First draft

Monday, August 20, 2018

Had another restless night despite my having stayed up watching a Hallmark movie and reading till 2:45 a.m.

I badly needed to clear the monumental cache weighing down my mind, heart, and soul.  So many thoughts.  So many quotes.  I was so desperate for rest that I drank a full tumbler of cool water, read from my tablet, visited my blogs, prayed, thought about the wonderful couple and the helpful man with the bulletins with whom we interacted at church Sunday morning— anything and everything— to calm me down enough to trick me into slumber.

Still couldn’t sleep.  Read till four-thirty a.m. when I finally konked out, though not for long.  Intermittent sleep with dreams that focused on real life.  What to do, what to do.

I’ll explode if I don’t share my thoughts.  What’s the story about the man walking on the beach?  He picks up every starfish he sees on the sand and tosses it back into the sea.  Why? asks a passerby.  You can’t possibly think you’re making a difference.  Oh, but I am, he replies.  Even one life is worth saving.  Even one life is worth living.

Which reminds me of “The Crow and the Pitcher,” Abe Lincoln’s favorite Aesop’s fable.  The crow was thirsty.  The pitcher on the table nearby had water too low for the crow to drink, so the crow added pebble after pebble until the water level rose.  Then the crow quenched its thirst.  The moral?  Little by little does the trick.  And how does this relate to Lincoln?  Simple.  He liked to say that he got his education in littles.

First draft

I’m just one person, and I matter because I care about others.  If I don’t take a stand, the number supporting the cause to change things is one voice less than it ought to be.

So, enough, I say.  Enough!  We must hold the Catholic Church— big C— accountable.  We mustn’t let clerics (and others) get off easy.  Or at all!  We mustn’t let them play the victim card, pretending that they were caught off guard, as if they weren’t complicit in sexual abuse scandals.  Heck, if we who are lesser beings have known for decades about clergy abuse— the Ursuline nuns and others have committed unthinkables, too— why the shock on the Church’s part?  Is it so special that its affiliates are above the law?  So special because only the clerics consecrate bread and wine?  Mere mortals!

Silence is power.  Silence ensures control of the masses.  Silence perpetuates the abuse.  The Church— big C— wields the power at the expense of the church— little c.  How convenient that the Church acts in the name of God.  The clerics are saviors; the rest of us, sinners.  The Church is not God!  The Church is wrong on many issues!  The Church is overbearing, unjust, unyielding— a bully pulpit full of itself.  And the church is supposed to let the Church have its way?!!!  Poppycock!!!

Clerics have God complexes.  One even insisted, “I am Jesus Christ!”  He questioned my confession and demanded to hear the serious sins he was sure I’d committed.  I’d never seen him before, but I haven’t forgotten him since.  He’d made the woman ahead of me cry, so I looked him in the eye and said, “You’re just a guy!”  And, oftentimes, priests are way worse than parishioners.  He was livid; I was traumatized but standing.  Steven reported him to the bishop, but nothing ever came of it.

For years I’ve shielded my blogs from the political rumblings and lies of the Catholic Church/church.  Enough pretending that all is well, that God will take care of its man-made ills.  Enough!  No more suffering in silence.  No more walking on eggshells.  Who cares about political correctness!  I’m fed up!  My experiences, my exasperation, my living on the edge of this Catholic insanity are too much to contain!  To be silent is to be complicit.  Only I’m not to blame.  The Church is.  And it refuses to change so, instead of internalizing the fiasco, I’m voicing my thoughts in this evolving first draft.

first draft is a rough sketch of your future piece of writing.  Sometimes your first draft may become the final one due to it being rather satisfactory; but, in most cases, it requires further work.  A first draft is a way to elaborate on the main points of your essay stated in your outline, giving them a sample form (Academic Help).

Definition of draft for Students.  1: a version of something written or drawn (as an essay, document, or plan) that has or will have more than one version.  I finished the rough draft of my report (Google search).

