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    • To my Republican Friends July 6, 2020
      You voted for Trump even though you didn't like him. Doubted his character. Questioned his fitness for the job. Yet, your aversion to Hillary was even greater The post To my Republican Friends first appeared on Spirit of a Liberal.
      Obie Holmen
    • Wormwood and Gall a Midwest Book Award Finalist May 4, 2020
      The Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) recently named Wormwood and Gall as one of three finalists for a Midwest Book Award in the Religion/Philosophy category. The awards program, which is organized by MIPA, recognizes quality in independent publishing in the Midwest. The post Wormwood and Gall a Midwest Book Award Finalist first appeared on S […]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Rob Sheffield Pays Tribute to the “Peaceful and Stormy at the Same Time” Songs of Christine McVie December 6, 2022
      Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone magazine has written a heartfelt and insightful appreciation of the life and music of Christine McVie, who died last Wednesday, November 30.Following, with added images and links, are excerpts from Sheffield’s tribute that particularly caught my attention.Christine McVie always came on like the grown-up in the room, which admit […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • “Your Perception Is a Choice” December 5, 2022
      My friend Iggy is dedicated to facilitating mind and body transformation – within his own life and the lives of others who are similarly interested in holistic personal growth and change. To this end, Iggy’s professional/vocational life involves providing a range of services, including mindset mentoring, naprapathic massage, and personal training in boxing, […]
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    • So the Former US President and Current GOP Candidate for the Presidency Calls for a Coup and the End of US Democracy — And? December 5, 2022
      President Donald J. Trump 2 March 2019, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD; official White House photo by Tia Dufour, at Wikimedia CommonsHeather Cox Richardson, "Letters from an American: December 3, 2002":The leader of the Republican Party has just called fo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • I'm Now on Mastodon — Please Feel Free to Connect December 2, 2022
      I've now succeeded in setting up an account on Mastodon.My handle there is @wdlindsy@toad.socialPlease feel free to connect to me there if you wish. I'm hoping to reconnect via Mastodon to as many of the friends and conversation partners I had on Twitter, with whom I've lost touch after I left Twitter when Musk acquired it. I'm a total no […]
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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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    • A saint for the millenials: Carlo Acutis beatified today in Assisi. October 10, 2020
       A saint for the millenials: the young Italian teen, Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 of galloping Leukemia, will be beatified today in Assisi by Pope Francis (last step before being officially declared a saint). Carlo came from a luke warm Catholic family, but at the age of 7, when he received his first 'Holy Communion', he displayed an astonishing […]
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    • Ronan Park and Jack Vidgen: The Travails of Gay Pop Stars October 28, 2019
      (Jack Vidgen)Quite by accident, through a comment from a performance arts colleague of mine, I stumbled across the recent bios of two boy teen singing sensations, both of whom made a big splash worldwide 8 years ago. The first, Jack Vidgen, won Australia's Got Talent Contest in 2011 at the age of 14, primarily for his powerful renditions of Whitney Hust […]
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    • We the People December 6, 2022
      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.Trump has called for ... Why? So […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Rev. Jeremiah Wright Preaches: What He Said, What I Heard

This is a somewhat more personally pitched post than ones I have shared previously at Open Tabernacle.  It’s a personal—and, as the post says, perhaps idiosyncratic—reflection on a sermon I heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright preach this past Sunday.  I’m sharing this posting (which originally appeared on my Bilgrimage blog) here because a number of correspondents have asked me about Rev. Wright’s sermon and my reaction to it.  Due to Rev. Wright’s prominence as a national religious figure in the U.S., the public has an understandable interest in his understanding of the Christian life and how Christian discipleship yields political decisions.

I’m also posting this piece here because it continues the discussion of a theme that I think churches today have no option except to keep confronting: what will communities of faith that point to Jesus as their founder do about the fact that the world in which they minister includes gay and lesbian human beings?  Who will no longer remain silent about our identities and lives?  And so here’s my response to Rev. Wright’s sermon last Sunday. Continue reading

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Irish Theologian Mary Condren Comments on Recent Vatican Document Coupling Clerical Pedophilia and Women’s Ordination: Last Straw for Women

Dr. Mary Condren

At the beginning of this week, Irish theologian Mary Condren published an outstanding commentary on the recent Vatican document coupling clerical pedophilia and women’s ordination.  Condren’s analysis appeared in the Irish Times.  (Once again, one of the encouraging developments of this tipping-point moment in the history of the Catholic church is the willingness of the secular media to provide forums for serious, open discussion of theological and moral issues, when the church itself and its institutions have not provided those forums in recent years.) Continue reading

A Congregation in Exile: St Mary’s Brisbane Update

This is the face of the future church, unless the Vatican and the episcopal hegemony between them start to take seriously the need to be a listening Church, and find some way to include all Catholics in pastoral decisions -not just the men at the top in their scarlet robes and comfortable palaces: services with (almost) no congregation.

