Monday, November 11, 2019

"You Served Your Tour with Valor": Honoring Veterans of the African-American Struggle for Justice and Dignity




Today is the U.S. Veterans' Day holiday, and as tributes to this or that family member who has been in the military pop up in my social media feed, I'm thinking of a tribute my friend Wendell Griffen posted on his blog a number of days back to an Arkansas civil rights attorney and state representative, John W. Walker. John Walker died 28 October, and Wendell eulogized him at his funeral in Little Rock on 1 November.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Father Tom Doyle's Recent Lecture, "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church"



I'd like to point you today to a resource Ruth Krall has told me about: as the video at the head of the posting indicates, recently, a lecture that Father Tom Doyle gave last month at Gonzaga University has come online in video format. The lecture is entitled "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church," and was presented under the auspices of Gonzaga's Flannery Lecture series.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

"It's Not All in the Past": Commentary on Abuse Stories in the News Now, Across Church Lines and National Lines


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

As Hallowe'en Approaches….



My apologies to you readers of Bilgrimage for being away from this blog for so long. I may have mentioned at some point that I have been working for quite some time to co-author a book that will be published by University of Arkansas Press. The book, whose title is A Family Practice: The Russell Doctors and the Evolving Business of Medicine, 1799-1989, will come out this spring. I've co-authored it with a cousin of mine, Bill Russell, who is a descendant of the doctors discussed in the book, and Mary Ryan, formerly head librarian at the library of the University of Arkansas Medical School.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Newman Canonized, and Talk of His Love for Ambrose St. John Rocks the World of Macho-Heterosexist Clerics: My Thoughts


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Jeff Chu on Meeting the Woman Who Fired Him Because He Was Gay: Valuable Twitter Thread for #RiseUpOct8



The Twitter thread Jeff Chu shared yesterday, which begins with the tweet above, is very important to read today, as the Supreme Court hears more arguments about the "right" of people to appeal to religious belief as their basis for discriminating against LGBTQ citizens in the workplace, in schools, in public services, in housing, in the marketplace, etc.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Douglas Hostetter, Interfaith Paths to Peace

Photo is from Doug Hostetter's Picture of Peace website.

INTERFAITH PATHS TO PEACE

Douglas Hostetter
United Nations NGO Representative
Pax Christi International
Peace Pastor
Evanston Mennonite Church
(former) Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Lecturer
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
(former) Adjunct Professor 
Goshen College, Goshen, IN
DougHostetter@gmail.com

Presented at 
First International Conference On Peace And Conflict Resolution
University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
April 29-30, 2019

Abstract

The paper draws heavily on my personal experience doing alternative service with the Mennonite Central Committee in Vietnam during the American War in Vietnam (1966-1969) and directing the Bosnian Student Project during the War in Bosnia (1992–1995), when I was the International/Interfaith Secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Glitch with Disqus Today

Readers of Bilgrimage: there appears to be some glitch with the Disqus commenting system today, and I wanted to alert you to it. When I go to the blog page and try to reply to comments, Disqus tells me I need to check my internet connection. But when I click one more time immediately after that to post my reply, it goes through.

If you are encountering a message that you are not online as you try to leave a comment here, or are not signed in, clicking your reply a second time may well send it through. I do not know why the glitch is occurring and will try to get a solution to it, but in the meantime, I did not want you all to think you cannot comment here due to this technical problem.

Dominican Priest-Theologian James Alison Receives Affirming Phone Call from Pope: When Will the Call Come for the Rest of Us?



