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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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      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! ]]
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      Celebrating 10 Years of The Wild ReedI can think of no better way to mark the tenth anniversary of The Wild Reed than by sharing the following message I received from a young man in Ghana. With his permission I reprint (with added links) his January 12, 2015 message, accompanied by photos he subsequently e-mailed me.Hello kind soul,My name is Atsu Gadri, fro […]
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      . . . to be both prophet and mystic.I can't recall where I found the image above, but it's one that I really love. It shows a dervish standing in a flowering field. He looks very intentional, don't you think? I see him as preparing to dance a prayer of praise and surrender to the Divine Presence. Part if this image's appeal is to do with […]
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      Attended Pentecost services today at the beautiful Catholic Church of St. Thomas in Mala Strana (something I rarely do). Surprised to see that the papal nuncio, Bishop Giuseppe Leanza was presiding - over a confirmation ceremony of 4 young teens, two boys and two girls, and one adult male. Bishop Leanza has just recently been elevated to the red hat, Cardina […]
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      Yet again - I've been neglecting this blog, despite my best intentions. I had hoped to comment on the Easter visit to Catholic Slovakia and the Marian shrine of Litmanova. A deeply moving event for me - going from secular, cynical Czechia (Czech Republic's new nickname) to staunchly, vibrantly Catholic Slovakia (with its dark history of collusion w […]
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      I'll be voting soon in the California primary and I'll vote for Hillary, but I've got to wonder if it will do any good. Bernie cannot win the nomination because he is behind and cannot catch up in popular votes or in delegates, but he continues to insist that the system is rigged and that he can still win - lies. The latest in this weirdness i […]
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The Whole Story of Pope Francis’ Interview: Anti-women, Anti-gay, Contempt for Sex Abuse Victims, Support for Putin, Refusal to Face the Argentines and US Politics

If anyone needs an example of how the corporate media can manipulate and pervert public opinion, they could look no further than how the in-flight interview with Pope Francis has been reported. Indeed, they should study the U.S. media’s misrepresentation of this pontiff since the day he was elected.

Zika virus

Pope: “Abortion is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does … You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.”

While saving a woman’s life is condemned as “what the Mafia does,” the pope reiterated the position of the Catholic Church that birth control is acceptable. Continue reading

From the Vatican to Sicily, France, India, Australia and Mexico – A Spotlight Should be on Pope Francis Enabling Clerical Sex Abuse

Keeping Spotlight On

In the last two weeks, global events show that Pope Francis is enabling the clerical sex abuse of children by appointing, promoting and refusing to remove bishops with terrible histories of aiding and abetting abuse and by refusing to make meaningful change.

On Feb. 4, clerical sex abuse survivor and member of the pope’s commission on sex abuse, Peter Saunders, arranged for the movie, Spotlight,  to be screened for members of the commission. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, the movie is about the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations into the cover up by Catholic officials of serial pedophile priests.

Two days later, Saunders was booted off the commission. Saunders had been an outspoken critic of Pope Francis’ appointment of a Chilean bishop accused not only of covering up for the most notorious pedophile priest in that country, but also of witnessing the sex abuse. Additionally, Saunders had called the pope’s financial tsar, Cardinal George Pell, “almost sociopathic”  for his brutal treatment of victims in Australia. Continue reading

The Pope’s Pursuit of Global Relevance Should be Quashed Because of Continuing Sex Abuse

stock-photo-74729579-pope-francis-in-the-usaPope Francis has been trying to improve his relationship with other governments.

“The world looks to this great wisdom of yours,” the pope told China’s Xi Jinping. Francis “urged the world not to fear China’s growing power and conveyed a message of friendship” to the president in an interview published Feb. 2.

Pope Francis granted a 40-minute private audience to Iran president Hassan Rouhani on Jan. 26.  If they discussed Iran’s alliance with Russia supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s “extermination” of his civilian population, it was not mentioned in the Vatican’s press release – a strange omission for a pope who is always urging compassion for the Assad’s refugees.

