now featuring on its website a letter written by a Catholic who finds his heart breaking that some Catholics in the state have signs in their yards saying they're voting no on the proposal to amend the state constitution to ban marriage equality.  The signs say, specifically, that these folks are voting no as Catholics and because they're Catholics.

Raymond Cardinal Burke: "The Face of Catholic Conservatism"

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday featured a Religion News Service article by David Gibson about Cardinal Raymond Burke of St. Louis as "the face of Catholic conservatism" these days.  The picture at the top of the posting is from the article.   Points the article makes:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Catholics and Politics: Intra-Catholic Discussions Enter Public Square in 2012 Elections

One of the interesting side-effects of the overt politicking of the U.S. Catholic bishops of late is that the bishops are succeeding in pushing conversations previously held entre nous, within the confines of the Catholic sanctuary, right out into the public square.  Where God and everyone's aunt can see the serious fault lines running right through the center of American Catholicism.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quote of Day: Leslie Savan on Paul Ryan and the Abject Failure of Tea-Party Extremism

Quote of the day--Leslie Savan at Salon The Nation on what the tanking of the Romney-Ryan ticket may portend for the future of the American right:

Ryan was chosen to suggest that there’s a rising tide of low-body-fat young people who can’t wait to join the GOP, help update Ayn Rand, and gently ease Medicare off a cliff. But the minute Ryan seems like he’s leading a conga line into a roach motel instead, he becomes toxic. He could come to represent the abject failure of those ideas with the Republicans’ own base.

Chick-fil-A Executive Resigns: "It's Become a Safe Place for People to Hate"

As a follow-up to the Chick-fil-A story about which I blogged several times (e.g., here) a number of weeks ago: Prachi Gupta writes at Salon that CBS Atlanta is now carrying a story about a Chick-fil-A executive who has resigned from his corporate position in the food chain because "[i]t’s become a safe place for people to hate and expect to be patted on the back for it."  The executive who has just resigned, Steve Cammett, states that his eyes were opened when, following Chick-fil-A's founder Dan Cathy's announcement that he opposes marriage equality, Cammett saw a customer put his arm around one of his colleagues and say,

[W]e are sure glad your company is taking a stand against those perverts.

A Reader Writes: "There's a Rich Vein of Understanding about Marriage That Remains to Be Discovered"

Another stellar comment here in the past few days by boltingmadonna, who writes the following in response to my posting earlier in the week about Archbishop Cordileone and Cardinal George and the knotted knickers of Catholic leaders vis-a-vis their gay brothers and sisters:

Big News: Obama and Democrats Enjoying Wide Lead Among Catholics

The big news now vis-a-vis Catholics and politics in the U.S.: as Daniel Burke reports at Religion News Service, a Pew Research Center poll conducted on 16 September shows Obama leading Romney among American Catholics by 54-39 percent.  As Burke notes, this widening lead is despite the U.S. bishops' "fortnight for freedom" shock-and-awe events this summer, and despite Romney's having selected Catholic Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "I Used to Think We, My Church and I, Were about Love"

My first posting this morning spoke of the heart pain I experience right now as I see a church I chose in the 1960s because its welcome table appeared open to all--the Catholic church--mount a brutal attack on LGBT human beings designed quite specifically to communicate to me and mine that we are not welcome at the Catholic table.

Homecoming Poems: Popcorn, Dogs

Two short poems commemorating our return home earlier in the week from our trip:

Popcorn I love.

Salt in bed,


Phyllis Zagano on the Electorate and "Common Responsibility for One Another in Society": Keeping Catholic Social Teaching Honest

Phyllis Zagano writes,

The electorate seems agreed to a common responsibility one for another in society. The discussion is not whether but how to provide for the needy, while retaining individual freedoms (and earnings).

The Welcome Table: Further Reflections

After I blogged about the welcome table this past Sunday, I began doing a bit of online reading.  The Mountain Dulcimer Noter and Drone blog, to which I provided a link in my Sunday posting, sparked my interest in the history of the old American hymn "Welcome Table."  My online reading has led me to YouTube, where I've now listened to a series of recordings of the hymn by various artists and groups.  I want to share three of these with readers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Subscription Feature Added to Bilgrimage

A quick note to tell any readers who may have had difficulty subscribing to Bilgrimage by using the "subscribe to" feature on the main page that I've just added a "follow by email" button.  A reader of the blog had emailed to tell me she had been trying to subscribe using the former feature, and in an attempt to solve her problem (and other readers may have encountered the same problem), I've just found the "follow by email" option in Blogger's add-on list.

The Religious Freedom Debate: Do Men and Women Approach It Differently?

About the news that women voters are opting by large percentages to vote for the Democrats in the 2012 U.S. elections: I've been thinking lately (and so flash the warning sign: this is me thinking out loud, and these untested ruminations could be 1] wildly wrong, 2] dangerous, 3] completely unformed, 4] all of above).  I've been thinking, to be precise, about what strikes me as a fairly strong gender breakdown in the discussion of religious freedom issues in the U.S. right now.

Midweek News: Women Breaking for Obama, GOP Extremism, Spanish Rallies

And another midweek selection of articles--these commenting on political issues discussed previously here:

Midweek News: Maryland Marriage Equality, Mel White, Sr. Simone Campbell and Romney-Ryan

A midweek miscellany of articles commenting on topics we've been discussing here of late--the following religion-and-politics themed:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cordileone Slams Gays Receiving Communion While George Knocks Gay Relationships: Catholic Leaders Exercising Pastoral Leadership

In a Los Angeles Times article by Maria L. La Ganga about the selection of Salvatore Cordileone for the position of archbishop of San Francisco, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese is cited saying, re: the Vatican and the U.S. bishops on marriage equality,
They're serious, and they're not going to back down.

Texas Says It's Going to Get Better

A well-done and moving video from LGBT officers of the Austin, Texas, police department, uploaded to the It Gets Better project.  Hat tip to Abby Zimet of Common Dreams for the link to the video.

Nate Phelps on Fred Phelps's Family: "Ideology . . . Supported and Promoted with Violence"

Nate Phelps's conversation with Dick Gordon at Salon today is noteworthy because of its explanation of how the virus of patriarchal violence is transmitted generation to generation.  Nate is the son of the notorious virulently homophobic pastor Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist church in Kansas.  He notes bluntly that the tendency to intrafamilial violence stems from the "fairly common idea" in fundamentalist Christian households that the husband is the "head of the family" and has a right to discipline his wife and his children.  To bring them into submission to his "absolute authority," as Nate Phelps puts the point . . . .

Monday, September 24, 2012

Andrew Sullivan on Jesus and His Wife Discussion: "Jesus Clearly Saw Women as Total Equals"

Andrew Sullivan on the "Was Jesus married?" discussion:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Do Not Confuse This as a . . . Catholic Issue"

James H. Duncan writing to the St. Paul Pioneer Press in a statement that this newspaper featured as its lead letter of the day one day last week:

A Reader Writes: "Strange Omission in a Book That Celebrates the Diversity of God's Many Manifestations Among the Marginalized and Oppressed"

In response to my concluding posting about Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God, Jayden Cameron left a valuable comment, noting that he, too, has wondered about the dearth of voices in "official" Catholic theology articulating the faith experiences of LGBT persons.  Jayden is perturbed that Johnson mentions gay folks at only a single point in her book.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More on Discussion of Jesus and His Wife: Fred Clark at Slacktivist

At Slactktivist, Fred Clark offers the best summary I've seen up to now of the theological implications of the discovery that Jesus had a wife--if such a discovery could be proven:

Sunday Thoughts: Pho, Fried Plantains, and Welcome Tables

Lines overheard in a Vietnamese restaurant in St. Paul:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Monkeying Around with Jesus: More on the Spanish Fresco Story

And speaking of remaking Jesus in our own (?) image (I'm referring here to what I just posted about Jesus and his wife): the story of the botched Spanish fresco in which Ecce Homo has been, according to some wits, transformed into Ecce Mono, continues.  Yesterday, Fiona Govan reported in The Telegraph that the Sanctuario de Misercordia in Borja, Spain, where artist Cecilia Gimenez restored the Ecce Homo fresco, is now charging admission to see the painting.  And tourists are flocking to the area for a sight of the botched artwork.

Sarah Morice-Brubaker on New Coptic Manuscript Discovery: Did Jesus Put a Ring on It?

In the lines I wish I'd written category, Sarah Morice-Brubaker writing about the discovery of a fourth-century Coptic papyrus fragment that may (or may not?) indicate Jesus was married:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Catholics Ignoring Bishops, Trending Democratic As U.S. Elections Near: Polling Data, My Reflections

Snatching a free moment later in the day to catch up on news-reading--and to post the following:

Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God: Concluding Theological Reflections (2)

Continued from yesterday's posting--again a transcript from a journal entry I've written as Steve and I travel, after I finished Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God: Concluding Theological Reflections

We're still traveling, and blogging remains difficult.  I thought, however, that I might share today some reflections I've jotted down in my journal as we travel. These are about Elizabeth Johnson's book Quest for the Living God. To be more precise, they're about reminders and insights provoked for me as I reconnect to the American Catholic theological academy by reading this book. These insights are not about Elizabeth Johnson personally, and not even about her book: they're about the Catholic theological academy in which her work is situated and whom it primarily addresses.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Angus Sibley: Does Paul Ryan Follow Ayn Rand or St. Thomas Aquinas?

Angus Sibley at National Catholic Reporter on the ways in which Paul Ryan's Randian ideas--"extreme individualism; absolute belief in free markets and the sanctity of private property; adulation of entrepreneurs and traders; and withering contempt for the state"--are seriously at odds with Catholic social teaching:

Nicholas Cafardi on Cardinal Martini, Attack on Liberation Theology, and U.S. Elections

Nicholas Cafardi at America's "In All Things" blog on Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the suppression of liberation theology by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict), and the current U.S. elections: 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Joseph O'Callaghan to Voice of the Faithful: A New Catholic Reformation

As a companion piece to Anne Burke's Voice of the Faithful speech last week, which I posted yesterday, I'm now posting Joseph O'Callaghan's comments to the VOTF gathering as he received the Saint Catherine of Siena award on 14 September.  As with Anne Burke's speech, Joe O'Callaghan's commentary comes to us by way of Jerry Slevin--and I'm very grateful both to Jerry and to Joe for their generosity in seeing that this material is made available to Bilgrimage readers.  Joseph O'Callaghan is a professor emeritus of history from Fordham University, author of Electing Our Bishops (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and a leader of the active Bridgeport, Connecticut, VOTF group.  His presentation as he received the Saint Catherine of Siena award follows:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anne M. Burke to Voice of the Faithful: Envisaging a World-Wide Council of the Laity

The following is Anne M. Burke's speech to Voice of the Faithful, 14 September 2012.  This comes to us courtesy of a request by Jerry Slevin to Anne Burke to permit it to be posted here.*  I appreciate Jerry for bringing this to us, and Anne Burke for her graciousness in allowing Bilgrimage to post her speech, which follows:

Traveling--Blog Hiatus

Dear Folks,

I am away from my desk right now accompanying Steve on a business trip that also allows us to visit his family.  My blogging time may be limited for several days as we travel.  I hope this week is going very well for all of you.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Notes: James Matthew Green's Northern Lights

And since I'm writing today about themes of remembrance, about our search for meaning in the lives of those who have gone before us, when those lives often seem superseded by what post-Enlightenment thinkers have taught us to see as progress, I'd like to recommend to readers a book recently published by a friend of mine.  This is a novel that deals with themes of remembrance and, quite specifically, with the challenge of bringing to light lives that haven't been remembered by history because they have not been honored by those who write history.

More on Remembering: Metz and the Suffering of Ancestors

To complement what I posted earlier today in remembrance of my mother's death, another passage from Elizabeth Johnson's Search for the Living God (NY: Continuum, 2008)--(I warned you I'd probably be quoting this book incessantly in coming days, no?).  Here, Johnson is summarizing a central point of Johann Baptist Metz's theology of dangerous memory: 

In Remembrance: The Anniversary of a Mother's Death

Today's the 11th anniversary of my mother's death.  She died four days after 9/11 in 2001.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

From the Blogs: Fred Clark on One-Question Answers to Complex Ethical Questions, Wayne Besen on Dolan Praying as Priests Prey

Congressional Religious Freedom Hearing, Feb. 2012

From the blogs: at Slacktivist, Fred Clark engages the simplistic (and wildly popular) slippery-slope argument many Christians use to keep the gays and the pesky questions they pose at bay: open the door to you sorts, validate you and what you say, and where will the process end?  Question the taboos about homosexuality, and anything will then follow.  

From the Blogs: The Grace of Queer Theory and Queer Theology

Sr. Teresa Forcades, OSB

At his Queering the Church blog, Terry Weldon presents excerpts from an interview at Iglesia Descalza with Catalan Benedictine sister Teresa Forcades, who observes,

From the Blogs: Finding God on the Margins and in Exile, as a Catholic Woman

Cynthia-Marie O'Brien at Killing the Buddha writing as a Catholic woman alienated from the church but keenly searching for encounter with the living God, about her experience of finding God on the margins:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Elizabeth Johnson (and Karl Rahner) on the Value of Atheism for Christians

Last December, I posted here a few remarks about the death of Christopher Hitchens in which I stated, 

Religious Freedom in Light of Libyan Incidents: A Challenge to U.S. Catholic Bishops

I wrote several days ago about the limbo in which the criminal conviction of Bishop Robert Finn (and the refusal of Rome up to now to remove him from office) places American Catholics.  As I did so, I zeroed in on the total lack of moral credibility the U.S. Catholic bishops have managed to achieve for themselves in recent years:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bishop Finn's Story in Broader Context: John Paul II and the Demise of Pastoral Bishops (with Links to Previous Bilgrimage Postings)

As readers who have followed Bilgrimage for some time now will no doubt know, I've been tracking commentary about Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph for a number of years.  Readers just tuning in to his story after his criminal conviction on charges of having failed to report a priest under his authority in possession of child pornography may be unaware of the larger context of the Finn story--and, in particular, of how that story is set within the context of a certain style of episcopal leadership that has come to dominate the Catholic church under the last two papacies, and which has led to bishops taking an overt and, some might argue, rather shrill role in the culture wars in the U.S. in recent years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NCR Editorial Calls for Bishop Finn to Resign or Be Removed

And still another important statement about the conviction of Kansas City bishop Robert Finn on criminal charges of having failed to report the possession of child pornography by a priest under Finn's pastoral authority: National Catholic Reporter has now published an editorial calling for Finn either to resign or be removed by Rome.  As the editorial notes, now that he has been convicted of this crime, if he wanted to volunteer to teach religious education class at a parish in his diocese or chaperone a parish youth group to World Youth Day, he would not be allowed to do so.  Because the diocese has policies in place requiring a criminal background check before one can work with young people in local Catholic institutions.

Jeremiah Goulka's Conversion Story: From GOP to Reality-Based World

Speaking of the imprisoning effect of being on top (as I just did in my remarks about Hanna Rosin's end-of-men thesis as summarized by David Brooks): I find Jeremiah Goulka's description of his movement from youthful Republicanism to adult reality a fascinating conversion story.  Goulka entitles his essay "Joining the Reality-Based Community: Or How I Learned to Stop Loving the Bombs and Start Worrying."  He employs familiar tropes of classic conversion stories like that of Saul-Paul in the Christian scriptures or of St. Augustine in his Confessions: once I was blind, and then I could see.  Once my eyes had scales across them; then the scales fell off and I recovered my sight.

The End of Men Discussion: Reflections

Occasionally, David Brooks will write a column that I'll find worth reading.  To be honest (and I've said this repeatedly here), I find Brooks in general a turgid and unoriginal thinker whose primary mission as a journalist seems to be to give a pseudo-intellectual gloss to pretend-serious conservative ideas. To ideas that don't bear careful inspection, once one looks beneath the glitzy surface of "intellectualism."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Later in the Day: Mary Elizabeth Williams on "Worldwide Story" of Emmett Burns and Chris Kluwe

Later in the same day: Mary Elizabeth Williams comments at Salon on the "worldwide story" of the "crapstorm" Emmett Burns created when he sought to suppress Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo’s right to free speech, and Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe responded--about which I blogged earlier today.

Romney, Healthcare, and God-Talk: The Marketplace Will Save Us

And a final postscript to what I wrote earlier in the morning about Paul Ryan and the moral dimensions of his budget: I do want to give credit where credit is due.  I don't want altogether to discount the GOP's insistence on keeping God front and center in the public square.

Chris Kluwe's Takedown of Emmett Burns and the Moral Arc of History

I haven't yet made any mention of the recent masterful takedown of Maryland state delegate Emmett Burns by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.  As those who have followed the story will know, after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo voiced support for marriage equality in Maryland, Burns sent a letter to Ayanbadejo's employer Steve Bisciotti, insisting that Bisciotti "inhibit such expressions from your employee."

More Commentary on Bishop Finn's Criminal Conviction: Grant Gallicho, Mark Silk, Frank Cocozzelli

Several more pieces of valuable commentary on the story of Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City and his conviction last week on charges of having failed to report Father Shawn Ratigan after Finn learned Ratigan had pornographic images of children on his computer:

The Ryan Budget and the Pro-Life Ethic: Keeping Discussion Real

Scads of political commentary as the U.S. elections near.  Here are a few tidbits that speak to me this morning:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Reading Theology and Retaining Sanity: A Report on Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God

More in the trying-to-retain-sanity vein about which I blogged yesterday--trying to retain scraps of sanity as the political balderdash and religious drivel pour out in the weeks ahead of the 2012 elections in the U.S.: