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!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oodgeroo St. Mary's Treaty Brisbane

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There are circles that radiate out from Father Kennedy’s modern approach to Catholic liturgy and Social Awareness. St. Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane appears to be an affluent parish. It’s members are no doubt educated, socially aware and well healed.

A local Aboriginal Group has stepped in and accused Archbishop John Bathersby of racial discrimination regarding an announced mediation between the Archdiocese, St. Mary’s and Father Kennedy. That the judge/arbitrator hand picked by the Archbishop is known and has been accused of bias against Aboriginal Rights in the past.

The Archbishop would appear to already have stacked the deck against the good flow of positive energy at St. Mary’s on the way to turning it into a deserted, hack run, shambles ready made for a quick sale on the real estate market.

Brisbane Catholic Archbishop accused of racial discrimination

The St. Mary’s Treaty was signed during a well-attended mass with the congregation of St. Mary’s and members of the local Aboriginal community witnessing it. The treaty was celebrated in coroborree in accordance with Aboriginal customary law and written on paper in accordance with non-Aboriginal law. It is real.”

“The Archbishop has appointed Ian Callinan to mediate between himself and St. Mary’s. When Ian Callinan was a high court judge he had to be forced off the Hindmarsh Island case because of his bias against Aboriginal claims of rights and interests. The Archbishop’s choice of mediator is an example of the contempt of Aboriginal law, culture and rights that he appears to hold. His blanket refusal to discuss the treaty is another.”

“The Oodgeroo Treaty Circles are asking the Archbishop and the Brisbane Archdiocese to confirm and support the St. Mary’s treaty which involves innovative Aboriginal welfare and social justice programs such as dry camps, a cultural heritage education program and the facilitation of Aboriginal men’s, women’s and elders business. The treaty process provides non-Aboriginal Australians a direct relationship with Aboriginal culture and programs. This path of healing is being obstructed by the Archbishop’s refusal to even acknowledge Aboriginal rights and interests, let alone work pro-actively with them.”


I do no know if this is a nuisance lawsuit to give some weight and or support to Father’s Kennedy and his wanting to possibly retire and leave his life’s work in good hands and not to some clerical hack - not wanting to hand it all over into the uncaring hands of someone who will destroy the work of so many good, faithful and enthusiastic people's work through the years.

The lawsuit is a way of expressing great thoughts, solidarity and continued awareness regarding a racial tension and situation that appears to still exist in the front lines of society in Australia. It is situation that St. Mary’s in its own limited way has tried to address.

Apparently Father Kennedy had entered into some sort of treaty with the Aboriginal group that his parish also serves.

Father Kennedy is no Saint Oscar Romero but without trying to totally diss the Archbishop of Brisbane, I can see where he let this thing go on too long and he can’t find a suitable replacement for Father Kennedy and his progressive RC congregation. You just don’t get it! Do you John?

Or has it always been planned this way. In the bowels of the Vatican, Progressive Churches like Saint Mary's in South Brisbane and like Vatican II itself, they were always planned to be temporary successes and long term failures?

I do not see the parish or the priest or the Aborigines in any win-win with the RC hierarchy in Rome pushing hard for a quick and immediate end to thoughts and radical Christian ideas from people with serious hearts and serious faith.

I may or may not have understood or properly or fairly presented this to you if you are reading this. I am an outsider. I think the basic plot is universal.

Good luck you to all down under. My prayers are with you all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Father Peter Kennedy - Heretic or Saint?



There seems to be some sort of rowl in Brisbane whereby a popular priest Father Peter Kennedy has taken the good news of Vatican II and created a dynamic, charismatic RC church full of living, breathing Catholics full again of blood and spirit.

Kennedy was removed by the Archbishop on complaints of letters sent to the Vatican complaining that a statue of Buddha was seen on the St Mary parish church grounds in Brisbane.

Buddhism is not incompatible with Jesus and his common man’s message. Buddha in most sects is just an enabler to the awakening of the spirit within which is not necessarily synonymous with soul.

Apparently the Parish church which can get over a thousand people in attendance at mass is deemed a great threat to the Church Hierarchy. Cynical me bets that they want to sell the valuable land beneath St Mary’s and or get rid of Vatican II loving priests and Laity.

Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing. I cannot get an accurate picture to see if Father Kennedy is a con artist of sorts, or worse a Protestant lover, who takes poetic license during the Mass to express the Trinity as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer instead of Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

This all started a couple weeks ago and I do not see much more news on the matter from down under.

