Friday, September 30, 2016

What's Church For? A Catholic, Evangelical, and New Atheist Perspective in Today's News Commentary

It's interesting to see today, as I scan news commentary sites, a number of articles all commenting on the decisive exodus of younger people from churches in the U.S. right now. Though none of these articles is really addressing the other, as I read them, I see points of connection, and I think it would be helpful to put them in dialogue with each other regarding the question I asked again yesterday: "What on earth is church for?" if so many white Christian voters are choosing Donald Trump this election cycle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Reader Writes: "First, Let Us Assume a Spherical Cow": How Christian Theological Thinking Often Gets Done

Nicole Chase responds brilliantly to my discussion yesterday of the bizarre proposal that people (disembodied ones, it seems) leave religious groups simply because they "stop believing" — and not because actions taken or doctrines taught by religious groups that affect real people in the real world precipitate real people's loss of faith in religious institutions:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Patricia Miller on Catholics Driving Exodus of Nones, Kaya Oakes on How Nones Aren't Coming Back — And Why Should They, Considering What the Church Is Offering?

Two more helpful pieces of commentary on the recently published PRRI report about why Americans (and especially younger ones) are leaving religion behind — both at Religion Dispatches:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Readers Write: If 60% of "Nones" Say They've Just Stopped Believing, We Can Ignore the 40% of Catholic "Nones" Who Left Due to Abuse of Gays, Right?

Yesterday, I noted that, in a recent posting at the Commonweal blog, Michael Peppard points to the finding of a just-published PRRI survey that some 40% of Catholics who have left religion behind report that a primary reason for their walking away from the church was its abuse of gay people. PRRI underscores this finding by noting that those raised Catholic are more likely than people raised within any other religious community to cite anti-gay behavior within their own religious community as a reason for leaving that community.

Trouble with Logging In to Disqus and Commenting? Some Pointers

I've posted about this issue in the past, but since I have heard from a number of people lately who are having problems accessing their Disqus account and leaving comments here, I thought I'd address that issue in a posting today — and point you to some resources that may help you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Those . . . Raised Catholic Are More Likely Than Those Raised in Any Other Religion to Cite Negative Religious Treatment of Gay and Lesbian People" As Reason for Leaving Church

In case you missed this in my posting about this topic yesterday, I want to lift this quotation out of the just-published PRRI report about why Americans (in particular, younger ones) are leaving religion behind: about Catholics who have left the church behind, PRRI reports,

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wijngaards Declaration: Catholic Scholars Respond to Humanae Vitae on Use of Contraception — Implications for Gay Catholics

As the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the Catholic magisterium's ban on the use of artificial contraception, approaches, Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research has released a statement of a group of Catholic theologians calling on the pastoral leaders of the Catholic church to reassess this teaching, which has not been received* by lay Catholics. Regarding the natural law argument that Humanae Vitae makes as its primary reason for ruling that the use of artificial contraceptives is gravely wrong, the statement notes:

Data on Why Younger Catholics Are Leaving Church Grow Stronger: Some 40% Report It's Because of Catholic Hostility to Gay* People

Screenshot from PRRI report on why Americans are leaving religion behind, Sept. 2016

"Do I Matter?" "Am I Human?" — Questions Some of Us Force Others of Us to Ask, Over and Over, As Clock Ticks to Presidential Elections

Top headline, Huffington Post U.S., 9 A.M., 24 Sept. 2016 — 44 days before presidential election

Friday, September 23, 2016

No One Should Be Placed in the Position in Which Rakeyia Scott Was Placed: American Racism and the Heritage of Slavery

Last week, I finished reading Edward Baptist's book The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (NY: Basic Books, 2014), a masterful work of history situating American slavery within the context of a global capitalistic economic system from which many people beyond slaveholders in the American South benefited — though the ties of many people outside the American South to the economic system of slavery that enriched them have seldom been acknowledged. Today, as I listen to Keith Scott's wife Rakeyia pleading with police to spare her husband's wife in the video she took on her phone of his fatal encounter with Charlotte police, the first thing that flashes through my mind was the countless number of mothers and wives that pled in anguish on auction blocks not to have their families torn asunder.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Things Getting Interesting in Catholic Liturgies: Polish Bishops Decree Sign of Peace to Be Preceded by Accusing Fellow Parishioners of Sin

One more gloss on today's news:

Glossolalia: Another Firing of Gay* Catholic Employee; Young Still Leaving Churches in Droves; Pence As "Evangelical Catholic"; Silly Media Meme About Trump Supporters' "Economic Anxiety"

Glosses on the day's news:

1. You'll be shocked at this story (not!): another day, another firing of a gay* employee of a Catholic institution in the U.S.: Bob Shine reports that this Monday, the Catholic parish of St. Mary in Providence, Rhode Island, fired its music director Michael Templeton. Because he's gay and civilly married . . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Francis Effect for Gay* Folks? Still Elusive, As Bishops Around Globe Throw His Harsh Words in Faces of Gay* People

Yesterday, I drew your attention to a just-published essay by Patricia Miller which suggests that the U.S. Catholic bishops have done less saber-rattling this election cycle than in previous election cycles, in part, "due to the influence of Pope Francis, who has let it be known that such blatant politicking is no longer welcome." And so, Patti Miller proposes, there's a discernible trend of church-going John-Paul-II-type white Catholics away from the GOP ticket this election cycle, since the bishops are behaving differently in a church now led by Pope Francis.

