Monday, February 29, 2016

National Catholic Reporter on "Spotlight" Win: "The Mighty, Indeed, Have Fallen from Their Thrones; the Humble Have Been Exalted"

National Catholic Reporter editorializes about "Spotlight"'s winning best picture at the Oscar ceremonies last evening:

A Movie Recommendation: "The Lady in the Van"

Since I've talked movies here earlier today, it occurs to me to recommend another film Steve and I saw this past weekend — Nicholas Hytner's "The Lady in the Van," which was written by Alan Bennett and based on his play of the same name, which in turns was based on material in Bennett's book of memoirs, Untold Stories (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005). I blogged about Untold Stories here several years ago (and here and here), and, when I did so, included a posting about "The Lady in the Van."

"Spotlight" Shines Brighter, Wins Best Feature Oscar!

Well. This is amazing news to have awakened to this morning. Even as His Eminence Cardinal George Pell was saying the following in Rome after his security guards had strongarmed Australian journalists,*

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"I Love the Evangelicals!": More on Love Affair Between White Evangelicals and Donald Trump

As the week turns, more articles I'd like to recommend to you all about the hot and heavy love affair between white evangelicals and Donald Trump:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Here Comes Trump the Butcher with a Heaping Plate" of the Reddest of Meat: So Why Are White Evangelicals Flocking to Trump?

So how have we gotten here, in the nation with the soul of a church? How have we gotten to the point at which racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia of the grossest, most blatant and obvious sort has come out of the closet in our political process and is being mainstreamed, normalized, by one of our two major political parties?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

More News: Scalia, Scalia, Scalia, and Trump, Trump, Trump (Plus Pope Francis)

And still more pieces of commentary I'd like to recommend to you today — these on political themes (but since Pope Francis has blessed Aristotle's definition of the human being as the animal politicum, perhaps it's fine to lump political and religious commentary together, especially in the nation with the soul of a church?):

In Catholic News: Smoke, Mirrors, and Pope Francis on Abuse; Pope's Zika-and-Contraception Remark; Diocese Settles with Employee Fired for Same-Sex Marriage; U.S. Bishops' College Plans to Fête Archbishop Viganò

Some bits and pieces of commentary that has caught my eye in recent days, which I want to pass on to you. These snippets are all commenting on recent Catholic-themed news stories:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Francis DeBernardo on Discrepancy Between Pope's Political Intervention in U.S. and His Total Silence About Anti-Gay Laws in Africa

Francis DeBernardo at Bondings 2.0 on the . . . curious . . . discrepancy between Pope Francis's choice to wade into politics in the U.S., while he remained totally silent about cruel, draconian anti-LGBT laws when he went to Africa:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Abuse Survivor Megan Peterson on Pope Francis's Recent Statement About Holding Bishops Accountable: Actions Talk Louder Than Words

In what I posted earlier today about Pope Francis's recent statement that a bishop who moves a priest to another parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is irresponsible man and should resign, I stated, 

Some Questions I'd Like to Ask: Why Do Some Abuse Survivors (in My Experience, Straight White Males) Love the GOP and Donald Trump?

I have some questions to ask you readers. I've been kicking around some of these questions in my head after attending the national SNAP gathering last year and meeting folks who are gung-ho about Donald Trump's candidacy — abuse survivors who think Trump is a breath of fresh air, and will help them pursue their goal of getting church leaders to crack down on child abuse.

In the News: The Pope, the Donald, the Gospel, Walls and Bridges, Contraceptives — and, Though Overlooked in Media Reports, Bishops Who Transfer Pedophile Priests

Among the several remarks made by Pope Francis on his flight back from Mexico to Rome Wednesday night, the one remark that is getting little media coverage but may be most important of all is the following:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"What Proceeded from There Encapsulated the Vast Reasons Why Women Abandon Organized Religion": Kaya Oakes on What Happened When She Tweeted, "God's Not a Dude"

Kaya Oakes, The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Believers, Seekers, and Those in Between ( Maryknoll, NY: Orbis 2015): 

A Note of Apology: I've Fallen Behind in Acknowledging Your Comments; I Do Appreciate Them

This is a quick note to tell you all that I've fallen behind again with acknowledging comments here, and I apologize for having done so. I have no compelling reason to be behind — just scattered energy and focus as I work on a number of projects at the same time.