Anger and courage

Hope has two beautiful daughters.  Their names are Anger and Courage— anger at the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are (St. Augustine of Hippo; attributed but unsubstantiated).

I am beyond disgusted with the Catholic Church.  Have been for a very long time.  Yet I hang in there and focus on what really matters— not the priests, the bishops, the pope, or the laity that tends to get swelled heads because of its proximity to those in power at the physical structures; but the people with whom I build community within God’s kingdom.

For me Church— big C— consists of the priests; the clergy; its pomposity, egocentricity, oppressive comments, self-serving notions, double standards, expectations, demands, and commands.  But who really matters is church— little c— the people we meet at the various churches we visit as I take photos before and after Mass; the very real human beings whose stories are so compelling that, whether or not we meet again, they become part of my journey in faith; the lovely men, women, and children whose struggles and celebrations touch my heart, whose smiles and whimsical anecdotes keep me company as I fulfill my service away from the sacred spaces where we meet.  They are the keepers, the family that God has entrusted to us, the ones who truly matter.

I care about them!  This is why my blog posts focus not on the messes within the Catholic realm, but on the living faith of those we encounter— a few at a time— at the various churches we visit.  Which reminds me of a question I was asked by a school superintendent long, long ago.  “Who are you?”  Just a teacher, I replied.  His face melted into a great-big beautiful smile.  “Not just a teacher.  You are where everything happens.  You are where the rubber meets the road.  Without you the rest of us would be nowhere.”

The Catholic Church— big C and even little c— forgets that the faithful are the building block.  We are the body of Christ in the flesh.  Yet the Church alienates us, berates us, betrays us, controls us, oppresses us, speaks for us, talks down to/at us, threatens us, and pulls all sorts of stunts to keep us fearful of losing heaven.  Did God make us Stepford Catholics?  No way!  So I ask, If God were to be here among us right now, what would he say?  What would he think?  What would he do?  The clerics and their supporters seem to think that only they hold the key to our journey in faith, our returning to God.  Not so.  Each of us has a personal relationship with God, his angels, and his saints.  We the faithful are the rubber that meets the road; the ones who fund Church/church, nurture it, and give purpose to its existence.  Without the true faithful, the Church is nothing.  Yet the tail wags the dog!

Clerics forget that God is present among us.  Unceasingly.  He lives within us and through us.  In God’s eyes we are all the same.  He loves us all the same.  But he’s given each of us free will so that we have the option to show him that we love him and long for him.  But, from the beginning of the Catholic Church, clerics have placed themselves on pedestals and made themselves infallible, untouchable, and above God’s laws.  They’ve preyed on the innocents they were supposed to protect.  They’ve hoarded power, flaunted entitlements, become disobedient demigods, and taken advantage of God’s trust and God’s people, using and abusing without remorse.  And now they’re shocked to hear about the rampant sexual misconduct?!!!

What hypocrisy!!!  And, when confronted, the Church lies and denies?!!!  What’s wrong with this picture?  It reeks of alternate realities!

In the past I’ve belonged to parishes that housed child molesters.  Suspicions at the time?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  Forget the betrayals.  I am beyond disgusted and certainly less than shocked to read the names of priests I’ve known listed on the bishop accountability website.  How dare they!!!  But Church condoned/condones the behavior.  Better a church with a priest than not?  At the expense of the faithful?!!!  What disrespect to God!!!  They are all complicit!  And have been for a very, very long time!

The situation is infuriating!  This is why I can’t sleep.  If a pea brain like me has always known, how can the Church feign ignorance?  Ugliness is as old as the Church.  Or does the Church expect us to believe that misdeeds have only happened in the past seventy years and only in Pennsylvania?

Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests.  Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin.  Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them (Peter Damian in 1049; never officially canonized, but declared Doctor of the Church in 1828).