Kali Holloway on Online Trolling and How It's Getting Worse with Trump: "Angry White Men Who Believe and Propagate the Idea That They Are This Country's Oppressed Class"

Kali Holloway thinks online trolling is getting much, much worse. Because Trump, to a great extent. Trump legitimates bullying, overt expression of hatred ("I love him because he has no filters," his supporters like to say), the attempt to shut down necessary conversation with screams about trumping b——es, or hanging and assassinating political opponents.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Patricia Miller on Why White Catholics of the John Paul II Church May Be Rejecting Donald Trump: "Seems Awfully Quiet in the Catholic Trenches This Year"

In a just-published essay at Religion DispatchesPatricia Miller takes a sharp look at the discernible trend of white Catholics towards Hillary Clinton and away from Donald Trump. I discussed this trend several weeks ago, calling it slight. Patti Miller offers persuasive evidence for it as more than a slight trend, and notes, in particular, the movement of white church-going Catholics of the John Paul II church in the direction of the Democratic candidate and away from the Republican one — a noteworthy trend, when that demographic has been trending "with alacrity" to the GOP since 2000, as she states.

No, Trevin Wax, Genesis Creation Accounts Aren't About "Family Structure" — And, Yes, Polygamy (with Concubinage and Slavery) Is the Default Notion of Marriage for Eons in the Old Testament

As I've mentioned to you previously, I find myself in this pre-election season spending more and more of my online time sharing information in my Facebook and Twitter circles. And that accounts, in part, for my relative silence on this blog, where I have long tried to write something more substantive than people normally share on social media — and where I continuously fall behind with thanking you for your outstanding comments here. I really am grateful for them and apologize that I haven't been taking time to acknowledge them.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Reader Writes (But Not to Me): Impossible to Talk About "the Catholic Vote" Without Talking About Difference Between White and Hispanic Catholics

Another "reader writes" posting today — though this one is a comment at another site, not a Bilgrimage comment. At Religion Dispatches, Neil J. Young writes about "the Catholic vote" and how it is favoring Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump. As you'll know if you've followed commentary about this issue here and elsewhere, there's a big difference between what white Catholics are reporting regarding their political choices in the coming election, and what Hispanic Catholics are reporting. 

Readers Write: Butching Up the Priesthood, Hoplophilia Among the Clergy, Developing Clerical Manly Muscles, and Matching Papal Shoes and Gloves

Sparkling commentary here in the past several days, which I've been reading with delight, amusement, and amazement (who knew there's such a thing as hoplophilia?). To allow readers who may not pore over discussion threads a chance to hear some of your remarks, I'm going to lift them into a posting. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Richard Sipe on Why Benedict XVI's Sexual Orientation Matters and Must Be Discussed Honestly

In a 2012 essay at his website entitled "Is Pope Benedict Gay?," Richard W. Sipe maintains that "[t]he time has passed when popes are immune from observation of their humanity even their human sexuality." Then he goes on to argue, with reference to Pope Benedict XVI, the following:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On the De-Gaying of Popes (and Saints): The Media May Sell, But I'm Not Buying

At Catholic news and blog sites, I'm now reading comments the gist of which is to say that if the media and biographers have declared Pope Benedict XVI to be heterosexual, then heterosexual he must be. I wonder about the credulity that seems to me to lie behind such acquiescence in this media meme.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Violent Thuggery Continues at Trump Rallies, As Media Hare After Rumors About Hillary Clinton's Health (2)

I'm just now seeing this information that provides an important footnote to what I posted earlier today about the criminals and thugs who are being attracted to Trump rallies, where they're assaulting people. As I noted in my first posting about this matter today, Thomas Anthony Vellanti, Jr., who was arrested after hitting people and pulling their hair at the Trump rally in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday, was arrested last year in Miami on charges of assault and battery.

Violent Thuggery Continues at Trump Rallies, As Media Hare After Rumors About Hillary Clinton's Health

As many of you will perhaps have read, an arrest warrant has been issued for a man, Richard Lamar Campbell, who allegedly slugged a 69-year-old woman with COPD in the face at Trump's rally in Asheville, North Carolina, this week. Campbell knocked Shirley Teter to the ground, according to her testimony and that of eyewitnesses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Catholic Church Cannot Alter Teaching on Marriage Because "There Is Explicit Teaching Over Centuries"

Michael Sean Winters writes that the Catholic church cannot alter its teaching on marriage because, "On marriage, there is explicit teaching over centuries."

