Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Celibacy Thing - Part Two

Someone sent me an article about a help center for priests in New Mexico in the 1950’s run by a religious order. The center had been started as a treatment center for alcohol abuse and emotional problems. The facility eventually also treated priests involved with sex abuse with children.

The main point of the article was to illustrate how there was an awareness of this heinous crime back then, over half a century ago. Letters and discussions of the topic were circulating among the American church hierarchy. Recommendations, such as not putting a priest back in the setting where he could molest more children, never got made into any formal policy within the hierarchy of the American RC church.

Individual and ambitious bishops apparently did not want to take any meaningful first steps toward revolving this terrible situation. No bishop wants to tell the RC institution or the emperor that management had a problem that it could not solve. Nobody wanted to tell that Emperor that he was not wearing any clothes. Only a few good “yes men” need to apply for the position of bishop.

I recommend that you read it:

Catholic bishops warned in '50s on abusive priests

There was such a large volume of Catholics in those years of the 50’s that a few bad priests got unnoticed on the public side except if you knew the victim etc. The buck had to eventually stop somewhere - and the underlying issue is "celibacy".

Celibacy is not chastity. Celibacy is only an agreement not to marry - and not have legitimate heirs to claims deeds or church property etc. Considering all the legal hassles the church thought it would avoid with this medieval policy of celibacy, I think it may be cheaper in the long run to let priests marry and in a way eliminate some of the reason that these sick bastards, operating under an institutional blind eye, hit on children etc.

Celibacy, besides meaning both celibacy and chastity, no doubt is also a code word of sorts for protecting those who cannot control their sexual needs and appetites. Is it a code word for that “sex topic” thingy? Don’t touch! Bad mojo! Bad juju! How immature!

This passing the buck obviously went on for decades until the numbers in the ranks of the faithful thinned and individual crimes got more notice. This is I believe a worldwide phenomenon. It is only because it is so easy to sue people in the USA that this whole abuse thing spun out of control and fell into the public forum.

The issue(s) under the heading of “Celibacy” must be separated, dissected, discussed and possible solutions recommended and in an open forum of both hierarchy and laity. This RC Celibacy thing needs an intervention. The dysfunctional nature of this present RC corporate culture matter regarding sex interrupts, disrupts and interferes with the energy flow of Christ’s true mission statement for his church.

John Paul II formally dumped this American mess into Cardinal Ratzinger’s lap in 2002 when this American mess blew up in the press. Ratzinger doesn’t understand the scientific life saving benefits of condoms. Both as Cardinal and Pope, Ratzy has not dealt with the problem. It has been swept under the bumpy carpets in the papal apartment waiting for some other pontiff in some other decade to maturely deal with it.

God help the planet and protect us from all failed corporate CEOs!

That Celibacy Thing

There is this nagging question at the back of my brain every time I read the NT. This thing about celibacy is a stated or a verbal contract, a vow promising not to marry. If you are not married, you cannot have legitimate children. Your bastards will have no claim on your estate. Your estate as a priest will go to the church. Any property temporarily in your name as head of a parish will not get confused with your estate should you die in between the time the widow gives you a deed and you record it in the parish church’s name.

Legitimacy used to matter a lot especially with royalty and in the old days. These days with DNA testing, even if Pops is a priest, you go for the estate claim.

Celibacy is not chastity. Chastity is a promise or vow not to have sex. I know this might sound confusing to some. The whole celibacy issue on the public stage uses one word with two entirely different meanings. Rather than get too technical, and God forbid there be allowed any in depth questioning of the religious clerics on stage that might be there to answer questions, a muddled cross connotation of facts is represented by the upfront PR word "celibacy" to describe the whole idiotic RC church thing about religious sexual and taboo practices.

Celibacy is more a general rule thing for priests. It is more for the local diocese thing.

Chastity is more a religious group or religious order thing. If so many men are living together in a monastery, then the no sex rule would hopefully mean no practice of sodomy.

Part of the demise of great numbers of Catholics and Parishes since Vatican II has been first and foremost the dwindling number of men willing to give up a normal life and put on a cassock and play the celibate / no sex game.

They say that Jesus did not marry. They say Jesus was in fact married to Mary Magdalene. Peter the so called first pope was married and had many children. Even though there is this proselytizing thing in scripture from time to time to give up everything and go out on the road and drum up new business, this life time withdraw from life, living, sex and family is not properly presented in the cut and paste gospels that were assembled decades or even rewritten in some parts centuries after the life of Jesus.

Jesus was most likely an orthodox Jew. At an early age he probably was wed in a marriage arranged by his parents. Whether he stayed married was another issue. Divorce in his time was a frequent thing and not unlike the Islamic thing in a traditional sense.

In any case, while Jesus was on the road he did not want his mostly male followers to say that they could not go on the road because the kid was sick etc.

Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law. Marriage was not necessarily part of the law but the law encompassed every aspect of a daily Jewish life.

Celibacy is a later invention after Jesus. It probably comes from some Jewish or Hellenistic cult thing and definitely was not part of the law or traditions that Jesus came to fulfill.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Secret of Fatima - End of the Papacy?

I remember this thing from first grade in 1958 and it was related to the apparition of Mary at Fatima. The thing of course was the secret letter containing prophecy and to be opened in 1960. Suspense, mystery and absoluteness were hallmarks of this then urban legend.

The legend no doubt twittered out from the convent of Lucia who wrote down these memories twenty five years after their happening. Twenty five years can change a bit of context or connotation. The four gospels were in general consensus written forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. Of course Sister Lucia’s memory and voice were of one person and not many.

I have read this so-called third letter and released from the Vatican that got spun in different ways. Before I comment, here is the text of that so-called third “secret” prophecy:

"I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people
different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."

No doubt Pius XII read this letter in private. He may have shit himself if he read it in early 1944 with the Nazi army camped outside the gates of the Vatican. He probably put it away to 1960 as recommended by Sister Lucia when it was supposed to be clearer in its meaning.

John XXIII became pope in 1958 and called for a Council within three months of his taking office, in early 1959. I think he read that “secret” letter and it may have helped in his decision to call a Council.

The difficult part of any “prophecy” is in who interprets and or who understands the prophecy.

Cardinal Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, is one of a handful of people, mostly popes, who had access and read this message of Mary in Fatima before its official release in 2000.

The fringe conspiracy types put a blanket of doubt over the full disclosure by Ratzinger and or the Vatican in that this is a vision interpreted by Lucia and there are no words and or message in this third part of a whole message package.

John Paul the Great, superstar of the Vatican, took this vision to mean that he was the Bishop in White and that instead of being killed, he was saved from death by the divine intervention of Our Lady of Fatima. He was shot in 1981 in St. Peter’s Square and survived on the feast of that Lady of Fatima. Indeed, the big “M” on his coat of arms stood for Mary. He felt that his survival after Fatima Day was more than a coincidence but divine. He was strongly into the Mary cult wing of the RC church which has a tendency to be medieval or “traditional” on its religious perception of the church’s mission.

John Paul II takes the prophecy or vision of Sister Lucia literally. As a playboy superstar who was privately criticized for spending more time on planning with worldwide rockstar tours than spending time on the nitty gritty of politics and bureaucracy at the Vatican, John Paul thought it was “all about me” in the opinion of some who worked with him.

The one man who Pope Rockstar could always turn to in the nitty gritty bureaucrat role was Joseph Ratzinger, the present pope. Appointed as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith – formerly known was the Holy Office of the Inquisition - in 1981, Ratzinger was the hard nosed bureaucrat you came up against if you did not follow the party line in your role of layman, nun, priest or bishop.

Joe was John Paul’s bad cop in the good cop/bad cop routine of John Paul raking in the glory and PR success. Now in retrospect, perhaps the historic case or label might be good pope/bad pope in the scheme of things.

This past duty roster and his twenty four year methodology in being a power until himself is perhaps first and foremost the greatest obstacle to Benedict XVI’s public interface and the public’s perception of him as Bishop of Rome. That and Benedict’s personal thought that anybody can be a rockstar. Yeah right.

John Paul II had the same medieval, backward looking, not friendly user attitude toward the laity that Benedict XVI is now being trashed for. John Paul II could get away with it. John Paul II, if you read current history books, single handedly brought down the evil Soviet Empire. The west, masters of the liberal media, and pro-western, anti-Soviet propaganda, makes John Paul some sort of Nietzsche religious superman if such a combination could possibly occur.