I am delighted for James Alison's sake. He's a first-rate theologian.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

It's Still Going on — Cover-Up of Abuse Is Still Going on — and Catholics Know This, Do not Trust Their Bishops, and Are Withholding Money



Since some of us recently had a discussion here about Catholics withholding donations to parishes and Catholic institutions because many Catholics see their money put to uses that disgust them, including covering up clerical abuse of minors, I thought I'd draw your attention to this recent article by Brian Fraga. As he reports, Catholic donations to parishes and Catholic institutions in the U.S. are dropping because many Catholics believe their donations have been abused, in particular, to cover up clerical sexual abuse of minors. Fraga writes,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, First to Be Investigated Under New Church Guidelines: A Selection of My Commentary on Crookston Diocese Over the Years


The bishop of the Catholic diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, Michael Hoeppner, is now under canonical investigation for allegedly interfering with civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual abuse of minors. As Jean Hopfensperger states in the report I have just linked, Hoeppner is the first sitting bishop to be investigated under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and disciplining bishops in such matters.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Wendell Griffen, "Standing with Elaine"

With the permission of my friend Judge (and Reverend) Wendell Griffen, I'd like to share with you a statement he has made recently on his blog The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope. A bit of background: as Wendell's posting notes, in October 1919, hundreds of black men, women, and children were murdered in an event in eastern Arkansas now known as the Elaine Massacre. There are some outstanding historical accounts of what occurred in this massacre — one of the largest race-based massacres in American history. These accounts provide a narrative of what happened to the extent to which historians can piece together what occurred, when so much evidence has been lost or suppressed.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Two Mass Shootings in Texas in One Month: Who Owns Guns in the U.S? (Answer: White Republican Evangelical Men Above All)

Latest mass shooter in Texas from Odessa American



Friday, August 30, 2019

"George Pell AC (born 8 June 1941) Is an Australian Cardinal of the Catholic Church and Convicted Child Sex Offender": Questions We Might Ask



Plus ça change: for people who profess to be all about taking history and tradition seriously, many self-professed Catholic conservatives/traditionalists seem uncommonly unwilling to learn anything at all from history. Several decades ago, there George Weigel and the folks at First Things were, loudly proclaiming the innocence of the notorious serial abuser of youth and drug addict Father Marcial Maciel and defaming those like Jason Berry who did their journalistic duty and told the world the truth about what Maciel was doing — and how top Catholic officials were covering up his activities.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

In Commemoration of Death of Richard Sipe in August 2018, a Revised Copy of "Clerical Spirituality and the Culture of Narcissism"



A resource I'd like to bring to your attention: in commemoration of the anniversary of Richard Sipe's death on 8 August 2018, those who continue maintaining his website Celibacy, Sex & Catholic Church have uploaded a revised copy of the very important study entitled "Clerical Spirituality and the Culture of Narcissism" that Richard Sipe, his wife Marianne Benkert, and Thomas Doyle wrote in 2013.

The revised copy of this important document is here. The screenshot at the head of the posting is from Richard Sipe's website.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Recommended: Ian Gilmour, Slavery to Civil Rights



I'd like to recommend to you a little monograph entitled Slavery to Civil Rights, written by my friend Ian Gilmour, a Presbyterian pastor in Edinburgh who is currently serving the Scottish kirk in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Ian's small book reflects years of research into the role that spirituals and music in general have played among African-Americans and in African-American churches, to sustain hope and courage as people battle prejudice and discrimination. I find Slavery to Civil Rights — which is engagingly and clearly written — fascinating from a number of standpoints.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ruth Krall, A Brief Afterword to "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice"

Healthcare Workers in Ebola Protective Gear (i)

Ruth Krall has generously prepared a brief afterword to her six-part series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." I've published those six essays in installments at Bilgrimage, and at the end of this posting, will provide links to the entire series. The basic premise of Ruth's series of essays is that sexual abuse of vulnerable people by leaders is an endemic problem in religious groups across the globe, and, as she states in the afterword below, "Until the world community learns how to accurately assess this world public health/community mental health phenomenon of clergy sexual abuse of the powerless and the vulnerable, the problem will continue to proliferate." Ruth's essay follows:

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"Ladies, You'll Never Have to Use a Washing Machine Again When You Get to Heaven": I Report on a Funeral Sermon

Maytag Ad 1959

"Ladies, just think! You'll never have to use a washing machine again when you get to heaven."

Then the preacher sidled his head around and gave an impossibly cute look-at-me grin to the "ladies" in the church, which was designed to communicate that he thought he was the niftiest thing since sliced bread, and quite the lady-killer.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ruth Krall, Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons (3)

Theodore Rombouts, (1597-1617), "Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple"


The following is the third part of Ruth Krall's essay entitled "Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons." The previous two parts of the essay have been published here and here. In this concluding section of her essay, Ruth asks what we ought to do when we recognize the depths of corruption and abuse enfolded in religious institutions: "Do we become enablers of abuse by keeping silent, or do we become informers and whistle-blowers about the levels of institutional violence we see? Do we respond to what we know by speaking up?" Ruth's essay follows (part 3, with footnotes continuing at xxxii):

Monday, August 12, 2019

Ruth Krall, Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons (2)

Theodore Rombouts, (1597-1617), "Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple"

The essay below is the second installment of Ruth Krall's essay "Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons." Part one was published previously. In this essay, which is the sixth of a series of essays Ruth has entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice," whose premise is (to quote the essay below), "Studies of sexual violence inside our denominational homes require new vocabularies and new conceptual models." 

In this current essay, Ruth argues, "If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to repeatedly enable sexual abuse of that same child." But also: "Remember this: it takes only one of us to be a healer."

The continuation of Ruth's essay on moral corruption in the religious commons follows (note that endnote numbers begin at xx because this is the second part of an essay whose first part has previously been published):

Friday, August 9, 2019

Ruth Krall, Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons (1)


Theodore Rombouts, (1597-1617), "Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple" (i)
My house shall be called a house of prayer
But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves.
(Mathew 21: 13, Good News Translation)

This essay is the sixth in a series of essays Ruth Krall has generously offered us on Bilgrimage, under the series title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." This link will point you to links to each previous essay in the series. In her "Recapitulation" series, Ruth addresses what she sees as the he endemic nature of sexual abuse of followers in religious contexts and contexts offering spiritual guidance. From the outset, Ruth's latest essay on moral corruption in the religious commons announces its theme:

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to repeatedly enable sexual abuse of that same child. This is so whether she lives inside secular society or he lives inside a deeply pious religious and worshipping community.

Ruth's essay "Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons" follows. Because the essay is rich and long, I'll be sharing it in several installments, of which this is the first:

"Responding with the Biggest Ever Anti-Immigrant Raid to the First Ever Anti-Latino, Anti-Immigrant Gun Massacre in This Country: This Will Be History"



Regardless of whatever they say and whatever comes out of the president's mouth, this IS the story of how our government responded to an anti-immigrant massacre committed by someone who quoted the words of the president's re-election campaign about needing to stop an immigrant invasion .... That is how this will look in history. 
The administration responding with the biggest ever anti-immigrant raid to the first ever anti-Latino, anti-immigrant gun massacre in this country: this will be history. This will go down in history as what our government did. 
~ Rachel Maddow

Thursday, August 8, 2019

SIX HUNDRED ICE Agents Haul Away 680 Workers as Man in White House Heads to El Paso: What "Pro-Life" White Christians Have Wrought



They hauled away 680 workers.

Monday, August 5, 2019

"We Must Call the El Paso Shooting What It Is: Trump-Inspired Terrorism" — Commentary on White Supremacist Roots of Recent Mass Shootings


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Ruth Krall, Today's Sermon: Today's Idolatrous Slaughter of the Innocents

Today's Sermon: Today's Idolatrous Slaughter of the Innocents

Ruth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhD

Idolatry defined: extreme reverence, love, or reverence for someone or something other than G-d. 