Arkansas Catholic Schools and Discrimination Against Gay Students: But These Schools Are Private After All, Aren't They?

As the Catholic diocese of Little Rock implements a cruel new policy for Catholic schools throughout Arkansas that makes gay* students invisible (see here, here, and here), an argument I'm hearing bruited about locally is that, well, these are private schools after all. They can and should be allowed to do whatever they want.

A Recommendation: Stephen Edward de Weger's Thesis "Clerical Sexual Misconduct Involving Adults within the Roman Catholic Church"

A resource I'd like to recommend to you: Stephen Edward de Weger's master's thesis (pdf) in the School of Justice of Queensland University of Technology's Faculty of Law. It's entitled "Clerical Sexual Misconduct Involving Adults within the Roman Catholic Church." Stephen's outstanding thesis draws on interviews with adults sexually abused by Roman Catholic authority figures, notably priests. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: "Religious Liberty Was Never Intended to Give One Religion . . . Veto Power Over the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of Others"

Anne Hilt, "Religious Freedom' Means Putting LGBT Americans Back in the Closet"

Martin R. Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in the newly released USCCR report (pdf), Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties:

Caring for Creation Central To Pope Francis' Papacy?

Tony Magliano writes that caring for creation is central to Pope Francis' papacy.

Well, as long as creation is not gay.*

* Gay = LGBTQI

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Twitter Has Field Day with Ridiculous GOP (and Mainstream Media) Pearl-Clutching at Discovery That Women — Like Men — Can Develop Pneumonia

Cruel New Policy of Diocese of Little Rock Attacking Gay Youth: More Discussion from Various Blog Sites

As I noted yesterday, the astonishingly cruel new policy forbidding students (and employees) in Catholic schools in Arkansas from even saying gay* is now being widely discussed in various places. I'm glad to see the discussion taking place. I'm grateful for two responses to what I myself have published about this cruel policy by two bloggers I highly esteem, Guy Lancaster and Alan McCornick.

bell hooks on Patriarchal Masculinity and the Will to Dominate — Not to Love

I have shared this excerpt from bell hooks' All About Love with you previously.

I'm sharing it with you again today — because Donald Trump and his supporters.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Vincent Panettiere's These Thy Gifts: A Snapshot of Lay Catholic Rage About the Abuse Crisis, and the Corruption Evoking That Rage

As with any text, there are a number of different ways one might approach Vincent Panettiere's new novel These Thy Gifts (Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016). The plot certainly deserves attention. It's frankly engrossing, spanning the history of American Catholicism from the post-World War II period to the present in a way that mimics the action of a camera scanning back and forth from period to period. The camera metaphor is not beside the point, since the novel itself makes frequent references to classic films and is self-consciously aware of the way in which it mimics theater and probes the thin (perhaps nonexistent) line between fact and fiction.

"Catholic Schools in Arkansas Are Attempting to Erase the Identities of LGBT Students by Threatening Them": P.S. Still Not Getting Better Under Pope Francis

The new policy regarding gay* (in summation, they don't exist and can't exist in Catholic schools) students in Arkansas Catholic schools is getting more media attention. For New Civil Rights Movement, John Wright writes,

Friday, September 9, 2016

It's Not Getting Better Under Pope Francis: Report from My Own Back Yard, Where Catholic Schools Are Ordered Never to Say Gay

You know how I keep saying it's not getting better under Pope Francis — not for gay* Catholics? This is from my own diocese. This is the story we returned home to Arkansas yesterday to read when we clicked on the news this morning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

As a Week of Travel Ends, Update on My Whereabouts: Pope Francis, Donald Trump, and the Lack of Viable Alternatives to Male-Entitled Heterosexist Misogyny

I have to be honest: I don't see things getting better for gay* Catholics in the Catholic institution as it's currently configured. Not under Pope Francis, despite media spin suggesting that he has opened doors to greater inclusion of gay folks in the Catholic community . . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Readers Write: Pope Francis, Fox News, and Image Management; Humanae Vitae and Catholic Left's Sell-Out; Following Christ as Screaming the Catechism

Here are four valuable comments from conversations on Bilgrimage in the past week or so (conversations about different topics) — comments that continue to ring in my head after I've read them, so that I want to lift them into a posting where more readers can discover them and benefit from them:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Note to Readers: Hoping to Catch Up Soon, Enjoying Your Lively Conversation About Online Trolling — And About Our Obligation to Push Back Against Hate Speech

I'm away on a short jaunt, dear readers, and may not catch up with my task of acknowledging your welcome comments (or with my blogging task) for a day or so. I do want to tell you all how much I've enjoyed — and learned from — the lively conversation about handling trolls at various Catholic blog sites.