There seems a news blackout has occurred, but it is Australia, with little news about this standoff between the people of St. Mary’s and the cookie cutter hierarchy wanting to stamp this sort of thing out and probably with a tridentine Latin mass.

Why doesn’t the Vatican do like the Church of England or some Lutheran sects and have a high Latin church with rituals and a low church full of Gospel, prayer and spirit.

Stop gleefully sending people out the door to other sects, different religions or no religion at all!!!

Vatican to excommunicate South Brisbane priest Father Peter Kennedy

The death knell was sounded for Father Kennedy in August, when Archbishop Bathersby warned St Mary's to toe the Vatican line or close. He told Father Kennedy, who has presided for 28 years over the 800-member church community, that St Mary's was operating outside practices and policies of the Catholic Church.

He cited a number of issues including allegedly unorthodox Masses being practiced and the hierarchical authority of the church not being respected.

The Archbishop's intervention was sparked by complaints to the Vatican by a parishioner who, among other issues, complained about a Buddhist statue in the church.

In a letter in November responding to Archbishop Bathersby's charges, Father Kennedy and members of the congregation denied they were out-of-step with the Church and Rome.

After a further letter from the Archbishop to the priest in December, the St Mary's community has been awaiting the primate's final decision.

This week the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, gave his tacit blessing for the possible excommunication of Father Kennedy.

The Vatican is a place for some. For others Vatican II is spirit, the Spirit, and ideal of Christ’s message lifting itself out of a feudalism mindset.

Monday, March 2, 2009

We have to touch people



There is an article on BBC about how the Vatican is not doing well with PR (Public Relations) especially in recent news items of Holocaust Denying and Queer Hating bishops. The failed or criticized public exposure of these two clerics is in a way not blamed on the false nature of their souls. Blame is going to the Vatican PR Department for the improper way that rotten meat was presented to the public as freshly made tofu. No sale.

Living in isolation and out of touch to the population in general is what afflicts all clerics everywhere of every faith. God and theory of God are one thing. People and all forms of the human condition must balance out that equation in a very large part.

Vatican failing publicity tests

The public forum, the secular forum, knows what passes for decency and these papal touched clowns did not meet the test.

I think there are gaps caused by Vatican II. That many (really the few after Vat II) who got into the priesthood as a meal ticket profession, life time employment and all that, had no particular like or dislike of the attempted reforms of Vatican II. They brought their local prejudices with them as baggage. It would seem these days that there is not a whole lot of good or even mediocre priests in the ranks to be elevated to church office. PR cannot cover up lack of quality available.

That said. I fear that what passes for church bureaucracy is in some sort of survival bunker mindset and that the RC and the Christian church as well is not greatly equipped to deal with the modern world and all its secular complexities.

I was dismayed recently when my wife reiterated the centuries old RC boilerplate mantra blaming the Jews alone for the death of Jesus and this while the whole world wants in a symbolic way to make Richard Williamson a scapegoat for its own real or closeted anti-Semitism.

Williamson is in a way symbolic of what caused the Holocaust - “arrogance, dogma and ignorance”.

I begin to quote above the Polish-Jewish-British mathematician Jacob Bronowski from his television series “The Ascent of Man” from 1973.

I do not know how others, outside of Judaism, view the Holocaust but I think that somehow we should all try to look at and feel something about it as part of our being human.

Below is a scene that has been imprinted on my brain since I first saw it thirty five years ago, of Bronowski demonstrating in a moving way how “We have to touch people”. Touching people may prevent other holocausts.



To Richard Williamson, and the other unripe crop of RC clerics on stage, who do not willingly recognize your own ignorance of the true scope and size of the Holocaust, I implore you and quoting Bronowski quoting Oliver Cromwell “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken“.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Did you get the message yet Bishop Dick?



Did you get the message yet Bishop Dick?

Holocaust denier apology is first step, bishop says

Asked why the SSPX did not exclude Williamson, Fellay said:

"If he denies the Holocaust again, that will happen. It is probably better if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere." He added it was, in his view, unlikely that the Vatican would excommunicate Williamson again.

(in any case) - Just shut up Dick and let the other ambitious guys in SSPX get on with their agendas and success and in sinc with Papa Joe and his agenda and success.

All is good. Retire and expire!

In any case dear dinosaur Rest in Peace!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Free Tibet!



My photo is a bit outdated but its sentiment stands this year as last.

March 10 is the fiftieth anniversary of a failed uprising against the Chinese who annexed Tibet. The Dalai Lama and some of his followers have been homeless since.

Tibet is part of a world not greatly populated but no doubt endowed with many natural resources which is why China stole it in the first place.

China’s anti-religion, anti-God, anti-anything-not-Chinese, anti-tolerance communist regime is at its most brutal and at its most honest when not shielded by the world press from its tyranny especially when it comes to TIBET.

This recent self immolation of a Tibetan Buddhist monk is perhaps the start of troubles in the region.

Tibetan monk 'shot' while on fire

The monk, named Tapey, is said to have shouted slogans and waved a Tibetan flag, then doused himself with petrol and set himself alight.

Campaign groups said witnesses then saw Chinese police shoot the man.

The monk collapsed and was taken away by the police.

China's official Xinhua news agency confirmed a man had set himself on fire, saying he was taken to a hospital and treated for burns injuries. It made no mention of any gunshot wounds.

The protest began after more than 1,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks gathered at a temple in the town to celebrate the third day of the Tibetan new year.

It reminds me of what brought down the Diem Regime in Vietnam before JFK’s assassination and the US being dragged into a no-win possible war/police-action. It was the lowly Buddhists setting themselves on fire that brought world attention to a corrupt regime just before a coup.

Killing one's self as protest is kinda out my league of understanding especially when Buddhism would seem to address more passive, gentle ways as part of its belief system. But as we have seen in recent years, the extreme ends of any religion are not pleasant or palletable.

In any case, religious intolerance and suppression are the hallmark of this Chinese regime.

Buddhism is something that is different from country to country throughout Asia over and above its basic tenets. I do not know if the Buddhists in the Tibet area will rise up in mass and be slaughtered like in Burma in 2007 against that junta police state and puppet regime of China.

China with all its glitzy consumerism and capitalism on its east coast, it is still Mao and Joe Stalin in its interior.

Another silent tentacle of China reaches into the disputed region of Kashimer with China being one of the players in disputed territory with Pakistan and India and on the Tibet border.

Kashimer

No doubt while America slept or hung out as potatoes on a couch during the recent prosperity paid for by credit, China has moved in everywhere it chooses to go.

While I do not know where all this ends, I would approach the Tibetan Buddhists under the Dali Lama in a respect for foreign culture mode. I would if I were China grant several hundred square miles around the ancient Tibetan capital of Lhasa and give it self autonomy not unlike the Vatican. It is unlikely that China will ever give up the rich prize of Tibet as a whole.

Tolerance and good sense and respect might go a lot further than guns and armies.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Wandering Jew - NO - The Wandering Catholic!


Suddenly, Bishop Richard Williamson's apology to who(m)ever is not good enough?

I think that he has done a great deal considering his limited - very limited historic matrix - half or three quarters of an apology is better than none.

Perhaps the front line hierarchy in the Armani clad red silk Cardinal and white Papal robes might consider opening their own personal hearts in a similar manner to the Jews and the Shoah as they suddenly are asking an aged catholic dinosaur to do!

Vatican rejects Holocaust-denying bishop's apology

Like for the survivors of the Shoah and Nazi Holocaust, the everyday grind of life goes on.

So too in the Catholic sect of Christianity, life goes on and here are some narrower or is it futuristic views of that vision?

Some collateral follow-up on I hope a lighter side to show all sorts of sides to a church in a constant state of flux, looking for a stable mission and or mission statement after Vatican II.

Rather than be considered as a person doing a witch hunt on Richard Williamson and his anit-Semitic views, he is a gift that keeps giving to me in terms of the tangents and the bits and pieces of the so-called Traditionalist movement in the RC church that I find in further research on the Internet.

I call it Medieval Revivalism as opposed to Traditionalist and or anti-Modernist, like Pius X, who was not saying anything correct in using the word Modern, pro-or-con, in their temporary selfish me comfort philosophy.

Apparently there are all sorts of break away groups in and out of papal favor and or approval - in and out of “union with Rome”.

An interesting article about two brothers who studied under Richard Williamson who in their youth got a full dose of vitriol against Jews and Women when they studied in a SSPX seminary.

Bishop's vexing beliefs have deep roots

Oppenheimer, the seminarian with the Jewish sounding name who was belittled by crazy Dick Williamson in the seminary appears briefly in one of these videos showing his small sect doing the Latin Mass thing. The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem was founded none other than by Archbishop Raymond Burke, the next pope, the future “Pius XIII“ (?), now head of the Vatican Supreme Court.