The New Normal: Mass Shooting Following Mass Shooting Within Hours; 9 More Murdered and 26 Injured as Americans Slept



While you slept, a second mass shooter murdered ten people last night. 
It never ends.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Ruth Krall, Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion (3)

Vasily Polenov, Le droit du Seigneur (1874), in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow

This is the third and final installment of an essay by Ruth Krall entitled "Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion." The previous two parts of this essay have appeared here and here. This essay is one in a series of essays Ruth is publishing on Bilgrimage under the series title  "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." The first of the two links above will give you links to each previous essay. In this essay series, Ruth is focusing on the endemic nature of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Note About the Timeliness of Ruth Krall's "Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion"



In the second part of her essay entitled "Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion," which I just published, Ruth Krall writes the following:

Ruth Krall, Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion (2)

Vasily Polenov, Le droit du Seigneur (1874), in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow

The essay below is the second part of Ruth Krall's essay entitled "Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion." The first part was published on Bilgrimage several days ago. As the introduction to the essay at the link I have just provided explains, the essay is one of a series of essays Ruth has published on Bilgrimage, under the series title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." Links to the previous essays in this series appear at the link I've just given you above. The common theme binding these essays together is the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers. The current essay explores this theme by arguing that clergy sexual abuse is a global public health issue whose noxious presence can be found inside multiple language groups and national identities. The secong part of Ruth's essay, "Historical Meandering," follows (note that footnotes begin with xiii because this essay is a continuation of the first part published previously):

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Happy 68th Birthday to My Husband Steve



Someone had a birthday in our household yesterday, and since I recently shared with you the news of what Steve's employer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, chose to do to him several months before he turned 68, I thought I'd share this photo from yesterday's birthday celebration. We had an enjoyable festive meal with Steve's brother Joe. I took the photo below of Steve and Joe several evenings earlier, when Joe joined us for supper.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ruth Krall, Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion (1)

Vasily Polenov, Le droit du Seigneur (1874) (i)

The essay by Ruth Krall that follows below is the fifth in a series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." The first essay in this series appeared in two installments, here and here. The second appeared in another two installments, here and here. The third essay is here, and the fourth essay, in two installments, is here and here. In this multi-part series of essays, in which Ruth generously offers us the fruits of her years of research about these matters, Ruth hypothesizes the endemic nature of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers. The current essay continues this theme by arguing that clergy sexual abuse is a global public health issue whose noxious presence can be found inside multiple language groups and national identities. In this essay, which is rich and lengthy and which I'll offer to you in several installments, Ruth continues her investigation of these claims with an historical sounding. Ruth's essay follows (first installment):

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Ruth Krall, Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems (2)

Ebola: Transporting a Sick Child to a Care Facility

This is the second part of Ruth Krall's essay "Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems." The first part is here, and that link also points you to links to three previously published essays in the same series, which Ruth has entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." This current essay follows on the three preceding essays, in which Ruth which hypothesizes the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers. The current essay continues this theme by asking what might be the role played by various ideologies in establishing institutional climates that faciliate abuse and then cover it up. 

Because this posting is a continuation of the first half of "Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems," footnote numbers start at the point at which footnotes in the first part of the essay left off in the previous posting. Ruth's essay follows:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Ruth Krall, Looking Slant: Oppressive Ideologies and Belief Systems

Ebola: Transporting a Sick Child to a Care Facility (1)

The essay by Ruth Krall that follows below is the fourth in a series of essays entitled "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice," which I've had the honor to publish on Bilgrimage in the past weeks. The first essay in this series appeared in two installments, here and here. The second appeared in another two installments, here and here. The third essay is here. As Ruth's introduction to the essay below notes, it follows on her three preceding essays, which hypothesize the endemic natural of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers by asking what might be the role played by various ideologies in establishing institutional climates that faciliate abuse and then cover it up. As with some of Ruth's previous essays in this series, I'm posting this one in two parts: part one is below.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Margaret Renkl on Obligation of Catholics to Defend Their LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters — Even Against Archbishops

