Monday, August 31, 2015

Kieran Tapsell on Bishop Geoffrey Robinson's Testimony Before Australian Abuse Commission: Vatican's Belief That Church Law Trumps Civil Law Is Big Obstacle for Commission

Highly recommended: Kieran Tapsell's conversation with Noel Debien of ABC Australia yesterday evening. Kieran Tapsell is an attorney and author of the book Potiphar's Wife: The Vatican's Secret and Child Sexual Abuse (Adelaide: ATF Press, 2014). In introducing Tapsell, Debien notes that the testimony last week of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson before the Australian Royal Commission about Sexual Abuse has gotten surprisingly little media coverage. I suspect this may be the case because, as I noted in my posting last Wednesday about Robinson's testimony, he was unsparing in his criticism of the silence of the powerful Pope John Paul II about the abuse crisis in the Catholic church, and he also stated bluntly that the popular Pope Francis has not provided real leadership for the church as it addresses this crisis.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Amanda Marcotte on How Ashley Madison Leaks Demonstrate What Christian Conservatives' "Traditional Marriage" Is All About

Amanda Marcotte notes how the Ashley Madison leaks have shown us all over again what conservative Christians mean when they talk about "traditional marriage": Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, informs us that sexual license (think: gays, divorcees, cohabitants) is ruining marriage, and men who stray often do so because their spouses are not submitting to them adequately and serving their sexual needs satisfactorily. Anna Duggar is expected to absorb blame for Josh's infidelity (and, it goes without saying, to forgive him). And Nia Rader sits behind Sam Rader as he confesses to the world that he was a less than admirable exemplar of traditional marital values while he was on the internet extolling the beauty of his marriage even as he maintained an Ashley Madison account.

Ashley Madison Leaks: Men, Women, and Nannies — When Gay Men Excuse the Sexual Shenanigans of Straight Men. Because Testosterone.

It's probably no secret to readers who have followed this blog over a longish period of time that I don't buy into all of the orthodoxies of the more "mainstream" (for want of a better word) LGBT movement. In postings here, I've criticized in the past, for instance, Andrew Sullivan's boys-will-be-boys approach to questions of masculinity — the proposal that men behave promiscuously and aggressively because of testosterone, and that it's fatuous and totalitarian for cultures (under the impulse of feminism) to try to curb and weed out this behavior, or to suggest that it's learned, culturally determined behavior and not behavior grounded in and excused by biology.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Christina Keneally on Bishop Robinson Before Australian Royal Commission: The Difference Silence Makes

As Christina Keneally has reported for The Guardian, in his testimony before the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson minced no words. He excoriated the silence of the powerful pope John Paul II, and said that Pope Francis has not provided "real leadership" regarding child sexual abuse in the Catholic church. 

Did Gay Marriage Cause Ashley Madison? Taking the Arguments of Folks Like Ross Douthat to Their Logical Conclusion

Did gay marriage cause Ashley Madison? Has permitting same-sex couples to marry caused millions of heterosexual folks to cheat on their spouses? As Business Insider reports this morning, only three zipcodes in the U.S. did not have folks signed up for Ashley Madison. Two of those were in Alaska, one in New Mexico, and all together, they have a whopping total of 476 population.

Monday, August 24, 2015

At Least 1,000 Words: Signe Wilkinson on the Boy Scouts, Pope Francis, and the Gays

Signe Wilkinson of Truthdig commenting this morning on, well, all kinds of things that I think will be obvious to you as you think about the cartoon . . . .

Katrina: The Obligation to Remember — "Hurricane Katrina Exposed Our Nation's Amazing Tolerance for Black Pain" (Jamelle Bouie)

Rebecca Solnit on why we need to get what happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina right: 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tom Doyle on Hypocrisy in Spades in Milwaukee Settlement with Abuse Survivors

Today's National Survivor Advocates Coalition News features an op-ed piece by Tom Doyle entitled "Milwaukee: Hypocrisy in Spades." I'd provide a link for you to read it in its entirety, but don't yet find it online. I highly recommend that you subscribe to NSAC News. You can do that by clicking here. If I find down the road that NSAC has published Tom Doyle's essay online, as I think will happen, I'll provide you with a link. (Later: MarkWilliam has kindly emailed to point out to me that the text is at We Are Church Ireland; If NSAC also publishes it, I'll provide that link, too.)

Josh Duggar and Ashley Madison Revelations: Commentary I Find Worth Reading

A selection for you this morning (blossoms or weeds? — you please decide) from things I've been reading about the revelation that, while employed by Family Research Council and attacking gay folks as premier threats to the sanctity of marriage, Josh Duggar had two accounts at the Ashley Madison cheat-on-your-spouse site: 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Will Newark Archbishop John Myers Be at Papal Events in U.S. Next Month? Yet Another Sordid Tale of Clerical Abuse (and Cover-Up) from Newark Diocese

Archbishop John Myers

A question that comes to my mind as I read Mark Mueller's article at Religion Dispatches Religion News Service* about New Jersey priest Manuel Gallo Espinoza, who is now being sought by New Jersey authorities after he has admitted raping a 15-year-old boy, Max Rojas Ramirez: 

More Blooms (or Weeds?) from My Garden: Catholic Mexico Has Marriage Equality, "Progressive" Australia Doesn't — What Gives?; Why the Huge Overlap Between Men's Rights Movement and Libertarian and Atheist Movements?

