Monday, April 6, 2009

Saint Mary's in Exile - Brisbane

First RC rule of obedience:

Don’t let the local bishop get into your pants – your pants pocket that is – the one with the deed to the church in it.

Once Rome or the local bishop has the deed, they can throw you out with any excuse and like any other slumlord. And sell your church to meet walking around petty cash expenses.

Looks like Father Kennedy of St Mary’s of Brisbane fame is learning the fine points of the fine print of boilerplate real estate contracts with the official RC Church.

Want to preach and live 95% of the whole Cultural Catholic thing and skip the 5% BULLSHIT imposed by the prissy guys in dresses – Form your own RC church parish and don’t surrender the deed.

One can see far reaching possibilities in the RC people of God who care and believe in themselves and within the cultural context of Christian fellowship to continue an energetic and viable church ministry – with less interference from church bureaucrats.

Rebel priest forms ‘church in exile’

Sacked St Mary's priest, Father Peter Kennedy has announced that he will be forming a "church in exile" only a few blocks from St Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane, after Fr Kennedy and the archdiocese of Brisbane reached an agreement in arbitration…

Father Kennedy said the Archbishop would not be able to stop him from forming another congregation of the Catholic Church.

"The Archbishop told me that himself," Fr Kennedy said.

Rebel priest Peter Kennedy expects congregation to follow him

Fr Kennedy, a priest for 44 years including 28 at St Mary's, said he still rejected Archbishop Bathersby's claim that St Mary's was operating outside the Church.

"We've lost the fight but have we lost the battle?" Fr Kennedy said.

He predicted the Catholic Church was "pragmatic enough" to change radically, including allowing women to become leaders.

"The Church when it is facing annihilation can turn itself around," he said.

Fr Kennedy said he was not afraid of being excommunicated, because the move was "just words".

"They can't burn you at the stake these days," he said. "We live, thank God, in a liberal-democratic society.

"That's the question the Church has to face: How it can be a feudal system working in a liberal democracy."

Enough said for the moment. And good luck.

Cain - The King

Shortly there after Adam and Eve, the trailer trash couple, recently evicted from Paradise Trailer Park, go on their way and struggle without a guide book through life.

Years later, the two grown sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel go at it for love of an abstract God. “God loves me more!” No he doesn’t!” Etc.

Cain kills Abel and wanders the earth with his wife (where did she come from – his sister?). There are problems with believing only in a literal belief of the Bible especially if you believe that every word comes exclusively from the God person.

The RC church treats the creation myth of Adam and Eve as more or less allegory, except for the Original Sin thing, in that the bottom line of belief is that the first man and woman were the first creatures that God gave souls to.

The literalists, the fundamentalists live, breath and consume the words of God of the Bible thing quite literally.

Perhaps I am a minimalist and a little bit religionist in that I do believe mathematically that someone, two at least, is, are, the beginning of the line of the human race.

Without going into a debate about ancient literary flaws in the Old Testament, perhaps you can get a closer look or at least a closer feel for the murder, incest thing of the Cain, Abel story in the movie The King:

The King

The title is I think a play on words of the first name of the main character Elvis, (Gael Garcia Bernal) looking up a father he has never known, a fundamentalist preacher, (William Hurt), in Corpus Christi Texas.

I won’t give all the plot away but for me at least, I understood the underlying biblical story played out in a modern setting. Other than that be forewarned, about this strange sleeper classic. There is an element of evil there. Rather than turn away or turn off this flick, I was strangely drawn to it not unlike a moth to a porch light.

The human race and the human condition is or is not always portrayed correctly in the Bible, a very human book about humanity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Christian Creation Myth ?

One of the menu items I think irrelevant as part of my 20% discounted smorgasbord Christianity is the concept of Original Sin.

All primitive societies have their creation myths but I do not quite understand the Judeo-Christian myth of creation.

First of all I wonder why God wasted tens of millions of years on the dinosaur experiment. Failed experiment or necessary to create fossil fuels to poison the present environment?

