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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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    • Ruth Ben-Ghiat on the Return of Fascism in Italy September 29, 2022
      Perhaps like me you’ve been long aware of (and troubled by) the rise of authoritarian leaders and governments around the world.The most recent example of this is in Italy where, in the wake of recent elections, the country’s first far-right leader since Benito Mussolini, Giorgia Meloni, has declared victory, as the right-wing alliance led by her Brothers of […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Summer’s Parting Gift September 21, 2022
      See also the previous Wild Reed posts:• Summer’s End (2021)• Summer Vignettes• Photo of the Day – June 22, 2018• Nelson Mandela and the Rainbow Connection• Late Summer Blooms• My Rainbow Sash Experience• Photo of the Day – August 27, 2015• First Signs of “By Far the Most Paradoxical” SeasonImage: Michael J. Bayly.
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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    • Ruth Krall, A Bilgrimage Bibliography April 2, 2021
       A Bilgrimage BiographyRuth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhDNote: Since 2015 my friend William D. Lindsey (Bill) has published my work on his blog Bilgrimage. At this time, the blog is inactive, so I have decided to pull together my various posts so that future researchers and academics can find them in one place.  I have arranged this bibliography so that more rec […]
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    • Ruth Krall, "Persephone’s Journey into the Underworld: Lessons for Our Time" February 3, 2021
      Ancient portrayal of Demeter and Persephone, Apulian red-figure loutrophoro, ca. 4th century BCE, from the J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Theoi Project websiteWhen I announced at the start of this year that I've decided no longer to maintain Bilgrimage, I also noted that if readers have something they'd like me to consider for posting here down the r […]
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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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    • Elendil October 6, 2022
      There's an interesting article about The Rings of Power in the Hollywood Reporter: ‘The Rings of Power’ Showrunners Break Silence on Backlash, Sauron and Season 2[...] The call from the lawyers came in to Amazon on a Friday in 2017: The Tolkien estate was going to entertain proposals for a Lord of the Rings show. Prime Video, along with every other ente […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Gerald T. Slevin: About Obama’s Papal Victory–Are Bishops and the Pope Now Chastened? Is Constantine’s Curse Now Lifted? Are Catholic Children Now Protected?

Another brilliant posting by Jerry Slevin, which asks what will happen now with the leadership of the Catholic church, after a geo-political strategy which absolutely required it to defeat the current U.S. president has just failed spectacularly in the 2012 U.S. elections.  Here’s Jerry’s response to that question: Continue reading

Nationwide Catholic “Counter” Rallies Next Friday, Noon, June 8, for Abused Children, Women, Sisters, & Gay Persons

As I just noted at the end of a posting at my Bilgrimage site earlier today, a reader I value has sent the following announcement about counter rallies that are being organized to occur simultaneously with the nationwide USCCB- sponsored “religious freedom” rallies this coming Friday.  In contrast to the USCCB-sponsored rallies, these counter rallies don’t seem to be centrally organized with a website to which I can point readers for more information.  But the announcement is informative and clear, and should answer any questions interested readers may have about attending, wearing white, bringing signs to indicate your concerns, and doing local organizing to gather other like-minded Catholics in your area.  The proposal to encourage Catholics who want to give a counter-witness to the narrow, politically partisan and lopsided USCCB definition of religious freedom strikes me as very good: Continue reading

Catholic Bishops, Gay Marriage: “the Outer Fringes of Crazy Town”

Catholic mothers, like all others, delight in their offsprings’ weddings – and those of other family members. They are not alone. Weddings are the occasions of major family gatherings, where we gather to celebrate with them, cement the family bonds and interrelationships that have been set up by earlier weddings when we catch up with news from those members we only see at weddings and funerals, and lubricate the family bonding with suitable refreshments, music and dance.

Such celebrations apply to all couples, opposite-sex or same-sex. A few months ago, a colleague told me that his son was preparing for a civil partnership with his then boyfriend – and my friend gave me a regular running commentary of the hoops his wife and son were making him jump through in the wedding preparations, from early visits to (gay) wedding shows and expos, to choosing the outfits, to planning the “wedding” reception. When my niece married her wife on a Cape Town beach a few years ago, my staunchly Catholic mother and the rest of the family gathered from across the country to celebrate with her, just as they regularly do for all family weddings.

