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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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    • Anew October 19, 2016
      The following words of author and poet Julia Cameron are particularly meaningful to me at this time, for reasons which I'll share in a later post. Perhaps these words will resonate with you too, and where you're at on your journey.All beginning is an ending. I both celebrate and grieve. As I choose to start anew, I choose to believe in my own resil […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • An Autumn Afternoon at Minnehaha Falls October 16, 2016
      I spent much of this afternoon with my friend Kyle at Minnehaha Falls in south Minneapolis. We followed Minnehaha Creek from the Falls to the place where it flows into the Mississippi River. It was almost a year ago when, with my friend PJ, I made the same trek from the Falls to the River.Today's trek took place under an overcast sky. It was nevertheles […]
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
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    • Off to Summer Camp July 1, 2016
      Leaving tomorrow for eight weeks of summer camp with Czech kids, first in the forests of Krivoklat, then the beautiful rolling hills of Moravia.I do have a week off, when I hope to head for the Tatras mountains in Slovakia, and a few days of retreat at the lovely Marian shrine of Litmanova, on the border with Poland.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • Orlando Update June 29, 2016
      Omar Mateen as seen in a documentary film.  Photo credit: James Varty / The Big Fix / YouTubeI will preface this brief update to my previous posting on the Orlando shooting with these wise words from Russ Baker of Who What Why. Org. Somewhere between the rush to judgment that is the neatly packaged mainstream version of events in Orlando, and the wilder meme […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
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    • Nasty October 20, 2016
      - For Trump, the Election Is Rigged If a “Nasty Woman” Can Win- 'Nasty': A Feminist History - Trump insult late in debate inspires hilarious ‘Nasty Woman’ fragrance ad
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Cardinals Disputing the Pope


At least a score of cardinals have openly disagreed with Pope Francis in the past nine months. This is unheard of in recent history, not because churchmen don’t disagree with the pontiff, but because Princes of Church aren’t supposed to do it publicly. Continue reading

Religious Liberty: It’s About Money

Tomorrow, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will complete their annual “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign, a call-to-arms in defense of their “freedom” to deny women and LGBT persons theirs.

As they so often do, the bishops tell us, “We are dedicated … to remain free to provide education, to care for the sick, the poor, and the migrant,” in a paid advertisement for this year’s campaign.  The USCCB is selling a four minute video “featuring stories of the importance of religious freedom for institutions that perform the works of mercy – educating children, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick.”

Their last meeting open to the press ended with USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, “highlighting the bishops’ push for religious exemptions for charities, schools and individual for-profit business owners who oppose gay marriage and other laws and regulations.”

On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced a new multimedia platform that “will reach Catholics and non-Catholics alike about the good works in the parishes, schools and ministries not only in the archdiocese, but around the world.”

The bishops would have us believe that Catholic charity has an enormous impact on the well-being of our society. While it’s true that many Catholics are generous with their time and money – as are many Americans – the funding coming from the bishops is very small in proportion to their wealth and minuscule in proportion to total U.S. charity. Continue reading

The Rise of Pope Francis


In 1990, there were 877 priests in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

Typically, priests are selected for auxiliary bishop – the first rung up the hierarchical career ladder – from those who have distinguished themselves working for the (arch)diocese. For example, the new auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia had been coordinator and spiritual director of the archdiocesan seminary, an auditor and had served on three boards for the archdiocese in addition to heading five parishes

At the time he was chosen in 1992 as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was assigned to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba, 435 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, and had never held a position working for the archdiocese.

Additionally, like all Jesuits, Bergoglio had vowed to “never strive for or ambition any prelacy or dignity outside the Society.”  He would become the only Jesuit to head the Buenos Aires archdiocese in its 400 year history and the only Jesuit pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading

Confirmed: The Vatican Trial is Rigged

The three witnesses called by the defense who are all top officials appointed by, and close to, Pope Francis will not be testifying. In what is known as the “Vatileaks 2” trial, the judges stated last week that Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, head of the commission which supervises the Vatican Bank, and Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, head of papal charity, were excused. Each is connected to an aspect of Vatican finance which, if given more publicity by their appearance and/or testimony, would be damaging to the pontiff.