In fact, I think that in fifty years, I believe that historians if they are able to be honest will paint the source of the present crumbling western culture on three people. They will be Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II. Not a true axis of evil so to speak but maybe a goofy “Gang of Three” who set the western civilization down a wrong road toward Global fascism and away from human liberation and freedom – a secular real time salvation.

Right now my personal advice to Benedict XVI is to stop trying to be a rockstar. Tear down the Rockstar Audience Theatre and go back to being a Pope in a photograph on the wall or a holy card in the missal of all good and faithful Catholics. Keep your mouth shut or at least have twenty bureaucrats review your remarks before releasing them to the public

Getting back to Sister’s Lucia’s prophecy/vision – John XXIII understood the meaning of the letter of Fatima all too well. Pope John understood the vision on a symbolic level while John Paul took it on a literal level.

On a symbolic level, if the White Bishop is the all too powerful head of a Catholics only Church, then the organization will die if the Papacy dies or is prevented from acting in an actual political or religious sense. The death of the RC church drags her sister churches down as well with her. The whole world becomes a truly darker place then. This is not unlike the so-called prophecy of the now defunct sister churches in Asia Minor in the Book of Revelation – a book, as prophecy, that I personally do not subscribe to.

The pope and or the Vatican is not the Church. The Church is not buildings – it is people – it is the People of God.

Fifty years from now I can picture not a dead Christian Church but a living, thriving, growing institution on all continents and being the Anglican, Lutheran, Roman, Orthodox Church for want of a better term for a United Christianity that I think is the Great (unrecognized) Legacy of John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Facebook vs. King Condom

It is a battle of the Titans on WWF? No. Just Factbook against the Pope!

Don’t get too excited and don’t reserve any pay per view channels. It is just the average guys and gals in the street not bowing to the worn out, obsolete PR of the western establishment slowing crumbling before our very eyes.

History and the demise of the RC church in out lifetime may match the timing or go quicker than Bear Sterns went belly up on Wall Street.

The nameless people, the peasants, do not want to be talked down to anymore by a bubble wrapped religious emperor who thinks that every word dripped from his lips should be applauded. Hey Joe, there is a real world outside the Vatican.

Condoms do stop some transmission of the AIDS virus. Read my lips Joe! - or Benedict or whatever name you wish to go by. Truth is not in a name or a title. That is so passé, royal and 12th century.

The people in the streets don’t buy the Cable TV, MSM talking heads, or papel bullshit about forty years of birth control misinformation coming out of the festering corrupt pile of the hierarchy of the RC church.

Real people with real sex lives know how to conduct themselves in bedrooms, between consenting adults, and know how to be informed about safe sex. Sex and the propaganda about condoms did not pour so wonderfully over the pope’s lips in the in-flight news conference where he used the word condom but had possibly never really seen or touched one. Faking it Joe? An 81 year old virgin?

Nameless people change history. Kudos for maybe not nameless people on Facebook who are making their contribution to the continuation and survival of our civilization and secular world!

There are names that escape history. There was a name they dug up for the Abolition movement in the mid 19 century US culture and later refound for the Civil Rights movement in the US 1960’s. The name of Crispus Attucks was one of the first five Yanks that got killed by British “friendly fire” at the so-called Boston Massacre. Being a free black man and 20% of the collateral damage made his example a useful tool to illustrate how blacks had been present all along in American history, though many times swept to a back page as a footnote.

So too Muntadar al-Zaidi’s name is not a famous name in the western world but his throwing his shoes at the Authoritarian President Bush makes him a household name among the world’s billion plus Muslims.

Facebook, an Internet hangout for whatever, has now taken up the challenge. Like nameless peasants with torches and pitchforks, they are ready to storm the Vatican Castle of Ignorance in reference to Scientific Misinformation about Condoms. They “are mad as hell and do not want to take it anymore” in regards to the Papal Misinformation about Condoms and AIDS.

They are proposing to send condoms to the Pope in the Vatican. Oh Joy!

Facebook users wage condom campaign against Pope

A good step – in the right direction? I hope nobody starts throwing those little packets/things at his Holiness. Despite his gross Ignorance, he is defined by his role, stupid as he is at times, and deserving to a measure of old fashioned respect – does the younger generation have any clue what I am talking about. You cannot or should not advocate the change of the world by anything other than non-violent means. Gandhi and MLK in the modern age have demonstrated that.

Remember that Crispus paid with his life for his contribution to the American Revolution and Muntadar got sentenced to three years in jail for his actions and after being tortured and having had his teeth kicked out in the jails of our freedom loving allies – the Iraqi government.

There is always a cause and an effect. That is a law, energy, of Physics.

The peasants with the torches and pitchforks precipitates an end to the monster in the old 1930 Horror flicks – they do not necessarily kill the monster.

The monster within, the beast, the cause of the ghosts of millions of medieval violence victims, harnessed and or orchestrated by the RC church should be a thing of the past. Otherwise, the pope would be on his knees, apologizing and praying for forgiveness for his corporation until the end of time.

That being said. Hip, Hip, Hooray to Facebook!

And also to Joe the Pope - to cause a massive surge worldwide in the sale and use of condoms for safe sex and as a preventative effort to ward off the AIDS virus.

The Force be blessed!

Saint Joan - a Real Woman in Real Pants


There is a confusing piece of political and church history going back to when the RC church was the power behind many thrones in Europe.

I have heard the story of Joan of Arc all my life. It was the name of my grade school in Philly now defunct. There used to be a life size plaster statue of Joan in her armor in the lobby outside the Principal’s office. That statue had no feminine features in the face. The statue looked like a man and not a woman.

When one heard the tales of Joan of Arc from the nuns, I do remember them saying that she was a woman. Some of my male classmates went with the visual of the statue in the lobby and were confounded when I told them that Joan is the not the French word for John and that Joan was a girl thing.

There are a number of Hollywood movies over the years that tell the story in what seems to be a completely different manner with each new production.

History seems to trip over itself about the national heroine of France and the heretic burned three times at the stake to prevent any relics from being retrieved from the ashes that were dumped into the Seine River.

Joan had visions of saints as a young teenager. She somehow manages to bring a weak French prince to the throne and to believe in her mojo. She leads disheartened armies to victory after victory until she is captured. She was no longer of any use to the French King who would not ransom her from her captors. Her captors sell her to the English against whom she has been striking blow after blow in battles.

The English turn her over to the English bishops who in turn put her on trial and find her guilty of heresy, a forgone political, I mean religious, verdict. Heresy is not a capital crime in that ballywick and the one last crime that warrants her death is the crime of dressing in men’s clothing. Very confused story on all levels.

Eventually the Pope, under control of the French King, reverses the English verdict of Heresy. Joan gets a “free get out of hell card” there. Then it takes another four hundred and fifty years until she is declared a saint in the RC church in 1920.

George Bernard Shaw in his written introduction to his play Saint Joan calls her the first Protestant saint because she used her own conscience as a guide and not any catholic rulebook logic in her definition of herself as a person, a woman, and a national hero.

Other than Shaw’s kind words, Joan of Arc, on all levels, has been maligned, misunderstood, trashed over the centuries and resurrected for RC PR reasons in the beginning of the 20th century.

No doubt the fact that she was a woman in men’s clothing and with a man’s spirit and successful in the realm of what men were supposed to do exclusively is part of the reason for her fall in life. After many centuries the facts continue to be muddled and the French fresh with a victory in WWI wanted a papal blessing of sorts and recognition for French accomplishments and not necessarily for Joan’s effort in the geopolitical thing.

The French conveniently forgot her for over four centuries. Frenchie gratitude is an unknown quality kind of thing.

The British who are kinky anyway on the underwear or drag thing, they would eventually disappear in the Joan Story as England breaks with Rome a century later.

It is kind of strange or is it queer how Joan is a hero on one side of the channel and a heretic on the other side? The one universal catholic church does not always fit into a one size fits all political or religious framework or corporate mission statement.

Misogyny or the hatred and contempt of women or girls would appear to be at the heart of this strange political and religious story.

Joan of Arc felt comfortable in her own skin, about who she was as a person and about her purpose in life. She, after five centuries, still defies any false labels that can stick in the long term. She truly was the first Protestant Saint.

It is amazing how in the beginning of the 21st century of the common era, that the west or the big western church thingy in Rome still is locked into Neolithic times with the Dinosaurs on its handling of female talent and energy that is it gladly discards in the favor of boring pot bellied middle aged men in various colors of medieval dress.

Of the movies about this great soul of Joan of Arc is a silent film by Carl Dreyer from 1928 and starring Maria Falconetti.

Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

I have seen this silent film and was greatly moved about the passion, stamina and inward strength of this great French Woman and Saint.