Think about it.  Three-hundred-one priests molested more than one thousand children.  Consider that not all sins were confessed and/or recorded, so the numbers are much higher than that.  Then multiply those numbers by fifty (states).  Whoa!!!

Right now the Church is feeling exposed, as in— gasp— it’s been found out!  And it’s feeling the proverbial pinch not because of the evil perpetrated on innocents, but because it got caught (again).  So, now that the whole world knows, what next?

In addition to calling upon the Church’s institutions to “adopt the necessary protective measures,” the head of the Catholic Church is inviting all the faithful to help.  According to Greg Burke, this includes “the traditional weapons for fighting evil: prayer and penance” (Aleteia).

Damage control in the form of prayer and penance.  Really?  Are the faithful so easy to manipulate into submission?  This is typical namby-pamby sugarcoating at its best.

Assumption

Tuesday evening we attended the evening vigil Mass in my hometown and occupied the eighth pew off the center aisle on the right.  But, before the prayers began, the priest pleaded in a near-defeated mutter for the congregants to “come up to the front” pews because it was very lonely to have no one near— something like that.  (I record the Masses, so I can replay the audio to get the exact words; but why bother?  Now I understand.)  Anyway, I wanted Mass to start; so I told Steven, “Come on.  Let’s move up to the front.”  So the couple seated ahead of us moved to the second pew, and we occupied the first pew in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue.

Mass was strange.  The priest seemed flustered.  His Spanish was so fast, so alien to me, that I just couldn’t understand most of what he said.  And I found it odd that he never spoke a word of English.  In the past, when he’s seen Steven and me in church, he delivers part of his message in English.  But not this time.  And he didn’t address The Big News of the day either.  Maybe because the focus was on Our Lady’s solemnity?  Regardless, the priest wasn’t fully present and merely went through the motions of celebrating Mass.

Then, when I went up for communion, the priest didn’t make eye contact and didn’t say “this is the body of Christ.”  Totally taken aback I said “amen” nonetheless, but I did wonder why the priest hadn’t acknowledged me.  Was he upset that neither Steven nor I had raised our hands in response to a question he’d asked during the homily?  Many had raised their hand; some had even voiced affirmatives out loud.  Steven and I had no idea what the priest had asked or why.

So, I felt ostracized, as if the priest was doing me the favor of not withholding the host even though I wasn’t worthy.  But why?  I’d done nothing wrong.  What was going on?

Then, before dismissing us after Mass, the priest insisted again and again, verbally and with an emphatic wave, that we approach the altar so he could bless us with holy water.  Why?  What was he mumbling?  The congregation was thoroughly perplexed.  And hesitant.  But, eventually, the people began filling the ample space before the altar.

Again and again— six times, eight times, maybe more—  the priest led the people in St. Michael’s prayer as he sprinkled heads— this after intentionally though erroneously stating that “a great evil has attacked The Church,” as if the concept of sexual impropriety (inflicted by both men and women in the Church) was totally new.

I was stunned, utterly stunned.  I stood there almost unable to move, much less think.  But part of me wondered about the priest.  Some years back he’d told us during a homily that parishioners shouldn’t tell him “I love you.”

You don’t know me.  You have no idea who and what I am.  Only my dog knows me well enough to love me because he’s my constant companion.  And, even then, I’m not sure that he should.

We’d laughed then, but what was happening after the vigil Mass of the Assumption wasn’t funny.  In the middle of what I took to be a ploy out of the blue— a last-minute happenstance— my mind’s eye tried in vain to make sense of the priest’s erratic behavior.  He may be a good person, but who’s to know anymore?  How can a man of the cloth say that evil has befallen the Church as if an external, unknown force is to blame?  Only someone from another planet might be gullible enough to believe that.

Two or three years ago we’d attended Mass at that church, and the priest had blatantly lied during his homily.  I’d been so thoroughly disheartened that I’d refused to return.  So, based on prior knowledge and experience, I knew that this man— a priest I’d liked and respected many years until the day he lied— could spin things in his favor.