I keep plucking blooms (Or are they weeds? It's often hard to distinguish) from my garden, and want to offer you a few more today as a little nosegay:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bob Shine on Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron's Conference "Welcoming" LGBT Catholics: When Welcome Means Anything But

Bob Shine yesterday at New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog, commenting on Detroit archbishop Allen Vigneron's recent "welcoming" conference for LGBT Catholics, at which he compared destroying committed gay relationships with Moses leading the chosen people out of Egypt:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Resource to Recommend: Ruth Krall on How to Smell a Rape-Prone Campus

Here's a very valuable resource I'd like to share with you, which Ruth Krall has just uploaded to the "Tools" section of her Enduring Space blog site: "How to Smell a Rape-Prone Campus" (pdf file). I'll point out, too, that it's timely, as a new semester begins for college students around the country. 

Sincerely Held Belief of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis That Same-Sex Marriage Undermines Sanctity of Her First, Second, Third, and Fourth Marriage

I like this response by ChristianLove to Mike Wynn's recent article at Religion News Service about Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis's continued defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the governor of her state, and a federal court. Because, she and her Liberty Counsel advisors insist, her religious beliefs should trump a law that applies to everyone else, since her bible (which contains not a word about homosexuality, a word developed only in the 19th century to describe a psychological concept totally unknown to the biblical writers) is clear about homosexuality . . . . 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Catherine Théry's Commentary on Gender Roles: What Happens When Barbie Invades Classic Paintings?

Another problem-solving exercise for a hot and lazy (for me and perhaps many of you) Saturday in August: how does French artist Catherine Théry's send up of Leonardo da Vinci's depiction of the Last Supper fit together with Samantha Allen's analysis of the controversy about Target's decision to tone down the gender tagging of toys for children, about which I blogged earlier today? It seems to me that Théry is saying something very interesting that meshes neatly with what Allen is saying. Your thoughts?

(As Matthew Tharrett's article linked above indicates, the graphic is from Catherine Théry/Splash.)

Samantha Allen on Controversy re: Target's New Gender-Neutral Policies: "In the Bizarro World of Far-Right Logic, Gender Is at Once the Strongest Force on the Planet and the Most Fragile"

Samantha Allen brilliantly analzyes the bizarre irony at the heart of protests against Target's new policy of shying away from gender-tagging of toys:

A Problem-Solving Exercise for the Weekend: The Gospel and the Gays — When Churches Decide to Define Members of the Human Community As the Enemy

Here's a little exercise in problem-solving for you on an August weekend that will be, for many readers as for me, lazy and warm:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

SNAP's Q and A on Pope Francis and Abuse/Cover Up Crisis: Highly Recommended

And speaking of the upcoming papal visit to the U.S. (I just did so in my previous posting, didn't I?), SNAP has published a very valuable Q and A written by David Clohessy, on Pope Francis and the abuse/cover up crisis. I highly recommend this document to you. It does an outstanding job of arguing that the so-called "Francis effect," in collusion with an adulatory media, give many of us the impression that Pope Francis has done something substantive to address the issue of child abuse by clerics in the Catholic church.

"Sharing Our Lives as Theology 2": Another Videotaped Conversation Between Ivone Gebara and Me, on the Papal Encylical Laudato Si'

At Easter time this year, I shared with all of you a video that came to us as an Easter gift from two amazing readers of Bilgrimage, Rachel Fitzgerald and Mark Shumway. As I noted when I shared this video, Rachel and Mark maintain the evolvingdeepforms blog to which this blog links.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PRRI's American Values Atlas on Abortion, Marriage Equality, and Immigrants: What Does "Pro-Life" Really Mean?

Take the American Values Atlas map at the Public Religion Research Institute website, ask it to generate a national map showing state-by-state responses to the question of whether abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and then compare this map with the map generated when you ask the AVA who opposes same-sex marriage.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Few Issues Are More Crucial to the Fate of Poor Families Around the World Than Women's Access to Contraception

In response to Phyllis Zagano's National Catholic Reporter article noting that women's lives matter, and opening with the disclaimer that, no, Zagano is not writing about Donald Trump as we may have assumed, Betty Clermont replies,

How Black Lives Matter Has Changed the Church: But Where Are the Catholics (and How Can a Meaningful Pro-Life Ethic Ignore Racism)?

In this valuable Huffington Post article about how the Black Lives Matter movement has changed the church, find the Catholic voice.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Swords. And Dying by Them.

