Category Archives: Links to others
“…so unlike Jesus and the God he loved…”
“Today many would say that Christians have become major purveyors of exclusion, guilt, and shame for too many of its own people, and surely for the other religions, instead of absorbing shame, healing guilt, and living in solidarity with human suffering as Jesus did so clearly on the cross. No wonder so many no longer take us seriously. We are so unlike Jesus and the God he loved. Jesus was totally inclusive in his entire public life, and yet we created an exclusionary religion in his name. It makes no sense.“
from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation: Whoever Told You That You Were Naked (Nov.9 2013)
Christianity really is this simple!
I’m always pleased when a pope emphasizes the name of this blog — and its significance.
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this [person] is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.” [emphases added]
from: Pope at Mass: Culture of encounter is the foundation of peace (Vatican Radio)
Richard Rohr: Patriotism as the False Sacred
Today’s meditation from Richard Rohr probably sounds like blasphemy to millions of American fundamentalists, especially those who believe in that oh-so-not-Christian idea of “American Exceptionalism.”
“Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) was proclaimed by the early church, as their most concise creedal statement. No one ever told me this was a political and subversive statement, until I learned a bit of Bible history. To say “Jesus is Lord!” was testing and provoking the Roman pledge of allegiance that every Roman citizen had to proclaim when they raised their hand to the imperial insignia and shouted, “Caesar is Lord!” Early Christians were quite aware that their “citizenship” was in a new universal kingdom, announced by Jesus (Philippians 3:20), and that the kingdoms of this world were not their primary loyalty systems. How did we manage to lose that? And what price have we paid for it? (More)
A Gay Brother’s Love
There’s an old Christian folks song that proclaims, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love; they will know we are Christians by our love.”
As you listen to this StoryCorps story of how a family of eight siblings were reunited by the love of their eldest (and gay) brother after all of them had been driven away for one reason or another by their religiously (Christian?) fanatical parents, you decide whose actions were more loving.
“The mystery of the Incarnation…..”
“….is precisely the repositioning of God in the material world once and forever. Continual top-down religion often creates very passive, and even passive-dependent and passive-aggressive Christians. I know this as a Catholic priest for over 40 years. Bottom-up, or incarnational religion, offers a God we can experience for ourselves. We have nothing to fight or prove, just something to know for ourselves. This is what we are about to celebrate at Christmas.”
from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Benedict XVI on Jesus and the Apocalypse
Benedict XVI’s words from the Sunday Angelus (Rome, Nov. 18, 2012) provide a helpful perspective on a theme that is often overlooked by Catholics and misunderstood by others — Christian and non-Christian alike:
Jesus does not describe the end of the world, and when He uses apocalyptic images, He does not act as a ‘seer’. On the contrary, He wishes to ensure that His disciples in every age remain unmoved by dates and predictions, and gives them instead a more profound understanding, showing them the right path to take, now and in the future, towards eternal life. Everything changes, the Lord reminds us, but the Word of God does not change, and before it each of us is responsible for our own actions.
Confirmation Confusion in Minnesota (and Canon Law)
Edward Peters, JD, JCD is a canon lawyer. I occasionally follow his blog, as he sometimes has interesting posts about his take on Church matters in the public eye. I say “occasionally” because his blog does not allow comments or feedback, so I prefer not to give my own time to bloggers who do not allow for such engagement. After all, isn’t engagement and interaction what blogging and the tools of social media are all about? In this regard, I think Dr. Peters confuses “blogging” with “lecturing” … but I digress.
That said, his recent post, Confirmation and advocacy of ‘gay marriage’ [sic] cries out for response.
First, my “[sic]” notation is to draw attention to the fact that Dr. Peters is one of those folks who puts the phrase gay marriage in quotations or otherwise off-sets it as a means of communicating that they do not think such a thing is real. If he were speaking to you in person, you could just see him holding up both hands and making finger-quotes as he voiced that phrase, as if to say, “they call it ‘gay marriage,’ but we know such a thing doesn’t really exist.” They think that God’s gay sons and daughters — living their full humanity, including their sexuality, as given by God — are incapable of entering into marital relationships with someone of the same sex. Instead of seeing with open eyes and thoughtful minds the evidence from so many human sciences, including theology (not to mention the lived experience of millions of gay men and women living in committed relationships), Dr. Peters prefers the blinders of ecclesiastical legality to the truth self-evident to so many.