The film was thought to be lost for several decades until a full version of the film was found in a janitor’s closet in Oslo in 1981. Miracles do happen.

Joan of Arc was one such miracle to the human race and an unforgettable universal example of womanhood.

Friday, March 27, 2009

American Catholic Blogosphere - a Catholic Taliban?

In the chaos of perhaps a senile out of touch CEO Benedict XVI or the collapse of the corporate structure of the church temporarily fueled with dollars from the sale of marginal churches in the United States, I see a trend emerging. With the collapse of the Journalism of old and the demise of the American Institution of a daily hardcopy newspaper, we are in danger of being deluded or even being blocked from truth.

There seems to also be a power vacuum in the church with many archbishops vying for the red hat and indirectly waging a campaign to be next pope.

Burke is the Ayatollah as Scalia of God on the Vatican Supreme Court and his remarks or is it a witch hunt or intimidation of bishops in the Washington DC area who do not preach a hardline against Catholic Politicians who are pro-choice as opposed to being anti-birth control. His remarks against his competition do not always make it to mainstream media. His words though would seem to be gold when repeated a million times by his blogging buddies.

Fisichella is perhaps a moderate after he tried to apply ointment to the rug burn of Brazilian bishops and their bizarre boiling over of passion about abortion and rape and the lack of rights of children or females and general lack of human rights in that “Catholic” country. Rino also may just be setting up a passionate conservatism placard/smoke screen to hide the ugliness of that recent obscene lack of human compassion to those involved and on the receiving end of a metaphoric burning at the stake. The Catholic blogosphere has been dealing with Rino’s comments instead of the injustice of the actual circumstances of excommunication for the last ten days or so. Can a moderate bishop become pope?

That American Catholic Blogosphere is now attacking Obama and also trying to intimidate a world class learning institution Notre Dame University for bestowing an honorary degree on the President of the United States who is scheduled to address a commencement exercise in May. The Taliban tactics of the ACB (American Catholic Blogosphere) sometimes these days seems indistinguishable from the Taliban tactics of the far right GOP.

This brings me to a feeling that I had at the beginning of the Iraq war. If I want real news I have to use the Internet to go overseas to English Speaking sites in Britain or even Kenya to get the skinny on a lot of what is really going on in the world and for Things that quickly drop off the radar of an American Journalism Tradition and Things where punditry and self delusional incantations and mantras drown out reality like in the RC church.

Below is an article from the BBC on a British Medical Journal attacking the pope on his absurd statement on condoms.

Pope 'distorting condom science'
One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use.

It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.

The Pope had said the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.

Correspondents say the attack from the Lancet was unprecedentedly virulent.

…"When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," it said.

I have been reluctant to attack the RC church on the subject of clergy and sexual abuse. The following commentary I found rather thought provoking considering the source from an African site. It starts out with condemnation of the stupid condom remarks.

The Catholic Church should put its own house in order
Scientists have agreed that it was nothing short of irresponsible for him to claim that condom use actually increases the rate of HIV infection. It encourages promiscuity, the church believes.

This stance is immoral on two levels: first because it is plainly untrue, and goes against the advice of trained personnel. The church must recognise that it has failed in this mission.

SECONDLY, BECAUSE IT contradicts the kind of philosophy that has due regard for the health of our ailing planet. On the day the Pope arrived in Africa, the Nation featured a picture of dozens of beautiful children, all in the care of the police, their parents unwilling or unable to claim them.

The church fathers are stuck in a time warp; living in medieval times; they are totally out of touch, especially with youth.

Not only does the Vatican refuse to admit that its policies have not worked, but it will also not face the immorality which continues to fester in its own ranks.

Cases of sexual abuse of minors have been reported in countries as far apart as Australia and Mexico. The Pope himself suppressed publication of a report which revealed the extent of this exploitation.

In 2007, child sex abuse cases cost the church $615 million (Sh49 billion), an increase of 54 per cent over the previous year, most of which went towards settling in court. Therapy for the victims and the accused took care of $23 million.

New allegations of abuse in 2007 totalled 689, most of the sufferers being young males between the ages of 10 and 14 when the abuse began.

A Charter for the Protection of Children has done better at protecting clergy from exposure.

And so it goes and continues. The Force be with us all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No voice allowed except to say yes

After having done some writing here and done some research, I begin to realize how Roman Catholicism is not so much a fascist religion but a religion in search of a fascist patron. The Patronage of course goes back to the founder of Catholicism which was Saint General Constantine the Great.

Patronage has gone on for centuries from one Holy Roman Emperor to another or for competing parties vying for the patronage of the RC church to temporarily wed itself to the church for legitimacy. This is the proven historical model. Marriages of patrons on that scale are of course to my point of view usually made in hell.

The reason the RC church has shrunk in the forty years since Vatican II is in my opinion because it has factored people out of its basic equations and corporate bottom line. They publish those billion numbers in membership but how many mere millions actually have gone to church in the past year.

The laity, women, gays, unwed mothers etc. are not what is important in the Church. Only the abstract of the church is important. Like the fundamentalists that have a relationship with a book - the bible - The RCs or at least the hierarchy only have a relationship with itself - somewhat incestuous if you take a look at it.

The fundies and the vatican boys might use the word love but they do not know how to embrace humanity. They can shout all day at humanity about hell hoping to invoke fear in people but the bottom line is that they do not know what people are really about.

In a way of blessing from God, the secular world has been invented by people and they the secular world are the inheritors of God's and Jesus' message to humanity - to love oneself and to love one's neighbor equally - that is the ideal - that is the mission statement or should be of this brave new secular world that takes up where the death of organized religion in the western world has left off.

The first encyclical of Benedict XVI in one chapter will define God as love over and over again. In the next chapter, the word "Church" is substituted for the word "God" - reminds me of the kind of word filler I used to use in a high school history paper - before word processors. In the RC Church God and Love seem to be just words.

The clerks, the purple dresses, of the Vatican are good on theory and schoolboy essay rhetoric but in the final analysis they are glad that people are disappearing from their ranks. Their lack of people skills speak louder than words.

If you want Jesus you won't find him there on the altar in the abstract of bread. Jesus -God- is in the hearts of the truly faithful and not in any stone temple or gold tabernacle.

There is no room for dissent in the RC church. I do think that maybe Pius XII begged the German Corporal Shickelgruber for official church recognition in Germany over the Lutheran church. The German Corporal didn't need any more acts in his historic circus sideshow or the useless obsolete title of Holy Roman Emperor.

It is a pity that that Pope did not have the guts of the martyrs to shout his moral disgust at Hitler. Hitler may have arrested him and tortured him. But the world's outrage might have toppled that great evil and saved millions of people, Jews and gentiles alike.

I recently saw or read how the Vatican is about to declassify documents to prove that Pius XII did in fact save thousands of Jews in WWII. Impressive. He is on a fast track to official sainthood. If I was Devil's Advocate on that case, I would ask the Vatican to declassify all its documents on the tens of thousands of Nazis and SS Officers who escaped to South America using Vatican passports. There's a truth there somewhere. That Pius XII was more concerned about the nick knacks in the Vatican Museum than he was concerned with the collateral damage of a world war which would be those people thingies?

In a way of the failure of all Christians to prevent the Holocaust, there was also a moral holocaust. Morality sacrificed for the sake of papal politics caused a moral vacuum for the lack of great moral deeds that should have come first from such a large expensive operation such as the RC church. That moral vacuum of all the churches, existing in the west after WWII, has progressed in the west into a secular world where dissent and the number of children in your famity is decided by you and not some men in a black robes with a twisted sexual view of the world. Thank God for that!

Martin Luther, after he translated the bible into German, started being more vehemently anti-Semitic. Luther could not understand how the Jews with a wonderful translation of the bible into German would still not embrace the one true faith.

After Vatican II, they put the mass into the vernacular. They were catching up in time, some four and a half centuries, after the priest Luther had asked for an open and honest discussion of abuse in the ranks of the clergy. Luther found out then that the only word that could come from the lips of good Catholic was "yes". Dissent has not, nor will it ever be tolerated in the ranks of the Army of Constantine - the RC church.

As they sell off churches, schools and hospitals, they put their future business hopes of productivity, profits and membership numbers into Africa and other parts of the emerging world.

The fascist patron is not so easy to come by these days unless you become a cabal partner with the GOP in the USA etc. Since Pius IX and the disappearance of the Papel States with the unification of Italy in the nineteenth century, the Patron of the RC church has become itself. The boys in the Vatican, fighting not for souls but a promotion from purple robes to red robes to the white robes are the failed corporate execs existing on the cash raised from the sale of churches that my immigrant ancestors helped built with pennies, dimes and quarters over a century ago.

