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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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      Compassionate Creator,within and beyond all things,holy are your names.May your ways of wisdom and compassionbe known and embodied by all.Grant what we need each dayin bread and insight.Loose the cords of mistakes that bind usas we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.Do not let surface things delude usbut free us from all that holds us backfrom […]
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      Although I'm back in Minnesota and starting in on my chaplain residency, I continue to share images and commentary on my recent Australian sojourn. Today's installment focuses on a quick trip I made from my parents' place in Guruk to Sydney on the weekend of August 12-13, 2017. I actually left Friday, August 11 and returned Sunday, August 13. […]
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News Archives, Feb 5 – Feb 11 2010

From U.S. Catholic:

Bryan Cones, Feb. 11, 2010

Non-pastoral care for gay Catholics

The Catholic Web has been buzzing this week because of what seems to be a unprovoked attack by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago against Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, which tries to help gay and lesbian Catholics and their families “build bridges” with the church.

The National Catholic Reporter has a good summary of George’s statement and the response of New Ways Ministry director Frank DeBernardo, but I’ve got another question altogether.

(Read more)

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From WeNews:

Claire Bushey, Feb. 10, 2010

Vatican Probe of U.S. Nuns Moves Quietly Forward

The Vatican’s investigation of U.S. nuns is expected to be completed in 2011. Many think the probe amounts to an examination of the initiatives of the 1960s that revolutionized the life of nuns, allowing many to leave convents and pursue careers.

The Vatican’s investigation of American nuns enters its second year, with few nuns willing to openly discuss what they think about it.Numerous requests for interviews by Women’s eNews were declined, both by nuns who oppose the investigation and those who support it.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Francis X. Rocca, Feb. 11, 2010

Irish sex abuse victims ask church for $1 billion

VATICAN CITY — Irish victims of clerical sex abuse have asked Pope Benedict XVI for over $1.37 billion in compensation, in a letter that the head of Ireland’s Catholic Church will hand-deliver to the pope next week.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Jeff Diamant, Feb. 11, 2010

Bishops’ views don’t always find favor among laity

NEWARK, N.J. — With their high-priority issues prominent on national agendas, Catholic clergy have been unusually active in politics. Bishops in New Jersey and elsewhere have been especially vocal on matters such as same-sex marriage, national health care and illegal immigration.

Yet polls show that when Catholic bishops press their positions with politicians on such issues, they often do so without the support of large segments of the lay people in their dioceses.

(Read more)

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Catholic Church facing £400k bill

Hull, United Kingdom:

The Roman Catholic Church is facing a legal bill of £400,000 after a judge ruled in favour of victims of alleged systematic abuse at a former children’s home.

The High Court has ruled that the Middlesbrough Diocese is responsible for the legal costs of about 150 former residents of St William’s Children’s Home in Market Weighton.

It has also ruled that the Church will be responsible for the legal costs of the De La Salle Brothers who were responsible for the running of the home.

The alleged victims sued both the diocese and the Brothers, a catholic order of lay teachers, because the complex management history of the home.

A catalogue of physical and sexual abuse is alleged to have taken place at the home between 1960 and 1992.

At a November hearing it was decided that the diocese only was responsible and not the De La Salle Brothers.

The alleged victims would normally be responsible for paying towards the legal costs of the De La Salles’ bill, but the court has ruled they acted reasonably in suing both parties.

Judge Hawkesworth QC has made an interim order that the diocese should pay £400,000 towards the Brothers’ costs, which amount to £862,000.

The case has been running since 2004 and the claimants costs are already around £2m.

The diocese is appealing the decision that it is responsible.

If it is ultimately held responsible, it is estimated that the full costs and compensation bill could amount to £8m. A decision on the appeal is unlikely before the end of the year.

One brother has been jailed for abuse carried out at the home.

Brother James Carragher was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being convicted of abusing boys at the home between 1968 and 1992.

About 2,000 children went to the school over a 30 year period.

(Read more )

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From Religion Dispatches:

Candace Chellew-Hodge, Feb. 10, 2010

Rowan WIlliams’ Backhanded “Apology” to Gays

When is an apology not an apology?

When is an apology not really an apology? When the behavior that provoked the apology continues after the, “I’m sorry.” A case in point is Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams “apology” to gay and lesbian people in an address to the General Synod of the Church of England, meeting this week in London:

(Read more)

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From Orange County Register:

Martin Wisckol, Feb. 9, 2010

Buena Park pastor prayed for Murtha’s death

Southern Baptist Pastor Wiley Drake of Buena Park sent out an email Monday night, saying that perhaps his prayers had been answered with the death of Rep. John Murtha yesterday.

