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    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
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      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
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      Yesterday was Criminal Justice Sunday, and to mark the significance of the day at the Spirit of St. Stephen's Catholic Community in Minneapolis a special prayer was shared along with a powerful excerpt from the U.S. Catholic Bishops' document, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Anew October 19, 2016
      The following words of author and poet Julia Cameron are particularly meaningful to me at this time, for reasons which I'll share in a later post. Perhaps these words will resonate with you too, and where you're at on your journey.All beginning is an ending. I both celebrate and grieve. As I choose to start anew, I choose to believe in my own resil […]
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      Have neglected this blog since the summer - caught up teaching drama to Czech kids at summer camp.When I returned to it a month ago, I discovered with a shock that the left sidebar - with so many key links to related blogs, websites, has completely disappeared. Don't know why this is so nor how to get them back. Did a bit of research on google, but to d […]
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    • Clapton: The Autobiography October 25, 2016
      - Eric Clapton, 1974The latest book I'm reading from the public library is Clapton: The Autobiography . You can read a couple of reviews here: The New York Times: Slowhand ... The Guardian: The gospel according to GodI'm not that far into it - I've reached the late 60s so far - but Eric had met and jammed with many well known musicians by that […]
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Pope Francis’ Diplomatic Reach Exceeds His Grasp of History

Pope Francis formed an alliance with Vladimir Putin, an accommodation with Raul Castro and capitulated to Xi Jinping.

On Aug. 26, the pope announced his intentions for the 50th World Day of Peace to be celebrated on Jan. 1, 2017. He included “recognition of the primacy of diplomacy,” acting “within what is possible,” and having “a realistic political method.”

Two days earlier, the pontiff’s chosen Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “remarked that it is ‘the simplicity and courage with which the pope proposes the primacy of dialogue and understanding’ that has sparked in many religious and political leaders ‘the desire to communicate with him and to get to know the actions of the Holy See and the Catholic Church worldwide better.’” Parolin is so confident that other world leaders admire Pope Francis’ “negotiations and dialogue rather than affirming truth” that he is considering creating an Office for Papal Mediation.

Pope Francis and Parolin have said that their “dialogue” with China will bring “a more fraternal world society,”  “is the only way to achieve peace,” can be an “example for the world as a whole, building bridges of fraternity and communion everywhere,” would have “immense benefits for world peace, very, very big benefits,” that “the blossom [of relations with China] will flourish and bear good fruits for the good of the same China and of all the world,”  and that they were “writing a page unheard of in history.”

The results of Pope Francis’ diplomacy, however, is that  he “has helped to underscore Russia’s renewed standing as a global power,” in Cuba “he honored Fidel Castro while ignoring the dissidents” and his new deal with China is “a huge win for Beijing‘s soft power program.” Continue reading

Bishops Still Behaving Badly on Sex Abuse as Pope Francis Sets the Example

The clerical sex abuse scandal has revealed the core of corruption in the institutional Catholic Church. There have already been hundreds of thousands  of victims around the world.

Since the systemic sexual abuse of children made national headlines in 2002, survivors (young people who had experienced child sexual abuse had a suicide rate that was 10.7 to 13.0 times the national rates) and their advocates have demanded essential reforms necessary to protect children in the future.

One is that the pope require that all criminal acts be immediately reported to the police. This is still optional  according to Pope Francis. Another is that the pontiff hold bishops accountable. Pope Francis has never disciplined anyone for protecting child sex abusers, obstructing justice for the survivors or impeding measures to keep children safe because that’s what he does. So the scandals go on and on and on ….. Continue reading

Clinton: A More Formidable Opponent of the Pope Than Trump

Most of us are familiar with the exchange between Trump and Pope Francis in February regarding the pope’s trip to Mexico. Trump said “Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is.” The pope said “a person who thinks about building walls … is not Christian.” Trump responded, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

But Hillary Clinton courageously challenged a pope about his organization’s grievous denial of women’s rights. Continue reading

Pope Francis Kowtows to Xi Jinping

Pope Francis and Xi Jinping came to power at the same time – March 13 and March 14, 2013, respectively.

In every year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, China is identified as a government which has “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom” defined as “including torture, degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, abduction or clandestine detention, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons,” according to the U.S. State Department’s annual Religious Freedom report.

A case against China, filed in 2013 with an international tribunal, was settled on July 12. “The ruling paints a picture of an environmentally destructive, dangerously aggressive government that has no legal jurisdiction for its actions.”