Despite the archbishop's words [i.e., Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis addressing his orders to two Catholic schools to fire gay employees], his behavior does look very much like a witch hunt. He has apparently not directed Catholic school officials to fire teachers who practice birth control or divorced teachers who remarry without benefit of a church annulment. In calling for the dismissal of all teachers who fail to exemplify every teaching of the Catholic church, the "categories of people you would need to fire'"would amount to "a huge list," the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America Magazine, told The Times. Persecuting teachers in same-sex marriages is Archbishop Thompson's specific focus. … 
Catholics today don't hear much about the primacy of an informed conscience because many priests take the position that a conscience at odds with the church is by definition insufficiently informed. But the primacy of an informed conscience belongs as deeply to church tradition as the current brand of pastoral authoritarianism does. It is time for Catholics to remember it again and stand up for their brothers and sisters in same-sex marriages, as Brebeuf Jesuit has done, even if it means defying the teaching of their own imperfect church.

Everybody Has a Story: Updating You on Recent Events in My Husband Steve's and My Life



Weeks back, I alluded to a hard patch through which Steve and I have been walking, and told you readers of Bilgrimage that I would say more about this when the time was ripe. I am now free to talk. I shared the following statement on Facebook yesterday. I feel a certain ambivalance about making this story public, and I think the ambivalence arises from my concern that I not target the individuals who created this hard patch for Steve and me.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Indianapolis Archbishop Claims Firing of Gay Employees Necessary to Address "Public Situations": My Response

Masha Gessen, "Coming Out, and Rising Up, in the Fifty Years After Stonewall," on the Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)


Archbishop Charles Thompson said during a news conference that he didn't seek out information about the marriages involving the teachers but had to respond to what he called a "public situation" of Catholic school employees not following church doctrine.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Thoughts on Sharing the Photo of the Drowned Bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and His Daughter Valeria


We must force ourselves to keep seeing.
Yesterday, on social media, I shared a photo of the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria who drowned recently trying to cross the Rio Grande and enter the U.S. after weeks of waiting to enter. As I shared the photo, I stated that, though some media outlets had chosen to hide it behind a click-screen, in my view, we must not let ourselves look away: we are doing this to fellow human beings, and we need to see what we are doing.

"If Evangelical Christians Stood Up for These Children…"



If evangelical Christians stood up for these children, things could change in the camps very quickly. 
~ Caitlin Flanagan, "Christ in the Camps"

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Indescribable Cruelty": Commentators on the Concentration Camps Now Being Operated by the United States Under Donald Trump


The firing of gay employees of Catholic institutions is hardly the most horrific thing happening in the world today. There's also this:

WaPo: Indianapolis Diocese Threatens "To Strip Away Catholic Identity" from Schools "That Employ People Who Are Not Heterosexual"


The statement I've underlined from this Washington Post article will be challenged. People will say this is not about punishing schools that hire employees who are not heterosexual. It's about going after gays who don't behave themselves and who publicly dissent from Catholic teaching, they'll maintain.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse — What Language Shall We Use?

Citrus Trees Ready for Harvest (1)


This essay is the third in a series Ruth Krall has written with the title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." The first essay in the series was published in two parts (here and here), and was followed by another two-part essay (here and here). As Ruth notes below, "In the first two essays, I utilized the language of public health to explore issues of prevention, containment and treatment. In this essay I have raised questions about how we begin to study these issues. I have raised the question of our research language as essential."

As she further states, "Vis-à-vis the current clergy sexual abuse issue in multiple world religions, we need, I believe, an enhanced vocabulary. We need this enhanced and more precise vocabulary in order to comprehend the complex institutional forces at work in today's religious communities as they experience and/or demonstrate the affinity sexual violence phenomena." Here's Ruth's valuable essay:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"The Saint of Dry Creek": Story Corps Remembers Stonewall Uprising


I shared this "Saint of Dry Creek" video back in October 2015. I'm very happy to see Story Corps circulating it again on social media this week as part of its #StonewallOutLoud initiative.