“Maybe God took him out,” Drake wrote. “Maybe God Answered our IMPRECATORY prayer that we prayed every 30 days.

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From Guardian (UK):

Patrick Strudwick, Feb. 9, 2010

The war on ‘cures’ for homosexuality

My undercover investigation has led to a campaign against those who wreck lives by peddling conversion therapy

Last year, in Britain, a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist tried to “cure” me of my homosexuality. What they didn’t know was that I was working undercover investigating what happens during so-called conversion therapy. The results of my investigation, published last week in the Independent, have sparked a bushfire of anger and outrage.

(Read more)

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From Times (London):

Ruth Gledhill, Feb. 9, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury issues ‘profound’ apology to LGBTs

And he has just outlined to the General Synod a possible way through its schismatic difficulties. Read our story here.

Linking the Church’s troubles with difficulties in the secular domain over assisted dying and equality, the Archbishop of Canterbury appeared to acknowledge that in order to survive the Anglican Communion might have to exist on two levels. These would be made up of those prepared to sign the Covenant and those not.

(Read more)

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From USA Today:

Kathy Grossman, Feb. 9, 2010

Kill or jail gays but not pastors: Church of Uganda

At last, the Church of Uganda, the Anglican Communion branch there, has spoken up on the anti-homosexuality bill it has been studying for months. Their confusing statement, released today to Christianity Today, is long on bewildering rhetoric and very short on proposed amendments.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Nicholas Kulish, Feb. 9, 2010

German Church Faces Child Abuse Charges

BERLIN — The Roman Catholic Church faces yet another child abuse scandal, this time in Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany.

(Read more)

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From Voice of the Faithful:

Dan Bartley, Jan. 5, 2010

VOTF Letter to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re

In his recent address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George said: “Our pastoral concern for ecclesial unity does not diminish our awareness of our own mistakes and sins. There are some who would like to trap the Church in historical events of ages long past and there are others who would keep the bishops permanently imprisoned in the clerical sexual abuse scandal of recent years. The proper response to a crisis of governance, however, is not no governance but effective governance. Loss of trust, we know, weakens relationships and will continue to affect our ministry, even though clerical ranks have been purged of priests and bishops known to have abused children and the entire Church has taken unprecedented means to protect children and to reach out to victims.”

(Read more)

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From BBC:

Feb. 9, 2010

Church must tackle diversity – Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on all sides in controversies in the Church of England to give consideration to the views of other Christians.

Dr Rowan Williams told the Church’s general synod “megaphone tones” were being used over issues such as women bishops and gays in the Church.

He apologised for views in the west causing harm to Christians elsewhere.

(Read more)

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From Washington Post:

Dylan Lovan, Feb. 10, 2010

Some Presbyterians see salvation by other faiths

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Presbyterian Church USA’s statement of faith says God through Jesus Christ delivers followers “from death to life eternal.”

But one in three members of the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination seem to believe there’s some wiggle room for non-Christians to get into heaven, according to a recent poll.

(Read more)

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From Washington Post:

Nicole Winfield, Feb. 9, 2010

Italian Catholic scandal draws in Pope Benedict

VATICAN CITY — A scandal in Italy’s Catholic Church has morphed into a tale of Vatican intrigue complete with forged documents, reports of dueling cardinals and a papal admonishment Tuesday to put the matter to rest.

(Read more)

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From National Public Radio (WBUR, Boston):

Deborah Becker, Feb. 10, 2010

Catholics Call For Cardinal Law’s Resignation, Following Irish Clergy Abuse Report

BOSTON — Ireland’s clergy sex abuse scandal erupted last year after two government-ordered reports documented decades of clergy child abuse and a church cover up of the abuse. Four Irish bishops said they’ll resign for not reporting the abuse. Some in Ireland say another Catholic leader should resign — former Boston Archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law.

(Read more)

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From Alternet:

Peter Montgomery, Feb. 10, 2010

‘Christian’ Manifesto Comparing Liberals to Nazis Gathers Signatures of Religious Right Leaders — and Catholic Bishops

Right-wing Christian leaders are making a concerted push to gain thousands of new signatures for their hate-filled Manhattan Declaration.