I wanted out of there quickly!  The priest was playing Pied Piper to his loyal followers again, and I didn’t like it.  But the altar looked so beautiful with its new coat of paint that I couldn’t leave right away.  I waited instead for the church to empty so I could take my photos and enjoy the ambiance one last time.

Serious doubts

The evil games— the manipulation, the detachment— thoroughly offended my sense of justice to the point of no return.  Making truth and reality someone else’s fault?  Where’s the accountability?  Where are the anger and the courage to proactively challenge the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law?

That week bishops called for Masses of forgiveness on Sunday.  Unconscionable!!!  Sidestepping truth when clerics themselves are the problem is most foul!!!  The pot calling the kettle black comes to mind.  Clerics purporting to be victims?  Nyet!  They were (are and, no doubt, will continue to be) complicit even if they admit the truth and operate from a very remorseful state of being from now on.

In as much as I would like for the Catholic Church— big C— to be truly transformed, it ain’t gonna happen.  The Church went rogue almost two-thousand years ago, and it’s systemically putrid.  I seriously doubt that the Church can or ever will be what God initially intended.

Still, we the church— little c— deserve better than passive accountability and/or sleight of hand from the pope and his cohorts!  But they can’t, shouldn’t, and mustn’t be trusted— ever!

Anecdotes

I have a lifetime of yucky recollections.  Some are benign but infuriating, as in, who does the priest think he is?  Others are more serious and bother me sleeplessly with depth and complexity.

Not long ago after evening Mass the priest, who knew I’d been ill, asked how I was feeling.  Surprised that he’d even ask, I gratefully enthused “infinitely well.”  And he corrected me!  Three times!  Why?  Because only God is infinite?  Because his English is better than mine?  Because he’s the priest and he knows best?  I remained cool, calm, and collected, restating my descriptor each time he corrected me.  But, walking away, I was livid, not to mention offended.  I have a personal relationship with God, and I give him unceasing thanks and praise each day.  Yet the priest felt I needed a filial correction?  I can think of the many instances when I could’ve (should’ve) corrected him, but I kept myself in check.  Priests have such fragile egos!

Then, recently during Mass, the priest noted that we (there at Mass) are “priest, prophet, and king.  Oh, but not you— me,” the priest quickly asserted with a slight gloating chuckle.  What is that?  Are we a caste system?  They’re in charge; we’re the nobodies?

Years ago a priest did his best to dissuade me from working on my doctorate.  “You should be home praying instead!” he chided me in rather commanding fashion.  What? I wanted to say.  And not live out the gifts and talents that God gave me?  What right do you have to tell me anything?!!!  I refuse to attend Mass at his church.  I can only imagine how many women he’s subjugated.  I cringe every time we pass the church in my hometown.

What matters

So, my blogs focus on the goodness of the people, the true church.  We are the movers and the shakers.  We are the faithful.  Yet women are oppressed, children are abused, and good priests are few and far between.

God graces us with resilience nonetheless, but the evil must be vanquished.

If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea (Mt. 18:6).

We are the church that matters!  We are God’s priests, prophets, and kings.

At long last we’ve found our voice!

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Monday, September 3, 2018

So, one of the bishops we know called for “a great spirit of penance on the part of the whole Church to repair the damage” and for “all the faithful… to do penance.”

What utter nonsense!!!  Why should we-the-faithful do penance for the sins of the wayward clergy?!!!  Ridiculous.  It’s this mentality that keeps us in the sex abuse crisis in perpetuity.

I wasn’t quite aghast, as it’s what I’ve come to expect, but the archbishop at Sunday Mass (at the Fullness of Truth conference) referenced himself as one of us— you, me, the rest of us non clerics— when he stated that “they” had sinned against the church.  Really?  I was incensed!!!

