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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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  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • 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)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • 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 […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • 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 […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • 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 […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
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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)

John Allen on Focolare’s “Track Record of Bringing People Together”

Remember how, when Pope John Paul II died, we were told that the signs waved by the faithful at his funeral–saying, “Santo subito!”–were a spontaneous cry from the heart of the church for the immediate canonization of the saintly pope?  What wasn’t frequently reported in American newspapers as these “spontaneous” demonstrations captured the attention of the mainstream media was that the “spontaneous” outburst of piety was carefully orchestrated–and paid for–by a powerful Catholic lay group, Focolare.  Focolare had, in fact, manufactured the “Santo subito!” signs and was already distributing them in advance of the funeral. 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

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

John Paul II’s Penitential Practices: The Opus Dei Connection

John Paul II and Alvaro del Portillo

As a supplement to what I posted here recently about Pope John Paul II’s penitential practices, I’d like to offer readers a brief overview of some resources for further study.  These resources focus on a particular topic—namely, the use of self-flagellation and other penitential practices such as wearing chains with sharp points that dig into the skin (cilices) by a contemporary Catholic movement, Opus Dei.

Since not all readers may be aware that there is at least one group in the contemporary Catholic church which encourages its members to whip themselves, to wear cilices, and to sleep on the floor or on boards, I’d like to draw attention to the important body of literature that has developed to study and critique Opus Dei’s penitential practices in recent years.  It’s also significant that John Paul II was closely connected to Opus Dei and actively promoted and protected this controversial religious group—about which more below. Continue reading

John Paul II’s Penitential Practices and Competing Narratives about Sanctity in the Postmodern Church

There was a time, before the Second Vatican Council prompted religious congregations to return to the charisms of their founders, when practices of self-abnegation including self-flagellation were de rigueur in some communities.  Some orders, in fact, practiced self-flagellation in a communitarian setting.  A Redemptorist priest I once knew described to me how his community would gather on designated evenings in a dark hallway, where they’d recite the penitential psalms while whipping their bare backs.  They also wore cilices, little devices for self-torture with sharp points, which are tied tightly around one’s thigh to induce pain when one moves.

These practices—in particular, the enforced, institutionalized, all-together-now mortification of the flesh in a communitarian setting—tended to go by the wayside in religious life with Vatican II.  They did so for a good reason: they ultimately had little to do with what being a nun, priest, or brother was really all about.  They had little to do with the charisms and missions of religious communities, with the calling of a community to tend to the sick, live among the poor, teach, provide shelter for the homeless, assist immigrants, etc. Continue reading

A Personal Reflection on the Implications of Generational Dynamics

This past weekend I had the enjoyable opportunity to be able to just hang out and spend some time with one of my best friends. During the course of the evening she invited over a guy who she had just recently met. Just for the sake of context, it should be noted that he was a straight guy.

Flash back almost two and a half years from today. I had just come out, and I still attended a deeply conservative high school that was maintained by and affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (I want to make it clear that in no way do I want to give the impression that I’m bashing my former middle and high school, although I may disagree intensely with many of their social and theological interpretations of the human experience .  I received a wonderful, solid, comprehensive, and thoroughly enriching Christian education there which I shall cherish for the rest of my life, as well as meeting most of the people who I would probably consider to be some of my best friends). Consequently, the majority of my peers who attended the school were consistently conservative in their political as well as their social beliefs.

Even before I formally came out, and although most of my inner circle of friends knew already, I made it a point to wait until after graduation to do it officially. I was on several memorable occasions mocked and teased because of my notable, slightly flamboyant personality; which I never really made any attempts to hide because it’s just a futile effort, why hide who you are? Basically, the premise behind all of these jabs at me was that I must be and obviously was gay because I didn’t act or conduct myself in the stereotypical way that the rest of my male classmates happened to do. Essentially, it seemed that these guys, as is the case with a significant portion of heterosexual men, feel very threatened by the inherent notion and subsequent implications of homosexuality; namely, that being attracted to other men or in any way having the same mannerisms or characteristics of women, when it comes to being attracted to persons of the same-sex, severely weakens and subliminally destroys what it means to be a real man. Continue reading