In retrospect, the French video shows in an odd way how the exact rubrics of a Council of Trent (anti-Protestant) Tridentine (not a chewing gum) Latin Mass.



In a way, nostalgia for the Latin Mass fits into the original Modernist critique of devotional reflection as something close to conveniently looking into a mirror or a well, seeing ourselves and calling it God and or Jesus. (a Gnostic view?)

In a way, nostalgia for the Latin Mass is nothing more than liking your grandmom’s fudge brownies better than your mum’s. The physical requirements for a Latin mass are more like staged Opera different than the performance of rap music and or fast food at Mickey D’s as many have called the new mass etc.

All in all, with so many wanting its own particular approach to the divine in all these spoiled RC splinter groups merely confirms my belief in the ultimate success of the Protestant Reformation was in the desire for all to reach God in an easier fashion than previously allowed under the monolith of the medieval church.

To each, his own. God save our constitutionally guaranteed “religious liberty” in the USA.

God Bless us all - each and every one!

Witchcraft & Buggery @ Yale & Vatican ?


There is a lawsuit put out from the descendants of the Native American Warrior Geronimo regarding his bones on display in some frat house at Yale. If you saw the movie “The Good Shepard” you would have seen an initiation scene whereby a future head of the CIA was pissing over the balcony onto the pledges below. This particular frat house drinking club is famous for having had so many presidents, supreme court judges, senators, and captains of industry as lifetime members.

Geronimo’s Heirs Sue Secret Yale Society Over His Skull

Getting back to Geronimo and desecration of his grave in Oklahoma by the U.S.Army and his remains getting dumped in a basement at Yale - is it an Urban Legend?

The late Tony Hillerman, in his books set in and around the Navaho Reservation in Arizona, wrote about one of his books called “Talking God” in which he stated that "I wanted Americans to stop thinking of Navajos as primitive persons, to understand that they are sophisticated and complicated."

Of course Geronimo was Apache but the same standards I think apply when in that novel in the author's words “The first chapter was no problem at all. I have an urban wannabe Navaho send a Smithsonian official a box of her ancestor’s bones, dug up from an ancient Episcopal graveyard, for her to display with bones of his ancestors.”

Respect for other cultures, other religions begins with your own. All beliefs are local.

Perhaps the present curse on the U.S. economy is the result of a frat house prank at Yale a hundred years ago - that is if you are superstitious or prone to urban legends.

I hope Yale finally does do some overdue spring cleaning and officially or unofficially returns the bones of Geronimo to a treasured sacred and blessed Apache resting site.

This whole incident reminds me of a short visit I had to a hospital in NYC that had been founded by the legendary Saint Mother Cabrini. She and her order had founded dozens of schools, orphanages and hospitals to help the needs of immigrants around the turn of the last century. Unfortunately, that hospital is now out of business.

I wanted to visit Mother Cabrini’s shrine in Manhattan out of curiosity and respect for such a powerful Christian personality who had stood in our midst so close to us in time. I did some research and then I discovered that her body in a glass case is not a whole body. Apparently they removed her skull to the Vatican. Why? I don’t have a clue. It is one thing to chop some saint’s finger bone into 10,000 pieces of dust and display them as relics for adoration and or respect. But a whole skull? It conjures up the worst in my seeing or envisioning evil uses for the bones of a true saint.

This drinking out of Geronimo’s skull at beer bashes and God knows what they need Mother Cabrini’s skull for - it is all Medieval - and for lack of perhaps better words, stinks and or smells of witchcraft and buggery!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

-
No rest for the weary. My fishing trip got cancelled.

I ran into this inspriational piece - Desiderata (Latin -"for things desired")- in the late sixites. Somebody had hijacked it and was selling it in cards shops. It was on parchment paper and the author was listed as Anonymous with some nonsense about it being written in 1692.

The Author was Max Ehrmann and not Anonymous.



I looked up the one word I did not totally understand - "aridity" = "the quality of yielding nothing of value" from the Free Online Dictionary.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gone Fishing


I am taking a break from this blog. Lent is as good a time as any to do that. Here are some past would be homilies and or inspirational writings related to this Christian season. They are based on a one year lectionary series. Perhaps I’ll will get to do First Sunday and Sixth Sunday in Lent next year - God willing.


Matt 15:21-28, Second Sunday in Lent

Luke 11:14-28, Third Sunday in Lent

John 6:1-15, Fourth Sunday in Lent

John 8:42-59, Fifth Sunday in Lent

Mark 16:1-8, Christ's Resurrection



God bless!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Secular Hymns for a Secular World


The basis for this is something light and secular.

