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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! ]]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Quote of the Day July 26, 2016
      Our job is to do two things. It is to defeat Trump, it is to elect Clinton. But [our revolution] is not to end on Election Day.– Bernie SandersQuoted in Caitlin MacNeal's article, "Sanders to Delegates: 'Easy To Boo'But Harder to Have Prez Trump"Talking Points MemoJuly 26, 2016UPDATES:• The Moment Hillary Clinton Becamethe First Fema […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Carrying It On July 25, 2016
      Sometimes you have to be contentto plant good seeds whenever you canand be patient as you watch themgrow and ripen.– Buffy Sainte-MariePerhaps, like me, you felt somewhat dispirited by the news last month that Hillary Clinton had been declared the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee over Bernie Sanders.Much to the chagrin of a number of my friends, I […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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    • White Catholics, White "Liberal" Churchgoers, and Racism: Three Discussions Hot Off the Presses in Light of Trump July 28, 2016
      Three passages from my reading in the past day that speak quite directly to questions I have raised repeatedly in the last several days here:First, Michael Pasquier on white Catholics and the perduring sin of racism:White Catholic support for desegregation grew during the 1960s, a decade that witnessed the peak of the civil rights movement and the aggiorname […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Apologies for Errors in My First Posting Today — Have Now Corrected Them July 27, 2016
      Just a note to tell you I've re-read my posting earlier today about Robert Jones' book The End of White Christian America, and have spotted some glaring errors in the text — for which I apologize. I've now corrected them, and wanted to tell readers this, in case you tried to read the garbled text and could not make sense of it. I know I'm […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
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    • Off to Summer Camp July 1, 2016
      Leaving tomorrow for eight weeks of summer camp with Czech kids, first in the forests of Krivoklat, then the beautiful rolling hills of Moravia.I do have a week off, when I hope to head for the Tatras mountains in Slovakia, and a few days of retreat at the lovely Marian shrine of Litmanova, on the border with Poland.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • Orlando Update June 29, 2016
      Omar Mateen as seen in a documentary film.  Photo credit: James Varty / The Big Fix / YouTubeI will preface this brief update to my previous posting on the Orlando shooting with these wise words from Russ Baker of Who What Why. Org. Somewhere between the rush to judgment that is the neatly packaged mainstream version of events in Orlando, and the wilder meme […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
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    • Mouse and the trumpet vine July 27, 2016
      The trumpet vine is blooming ...And I finally was able to catch Mouse to go to the vet to be neutered. They looked at his sore arm too but the news wasn't good - apparently it was actually broken and then healed in such a way that he now can't bend his elbow. At present, at least, fixing that isn't really practical, but maybe we can in the fut […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

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

Cardinals Disputing the Pope

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At least a score of cardinals have openly disagreed with Pope Francis in the past nine months. This is unheard of in recent history, not because churchmen don’t disagree with the pontiff, but because Princes of Church aren’t supposed to do it publicly. Continue reading

Religious Liberty: It’s About Money

Tomorrow, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will complete their annual “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign, a call-to-arms in defense of their “freedom” to deny women and LGBT persons theirs.

As they so often do, the bishops tell us, “We are dedicated … to remain free to provide education, to care for the sick, the poor, and the migrant,” in a paid advertisement for this year’s campaign.  The USCCB is selling a four minute video “featuring stories of the importance of religious freedom for institutions that perform the works of mercy – educating children, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.”

Their last meeting open to the press ended with USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, “highlighting the bishops’ push for religious exemptions for charities, schools and individual for-profit business owners who oppose gay marriage and other laws and regulations.”

On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced a new multimedia platform that “will reach Catholics and non-Catholics alike about the good works in the parishes, schools and ministries not only in the archdiocese, but around the world.”

The bishops would have us believe that Catholic charity has an enormous impact on the well-being of our society. While it’s true that many Catholics are generous with their time and money – as are many Americans – the funding coming from the bishops is very small in proportion to their wealth and minuscule in proportion to total U.S. charity. Continue reading

The Rise of Pope Francis

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In 1990, there were 877 priests in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

Typically, priests are selected for auxiliary bishop – the first rung up the hierarchical career ladder – from those who have distinguished themselves working for the (arch)diocese. For example, the new auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia had been coordinator and spiritual director of the archdiocesan seminary, an auditor and had served on three boards for the archdiocese in addition to heading five parishes

At the time he was chosen in 1992 as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was assigned to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba, 435 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, and had never held a position working for the archdiocese.

Additionally, like all Jesuits, Bergoglio had vowed to “never strive for or ambition any prelacy or dignity outside the Society.”  He would become the only Jesuit to head the Buenos Aires archdiocese in its 400 year history and the only Jesuit pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading

Confirmed: The Vatican Trial is Rigged

The three witnesses called by the defense who are all top officials appointed by, and close to, Pope Francis will not be testifying. In what is known as the “Vatileaks 2” trial, the judges stated last week that Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, head of the commission which supervises the Vatican Bank, and Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of papal charity, were excused. Each is connected to an aspect of Vatican finance which, if given more publicity by their appearance and/or testimony, would be damaging to the pontiff.

The trial of five persons based on a law enacted by Pope Francis criminalizing leaks of Vatican information began on Nov. 24, 2015. Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Chaouqui, a PR specialist, and Nicola Maio, Balda’s assistant, were charged with disclosing confidential financial information while they were members of COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), established by the pope  in 2013 and subsequently dissolved in 2014 with the completion of its mandate to recommend changes in the administration of Vatican finances.

Journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi were indicted for “soliciting and exercising pressure” to obtain this information from the COSEA members and using the material in their books. “Fraud worth millions, the machinations of the Vatican Bank, the true extent of the pope’s treasury,” “offerings of the faithful withheld from charity,  theft and trade scams” in this pontificate were disclosed in Fittipaldi’s Avarice: Papers that Reveal Wealth, Scandals and Secrets in the Church of Francis.and Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple, both released last Nov. 5. Continue reading

Pope Francis: No “Joy of Love” for Abused Children, Women or LGBTQ People

The pope’s “apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (Latin for Joy of Love) On Love in the Family” was presented on Friday. The document is more than 60,000 words.   Jesus spoke 2026 words in Gospels and the four Gospels combined are 64,766 words.  The pontiff stated his own conclusions based on two synods (meetings) of bishops from around the world held in October 2014 and October 2015. Both were closed to the public and the press.

In his exhortation, Pope Francis urged that his prelates and priests be more “welcoming” to those who are in what the Church refers to as “irregular” unions – that is not married by a priest. He changed no doctrine. Due to the “invincible ambiguity that characterizes the pronouncements of Pope Francis … anyone will be able to dig out from among the 200 pages of the document the passage that he likes most, and act accordingly,” wrote veteran Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister.  Another Vatican insider: “the pope’s studied ambiguity [leads] each to find something in the pope’s text to back up his thesis.”  Another experienced Vatican reporter, John L. Allen Jr., stated the document “changes little on the ground.” Continue reading

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