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      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 […]
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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! ]]
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      Earlier this week a winter storm brought the largest amount of snow of the season to the Twin Cities of St. Paul-Minneapolis.Reports WCCO News:Some communities around the Twin Cities woke up Wednesday morning to more than a foot of snow following a night of blizzard-like conditions that brought Minnesota some of the biggest snowfall totals of the season.WCCO […]
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      What are you asking me to do when you ask me to vote for [Hillary Clinton] in the primaries over Bernie Sanders?You are asking me to consciously give up on any hope I may have of living a sane life in our country. To vote for her in the primaries, I would need to believe that the establishment on both the right and the left have so thoroughly strangled the p […]
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      In my haste to run through a list of best gay fiction of the year in the previous posting (and Tennessee's biography), I should have clarified that I was looking primarily at 'secular' gay fiction, but with an eye wide open for any religious themes that might surface. The most Catholic of my offerings, Tom Spanbauer's Now is the Hour, too […]
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      Have been neglecting this blog of late, but not the issues it deals with. At the moment I'm on a reading spree of some of the 'best gay LGBT books of the year" depending on who you listen to.  I hope to review quite a few during the upcoming Christmas break. I've been paying special attention to YA Gay fiction, aimed primarily at teens. B […]
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      In the news, Peter Saunders, a clergy sex abuse survivor and a member of the pope's sex abuse commission, was told to leave (see below). I'm not really surprised .... Pope Francis has done little for the victims of clerical sex abuse and Saunders is not the type to quietly wait for hypothetical change in the distant future. - Pope's Sex Abuse […]
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The Catholic Spring: Ferment in Switzerland

One of the disadvantages of English as a home language, is that too often it leaves us weak in other tongues, and as a result all too ignorant of developments in the wider world (outside, that is, the UK, the USA, and the British Commonwealth). A case in point is the matter of Catholic discussion around matters of ordination to the priesthood, which the Vatican insists must be restricted to celibate males. In the English – speaking world, the National Catholic Reporter caused a stir last week with an editorial proclaiming that contrary to directives from Rome, Catholics have not only a right but a duty to discuss women’s ordination, but in other regions, discussions have gone much further.  Fortunately for us linguistically challenged English speakers, Rebel Girl does a sterling job of bringing to our attention useful information from foreign language press, in English translation. From Brazil, for example, she reported recently how Archbishop Dom Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Teresina

told reporters last week that, regardless of any opinions Pope Benedict XVI may have expressed on the importance of celibacy, the pontiff’s words on this question are not infallible. He reiterated the Church teaching that the Pope is only considered infallible on matters of faith and morals and mandatory celibacy doesn’t fit in those categories. The bishop added that “the fact that to be a priest you also have to be celibate is a discipline that the Church can change.”

-Rebel Girl, at Rentapriest

But it’s in Switzerland that things are getting really interesting. In a fascinating pamphlet, a Swiss abbot, Martin Werlen, has gone way, way beyond simply urging us to discuss ordaining women priests – he has suggested among other notable innovations, that it is time for the Church to appoint women cardinals!

Continue reading

Swiss Bishop Calls for Radical Reform, Women Priests.

Hard on the heels of the controversy over the dismissal of Australian Bishop Morris over some very cautious remarks he made years ago, on the need to consider ordaining women priests, comes this report of a Swiss bishop, who has gone much further. Instead of simply call for consideration of the idea, he is explicit – Bishop Markus Büchel of St. Gallen is explicit in his support for the ordination of women. To him, the search is not over the principle, but over the immediate steps that will get us there (possibly beginning with a women’s diaconate).

Also interesting to me, is that this call appears to have been only part of a much wider appeal for wide-ranging reform. Sadly, this report, which seems to be just an English translation of the original German at Der Sonntag, does not give any detail of the wider reforms envisaged. My guess, though, is that this is likely to be similar to those spelled out by German speaking theologians of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.   Continue reading

Abuse: Germany, Netherlands, Austria – Switzerland

Swiss media: 60 people report abuses by priests

GENEVA — Around 60 people have reported being victims of abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland, a Swiss abbot said in an interview published by a newspaper Saturday.

Abbot Martin Werlen of the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln said some of the allegations were reported to the Swiss Bishops Conference’s commission on abuses, according to Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung. Werlen indicated that others were reported to different dioceses.

Werlen, who is a member of the commission on abuses at the Bishops Conference, did not specify where the alleged cases occurred or when they might have happened.

Neue Zuercher Zeitung said on its Web site the 60 alleged cases happened over the last 15 years.

Werlen acknowledged in the interview that some of the alleged abuses may have happened at the school of the Einsiedeln abbey.

“I’ve tried to address the cases I knew of and tried to process them,” he was quoted as saying.

Werlen could not be reached for comment, but Father Urban of the Abbey of Einsiedeln confirmed the authenticity of the interview.

The Bishops Conference’s commission on abuses was set up in 2002 and has been looking into alleged abuses since, Werlen said, according to the interview.

Switzerland needs a central contact point coordinating different bodies dealing with such allegations, he was quoted as saying.

Werlen’s statement was the latest report of abuse by Catholic clergy or church employees in Europe, which has recently seen new allegations of sexual and physical abuse in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

(Associated Press)

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