Religious right leaders are making a concerted push to gain thousands of new signatures for their “Manhattan Declaration,” a manifesto released late last year by about 150 conservative Christian leaders. The document, signed by such religious-right heavy-hitters as Focus on the Family eminence James Dobson and Prison Fellowship Ministries leader Chuck Colson, compares pro-choice advocates to eugenicists (and implicitly to Nazis) and equates same-sex marriage with polygamy and a gateway to legalized incest. Its authors promise to defy any law that does not comport with their religious beliefs. Joining the religious right’s Protestant leaders as signatories to the declaration are four Roman Catholic bishops, including those presiding over the powerful archdioceses of New York and Washington, DC.

(Read more)

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From Journal-Sentinel (Milwaukee):

Editorial, Feb. 8, 2010

Talk to police first

Sexual abuse is a crime, and it needs to be reported first to law enforcement, not to officials of other institutions.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse or if you know someone who has been sexually abused or you know of a case of sexual abuse, you need to report that to the police or other civil authority before you report it to anyone else. You don’t first report it to a school principal, teacher, counselor, minister, rabbi, imam, priest or bishop. You go to the police.

(Read more)

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From USA Today:

Kathy Grossman, Feb. 8, 2010

Don’t kill U.S. gays, lock them up: Family groups

Focus on the Family, sponsor of the Tim Tebow ad at the Super Bowl, isn’t the only conservative evangelical group riling its critics right now.

Some folks are worried about President Obama munching toast at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast with friends of Ugandan homophobe David Bahati. But while the prayer event held the headlines, leaders of the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, made news, too.

(Read more)

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From Spiegel:

Feb. 8, 2010

Inside Germany’s Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal

The Catholic Church in Germany has been shaken in recent days by revelations of a series of sexual abuse cases. Close to 100 priests and members of the laity have been suspected of abuse in recent years. After years of suppression, the wall of silence appears to be crumbling.

This is what it looks like, the document of a conspiracy: 24 pages, with appendix, in Latin, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. A “norma interna,” or confidential set of guidelines for all bishops, who were required to keep it a secret for all eternity, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

(Read more)

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From Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP):

Barbara Dorris, Feb. 8, 2010

Pope condemns abuse of children by priests; sex abuse victims respond

These are more meaningless and self-serving words from the Vatican designed strictly to mollify the flock while changing nothing. How many times does the Pope get to ‘condemn’ clergy sexual abuse while doing virtually nothing to stop it? How many times will he try to divert attention away from the complicity of bishops and focus exclusively on the crimes of the predators? When will we begin to hold him accountable for his inaction?

(Read more)

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From Zenit:

Feb. 8, 2010

Benedict XVI’s Address to Family Council

“Raise Awareness of the Fundamental Value of the Family”

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI’s address to members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who are currently holding their 19th Plenary Assembly.

(Read more)

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From The Columbia Missourian:

GUEST COMMENTARY: Missouri should protect its children, not their abusers

David Clohessy, Feb. 8, 2010

Last month, many child sex abuse victims and childrens’ advocates were distraught when the Missouri Supreme Court overturned two recent laws designed to restrict sex offenders and safeguard kids. But to me it felt like, in the words of Yogi Berra, “déjà vu all over again.”

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Eric Lax, Feb. 7, 2010

Have Faith in Love

THE election, two months ago, of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, a priest who has been in a committed relationship with another woman for more than 20 years, as a suffragan (assistant) bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, has brought added turmoil to the Episcopal Church in the United States and to the worldwide Anglican Communion. There has been sporadic schism since the regular ordination of women as priests in 1977 and especially since the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. He is the first openly gay bishop in the history of those Christian bishops — Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Greek and Russian Orthodox among them — who trace their succession back to the apostles.

(Read more)

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From Religion Dispatches:

Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, Feb. 8, 2010

Christian Imperialism in Haiti? Missionaries, Theo-tourism, and the Invasion of the Global South

The disaster in Haiti has brought attention to the ways that aid and ignorance sometimes come as a package.

In the past three weeks we have been overwhelmed with images of religious groups descending upon the island of Haiti, uniting religious solidarity and aid, most often in the name of Jesus Christ. From Pat Robertson’s Operation Blessing distributing food and water in Port-Au-Prince to Christian Scientists working side by side with US doctors in the many makeshift hospitals that now dot the capital, to the dramatic arrest of ten Southern Baptist Missionaries accused of kidnapping, these images beg the question of the connection between aid and evangelization. And, perhaps more harshly, these incidents force us to wonder if the “good” these groups bring is outweighed by the manner in which their ignorance is a destructive force in the global South.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Feb. 7, 2010

Gay group director responds to cardinal’s criticisms

New Ways Ministry planning March weekend gathering in Chicago

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, responding to sharp criticisms regarding his organization’s ministries, said the group will continue its bridge-building work between lesbian/gay Catholics and the Catholic church.

