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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 […]
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    • Quote of the Day December 6, 2022
      Your teachers are striking. Your nurses are striking. Your railway workers are about to strike. “Nobody wants to work anymore” is deliberately obstuse. What nobody wants anymore is to work in understaffed, overburdened, underpaid positions so two dozen people can get rich.– Medic Kimvia FacebookDecember 5, 2022Related Off-site Links:Biden Signs Law Thwarting […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • 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 […]
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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 […]
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    • 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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    • 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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    • An article December 6, 2022
      There's another pro-life article at America magazibne. I tried to leave a comment there, but I it didn't show up, so I thought I'd comment on the article here. Why? Because the article, like many of the pro-life articles at America, is filled with misleading statements, and that just really bothers me. Here are a few bits ... Former Democratic […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Bishop Zurek Clamps Down On Fr. Frank Pavone

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

It has already been widely reported, that Father Frank Pavone, head of the militant anti-abortion group Priests For Life, has been suspended from active ministry outside of his home diocese of Amarillo, Texas. His Bishop Patrick J. Zurek said he acted in the face of “persistent questions and concerns” about the group’s finances.

The concerns about PFL seems to have been well-founded. Religion News Service reports that the organization failed to disclose financial details and reported a $1.4 million deficit in 2010 (PFL has not filed federal tax forms since 2008).

In a letter explaining the suspension, Bishop Zurek said:

The PFL has become a business that is quite lucrative which provides Father Pavone with financial independence from all legitimate ecclesiastical oversight. There have been persistent question (sic) and concerns by clergy and laity regarding the transactions of millions of dollars of donations to the PFL from whom the donors have a rightful expectation that the monies are being used prudently. These financial questions and concerns have persisted with no clear and adequate answers since the time when Father Pavone was under two previous bishop ordinaries. Since he has consistently refused to subject the PFL to a transparent and complete auditing of all expenditures, I have reasons to be alarmed at the potential financial scandal that might arise if it were the result of my failure to correct Father Pavone’s incorrigible defiance to my legitimate authority as his Bishop.

But the bishop also is concerned with Pavone’s ego, stating, “Father Pavone has gradually lost his need to show appropriate obedience to his Bishop.” He further observed, “It seems that his fame has caused him to see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his unique status and an obstacle to the possible international scope of his ministry.”

The Amarillo Globe-News reported that Pavone was a no-show at an invited October 6 meeting with the bishop.

Pavone stated that he skipped the meeting on the advise of his canonical attorney.

In the meantime a picture of an organization with well-paid but inept executives is emerging.

PFL and its associated groups bring in a lot of money. Tax returns show that between 2004 and 2008 alone PFL raised 45.5 million dollars. Mother Jones magazine reports that in 2008 the group’s executive director made $95,394, the vice chairman of the board made $162,253. MoJo further reported, “The group also spent $736,146 on travel-some of which may have funded Pavone’s efforts to promote the group.”

The Amarillo Globe-News further reported that the State of Pennsylvania fined PFL a total of $8,000 both last year and in 2006 for its failure to renew its 2005 registration as a charity. It also failed to disclose to the state it had hired a marketing company to conduct fundraising campaigns there in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

As the Globe-News pointed out, the failure to report the fundraiser is a bad sign for any not-for-profit:

“Another big no-no,” said Ron Barrett, vice president for nonprofits of National Corporate Research, a business that assists charities in keeping registrations current. “In 23 states, if you’re soliciting and you use a paid fundraiser, you have to send copies of the contracts and alert the states that you are using a paid fundraiser.”

Pennsylvania hit Priests for Life with another fine, this one for $6,000, last year for noncompliance. The nonprofit’s failure to disclose the marketing contract also resulted in a subsequent Pennsylvania investigation that led to penalties for the contractor last year, Pennsylvania State Department spokesman Ron Ruman said.

Meanwhile, Priests for Life may be feeling the pressure of the scrutiny directed at Pavone. The National Catholic Reporter recently reported that PFL “…sent a new desperate plea for money in a letter to donors dated Nov. 4, 2011.” The letter goes on to say that “many supporters have withdrawn their support of PFL because of the controversy surrounding it.”

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A Question for Bishop Olmsted

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona made news recently by excommunicating and disciplining Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital administrator who allowed an abortion in order to save the life of a critically ill pregnant woman. Olmsted who has been a highly visible opponent of abortion rights said, “The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty.”

“Without compromise,” says the bishop. But his zeal left me asking myself: ‘would he impose his narrow view upon the very first followers of Christ who most likely had a quite different opinion when a pregnancy endangered a woman’s life?’

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has been described as “a company man” when it comes to orthodoxy. As if to live up to this reputation he has denyied Communion to a ten year-old autistic boy unable to swallow; fired the diocese’s nationally-recognized head of Office of Child and Youth Protection because she was married in a civil ceremony; and when President Obama issued the executive order rescinding the previous administration’s onerous restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, he declared: “What President Obama is doing is forcing all American taxpayers to pay for this homicidal research.”

That’s why it is no surprise that he came down hard and fast on Sr. McBride, whose responsibilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix included sitting on the hospital’s ethics board, partly to ensure that the medical center adhered to Catholic standards of bio-ethics.

It was in that capacity that she gave the go-ahead for a woman’s eleven-week pregnancy to be terminated. Doctors had determined that continuation of the pregnancy would end the mother’s life due to complications from a pulmonary hypertension.

The Arizona Republic quoted Olmstead as saying:

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

Olmsted added that if a Catholic “formally cooperates” in an abortion, he or she is automatically excommunicated.

Olmsted’s action even perplexed Catholic conservatives. Writing in the neoconservative journal, First Things, theologian Michael Liccione questioned the bishop’s judgment: “The question is whether he [Olmsted] is indeed right, and that is not clear even to some orthodox Catholics.”

“Moreover,” he cautiously added, “the public outrage over the Phoenix case illustrates the dangers of making politically significant announcements on the basis of moral reasoning that not many people can follow and that even theologically well-educated Catholics disagree about.”

This much is clear: Olmsted is one of a new breed of prelate being promoted by the current pontiff. As a group, they are unyielding to the point of militancy. They are men who subscribe to the letter, but not the spirit of the law — a version of which they would readily apply, given the opportunity, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

But, I wondered what Olmsted would do if a wife of one of Jesus’s Apostles had faced the same life-threatening scenario as this pregnant mother of four suffering from pulmonary hypertension, and she too had sought an abortion to save her life?

The question, although hypothetical, illustrates a contradiction in Olmsted’s version of orthodoxy. The Apostles were all practicing Jews before and after becoming followers of Jesus. And as adherents to Jewish law and customs, if a wife or daughter of one of the Twelve had been in the same life-threatening predicament as that mother of four had been, they would probably have done the same as Sister McBride.

By this standard, it is fair to say that Sister McBride was operating in the tradition of the Apostles. But I wonder — would Bishop Olmsted have excommunicated an Apostle?

The Madness of Robert P. George

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

Catholic neoconservatism has been guruless since the passing of  Richard John Neuhaus.  I thought at first, that newly minted conservative Catholic Newt Gingrich might be the logical successor.  Much like Neuhaus, Gingrich was a Protestant who converted to a strident form of Catholicism, thus straddling both worlds.

But I was wrong.   Gingrich is, after all, just a politician who may even be casting an eye towards the 2012 Presidential Elections.  Both neoconservatism and its religiously orthodox variant, theoconsevatism, require leaders who do not themselves seek elected office but instead, seek to influence others who do.  To that end there is another contender for the Neuhaus Throne:  Robert P. George.  I should have known. Continue reading