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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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    • "I Am a Happy and Proud Gay Priest" October 3, 2015
      And he does look happy, doesn't he?He and his boyfriend.I'm happy for them both.The priest is Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, who was fired yesterday from his mid-level position in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after coming out in newspaper interviews in Italy and Poland. In these interviews he said that he was happy a […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Autumn Beauty October 3, 2015
      For the past week or so we've been having some absolutely beautiful fall weather here in the Twin Cities. And I'm happy to say that it's supposed to last well into next week!This time last Saturday my friend Matt and I spent the afternoon at Minnehaha Park. We followed Minnehaha Creek from Minnehaha Falls to the Mississippi River, and shared o […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
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    • Rest in Peace Father John McNeil September 25, 2015
      One of the very great patron saints of the gay rights movement in the Catholic Church and the  US passed away on September 22. I can't begin to express how much I owe to him and how deeply his death has moved me. I feel somewhat the way I felt with the news of Thomas Merton's death so many years ago - that there was no longer anyone left that one c […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Cameron )
    • Back from Summer Camp August 31, 2015
      Just returned from eight intense non stop weeks of summer camp with Czech kids. Exhausted beyond words, but I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. Thankfully, the world and it's woes were far, far away from us.Now it's back to reality.Here are some of my adorable kids walking through the forest in a happy mood.
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    • From Candida Moss October 4, 2015
      A couple of things from Candida Moss, professor of NT studies at Notre Dame .... - She has an article in The Daily Beast about the downside of the pressure on victims to forgive those who have hurt them or their loved ones. I agree with her - I have to admit that my skin crawls when I see a parent make a public statement forgiving the person who murdered the […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Pope Francis Judges Gays to be Objectively Disordered, Transgender Rights as Dangerous

Today, Pope Francis heads to Philadelphia to lead the World Meeting of Families. Before leaving for this trip to Cuba and the US, he said, “The family, as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses … is deformed by powerful contrary projects.”

The Catechism states that homosexual acts are a “grave depravity.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI – added in 1997 that even the homosexual “inclination” is “objectively disordered.”

So Pope Francis can change this anytime he wants, but he won’t.

The pope said in February 2015, “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory that does not recognize the order of creation.”

“The ‘gender theory’ Francis is denigrating is the medically and anthropologically supported concept that gender is a construct imposed by society. It is commonly cited in defense of transgender rights, since it shows gender can vary despite society’s expectations.” Continue reading

Pope Met with Bill Donohue, Nuns Fighting Obamacare. He Insulted Native Americans and Sex Abuse Survivors.

Catholic League president, Bill Donohue, who “demagogically conflates progressive and liberal dissent with hate,” met with Pope Francis yesterday following his prayer service with the US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Also not shown on his public schedule, the pope visited the Little Sisters of the Poor,

the religious order that is involved in a contentious legal battle with the Obama administration over the order’s refusal to comply with an accommodation to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees …
One, it showed that the pope is behind the bishops in their battle with the Obama administration, support which the pontiff signaled in his talk at the White House earlier that day. [“Pointedly, Francis turned and looked at Obama as he delivered the line” about religious liberty.]
And two, it demonstrated how the pope likes to address contentious topics in a low-key, behind-the-scenes way.

Yesterday, Pope Francis canonized Fr. Junipero Serra, “who has a large degree of responsibility for the death of approximately 100,000 California Indians and the complete extermination of many Native tribes, cultures and languages.”

In his sermon, the pope claimed that Serra “protected and defended Native Americans from mistreatment and abuse.” Jeb Bush was in attendance.

Two days ago, three former US ambassadors to the Vatican appointed by President George W. Bush endorsed Jeb Bush for president. Among them was Mary Ann Glendon who was appointed by Pope Francis to his board of the Vatican bank. Glendon also served on the board of several theocon “think tanks” and is probably most famous for refusing an honor from Notre Dame University because the school awarded President Obama an honorary degree. Glendon is just one of the many plutocrats appointed by this pope to a Vatican position.