And then the final most perfect experiment is man. Man is somehow incomplete so you make him a helper with a birth out of a his ribcage. Sounds like the Sci-fi movie “Alien”. Pop! But man who cannot stand pain gets to give birth while asleep or in an anaesthetised state. (Wimp!)

The helper, the female thing, gets the run of the landscape but is told along with her hubby not to touch or eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.

Like all children who are told not to do anything (human nature), they, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.

God who gives his new creation “free will” gets pissed off at this experiment when it exercises that free will and throws it (Adam and Eve) out of his laboratory called “Paradise”.

God does not immediately eliminate his failed experiment of man like his failed experiment with the dinosaurs. Mankind waits around for “the end” that has not arrived yet on the calendar.

Because “We failed” and not the experimenter, we have to suffer in a world that is quite hostile and “We” as part of this half-assed creation myth should be ashamed of ourselves and we need saving (?) as a result ???

Now that fundamentalist Christians are starting Creation Museums to show that the dinosaurs lived side by side with our caveman ancestors, I am waiting for the true end of western civilization when the hottest Christmas toy one year is Jesus riding on the back of a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex. (My apologies to Jesus and little Rex on that thought.)

Have a nice inferior failed experiment day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 80% Christian

I had mentioned something in one of my previous posts about being of a same mind with some early nineteenth Unitarian beliefs. Not claiming to be any expert on that dogma, here is a quote from John Adams:
"The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.” -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (January 23, 1825).

I have read somewhere that Unitarians like Adams at that time did not think much of Concept of the Trinity with Jesus being less than a full third - or not being the sharpest point on that triangle. In other words, people then thought that Jesus was definitely more human than divine but that his words and teachings were worth examining and holding onto in a religion context.

So too, I often wonder if the Greco-Roman concept of Jesus as the Son of God, how can he be equal to or just one third at the same time? Thirty three and one third percent does not add up to one hundred percent in my math book. A son is just a son and a father is just a father? Just shut up and label it mystery. Right?

I guess in the strictest sense of Christianity I might be labeled an 80% Christian. I am not going anywhere and have done more research on the subject than the average Joe. I am who I am. I am what I am. And God’s grace in me I do not believe fruitless.

An Episcopalian priest has just been defrocked for trying to believe in two major monotheistic faiths – Christianity and Islam.

This is not an April Fool's joke --- Episcopal Priest defrocked

The Seattle priest first became aware of the Islamic tradition in 2005 when St. Mark's Cathedral invited a Muslim leader as an interfaith guest. Redding was impressed with his prayer which sparked her interest in Islam and eventually lead to her making her Shahada -- Islamic profession of faith - in 2006. This eventually cost her the Episcopal priesthood and forced Bishop Wolf's decisive actions. Basically, the Shahada asks the Muslim to affirm: "There is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

For almost two years, Bishop Wolf has patiently worked with Dr. Redding to help clarify her mixed religious beliefs and practices as well as her commitment to Jesus Christ through the Christian sacerdotal priesthood as an Episcopalian.

In July 2007, the bishop originally issued a Pastoral Direction to Dr. Redding inhibiting her from all priestly and diaconal duties. In a letter to her priests, the diocesan council and standing committee, the Rhode Island bishop explained why she disciplined the theologically straying Seattle priest...

April 1, 2009 ...Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim. Consequently, as a result of the abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Wolf imposed a sentence of deposition in accordance with the Canons of the Church.

The priest is/was the Rev. Dr. Ann Redding. Her bishop in Rhode Island took the bold step to establish some discipline about something, anything and not focus on the other ugly, ignorant things within the decaying crumbling Episcopal church - like the still current and enthusiastic witch hunt against gays. Anybody got a match?

Perhaps Dr. Redding was at one point a 50% Christian and a 50% Muslim. Perhaps she is right. Perhaps she in wrong in accepting that there is no God but God and Mohammed is one of his prophets/messengers. Or –let me try this. There is no God but God and Jesus is one of his prophets/messengers. She can’t call Jesus a prophet? Can she? He got elevated to godhood in a Greco-Roman cultural context as in Hercules, son of Zeus cultural context. Right?

The more I study about Jesus the more I know he is real and his true message is hidden amidst the baggage and fears imposed on him by the God Emperor Constantine who adopted Jesus as his political arm and son and inducted him into his newly invented Pagan Catholicism.

Constantine was 50% Roman God and 50% Pagan Catholic. Other than that I think a better percentage to describe him was something like 5% Christian in that he may or may not have even bothered to join his own new religion - not even on his deathbed.

Reminds me of the grade school myth told us every year by the nuns about how George Washington went to heaven because he knew that as a Protestant he would go straight to hell. So on this deathbed and delirious as he was he sent for a Jesuit to save himself by conversion to the one truth faith. Believe that? Yeah. Hey I got shares in the Brooklyn Bridge – very valuable in that they are going to start charging tolls there soon.

There is a line in the movie Gandhi (1982) when the great soul (mahatma) talks of religious services when he was a young boy and the person conducting the religious service was quoting from both Hindu sacred texts (Vedas) and the Muslim’s Quran side by side.

From the movie:

Gandhi: “I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.”

Just a movie script but powerful words not unlike the dynamic words of Jesus who if you seek him out – he cuts through all the religious bullshit and cuts the mustard in my book of life. The movie is secular but the message seems sacred. In this presently spinning overloaded technical world, where does the sacred stop and the secular begin? Or is the modern age a centrifuge pulling all similar ideas and things together into one item.

I don’t know where to stand on Dr. Redding’s embrace of another perhaps legitimate faith in the concept of God. I think she is ahead of the curve and the merging of the best aspects of Christianity and Islam and Buddhism is upon us in this 21st century of this magnificent dawning common era of humankind.

I don’t know what is in Dr. Redding’s heart. I do say good luck and good labor opening up a new pathway to heaven for those of us trailing far behind you.

Semantics may temporarily serve the old dying churches in Rome or Canterbury.

Others with true faith and love of God do not care what you call or label him/her/it – There is no God but God.

The thing about spirituality and faith and getting through life on crutches of belief/faith or is it floating on air with wings of prayer – these things are perhaps only perception awakenings (light) and not perception problems (blindness).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

That Celibacy Thing - Part Three

For Pope Benedict XVI it is perhaps shame that has finally caused an action. This “sexual” abomination thing has gone on too long. The shame like road kill has to be swept away or at least some of it.

Vatican to investigate scandalized religious order

Pope Benedict XVI has taken the extraordinary step of ordering a Vatican investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, the influential, conservative religious order that has acknowledged that its founder fathered a child and molested seminarians.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the No. 2 man in the Vatican, said church leaders will visit and evaluate all seminaries, schools and other institutions run by the Legion worldwide.

Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, said in a statement made public Tuesday that the Vatican was stepping in "so that with truth and transparency, in a climate of fraternal and constructive dialogue, you will overcome the present difficulties."

The Legion revealed in February that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico, had fathered a daughter who is now in her 20s and lives in Spain. Maciel died in 2008 at age 87.

The disclosure caused turmoil inside the religious order and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi. The groups teach that Maciel was a hero whose life should be studied and emulated.

The news also raised many questions — from the order's critics and defenders alike — that the Legion still hasn't publicly answered, about whether any current leaders covered up Maciel's misdeeds and whether any donations were used to facilitate the misconduct or pay victims.

It is a little over a year since one of John Paul II's major groupies has died. No doubt the probate estate thing for his daughter has cleared the probate courts and the inner circle of his heinous, obscene "Openis Dei" organization has burned all possible relevant records.

Celibacy rakes in the money on top – low overhead with the worker religious bees and no family healthcare plans to fund. More walkin around money for the Rock Stars in charge of the Show.

It is perhaps ashamed that he died after John Paul II instead of before. Otherwise I suspect that Father Marcial Maciel would be on a fast track to sainthood and a retired Cardinal Ratzinger might even be encouraged to come out of retirement as a favor to Pope Rockstar to sanitize and present the right paperwork to present his petition for sainthood to the proper Vatican agency.

Success and money and power opens doors and also closes them on crimes against humanity. But who am I to judge? I can still hear a fem gasp from this past February when it was disclosed that the dead saint had fathered a daughter. You can bugger a hundred boys in the RC church and that is OK but did he really put his dick in one of those things (vaginas) and more than once?! Gasp! Yuck!

Celibacy (chastity?) is for the street priests who believe all that Christ stuff. People on the top – the alpha male fascist types live by a separate set of rules. No bureaucrat in his right mind would challenge Marcial Maciel in his prime and jeopardize a career or a pension.

Probate is probably over and it time to move on and start evaluating the property values of a religious order doomed to hopeful extinction. Hardly a brave or a dramatic move in spite of Vatican PR to the contrary

So now that probate is probably cleared, they are opening up his tomb so to speak to move the bones into an ossuary. What a waste of relics. Could have been sold for a fortune.

The stench left from the life of this famous RC church man remains.

And a fitting obit in case you had not read it the first time around.

Fascist pervert Marcial Maciel dies. Good.

Maciel, born in Michoacán 10 March 1920, was the founder of the Legions of Christ and Regnum Christi. The Legion is a religious congregation, Regnum Christi includes both priests and laymen. Both inculcate absolute, unquestioning fidelity to the ultimate leader (aka, Marcial Maciel) and to rat out any internal critics… sort of like Scientologists, or fascists.

The fascist tendencies in Marciel’s movements is reflected in their support for Franco’s Falangist Spain, and their later support for Mexican synarchism (and, the “confessional wing” of PAN). It’s no accident that Eric Prince, of Blackwater infamy, is one of the groups more enthusiastic backers.

Several Roman Catholic Bishops in the United States have thrown the Legion — and Regnum Christi out of their dioceses, mostly because they see the two Marciel organizations as a “parallel church” which discourages its members from contact with “normal” Catholics. Several bishops — and not just in the United States — have also been bothered by overt elitism in these groups, an attitude seen as reactionary to modern church leaders.

Marciel encouraged his followers to target the well-heeled and well-connected (again, like the Scientologists) — with the goal of influencing public policy. With their strict obedience to superiors, these “elites” were the natural allies of people like Franco and Pinochet, and — with their unquestioning fidelity to their Fuhrer, were perfect servants to the Fascists. In Mexico, the Regnum Christi movement took a very sinister turn a few years ago, turning into youth gangs that beat up minorities (indigenous peoples, Protestants, gays) in PANista strongholds like Aguascalientes.

Marciel a favorite of Augustin Pinochet and Imelda Marcos was … alas poor Mexico… coddled by Pope John-Paul II. The late pope brought Marciel along on his three Mexican tours, permitted the two groups expansion and… apparently… turned a blind eye to what exactly Marciel’s “unquestioning fidelity” meant.

As one commentator put it:

Marcial Maciel, was guilty of the sexual abuse of his seminarians, that he was/is addicted to a form of morphine called Dolantin (demerol, meperidine, isonipecaine, dolantol), and that he did indeed abuse his power to control all those beneath him in order to carry out his plans.

Told ya that John Paul II was a Rock Star and he had his groupies along on his tours – among them Saint Marcial Maciel and the boys. Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. Its good to be pope. (and celibate)

The Long Dark Corridor

(excerpts from a journal...) this day and age of maximum sexual exposure and sexual exploitation - the church sticks its nose in and says it has authority to tell you how to live and who to have sex with and how to have that sex…

...anyway, years later I am thinking of the mysterious death of my high school biology teacher, a priest who managed to wrap his car around a highway support pillar - in a "single vehicle collision".

"The Long Dark Corridor" is the title of a short story I have been carrying around in my head for years. There was this third floor corridor of my high school that ran almost half a city block long and ran toward an industrial exit door with chicken wire glass in the top half.

The door opened onto an elevated concrete foot bridge that connected the high school with the faculty house of the religious teaching order of priests, brothers and seminarians that taught at our all boys facility.

I remember the bridge of concrete about five feet wide, twenty feet up in the air - being built around the time I was five. We lived on the next block. In fact, my father could remember our Philadelphia row house being built during his high school days at the same school in the 1930's.

Well, I started this story - title and the theme have been going through my brain for at least two decades...

I think that I have always had an innate intuition - something unformed, unspoken, unrecognizable. I probably subconsciously knew how to avoid contact with the gay clique within the religious teaching order.

My older brother who is now openly gay, I think had an encounter with them some years before - still remember the stress of my father and the meetings with the principal and the whispers and then the silence - the silence. My brother rarely shared anything with anybody all this life and especially that event – a topic for non-discussion.

We sophomores had the first biology class of the day. Lab was locked.  Father Ed had the key. We would wait in the hallway for Father Ed to appear through the door over the bridge from the faculty house. He was bigger than life in both girth and his charisma and knowledge of biology. I enjoyed the class even though I have no great love of the subject matter...

All my life I never liked the roman catholic practice of confession - going into a dark box and talking to a priest about my sins - I have my faults but most I think are attributable to the natural world side of my human nature.

During Easter Week each year, high school was a week long retreat for the students. Lectures, discussion groups, mass and confessions. I never went to confession in these high school days - optional - go to a dozen different classrooms - pick your favorite priest, kneel in a bright classroom next to a seated priest - where was the traditional black box?

I have often wondered in recent years if many students mentioned their sexual nature or related matters in confession in this retreat setting. I have also wondered if somehow the heterosexual priests were competing with the gay priests to recruit new young men with vocations to the priesthood with similar sexual persuasions and natures. And of course looking back - this heterosexual/homosexual divide was not visible then in the late 1960's. Society had layer upon layer of subtlety, priority, mask -

Anyway, just before my sophomore year, and biology, the religious teaching order had gotten a legacy of a large estate in the Chestnut Hill section of Philly, half a city away from my high school. We as a family drove past it one Sunday during our weekly Sunday ride - couldn't see much beyond the massive cast iron fence and gates - lots of fog that day - I guess that the religious order had decided to maintain the property until it could be evaluated whether to sell it - use it, convert it etc. I think that maybe about fifteen priests and seminarians used the grand estate as a second faculty house - to relieve overcrowding in the primary faculty house – and commuting by car back and forth to the high school.

In retrospect I connect some dots (possibly in total error) and perhaps it was the gay section of the original faculty house that went into separate quarters at this white elephant mansion.

Oh this speculation breaks down into two categories: good gays, abstaining from gay sex religious and the bad gays - actually occasionally practicing their natural instincts -

There is not much to this story except for connecting dots and wondering. In the middle of that sophomore year, a young, dynamic, charismatic seminarian teacher died in a car crash coming back from some long distance weekend duties - deacon at some parish etc. I remember his picture in the newspaper and the official speculation that he had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car in this "single vehicle collision" - And then my biology teacher, I liked him, died during the summer break.

I suppose I would not be writing this today except that in the next school year, my junior year, a very prissy but not unlikable priest blurted out something in class. Father Tom, a history teacher, said something like a veiled admission regarding the sudden tragic death of Father Ed, the biology teacher. He said something like "wrapping oneself around a highway pillar was indeed a suspicious thing to happen" while talking to the class one day, I think his comments went over many students heads...

Father Ed, the biology teacher, had been head of the Chestnut Hill faculty house - the history teacher had now succeeded him to that post of responsibility. The history teacher was burdened with balancing budgets, replacing automobiles lost, expenses of running a white elephant much in need of repairs, out of date mansion. I think Father Tom was pissed because of all the added multitasking duties dumped on him. I also think there was a tone of hurt that day, more than sorrow, that Father Ed was no longer with us.

...but that long dark corridor of my high school as I looked down it many times both empty and full of students had many stories to tell...

Perhaps this story or it bits and pieces will never be written either as fiction or as the truth if the truth in this case could ever truly be resurrected...

...Let the dead rest in peace.


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 -- -- 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 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.