I’m old enough to see right through them.  And, having read the Catholic dailies this morning, I foresee that we’re already back to the same ol’, same ol’ with bishops and cardinals saying they hadn’t acted on the accusations because they were just too “incredulous.”  This after we’ve known about the Church’s orgies, its torturous physical abuses of women, and more, dating back to the beginning of Catholicism?

I’m beyond disheartened.  I’m super mad.  And I wish that good Catholics would say, “We’re strong enough to take them on!  And we’re not gonna take their lies anymore!”  But I know better.  Still, something must be done!  We must stop listening to the lies!

Being at Mass yesterday was really, really tough for me.  Priests are so emboldened and so closed.  The focus is on confession and the sacraments to get to heaven.  Really?  The message is so predictable that, even if one listens mind, heart, and soul— I take notes during the homily— the delivery is rote, dispassionate, and self-serving.

And do you know the story that comes to mind— the one I’ve carried around for the past two or three years since reading the woman’s account in The New York Times?  A man was at a church function with his children.  The priest asked if he’d allow one of them to help him in church.  The ten-year-old daughter agreed to assist.  Then the unthinkable happened!  But, worse yet, as the innocent lay crying on the floor— bloodied undies and in great pain— she looked up in disbelief only to have the ogre-priest looking down at her coldly state, “I forgive you.”

I vowed never to forget her!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

“Round and round she goes [and] where she stops, nobody knows” (Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour, 1934-1948).  I keep referring to it as “sleight of hand.”  Really, it’s the greatest technique of all to perpetuate twwadi— the way we’ve always done it.  Laziness isn’t the culprit; lack of interest in changing the status quo is.  They (Church, big C) don’t want to lose power (mind control over Stepford Catholics), money,  physical assets, anything and everything.  They have made themselves untouchables and will fight us (church, little c) to the death.

I resent Francis calling the clergy sex abuse scandals and victims speaking out “a disruption” that leads to “persecution.”  Excuse me?  This is why Church has always gotten away with its secrecy and deception.  They make themselves out to the The Victim.  They know how to let their guilt slide right off onto the faithful who carry the load.  Total WASP mentality.  Just like Trump telling his followers that he could shoot (and kill) someone and never be arrested for it.  Teflon comes to mind, but it’s not slippery enough.  A more recent product works way better but, even if I could recall its name, it couldn’t compare to what Church is: sleazy.

Links of interest…  Church drowning in sentimentalism…  New report warns against priests placing themselves above laity…  Opinion: Francis’ remarks about the Great Accuser distract from lack of resolve, leadership…  Thoughts on five problematic passages in the synod’s final document

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Links of interest…  Cardinal Burke launches his own personal website…  Sex abuse crisis: Bishops press forward with their own reforms

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Friday, February 22, 2019

I am beyond disillusioned with the hierarchy in the Catholic Church.  I have no trust in Francis and/or his cohorts.  And, except for a few good men we know to be worthy of anyone’s trust within the organization— more business than spiritual because Church is more interested in its possessions than in its members— I’ve pretty much given up and disengaged from the whole lot.

Day and night the suffering of church members weighs me down to the point that I can’t stand it anymore.  My reason for staying?  Leaving won’t change anything.  More importantly, this is my church.  Rome and the perpetrators are the malignant cancer that must be excised.  At any cost!  Still, I know full well that nothing will change.

I live on the edge of insanity, wanting to scream at the injustices, knowing that clerical and religious abuse is nothing new.  And the most ludicrous of all?  Having to put up with stupidity and excuses.  How ridiculous for an archbishop to suggest that a Vatican office be formed to address clerical abuse.  What, so everyone else can simply wash their hands of the whole mess and press on with business as usual?

I’m disappointed in Stepford Catholics because they undermine abuse survivors, but I’m thoroughly disgusted with Francis and his guys.  And shame on the bishops who’ve held back on providing all the names of offending clerics.  We know who you are!

So, what to do, what to do.

I will never lose my faith, but changing my religion is a viable option.

