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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! ]]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Tous les Mêmes July 15, 2018
      A musical interlude this sultry Sunday afternoon with "Tous les mêmes" by Stromae. About this song and its music video, Wikipedia notes the following."Tous les mêmes" (French for "[They are] All the Same") is a song by Belgian singer Stromae, released in 2013. The song has peaked at number one on music charts in both Belgium and […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . July 11, 2018
      Related Off-site Links:Thai Cave Rescue: All 12 Boys and Soccer Coach Freed – Euan McKirdy, Kocha Olarn and Steve George (CNN, July 10, 2018).The Trump Administration’s Separation of Families at the Border, Explained – Dara Lind (Vox, June 15, 2018).First Wave of Migrant Children Reunited With Parents – Caitlin Dickerson and Manny Fernandez (The New York Tim […]
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    • A Story of Two Jesuits, with Commentary on the Current State of the Catholic Church (Especially re: LGBTQ People) July 15, 2018
      This is a story of two Jesuits. I'm telling it now primarily because news I read about one of the two this week gave me a shock, and, after having read that story, I've been mulling over my years as a student at Loyola University in New Orleans from 1968-1972. Because what I say about these two men involves personal judgments and neither is around […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Remembering Kathy Shaw, Unsung Hero of Abuse Crisis in U.S. Catholic Church July 14, 2018
      During my silent weeks recently, a very important figure in American Catholic journalism died, and I want to remember her here. I'm speaking of Kathy Shaw, who maintained the Bishop Accountability Abuse Tracker site to which there's a link on this blog's main page. Kathy died on 24 June, and as an email from Steve Sheehan today to NSAC News su […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
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      About Life, Universe and All…The luminous Czech artist, Marie Brozova, creator of the wonderful 'Forest Shaman' painting featured on my blog, lives with her husband and seven cats deep in a Czech forest - without electricity or running water. No computers, no cell phones, no TV. Only the silence and the sounds of nature and the spirits. Artist Mari […]
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    • SPICING UP THE CHURCH: February 14, 2018
      Here is the website of the wonderful meeting group for gay Christians in the Czech republic, Logos. And below is their position statement. Check them out. Logos – Gay Christians in the Czech RepublicWe are an ecumenical fellowship of gay and lesbian Christians and their friends, in which we share our faith in all its diverse manifestations, and try to suppor […]
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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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      For some reason, this song has been on my mind lately ....
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Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

There had been a near riot in Osorno when Pope Francis assigned Juan Barros Madrid as bishop in 2015. Victims of the sexual predator, Fr. Fernando Karadima, accused Barros of sometimes being present while Karadima abused them and then covering-up for the priest.

More than 1,300 Osorno Catholics, along with some 30 priests from the diocese and 51 of 120 members of Chile’s Parliament, sent letters to Pope Francis urging him to rescind the appointment. The Laity of Osorno organization also sent innumerable letters with the same request “to the Apostolic Palace, the Vatican embassy, bishops, cardinals, friends of the pope and other Vatican officials. They did not receive an answer, although it was confirmed that the letters had been received.”

Pope Francis was asked to tape a personal message via video for Osorno Catholics. He told them, “The Church has lost (part of its) freedom by allowing politicians to put ideas in the heads (of Church members), by judging a bishop without any proof after 20 years in service. Think with your heads and don’t be carried away by any accusations made by lefties.” Continue reading

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Pope’s Personal Income: Billions and Very Secret

In 2013, the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, Catholics around the world put €378 million (over $515 million) in the collection basket for the annual Peter’s Pence donation, the fund for the pope’s charitable works. This information was provided by Emiliano Fittipaldi in his book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.

That same year, as in every year before, the Vatican Bank financial statement noted that profits were “offered to the Holy Father in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry.” In 2013, that was “a sum of €50,000,000” (over $68 million). A declaration that profits were given to the pope has been omitted in subsequent  statements. Continue reading

Two New Books Reveal the Dark Heart of the Francis Papacy: Sex Abuse

Emiliano Fittipaldi’s Lussuria. Peccati scandali e tradimenti di una Chiesa fatta di uomini (Lust. Sins, Scandals, and Betrayal of a Church Made of Men) chronicles Pope Francis’ personal involvement in the global sex abuse of children.

Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Peccato Originale (Original Sin) recounts how Pope Francis was personally informed of alleged sex abuse of minors in the Vatican’s preseminary where boys aspiring to become priests serve as altar boys for papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope did nothing to stop it. Continue reading

Why the U.S. Catholic Church Has Lost More Members than Any Other Major Denomination

The downward trend in the number of Catholics is pretty familiar by now. In 2016, we were 18% of the population according to a recent PRRI report. In 2014, we were 21% and in 2007, 24% according to a Pew Religious Landscape Study.