The Peter Principal whereby a bureaucrat or corporate executive rises to his ultimate level of incompetence is proven under the current regime in Rome.

Since Vatican II, when the main stream Protestant church members did not stream into the RC vernacular common service mass, the Catholics began to move back into their old medieval ways.

There are many closed doors in the Vatican these days. The most important doors to the heart, mind and soul have perhaps never been opened or have never even been sought out.

So it goes and continues. May the force be with you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

South Bend Bishop insults American President

I saw this storm brewing on the horizon. Notre Dame University invited the President of the United States to make a commencement address on May 17.

Like a cancer that spreads, the Catholic Bloggers are all spewing their dislike of the President exercising his conscience, recently won power, and not blindly following the anti-birth control, anti-choice religious/political propaganda agenda of Rome and the far right.

The culture war is alive and well in Indiana, a recent blue state.

Bishop to skip Notre Dame Graduation

-- The Catholic bishop (John D'Arcy) of South Bend, Indiana, will not attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Notre Dame because he disagrees with the stem-cell research and abortion views of the commencement speaker -- President Obama...

The conservative Cardinal Newman Society has launched a Web site -- notredamescandal.com -- that, according to the site, has drawn 50,000 signatures to a petition opposing Obama's appearance at the May 17 ceremony, at which Obama also is to receive an honorary degree.

If you invite the President and you don't want to show any respect, it is good for a typical RC bureaucrat like Bishop D'Arcy not to show up - probably would not understand the speech anyway. Too good to share the stage with the likes of his kind? Believes in freedom of choice and not having the pope in your bedroom? Disgraceful.

An insult to an invited guest, a VIP coming into your ballywick, is an insult whether the insult comes in person or for the sake of making space in the blogosphere.

It will be interesting to see how this bit of faschist party GOP and God fearing Catholic ignorance try to shove its anti-birth control agenda further down the throats of a growing non-believing American public by making a typical nuisance of itself at Notre Dame.

Do they teach tolerance at Notre Dame these days or will Obama have to cancel in the face of blatant rudeness to an invited guest and perhaps veiled coded racism?

Did lack of civilitiy in America begin with the Republicans or the RCs and their retreat not only from interfaith dialogue but from face to face dialogue?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Condom Head - the Pope in Africa


In all defernce to Ed Wynn, a Philly born comic genius, who had a highly rated radio comedy show in the 1930s and I think sponsored by Texaco ---

I wanted to put the picture above of some dumb fool wearing a condom over their head but decided instead that I would use a visual of true classic talented jokemeister genius - as comic relief to the pope's medieval interpretation of the silly uselessness of using condoms in a hefty percentage of cases in the global war of trying to prevent the spread of the modern day plaugue of HIV/AIDS ---

These 1930 radio shows had audiences in Radio City at one time. I am reminded of the story about how Thomas Edison was in the audience when Ed Wynn was on stage and Tom Edison got a belly laugh and a half when Wynn brought on stage a pole that measured 11 feet and four inches long. When asked what the pole was for - Ed Wynn replied that it was for those things that he would not touch with a ten foot pole.

I have such a 11 foot 4 inch pole for touching the Pope's comment on condoms and AIDS.

Ronald Reagan had his voodoo deregulation economics and the pope has his voodoo store front creationism museum quality theology.

I did make a comment somewhere about how the present pope does not have any rock star qualities with which to wow the press.

Theses days, the pope's retarded, unsciientific, comments on condoms got picked up by five or six old fashioned journalistic wire services and ten million Catholic sycophantic blogs, some passing for news sites, and commenting about how right the pope always is in whatever BS pours over his lips. Interfaith non-dialogue, holocaust denial, condoms as no possible use to stop AIDS - whatever!

I also did comment somewhere the allegory or is it metaphor about how the pope present is applauded non stop by his employees for his volumes and volumes of scholarly works about how what a perfect hamster cage the insider's beltway Vatican bureauacracy is to viewing the bizarre world of the laity outside the unerring corporate culture of that cage.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rino Fisichella - Dr. Phil of the Vatican

There was one of those soft shell crab moments on the media waves over the weekend. An official from the Vatican, with credible credentials, was doing a soft sell (shell) retooling of all the RC church's vile bile that came out Brazil last week over the abortion of a nine year old rape victim and the subject of excommunication.

Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella is no doubt acting out - sort of in the role of Dr. Phil - to comment on the many sides of a difficult legal and moral issue.

Vatican prelate defends abortion for 9-year-old
Fisichella, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, also upheld the church's ban on abortion and any implications of his criticism of excommunicating the doctors and the girl's mother weren't clear.
It is not clear if the Archbishop speaks only for himself and his conscience regarding the strange weird way the RC church in Brazil chose to release this bizarre abortion excommunication story. It is not clear with all his Vatican credentials if he speaks officially or unofficially for the Vatican.

I encourage you to read the whole article. It might be a genuine attempt to do a Dr. Phil on the rape and abortion of a nine year old girl in Brazil.

I have to wonder though that Archbishop Fisichella, as an official of a foreign government, the Vatican, why his soft shell media handout has not appeared in his Pro-Life Website registered in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Life News

He is listed on Zoominfo.com as President of that “news” organization. Hey Rino, you are not what I would call a Hypocrit's Hypocrit on this soft shell handout with one hand and your hardsell pro-life website with the other hand - are you dude?

Rino Fisichella

Just thought I would add these points. With the downsizing and outsourcing of journalism in this country, blogs and websites are replacing real journalism. The listings of blogs and websites as legitimate sources of news is questionable at best. Consider this one.

And no doubt now that there is a new Archbishop Dolan in New York City, his automatic promotion to the Cardinal’s red hat is forthcoming, say by July or August. One has to possibly imagine that all these other purple bishops Burke, Naumann, and Fisichella want the red hat too. And they deserve it too touting the company’s party line on “morality” to the ranks of the laity only.

Vatican Official Slams American Governor

Former American Inquisitor and now Vatican Head of the Supreme court Archbishop Raymond Burke has done his best with a written condemnation of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius, a Catholic.

Governor Sebelius’ Pro-Choice political view is unacceptable to the Roman Catholic Church. She is the current nominee for the Obama Cabinet appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor Sibelius has been told she should not receive communion for her incorrect moral views by the Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City.

Sebelius nomination ‘source of greatest embarrassment,’ Archbishop Burke says

"Her position on the question of procured abortion is the source of the greatest scandal to Catholics and to all who uphold the natural moral law," he continued.

Additionally, Archbishop Burke said, the governor "obstinately remained in her moral error" despite being admonished by at least three of her bishops, including Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann.

He added that Archbishop Naumann had proceeded "in perfect accord" with canon law by trying to help Gov. Sebelius recognize and correct her "grave error."

"When she refused to do so, he had no choice but to remind her that the Church’s discipline requires that persons who publicly and obstinately remain in serious sin must be denied Holy Communion," he added.

Though Burke and Naumann are alumnus of the St Louis Archdiocese Bishop’s Club, they did not serve during each other’s watch in that city. It makes you think or wonder what sort of heavy metals might be in the drinking water there.

Burke is an official of a foreign government, the Vatican. If some politburo member of the China or Prime Minister of Russia were criticizing our elected officials, the press and the GOP would be screaming up the yazoo about this.

Foreign governments and International Corporations get a free pass in this country’s press.

This Cultural Christian sees this one as typical sexist discrimination of the RC church with the bully boys ganging up on the girl in the school play ground so to speak. Brave boys!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Journey Begun with 1000 Masses

The mind wanders.

I am looking at a photo of my old catholic grade school in Philly, now defunct. The photo is from when it was brand new in 1923. There is a blacksmith shop and row houses where the convent would be built thirty years into the future. There is a woman in front of one of the houses no doubt calling her children to dinner and there are two boys in old fashioned knicker pants, perhaps hers, in the street roughhousing. There are trolley tracks for a trolley car line that no longer runs there.

While I think I can predict what will become of the RC church in America, I see a middle view. That new factory worker’s parish of my youth would celebrate mass in that school, designed by the world famous gothic architect George A. Audsley. The school hall would serve as temporary church for another twenty three years. The church, Romanesque, was the complete obsolete in style from the school. That structure would be built in record time and for cash when rationing of building materials would be lifted after the war.

You can take away the buildings. Christianity and its celebration, in the beginning of time and perhaps in the end of time, will be conducted in people’s houses, pavilions in parks, K of C meeting halls.