Links of interest…  California bill would remove reporting exemption for priests in confessional…  Cardinal Tagle: Bishops must confront the “stench of filth” caused by abuse…  Exclusive: Archbishop suggests creating new Vatican office to tackle abuse, clerical culture…  More U.S. Catholics are considering leaving the church over the sex abuse crisis, poll says…  No, the Church doesn’t think that being a layperson is a punishment…  Pope calls for “concrete measures” as summit on clergy abuse begins / proposes 21 “reflection points” for discussion at abuse summit…  St. Peter Damian’s battle against clerical homosexuality offers useful lessons for today…  Transparency biggest challenge for Vatican heading into abuse summit

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Monday, April 22, 2019

There’s no denying that they all knew and have known for a very long time!  Yet Francis and Benedict continue to feign ignorance— most likely biding their time, waiting for the faithful to simply forget and move on due to the busy-ness of life— just as some priests (we know) continue to point the fickle finger of blame on homosexuals in their ranks.

Who do they think they’re kidding?!! 

Perverts are perverts, regardless of gender and/or sexual preference.  They’re out there hiding in plain sight— many masquerading as men of the cloth and religious— under our very noses.  And no one’s doing anything about it because sexual abuse is not an important agenda item like, say, the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France.

Link of interest…  One pope is quite enough

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May 28, 2019

On the last day of our drive home from an almost twenty-day trip— a reprieve from newscasts, obligations, work, and keeping up with the realities of life— I came across James Carroll’s article on my tablet and missed out on the scenic views.  The piece was so compelling that I bookmarked it for Steven to read at home later.

Rebuttals and put-downs followed, of course, like the ridiculous notions that Church needs healing and we need priests.

With every new wave of stories of sexual abuse by priests, it can be much harder not to create a spiritual bunker containing the people I like and leaving out the rest.  I have felt despair and frustration at the crisis of abuse and the failure of leadership that got us here.  The Church needs healing.  It needs a new way forward.

But it also needs the priesthood (Weber, 2019).

So, how has the Catholic Church gotten away with murder— in some cases literally— for almost two-thousand years? 

The dilemma is quite simple, really.  Church is a thriving business enterprise headed by the Vatican.  Its franchises are managed by bishops; its stores, led by priests.

“Religion is control of the masses” (Dr. Milo Kearney, 1978), so clerics hold the power.  They are, after all, the gatekeepers, the bridge to heaven, and— by their own admission— Jesus on earth.  Defrocked or not, priests are forever a league of their own (making and choosing), different from the collective church community, higher than the laity.

A trickle-down effect or model reminiscent of a tessellation, each part is interconnected so meticulously that its workings are secretly sealed among and within its members who jealously refute truths lest they lose their golden goose, their social capital, their power.

So, are there good priests?  Sure.  But everyone is complicit because Church is systemically putrid.  If, let’s say, the Catholic Church were a somewhat rotten apple, wouldn’t the entire fruit be affected?  Still, the hierarchy shamelessly excuses itself, extending its incessant hand, demanding not just monetary support but also emotional allegiance from its traditionalist investors.

For as long as Stepford Catholics (silent enablers) continue to support the lucrative business enterprise that glorifies and protects itself above all else, Church will endure as is to the detriment of its faithful.

So, wake up and smell the coffee!  Not all that jiggles is Jell-O!

Don’t be so good that you’re totally ineffectual.  Do something!

Links of interest…  Abolish the priesthood (James Carroll)…  Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church…  Don’t abolish the priesthood: Disperse the power…  Former Catholic priest calls to “abolish the priesthood” (interview)…  James Carroll’s call… is misguided & tiresome

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June 1, 2019

That innocent priests should feel discomforting disequilibrium is as it should be.  They deserve to feel the way they (try to) make us feel.  And more.  They deserve to be in forever-walking-on-eggshells mode, though I doubt that they feel any true remorse.

