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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
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      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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    • Making the Connections June 27, 2017
      . . . then and nowThe Wild Reed's 2017 Queer Appreciation series continues with the sharing of a piece I originally wrote in 2003 for an online progressive LGBT community forum that's now long gone. At the time I wrote this particular piece the U.S. (along with its coalition of "the bought and bullied," in the words of Indian author Arund […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . June 26, 2017
      Related Off-site Links:We Need to Talk About Racism in the LGBTQ Community – Phillip Henry (Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017).An Open Letter To Gay, White Men: No, You’re Not Allowed to Have a Racial Preference – Donovan Trott (The Huffington Post, June 19, 2017).Redesigned Pride Flag Recognizes LGBT People of Color – Nancy Coleman (CNN News, June 13, 2017).Being O […]
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    • The Guardian on Abuse in Church of England in Peter Ball Case: "A Reputation Deservedly Damaged" June 27, 2017
      Not to be missed: the Guardian editorial yesterday on the cover-up in the Church of England of Bishop Peter Ball's abuse of minors, including Neil Todd, who committed suicide after he was unable to get a hearing for his story among the powers that be in the Church of England. The Guardian writes:The report of Dame Moira Gibb into the Church of England […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Flying the Not So Friendly Skies: A Report on One Same-Sex Couple's Experience with Delta Airlines June 26, 2017
      The following is a report about how businesses — in this case, an airline — now routinely treat their paying customers in the U.S., and get away with it. Because they can do so — and all the more so with the Republican party totally controlling the federal government. Don't want the healthcare system ripped apart and millions having their healthcare cov […]
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
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      The Marian Shrine of Litmanova, Slovakia.Christmas 2017A forest chapel at the Slovakian Marian shrine of Litmanova.Stunning painting of the Sacred Heart inside the forest chapel.
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    • Not Our President November 16, 2016
      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
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    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
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    • More Moodies June 27, 2017
      I don't know about you guys, but when things get depressing I often turn to music to try to change my mood. Today I came upon a couple of Moody Blues songs, the versions of which I hadn't seen before. This first one is Tuesday Afternoon sung by Justin Hayward at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 ...And this is Justin singing Nights in White Satin, […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

John Allen on Vatican Critics as Sharks Out for Blood: That’s One Way of Looking at It

Followers of Vaticanologist (and, increasingly, Vatican head cheerleader) John Allen at National Catholic Reporter will find his latest screed at that site interesting, I think.  It compares critics of the Vatican to–get this–sharks.  Sharks circling in the water, who are now revved up by the blood they sense leaking out of the poor old Vatican as it encounters one hard knock after another in recent weeks.

Allen writes, “Right now, people with a beef against the Vatican smell blood in the water.”  And, later:”The novelty [of the current situation] is instead the brazenness of these outbursts, which suggest a sense of a wounded foe.”

And as I wrote yesterday in a comment yet to appear at the NCR site, that’s one way to look at it.

But another might be to see the current critical reaction to the Vatican in places like deeply Catholic Ireland as a manifestation of a longstanding and very powerful desire among faithful Catholics to see the papacy finally do what it’s meant to do, according to the gospels.  And that’s to serve.  Not to dominate.  Not to rule.  Not to issue orders and condemnations.

To serve.  To serve as Jesus served.  To serve the unity of the body of Christ with a papacy embodying the ideal of service that Jesus bequeathed as the supreme ideal for those who seek to exercise leadership in the Christian community: to be the servus servorum Christi.

Maybe the “sharks” circling in the water aren’t smelling blood.  And maybe they’re not sharks at all.  Maybe they’re actually faithful Catholics who are delighted to see the imperial structures of a papacy modeled more on the values of Caesar than those of Christ crumbling before our eyes.

Crumbling because it has behaved in imperial ways rather than embodying Christ’s ideal of service.

John Allen has made much over the years out of the notion that Benedict represents a springtime of new evangelism in the Catholic church.  St. Francis, who laid the spiritual foundations of the Capuchins who taught John Allen as a schoolboy in Kansas, famously said that we evangelize far more by doing than by saying.

Maybe faithful Catholics celebrating the demise of the imperial papacy aren’t sharks circling in the water at all: maybe we take heart at the thought that the crumbling of those imperial structures might, just might, begin to allow the papacy to do what it claims it’s all about–that is, embody the values of Christ for the church and the world in its own actions–as it proclaims the Christian message to us.

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