“I like Jeb Bush a lot,” the prelate of Wall Street, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said. “I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration.”

The most immediate danger from this pope is to children around the world. Yesterday, Pope Francis praised his bishops for their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis. He noted their courage in facing “difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

By failing to commit to any action to protect children, the pope put all prelates on notice that they can continue to leave them exposed to dangerous pedophiles as the pope himself did with his ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski. The US bishops can continue their lobbying to allow all American child sexual predators to avoid apprehension and prosecution.

“His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis,” Barbara Blaine, president of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said. “Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not Church figures (however popular they may be).”

“The hurt and desolation that this pope of mercy has heaped on the survivors in this one miscalculated section of an address is jaw-droppingly stunning [and] a slap in the face to all the victims,” said Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of the SNAP.

“This tin ear towards the victims of sexual abuse is a resounding rebuke to survivors and its damage is heavy,” wrote Kristine Ward of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition.

Members of SNAP are holding a vigil in New York to remember the hundreds of victims who have committed suicide. They decried how the pope’s “callous defense of bishops opens new wounds [and] provokes pain in hundreds.”

A broader danger is to our democracy. Most progressives have relied solely on the very corporate media they claim to distrust for their papal information with no skepticism.

When the conservative Jeb Bush made a statement about the pope’s encyclical on the environment similar to JFK’s famous “I believe in an America … where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope” – Bush said, “I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope” – it was reported as further proof of the pope’s liberal credentials.

Right-wing bloviators are dismissed as “clowns” by the liberal press except when they criticize Pope Francis. Then they are relevant commentators.

Progressives don’t remember that two and half years ago they scorned Church leaders for “banning contraception and sterilization worldwide, criminalizing abortion globally, endangering women workers’ contraceptive coverage under Obamacare, barring LBGTQ rights and marriage equality, halting stem cell research, overriding the right to a death with dignity [and] protecting the Church over her victims” – all positions embraced by Pope Francis.

If those who consider themselves to be sophisticated and knowledgeable accept without question the mainstream media’s carefully constructed image of Pope Francis and have lost their historical memory, what can we expect of the general electorate in future elections?

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009))

The Papal Visit Brings Forth Ugliness From the Right

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

In a recent press release, Catholic League president Bill Donohue warned, “Pope Visits To U.S. Occasion Ugliness.” Donohue then went on to describe the activities of several Catholic and non-Catholic Progressive leaning organizations during the last two papal visits. As is his wont, Donohue recklessly tarred dissent (by the Women’s Ordination Conference, for example) as anti-Catholic behavior. Donohue demagogically conflates progressive and liberal dissent with hate. There are important differences between hate and dissent, regardless of the source.

But with the ascendancy of the more open-minded Pope Francis, the Catholic League president all-too-conveniently overlooked much of the ugliness aimed at the pontiff from the Right.

On his upcoming visit to the United States Pope Francis will be addressing Congress. A significant portion of his message is expected to focus on the need to take action against Global Warming. This is not sitting well with many conservatives including conservative Catholics who would prefer that Francis talk about culture war memes such as abortion and the supposed war on Christianity.

One of these is Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) — a Tea Partier and a vocal gun rights activist — who once described Native Americans as “wards of the federal government.” He has also signed a pledge to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes. It would be an understatement to say that he is at odds with Francis over economics and the environment.

So, to that end, on September 17, 2015 Representative Gosar published a piece on the conservative website Townhall.com entitled, “Why I Am Boycotting Pope Francis’ Address to Congress.” The statement is a long list of grievances against the successor to Saint Peter — and it is not short on hyperbole. Gosar complains, for example, that Francis may discuss climate change, but he…

…has adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into “climate justice” and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies. If the Pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be the first in line. If the Pope spoke out with moral authority against violent Islam, I would be there cheering him on. If the Pope urged the Western nations to rescue persecuted Christians in the Middle East, I would back him wholeheartedly. But when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.

