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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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    • Something to Thing About . . . May 28, 2018
      – Image: Benjamin SlyngstadWhen my friend Cathy shared this cartoon on Facebook, someone responded: "Oh please, this [i.e., the NFL's policy against protesting players] should not be compared to slavery." Following is Cathy's response to this and another comment she received in which someone asked: "Why can’t it just be about people? […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • The NFL: "A Modern Example of Nakedly Racist Authoritarianism in America" May 25, 2018
      Karen Attiah has penned one of the most incisive commentaries I've read on the National Football League's new policy on players protesting police brutality and racial injustice during the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of games. Entitled “It's Time to Cancel the NFL's Plantation-style Politics,” Attiah's piece in The […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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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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    • Mystical Czech artist, Marie Brozova February 22, 2018
      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
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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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    • Jesuit Thomas Reese on the Irish vote May 28, 2018
      Irish vote shows need for new pro-life strategy[...] The American pro-life movement still holds out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, but even if that does happen, most Americans will still live in states where abortion is legal. Those who don’t will be able to travel to a state where it is, just as Irish women have long traveled to […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
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Popes Have Long Opposed Human Rights and Supported Tyrants: A (Relatively) Brief History

Most are familiar with the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition. Fewer know about Pius XII’s embrace of fascism, his cooperation with the CIA, John Paul II’s alliance with Reagan in support of dictators, the political consequences of his appointment of right-wing bishops in the U.S. and Latin America – including Pope Francis – and the current pontiff’s unknown history.

It is true that, from the beginning, Christians were recognized for their monumental works of charity and Western Civilization owes much to Catholic education, medicine, art, music, architecture etc. It is also true that popes have obstructed freedom and self-rule while choosing to collaborate with dictators and butchers.

While I was writing about Pope Francis’ obsequiousness towards Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin and his vociferous opposition to women’s and LGBTQ persons’  human rights, I thought that if readers were more familiar with papal history, this would be less surprising.

When asked for his opinion on abortion and same-sex marriage, Pope Francis said his position was identical to that of the Church. “I am a son of the Church,” he explained.

This is part of the tradition from which he emerges – remarkable considering Jesus’ “Great Commission” was only to preach the Gospel. Continue reading

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Caution: The Pope is Beefing-up his State Department

Because Pope Francis is willing to sacrifice the freedom of Chinese and Ukrainians for his own personal ambition, and his support and encouragement of right-wing governments to deny women and LGBTQ persons’ human rights, we have ample reason for concern.

The Vatican’s Secretariat of State is like the State Departments of other countries. It advises the pope and represents the Holy See – i.e. the government of both the Vatican City State and the global Roman Catholic Church – in international affairs and foreign policy issues.

The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 183 sovereign states in which it maintains a nunciature (embassy).  It also has official diplomatic relations with countries where there are no resident nuncios (ambassadors) and formal contacts with others without official diplomatic relations.

The Holy See has concordats (treaties) with over 200 countries. A concordat “can set up a theological fiefdom where certain human rights do not apply – and where they can never again be reintroduced without the consent of the Catholic Church. This is why concordats represent a fundamental threat to both democracy and human rights.” Continue reading

Pope’s Claim, “I Normally Meet Sex Abuse Victims,” is Contradicted by Lack of Action

Pope Francis has a history of dishonesty and hypocrisy on the subject of clerical sex abuse. Survivors of sex abuse, and those who “normally” meet with them, know there are a number of actions the pope can take immediately to protect children, but he refuses to do so.

“On Fridays – sometimes this is known and sometimes it is not known – I normally meet some of them [sex abuse victims],” the pope said. He had “approved for publication” this and other statements he made last month.

“The percentage of pedophiles who are Catholic priests does not reach 2 percent, it’s 1.6 percent. It is not that much,” the pope also told his listeners.
Continue reading

U.S. Media: Pope Aiding and Abetting Torture is a Moral Leader

The UN Committee Against Torture “found that the widespread sexual violence within the Catholic Church amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” in May 2014. The members “ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world … to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and to impose ‘meaningful sanctions’ on any Church officials who fail to do so.”

Pope Francis has refused to put any of these measures in place. Children around the world are now in even more danger because the powerful U.S. media has put the world on notice that the one man who can make real change need not do so. Not only is the pope not accountable, but also his “representative and their aides” around the world. Continue reading

Scandals Swirl Around Pope Francis: Sex Abuse, Child Porn, Cocaine and Corruption

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In just the latter half of 2017, over a dozen scandals – with hints of more to come – drew close to the pope but were mostly ignored by the U.S. media.

July 3 – Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer accused of sex abuse cover-up.

Pope Francis appointed Ladaria as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that addresses cases of clergy sexual abuse, on June 30. Ladaria had previously served as secretary, the second highest official.

Three days later, Ladaria was accused of covering up for Fr. Gianni Trotta. “The congregation received complaints against Trotta in 2009 and three years later found him guilty of sexually abusing minors, demoting him from the priesthood but failing to inform the Italian authorities …. Ladaria wrote to the bishop of Foggia in 2012 instructing him not to divulge the reasons why Trotta had been stripped of his priesthood “so as to avoid scandal.”

Trotta continued to dress as a priest and became the coach of a youth soccer team.

Trotta, already convicted of sexual violence against an 11-year-old and sentenced to eight years in prison by a civil court, is now standing trial for nine other alleged cases of sex abuse against boys that occurred in 2014. “Trotta allegedly raped five, abused others in his home individually or in groups, photographing them during sexual acts.”

“If Ladaria had informed the police, these children would have been safe,” journalist and Vatican expert Emiliano Fittipaldi noted. Continue reading

Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

There had been a near riot in Osorno when Pope Francis assigned Juan Barros Madrid as bishop in 2015. Victims of the sexual predator, Fr. Fernando Karadima, accused Barros of sometimes being present while Karadima abused them and then covering-up for the priest.

More than 1,300 Osorno Catholics, along with some 30 priests from the diocese and 51 of 120 members of Chile’s Parliament, sent letters to Pope Francis urging him to rescind the appointment. The Laity of Osorno organization also sent innumerable letters with the same request “to the Apostolic Palace, the Vatican embassy, bishops, cardinals, friends of the pope and other Vatican officials. They did not receive an answer, although it was confirmed that the letters had been received.”

Pope Francis was asked to tape a personal message via video for Osorno Catholics. He told them, “The Church has lost (part of its) freedom by allowing politicians to put ideas in the heads (of Church members), by judging a bishop without any proof after 20 years in service. Think with your heads and don’t be carried away by any accusations made by lefties.” Continue reading

Pope’s Personal Income: Billions and Very Secret

In 2013, the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, Catholics around the world put €378 million (over $515 million) in the collection basket for the annual Peter’s Pence donation, the fund for the pope’s charitable works. This information was provided by Emiliano Fittipaldi in his book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.

That same year, as in every year before, the Vatican Bank financial statement noted that profits were “offered to the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” In 2013, that was “a sum of €50,000,000” (over $68 million). A declaration that profits were given to the pope has been omitted in subsequent  statements. Continue reading