Update on Story That Vatican's Telling Bishops They Need Not Report Abuse to Authorities: Cardinal O'Malley Issues Statement (and Where's Pope Francis?)

Last week, I noted that it was being reported that the Vatican is informing newly appointed bishops that they do not have an obligation to report sexual abuse of minors by priests to criminal officials. As I noted, reports were indicating that, in issuing such advice to new bishops, the Vatican was relying on a training manual by French priest Tony Anatrella. Anatrella is a well-known opponent of "gender theory" and of more affirming approaches to LGBT people, and he seems intent on continuing the scapegoating meme that seeks to make gay priests responsible for the abuse crisis.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Quote for Day: Fred Clark on Antonin Scalia and How to Avoid Having One's Death Perceived As a Source of Liberation

Fred Clark on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

bell hooks on Worship of Death As Central Component of Patriarchal Thinking: Reflections on the Legacy of Antonin Scalia

The Constitution is a dead document, Scalia said.

• You can know that a society or a church is dead or well on the way to death when it proclaims that its foundational documents (a Constitution, a Bible) are dead.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Remembering Antonin Scalia: Twitterverse Testimony

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa to Magazine of ILGA-Europe: "The Catholic Church Needs Its Own Stonewall"

As a Valentine's day gift to you, here are some excerpts from an interview that Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa has just done with Juris Lavrikovs for the Magazine of ILGA-Europe (pdf file). As many of you will know, Krzysztof Charamsa is a Polish priest who formerly worked in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and who came out publicly as gay right before the synod on the family opened last fall. He was then quickly defrocked by his bishop, and has given a number of previous interviews I've highlighted here — to Religión Digital (and here), The Guardian, and LGBT News Italia. He has also written an open letter to Pope Francis (and here) appealing to him to address the inhumane treatment of LGBT people by the pastoral leaders of the Catholic church.

Friday, February 12, 2016

From Bad to Worse in News Of Catholic Abuse Crisis: Vatican Tells Bishops They Don't Have to Report Abuse to Authorities, Indian Bishop Places Criminally Convicted Priest in Ministry

This week, as Carnival was in full swing in many Catholic regions of the world and as the body of Padre Pio was paraded in Rome in a glass coffin, things appear to have gone from bad to worse in news of the response of Catholic officials to the abuse crisis. Patricia Miller sums up the response of many thinking Catholics (and non-Catholic observers) to the papal abuse commission's recent silencing of Peter Saunders by noting that "[f]or abuse survivors, the move to silence Saunders confirms their fears that the commission was largely a PR tactic."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Diarmaid MacCulloch on Historians, Silence, and Sexual Orientation: "As a Gay Child and Teenager, I Also Effortlessly Developed . . . An Observer Status"

A few days ago, I made some connections between Diarmaid MacCulloch's book Silence: A Christian History (NY: Penguin, 2013), which I had just finished reading, and the silencing of abuse survivor Peter Saunders by the Vatican abuse commission, which has expelled him for speaking out about the inaction of Pope Francis vis-a-vis clerical abuse of minors and its cover-up. An interesting theme of Silence, and of MacCulloch's work as an historian in general, is how his growing up gay (and the son of an Anglican parson) informs his work as an historian.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kaya Oakes on Why Americans May Not Get Pope Francis's Insistence on Mercy: "Racism, Homophobia, Violence"

In the News: Catholic Committee of Appalachia Opposes West Virginia "Religious Freedom" Bill; Kathryn Knott Sentenced in Philadelphia Gay-Bashing Incident

Catholic Committee of Appalachia, The Telling Takes Us Home (p. 59)

Some updates today to items about which I've posted here previously:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Devout Catholic for Donald Trump!" "I Don't Care What the Tradition Says or Does Not Say"

Meet Patsy, a self-described devout Catholic for Donald Trump! Patsy is also a self-described "frightened person" who supports Mr. Trump because, as she (or is it he?) admits, Mr. Trump plays to Patsy's fears. As Patsy repeatedly explains when she comments at discussion threads of National Catholic Reporter, she loves Mr. Trump because he will "destroy our enemies" (and here).