Pope Francis will meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Cuban president Raul Castro on Feb. 12 in Cuba. Kirill is a close ally of Pres. Vladimir Putin, so the meeting has Putin’s approval. Kirill will be in Cuba at the invitation of Castro to celebrate the historic ties between the Russian Orthodox church and the island nation, a result of Cuba’s historical alliance with Russia. The meeting was probably arranged after Castro met Kirill in Moscow when he went to discuss with Putin “increased bilateral cooperation with Russia and the implementation of joint projects” last May and then flew directly to a private meeting with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis’ prestige outside the Catholic Church rests entirely on his being viewed as a moral authority. Yet recent events prove his continuing contempt for past, present and future victims of clerical sex abuse. The only outspoken member of the pope’s sex abuse commission was booted out on Feb. 6. “Peter Saunders has frequently argued that the panel is writing ineffectual guidelines instead of exposing predator priests who continue to molest children.”

Continue reading

Pope Francis’ Personal Income: €428 Million in 2013

The Peter’s Pence collection totaled €378 million in 2013. (1 euro = 1.10 dollar) Peter’s Pence is an annual collection from Catholics worldwide asked to donate to the pope’s charitable works.

The Vatican Bank’s annual profits are also “offered the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” This was €50 million in 2013.

While popes have used the bank’s profits to support the Vatican’s administration as they see fit, the Peter’s Pence donations are intended to be given entirely to charity.

Pope Francis makes only 20 percent  of the Peter’s Pence collection available for the poor as disclosed by Gianluigi Nuzzi, in his book Merchants in the Temple, released in November 2015. This was confirmed by Pope Francis’ chief of staff, Archbishop Becciu, last month.  The archbishop said if even 60 per cent of Peter’s Pence was given to charity “we would have to immediately fire 400 people” out of the current 4,000 Vatican employees. Continue reading

Can a Fox News Alumnus Reverse the Pope’s Decreasing Popularity?

images

Last April, 56% of Americans surveyed viewed Pope Francis “in a positive light … By contrast, only 44% of Americans viewed Barack Obama in a positive light.”  A Gallup poll published December 28 showed 17% of Americans named President Obama as their most admired man in the world; the pope and Donald Trump were tied for second with only 5% each.

Attendance in 2015 at the public audiences with Pope Francis at the Vatican was down almost by half compared to the previous year.

Although Pope Francis was prepared to intervene in the Paris Climate Change Conference in December, no one asked him to do so. No representative of the Vatican was in attendance. Continue reading

U.S. Bishops’ Unrelenting Assault Against Women and Gays to Support the GOP in 2016

USCCB Meeting November 2010

For over three decades, the Republican Party has used the Religious Right to energize conservative Christians to political activism and to get out the vote. Republicans running for office in numerous states and the U.S. Congress are preparing for battles in 2016 over discrimination protection  for LBGT persons, religious exemptions for nonprofits and businesses objecting to gay marriage and contraception, and greater restrictions on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) annual General Assembly in November, “their first assembly since gay marriage became legal nationwide, they vowed to uphold marriage as only the union of a man and a woman and to seek legal protections for those who share that view. Some bishops said they were committed to reversing the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling last June … Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said a concerted effort was needed to ‘build a consensus’ to do so. As a model, he pointed to new state laws  that have made it harder to obtain an abortion.”

USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, “highlighted the bishops’ push for religious exemptions for charities, schools and individual for-profit business owners who oppose gay marriage and other laws and regulations.” Continue reading

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Maureen Malarkey Share the 2015 Coughlin Award!

Originally <a href=http://www.talk2action.org/story/2015/12/30/134622/25”>posted at</a> Talk to Action.