It's a keeper, in my view.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach (Part 2)

Transferring an Ebola Patient for Transport to a Care Facility 

Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach

Ruth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhD

This is a continuation of an essay by Ruth Krall, the first half of which was posted a few days ago.  As that previous posting noted, this essay, entitled "Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach," continues Ruth's analysis of religious leader sexual abuse of vulnerable individuals from the standpoint of public health. It proposes that "any effort to eliminate sexual abuse as a public health problem must, therefore, be both a national and an international effort. It must also be pan-denominational — reaching into multiple religious communities." Here's the second half of Ruth's outstanding essay — note that footnote numbers begin in medias res because this part of Ruth's essay links to the part previously posted: 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Abuse Whistleblower Rachael Denhollander on Why Survivors Know How Extensive Abuse Is in Southern Baptist Churches


Rachael Denhollander was a courageous whistleblower in the case of Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted her at age 15. When she came forward with her claims about Nassar, Immanuel Baptist, the church to which she and her husband Jacob Denhollander (a Southern Baptist seminary student)  belonged, refused to support her. They then left that church and joined another.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ruth Krall, Religious Leader Sexual Abuse: A Pan-Denominational Approach

Transferring an Ebola Patient for Transport to a Care Facility  

I recently had the privilege of publishing an essay by Ruth Krall entitled "Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking" (here and here). That essay challenged readers to re-think how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts, and to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health (e.g., epidemic, endemic, or pandemic) to this phenomenon.

"Prolegomena" is the first in a multi-part set of essasys on which Ruth has been working, with the title (for the entire series), "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." In her manuscript gathering essays together under that title, Ruth includes a dedicatory note acknowleding the influence of her father Carl S. Krall on her life, work, and thought. It reads,

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Southern Baptist and U.S. Catholic Leaders Meet in Same Week, Both Confronting Serious Sexual Abuse Problems: A "Gender Hurricane" Results



At the same time, the Southern Baptist Convention is holding its annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Catholic bishops are meeting in Baltimore. High on the agenda of both sets of gentlemen: what to do about sexual abuse of minors and other vulnerable church members? What to do about the fact that the public knows and will not now unknow? 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Ruth Krall, Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking (Part 2)



This posting is a continuation of an essay by Ruth Krall, the first part of which I posted several days ago. As that previous posting notes, Ruth's essay, entitled "Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking," invites readers to re-think how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts. Ruth urges us to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health to this phenomenon. Is this abuse an epidemic in religious contexts today? Is it endemic in religious structures? Is it pandemic?

Because the essay belows continues (and links to) the first part published previously, the endnotes begin at xvi rather than 1. Here's the second part of Ruth's valuable essay:

Bishop Bransfield Authors "One of the Finest Pastoral Letters on Poverty" Michael Sean Winters Has Read: My Response



In an essay about the scandal that is Bishop "$182,000 for Cut Flowers" Bransfield, entitled "Lavish living by Catholic hierarchy is moral corruption," Michael Sean Winters says that Bransfield has published "one of the finest pastoral letters on poverty I have read."

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ruth Krall, Prolegomena: An Act of Re-Thinking

Ebola Virus Isolation Unit — A Visual Metaphor to Ponder (i)


I'm very pleased to be able to share once again an outstanding essay by Ruth Krall. In this essay about re-thinking how we've come to view the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people in religious contexts, Ruth urges us to consider applying terms and concepts from the realm of public health. Is this abuse an epidemic in religious contexts today? Is it endemic in religious structures? Is it pandemic? Because Ruth's essay is dense and long, I've broken the essay into two parts. The second part will follow in a day or so, and will link to this first half. Here's Ruth's essay:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Owen Jones on Obligation to Confront Trumpism, "A Resurgent Global Far Right" That Is Racist, Xenophobic, Misogynistic, and Homophobic


