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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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    • Two Exceptional Singers Take a Chance on the "Spirit of the Wind" February 25, 2017
      This evening for "music night" at The Wild Reed I share something very special: the recent collaboration of legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Both women are past Polaris Music Prize winners, and the two teamed up to create the new recording “You Got To Run (Spirit Of The Wind)” as part of the second- […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . February 23, 2017
      Related Off-site Links:Police Remove Last Standing Rock Protesters in Military-style Takeover – Julia Carrie Wong (The Guardian, February 23, 2017).We Have to Keep Fighting: Water Protectors Vow Continued Resistance to #DAPL as Main Camp is Evicted – Democracy Now! (February 23, 2017).Standing Rock is Burning – But Our Resistance Isn't Over – Julian Bra […]
      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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    • Christmas at Litmanova December 29, 2016
      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.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • 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 […]
      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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    • RIP: Bill Paxton February 26, 2017
      I was sorry to read today that actor Bill Paxton has died ... RIP Bill Paxton: A Man of Many Faces Who Brought Humanity to All He Touched He has always been a favorite actor of mine from the time he appeared in a bit part in the first Terminator movie. He was more known for films like Apollo 13 and Twister , but I appreciated some of his lesser known films, […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

How Pope Francis Helped Defeat the Colombian Peace Agreement

Pope Francis refused multiple requests for his participation or presence during the peace process. He also advocated the ideology and vocabulary for those who opposed the peace agreement.

In April 2015, Pope Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a letter to Colombian bishops on behalf of the pope “in the hope of seeing them soon during one of his trips to Latin America.” (Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July 2015, Cuba in September 2015, Mexico in February 2016). Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, president of the Colombian bishops’ conference, said he hoped it would be in “early 2016 …. This date was tentatively picked as it should coincide with the eventual ratification of the peace agreement should it be completed on time.” Continue reading

Pope Francis’ Diplomatic Reach Exceeds His Grasp of History

Pope Francis formed an alliance with Vladimir Putin, an accommodation with Raul Castro and capitulated to Xi Jinping.

On Aug. 26, the pope announced his intentions for the 50th World Day of Peace to be celebrated on Jan. 1, 2017. He included “recognition of the primacy of diplomacy,” acting “within what is possible,” and having “a realistic political method.”

Two days earlier, the pontiff’s chosen Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “remarked that it is ‘the simplicity and courage with which the pope proposes the primacy of dialogue and understanding’ that has sparked in many religious and political leaders ‘the desire to communicate with him and to get to know the actions of the Holy See and the Catholic Church worldwide better.’” Parolin is so confident that other world leaders admire Pope Francis’ “negotiations and dialogue rather than affirming truth” that he is considering creating an Office for Papal Mediation.

Pope Francis and Parolin have said that their “dialogue” with China will bring “a more fraternal world society,”  “is the only way to achieve peace,” can be an “example for the world as a whole, building bridges of fraternity and communion everywhere,” would have “immense benefits for world peace, very, very big benefits,” that “the blossom [of relations with China] will flourish and bear good fruits for the good of the same China and of all the world,”  and that they were “writing a page unheard of in history.”

The results of Pope Francis’ diplomacy, however, is that  he “has helped to underscore Russia’s renewed standing as a global power,” in Cuba “he honored Fidel Castro while ignoring the dissidents” and his new deal with China is “a huge win for Beijing‘s soft power program.” Continue reading

Bishops Still Behaving Badly on Sex Abuse as Pope Francis Sets the Example

The clerical sex abuse scandal has revealed the core of corruption in the institutional Catholic Church. There have already been hundreds of thousands  of victims around the world.

Since the systemic sexual abuse of children made national headlines in 2002, survivors (young people who had experienced child sexual abuse had a suicide rate that was 10.7 to 13.0 times the national rates) and their advocates have demanded essential reforms necessary to protect children in the future.

One is that the pope require that all criminal acts be immediately reported to the police. This is still optional  according to Pope Francis. Another is that the pontiff hold bishops accountable. Pope Francis has never disciplined anyone for protecting child sex abusers, obstructing justice for the survivors or impeding measures to keep children safe because that’s what he does. So the scandals go on and on and on ….. Continue reading

Clinton: A More Formidable Opponent of the Pope Than Trump

Most of us are familiar with the exchange between Trump and Pope Francis in February regarding the pope’s trip to Mexico. Trump said “Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is.” The pope said “a person who thinks about building walls … is not Christian.” Trump responded, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

But Hillary Clinton courageously challenged a pope about his organization’s grievous denial of women’s rights. Continue reading

Pope Francis Kowtows to Xi Jinping

Pope Francis and Xi Jinping came to power at the same time – March 13 and March 14, 2013, respectively.

In every year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, China is identified as a government which has “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom” defined as “including torture, degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, abduction or clandestine detention, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons,” according to the U.S. State Department’s annual Religious Freedom report.

A case against China, filed in 2013 with an international tribunal, was settled on July 12. “The ruling paints a picture of an environmentally destructive, dangerously aggressive government that has no legal jurisdiction for its actions.”

“In the Chinese imagination, this is not subjugation of neighbors but simply restoration of the normal order … a return to the traditional concept of tianxia, with barbarians benefiting from Chinese civilization.”

Pope Francis told Xi Jinping, “The world looks to this great wisdom of yours.” He repeats that “the world looks to China’s wisdom and civilization,” in a February 2016 interview. The pope also “described the excitement he felt when he was about to enter Chinese airspace on the flight from Seoul to Rome in August 2014.”

During that in-flight news conference, the pope said, “I think of the great Chinese sages, theirs is a history of knowledge, of wisdom” and that he wanted to go to China “Tomorrow! Oh, yes!”

The next month, Pope Francis issued an invitation to Xi to come to the Vatican and said he was willing to go to China.

Pope Francis rejected a meeting requested by the Dalai Lama in December 2014 because Vatican negotiations with China were in a “delicate” phase. “China describes the Dalai Lama as a separatist and reacts angrily when foreign dignitaries meet him.”

Afterwards the pope repeated: “[The Chinese] know I’m available either to receive someone, or to go to China. They know.”

When the pope was in the U.S. in September 2015, he and Xi were in New York the same day. “The pope wanted to meet Xi and this message was communicated clearly to China.”

It was announced on August 5, 2016, that after more than two years of negotiations, the Vatican and Beijing reached a preliminary agreement whereby a government-controlled organization would prepare a list of candidates for bishop and the pope would choose from among them. No other civil government in the world has been granted this authority.

The pope has not been invited to China. He has not met Xi Jinping. He has never mentioned China’s aggression, “egregious violations” of religious freedom or any other human right for the Chinese. Beijing has made no concessions. Continue reading

Pope Francis at Auschwitz But Not Where Catholics Slaughtered 700,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma in WWII

From the barbarity in Croatia during World War II there is a direct historical link to the atrocities committed in Argentina’s Dirty War, and certainty of the Catholic Church’s collusion. It’s time for Pope Francis to open his secret archives and make amends. Continue reading

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