Without property, the Church belongs to the Holy Spirit and to the People. Without property, it will no longer belong to the pencil pushing all boys accounting club in Rome.

Rome may be building its future in the emerging world. Good for them. The people there will likely get a school, clean water and a medical clinic faster if they join the RC church than if they wait for some native corrupt dictator to send help.

Cycles and energies go round and round.

I have perhaps attended over 1,000 masses in my life, in my youth. Weekly and every school day in October, Lent, May , First Fridays, First Saturdays and the numbers add up. No doubt you get a smattering of words from the Epistles or the Gospels hanging out there in the stone house so often. Before all this talk of a Latin mass into English or English back again into Latin, the Epistles and the Gospels, the most important part of the service, were read to us in the native tongue.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to find some of those words that I remembered being read from the pulpit in my youth. Through research I found out that basically the same readings from sacred text were read at the same time every year, year in and year out. There was a one year lectionary in most of the Catholic churches in the world. I believe also that some of the Lutherans followed the same one year lectionary thing for centuries until Vatican II.

After Vatican II there was a suggested three year lectionary whereby more of the Epistles and Gospels would be read over a three year period. As I say it is suggested more for solidarity of all Christian churches, RC and Protestant, to be on the same page every Sunday so to speak. That is about the biggest accomplishment of Vatican II as I can see down here on the ground. That and talk -Talk - about interfaith dialogue but no real long term dialogue intended.

I started looking for a one year lectionary maybe ten years ago. I also wanted to find a 1957 Saint Joseph’s Missal. The missal was a book containing the mass in Latin and weekly one year lectionary readings. This was a personal book, held in one hand, that you took to service with you. I do not remember if it contained any hymns.

The Internet and its content has improved vastly in a decade and most of my research got done there without touching any hard copy.

Fast forward, I never got the Missal even though they are available on Amazon.Com or similar vending places. I never did get to a Latin Mass. Until recently the Latin mass thing was, and still is to some extent, a secret and clandestine thing to find. You need word of mouth to spread and find these rare Latin mass occurrences.

Because of all that I have read or researched I no longer have any nostalgia to see the Mass again in Latin. Latin is a dead language, meaning that no new words for it has been created for close to fifteen hundred years, not since the death of the Western Roman Empire.

Getting back to something I wrote earlier, I remember highlights of about a dozen Gospels from those annual readings.

One I wrote about earlier, the other two I will mention here.

One is the Transfiguration whereby Jesus and Peter and James, son of Zebedee, go to the top of a mountain. Jesus is transformed almost into light and is in the presence of Moses and Elijah. Peter wants to build a shrine to these three prophets after witnessing the event. Jesus says no.

I have often wondered why Jesus supposedly gave the reins of his mission over to a hardhead like Peter. After he just witnessed the divine or near divine powers of Jesus, he denies Jesus in the early morning hours of Good Friday when Jesus is judged and condemned to death.

On one level, Jesus saw that the weakest among us such as Peter should be the strongest link in the chain of the Christian faith. From what I have seen lately of the Vatican Three Stooges style bureaucracy, Jesus was indeed wise both as a human and or as divine being in putting this man eventually in charge, after the death of James, Jesus‘ half-brother, and as one of the first leaders of the early church.

The other reading I remember from my youth had to do with Jesus and his being asked what is the greatest law in the book. To which he replies in Matt 22:37 a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 about loving God with your whole heart, soul and mind. He finishes with a second but no less sacred idea with Matt 22:39 “…Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” -- Matt 20:40 “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

I remember this passage whether it be from a movie, or from a one year reading cycle or in a religion class in high school. This thought always impressed me.

I put all this casual and earnest research into bible studies or daily reading or the reaction of the world to every day events away in my brain. This last most important commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is I think the keystone in the Christian faith.

Of course other world religions and beliefs also have similar ideas, text and dogma. I feel that a similar idea similar to the Golden Rule of “doing unto others what you would have them do unto you” is perhaps a starting point in restoring civility into this growing and in many places hostile global world culture.

I mention some of the words of Dr. Karen Armstrong from her interview on Bill Moyers Journal the other night. She mentioned that we in the west had three hundred years to accommodate ourselves in the changing of some institutions from the sacred to the secular.

No doubt the hanging of Quakers in Massachusetts led to the need for the founding of a place for Quaker political and religious asylum in the British colonies of North America. This led to William Penn, a Quaker, getting a land grant from Charles II to start such a place of tolerance that in many ways led to the formation of ideas of self worth, religious freedom, and even political independence.

Cycles and energy go round and round.

Massachusetts, shortly after the founding of Pennsylvania as a haven for all faiths or even non-believers, burned itself out on ignorance, hate, or whatever with their Salem witch trials around 1692. Turning against your neighbor is easy but sometimes the collateral damage is a bitch to swallow or live with.

I was disheartened to hear that they, Islamic fanatics, had bombed and killed people in a hotel in Islamabad because this hotel was a refuge for the tourists or native Islamists not observing the annual month long fast of Ramadan. It is this group mind think, this only one religious belief allowed in a country or the inequality of women etc. - that scares the crap out of me.

We in the west had our transition from the sacred to the secular over a longer period than these Muslim countries who have had to deal with it in decades. Diversity is a concept we understand. How it is adapted elsewhere, only time, and cultural context to digest it, will tell.

This love your neighbor as yourself is a good thing, a good concept, but I think the core to looking at it in terms of a long term or compressed timeline is that in order to love your neighbor in the truest sense you have to first love yourself.

The west in its recent past reached its pinnacle of individual freedom, potential and global scale selfishness. That the opportunity to spread individual freedom or its concept to the world means that it should be coupled with responsibility and selflessness.

Freedom with responsibility may be a oxymoron of sorts but marshalling and maintaining a positive energy flow connected with individual freedoms demands some rules to be followed. The chaotic present secular world without rules or regulations is not good for either the west or the east.

We have to look at Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. He did not love his neighbors as himself. He may have thought he loved his God with his whole heart, soul and mind but without the balance of love for neighbor, you only have an abstract obsession. Living with and dealing with your neighbor on an everyday basis is one basic building stone of civilization.

But by loving yourself and the cup overflows to your neighbor is an energy no doubt understood by Jesus when he zapped the fanatic Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul was truly empowered by Jesus to start building another path along the new faith’s road of life. On that day Paul started to love his enemies and started to truly love himself as well.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love” - I, You, We, are nothing in God’s ultimate scheme of things.

As the world grows smaller, we had better practice love for our self more and reach out in love to other neighboring cultures.

The mind wanders.

...and the journey continues.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Charter for Compassion - an Interfaith Road?

This past week we observed the fiftieth anniversary of the flight of the Dalai Lama, the head on a Buddhist sect, and his followers out of their native Tibet and into the neighboring country of northern India.

Tibet of course got annexed by China. I will pass on the judgment of the godless giant and talk about interfaith beliefs.

I put a Tibetan chant on above in honor of a faith in exile. I hope that China one day opens its hearts and minds to the Compassion preached by this man.

I believe that there are interfaith approaches which in some ways talk about talking over the back fence like neighbors. I am also reminded of the line from the poetry of Robert Frost, the American poet, about how “good fences make good neighbors”.

In an increasingly religion-less secular world I am listening to this chant, listening to words I do not understand, in Sanskrit, and hoping to gain a little calm in my life to seek the enlightenment spoken so often about in Buddhism. I am not worshipping the Buddha. Few in Buddhism consider their prophet, their main saint, to be a god.

Surfing the tube last night I landed on the PBS show “Bill Moyers Journal” and happened to hear Dr. Karen Armstrong talking about her attempts to form a global “Charter for Compassion” with others who would forge this document that recognizes the “Golden Rule” as the basis of all world religions and put it back into daily use and cognizance globally both in a religious and secular sense.
Armstrong, who taught for a time at London's Leo Baeck rabbinic college, says she has been particularly inspired by the Jewish tradition's emphasis in matters of faith versus practice: "I say that religion isn’t about believing things. It's about what you do. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.” She points out that religious fundamentalism is not just a response to but, paradoxically, a product of contemporary culture. "We need to create a new narrative, get out of the rat-run of hatred, chauvinism and defensiveness; and make the authentic voice of religion a power in the world that is conducive to peace." (Wikipedia)

Perhaps the road to interfaith cooperation and beliefs lay in recognition of common grounds.

Instead of talking over the back fence so to speak, perhaps we should be going into each other’s gardens and seeing and feeling and talking about what the next guy with the other religion or beliefs sees and feels as they share in the same visit.