I remember in the late sixties us young types wanted some modern music in the new English Mass. Something from the Beatles or “Bridge over Troubled Waters” by Simon and Garfunkel seemed an appropriate request to the masters of the stone house.

We were told that expression of the profane did not match the requirements of things appropriate to sing in a church. The music must be sacred and approved by the Vatican bureaucracy. So no real music got played in my high school chapel.

In a way that was good, why pretend. Lifting up the spirit of people with secular music sounded too much like the feared Protestantism still lurking about and in spite of pronouncements of Ecumenical boiler plate PR coming out of Vat II.

Going along with the idea of secular music, I ran into “You’ll never walk alone” sung at a public high school graduation I went to. No mention of God in the song from a Broadway musical but with a inspirational and or spiritual overtone. Quite legal under the First Amendment in a secular public school assembly.

Pushing along on this secular theme and secular songs, so why not label them “Secular Hymns”? It is a secular world and if you read a secular bible by Thomas Jefferson about the life of Jesus why not have some secular hymns to balance out the program.

Another of these no God mentioned songs is “You Raise me Up” listed below with lyrics and video.

In a rather unusual way of looking at the secular approach, you in a way go back to where the mention of “God” was too sacred a thing to utter. Perhaps in our secular world, the name and or word “God” is worn out in connotation and or common meaning.

Maybe by not mentioning God in songs or “Hymns” maybe we might come closer to the divine in inspirational type thought and music.




“You’ll Never Walk Alone”

When you walk through a storm hold your head up high,
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone!

(Music, Words) Rodgers and Hammerstein





"You Raise Me Up"

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.


(Words, Music) Brendan Graham, Rolf Lovland.

The Secular Bible ? by Thomas Jefferson


To change the subject matter back to more appropriate light and or secular matters.

I ran into a reference somewhere about this book some months ago. It is the so called Jefferson Bible or The Life and Morals of Jesus. It is conveniently on an Internet site without having to buy a dusty old copy of it.

Apparently Jefferson in his old age did a literal cut and paste with several copies of the New Testament, four gospels, and painted a line by line narrative of Jesus as a moral teacher. Good narrative flow of the story of Jesus but with no miracles, no resurrection etc.

The Jefferson Bible


Letter To Dr. Benjamin Rush.
Washington, April 21, 1803.

DEAR SIR,
In some of the delightful conversations with you in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you that one day or other I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other. At the short interval since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my contemplation. But the more I considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Dr. Priestley his little treatise of "Socrates and Jesus Compared." This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road and unoccupied otherwise. The result was, to arrange in my mind a syllabus or outline of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity as I wished to see executed by someone of more leisure and information for the task than myself. This I now send you as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith which the laws have left between God and himself. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson



This was a project that Jefferson had suggested to some of the great minds of his day but to which nobody else bothered to follow through on. In his old age, it was one of those things left on the "to do" list. I guess he needed a mental exercise to keep dementia away.

I have only read parts of it but pass it along to anyone interested who never heard of it or is curious about an abridged NT version as seen through the eyes and or imaginative brain workings of one of the founding fathers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Mick RC Archbishop in NYC - Tim Dolan

1,000 -

999 -

998 -

I am counting backwards. Not holding my breath.

997 -

996 -

995 -

Archbishop Timothy Dolan is being named as a replacement for the finally retiring Edward Cardinal Egan in the big apple.

994 -

993 -

992 -

It will perhaps be a breath of fresh air. Perhaps the paint on the walls of the Cathedral rectory has finally dried after nine long years and just as the good Cardinal Egan receives a well deserved retirement.

991 -

990 -

989 -

A young fellow I once worked with was a musician on the side. I guess he once got invited to an RC marriage ceremony as part of his gig. He made the remark that he would rather watch paint dry on a wall than ever go to one of those again. Perhaps not a nice comment. But definitely an honest one.

988 -

987 -

986 -

Egan's entrance to New York had to do with his recruiting middle aged men to the priesthood to replenish a diminishing supply. Of course with organizations like SSPX with about 350 priests in the world, it is easy to recruit third world priests to take a high paying US salary of a few hundred a week in a US parish and send the money back home to their starving relatives. (The issue of celibacy gets buried deeper and deeper within a spider's web of PR, BS, piss and corruption.)