“In the Chinese imagination, this is not subjugation of neighbors but simply restoration of the normal order … a return to the traditional concept of tianxia, with barbarians benefiting from Chinese civilization.”

Pope Francis told Xi Jinping, “The world looks to this great wisdom of yours.” He repeats that “the world looks to China’s wisdom and civilization,” in a February 2016 interview. The pope also “described the excitement he felt when he was about to enter Chinese airspace on the flight from Seoul to Rome in August 2014.”

During that in-flight news conference, the pope said, “I think of the great Chinese sages, theirs is a history of knowledge, of wisdom” and that he wanted to go to China “Tomorrow! Oh, yes!”

The next month, Pope Francis issued an invitation to Xi to come to the Vatican and said he was willing to go to China.

Pope Francis rejected a meeting requested by the Dalai Lama in December 2014 because Vatican negotiations with China were in a “delicate” phase. “China describes the Dalai Lama as a separatist and reacts angrily when foreign dignitaries meet him.”

Afterwards the pope repeated: “[The Chinese] know I’m available either to receive someone, or to go to China. They know.”

When the pope was in the U.S. in September 2015, he and Xi were in New York the same day. “The pope wanted to meet Xi and this message was communicated clearly to China.”

It was announced on August 5, 2016, that after more than two years of negotiations, the Vatican and Beijing reached a preliminary agreement whereby a government-controlled organization would prepare a list of candidates for bishop and the pope would choose from among them. No other civil government in the world has been granted this authority.

The pope has not been invited to China. He has not met Xi Jinping. He has never mentioned China’s aggression, “egregious violations” of religious freedom or any other human right for the Chinese. Beijing has made no concessions. Continue reading

Pope Francis at Auschwitz But Not Where Catholics Slaughtered 700,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma in WWII

From the barbarity in Croatia during World War II there is a direct historical link to the atrocities committed in Argentina’s Dirty War, and certainty of the Catholic Church’s collusion. It’s time for Pope Francis to open his secret archives and make amends. Continue reading

A Fox News Alumnus and Anarchy in the Vatican: A Timely Convergence

Pope Francis appointed Greg Burke director of the Vatican Press Office on July 11. Burke was a Fox News correspondent from 2001 until he was hired as a senior communications adviser in the Vatican in 2012.

Burke is an Opus Dei numerary, i.e. an avowed celibate. On July 13, Pope Francis appointed another American close to Opus Dei, Kim Daniels, to the Secretariat of Communications. Daniels was “Sarah Palin’s personal domestic policy czar” in 2010. Daniels is a co-founder and director of the U.S. branch of Catholic Voices. Right-wing National Review editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, is the other co-founder and director. Lopez regularly lectures at  Opus Dei‘s  Catholic Information Center on K Street, Washington D.C. Jack Valero, co-founder of the worldwide Catholic Voices, is also Press Officer for Opus Dei in the UK.

“In recent weeks in the Vatican chaos reigns supreme … The infinite war between factions, the continuous clashes between the leaders of the Roman Curia, the strategies for the replacement of the president of the Vatican Bank,” Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote in a July 14 article titled “Santa Anarchia” in the prominent Italian weekly news magazine, l’Espresso.  

The Vatileaks trial that ended on July 7, “was a total debacle: strategic, communicative, political,” concluded Fittipaldi, one of the five defendants tried for leaking Vatican secrets that were published. Not only because the trial publicized “the financial obscenities” during the reign of Pope Francis exposed in Fittipaldi’s book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church, “but also because the management of the scandal showed a surprising internal disorganization and an inability to build winning communication strategies” in addition to exposing “new struggles between opposing factions,” Fittipaldi wrote.

These opposing factions, according to Fittipaldi, “are likely to pass sleepless nights to the new head of communications, Greg Burke.”  Continue reading

“Vatileaks 2” Trial: Pope Francis’ Folly

The new pope enacted a law criminalizing leaks of detrimental information to the press. Nevertheless, two books were going to be published exposing pervasive corruption during Pope Francis’ pontificate. The pope had two of his employees arrested and then put on trial along with a third employee and the authors of the two books.

The result was months of free publicity for the books. Additionally, the public came to learn that no crime – not sodomizing children or fraud – is considered as grave as exposing the pope’s secrets. No physical evidence was produced proving the defendants’ guilt during the trial. Nevertheless, the prosecution recommended that the only woman among the five defendants receive the harshest penalty for “instigating” and “conspiring.” Continue reading