Owen Jones is rapidly becoming a journalistic hero of mine. In the clip above a few days back, after Theresa May shed tears on announcing her intent to step down and the media found those tears the most important thing in the world to talk about for a time, he stated,

Monday, June 3, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — On the Pastoral Implications of Aquinas' Recognition That Homosexuality Is Natural



In my last posting some days ago about Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2015), I noted that Oliva finds Thomas Aquinas teaching that sexual attraction to members of one's own sex is natural for those who are homosexual. As part of the natural order, the homosexual inclination some people have is to be treated with every bit as much respect as is reserved for the sexual attraction that the majority of people display towards members of the opposite sex.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Apologies for Falling Behind Responding to Comments

I really do apologize to you all for being behind the curve in responding to comments via Disqus. I appreciate your comments. I'm a bit frayed these days, and having trouble keeping up — though trying. I did also promise you more on Adriano Oliva's book, and have not forgotten that promise. I have some notes gathered for at least one more posting on the book, and will complete that project soon.

"With Nationalists Topping the Polls in Two of Europe's Three Main Founding Nations, It's Hard to See How Any of This Is Worth Celebrating"


It's very foolish for us to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that what is unfolding around us is not actually happening, and that the recent European elections give us reason to breathe a sigh of relief and say that the hard fascist right is not making inroads in very many places in the world now — when this is simply untrue, and this development should intently concern us:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Why I Continue to Insist That It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia: A Footnote to My Recent Response to Responses



It's certainly true that every society or nation is different, and what applies to one won't necessarily apply to another. But I'm pointing out that there's a wave of manufactured right-wing rage across societies today, and asking why that wave is roiling society after society. It's entirely unhelpful to respond to such a sounding by saying, "Ah, but they're all different from each other, and you're not seeing the difference." This is to ask us to see only trees and pretend a forest is not growing there.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Why I Continue to Insist That It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia: My Response to Your Responses



Thank you all for your thoughtful and valuable responses to my reflections about the wave of manufactured rage (racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic) now driving political movements in many places, in my view. I've read and considered them. My thoughts:

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Wave of Manufactured Rage Sweeping Across Societies Now, and Silliness of the "Economic Alienation" Explanation: It's About Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Homophobia

Shorn of any ideological hue, this is populism distilled into its purest form: a pared-back rage over an apparently corrupt political establishment's failure to abide by the democratic will of the people. 

Farage and Brexiters are now riding a wave in England. Hard-right fascist-leaning movements are gaining strength globally, including across Europe. India's far-right groups just won a major victory in that nation. What Trump and his supporters represent in the American context is cloned again and again across nations now. My reading:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Aquinas on Inclination to Homosexuality as Natural



As I have promised in previous postings, I'd like to share some more reflections about Adriano Oliva’s book, Amours: L’Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2015). In several recent postings (here and here), I've discussed the first part of Oliva's book, which deals with Thomas Aquinas' theology of marriage and its implications for the debate about how the church should deal pastorally with divorced and remarried Catholics. I've also offered an excerpt from the second part of Oliva's book, which is about how Aquinas treats the topic of what we now understand as homosexuality. Now I'd like to offer some further reflections regarding that second part of Oliva's book (pp. 75-124):

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Response from a Reader re: Aquinas' Theology of Marriage

One of my Facebook friends, Jean-François Garneau in Montréal, has responded to my recent posting about how Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — deals with the topic of procreation in Thomas Aquinas' theology of marriage. As my posting noted,

Friday, May 17, 2019

Notes on Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — On Sexual Relations Between Women as Less Sinful Than Sodomy



