Archive for August 2017

Mike Crosby Vatican ll giant

August 18, 2017

Croosby

Although I am hard to find on Facebook, I am there if anybody wants to find me…and marvellous in the telling, several former students to my delight have found me. Johnny Quinn, the inttrepid Scouser posted a story last week on a rare visit to the site that shook me up. It was the death of my friend Mike Crosby, the prophetic Capuchin priest who expired with remarkable grace on August 5.

When in June doctors informed Crosby that their attempts to control the cancer in his body were failing, he described himself in a letter to friends as “surprisingly am embracing” the diagnosis that he only had several months left to live.

I have no fear of dying; in fact I must admit … I actually prefer to depart from this form of my life sooner than later; I believe in heaven. I am at peace and very thankful for this peace.

“I’ve tried to follow Jesus all my life as a Capuchin, and you have been part of this journey; for you I am so grateful,” Crosby wrote in a letter to friends. “I wait in joyful hope what is in store for me. Pray that I’ll be faithful.”

 

Mike was the quintessential Vatican ll priest, an author of over a dozen books which fused biblical justice and spirituality. These books are well marked in my library.

 

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Mike was a brave but gentle prophet who refused to stop speaking  in the ice age of John Paul ll and Benedict XVI. These misguided leaders destroyed a lot of theological reputations but they never broke Mike’s spirit. One fanatic bishop would find out where he was giving one of his conferences and try to have him cancelled.
Like his master, he was always in trouble. He challenged the near dogmatic ruling of JP ll that celibacy was forever and not a discipline which could be (and should be) changed.

“We still have to worship a God that the Vatican says ‘wills that women not be ordained.’ That god is literally ‘unbelievable.’ It is a false god; it cannot be worshiped. And the prophet must speak truth to that power and be willing to accept the consequence of calling for justice, stopping the violence and bringing about the reign of God.”

Not only did Mike say this in open but he said it to popes:

For example, when he first oversaw the release of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Nov. 18, 1995, declaration by Pope John Paul II regarding the non-ordination of women, he sent Cardinal Ratzinger a letter outlining some of the reasons why he did not believe his rationale about God’s will and women’s non-ordination. he wrote:

I find it illogical, inconsistent and ill-conceived to argue that because Jesus didn’t choose women to be his apostles that anyone can thus conclude that, in that given milieu, he intended this in a way to exclude them from full leadership in the future. Also, to argue that such a “non-choice” represents not only the will of the Jesus of history but of the Christ of our faith in whom there is neither male nor female appears to me even less convincing. Finally, somehow to make a conclusion that this is the actual will of our God (in whom there is no exclusiveness) is beyond my comprehension.

I never received a response.
Afterward

Womenp

 

Afterward, when Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI and reiterated virtually the same statement about God’s will being that women not be ordained, I again privately wrote him my disagreement. I explained respectfully why I could not believe in such a God, especially when the God of my belief has been revealed to be a Trinity of equals who has made male and female to be Trinitarian in the way God is Trinitarian (see Mt. 5:48). I also summarized in that letter my theological rationale for my nonacceptance of his declaration that it is God’s will that women not be ordained, even though I think right now might not be the time for women’s ordination because of some significant local churches’ cultural bias against women in such a role.
I wrote:

Next, I addressed the argument he made as a cardinal in 1997 that he reiterated as pope:

… the teaching that “the church has not been given the power” to ordain women. This seems to belie Matthew 28:16-20 as well as the fact that “the church” was never given the power to limit priesthood in the Latin Church to celibates in a way that restricts the pool of sincere men and women for priesthood and the laity for capable and equipped ministers.

Although my letter described my deeply held faith concerns about his teaching, I received not even as much as a note acknowledging receipt of my letter, much less its contents.

 

Because of such a nonresponse to these and other communications I have sent to the Vatican in the last 15 years,

 

Repair

I decided to make some of them public in my recent book, Repair My House: Becoming a “Kindom” Catholic (Orbis, 2012). Furthermore, given the recent actions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Bishop Blair, I believe my private dissent on the issue of women’s full equality in our patriarchal, clerical church should be made public lest any perceived silence on the matter by clerics like me might be construed as consent.

Thus, I reiterate here what I wrote in those letters above,

A blessing to have called this courageous man a friend.