What follows is a series of excerpts from things I read/watched this morning, which all seem to me to have a common theme, one about taking swords and dying by them (Matthew 26:52). Violence is in the air we breathe, throughout the world. Our choice is not whether we shall or shall not breathe. It's whether we shall or shall not cooperate with the violence that is part and parcel of our daily existence.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Remembering a Friend on His Birthday: Holiness in Ordinary

I didn't actually say I wouldn't post this weekend, did I? :)

What prompts me to do so today is that today's the birthday (in 1916) of a remarkable person who, along with his wife, had a great deal of influence on Steve's and my life over many years, and I feel prompted to share with you some memories of these friends. Two nights ago, I dreamt of them, and yesterday when I thought about the dream, I did a bit of googling and discovered that today is my friend's birthday. Abner died in 2003 and his wife in 2005, not long after she and the other elderly residents of the care home in which she was living were evacuated from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Conversing and Converting: An Examination of Blog Conversations (and Why I'm Shutting Down Conversation Threads for the Weekend)

Chris responded to what I posted yesterday by using the phrase "somewhat sour." I myself have been feeling strongly the acerbic edge of conversations here in the past week, when what was for me something of a mountaintop experience at the SNAP conference on the weekend somehow became an occasion for bickering, nit-picking, attacking, heckling.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

People Talking: About Matt Shepard, White Male Privilege, Women's Health, Guns and Bombs, and LGBT Rights and Catholic Schools

"He was always struggling to find that place where he belonged," a friend of Matthew Shepard says in Michele Josue's wonderful documentary "Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine." That line makes my ears perk up (and my heart feel heavy). So many people who feel different and are treated as different spend their lives trying to find a place, any place at all, to belong.

Ruth Krall on Sexual Violence Activism in a Mennonite Voice: A Presentation to the 2015 SNAP Conference

Several days ago, I offered you an initial "teaser" report from the recent SNAP conference in Alexandria, Virgina. In that report, I told you how impressed I was by the sizable contingent of folks from the new SNAP-Menno chapter — people coming out of the Mennonite tradition, with years of activist experience dealing with issues of sexual violence (and exclusion of and violence against LGBT people, it should be also noted) in their own religious community.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tom Doyle in Robert Blair Kaiser's Whistle: "Survivors Have Changed the Course of Catholic History. They Have Accelerated the Paradigm Shift of the Church"

I don't want to wear you out with excerpts from Robert Blair Kaiser's book about Tom Doyle, Whistle. I do encourage you to consider buying it, because the proceeds from sale of the book go to groups like SNAP who are doing the important work of assisting survivors of religious sexual abuse. I encourage you to buy the book and read it for that reason, and also because it provides a good overview of the way the abuse crisis has unfolded in the Catholic church — though, as I tell Jerry in a remark here today, I do have my own strong reservations about how Kaiser treats the issue of homosexuality. I hinted at some of those last summer when I wrote a review of Kaiser's book about Pope Francis and the Jesuits.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tom Doyle in Robert Blair Kaiser's Whistle: "I Was Dead Wrong . . . in Believing the Bishops Would Do the Right Thing"

"In the first months of my involvement in 1984 and 1985 I was convinced that once the bishops learned of this horrific problem they would quickly reach out to the victims and fix the problem. I was dead wrong. I was wrong in thinking the bishops knew nothing of the reality of sexual abuse of the vulnerable by clerics and I was wrong in believing the bishops would do the right thing." 

~ Tom Doyle, "To the True Heroes — The Survivors," in Robert Blair Kaiser, Whistle: Tom Doyle's Steadfast Witness for Victims of Clerical Sexual Abuse (Thiensville, WI: Caritas, 2015) (p. iii).

The SNAP Conference: A Personal Response (on Being Made Human Garbage by Church Leaders)

More on the SNAP conference this past weekend: for me personally, the conference made a big impact in a way that’s not really easy to explain. I suppose the best way to aim at explanation is to say that listening to people who have had no option except to give up on the churches – meeting many such folks in such a concentrated group – has set my heart at ease about the similar movement of my own religious and spiritual life.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Recommended: Robert Blair Kaiser's Whistle, on Tom Doyle's Life and Work with Abuse Survivors

I appreciate Jerry Slevin's reminder, in a response to my posting earlier today, about Robert Blair Kaiser's last book (Kaiser died in April this year), Whistle. Jerry notes that Whistle is an examination of Tom Doyle's life and work with abuse survivors. 

SNAP's 2015 Conference: A Few Remarks and Teasers

One of the reasons I've been slow to post in the past several days, dear readers, is that I've been at the national meeting of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Alexandria, Virginia. Because I attended the meeting primarily to take part in the leaders' gathering preceding the conference itself, I don't have any kind of well-developed report of the conference to offer you. I didn't attend a large number of presentations at the meeting.