“[W]hen priests embrace the anger of the people— the ‘you priests’ sort of anger— what the priests are doing, as sinners themselves, is accepting scorn that is a mixture of justice and sin” (Fr. Joshua J. Whitfield).

“A mixture of justice and sin.”  Really?

Countless-many are guilty of so much that we don’t even begin to fathom, much less address, the ugliness that is the priesthood.  Vanity, entitlement, corruption, arrogance.  The list is endless at all levels with no moral obligation to God or his people.

Link of interests…  Bishop’s testimony reads like an NCR editorial…  National Catholic Reporter…  A priest for James Carroll…  Who watches the shepherds who watch over the sheep?  Us

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June 27, 2019

Jesus had “authority” because he was both down to earth and close to God, the source of all truth.  We know it when we hear it.  We believe it when we see it lived. We should demand this of our bishops and pastors (Pat Marrin).

Links of interest…  NCR: Spirituality…  Pencil Preaching (Pat Marrin)

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Reflection

“The gate of love and grace” from The flowing light of the Godhead by Mechthild of Magdeburg, c. 1208-1282, in Give us this day (October 2018, p. 315)

Pride is the first sin that begins to chase a person away from God,
and if we don’t leave it, lust grows;
and if we don’t leave lust, greed grows;
and if we don’t leave greed, laziness grows;
and if we don’t leave laziness, lying grows;
and if we don’t leave lying, perjury grows;
and if we don’t leave perjury, anger grows;
and if we don’t leave anger, slander grows;
and if we don’t leave slander, stubbornness, grows;
and if we don’t leave stubbornness, hatred grows;
and if we don’t leave hatred, vengeance grows;
and if we don’t leave vengeance, hopelessness grows;
and if we don’t leave hopelessness, insolence grows;
and if we don’t leave insolence, shameless arrogance grows;
and if we don’t leave shameless arrogance, wrong wisdom grows;
and if we don’t leave wrong wisdom, unbelief grows and says,
“It’s not at all like they say it is.”

Lord, infuse me with your grace.  Then I’ll flow from your love.

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Quotes

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” (Sir Winston Churchill).

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority (John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton).

Ignorance isn’t bliss.  It is death.  It’s a crime against our future (Karla Stephan).

“Silence is not a virtue when charity calls for speech” (St. Poemen).

“To proclaim the pope infallible was their compendious security against hostile states and churches, against human liberty and authority, against disintegrating tolerance and rationalizing science, against error and sin” (Lord Acton, 1870).

“Tolerating sinful habits and excusing unrepentant sin and wrongdoing will result in bad fruit, painful discipline, and spiritual disease that leads to death and destruction” (Don Schwager).

We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become.  If we love things, we become a thing.  If we love nothing, we become nothing.  Imitation is not a liberal mimicking of Christ; rather, it’s becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.  This means that we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others (St. Clare of Assisi).