Yes, folks it’s that time of the year again. It’s time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As it is every year, the competition was stiff, so much so that this year for the first time we have a tie!  This year’s award goes to <a href=”http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/archbishop-salvatore-cordileone-takes-divisive-action-san-francisco-archdiocese“>Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone</a> and <a href=”http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2015/01/maureen-mullarkey-strikes-again-and.html“>Maureen Malarkey</a>.

 

The Coughlin Award — affectionately known as “The Coughie” — is our way of recognizing the person who has best exemplified an exclusionary, strident interpretation of the Catholic faith in the preceding year. The award is named for <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin“>Father Charles Coughlin</a>, the notorious radio priest of the 1930s who is the role model for today’s Religious Right radio and television evangelists, and other conservative media personalities.<p>

 

Best known for his diatribes against FDR, Judaism and open sympathy with the racist policies of Adolph Hitler, Coughlin’s advocacy was antithetical to the very definition of the word “catholic,” which, according to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary means:<p><p>

 

<blockquote>Catholic Cath”o*lic\ (k[a^]th”[-o]*[i^]k), a. [L. catholicus, Gr. kaqoliko`s, universal, general; kata` down, wholly + “o`los whole, probably akin to E. solid: cf. F. catholique.]<p>

  1. Universal or general; as, the catholic faith.<p>

Men of other countries [came] to bear their part in so great and catholic a war. –Southey.<p>

Note: This epithet, which is applicable to the whole Christian church, or its faith, is claimed by Roman Catholics to belong especially to their church, and in popular usage is so limited.<p><p>

*Not narrow-minded, partial, or bigoted; liberal; as, catholic tastes.<p>

*Of or pertaining to, or affecting the Roman Catholics; as, the Catholic emancipation act.</blockquote><p><p>

In order to win a Coughie, a candidate must complete three qualifying tasks: 1) Make the faith decisively less inclusive 2) Engage in incendiary behavior and 3) Ultimately embarrasses the Church. This year’s winners — as usual — have risen to the challenge.<p>

 

This year there were so many exemplars of the Coughlin tradition, our judges had a hard time deciding whom to choose. For example, there was Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), the Tea Partying, climate change denying gun rights activist who published a screed on <i>Townhall.com</i> entitled, “Why I Am Boycotting Pope Francis’ Address to Congress.” And then there was (and <a href=http://www.talk2action.org/story/2014/12/30/82455/131”>last year’s winner</a>), Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia — whose strident divisiveness always makes him a contender. But as the nominating committee pointed out — neither of them can hold a candle to this year’s co-winners.

 

Since it is my belief that chivalry is not dead, ladies first.

 

<b>Maureen Mullarkey</b>

 

Our first award winner is Maureen Mullarkey, the <a href=http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2009/02/dana-rudolph-educational-challenge-of.html”>painter</a>-cum-political writer who

topped the charts of high-minded commentary about the current pontiff with <a href=http://thefederalist.com/2015/09/24/che-guevaras-pope/”>Che Guevara’s Pope </a>.

 

As I <a href=http://www.talk2action.org/story/2015/9/21/131542/062”>

observed</a> in September 2015 :

 

<blockquote>Then there is conservative writer Maureen Mullarkey who recently inked a poison pen piece entitled, <a href=”http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/mullarkey/2015/01/francis-political-illusion“>”Francis and Political Illusion”</a> in which she describes Francis as “an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist.” Mullarkey subsequently published a piece entitled, <a href=”http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/26/pope-francis-is-a-leftist-and-must-be-called-out/“>”Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out”</a>. 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… .”<p>

Such ranting should be no surprise coming from Mullarkey who is a contributor to the journal <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Things“><i>First Things</i></a>, the well-known outlet for Catholic and Evangelical neoconservatives.</blockquote>

 

But Mullarkey had gone too far — even for <i>First Things</i>, which took down her last piece and fired her as a contributing writer. Editor R.R. Reno explained, <a href=https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/09/no-more-tirades”>No More Tirades</a>:

 

<blockquote> I’ve criticized Pope Francis and his encyclical, <i>Laudato Si</i>. However, Maureen’s commentary on Francis goes well beyond measured criticism. She consistently treats him as an ideological propagandist, accusing him of reducing the faith to secular political categories. This is her way of reducing him to the political terms she favors. And those terms are the ones used by radio talk-show hosts to entertain the public with mock-battles against various Empires of Evil. I don’t want First Things to play that game.</blockquote>

 

That, readers, was the Coughie clincher!