Her use of the word “Compassion” is what triggered my combining these not so differing points of view (?) of the Dalai Lama and Dr. Armstrong.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cultural Sensitivity Issues 101 - Vatican

There are articles about how Benedict XVI dropped the ball recently with the lifting of excommunication of the Holocaust denying “bishop" Williamson along with other suspect anti-Semite “bishops" from the rogue catholic SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X) cult.

With a big chunk of cult followers, close to five hundred priests and close to three hundred seminarians worldwide, the Vatican did a power grab and would not let viable economic assets (priests/foot soldiers) slip out of its grasps.

With the finesse of elephants in tutus doing a ballet, the Vatican bureaucrats lifted the excommunication of these rogue “bishops” after doing little more than a Google search as a background check before their readmission to holy mother church. (Parents, hide your children!)

The facts of Williamson’s vehement anti-Semitism were evident for anybody who wanted to research the matter.

No doubt Cardinal Giovanni Re signed off on this lifting of the ban as a favor to retiring Cardinal Hoyos, 79, and the big guy Joe Ratzinger, 81. Cardinal Hoyos was cleaning the paperwork off his desk and Cardinal Re’s conscience conveniently slipped into the closet again.

This recent body slap to the face of worldwide Jewry and the human race as inheritors of the legacy of the crimes of WWII was in my opinion done by these two sometimes unrelated, disconnected bodies of power - the papacy and the Vatican bureauacracy.

The general corporate culture of the Vatican seems to be anti-female, anti-sexual, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, anti anything that has to deal with cultural diversity or the diversity of individuals in life.

The topic of Cultural Sensitivity Issues comes clumsily to the forefront of the present Vatican Bureaucratic corporate culture so comfortably rooted in the nineteenth and or the ninth century of the common era.

The bureaucracy, the Vatican, is a bunch of religious clerics who have spent their life in the Catholics bubble - family, catholic school, seminary, parish duties, bureaucratic duties and have not necessarily had any real life experience, say as in openly practiced sexual matters like the laity. If they have a problem they consult canon law or Playboy. It is all somehow in a book.

The pope, who in his youth as a Hitler Youth, (forced to do that against his will) and as a member of the Wehrmacht (also forced to do that against his will) has had pretty much the same rule book life as the rest of the Vatican, no life, bureaucracy.

The problem here I think is that the Vatican Bureaucracy has had a free ride for decades on the back of John Paul the Great who was a conscripted laborer in Poland (forced to do that against his will) who also gave occasional but dangerous consent to underground activities in his district.

Other than that, John Paul the Great had a little more street experience in his youth. As a pope, he did a lot of cross reference checking before anything with his signature hit the street.

There is this rule book mentality in Benedict’s background. The German people in their language, civil attitude and civil obedience do not use the subjunctive tense much in their language. You will do this. You are the Catholic. Words like would, could, should, and might only rarely soften the German language.

So too the whole Victorian age, so uptight about everything especially sex, was a rule book society. Prince Albert brought that rule book mentality with him from Germany to his new bride and adopted country. He, and or the literate upper crust of society, wrote, rewrote the rule book(s) for Victoria’s country and worldwide realm.

Aside from that, the lack of individual empathy, insight, touching, or feeling of other cultures and religions is evident as an inept pope passes the paperwork through lazy bureaucratic shits like Cardinal Hoyos and Cardinal Re.

What can I say? The Vatican seems at times to be a failed corporate culture with a failed CEO residing over an inept bureaucracy. And these guys in power are all over seventy. Shuffleboard anyone?

Cultural Sensitivity Issues 101 is yet to be taught in Catholic seminaries?

One can hope. Maybe after Vatican III.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Parable - Jesus & the High Priests of Brazil

I have often wondered what Jesus would make of our present civilization if he were to come back on an unofficial visit before his official second coming. Perhaps he made a recent visit and…

…and Jesus came into a large city in Brazil and encountered the High Priests standing on the steps of their Temple surrounded by news gatherers.

The high priests had their hands clutching their gold encrusted vests and condemning and excommunicating those caught in the unlawful act of abortion.

“In the old days, we could have stoned them to death, these sinners. Or better yet, burned them to death. The child too, who probably gave false witness against her step-father.” pronounced a high priest.

Jesus got the attention of both the high priests and the media as he started to toss pebbles at the high priests.

Jesus spoke. “in whose name do you condemn and despise these people?”

“In the name of Jesus! You fool! And who are you?” yelled one of the high priests.

“I am the son of humankind. I do not condemn them in this public place.” replied Jesus.

“Son of humankind? You’re just another lunatic. A street person. Some homeless bum!” shouted another of the high priests.

“Perhaps. But I do not condemn these people in public. These people must examine their own consciences and decide what sin, is any, they deserve judgment on.”

“Judgment is already rendered. The law condemns them. End of story!“ proclaimed the High Priest.

“What is their ultimate sin, you hypocrites? Poverty or ignorance? The poor and the ignorant will always be with us.“

“They are condemned for their ignorance of the laws of God.” said one of the high priests.

“And who taught them these laws.” asked Jesus.

“Fool. We taught them. We are the hierarchy of the temple.”

“This fool agrees with you. Ignorance is the sin here. It is most obvious.” spoke Jesus.

One of the news gatherers asked one of the high priests about the question of rape that caused a nine year old girl to become pregnant in the first place.

“Rape is not the sin being discussed here! The sin is abortion and the taking of an innocent life!”

Jesus interjected in a voice loud enough to be heard.

“Was not the nine year old girl raped or the six year old girl molested - was that not the taking of an innocent life and corrupting it into your pit for the judgment of sinners?

“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”(Mark 9:42)

Jesus walked away. A news gatherer ran after him and asked what did he mean by the words he had just used against the high priests.

Jesus mumbled something like “it is amazing how things have not changed that much on earth in two thousand years.”

The news gatherer wrote this down and looked up to ask another question.

Jesus had disappeared into the crowds.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Community Christian Capitalism at work

I have been watching a travel show on PBS for years and hosted by Rick Steves.

I ran into his bio on Wikipedia and I was just floored by one item listed there at the bottom.

The simplicity of the idea and the scope and depth of an idea of how someone could use their retirement funds as a relatively safe, conservative way to serve mankind, the community and in the spirit of the Christ. I am dumbfounded sometimes by creativity or the random acts of seeming kindness I sometimes run into in this world.

The idea is simple. You get a lot of volunteer organizations like the YMCA and Rotary Club involved to house homeless mothers. Your initial investment is the investment of your retirement fund to buy an apartment building. You are not giving it away. You are leasing it to a community need for a decade or two. With insurance and maintenance your investment is tangible and safe.

You give a pathway for a flow of semi-charitable good works and outside the realm of direct organized religion or government. Religions have a tendency to become bureaucratic and sad to say in some instances corrupt in the distribution of alms and charity to people. Government is government.

Why not do charity and or good works on your own and after fifteen or twenty years take back your investment plus accumulated unearned equity. I do not want to put a label on this such as passive good works or compassionate brotherhood. Compassionate conservatism as a term in the secular sense has perhaps failed terribly and gotten us into two wars overseas.

In 2005 Rick and Anne Steves purchased a 24-unit apartment complex in Lynnwood, Washington and fixed it up to serve as transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children. The Steves invested much of their retirement nest egg and are allowing free use of the complex for 15 years--leaving management responsibilities to the local YWCA Pathways for Women, while Rotarians in the Edmonds Noontime Rotary Club help maintain the buildings, do grounds upkeep, and provide everything from the furniture to the flowers. In addition, the club raised USD $30,000 in donations to build a play structure for the children of Trinity Place. About 100 mothers are expected to ultimately live there.

Steves is an active Lutheran, and has written and hosted educational videos on subjects such as Martin Lutheran and the European Reformation of the Church. He also raises funds for Bread for the World. -- Wikipedia

Think of all the secular no-religion Americans who have seen their 401ks shrink and pension funds evaporate. Think of the bemoaning of “my individual piece” of Wall Street melting away.

Think of all the mutual funds invested in China and Aluminum mines with people making slave wages. Think of the returns on investment of China put into U.S. Treasury notes to feed our national debt and our insatiable godless consumerism. Think of a China that individually dominates or dictates out national policies, really a country we are afraid to challenge at the moment. Think of a godless China that sits on the United Nations Security Council that will veto any humane actions on Darfur to protect its very real national investments in Sudan.

Think how we as individuals do not have to invest in some godless macro Wall Street ponzi schemes in the future. Think about taking the time out to touch and research the needs of your community. Think about investing your money, your nest egg, in the future of the welfare and best interests of your community.

