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Showing posts from October, 2016

In the Long Run, We Are All Dead

Last night, Fr. James Martin, S.J., well known as Stephen Colbert's "chaplain," among other jobs, gave a talk to New Ways Ministry, a group dedicated to advocating for Catholic LGBT people.  The full text of the talk is available here, and it is well worth reading.  I have some thoughts on what he said and how be approaches the problem, but first a couple of disclaimers.  Number one, Martin is without question one of the "good guys" among the prominent Catholics in the media, and he has taken a great deal of abuse for standing up for LGBT people in the Catholic Church.  So, while there are things in what he said that I am not sure I agree with or can stand behind, I don't want to seem like I am shooting the messenger or dumping on him.  He does good, important work, and this speech is part of that work.

Second, I write conscious of the fact that I approach this topic indirectly.  Martin's audience, primarily, is LGBT Catholics, and I am not an LGBT Cath…

The Great Shame of 2016

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On September 17, 1862, outside of the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, the United States Army faced off against the army of the Confederate States of America in what has become known to history as the Battle of Antietam.  In the summer and early fall of 1862, the U.S. Army had suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the break-away Southern states, and was on the verge of losing the war.  Now, the armies of the South had invaded Union territory, and were threatening to march on Washington, D.C.

On that day, confusion and poor leadership left the center of the Union line vulnerable.  To stave off disaster, and acting on his own initiative, Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher led his Irish Brigade (including the soon-to-be-legendary 69th New York Infantry Regiment, "The Fighting 69th") in a desperate charge against the Confederate center, at a place that has now become known as "The Sunken Road," or "Bloody Lane."  The charge failed to brea…

A Matter of Honesty, Part VII--John Podesta as Truth-Teller

"No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

--Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, 1947.

We hear, endlessly, that "the Church is not a democracy."  It is said by conservative folks with great glee and enthusiasm, and by more progressive folks with a kind of resigned sigh.  And, as a purely factual matter, it is 100% true.  Roman Catholicism is not a democracy in any meaningful way.  But I don't think people have really thought through what that means, and what the consequences of that reality truly are.

Some small glimpse of that awareness has broken through in the form of the brouhaha over some emails exchanged four years ago between Hillary Clinton's campaign head John Podesta and various aides and subordinates.  The topic of these emails (or, at least, one of those topics), is Catholicism.…

Good Christian Sex--Interlude

I'm working on some posts reviewing the rest of the chapters of the book, and I will be getting those out in the next week or so, but I wanted to pause for a second and go on a bit of a tangent.  This last week and half or so has been a bit of a perfect storm--I've been reading and thinking about Rev. McCleneghan's book, I have been talking to friends of mine about the book and about their own situations, and of course I have . . . experienced? endured? . . . the latest from Donald Trump and his campaign and the reaction thereof, alongside the rest of the U.S. population.

At the intersection of all of this has been a bit of a Eureka moment for me.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I've always known I existed in a bit of the in-between space between the broader, secular culture and the more conservative Christian (in my case Catholic) culture. And, while there is no question that I have been moving in many ways away from that more traditionalist thinking, I still saw…

Good Christian Sex, Chapters 3 and 4--Getting Away from the Golden Ticket

Chapters 3 and 4 of Good Christian Sex are, at a 10,000 foot level, a critique of the traditional Christian superstructure and presuppositions regarding marriage and sex.  McCleneghan expresses that superstructure accurately, if snarkily, as follows:

The Church Universal, as I hope is becoming clear, can be so entirely goofy on the topics of sex, love, and relationships.  Sex is a critical part of identity (but only if you are straight, and fit traditional gender roles, and are married).  Singleness is great and easy to bear and a virtue, and celibacy is expected; but, whoa, man, does God want you to get married and enjoy the marital bed (which is both a joy and an obligation!) and start cranking out those Christian babies who will complete your life and give you purpose.  God will bless you with all of these things (unless He chooses not to, in which case you are to submit to His will, too bad, so sad).

Let's talk first about the marriage piece, which hovers around all of the disc…

A Matter of Honesty, Part VI--We Have To Talk About Papa

Bear with me for a bit of a round-about way of getting into this topic.

1.  By far the coolest thing about writing this blog is that it has been the vehicle for meeting what I call my "internet friends"--people that I have met and come to know via interacting with them purely over the internet.  Frank and Bill and Maureen are three that I mentioned here, but there are many others, and it is great.

If there is a one person who I could add to my list of internet friends, that person would be Austin Walker.  Austin Walker is the editor-in-chief of Vice Gaming, and he writes about video games, but he also writes about race and gender and a host of other things.  He also is the ring-leader of "Friends at the Table," an actual-play tabletop RPG podcast which is the best thing since sliced bread.  Walker is a smart, funny, thoughtful dude, and it would be awesome to trade periodic emails and DMs with him as an internet friend.

Anyway, I was listening to a podcast he was d…