 

<b>Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone</b>

 

But in 2015 Coughlin Award-winning divisiveness was not the sole domain of Maureen Mullarkey. In fact, this year’s co-winner is a culture warrior, <i>par excellence</i>!

 

In 2012 Pope Benedict installed Salvatore Cordileone as the archbishop of San Francisco. To say that he was not a good fit for the progressively tolerant City by the Bay is an understatement. The archbishop is both a strong proponent of the Latin mass as well as being a signatory to the anti-marriage equality manifesto known as <a href=http://www.politicalresearch.org/2013/07/23/christian-right-seeks-renewal-in-deepening-catholic-protestant-alliance/#sthash.savcOVUH.dpbs”>the Manhattan Declaration</a>.  (He went on to chair the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on the promotion and defense of marriage.)

 

 

Archbishop Cordileone is such a polarizing figure that a hundred prominent Bay area Catholics took out a full page ad in the <i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> calling for his resignation. <a href=http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/influential-catholics-call-removal-san-francisco-bishop-full-page-ad”>

According to</a> the <i>National Catholic Reporter</i>:

 

<blockquote>In an April 16 <a href=http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/04/cordileonead.jpg”>full-page advertisement</a> in the <i>San Francisco Chronicle</i>, more than 100 signers say the embattled archbishop pursues “a single-issue agenda,” coercing teachers with a “morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws” and “[isolating] himself from our community” as he “relies … on a tiny group of advisors recruited from outside of our diocese and estranged from their own religious orders.”</p>

 

Referring to themselves as “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II,” signers include well-known philanthropists in the archdiocese, members of school and university boards, the former director of Catholic Charities CYO, high-profile attorneys and physicians, major figures in the business and corporate world, and officials of trusts, foundations and charitable organizations.</blockquote>

 

Part of what triggered all this was Archbishop Cordileone’s attempt to add a morality clause to the local Catholic high school teachers’ handbooks. As the <i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> <a href=http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/S-F-archbishop-s-morality-clauses-run-counter-6063227.php”>reported</a> earlier this year, “It contains a 2,000-word section calling for staff members — in their professional and private lives — to honor church teachings. He specifically cited opposition to abortion, contraception, homosexuality, artificial insemination, cloning and same-sex marriage, not to mention masturbation, fornication and pornography.”

 

Then, as if to outdo himself, in February 2015 a “morality pamphlet” was distributed to elementary School level parochial students within the diocese. Its shocking contents <a href=http://www.cbsnews.com/news/star-of-the-sea-school-morality-pamphlet-backlash-parents/”>were reported</a> by <i>CBS News</i>:

 

<blockquote>Questions included, “Did I participate or approve of a mercy killing?” “Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication or sodomy)?” …  Star of the Sea parish pastor Father Joseph Illo said when he realized in December the adult content of the pamphlets in December, he halted their distribution.</blockquote>

 

The many examples of the Archbishop’s Coughie-worthy achievements include <a href=http://ncronline.org/news/people/surprise-resignation-stuns-california-seminary-students-faculty”>the sacking of popular priests</a> and the use of <a href=http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/19/3635964/what-would-jesus-do-definitely-not-this/”>sprinklers to keep the homeless away</a> from St. Mary’s Cathedral.  Archbishop Cordileone may not be a Pope Francis Catholic — but he may be a Maureen Mullarkey Catholic!

 

So then you have it ladies and gentlemen; I give you Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Maureen Mullarkey our 2015 Coughlin Award co-winners!

 

 

 

 

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