985 -

984 -

983-

I did not like how Egan seemed to be walking down the central aisle of St Patrick's to claim his red prince's hat even before O'Connor's body got pushed out the door.

O'Connor was stiff as a board but he had a certain common touch. I almost tripped over him once as I existed a bus on Madison Avenue. I did not recognize him at first in his cassock and brown leather fedora. He seemed to be alone. No bodyguards. Egan on the other hand had an air about him that you would need an appointment to just look at his magnificence.

I am perhaps not being fair with the new guy. Have seen too, too much wet paint on the RC walls since Vatican II that still is not dry.

982 -

983 -

984 -

No doubt Archbishop Dolan will get his red hat and be promoted to Cardinal of what John Paul II called the "archdiocese of the world's capital". Lately with the financial meltdown, NYC is more like a collapsed tower of Babel than anything else.

983 -

982 -

981 -

There are many articles in the papers today about this new appointment. I will not list them. I think I am not the one to give a balanced assessment of a man I never heard of 24 hours ago. The best overall report is the NYT's one - boilerplate - obituary in the drawer quality - ready to pull and print at a moment's notice.

980 -

979 -

978 -

For some reason only Micks get to be the chief honcho in St. Pat's. I read that Dolan speaks Espanol. Good.

Other than that his predecessor in the post of archbishop of Milwaukee got caught doing something nasty that cost some sort of $450,000 settlement with the person who got the nasty done to them. But that has nothing to do with Tim. He raises a lot of money. That seems to be his number one ace in the hole that got him the job. That and downsizing everything in sight in the Milwaukee Archdiocese to settle lawsuits.

977 -

976 -

975 -

Counting backward. I have to wonder what is wrong with Timothy Dolan? Benedict XVI, an aged politician and bureaucrat seems in a hurry, a mortal hurry to pack the court like FDR or I should say the Church Hierarchy with as many weird choices for bishops as anybody desperately out of luck in Vegas - for his vision of a Medieval Revivalist RC church.

-974

-973

-972

Who knows? Maybe the Vatican might let a sane one slip through the cracks once and a while. Stranger things could happen. Miracles?

Welcome to NYC Father Tim, the media capital of the planet. There are no secrets here.

971 -

972 -

Etc.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mark of Cain - R. Williamson SSPX


Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X is being kicked out of Argentina. Williamson with his Mark of Cain** on his forehead lied on his paperwork with his visa as to what his real role was in staying in Argentina etc. The very powerful and influential Jewish community in Argentina no doubt had some input and influence in the deportation of an undesirable alien from that country.
Argentina expels Catholic bishop who questions Holocaust

The way the financial crooks are coming out of the woodwork these days, one has to wonder if SSPX, based in Switzerland, seems more and more like some sort of money-laundering operation than an enterprise of God. Who has bankrolled them all these decades? I doubt Bishop Williamson soils his dainty hands with the everyday money operations of the business. He is perhaps just window dressing in case the casual street viewer wants to question the whole real back office operation of SSPX.

It is going to take Bishop Williamson many more weeks, months or years until he reconsiders his opinion on the Nazi Holocaust. (How long does it take to move a dozen Intaglio Presses in the back boiler room boys?)

I have recently read the good bishop’s review of the movie “Doubt” from his personal blog- Dinoscopus.
Church Godless

"Thus while the merely human drama is between two people, the real drama for Catholics with eyes to see is a whole Church collapsing for lack of God. Mother clings humanly to a decent discipline, but nothing in Merlyn Streep’s performance suggests that it is anchored in God. Still less anchored in God is the priest floating human love on doubt. The Church of 1964, as here portrayed to the life, was doomed."

In the way of pissing me off, this 15 minute of fame anti-christ like persona of bishop Richard Williamson has given a review of the Movie “Doubt” with Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Not only that, the fcuk did a spoiler review and gave away the ending before I got a chance to see the freakin movie!
Doubt

Never the less, let my humble self do a review of the review. His review reveals so much about his reptilian Medieval Revivalist Church thinking. Somehow Meryl Streep is the good obedient female victim of the church. He can’t even mention Hoffman’s name in the review. What a pig? No doubt the names of priests accused of child molestation over the years in all church organizations become nameless and best not to remember names or even numbers in tragedies progressed by the Church.

The Holocaust was numbers and tragedy but that is something else.

Anyway, if the priest in Doubt gets promoted to a rich parish in 1964, he probably was innocent of being a pervert. Nancy Pelosi rich parishes keep heterosexual priests with mistresses on the side. If the priest merely got transferred to some new parish forming in the burbs in 1964, there is a good chance he is guilty of child abuse.