As a footnote to what I posted yesterday regarding Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Cerf, 2015) and its discussion of Aquinas' views regarding the sacrament of marriage, I'd like to offer  you the passage above as a reminder of some aspects of Aquinas' worldview that affect his understanding of sexuality, gender, and marriage. I offer this passage from pp. 78-9 of Adriano's book both as a footnote to the discussion of his theology of marriage, and as a prelude to his discussion of homosexuality, on which I'll focus in my next posting (or two) about his book.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Notes on Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels — Procreation in Aquinas' Theology of Marriage



Back in January 2016, I shared with you some notes about Adriano Oliva's book Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Cerf, 2015). As I shared my comments about Oliva's book, which was written as theological reflection on issues central to the synod on the family in 2015, I told you that my comments were more a set of notes than a review of the book per se.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ruth Krall, A Considered Response to a Canadian Catholic Educator's Quarterly Review of the Covington Catholic Story

Ruth Krall was inspired by Paul2port's quarterly review of the Covington Catholic story last Saturday, and in response to it, she has offered some reflections, with a helpful bibliography for further reading. I'm very grateful to her for this thoughtful response. Ruth writes: 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Canadian Catholic Educator's Quarterly Review of the Covington Catholic Story: "Get Serious About Living Your Faith"

Near the start of February, I posted commentary from a Canadian Catholic educator, Paul2port, regarding the story of the young men from Covington (Kentucky) Catholic high school and the controversy that ensued due to video coverage of their actions as they left the March for Life in Washington, D.C., this year, sporting MAGA hats. Paul2port has continued to think about this story as a Catholic educator, and has sent me a "quarterly review" updating his commentary of early February. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tom Doyle on Why Clericalism Is Primary Root of Catholic Abuse Horror Show (Contra Benedict)

The emeritus pope recently published a statement about the abuse horror show in the Catholic church which makes absolutely no mention at all of the roots of this horror show in clericalism, and which takes no responsibility, on the part of the clerical governing sector of the church, for this horror show and the cover-up of clerical abuse for years. The emeritus pope's statements blaming the Catholic abuse horrors on the 1960s, not clericalism, were followed by a statement by the emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, affirming the emeritus pope's analysis and suggesting that the clericalism explanation of the abuse situation in the church is "ideological."

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Where's Solidarity When You Need It? Letting Off a Bit of Steam


I don't need this.

Today, I shared on Facebook the following statement by Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain from a Guardian interview published online today:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources" (2)



As I stated yesterday in introducing this two-part posting in which Ruth Krall offers us a valuable new resource for studying sexual abuse of minors in religious settings, all of us concerned with this issue owe Ruth a debt of immense gratitude for her generosity. She has made available to us resources that reflect her years of intensive study of the topic of sexual violence, rape, and abuse of minors in religious settings. What follows is the bibliography of resources Ruth is offering with this latest contribution to this research field; yesterday's posting featured Ruth's introductory essay for this important resource.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ruth Krall, "In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources"

L'Osservatore Romano/AP Pool Photo, BXVI's 65th anniversary of ordination, 28 June 2016
Pope Francis (i) with Pope Emeritus Benedict (ii)

All of us seeking to understand and deal with the abuse of vulnerable people within religious communities owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ruth Krall. In one powerful essay after another, she has unpacked years of her research in this field, making insights and titles available to a wider community. Over the course of several years, Ruth has been producing extensive annotated bibliographies reflecting her years of study in this field. What follows is Ruth's latest contribution to the documentation of abuse in religious communities, of studies of this abuse and its roots, and of resources for combating such abuse. The essay below is Ruth's preface to the study bibliography of resources she is providing with this new document. The bibliography itself will follow in a subsequent posting:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Christ Has No Body on Earth Now But Ours": An Easter Meditation on Hands and Feet by Jessica Pegis



In her recent essay at the Women in Theology site entitled "Hands and Feet," Jessica Pegis notes that one of her favorite icons, depicting Jesus washing his disciples' feet, shows Peter touching his head. This is, as she notes, a gesture noting divine epiphany in ancient Greek culture.