All this is to do far, far more than simply “congratulate” the new spouses. Yet in New York, a report at Unicorn Booty claims that Archbishop Timothy Dolan has “forbidden” Catholics from even congratulating gay or lesbian newly-weds:

But then the decree takes a sharp right turn and steers right off a cliff into Even Crazier Town, the affluent suburb to the north of Crazy Town proper’s city limits.

Dolan, on behalf of the Catholic Church, forbids Catholics from even being happy for their newly married gay friends or offering congratulations. Failure to comply with this perversion of law from their all-knowing, all-loving god that hates some of the things he lovingly created in his own image will result in canonical sanctions – a fancy way of saying priest court.

Oh, and stay the F away from Catholic churches, homos.

– Unicorn Booty

Now, the writer of this has himself veered off into Crazy Town – there is not a word in the decree to prevent Catholics from congratulating or celebrating with lesbian or gay newly weds, just a ban on doing it on Church property, or by Church personnel. One of the tragic features of (some) bishops’ crazed, irrational overreaction to gay marriage, has been the crazed, irrational overreaction to the Catholic Church from (some) secular gay activists.

There is, however, good reason nevertheless to conclude that Catholic bishops’ reactions to gay marriage, in the US and in Scotland, have taken them to the outer fringes of crazy town – but not for the reasons  given by Kevin Farrell at Unicorn Booty.

Continue reading

Robert McClory on Danger of Turning Metaphor Into Law

I’ve long contended that one of the most pernicious confusions that religious believers with a fundamentalist bent introduce into public discourse about religious issues is this: they take what is metaphorical, and they try to freeze the metaphor.  To absolutize it.  To make the analogical into a litmus test of absolute truth rather than a metaphor pointing in imperfect, halting human language to what transcends language. Continue reading

Conscience & Legislation: Sanity From the Catholic Church in Malta.

In the US and Mexico, some bishops are working themselves into a froth over the possible introduction of legal recognition for same-sex unions. In the Philippines, the issue that has them excited. In Malta, it is the possibility of legal divorce. Unlike the other two regions, though, the Maltese church has allowed some sanity into the official discourse, recognizing the possibility of an informed conscience reaching a conclusion that differs from Church teaching, and so acknowledging that parliamentarians could in principle vote in favour of divorce legislation.

 

The Awakening Conscience, (Holman Hunt)

Continue reading

The Newman Wars: Papal Visit to England and Battle over Newman’s Legacy

As Benedict’s visit to England nears, it’s fascinating to watch the drawing of battle lines among Catholic commentators on the visit, re: the legacy of John Henry Newman. Better thinkers and more astute bloggers than I am are already commenting on this topic, including James Martin at America‘s “In All Things” blog, John Cornwell in London’s Financial Times, Colleen Baker at Enlightened Catholicism, Michael Bayly at Wild Reed, and Andrew Sullivan at his Daily Dish site. And then there are Ann Widdecombe at the Telegraph and Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter. Continue reading

Keeping Men Men and Women Women: More Critical Reflections on the Theology of the Body

At my Bilgrimage blogsite, I have continued blogging about the theology of the body and its insistence that keeping men men and women women is the primary moral imperative that Christian communities of faith should bring to culture today.  A reader has just posted a critical response to my postings on this topic.

Since my reply to this reader’s response links to what I have posted at Open Tabernacle (and here) on this subject, I’m cross-posting to Open Tabernace what I say on Bilgrimage in reply to my critic, re: the theology of the body and its notion of gender complementarity: Continue reading

Ross Douthat on the Ideal of Marriage: Male-Female Complementarity and “The Order of Creation”

Ross Douthat in today’s New York Times admits that most of the arguments on which American neocon-style opposition to same-sex marriage is based are flat wrong: our definition of “traditional” marriage is hardly universal, as the religious and political right wishes to claim; polygamy, not monogamy, is the default setting for marriage in many cultures; and far from being raised by one man and one woman, many children around the world have historically been reared by a village.