Second, Dr. Peters’ post discusses the situation of a young man who has been denied the Sacrament of Confirmation for his opposition to Minnesota’s recent ballot initiative that would have included in that state’s constitution language limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Peters focuses his brief post on the meaning of “proper disposition” as one of the criteria necessary for the Faithful to share in the sacraments.
I do not take issue with this basic principle of sacramental theology. The sacraments in our Tradition are indeed not to be taken lightly and must be appreciated as the gifts they are, a means by which God’s People share more fully in God’s grace. Sacramental participation requires a minimal understanding of what a particular sacrament is all about; a freely-expressed desire to share in the sacrament; and the expressed intention to live one’s life as best one can with the fundamentals of Christian faith.
Peters, however, goes on to observe the distinction between “internal disposition” and “external disposition” as follows:
Generally “proper disposition” is not a question of internal disposition (such as interior faith, fervor, or grace) but rather of external disposition (public demeanor, dress, and conduct). The state of a would-be recipient’s soul is not determinable, of course, but his or her attitudes and conduct are observable (we’re talking Facebook, no?), and potentially actionable.
In all fairness, Peters does not state explicitly that the pastor’s action in this situation was correct. A benign interpretation of Peters’ post could be merely that it points out that Church order allows for a pastor to refuse the sacraments in certain circumstances. Priests and pastors do and should have this right. After all, a pastor can and must deny marriage to someone who is already married, or Eucharist to someone who is not Baptized and has no intention of living the Christian life (as they, the potential recipient, would declare).
Nonetheless, a more likely interpretation of his post is that Peters supports the pastor’s decision — and it is with this, i.e. that the pastor’s decision was correct, that I (and others) take issue. Despite what Dr. Peters’ and the USCCB say formally about civil marriage, the fact is that a majority of American Catholics support the rights of God’s LGBT sons and daughters to marry the person they love. Would Dr. Peters deny the sacraments to these millions of Catholics? Or only to those who wear a rainbow ribbon on their lapel or post a supportive photo online? And, of course, why be limited to support for civil-marriage as the litmus test for deciding appropriate “external disposition”? There are countless issues where millions of Catholics hold different positions than do official Church leaders — civil divorce, war, immigration, capital punishment, to name but a few. Would every Catholic, for example, who holds that civil divorce should be allowed in a pluralistic society likewise be denied the sacraments?
My point is this: the denial of confirmation to this young man was a bad decision. Using the sacraments as tools of discipline (especially when that discipline is misguided) is a bad idea. It’s a lesson that this pastor — and the US bishops — need to learn.
Richard Rohr on Intimacy
“One’s biggest secrets and deepest desires are usually revealed to others, and even discovered by ourselves, in the presence of sorrow, failure, or need when we are very vulnerable and when one feels entirely safe in the arms of someone’s love….People who have avoided all intimacy normally do not know who they are at any depth—and cannot tell others who they are.”
UPDATE: Worth the Applause: Homily of Fr. Richard Lawrence on MD’s Question 6
UPDATE: Apparently in response to a request from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the video of Fr. Lawrence’s homily has been removed. A request to the parish and to the video owner for information about its removal have gone unanswered.
It is sad indeed not only that the archbishop would make such a request inhibiting the free discussion of ideas so that Catholics can make well-informed decisions when entering the voting booth, but also that those responsible for the video’s removal would succumb to such pressure. Fortunately, the audio of the homily remains available on the website of St. Vincent de Paul where Fr. Lawrence serves as pastor. Homily of Fr. Richard Lawrence, October 28, 2012 (parish website).
And, in case the audio is eventually removed, a copy of the mp3 file may also be found here: Homily of Fr. Richard Lawrence, October 28, 2012.
As any churchgoer can tell you, it’s the rare homily that is met with applause. I don’t remember one of my own homilies ever receiving an ovation, though I suspect if it ever happens in the future, it will be out of thankfulness that I’ve stopped talking!
This homily, however, is definitely worth the applause it receives. We need more Catholic priests and pastors to do what Fr. Richard Lawrence, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish (his parish website “bio” is worth reading!), did this past weekend in Baltimore. With respect and balance and intellectual honesty, he does what a pastor should do when it comes to helping parishioners form their consciences in matters of public import. Unlike Archbishop Lori, whose letter he reads at the beginning, Fr. Lawrence does not tell his parishioners how to vote on Ballot Question 6: The Civil Marriage Protection Act. Rather, he encourages them to continue to form their consciences faithfully, as best they can, and to vote accordingly.
102812 Homily from Jerome Bird on Vimeo.