Showing posts from June, 2008

Shift toward the feminine

Women transforming the world, July 23, 2008 I begin by quoting a Catholic friend Bob Wedl: Let us not confuse the church and the faith. Observing that the institutional church’s stance against women and homosexuals destroys faith and insults God—whose supposed error produced these deficient persons—Wedl continued, We cannot permit the church to continue trying to destroy the faith. It cannot continue because cradle Christians are changing the church. I'm feeling optimistic because I spent the weekend with women who are helping to transform not only the church but the world. Gather the Women connects women with each other to activate their untapped feminine well of wisdom and direct it toward solving problems of the world. The women I met this weekend glowed with Spirit’s power. I still see their love-filled faces. Working under and behind the glare of public headlights, they raise awareness by carrying out individual “assignments,” discerned through deep listening to the D

Christopher Hitchins & Quakers

I’m reading atheist Christopher Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great and finding it more interesting than I expected. He provides details of stories we know vaguely, about the revolting histories of religions and the sordid immorality of religious figures. As expected, he pays little attention to admirable religious activities, but he does call “haunting and elusive” Philippians 4:8: Your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise. Having observed atheist spirituality before, I was not surprised to see it here. Hitchens tried on Marxism as “a rational alternative to religion,” but eventually he realized it was “comparably dogmatic.” I applaud his insight and honesty in making this admission. But here’s a more intriguing thought: He admired Leon Trotsky, the Russian Marxist, for his sense of the unquenchable yearning of the poor and oppressed to rise above the strictly materia

The post-Christian age

Recent experience tells me how hard it must be if you’re a member of a religious community or working for a Catholic institution and you believe as I do, or at least are asking healthy questions. I know many such persons. They’re drawn to religion by a deeply felt spiritual awareness but, in contrast to more shallow believers, they have the capacity to scrutinize the statements of religious leaders. They are likelier than most Christians to THINK, to study spiritual issues. Their scholarship leads to rejection of literal belief, but also to deeper faith, less mundane, less rule-bound, and less parochial. Inevitably, painfully, they see the sins of the human religious institution to which they belong. In my observation, they are more loyal to their immediate community than to the institutional Church, but they choose not to advertise their critical views of hierarchical pronouncements. The hierarchy still has the power to hurt religious communities, parishes, schools, and individuals w

Women are ordained

On May 4, 2008, a woman was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, and two women were ordained deacons in Winona, Minnesota. They are part of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization that passes the fully valid line of “apostolic succession” to women. Some of its priests and bishops have been excommunicated for it. More information is at The Church claims that its hierarchical authority comes in an unbroken line of succession from the twelve apostles, who received their authority directly from Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. The scripture scholars I respect say flatly that Jesus did not give this “great commission,” but it was a tool that rival Christian factions used to claim exclusive authority. While I consider the claim of “apostolic succession” a bit silly, I rejoice that women have this neat way of challenging the patriarchal Church, and I have enormous respect for their courage. Only my continued health problems kept me from atten

Am I an atheist?

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. (from the “Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot) I can call myself a Catholic Christian atheist. In the second half of the 1960s, I tried to be an atheist, not successfully. In the 1980s I learned that spirituality reigns in my life, that it trumps everything else and this explains my unbreakable ties to the religion I was born into. I can’t stop being Catholic, and I also can’t stop thinking about spiritual matters, which has led me to critically examine the beliefs of my childhood religion. When I get together with past classmates (who remind me of my Catholic faith decades ago), I confess I’m bored if they want to tell me how many kids and grandkids they have, but I like hearing how they and their kids are opening doors of the mind. I want to know how people are evolving in ways that matter—wisdom and emotional/spiritual maturity. My