Even so, Douthat wants to continue the drumbeat against same-sex marriage.  And it’s interesting to see where he goes as he tries to retrieve a foundation for his opposition.  He goes to the same place that other Catholic neocon thinkers like Robert P. George go, the place to which evangelicals and other groups with little else in common with Catholic natural-law thinking are now also going as they seek to craft a compelling argument, any compelling argument, against gay marriage. Continue reading

Procreation as Pro-Creation: Towards a Generativity-Centered Ethic of Sex and Marriage

A reader of Open Tabernacle has challenged me to make a statement about a Catholic ethic of sexuality and marriage that would leave room both for gay and straight marriages, while respecting the procreative norm that is central to the Catholic theology of marriage.  I believe other members of the Open Tabernacle team are also accepting this challenge, and will be posting their own statements.  If I’m right in my expectations, these will be complementary statements that aren’t in any way coordinated—a confluence of interesting reflections about sexuality and marriage from a number of Catholics today who are thinking through both critiques of the current theology of sexuality and marriage, and suggesting new approaches to the issues more adequate to the lived experience of faith of the people of God. Continue reading

Washington Diocese Abandons its Children

In DC, the Catholic Church has suspended its foster-care program, making good on its ealier threats to pull out over marraige equality legislation.  In doing so, it claims it is acting in terms of conscience, insisting that it has the right to disciminate agasinst those who do not follow Church teaching. But in its employment practices,  it is ignoring the right of its own members to exercise that same right to dissent in conscience from church teaching.

From the Washington Times:

Catholics end D.C. foster-care program

The Archdiocese of Washington’s decision to drop its foster care program is the first casualty of the District of Columbia’s pending same-sex marriage law that will obligate all outside contractors dealing with the city to recognize gay couples.

Its decision, posted late Tuesday on the archdiocese’s Web site, announced that the archdiocese had ended its 80-year-old program Feb. 1, the day the city’s contract expired with Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm.

“We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful,” Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Ed Orzechowski said in a statement. “Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District.”

Catholic Charities’ caseload of 43 children and 35 foster families was transferred, along with seven staffers, to the Bethesda, Md.-based National Center for Children and Families so as not to disrupt client care.

The transfer of services also means Catholic Charities will discontinue offering public adoption services. The agency processed 12 such adoptions throughout 2009 and including into this year.

“It was a very high-quality program, so this was really hard,” archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said of the foster care/adoption service. “We said last fall that we could not continue this program if the bill was passed as written. Well, this has come to pass.”

The Vatican has long opposed any church role in aiding homosexuals to adopt. In 2003, it said that placing children into same-sex households was “gravely immoral.”

Read More

As ever, its own continued control over the minds and behaviour of its members, and continued defence of its own teaching, is more important to the Vatican than any other consideration, outranking even the welfare of the children.  It calaims that placing young children in same sex households is “immoral”:  but academic research has consistently shown that chidlren placed in stable same sex househlods do every bit as well as those oaced with opposite sex couples – and may even do better. They most certainly do better than many of those who were left in the Church’s own orphanages, in Ireland or elsewhere.

At Religion Dispatches, Theologian Mary Hunt comments:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC, recently stopped handling foster care and adoption in the District of Columbia because it refuses to abide by the law which, when same-sex marriage is implemented, will require it to consider same-sex couples as potential parents. The seven staff members, 43 children and their families, and the 35 foster families involved were transferred to the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) for future administration. This is not a routine matter.

Given its theo-politics and the general track record of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide on child abuse, maybe it is better that way. I wouldn’t want any child exposed to such bigotry especially when it’s couched in religious language. Nonetheless, I want to clarify from a theological perspective what is at hand and condemn from a moral standpoint the Archdiocese’s actions.

Same-sex marriage is here to stay, whether the Catholic Church likes it or not. No state will force the Church to perform or recognize such ceremonies. But any agency that receives money from the government must conform to certain rules based on the common good. That is how a democracy works.

Catholic Charities is not above the law. When same-sex couples present themselves for parenthood with all the requirements met there is no justification for refusing them unless, as some Catholic authorities reason, they are not fit parents because of their sexuality. This is heterosexism raised (better, lowered) to the level of policy. It has no place in public life even if it is introduced under religious cover.

Read Mary Hunt’s commentary in full