Links of interest…  Abuse crisis undermines church in “practically every way”…  Analysis: How sexual misconduct reforms might begin in U.S. dioceses…  Analysis: Can Pope Francis inspire confidence during Vatican abuse summit…  Angry, betrayed Catholics travel to Baltimore demanding answers…  At the altar, yet far from the Lord…  Becoming the solution: How ordinary Catholics can help to reform their church…  Being Frank about Francis…  Bishop accountability website (devotion & deceit [nuns]) – lists of accused priests released by diocese & religious institutes)…  Bishop Morris resigns from diocese amid tears (NCR series)…  Bishop’s alleged blackmailing of immigrant deserves special dose of outrage…  Body of Christ must reclaim our church…  Buffalo diocese expands list of credibly accused clerics…  Cardinal O’Malley forwards concerns to Nuncio after Times bombshell on NY priest / Tobin declined to investigate McCarrick abuse rumors…  Catholic abuse crisis syllabus / nun abused by priest as a teen / Women Speak network calls for church reform, focus on women…  Chilean faithful cope with scandal…  Church’s reform requires authentic synodality with laity…  Class-action suit seeks apology from Pennsylvania dioceses… Clergy abuse 2018…  Collar not required to be like Christ…  College outraged NY archdiocese approved visiting priest under abuse investigation…  Daily Theology: Sign the form asking for the resignation of the U.S. bishops (English & Spanish)…  Editorial: U.S. bishops have yet to find their collective moral core…  Ending clergy abuse…  Ex-priest guilty of killing former beauty queen in 1960…  Five things you need to know about sexual abuse in the church…  Francis tells perpetrator priests: Turn yourselves over, “prepare for divine justice”…  From a moral-historical perspective, this crisis is worse than you realize…  Growing list of states launching Catholic clergy sex abuse investigations…  Gut the Catholic Church’s hierarchy…  Homosexual predation scandal & cover-up…  How should the Church address clerical misconduct with adults…  If we want to reform the church, let’s make women cardinals…  Illinois AG: Dioceses failed to disclose 500 clergy abuse allegations…  In Dublin, the rejection of the pope was the reckoning of the people / the midst of scandal we need truth…  In US tour, Marie Collins exposes clerical culture behind abuse cover-up…  Invoking Santa Claus, D.A. raids Houston archdiocese…  Is the church capable of fixing itself…  It’s my church, too / time to choose the painful path of purification…  Knights of Columbus urged membership to support Kavanaugh confirmation…  “Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  More than half the church!”…  Laity step in, call bishops to repentance & reform…  Leaked German document study documents thousands of sexual abuse cases…  Letter acknowledges Vatican receipt of allegations against McCarrick in 2000…  Listen to the victims…  Lists of priests accused of sexual abuse are spilling out across the country…  Maintenance vs. mission…  McCarrick maintains innocence…  Minnesota bishop says Nienstedt investigation was “doomed to fail”…  Nashville deacon removed from ministry for speaking out about sex abuse…  Nation’s investigations into the Catholic Church are only the beginning…  National Review Board calls for lay investigation of all misconduct claims…  NCR podcasts: Updates on the clergy sex abuse crisis…  No words for depth of our anger…  Open letter to sexual assault victims…  Our myth, their lie…  Plaque’s removal from Franciscan University exposes abuse by former chaplain…  Pope Francis: all must help root out culture of abuse / crucial test / tells seminarians to report abuse “immediately”writes letter on sexual abuse…  Post-Baltimore questions the faithful are asking…  “Retired” Cardinal McCarrick traveled the globe during Frances papacy…  San Diego bishop responds to survivor advocate letter that alleged abuse by McCarrick / seminarian receives justice as jury convicts abuser priest…  Sister resigns from Detroit seminary…  St. Louis archdiocese invites attorney general to review files…  St. Peter Damian: about / Benedictine monk /  bishop & doctorbook / Gomorrah & today’s moral crisis (more) / insomniac / profilequote / reformer / writings…  Stirred by sexual abuse report, states take on Catholic Church…  Ten things forgiveness is not…  Texas Catholic dioceses to publish name of clergy accused of sexual abuse…  To help fight sex abuse, Catholic group offers guide to the news (No More Victims)…  Ursuline abuse suit…  U.S. attorney for D.C. announces federal hotline for victims of clergy sex abuse…  We are priests, prophets, & kings (GohnKowalskiLoyola Press) / can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism / need to know; silence is not an option in the abuse crisis…  What happened to the Catholic Church (part two) / lay Catholics are doing in the face of the sex abuse scandalthese victims want the pope to know…  Whistleblower says Buffalo Diocese did not disclose priest abuse reports (silence of the bishops)…  Why am I still a Catholic / bishops should welcome invitation to resign / I don’t call anyone “gay”I’m not leaving the Catholic Church…  Wicked clerics & the parable of the wicked tenants…  Young Catholics stay to fight for church reform in wake of scandals…  “Zeal for thy house:” A young priest’s reflections on scandal in the Church

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