Think of what Jesus would do with your investments.

While you would like to give away everything to the poor, why not just share with them for a while and make the world a tiny bit better. The world is better because you touched the world and the world seems to matter right in front of your eyes.

I would label this as Community Christian Capitalism because it is capitalism. It also serves the community. It most definitely has a Christian flavor.

You are making a cash investment to get back a cash return. Instead of instant millions in immediate return, you get a safe old fashioned rate of return on cash investment which also serves the needs of the community. There is something about this scheme that touches upon the things missing today in over-organized religion or failed government. It has to do with people and community needs and meeting the needs of the less fortunate in a humane and dignified manner. Churches and religions used to touch the earth and communities.

In an abstract dominant secular world “we have to touch people” again. We need to serve others in order to serve our own spiritual selves and needs. This is humanity. This is Christ!

It's a Secular World - and growing as religion declines in U.S.

It is one of the facts of life that religion at all levels has declined.

There are a whole bunch of stats on this in this article.

More Americans say they have no religion
Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

"No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," the study's authors said.

At least the drift always are not calling themselves atheists. I don't dislike atheists. Atheists have a tendency in my opinion to be anti-religion. They are usually reacting in one or two generations going back and against a mean nasty dose of or encounter with organized religion.

I find that most Jehovah Witnesses I have met are a large part ex-Catholics who do not like that name brand, had a bad direct experience with the name brand or they have transferred bad or unusual family dysfunctional feelings toward the RCs. Just an observation and certainly not scientific. I think of this sect as a social club that has the right mindset but not the guts to be atheists. They seem like half-assed Chrsitans who feel more comfortable under an umbrella of "religious" settings but are uncertain how to use the thing.

There is a great joke of the legendary borsht belt comedian Henny Youngman -
"became an atheist - two, three - had to give it up - three four - no holidays"

While we are listing this stuff, I am an anti-religionist. In principal I am against large organized religion. That doesn't mean much as organized religion loses ground by the stats in the article.

I am a religionist in that I think we need a minimum of theist based philosophy or morals as an alternative to haphazard secular or cultural trends that decide or cause a flavor of the month morality for every day casual use.

I believe that the RC's obsession against abortion is not totally moral. I agree that the numbers of abortions is not a good thing. Nor do I think it a good thing - that bringing an unwanted child into the world, doomed almost from the start without the support and guidance of dutiful parents as a social experiment bound to go wrong.

I believes that RC's abortion rhetoric is to cover up its commoditization of human sexuality, a topic that "celibates" are totally inadequate to explain through lack of self understanding or experience in the subject. Abortion is only one of all birth control methods considered a mortal sin in that sect.

I believe that Religion in America has been on a steady decline since WWII. That cars and highways and suburbs have broken up the traditional needs for social contact in cities and religion has always done well in the traditional Greco-Roman city setting.

Part of that city setting made religion over the centuries part of the social fabric. In many cases for the young, old or in between, religious organizations in the community had been primary as a second family setting. That as the state has taken over a lot of these social functions, churches decline.

The trend in Mega churches has formed around the hub of suburbs and malls. I am an old dog, don't want to learn new tricks. And more than that, despite the fact that I live in a semi-burb of New York City, I have a fear of crowds - as in Mega churches. I am curious to see how, where this trend goes or evolves in our fluid like changing society.

I wish any good, honest and tolerate Christian enterprise good luck.

These stats of course have been accumulated in the recent greedy past where less than good, decent or Christian standards have been advocated in a glitzy 24/7 gimmick get rich quick at any cost world filled with electronic gizmos.

I would not let the stats get you down. All beliefs are local. And all faith in action is local as well.

The key I think to a better future for the Christian faith in America is to use the model of the shopping mall where one large department store or Home Depot type store is called an anchor store. It is many times that an abandoned anchor store kills the life of the mall. It is here where many mega churches have taken root in a real sense.

In a more abstract sense, I believe that the anchor of a good church complex should be a school. It is this that has slipped away first in most of the abandoned and sold off churches I have seen. Education on a K-8 may be an expensive proposition to start up but a K-4 or K-6 school would go a hell of distance in protecting our future moral and cultural Christian values in an increasingly secular and non-moral society. Investment in education is an investment in the future life of the congregation. Investment in Christian education has it's dividend in a moral America.

Education money spent on a church scale level would go 2-3 times further than the money wasted on public schools and the strange secular, scientific, amoral standards of learning being perpetuated and unchallenged coming out of the so-called federal department of education.

So it goes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Faithful in Massachusetts keep Vigil

Mass. Catholics occupying imperiled churches 24-7

"We don't have faith in the archdiocese. I think we have faith in God," said Sheila O'Brien, 63.

She and the others have been occupying St. Therese as part of a string of sit-ins going on round-the-clock for more than four years at five Roman Catholic churches closed by the Boston Archdiocese. The protesters are hoping to force the archdiocese — or the Vatican — to reopen the churches.

The archdiocese has said it won't remove any of the protesters by force. It has not cut off the electricity in any of the churches and has kept the heat and water on in all of them except St. Therese, where the archdiocese is refusing to pay $50,000 to fix a boiler.

The archdiocese has given no sign it will reopen any of the churches, but the parishioners are resolute.

"We must be a thorn in their side," said 71-year-old Lee Pratto, who sleeps on a cot in the chapel at St. Therese.

Cardinal Bernard Law enjoys semi-retirement in the old papal palace at St Mary Major Basilica in Rome, one of the oldest church sites in Christiandom. While he basks in the Roman sun, some of the little people he failed so miserably as a CEO of the Archdiocese of Boston, cling to their old parish churches and their faith.

I am passing this on to those of who the spirit may send here to read and wonder where Christianity is going to in this down cycle of history.

It was the few and the dedicated, both men and women, in the early church that suffered persecution for the sake of faith that kept the faith alive even when it was not possible to survive in many circumstances.

Jon Rogers, who has taken part in the occupation of St. Frances X. Cabrini church in the town of Scituate, said: "We own this place. They don't, and we're keeping it."

Rogers said he believes the archdiocese targeted his church for closing because of its valuable 30 acres of coastal real estate south of Boston.

"It's your church until they basically decide they need to liquidate the assets to pay off the sins of their past, not ours," he said.

At the occupied churches — which also include Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston, St. Jeremiah in Framingham and St. James the Great in Wellesley — the protests long ago settled into a routine. Parishioners pass time paying bills, doing puzzles and praying, sometimes holding services in which they use Communion wafers blessed by sympathetic priests.

One has to wonder if Cardinal Law got his plum assignment as a reward for his work in covering up clergy misconduct and buggery or whether he is under house arrest in a gilded cage.

Of course he may have bribed his way into this assignment with a few bearer bonds that may have gone into semi-retirement with him.

Enough of talking about RC hierarchy trash. I find it a wonder after the collapse of the monolithic Soviet Union and the recent collapse of monolithic western capitalism, that the monolithic Vatican Party is doing so well. Or is it?

The Vatican got a lot of good press through the years. The novelty of rock star popes has worn off and is stuck in neutral trying to deal with the current wiener schnitzel flavored Vatican corporate culture. With six you get egg roll?

They tried to reform the church with the Vatican II Council. They forgot to reform the Vatican Politburo and numb nut bureaucracy. They keep appointing loser bishops who keep downsizing parishes. Why can’t they find a few good men, holy with vision to the future etc. Yeah right.

The faithful holdouts in Massachusetts gives me hope that the RC church and the Christian church in general will be able to rise from the ashes of this current Vatican and American church meltdown.

Reading into the history of the big churches of Rome, one sees a timeline where the papacy leaves Rome after every major earthquake that destroys its biggest churches. My apologies to tourists and the good people of Rome. I do not wish them any ill will. But that earthquake, that ultimate act of God and or nature is long over due.

Once the juggernaut of the Vatican bureaucracy is compromised, the RC church will have a chance to flower and flourish again.

Until then, the little people, the people of God, the church, endures and keeps vigil.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rape is OK ? - Abortion is not !

A CATHOLIC archbishop has sparked controversy in Brazil by saying the mother of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion on Wednesday following a rape is automatically excommunicated for allowing the procedure to go ahead.

Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife also declared that according to canon law the doctor who performed the abortion is considered excommunicated, along with anyone else involved.

The child was raped by her stepfather, who has since admitted abusing her over the last three years. Abortion is generally illegal in Brazil but allowed in cases of rape or when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. Irish Times - March 7, 2009

Another Lunatic RC Bishop - Jose Sobrinho of Brazil - has ruled or has gleefully quoted RC boilerplate dogma that “Abortion is Wrong” and everyone directly connected with the abortion of a nine year old rape victim in Brazil is excommunicated.