This report, from Brisbane Times, tells of St Mary’s Brisbane – but it could just as well be about other flourishing congregations around the world (St Stephen’s in Minneapolis, or St Joseph’s, Boston, the congregations with womenpriests, and many others) that are doing perfectly well without the help of professional, celibate male priests, officially approved  by the Vatican.

Faith stays strong at Brisbane’s ‘church in exile’

The pictures tell the story of attendance at the two St Mary’s Catholic churches at South Brisbane with the rebel congregation substantially outnumbering the traditionalists last week.

Fairfax Media’s Sun-Herald dropped in unannounced at the 9am services on a recent Sunday to check on parishioner numbers following last year’s very public split.

The church sanctioned by Brisbane Archdiocese’s Archbishop John Bathersby attracted about 45 people while the rebel St Mary’s-in-Exile had about 240 parishioners.

Father Ken Howell officiates at the original location, while Peter Kennedy – who does not use the title ‘Father’ – tends his flock down the road at the Trades and Labour Council building.

Archbishop Bathersby sacked Mr Kennedy as administrator of the church in February last year for unapproved practises including giving communion to divorced and gay people, priests not wearing traditional vestments and baptising babies using unorthodox wording. He gave his last sermon there in April last year before taking about 1000 supporters with him.

Mr Kennedy said last week the break-away group attracted about 500 people over three weekend services. “If there’s a special event about 1000 might come but normally there’s around 500 although not all of those would come every week,” he said.

The Dean of Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral, Fr Ken Howell who has taken over as administrator of St Mary’s said the decisions made last year were not about numbers, but about ensuring Catholic worship and teachings were restored.

“I am pleased to say that this has occurred and whilst we may be a small community, I am encouraged by the weekly growth of this community and the enthusiastic commitment of the people who have made St Mary’s their Parish,’’ he said.

But advertisements for St Mary’s Masses have appeared in the local paper, presumably in the hope of boosting numbers.

Mr Kennedy said the church had been used for many community events when he and fellow priest, Terry Fitzpatrick celebrated Mass there, including events run by the social justice group, Micah Projects and indigenous Australians.

Partly on the strength of those events, the Brisbane City Council in 2008 – when it was trying to have its controversial $370 million Go Between Bridge approved – agreed to give St Mary’s $1.5 m for noise mitigation because of the predicted extra traffic.

“Now the church can only be used by Catholics for worship so it’s become a very expensive exercise when so few attend,” Mr Kennedy said.

“They (the Catholic archdiocese) are only keeping it open to save face and no other church would be kept going with so few.”

He said the rebel church was part of the Progressive Spirituality Network, a group that has gained popularity with many denominations in the last 10 years.

It updates Christian beliefs and practices in line with the modern world and the latest findings in science, psychology, and sociology.

Mr Kennedy said the group ‘‘reinterprets as metaphor or even denies’’, the supernatural and miraculous elements of Christianity, including core beliefs like the virgin birth of Jesus and the resurrection.

Fr Howell did not comment on general church attendance numbers but said the Brisbane archdiocese would take part in a national church census next year that would supply updated figures.

Archbishop Bathersby said he was delighted with ‘‘standing only crowds’’ at the cathedral at Easter time, especially the number of young people.

It’s good to have confirmation that they are still doing well, but what else would you expect, when their very essence is based on responding to the real need of the people, and not to supporting the remote potentates of the Holy Roman Empire?

Also see:

Do It Yourself Catholicism


A Signpost to the Future: Bishop Kevin Dowling on Need for Servant Leadership in Catholic Church

Bishop Kevin Dowling

At Bilgrimage, I just posted about the serious problems confronting the Catholic church today, as it tries to pursue its most fundamental mission of all—being a sacramental sign of God’s salvific love in the world.  And so where do we find signposts to a future different than the dismal one to which the dismal pastoral leadership of the church at present seems to point us?