The religion of America is America

August 15, 2017

Roberto has now lived in Canada for 5 decades. He grew up in New York state and came to St.Michael’s College in Toronto. He does a lot of ruminating such as below.

I always enjoy reading these essays from Commonweal.  The true religion of America…the American civil religion…has yet again been exposed for the Calvinist heresy that it is.

F. Scott Fitzgerald nailed it 100 years ago.  I understood “Americanism” at age 10 when my Presbyterian, Masonic grandfather and uncles touted the deadly myths of exceptionalism and worth gauged by success.

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I will also never forget the real message of the country that I learned when my good friends from St Michael’s who did everything that they could to bring their kids up Catholic, thinking that they would please the wealthy Catholic parents from New York, only to discover that what really mattered beneath it all was status, wealth and high position.  They were shocked, but I realized in a flash the familiar story of my youth…the essence of the American culture always comes back to Calvinism, the elect distinguished by and known through their wealth. 

 

Bless

The contemporary demise of Catholicism in capitulating to this heresy is just awful to behold!

 

I regard myself as so fortunate to number among my friends a remnant of Catholic critics who continue to hold out against this soul destroying culture.

Bless

 

That so many Catholics have fallen for Ayn Rand, militarism and the like.  Just pathetic!

 

Most days I feel like I did as a kid with his crystal radio listening to a faraway station as the signal comes and goes.  Catholicism feels like that to me now.  Sometimes the music coming in loud and clear and others times fading out with static and eerie warped noises.  Or sometimes even slipping off into dead silence!

Magical thinking and Christian Right

August 11, 2017

Chris Hedges on Truthdig unpacks the magical thinking of many evangelicals.

 

I once asked a prominent joutrnalist if he ever heard of The Late Great Planet Earth, the best selling religious book in US history. He was clueless. This piece of magical thinking and crude phantasmagoria and its follow up The Left behind series is classic magiacla thinking and a horrible manifesdtation of Christianity.

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Hedges

 

Tens of millions of Americans are already hermetically sealed within this bizarre worldview. They are given a steady diet of conspiracy theories and lies on the internet, in their churches, in Christian schools and colleges and on Christian television and radio. Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is required reading. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored. This Christian propaganda hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts in the 1950s, is rehabilitated as an American hero. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, is defined as part of the worldwide battle against satanic Islamic terror. Presently, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. public believes in Creationism or “Intelligent Design.” And nearly a third of the population, 94 million people, consider themselves evangelical.

 

Those who remain in a reality-based universe often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons. They do not take seriously the huge segment of the public, mostly white and working class, who because of economic distress have primal yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal and are easily seduced by magical thinking. These are the yearnings and emotions Trump has exploited politically.

 

Bless

Those who embrace this movement need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to elevate themselves to the role of holy warriors, infused with a noble calling and purpose. They need to sanctify the rage and hypermasculinity that are the core of fascism. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief, which includes being anointed for a special purpose in life by God, are potent weapons in the fight against their own demons and desire for meaning.
“Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty,” Simone Weil wrote.

 

Back

These believers, like all fascists, detest the reality-based world. They condemn it as contaminated, decayed and immoral. This world took their jobs. It destroyed their future. It ruined their communities. It doomed their children. It flooded their lives with alcohol, opioids, pornography, sexual abuse, jail sentences, domestic violence, deprivation and despair. And then, from the depths of suicidal despair, they suddenly discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God will intervene in their lives to promote and protect them. God has called them to carry out his holy mission in the world and to be rich, powerful and happy.

 

The rational, secular forces, those that speak in the language of fact and evidence, are hated and feared, for they seek to pull believers back into “the culture of death” that nearly destroyed them. The magical belief system, as it was for impoverished German workers who flocked to the Nazi Party, is an emotional life raft. It is all that supports them. The only way to blunt this movement is to reintegrate these people into the economy, to give them economic stability through good wages and benefits, to restore their self-esteem. They need to live in a society that is not predatory but instead provides well-funded public schools, free university education and universal health care, a society in which they and their families can prosper.

 

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Time is running out. If we do not act, American fascists, clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags and orchestrating mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance, united behind the ludicrous figure of Donald Trump, will ride this rage to power.

The Christian Right pt 1

August 9, 2017

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_hedges.html

 

On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick New York real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism.

 

SHOP

So writes Chris Hedges

Indeed it does seem strange until you begin to analyze religion under turbocapitalism. Consumer culture destroys prophetic religion. It empties the great symbols of Christianity (and Judaism) beyond recognition. Conumerism, along with nationalism, class division and tribalism literally take the prophetic dynamite out of biblical faith. They leave behind a gutted version best summed up by the old Protestant hymn, “No cross, no crown.” Reloigion becomes a mere add-on to the consumer lifestyle.It never seems to impact on daily living and social practices.

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This ersatz Christianity denies the radical nature of Jesus’ politics, the preferential option for the poor and excluded. It allows a a man like Republican Paul Ryan to actually say as a putative Catholic that his greatest influence is the high priestess of selfishness Ayn Rand

 

Hedges insists that Trump-like values are actually those of the Christian right:

In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right. Trump has preyed on desperate people through the thousands of slot machines in his casinos, his sham university and his real estate deals. Megachurch pastors prey on their followers by extracting “seed offerings,” “love gifts,” tithes and donations and by selling miracle healings along with “prayer clothes,””self-help books, audio and video recordings and even protein shakes.

 

Pastors have established within their megachurches, as Trump did in his businesses, despotic fiefdoms. They cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on the reality television show “The Apprentice.” And they seek to replicate their little tyrannies on a national scale, with white men in charge.

 
The personal piety of most of the ministers who lead the Christian right is a facade. Their private lives are usually marked by hedonistic squalor that includes mansions, private jets, limou

 

Donald Trump’s ideological vacuum, the more he is isolated and attacked, is being filled by the Christian right. This Christianized fascism, with its network of megachurches, schools, universities and law schools and its vast radio and television empire, is a potent ally for a beleaguered White House. The Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for decades. If the nation suffers another economic collapse, which is probably inevitable, another catastrophic domestic terrorist attack or a new war, President Trump’s ability to force the Christian right’s agenda on the public and shut down dissent will be dramatically enhanced. In the presidential election,

FAs

 

Trump embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right.

 

Apres Netanyahu la deluge?

August 6, 2017

Over 20 years ago the British-Israeli historian Avi Shlaim wrote about the “second rate” Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu:

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The destroyer of dreams, the man of the undivided Land of Israel but not of peaceful co-existence, the underminer of the Oslo Accords, the man who gave the right-wing settlers free rein to harm, harass and heap humiliations on on the long-suffering population of the occupied territories.”

Now it appears that this truly second rater is on his way out. But Gideon Levy today says: hold your schadenfreude.” Israel’s problems are way bigger than Netanyahu

How tempting it is to think that if only he’s replaced Israel will become a different country, like the one we dreamed of. That the morning after Netanyahu, the dawn that’s now breaking will be the dawn of a new day in which all the bad things will disappear as if they’ve never been. Hocus pocus – a different Israel. How intoxicating it is to think that the person who replaces Netanyahu will be better than Netanyahu. That the next prime minister will bring hope. That the years of right-wing, nationalist and religious government are over, that whoever comes instead, even from the right wing, is preferable. That all the excellent and promising candidates are warming up on the starting line. That it can’t be worse than Netanyahu. That if we only get rid of King Bibi and the imperial family, Israel will become a more just place. That Israel without Netanyahu won’t be nationalist or racist, an occupier or corrupt, arrogant or violent.

 

It’s not nice to be a party pooper, to spoil such rare joy, but getting swept away like this has no basis in reality. Netanyahu bears a great deal of the blame for Israel’s situation, especially domestically. His years have been hard ones for justice, equality, freedom, peace, democracy and humaneness, as well as for minorities and the weak. These years have also been good for arrogance, brute force, recklessness, nationalism, violence and the settlements. But as strong as he was, Netanyahu doesn’t bear the blame alone.

BR

 

There was a broad coalition around him, a weak opposition and a nation that supported him. As a sophisticated populist, Netanyahu didn’t mold the spirit of the people, he reflected it. He didn’t invent Israel as it is today. The people invented it. The joy is exaggerated and premature, not because Netanyahu is about to exit, but because his exit heralds very little, if anything. It’s the first step on a long road and the destination isn’t clear. A necessary step, but by no means enough. Netanyahu’s departure isn’t critical. Anyone-but-Netanyahu is the shallow, fleeting fashion of people who seek revenge and schadenfreude, whom we can understand but whose conclusions we don’t agree with.

 

Netanyahu was never the demon he was depicted as, and getting rid of him will liberate us from nothing but his wife and son. Netanyahu the horrible will go, and he will be replaced by Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar or Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid; one is more extreme than the other and the other is more hollow – and they’re both worse than Netanyahu. Netanyahu will go and the right-wing ministers Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Avigdor Lieberman will stay. Netanyahu will go and the hatred of Arabs will stay. Netanyahu will go and the certainty that we’re a chosen people will stay. And most certain of all: Netanyahu will go and the occupation will stay, even if the unbelievable happens and Labor’s new leader, Avi Gabbay, becomes prime minister.

 

Hunger for vengeance and schadenfreude aren’t enough to change this reality. Nor is it enough just to replace the person at the top. To generate change, Israeli society has to undergo a painful process, no sign of which is on the horizon. Only a revolution in thinking will generate change. But for now this revolution has no one to implement it, with or without Netanyahu. A great day is coming soon. Netanyahu is about to exit. A few Israelis will weep over his departure, but even fewer should be so happy about it. Netanyahu is going, and Israel is staying the way it was.

A US senator wakes up

August 4, 2017

New York has always been the epicentre of Jewish power in the USA.

It has been de rigeur of any NY politico to go on bended knee to whatever the deep Zionist pockets demanded.
Ever was it thus.

Trafically Bobby Kennedy’s life was shortened by an angry Palestinian for his blinded fealty to Israel.

Hilary Clinton later on and with more information available to her continued to support the obvious oppression of the Palestinians and the ignoring of international law by Israel. She was utterly hopeless on this issue.

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On Aug 11, 2015 Gideon Levy wrote of her:

 
Hillary Clinton’s election as U.S. president would ensure Israel’s continued decline and degeneration. And so she is not a friend, but an enemy. She must not be allowed to deceive and present herself as a friend of Israel, as she tried so ingratiatingly to do in an article published in The Forward (“How I would reaffirm unbreakable bond with Israel — and Benjamin Netanyahu”) last week. But she and those like her – false friends of Israel – have been one of the curses on this country for years. Because of them, Israel can continue to act as wildly as it likes, thumbing its nose at the world and paying no price. Because of them, it can destroy itself unhindered.
Americans believe “Israel is more than a country – it’s a dream,” she states. Most of the world calls it a nightmare, yet Clinton says a dream. What dream exactly? The dream of tyrannical control over another people? Racism? Nationalism? The killing of women and children in Gaza?

Governor Andrew Cuomo is no better nor is Chuck Scumer, All are as Levy says,enemies of Israel.

it appears one NY senator has awakened after the ACLU went after her for her unconscionable support of the IIsrael Anti-Bycott act

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WASHINGTON –  A Democratic senator from New York officially withdrew her support from the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” after civil rights groups criticized the legislation for having a “chilling effect” on free speech. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was one of the bill’s original co-sponsors, and her withdrawal could lead other Democratic senators and members of Congress to take a similar step. A number of Democrats have already announced in the last two weeks that they are re-examining their support for the controversial bill, which is supported by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC.

 

Gillibrand addressed the issue at a town hall in New York earlier this week, in which she was asked about it by a number of constituents. Gillibrand said in response that she “would never support any bill that chills free speech.” Gillibrand added that after meeting representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and hearing why they feel the bill “chills free speech,” she will “urge the authors of the bill to change the bill and will not support it in its current form.” On Wednesday, she went forward with that promise by withdrawing her name from the list of the bill’s co-sponsors, despite the fact that she is known to be a strong opponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

 

Gillibrand could renew her support for the bill if it were to be re-written in a way that doesn’t leave room for legal ambiguity.  Gillibrand’s decision was welcomed by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, an organization which supports BDS and have been working to create pressure on Democratic politicians to retract their support for the bill. “It’s exceedingly rare for members of Congress to withdraw their sponsorship of bills, especially on this issue,” the organization’s policy director, Josh Ruebner, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We thank Senator Gillibrand for listening to her constituents’ concerns about this bill and removing her sponsorship after realizing the draconian nature of the penalties it would impose on individuals exercising their First Amendment right to engage in boycotts in support of Palestinian human rights.