Peter Saunders, Member of Vatican Abuse Commission, Silenced, and I Finish Reading Diarmaid MacCulloch's Silence: A Christian History: Making the Connections

Silences such as Christian involvement in child abuse, anti-Semitism, slave-owning, demand constant rupture. On such noise does the health of Christian society depend. 
~ Diarmaid MacCulloch, Silence: A Christian History (NY: Penguin, 2013), p. 216.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Patricia Miller Asks Important Question: "What Does It Mean for the Church That the Last Three Heads of the CDF Have Been Implicated in Covering up Sexual Abuse?"

Recommended: Patricia Miller's latest essay at Religion Dispatches, in which she continues to note the connections between the brutal attack on theologians regarded as dissidents under the previous two popes, and the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse of minors by the top leaders of the Catholic church. As she notes, the former head of the diocesan lay council in Regensburg has stated that the current head of the Vatican's watchdog agency, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Müller, "systematically" covered up clerical sexual abuse cases when he was archbishop of Regensburg. As Patti notes, Pope Benedict's brother Rev. Georg Ratzinger was choirmaster of the Regensburg cathedral boys' choir, about which allegations of abuse of choirboys over many years are now surfacing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mary Hunt Asks, Should Barbie Get Her Feet Washed at Church?

Should Barbie get her feet washed at church? theologian Mary Hunt asks in a sharp new essay at Religion Dispatches noting the interesting coincidence of the Vatican's announcement that women can have their feet washed on Holy Thursday coming down the same week that Mattel announced three new sizes for Barbie and a number of other variations in its old model. And then Mary Hunt says:

Reader Writes: Catholic Master Narratives about Abortion "Don't Cover Much Ground Outside the Western Middle-Class Bubble That Can Afford to Treat Human Sexuality Like a Cupcake Addiction"

In response to my posting earlier today about the Zika virus and the lack of any response — yet — to the serious moral question it poses for the absolutist "pro-life" stance of some folks today, cranefly writes:

United Methodists Discuss Anglican Communion's Sanctioning of Episcopal Church USA for Support of Same-Sex Marriage: Implications for UMC Future?

WHO Declares Zika Situation Global Medical Emergency: Pro-Lifers? Any Response?

A footnote to what I posted yesterday (pointing you to an article by Emma Saloranta) about the cruel irony of leaders of predominantly Catholic nations encouraging women not to become pregnant as the Zika virus becomes rampant in those nations — when neither abortion nor contraception is an easily available option for many women in these nations:

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Interesting Story of Megan Phelps-Roper's Conversion by Twitter: When Online Interaction Cracks the Shell of Cultic Anti-Gay Religious Belief

Who knew? If you're a religious fanatic raised in a tight, repressive, closed-off, bitterly angry religious environment, in a religious community which believes that it and it alone has all the answers to all the serious questions that may be asked by any serious person, the internet might turn your life upside down. 

In the News: ACLU and Colleges Discriminating Against LGBT Students; Anti-LGBT Bills in State Legislatures; Pakistan Censors Gay Times Photo; Anglican Leaders Out of Touch; Dancing Priests and Nuns in Italy

Here's an omnium gatherum of stuff — related in my strange head, but perhaps it won't appear that way to you — that has caught my magpie's sharp eye in recent news: 

Emma Saloranta on Cruel Irony of Latin American Leaders' Advice That Women Not Get Pregnant As Zika Virus Spreads

Emma Saloranta commenting on the cruel irony of the instructions issued by leaders of Latin American countries in which the Zika virus is now spreading rapidly, not to get pregnant while the virus is spreading: