Thursday, May 30, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Little Kids Are Waiting to Be Used as Examples in Your Morality Purges"

Okay, this birdcage dropping isn't really by a Catholic. It's about us Catholics. It's about how we're increasingly perceived by many of our fellow citizens, even in my conservative bible-belt area where evangelicals more and more buy into the anti-women, anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-abortion party line of the Catholic bishops.

John Nichols on What Made Michelle Tick: $$$$$$


John Nichols at the Nation on what has sustained Michelle Bachmann on the national political scene, despite her clownish statements about, inter alia, light bulbs and evolution (see Gail Collins at the New York Times): it's the $$$$$$. Nichols writes,

Historic Event in France: Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau Become First Gay Couple to Marry

Fellow Sociologist on Regnerus Study: "Key Measure of Gay and Lesbian Parenting Is Simply a Farce"

"The key measure of gay and lesbian parenting is simply a farce."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Book Is Published--Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Century Country Doctor and Philosopher

At the risk of appearing immodest, I do want to announce that my book Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Century Country Doctor and Philosopher, has just been published. University of Arkansas Press kindly sent me a copy hot off the press by special delivery yesterday morning, and I have to say, it looks good to me. (But as my father always responded when my mother admired her children, "Darling, every crow thinks her chick's the blackest").

Quote for the Day: Archbishop "Myers Neither Admits Responsibility Nor Apologizes for What Happened"

Mark Silk on the statement that Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ, has finally made about the Fugee scandal:

Dolan Speaks: Violence Against Some Homosexuals in New York Awful

A footnote to my several postings (here and here) noting Cardinal Dolan's absolute silence about the murder of Mark Carson and the spate of violent assaults on gay folks in New York City recently: at the New Civil Rights Project, David Badash reports that Dolan made the following statement yesterday on the Catholic Channel of SiriusXM Radio:

Belgian Lay Catholic's Letter to a French Priest Agitating Against Marriage Equality: Thierry Peltier vs. Abbé Grosjean, Competing Visions of Catholic Action

Yesterday, a Belgian Catholic, Thierry Peltier, published an open letter at the Mediapart website, responding to one of the Catholic leaders of the anti-marriage equality demonstrations in France, Abbé Pierre-Hervé Grosjean of the diocese of Versailles. Through his Twitter account, Google+, and Facebook, Grosjean has taken an active role in assisting the demonstrations against marriage equality in the streets of Paris. As his adroit use of online tools indicates, Grosjean is a representative of a generation of zealous young priests of the John Paul II-Benedict XVI era who think that the Catholic church needs to return to a belligerent confrontation with contemporary culture, to claim a high profile in instructing secular society about how to conduct its business.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"He Ate with Outcasts" Poster Project: Good News from Margaret Puckette

To those of you interested in obtaining a poster copy of Margaret Puckette's magnificent painting, "He Ate with Outcasts," good news! I've had a very gracious reply from Margaret, who tells me she does own the copyright to the painting (and another note of thanks to Chris Morley for suggesting this might be the case). 

Australians Ask Cardinal Primate to Discuss Abuse in Catholic Church, Pell Talks about Saxon Pilgrim Houses

His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, World Youth Day, 2005

"With respect," said the committee chair, Georgie Crozier, "I don’t want to hear about the Saxons."*

Sanora Babb's Dust Bowl Classic, Whose Names Are Unknown: Endless Task of Making Democracy

Sanora Babb, Whose Names Are Unknown (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma, 2004):

A Summertime Haiku: "Painting the Fence"

Painting pickets standing

Is work.

Sitting? No.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Anti-Marriage Equality Riots in France Enter Second Day, Reports of Priests in Cassocks Observing Violence But Not Intervening

Various news outlets are reporting that after nearly 300 people were arrested in Paris Sunday night following the latest march against marriage equality, a second day of riots erupted today. The UK Metro article to which I just linked says that two journalists have been seriously injured.

A Personal Reflection on Neo-Confederate Clownery

A brief personal footnote about the neo-Confederate nonsense of the folks Frank Cocozzelli is studying (and I'm very glad Frank is keeping the spotlight on these folks): I was, of course, raised with much of that very same nonsense. With the exception of my one Irish great-grandmother, all of my great-grandparents were descendants of colonial Southern families that owned slaves at various points in their history, though some branches of these families also courageously pulled against slavery at some points in their history, due to religious reasons.

Frank Cocozzelli on Neo-Confederate Catholic Ideologues and the Fantasy of Nullification: Memorial Day Reflection

Early in May, I recommended an article by Frank Cocozzelli on the rising strand of neo-Confederate ideology in some sectors of the American Catholic right. Frank's article focuses on Catholic libertarian historian Thomas E. Woods.

Commentators Keep Asking: When Will Cardinal Dolan Address Anti-Gay Violence in New York City?

In a statement at the Huffington Post site this weekend, Joseph Amodeo points out that, in a city that is home to millions of Catholics, the head of the Catholic church in New York City (and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has been "eerily silent" following the murder of Mark Carson. That murder is one in an ongoing series of assaults on LGBT citizens of the city during this year. As Amodeo notes, "Since Mark Carson's brutal murder last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has failed to issue even a minor statement regarding Mark's death or the string of attacks that have taken place over the past few months."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gay Boy Scouts, Catholic Response, and Welcome of Gays: Keeping Catholics Doors Open (or Slamming Them Shut?)

At his Spiritual Politics blog, Mark Silk compares the response of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the leaders of the LDS church to last week's vote to accept openly gay Boy Scout members. Catholic bishops: zipped lips. Mormon leaders: a public (if gingerly) statement of acceptance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Family Stories: "Place of Death: Stairway to Roberts and Clint Domino Hall"

When, for "Place of Death," the death certificate reads, "Stairway to Roberts and Clint domino hall," you have an inkling what's going to follow, don't you? "Cause of Death: 32-caliber pistol."

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Friday Poem: "Hope, in Four Points"

Our little dog Valentine lives to hope.

Robert McClory on Carla Hale Story: A Church "Crippled and Sclerotic Due to Arrogance at the Top"

At National Catholic Reporter, Robert McClory notes that Frank Bruni's summary of the Carla Hale story, about which I blogged on Tuesday, is making the internet rounds. As he points out, Carla Hale's story is, unfortunately, no isolated incident:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "The Whole Church Reeks of Something That Is Far Removed from God"

Yesterday, in his "Morning Briefings" column in National Catholic Reporter, Dennis Coday linked to a Chicago Tribune story reporting that "[i]nternal church records released Tuesday show that Chicago Jesuits consciously concealed the crimes of convicted sex offender Donald McGuire for more than 40 years."

Yesterday's Boy Scouts' Decision: A Selection of Responses

At The New Civil Rights Movement, David Badash helpfully offers the complete text of yesterday's Boy Scouts' statement accepting gay Scouts (but barring gay Scout leaders). And then Badash also helpfully provides a selection of responses to the Boy Scouts' decision.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Suicide of Dominique Venner in Notre Dame Cathedral: Spotlight on Fascist Roots of Anti-Marriage Equality Movement in France

I haven't said anything about the suicide of Dominique Venner in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris several days ago, because there's not a great deal to say, to my way of thinking. Venner himself provided all the commentary we may need about why he killed himself when he posted a statement on his blog prior to the suicide indicating that he was taking his life to protest the enactment of marriage equality in France, as well as the purported collapse of France to Islamists.

Theologian Richard Gaillardetz to Cardinal Dolan: Stand Up for the Rights of Gays As for Immigrants and Unborn

In an essay about Cardinal Dolan as USCCB president, Catholics, and the Boy Scouts, theologian Richard Gaillardetz notes that (as he assured the world that the Catholic church loves the gays), His Eminence admitted on Easter Sunday  that the church hasn't done an exemplary job of communicating this message of love. To which Gaillardetz responds, 

Ephphatha: A Brief Post-Op Recovery Report about Steve

Since a number of you have asked for news about Steve's recovery from eye surgery, I thought I'd take the liberty of sharing a brief update after he saw the surgeon yesterday for a post-op assessment. The surgeon found him doing very well, and to Steve's relief, removed the wires holding the repaired eyelids in place.

More Anti-Gospel Meeting Gospel: Michael Bayly Responds to Archbishop Cordileone about Marriage Equality

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Anti-Gospel, Meet Gospel: Fred Clark Responds to Cardinal Dolan's Dirty Freddie Story

Here's Fred Clark at Slacktivist, with his usual theological acumen and clever insight, tackling His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan's Dirty Freddie "welcome" message to gay folks, followed by His Eminence's choice to have New York's finest bar the cathedral doors when a group of dirty-handed gay folks tried to come to Mass several weeks ago:

Head of New York Anti-Violence Project: What Community Leaders Say about LGBT People of Critical Importance (Is Dolan Listening?)

There has been a recent spate of vicious hate crimes in New York City targeting gay men, including the murder of Mark Carson on 18 May by a man alleged to have shouted homophobic slurs as he shot Carson in the face. As Jay Michaelson has pointed out in Huffington Post, it's surprising that some people find the vicious backlash reaction to gay rights breakthroughs surprising: neither the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and '60s nor the feminist movement has stopped violence against people of color and women. 

Father Fugee Arrested in New Jersey, and Star-Ledger Calls for More Arrests

As a footnote to what I just posted about the new Catholic Whistleblowers group: I noted that Father Michael Fugee, the priest at the center of the latest big scandal in the abuse crisis in American Catholicism, was arrested Monday.

Catholic Whistleblowers Group Forms: "From the Convictions of Our Conscience"

This is very important news: as Laurie Goodstein reports at New York Times yesterday and as Michael D'Antonio writes for Huffington Post, a group of twelve Catholic nuns and priests has organized to monitor and blow the whistle on cover-up of sexual abuse cases by the Catholic hierarchy. The group calls itself Catholic Whistleblowers, and has set up a website with a link that provides information about how you can support this valuable initiative.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NCR Headline: "Church Teaching Doesn't Change"--Really?!

I wonder who wrote the headline for the article by Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service that National Catholic Reporter is now running. It reads, "Church Teaching Doesn't Change, but Church Laws Can."

South Carolina Lawsuit: State Assigned Gender to Hermaphrodictic Baby (and My Theological Reflections)

I blogged a few weeks ago about the story of Thomasine/Thomas Hall of colonial Virginia, who appears to have been a hermaphrodite, and who baffled the Virginia government because she/he straddled the line dividing the genders neatly into this and that, so that Virginia's General Court decided that Thomas (as he was known in Virginia) was both a male and a female, and should wear men's clothes surmounted by a woman's bonnet and apron.

Carla Hale Story Goes National Through Frank Bruni Column in New York Times: "Consider the Selectiveness of the Church's Outrage"

Carla Hale's story is getting national attention today through Frank Bruni's column in the New York Times. He notes a point I stressed in a recent posting about the stories of both Carla Hale and Timothy Nelson: the scouring of obituaries for damning information by the temple police who are determined to keep the gays in their demeaned place in the Catholic church: "The problem is he is a homosexual. He was recently married to another man. He does not hide this or keep it silent," the anonymous letter that resulted in the removal of Nicholas Coppola from ministries in his parish in New York said.

The Devastation in Oklahoma: Government and the Common Good

The devastation in Oklahoma is, of course, in the forefront of my mind this morning. Just yesterday, I swapped emails with a former colleague who now lives not far from Oklahoma City. He was telling me about the previous round of tornadoes that passed close to where he lives. We agreed that those of us who have grown up in or lived in areas where tornadoes are prevalent learn to heed that humming in the blood and bones that tells us tornadic conditions are nearby, though there's precious little one can do except take the best shelter one can find when a tornado approaches.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"He Ate with Outcasts": Another Update on Poster Project

I want to update those of you interested in obtaining a poster copy of the painting, "He Ate with Outcasts," which I've discussed here previously. Before his surgery, Steve made some very good digital images of the painting, and took these to the printshop he uses to do pieces of work for him.

The Catholic Church and Extension of Human Rights to LGBT Persons: When Good News Becomes Bad News

Time spent by the bedside of someone recuperating from illness is musing time. It's the kind of space in which thought reaches deeper inside toward the heart. Musing time opens the door to thinking coupled with reverie, prayer, dreaming. As a result, it can lead to deeper recognitions, ones that see patterns in our lives and the lives of others which we miss when we don't have opportunities for  such recollected listening.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Post-Surgery Report, with Thanks to All of You

Thank you all, who have commented here with good wishes for Steve's recovery or sent us emails. I owe all of you replies, and apologize for being slow to thank you personally.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reforming the Catholic Church Today: Three Perspectives

Steve's surgery seems to have gone well, and he has spent the day sleeping. Thank you, all who have asked about this and have told us you'll be praying. We both appreciate it very much.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Short Blogging Hiatus (and Kudos to Minnesota!)

I apologize for being slow to blog here the past day or so. As I mentioned yesterday, Steve's mother has been visiting us, along with a friend of their family. Tomorrow, they'll be returning home, and even as they board their flight, Steve will have some surgery--and so I'll not be posting tomorrow and perhaps for another day or so, until we get beyond this particular bridge in our lives.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers' Day

A happy Mothers' Day to readers who are mothers. Steve's mother is with us today, and we're preparing a meal for her and some friends and family members. The roses are the centerpiece of the table. When I was a child, the custom was to wear a white rose on Mothers' Day if one's mother had died, and a red rose if she were still living. A good Sunday to all!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Comments on D-I-V-O-R-C-E and USCCB Bulletin Insert Attacking Marriage Equality

Here's a quick weekend footnote to comments I made this week about the U.S. Catholic bishops and the topic of divorce: in the posting I've just linked, I wondered why the Catholic bishops want to continue pursuing an expensive, high-profile campaign against marriage equality when the biggest threat to the stability of marriage in American society is far and away divorce.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Minnesota House Passes Marriage Equality Bill: Commentary from Various Sources

As expected, the Minnesota House did vote yesterday afternoon to advance the marriage equality legislation in that state. As David Badash notes at The New Civil Rights Movement today, the vote was 75 in favor to 59 against. 

Mary Elizabeth Williams about New USCCB Bulletin Insert Attacking Marriage Equality: Embarrassing and Stunning

At Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams takes on the document attacking marriage equality that the U.S. Catholic bishops have decided to insert in bulletins of Catholic parishes throughout the nation in May and June. It's "quite a corker," Williams finds.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Reader Writes: "Yesterday Minnesota Established the Minnesota Child Victims Act Civil Law"

In response to my posting earlier today about the gathering of people of faith in St. Paul yesterday to pray that the circle of love, justice, and inclusion will be widened to include same-sex couples wanting the right of civil marriage, Bob Schwiderski writes

Archbishop John Myers Responds to Investigation of Fugee Case by Hiring Criminal Lawyer: A Pastoral Response?!

And so Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ, is lawyering in response to the Fugee case: as Jeff Green reports for the Newark Record, Myers has now hired a "high-profile criminal defense lawyer," Michael Critchley, to represent the archdiocese as continued calls for accountability pour in after it has emerged that Myers allowed a known pedophile priest, Fugee, to maintain contact with minors and travel with them after the archdiocese had signed an agreement with a court to do precisely the opposite.

Why Are Americans Rapidly Changing Their Minds about Gay Marriage? Hint: It's About Love

Yesterday, I noted the changed mind of University of St. Thomas Law professor Charles J. Reid about same-sex marriage. As I noted, Reid indicates that part of what led to his changed mind about this issue, when he previously opposed same-sex marriage, has been seeing a number of same-sex couples he knows maintain loving, successful unions. This testimony, the lived experience of loving union of some of the same-sex couples Reid knows, has, inter alia, caused him to recognize that the procreative norm by which marriage has historically been more or less exclusively defined should not obliterate the affective norm, which is also there in the Christian tradition.

Julian of Norwich on the Divine Mother: Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father!

At her Jesus in Love blog, Kittredge Cherry reminds us of the significant contributions of English medieval mystic Julian of Norwich to Christian spirituality and theology. Kittredge excerpts several passages from Julian's Revelations of Divine Love on the theme of Jesus as Mother, including this one:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Homosexuals Cannot Marry Any More Than Triangles Can Claim to Be Four-Sided"

At the Commonweal blog, Dominic Preziosi is featuring a dialogue between Peter Steinfels, David Blankenhorn, and Amy Ziettlow about whether liberals can save the institution of marriage. The discussion was sponsored by the Institute for American Values.

People of Faith in Minnesota Gather to Pray that Circle of God's Love Be Drawn Wider

As I read Michael Bayly's account of the gathering of people of faith in Minnesota on the eve of today's House vote on marriage equality, I'm struck by the contrast between his Catholic witness to the gospels and that of my bishops in the USCCB. As I noted in a posting yesterday, my bishops in the USCCB want Catholics across the U.S. to pray, fast, and sacrifice in the hope that the Supreme Court will uphold laws singling out a targeted minority for discrimination.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

U.S. Catholic Bishops Continue "Fortnight for Freedom" Events, Call on Catholics to Pray to Uphold DOMA and Prop 8

As the day ends: note the bulletin insert that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has produced under the leadership of San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to be placed in bulletins of Catholic parishes throughout the U.S. It's entitled "Marriage and the Supreme Court," and asks Catholics to pray, fast, and sacrifice with the intention that the Supreme Court uphold both the Defense of Marriage Act and proposition 8 in California. I say that this insert comes from Cordileone because he heads the USCCB subcommittee on marriage and family, though it's, of course, an initiative with the backing of the entire USCCB.

Now Delaware, Followed by Minnesota? Commentary by Minnesota Catholic Law Professor on His Changed Mind

As Delaware permits marriage equality on the heels of Rhode Island and Minnesota prepares to vote, I'm struck by Charles J. Reid's testimony about how his mind has changed on this subject. Reid is a Catholic professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guns, God, and the Old Confederacy: A Report from Down Home

Another just-can't-resist item: our statewide paper Arkansas Times is reporting right now that churches around the state are trying to decide whether to permit guns to be toted to worship of a Sunday, now that our tea-party legislature has passed legislation permitting this. For Catholics, Bishop "I Will Not Allow" Taylor of course has the last word and speaks on behalf of all of us:

Pictures from Late Winter, Early Spring

Just for the heck of it: photos from several months ago, that Steve just transferred to my computer as he transferred his far better snapshots of the "He Ate with Outcasts" painting I posted some days back, about which we've had discussions here (and re: which we're now very close to having some specific information for anyone wanting copies). What follows are photos Steve took on one of our afternoon walks in February: