Showing posts from 2012

Palestine, Birth 2012 and more

The latest military upheaval in Gaza has reawakened a passion in me—my indignation at Israel’s continued oppression of Palestinians— and, worse, my government literally aiding this brutality by sending weapons to Israel. Of course, Israel’s action is called “defense” while retaliation by Gazans is called “terrorism.” My recent writing on this bias in our government and media was published in the St. Cloud Times on Saturday. I argued that American media don’t give the Palestinian side and I gave some facts leading up to Israel killing Ahmad al-Jabari. Israel wins the propaganda war by playing the victim surrounded by hostile forces, thus cleverly blaming the real victims, the Palestinians. In this way it justifies its brutality and humiliation of Palestinians, which our biased media do not report to Americans.  The Times included my wish that Hamas would stop trying to win justice by military means and move to non-violent protests, but it did not include my reference to the U.

Inquisition revisited

November 13, 2012 I received a message showing the power of the hierarchy to intimidate. Fear is gripping some Catholics. This came home to me in a personal way when I learned more this past week about how a community I love is restricting its educational outreach for fear of reprisals from the hierarchy. Signs of this growing fright have been dribbling out during the past months as we wait to see who will be appointed the new bishop. I wish I could give details but they are not mine to give. Think fear of the Inquisition and you will be in the neighborhood. This is overblown because the Inquisition carried out physical punishment. But parallels exist, and ultimately leading the charge is the pope who used to be Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, head of the Vatican office formerly called the Inquisition. Pope John Paul II began the campaign to reverse the fresh-air reforms of Vatican II, his chief ally Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI. These two popes repudiated the Council, refused to sh

Holy Misogyny

October 25, 2012 I’m reading a book titled, Holy Misogyny : Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter, by April DeConick .   Its revelations on vilification of the female in the first centuries of Christianity would repel even most conservatives today. I had encountered much of this material before but had forgotten the details—who said or did what outrageous thing. The ugly story presents a backdrop to contemporary events and helps to explain the glacial pace of change today in the treatment of women and girls. In these excerpts “Church Fathers” reveal prejudices so contorted as to call into question their soundness of mind. [Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin,] spells out all the details of fostering a virgin whose body would become the temple of God. The girl child must be kept in total seclusion . . . She should be taught such shame of her female body that after puberty she should never bathe again, being humiliated by the mere thought o

Catholic sisters in shift

Barbara Marx Hubbard and LCWR, August 17 Listen to Barbara Marx Hubbard tell of “the most remarkable experience of [her] life,” having addressed the 900 sisters at the LCWR convention. She said she had made two important addresses in her life—the first in 1984 at the national Democratic convention and this one at the LCWR convention with 900 women deciding how to respond to the decree from the Vatican. The difference for her was stark:  “Here, you’re already doing it.” She saw 900 women in a few days make a cooperative decision. The leaders “leaned into” what everyone at the small discussion tables believed should happen and the participants informed the leaders of the decision. It was to open the field for more dialogue, more telling of their truth. It was the best example of democracy at work that she has ever seen. At this time in the evolution of humanity, when old structures are failing, she saw the sisters demonstrate a new structure of oneness, wholeness, and goodness to he

Bp. Patricia Fresen

Our womanpriest community, Mary Magdalen, First Apostle, yesterday welcomed Bishop Patricia Fresen from Germany, originally a Dominican nun in South Africa, now an ordained priest and bishop in our movement. We celebrated Mass, presided over by our pastor Mary Smith, who, as usual, delivered a homily that compares with the best researched homilies I have heard from theologians who teach in a school of theology. After our liturgy and a snack, we listened to Fresen describe her dream of an inclusive non-hierarchical church without top-down power. There would be no popes and cardinals dictating commands and inciting fear by excommunicating those whose conscience directs them to disobey. Power would reside in the people, all the people. Leadership positions would circulate to prevent corruption and abuse. In the discussion afterward, we heard about hopeful developments in our movement, but one young, idealistic theology student was troubled by our criticism of the present structure. Ar

Bishops' campaign twists logic

Stories about what “the church” does, thinks, teaches usually refer to the hierarchy, but we all need to be reminded that Vatican II defined church as the whole community of people—we are the church. Catholic bishops who disapprove of contraception—including Benedict XVI—are out of step with the morality of the church as defined by Vatican II. Without question, the Catholic Church as a whole accepts contraception as a blessing, not a sin, because it prevents a variety of health problems for women and enormous financial stress for the poor. When the Health and Human Services Department of the Obama administration ruled that religious organizations must offer contraceptives in the insurance packages of their employees, I rejoiced. Then the outcry from Catholics, even those who use birth control (Why??), followed by what I thought was brilliant—the administration saying that insurance companies will bear the cost (in the long run, no cost, because contraceptives save money). The bish

A Catholic atheist?

On public radio I called myself a Catholic atheist, or did I say I’m an atheist Catholic? I can’t remember. In any case, people ask me, “How does that work?” Culturally I am Catholic. Every school I graduated from—grade school to grad school—was Catholic. From the beginning of my life to the present, Catholicism informs me, shapes me, inspires me, piques my interest, and suffuses the air I breathe. I am an a-theist or a non-theist because I do not have belief in a god or gods, which is theism. If you’re a religious person, you may protest, I don’t believe in idols; I believe in God! But I think you believe in a being outside of yourself, external and superior to nature. I don’t. I believe in a Source not superior to nature, but in nature, enlivening nature—“God” in all and all in “God.” I imagine you protesting, That’s what we believe in! If you agree with me that “God” is not outside of us but within us (the Catholic hierarchy doesn’t like this), I may accept that you don’t be

Father's Word waning

Father's Word Waning, August 2, 2013 Host of the Internet radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, Karen Tate indignantly addresses those safely insulated in that cocoon of media-sanctioned callousness. Don’t learn how your religion has devalued women and decimated cultures. Don’t explore how history has been re-written. Those things don’t touch you. You’re comfortable. Why should you care? That suffering is the plight of The Other, those people not like you. The ones that don’t really count, at the margins of society. Their suffering is their punishment for not being like you and playing by your rules and worshiping your God, or more accurately your version of religious dogma written by men. . . . Will you care when it’s your daughter’s life in danger but she cannot have an abortion because white Christian men have obliterated the separation between church and state with their ideology? Next time you go shopping do you know, or care, that the cashier standing there