His statment came after Chicago Cardinal Francis George unexpectedly isssued a statement Feb. 5 questioning the organization’s Catholic identity.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Tom Roberts, Feb. 7, 2010

DeBernardo: ‘persistent, gracious, thoughtful, questioning’

Deeply saddened by the cardinal’s remarks

I’ve known Francis DeBernardo for a number of years, have read a good deal of what he’s written. I’ve spoken to him at length and I have attended a conference or two conducted by New Ways Ministry. He’s persistent, gracious, thoughtful, and he raises questions that we all need to ponder.

Those involved with leading the ministry, I daresay, have a much deeper appreciation of Catholicism and its traditions than most who take up with one or another Catholic organizations.

I am convinced that DeBarnardo, New Ways ministry, and all the Catholic parents of gay and lesbian children and all of their relatives who love them and experience them as whole and wonderful human beings are not going to go away.

(Read more)

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From Truthout:

Rich Benjamin, Feb. 5, 2010

White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement

The simmering movement is the whitest phenomenon on the national scene, evident not just in its Caucasian numbers but in the bedrock beliefs stirring its anti-government contempt.

The Tea Party movement, holding its first convention this weekend, is angling to be the most revolutionary force in American politics in name and in deed, since at least the 1960s counterculture. Only this time, the political insurgents command a party of Flour Power, not flower power.

(Read more)

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From Religion Dispatches:

Laurie Lebo, Feb. 5, 2010

Texas Scold ‘Em: Conservative Christians Go on Offensive in Critical Textbook Review

Mike Huckabee prepares to host Mathew Staver whose Liberty Counsel has been sending dubious press releases.

The Texas Board of Education’s ongoing battle over rewriting its social studies curriculum has gotten its fair share of attention from the national media. But the religious right has been fairly quiet on the subject outside of the Lone Star State.

This weekend, Mike Huckabee will step into the fray, delivering national exposure to a conservative market. Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel and dean of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University law school, will be a guest on Fox News’ Huckabee show to discuss the curriculum revisions.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Frank Rich, Feb. 6, 2010

Smoke the Bigots Out of the Closet

A funny thing happened after Adm. Mike Mullen called for gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military: A curious silence befell much of the right. If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, it would be the case of the attack dogs that did not bark.

(Read more)

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From America:

James Martin, SJ, Feb. 6, 2010

USCCB Condemns New Ways Ministry; Gay Ministry Responds

Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, has denounced New Ways Ministry, a national organization based in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, which reaches out to gay and lesbian Catholics, runs conferences on issues concerning gay and lesbian Catholics, and sponsors regular retreats for that same population.

(Read more)

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From The Tablet:

Editorial, Feb. 6, 2010

Deepest Human desire

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales did not experience first-hand the super-heated reaction of the mass media, whether accurately reflecting public opinion or not, to Pope Benedict’s attack on the “unjust” consequences of British anti-discrimination legislation. For they were in the room with him when he said it, at the end of their routine ad limina visit to the Vatican.

(Read more)

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From Boston Globe:

Molly A.K. Connors, Jan. 29, 2010

Clergy abuse discussed at Hingham

The anger and pain over the sexual abuse by clergy remains, but a gathering in Hingham this week showed ways that the victims and the Catholic church are taking steps to recover.

About 100 people came to Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham Tuesday to learn about “The Enduring Psychological and Spiritual Effects of Clergy-Perpetrated Sexual Abuse,” at a talk co-sponsored by the Voice of the Faithful affiliate in Scituate.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Cindy Wooden, Feb. 5, 2010

Self-mortification must be moderate, monitored

VATICAN CITY — Reacting to a report that Pope John Paul II practiced self-mortification, including flagellation, experts in spirituality said ascetical practices are part of the Christian tradition, but should be used in moderation and under the guidance of a mature spiritual director.

(Read more)

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From Pam’s House Blend Blog:

Alvin McEwen, Feb. 5, 2010

Religious right showing hostile new militancy against the lgbt community

In the span of less than a week, we have witnessed a meltdown of religious right talking heads against the lgbt community.

First there was the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg who said on Hardball earlier this week that he supports “criminalizing homosexual behavior.”

Around the same time came the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer who published an ugly screed saying that homosexuality should be against the law. He compounded this nastiness when he tried to backtrack explaining that he “merely” said that “homosexual behavior” should be treated the same as intravenous drug abuse.

(Read more)

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