The trial of five persons based on a law enacted by Pope Francis criminalizing leaks of Vatican information began on Nov. 24, 2015. Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Chaouqui, a PR specialist, and Nicola Maio, Balda’s assistant, were charged with disclosing confidential financial information while they were members of COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), established by the pope  in 2013 and subsequently dissolved in 2014 with the completion of its mandate to recommend changes in the administration of Vatican finances.

Journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi were indicted for “soliciting and exercising pressure” to obtain this information from the COSEA members and using the material in their books. “Fraud worth millions, the machinations of the Vatican Bank, the true extent of the pope’s treasury,” “offerings of the faithful withheld from charity,  theft and trade scams” in this pontificate were disclosed in Fittipaldi’s Avarice: Papers that Reveal Wealth, Scandals and Secrets in the Church of Francis.and Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple, both released last Nov. 5. Continue reading

Pope Francis: No “Joy of Love” for Abused Children, Women or LGBTQ People

The pope’s “apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (Latin for Joy of Love) On Love in the Family” was presented on Friday. The document is more than 60,000 words.   Jesus spoke 2026 words in Gospels and the four Gospels combined are 64,766 words.  The pontiff stated his own conclusions based on two synods (meetings) of bishops from around the world held in October 2014 and October 2015. Both were closed to the public and the press.

In his exhortation, Pope Francis urged that his prelates and priests be more “welcoming” to those who are in what the Church refers to as “irregular” unions – that is not married by a priest. He changed no doctrine. Due to the “invincible ambiguity that characterizes the pronouncements of Pope Francis … anyone will be able to dig out from among the 200 pages of the document the passage that he likes most, and act accordingly,” wrote veteran Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister.  Another Vatican insider: “the pope’s studied ambiguity [leads] each to find something in the pope’s text to back up his thesis.”  Another experienced Vatican reporter, John L. Allen Jr., stated the document “changes little on the ground.” Continue reading

Murdoch Broadcasts TV Bio of Pope Francis

“The Rebel Pope,” produced by FOX Telecolombia for National Geographic, was released on March 20. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought a controlling interest in FOX Telecolombia in 2007.  Murdoch bought the National Geographic’s media in September 2015.

The “Rebel Pope” will be broadcast internationally by the National Geographic Channel in 170 countries and 45 languages.

Additionally, Greg Burke, former US Fox News correspondent in Rome, was named vice director of the Vatican Press Office in December. He was identified as “Vatican spokesman” in March. Continue reading

In Cuba and Argentina: Pres. Obama 2, Pope Francis 0

President Barack Obama traveled to Cuba and Argentina last week.

In Cuba, Obama met with 13 Cuban dissidents at the US Embassy in Havana. They gave him the names of political prisoners the day after Cuban President Raul Castro said there were none in his island nation. Obama said the US continues to have “deep differences” with the Cuban government in the area of human rights and democracy. “My hope is that by listening and hearing from [the dissidents] that we can continue to refine our policy in such a way that ultimately the Cuban people are able to live freely and prosperously.”

In an earlier speech, Obama stated that equality under the law, the right to criticize the government, to protest peacefully, to practice faith peacefully and publicly, and to choose governments in free and democratic elections, are universal “rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.”

(The rapprochement between Cuba and the US was initiated as soon as Obama became president. He began by easing some trade and travel restrictions in 2009. Negotiations between the two countries ensued. Both he and Raul Castro were wily enough to give Pope Francis some credit to blunt their domestic critics. However, even the pope said, “It happened by itself. It was not a mediation. It was the goodwill of the two countries, and the merit is theirs, the merit is theirs for doing this. We did hardly anything.”)

Pope Francis visited Cuba September 19-22, 2015. He refused to meet with dissidents and kept silent about political prisoners and other victims of the Castro regime. His only mention of “freedom” was in regards to that of his Church.

Obama honored the victims of the 1976-1983 Dirty War in Argentina on March 24, the 40th anniversary of the military coup.

Pope Francis has not returned to his native land although he has made four trips to Latin America. His two predecessors had quickly returned to Poland and Germany, respectively, to massive acclaim by their compatriots. But when asked by a reporter on Feb. 18, “Holy Father, when are you going to go to Argentina?” – Pope Francis avoided the subject. Continue reading