I have done some research on the subject in my native Philadelphia and the court records at least seem to indicate that the bad priests got farmed out to young suburban parishes before they got farmed out to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In any case, the bishop doing the assignments in those days of glory, of God, that Bishop Williamson calls 1964, no doubt they the bishops did not remember names on transfer forms.

Names are a funny things. Names on transfer forms, names on evacuation orders, names on work camp rosters, names on gas chamber terminations - names, numbers they are all conveniently forgotten by some especially the types in charge who prefer not to remember nasty things from the past.

No mystery. No beauty. Just the coldness of space dust in your pompous bloodless, soulless life in the Medievalist Revival Church post as bishop of whatever land.

This poor sad man does not see God in 1964 or after Vatican II. A high school religion teacher, a priest, of mine had great hope in Vatican II. That teacher told us, taught us, that where there is life, there is God.

Up until the very last breathes of political prisoners, victims and Jews, millions of them - God existed in them before they died so tragically and after too.

**( Mark of Cain - “am I my brother’s keeper?” )

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pieces of Dreams - Revisited


There is this movie Pieces of Dreams 1970 with Robert Forster. He plays a young priest who falls in love with Lauren Hutton. The movie is based on the book “The Wine and the Music” by William E Barrett who also wrote “Lilies of the Field” and the “Left Hand of God”.

The title of the movie shares the title of a Michel Legrand song “Pieces of Dreams” sung at the end of the film by the legendary Miss Peggy Lee. I never could find this song listed on any of Peggy’s records. It was I believe the best sung version ever of what is now considered a Michel Legrand classic. The next best singer on the planet for this song is Shirley Bassey.

Anyway, it was a small budget production and it did not have a lot of Hollywood polish. A lot of shots on location in New Mexico gave it a feeling which was not the standard Hollywood product in 1970. It is a good average watchable flick which I guess in today's terms you could say has what is called an independent production feeling to it in terms of originality and quality.

Forgive my Critique. These days everybody is a pundit or a critic. Perhaps it a substitute for a two way conversation on the Internet. I believe it did not have a large budget because in those days Hollywood never spent a lot on so called controversial films which in 1970 this film might have been categorized. Hollywood in its prime never made controversial movies though it did touch upon controversial subjects like Anti-Semitism as in Gentleman’s Agreement with Gregory Peck in 1947.

Hollywood made these much older limited audience appeal movies in black and white instead of color not expecting much of a return on investment.

There is a lot of soul searching in “Pieces of Dreams” by the main character Father Gergory Lind about what he wants, to be a servant of God or get laid etc.

In the framework of the time, Father Gregory Lind did not have many options. Many European priests would have just had Lauren Hutton on the side as a mistress and continued to give outward lip service to God and the Church.

This film touches in me some of the raw nerves that Vatican II left behind by ripping the scab off the Medieval Catholic church and shoving the wound briefly, very briefly, into the cleansing light of day.

There is a scene whereby Gregory visits his local bishop to be allowed to be released from his vows. The Bishop played beautifully by the veteran actor Will Geer appeals to Father Gregory Lind and says something, things like celibacy would change in time. I think back to that scene probably filmed forty years ago and the Vatican has still not delivered on changes that the laity would feel comfortable with like married priests.

The reason I remember these lines is because in the raw period after Vatican II when priests and nuns jumped ship in droves and the laity were still a little shell shocked, most of us accepted the concept that change in the Church was a good thing.

There was an unstated and undelivered promise about the celibacy thing to the laity back then - first the English Mass, then we will talk about other subjects. Back then nobody even thought of women as priests. Add that to a lot of items the laity thought were coming down the pike for putting up with John XXIII's opening up the windows and throwing the filled to the brim chamber pots of the Pius X Medievalists out the window. To this day the emergency group therapy sessions in the Vatican are about - No there were no babies thrown out - only chamber pots during Vatiican II.

Well anyway, the quid pro quo of the laity putting up with change and looking for a brighter church never happened. They are selling churches out from under the feet of the people of God these days.

I think that the lines of the lyrics of the song Pieces of Dreams best fit the conundrum of a church in search of a mission or a soul since Vatican II.