It goes on like this.

If the Pope wants to devote his life to fighting climate change then he can do so in his personal time. But to promote questionable science as Catholic dogma is ridiculous.

Gosar claims:

I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend. It is my hope that Pope Francis realizes his time is better spent focusing on matters like religious tolerance and the sanctity of all life. As the leader of the Catholic Church, and as a powerful voice for peace throughout the world, His Holiness has a real opportunity to change the climate of slaughter in the Middle East… not the fool’s errand of climate change.

“Socialist talking points?” “Leftist policies?” Really?

Gosar’s condescending screed is full of stuff like this: “…when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.” Such language is not civic in nature, but instead, full of hatred and hostility.

Unfortunately for Gosar, this partisan sniping reveals a breathtakingly bad understanding of Catholic social teaching (of which, both the “Option for the Poor” and “Stewardship of God’s Creation” are of great importance). He should know this since he boasts of his Jesuit education.

Then there is conservative writer Maureen Mullarkey who recently inked a poison pen piece entitled, “Francis and Political Illusion” in which she describes Francis as “an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist.” Mullarkey subsequently published a piece entitled, “Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out”. In it, she complains that Francis is not being harsher on Islam “when innocents are slaughtered in Paris by the same forces that are shedding Christian blood in the Middle East… .”

Such ranting should be no surprise coming from Mullarkey who is a contributor to the journal First Things, the well-known outlet for Catholic and Evangelical neoconservatives.

None of this is new.

As I pointed out in 2013 when Rush Limbaugh, Jeb Bush and Bill Donohue himself engaged in some ugliness by mischaracterizing Pope Francis’s criticisms of libertarian economics as a call to Marxist revolution. This is far from the first or only time a Catholic has been called a Marxist or a Socialist for wanting to use the power of government to ensure that capitalism be fairer and less predatory.

While it is true that a lot of ugliness has been directed at Pope Francis: Bill Donohue just isn’t being straight with us about the direction from whence it mostly comes.

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is the BIG EVENT for this pontificate. Ever since popes crowned the Holy Roman emperors, with few exceptions they have sought geopolitical influence and power.

Pope Francis “is due to meet President Obama and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. [He] will be going with a particularly dense international agenda: the Holy See, after all, is playing a frontline role in many of the planet’s most burning issues.”

“The Pope’s grip on the world stage means his pastoral actions will have widespread political implications. This prediction … appears in the White House and State Department’s documents.”

“The first time a pontiff will be addressing Congress rivals a presidential inauguration and State of the Union wrapped into one.”

“The improbability of a pope standing before a joint meeting of Congress comes in an era of wider acceptance of the Catholic faith as it intersects with public life and US politics, and indicates a comfort level between the two that wouldn’t have been imaginable several decades ago.”

“Some Jesuits say quietly that Bergoglio, despite being a Jesuit, is closer ideologically to Opus Dei … Bergoglio’s ‘personal, undisputed, austerity has always lived with a determined and sustained pursuit of power, first in his congregation, then in Argentina and now the universal Church. Bergoglio is a strategist and a politician,’” noted Oscar Chamber, professor at the Salesian Center for Studies in Buenos Aires and Franciscan Theological Institute. (Opus Dei is a secret society of multinational financiers)

Pope Francis’ favorable rating among liberals has fallen 14 percentage points from 82 to 68 percent according to a recent poll. I would like to think that the other third still believes in “the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless” as regards its reporting on the pope and/or remembers that two and half years ago most Americans understood that Catholic prelates carried water for the Republican Party and other plutocrats around the world, and that these same prelates elected Bergoglio as pope.

This guide is meant to provide the information omitted by that media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: New York City

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to the Pope’s US Visit: Washington DC and Philadelphia.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Philadelphia

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC and New York.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading


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