Even the President of Brazil is embarrassed by this monumental lack of humanity displayed by this cookie cutter hack cleric.

RAPE IS NOT WRONG? Abortion is! Where is your humanity Jose? Next to your bottle of Jim Beam?

The good Archbishop excommunicates a mother of a nine year old rape victim who has the courage to go ahead with an abortion for her daughter.

The archbishop denies excommunicating anyone. Backtracking on quotes, “misquoted”, now that the shit has the fan globally and put this despicable act of RC hierarchy verbal uncaring humanity under a microscope. He is merely quoting RC boilerplate BS that automatically excommunicates the mother, the doctor performing the abortion and his medical staff.

The excommunication does not come down on the nine year old rape victim or the miserable Shit that raped her.

Brazil is a Catholic country where abortion is illegal except in extraordinary cases such as this.

No doubt the good archbishop sleeps well at night knowing he has perpetuated and protected the RC male molesters code of “ethics”.

Rape is not a sin? Abortion is.

This bishop as a person would seem to be a Dick who hates vaginas.

This is not Christ!

My prayers to the victims here and for the courage of a mother to protect her child even if it is after the fact.

It is a sad world where sadistic RC clergy run the world in some cultural backwater like Brazil.

Of course the Vatican rubberstamps have chimed in agreeing that this abortion was a breach of God’s law. Cardinal Re (photo above) is quoted to have said “that the twins had the right to live" and attacks on Brazil's Catholic Church were unfair. Twins in a nine year old womb and they want it to go to term????

Does God’s law always ignore the victims? One would have to search Deuteronomy to find a more despicable display of men hating women attitudes than Archbishop Sobrinho of Brazil and Cardinal Re backing him up 1000%.

Cardinal Re of the Vatican is another pot of puss to dissect. You may remember that Cardinal Re pulled a Pontius Pilate in which he “roared” when given the papers to sign and lift excommunication on the SSPX bishops including the Holocaust Denying “bishop” Richard Williamson. If he disagreed, why didn’t he act on his conscience - refuse to sign - or offer to resign.

Why can’t we get rid of Williamson - it all keeps coming back to Williamson - as least he is honest, though a putz, in his Jew Hating beliefs. He is dangerous too in that the other three bishops of SSPX did not publicly share his anti-Semitic views (notice I said “publicly share“).

Don’t bishops have hearts?

Jesus did!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Darfur - the dogs and demons of war

I see in the world press that the President of Sudan has been indicted for War Crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. This is a step in the right direction for the International Global approach to try and put a lid on and discourage future atrocities from happening in Sudan and elsewhere.

Bashir Defies Arrest Order on War Crime Charges

After months of deliberation, the judges charged Mr. Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity for playing an “essential role” in the murder, rape, torture, pillage and displacement of large numbers of civilians in Darfur. But the judges did not charge him with genocide, as the prosecutor had requested.

In issuing the order, the three judges put aside diplomatic requests for more time for peace talks and fears that the warrant would incite a violent backlash in Sudan, where 2.5 million Darfur residents have been chased from their homes and 300,000 have died in a conflict pitting non-Arab rebel groups against the Arab-dominated government and its allied militias.

Because of this international indictment, there are likely to be disruptions in humanitarian aid going into the war torn region as written in the following article, along with a synopsis of the political story behind this tragedy.

Graham: Arrest of Bashir Threatens Chaos in Sudan

“Mr. Bashir is rightly accused of great cruelty and destruction,” (Franklin) Graham writes. “But I have been able to deal with him.”

The op-ed was posted just one day before the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir for the violence in Darfur. Bashir is charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape, according to CNN.

Violence broke out in the western region of Darfur, Sudan five years ago when ethnically African Darfurians rebelled against the central Arab-dominated Khartoum government. The government, in turn, is accused of unleashing Arab nomads called janjaweed militias on Darfur civilians, resulting in more than 200,000 deaths and the displacement of 2.5 million civilians since 2003.

News of the arrest warrant for Bashir have been met with cheers from human rights groups that have long sought for greater international intervention regarding the Darfur genocide.

Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler commended the ICC for issuing the arrest warrant and called the act a “game changing moment.”

I, as a common man or global observer, do not completely know what to make of this "man's inhumanity to man" that is going on in place like Sudan. In a 10-15 second sound bite media world it is hard to get the planet’s attention about war, murder, rape, famine, overpopulation and the vestiges of the cold war in the ongoing and lively armament sales industry.

The UN ( United Nations ) is used at times to stand on a dividing line between “us and them” and to distribute basic food stuffs and aid to famine victims and war refugees. The UN can do little else unless empowered by many nations to do something more than just hand out packages after some tragedy has occured.

Under the land that is Africa there is no doubt a lot of minerals and natural resources. It is difficult at times to understand all the sides in a conflict that makes up what seems likes a civil war fighting for, in this case, limited surface resources such as water, food and grass for herding. How can so basic a human right as food and water trigger so many global conflicts and concerns? Where is there decent management and husbandry of the land?

The outside world picks a point of view that suits its own economic, political, ethnic or religious spin. Pick a side or POV. It is too complicated for a convenient ten second sound bite solution.

The people on the ground are suffering and we seem to be in the distance playing at some celestial focus, gazing out on the images of the idiot box in the living room, if we are interested at all - many are not interested sad to say.

I cannot see too clear a picture of this mess other than to agree that it is a tragic mess indeed. The conflicts being played out in Darfur so far from the central capital makes me want to make a few points which may or may not help you in forming an opinion in this human tragedy. It reminds me of the Nicaragua thing of a generation ago.

I never could figure out the linguistics (PC) of Nicaragua in the 1980’s in terms of who we (USA) were backing and who we were opposing. I still could not tell you who or what the Sandinistas or Contras were all about and that I used to watch the “Great Communicator” Ronald Reagan keeps pounding on these sound bites. This must make you think how dumb I must be.

Perhaps I knew that I had nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy in Nicaragua. It was already a crock and was decided or was a legacy going back to 1849 with shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt trying to build a canal to go from the Caribbean to the Pacific ocean. If you are interesting in an offbeat movie on that historic situation, footnote, I recommend “Walker” 1987, Alex Cox Director…

"Walker", 1987, Alex Cox Director

…whereby an American mercenary walked into the civil war involving Vanderbilt, British and internal Nicaraguan interests and got himself “elected” President of the country and recognized by the U.S. government. The US foreign policy has been stuck there ever since.

So too in Sudan and Darfur, the story line must go back decades, generations and centuries and even before the European Colonial Powers started to draw lines on paper maps in London, Paris, Lisbon, and Berlin.

Part of the difficulty and reason for the present war in Iraq goes back to a fcuked up set of map lines dividing the middle east into British and French spheres of influence after the sleazy Treaty of Versailles and following the European World War One.

But Nicaragua and Iraq are not Darfur or the Sudan. I see it as a global formula or equation by which the standards set up by the major world religions - do not live up to these ideals in dealing with global situations wherever they occur. All politics are local, all beliefs are local and sad to say all mercy and justice must be local as well. Humanity is factored out in so many possible win-win global equations of the media, politics, economics etc. - or humanity is used all too often to frame a self interest agenda.

I cannot directly help cure the present Darfur genocide or whatever PC word your government or monied or cultural interests demands that you label it. It is a mess. I am a helpless bystander witness of the world stage and the world’s inability to get a little more human and economically efficient. The future of Africa and the planet may get better only if we start building a future from the zero of now.

What I would suggest in the decades to come to prevent these Keystone Cops, puppet regime forms of government in the Raped Lady = Africa, is to let big one-city countries sprawl and rule and corrupt themselves. Let a more aggressive United Nations or Capitalist Interested Corporation administer all the small towns and villages that do not get aid from any central regime in times of drought and famine.

That investment through capitalist interests in that continent could distribute wealth and profits from exploitation of natural resources and minerals. That roads, clean water and education be given global priority for a couple of decades. Then step back and decide where political and economic lines can or should be redrawn in the capitals of real world power, corporations, and local centers of common human interest.

The feudal way that Africa is still administrating itself is indirectly a threat to future world peace.

Let us start to set long term common goals in the vast regions of the continent of Africa. The age of two bit dictators and two bit capitalism is over I hope. Yeah right.

I can do little more than pray for the victims of war, make a check out to a reputable charity, and write my congressman.

God have mercy on us and God be with us all!