Little boy lost
In search of little boy found
You go a wondering,
wandering,
stumbling, tumbling
'Round... 'round...
When will you find
What's on the tip of your mind
Why are you blind
To all you ever would
Never would
Really are
Nearly are
Little boy false
In search of little boy true
Will you be ever done
Traveling
Always unraveling
You ... you
Running away
Could lead you farther astray
And as for fishing in streams
For pieces of dreams
Those pieces will never fit
What is the sense of it
Little boy blue
Don't let your
little sheep roam
It's time come blow your horn
Meet the morn
Look and see
Can you be
Far from home?


P.S. Lauren Hutton was hot back then. She still is!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nancy Pelosi in Rome - WTF!




I see that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is going into the den of the great white father for a visit. A lot of the great women haters of history club in the RC church would like to tie her to a stack and kill her because she serves her flaming liberal constituency in order to serve in the U.S. Congress. In reality if she pushed the boiler plate propaganda of the male only RC hierarchy she would be not be electable. You can’t have it both ways boys! You win or you lose in American politics.

No doubt she got a mild lecture from his holiness about the contradiction of her being a good Catholic and in advocating free choice for the people in her bailiwick.

Some want pope to scold pro-choice Pelosi

There were some rumblings in the media in September about bringing the hammer down on VP candidate Joe Biden, a practicing Roman Catholic, but not a lobotomized card carrying Catholic anti-abortion rhetorical zombie. I envisioned his being dissed by a card carrying hypocrite from the Republican Party in his full nine yards of red silk slamming Biden in an attempt to destroy Obama.

I was envisioning the same stab in the back that Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry got from unsolicited Archbishop Raymond Burke who wanders eternally around the RC hierarchical map with no Cardinal wanting him planted in their back yard. Then in 2004, Archbishop Burke took it upon himself among all the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops in the United States to say that if Senator John Kerry were to go to mass in his religious bailiwick of the Saint Louis Missouri Archdiocese, that John Kerry, a proven Vietnam War hero would be denied communion because of his pro-abortion stance. No doubt Ray got great applause in his secret chapter of the “he-man women haters club” for his saying, asserting the boiler plate anti-abortion spiel.

This past year, Archbishop Burke got promoted to Rome before he got a chance to screw Joe Biden the same way he screwed John Kerry on the Abortion code word issue thing. Four more years of RC approval of the Republicans in American power would surely have destroyed the planet and or caused its suicide.

I have to wander sometimes that if the about 17-20% of the American birth rate that does not happen because of Abortion, what is the Roman Catholic’s Hierarchy’s real opinion or where is the GOP’s checkbook for women who do bring unwanted children into the world. I see that a woman, who loves children in California, brought eight children into the world recently and is in hiding because she believes in life and many in the public are making death threats against her.

There is no balanced or hopeful middle ground in this inane abortion conundrum. Pot bellied religious bureaucrats, who have no known children, fiddle with political code word issues not unlike Nero while the world burns with real life decisions about life, money, comfort, love and respect for the theory of life. Churches close. Schools close. Hospitals close. It is definitely a wide stance issue.


Soon to be Cardinal and I predict next pope Raymond Burke continues to assert RC boiler plate PR releases.

Archbishop Burke says bishops' document helped Obama campaign

In an exclusive interview with LifeSite News, Archbishop Raymond Burke has charged that the US bishops' document on voting responsibilities, Faithful Citizenship, contributed to the electoral victory of Barack Obama in last year's presidential contest. Archbishop Burke-- who was Archbishop of St. Louis before he was called to Rome to head the Church's top canonical court-- said that the bishops' statement "led to confusion" by suggesting that Catholic voters might, in some circumstances, be justified in voting for a pro-abortion candidate. Those circumstances did not apply, the American prelate said, and mentioning them only clouded a straightforward moral issue. Archbishop Burke argues that the lack of clear moral guidance from the hierarchy was a contributing factor in Obama's victory, because many Catholic voters supported the Democratic candidate.


Perhaps there is hope in that some of the sane hierarchy in the RC church that do not want the right wing “Burkies” showing up without an offical invitation in their designated religious bailiwicks.

UK Cardinal says Burke can’t say Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral

According to London’s Daily Telegraph, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has told a Catholic organization to rescind its invitation to former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass at London’s Westminster Cathedral in June.
On his Holy Smoke blog, the Telegraph’s Damian Thompson says the Latin Mass Society had invited Burke - now the head of the Vatican’s supreme court - to be the main celebrant at its annual Latin Mass at the famous cathedral. Canon law says only the bishop of a diocese - in this case Murphy-O’Connor - can invite another bishop to celebrate Mass at a church in his diocese.


And so it goes. Life and the rotation of the planet.