Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spiritually Too Sexy?

Why does the opening of the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil come to mind?  "Please allow me to introduce myself--I'm a man of wealth and taste..."

Steve Tyler

Monday, May 14, 2012

Respectibility in Religion?

Hilary Mantel with her award winning book
Hilary Mantel, the winner of Britain’s prestigious Booker prize for literature, has given an interview with the Telegraph, which reveals her animus against the Catholic church.

Mantel seems scarred from her convent education, which left her with the impression as a 12 year old that priests and nuns were amongst the worst people that she knew, due to their cruelty. This weltanschauung was confirmed as an adult as the pedophilia scandals broke. Mantel lamented: "The fact that it [pedophilia] could happen, the extent of the denial, the cover-up, the hypocrisy, the cruelty.

When the Telegraph pressed as to whether she would call for a priest on her deathbed, Mantel mused: "No. I might very well call for a Church of England vicar, but I would not call for a Catholic priest...I think that nowadays the Catholic Church is not an institution for respectable people." 

Although the abuse and betrayals of trust in pedophilia are deplorable and tragic, they were isolated and not institutionalized. Moreover, Catholic dioceses have paid a significant price for their failings and now have acute awareness for inappropriate activities.  Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have acknowledged the abuse and asked for forgiveness.

But Mantel’s comeuppance quote that the Catholic Church was not an institution for "respectable people" was quite striking. It calls to mind a quote from Oscar Wilde,who penned: "The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do." Wilde embraced this paradox on his deathbed when he converted from the Church of Ireland (Eire Anglicanism) to the Roman Catholic Church.

Respectability seems like a shallow raison d’etre for religiosity. What underlies your faith?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rabbis Not Cross with Biden

As Vice President Joe Biden was being introduced before the Rabbinical Assembly meeting in Atlanta, the host seemed to refer to the former Democrat Delaware Senator in the past tense.

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Playing off of this incongruity his rhetorically premature demise, Biden made the sign of the cross and folded his hands in prayer for comedic effect.  The assembled rabbis took no umbrage in this faux faithful gesture and laughed, but the host who could not see the Jester-in-Chief’s gesture seemed rattled until the VP filled him in.

While it is reasonable to appreciate Laughter with the Lord, considering Biden’s acceptance of same sex “marriages”, faithful Catholics wonder if overall Biden  considers his faith a joke too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pastor of the "Most Reviled" Congregation in America

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, S.J.

Father Patrick Conroy, S.J. is the Chaplain for the House of Representatives in Washington, DC.  House Speaker John Boener (R-OH 8th ) nominated the formerly Oregon based Jesuit last May as Republicans took the helm in the 112th Congress.

During an interview with Jesuit Magazine, he was asked if his flock was the most reviled congregation in the country.  Conroy quipped that he had been a chaplain at San Quinton prison, but that he was not making any comparisons

Seriously, Conroy notes that many members are faith filled. While some are firmly convicted others hope that they are acting in faith.  But how practicing one’s faith is manifest depends upon their poltical stife as some believe that caring for the poor is the role for churches. Conversely, others apply social justice through ever expanding government programs for the War on Poverty.

When Chaplain Conroy ministers to Members of the House, he invokes the advice of St. Thomas Aquinas to follow one’s  conscience and to be honest with oneself.

Conroy was coy about his convictions as the House Chaplain needs to be neutral on matters of public policy.  That being said, Conroy urged constituents to communicate with their Congressmen, even if that politician was not their pick, as the Member is still representing you.

H.t: Jesuit

Washington Irving on Adversity

Monday, May 7, 2012

Shameful Sunday Ritual

Hillbilly Ten Commandments

While scripture itself may continue to get contemporary translations, this reframing of the Decalogue seems perfectly inculturated for "God's Country".

Friday, May 4, 2012

May The 4th Be With You

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the original Star Wars.   The film, "Star Wars Episode IV- a New Hope" was the start of a cosmic cinematic serial about the forces of good triumphing over the dark side.

It almost makes you want to sing...