The decline in non-Hispanic white Catholics is a bit steeper: 11% in 2016, 12% in 2014 and 16% in 2007.

Thirty six percent of Catholics are Hispanic; 9% are black, Asian and other. Hispanics are 52% of Catholics under the age of 30. The proportion of Hispanics is likely to increase because they have younger children and larger families, according to PRRI.

In 1990, native-born Catholics were 23% of the U.S. population and 87% were white, non-Hispanic.

“The largest decline among major religious groups” has occurred in the Catholic Church according to an earlier PRRI survey. “Nearly one-third (31.2%) of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only about one in five (20.9%) Americans identify as Catholic currently.”

A 2014 Pew Research study found the same. “The greatest net losses [in the number of Americans claiming a religious affiliation] by far, have been experienced by Catholics. Nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic. Among that group, fully 41% no longer identify with Catholicism. This means that 12.9% of American adults are former Catholics.” Continue reading

Vatican Diplomat Recalled for Child Porn. Usual Media Whitewash Ensues

Yesterday, the AP reported: “A high-ranking priest working in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after U.S. prosecutors asked for him to be charged there and face trial in a child pornography investigation, Vatican and U.S. officials said Friday.

“The Vatican declined to identify the priest, but said he was currently in Vatican City and that Vatican prosecutors had launched their own probe and sought evidence from the U.S. The State Department said it had asked the Vatican to lift the official’s diplomatic immunity on Aug. 21, and said the request was denied three days later. For the State Department to make such a request, its lawyers would have needed to be convinced that there was reasonable cause for criminal prosecution.”

All the reports that I’ve read got the above facts correct. But all the reports whitewashed the case of another Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, and Pope Francis’ lack of response to clerical sex abuse. Continue reading

Pope Francis in Colombia But the Issue is Venezuela. He has Helped Neither.

Pope Francis will arrive in Bogota on Sept. 6 and return to Rome on Sept. 10. Except for the Prayer Meeting for National Reconciliation commemorating the end of Colombia’s 52-year civil war, the pope’s scheduled itinerary was pretty ordinary:  meetings with government and Church officials; with priests and seminarians; a couple of public Masses and a visit to a Catholic charity.

However, on Aug. 24, a Colombian bishop announced that Pope Francis will also meet with members of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference. “It is important…to review the situation of the Venezuelan people,” Bishop Rigoberto Corredor said.

Venezuelans have been suffering through years of severe food and medical shortages, extreme inflation, daily protests. A UN report dated Aug. 30 said “Venezuelan security forces and pro-government groups are believed to be responsible for the deaths of 73 people since April … More than 1,000 people were believed to remain in custody as of July 31, among more than 5,000 detained in street protests since April. Detainees are often subjected to ill-treatment, in some documented cases amounting to torture.”

When the Venezuelan bishops had asked for a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome on June 8, their spokesman told journalists, “The pope has the moral strength to speak to governments and peoples, and we trust that there is an international mission, a help … the Holy See can do much to make light of our situation.”

But up until now, the first pope from Latin America has refused to become personally engaged in peace negotiations or to condemn Pres. Nicolas Maduro. Continue reading

Spadaro-Figueroa Article and the Media: Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam

The phrase Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – For the Greater Glory of God – is the motto of the Jesuits and their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The point of Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa’s July 13 article in the Jesuit weekly, La Civiltà Cattolica, is the greater glory of Pope Francis. He is the “courageous” pontiff opposed to the “ecumenism of hate” formed by American “Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists.”

Spadaro is an Italian theologian and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, the content of which is approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Spadaro’s book, Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet, was published in 2012. He built a website in the early ‘90s, then a blog, “was on Twitter in 2005 and Facebook pretty much as soon as it opened to the public,” he said in an interview.

Spadaro was contacted by Pope Francis shortly after his election. His  first interview with the pope eventually took place soon after “Who am I to judge,” taken out of context, made headlines and went viral. The comment by the pope in Spadaro’s interview that “It is not necessary to talk about abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods all the time,” extracted from a very lengthy interview,  also made headlines.

Spadaro did several more interviews with Pope Francis becoming his “mouthpiece” and one of his “trusted advisers.”

The Argentine Figueroa is a longtime friend of Pope Francis. The pope was not satisfied with the Spanish edition of the official Vatican newspaper,  L’Osservatore Romano, as directed by the Argentine Silvina Pérez, according to Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister. He wanted an edition just for Argentina to “promote direct access to [his] actions, gestures and texts,” wrote papal biographer, Austen Ivereigh.

In January, Pope Francis chose Figueroa, a radio-show host, to be director of the first national edition of the L’Osservatore Romano since it began publishing in 1861. As to contributors other than Pope Francis, “They don’t need to write solely on the pope’s thinking, but rather on themes related to his mission and which stem from his universal moral influence,” Figueroa said. Continue reading