Saturday, March 30, 2019

On My 69th Birthday, Words That Touch My Heart

Today, on my 69th birthday, these words to me from a reader I've met through this blog, who inspires me constantly by her lived witness to the beatitudes, touch my heart deeply:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Footnote to Story re: Resignation of Chancellor of Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, Mauricio West: The Damage Clericalism Does in the Catholic Church

As I think about the story I shared with you today — yesterday, it was announced that the chancellor of the Catholic diocese of Charlotte, Msgr. Mauricio West, had resigned after the diocesan review board found credible allegations that he made repeated sexual advances to a student when he was Vice-President of Student Affairs at Belmont Abbey College in the 1980s — I keep revisiting in my mind some crystallizing incidents involving West that for me epitomize the rank, ugly clericalism that is the root of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. As I noted this morning, West was previously a Benedictine monk at Belmont Abbey monastery, which owns Belmont Abbey College. He left the monastery in the early 1990s and was immediately made chancellor of the Charlotte diocese by Bishop William Curlin, and was then retained in that position by Bishop Peter Jugis.

Chancellor of Charlotte Catholic Diocese and Fomer Belmont Abbey College Administrator Resigns: Credible Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican: Concluding Remarks About Why This Book Matters — The Extensive Damage Done by a System "Perverted Since the Outset"

I've now finished reading Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, and want to share some concluding thoughts about the book. Two interrelated points strike me as I think about the book as a whole. The first is that the book's importance lies in how it moves what has been far too much a parochial Catholic conversation into the public sphere. The second, and related, insight is that this move is entirely necessary if the Catholic church wishes to regain any measure of moral credibility or pastoral or theological relevance following the abuse revelations.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Frédéric Martel on the Tragedy That Is the Pastoral Career of Joseph Ratzinger — A Tragedy for the Entire Church

From Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, on the tragedy of Joseph Ratzinger's (Benedict XVI's) pastoral career:

Friday, March 22, 2019

More from Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican on the Source of Corruption in the Catholic Church: Not Glitches, but a System

As I keep reading Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, I'd like to say more about the theme of corruption I featured in my last commentary about this book. I noted, pointing to several important passages in Martel's book as documentation, that  much of the corruption in the Catholic church right now is rooted in the historical matrix of the papacy of St. John Paul the Great. The corruption is rooted quite specifically in the following: while hiding homosexual secrets, the powerful Vatican courtiers surrounding John Paul chose to mount war against the queer community, combating its rights, scapegoating LGBT people — especially for the abuse crisis in the church — and targeting theologians calling for compassionate outreach to queer people.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ed Kilgore on White Evangelicals as Heart of Trump Base: "Committed to a Common Desire to Take America Back to Its Days of Greatness in the 1950s"

In "White Evangelicals Are Still the Heart of Trump's Base," Ed Kilgore comments on new Pew Research Center data that some commentators are erroneously interpreting to mean that white evangelical support for Donald Trump is waning. As Ed Kilgore notes, it's not waning. To the contrary, it remains robust, especially among the most churchgoing and committed of white evangelicals, 70 percent of whom report strong support for Trump.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

More on Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican: The Dark Heart of Martel's Story — Corruption of Pretend Heterosexuality Coupled with Abominable Treatment of Queer People

I have now made my way about halfway through Frédéric Martel's In the Closet of the Vatican, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), and am finding the book grim going. It's, as many commentators have noted, eye-popping, and overwhelming in the detail with which it tells — and documents — its story of corruption. To quote Mary Oliver in her poem "The Chance to Love Everything," this is for me the dark heart of the story here: it's a story of incredible corruption running through the governing structures and clerical culture of a major Christian institution, a story that does a very convincing job, I think, of rooting that corruption genetically in the intense homophobia of the governing elite of this institution.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Now New Zealand: Murderer's Manifesto Proclaims Trump as "Symbol of Renewed White Identity and Common Purpose"

Things I've read this dark morning that are illuminating, and which I want to pass on to you:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Pell Conviction in Light of Frédéric Martel's Exposé of the Gay "Parish" Inside the Vatican: Twisted Connection of Catholic Officials to Gay Community

In commenting on Cardinal Pell's conviction and sentence, Michael Cook's Lessons from Cardinal Pell’s 6-year jail sentence makes a move that should trouble all of us concerned about shoring up the legitimacy of court systems and criminal justice systems in democratic societies. Cook opens by reminding us of that Pell was conficted on the basis of the testimony of one person testifying behind closed doors.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Trump Signs Bibles: Golden Calves, Get 'Em While They're Hot! — Commentary on White Evangelicals' Idolatrous Cult of Trump

Some things I've read this past week that I want to pass on to you:

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Pell Case, the Continuing Vast Gulf Between What Francis Says re: Abuse and What Really Happens, and the Anger of Catholic People

Another set of items that have gotten my attention lately, with a theme binding them together:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Connections: UMC Hardening vs. Queer People to Catholic School Barring Child of Gay Couple to Failure of Utah Bill Outlawing "Conversion" Therapy to "Pro-Life" Administration Caging Children

I offer you today these selections from items I have been reading lately, because — to my way of thinking, and I am hoping you'll agree — there's a common theme here. These stories interlink:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tara Westover's Educated: Questions re: the Anti-Government, Anti-Schools, Anti-Science, Anti-Medicine Lifestyle of Many Americans Today

Sorry to have been silent the past week. As I mentioned previously, I have had an onerous textual revision process on my hands, and I was also asked last week to do a media event on behalf of SNAP, which is calling on the Catholic bishop of Little Rock to explain why several names of credibly accused priests on other lists have been left off his diocesan list of credibly accused priests with ties to Arkansas, and to add those names to his list.