I find hope in an address Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, gave to a lay group on 1 June.  Though Bishop Dowling addressed the group, which had asked him to comment on the “current state of the church,” off the record, a reporter was present and information about Dowling’s theological analysis hit the news. Continue reading

Why Catholics Can’t Sing: Benedict’s Retrieval of “Old” Liturgy as a “New” Liturgical Movement

At  National Catholic Reporter, John Allen has just published an excerpt from Joseph Ratzinger’s (now Pope Benedict) 1997 memoirs entitled Milestones.  Allen is publishing this excerpt as Benedict issues a motu proprio on the “new liturgical movement” he has sought to effect in the church—a new as in back-to-the-future movement which self-consciously and deliberately retrieves the “old” liturgy in the name of making it new again, following Vatican II’s liturgical reforms.

And here’s what strikes me as I read Ratzinger’s reflections on liturgical renewal in 1997, which continue to provide the foundation for his thinking about liturgy today: Continue reading

Making Benedict’s “Optimistic” Words Count: Ten Theses about Moving from Words to Action

I ended my posting yesterday about Benedict’s recent “optimistic” Portuguese address with the following observation:

The church finds itself in its current “terrifying” position due to decisions the current pope himself made as John Paul II’s theological watchdog, which he has not effectively reversed through his actions up to this point—as fine as his recent words sound.

And so to make my critique constructive, what actions would I hope to see Benedict undertake, if he is sincere about reviving Vatican II’s call for affirmative dialogue with the world, which recognizes that the church can learn from the Spirit’s leading in other religious traditions, as well as in cultural developments and movements? Continue reading

John Allen on Affirmative Orthodoxy and Jim Martin on Price of Restorationism: Two Faces of Benedict

I find it instructive to read Fr. Jim Martin’s fine statement about Pope Benedict’s recent remark to reporters that the abuse of children by Catholic clerics is “truly terrifying,” side by side with John Allen’s declaration that Benedict’s address at the Cultural Center of Belém in Lisbon was a “tour de force” for what Allen calls “affirmative orthodoxy.”

Allen finds Benedict seeking to strike an “optimistic” note about the church’s encounter with contemporary culture.  He notes that Benedict’s address stresses the need for dialogue between the church and secularism; the need to move towards positive appraisal of various cultures and worldviews with the recognition that they can enrich the church; and the need to retrieve Vatican II’s positive appraisal of the Enlightenment and the Reformation. Continue reading

Cardinal Levada and Catholic Apologetics in New Millennium: When Pastoral Leaders Become a Counter-Sign

Cardinal William Levada has just issued a call for a new Catholic apologetics.  This call occurred in an address that the cardinal gave recently to a conference on “A New Apologetics for a New Millennium” at the Legionaries of Christ’s university in Rome, Regina Apostolorum.

Among the points that Cardinal Levada makes is that if a new apologetics for a new millennium is to be credible, it must be rooted in “a sacramental vision of the world.”  I agree. Continue reading

Roots of the Abuse Crisis: The Refusal of Bishops to Be Good Shepherds (Part 3)

And so the rest of the story: yesterday, I shared excerpts from a series of letters I wrote to the bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, William J. Curlin, in the 1990s, in which I asked him to meet with me as a member of his diocese whose vocation as a theologian had been smashed by Belmont Abbey College, and whose livelihood and health care coverage had been taken away in the process.  Without any explanation for these actions.

I told Bishop Curlin that my faith—in the church as an institution—was radically undermined by what this Catholic institution had done to me.  I told him I found myself unable to partake of the Eucharist any longer, when priests can stand at the altar offering holy bread to the people of God, after having removed daily bread from our mouths.  With no explanation for their actions. Continue reading

Edward Schillebeeckx (1914-2009): An Appreciation, Part 2

Edward Schillebeeckx

Edward Schillebeeckx

In the first part of my appreciation of theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, I noted that Schillebeeckx’s work in the areas of Christology and ecclesiology has profoundly influenced the Catholic Church through his role at Vatican II.  Schillebeeckx was one of the primary theological advisors of the Dutch bishops at Vatican II, and his work in the area of ecclesiology in particular has now become canonical for the entire church, as it were, through the documents of Vatican II.

In key respects, Schillebeeckx belongs to a movement strong in French, Belgian, and Dutch Catholicism of the early 20th century.  This movement was known as a ressourcement movement, a movement seeking to return to the sources—specifically, to the biblical and patristic foundations—of Christian theology. Continue reading