Tuesday, May 7

Am I the first? Am I scooping the other Catholic bloggers here?

Okay, I admit it...thanks to Drudge. And the Smoking Gun.

Here are the photos of the Mardi Gras Padre (or pere) From the Gun:

Memo to Catholic priests everywhere: If you plan on attending a future Mardi Gras, try not to be photographed shirtless next to a drag queen and some chiseled guys in biker shorts. Because that photo op just cost Rev. Thomas Bouterie his pastor's post at a church outside of New Orleans. The 47-year-old Bouterie--unknowingly snapped at last year's New Orleans bacchanal--appears in "Masking and Madness: Mardi Gras in New Orleans," photographer Kerri McCaffety's vibrant study of the annual Crescent City celebration. Following a meeting with diocesan brass, Bouterie announced Saturday (5/4) his decision to step down after 13 years as pastor of St. Louis Church in Bayou Blue, about 40 miles southwest of New Orleans. While no allegations of abuse have been made against Bouterie, a church spokesman said "these photographs could be a source of scandal for some and, thus, prevent Father Bouterie from effectively exercising his ministry." Bouterie said that his resignation was not "reflective of the current problems" in the Church, but more indicative of his "personal growth as a priest."

Personal. Growth. As. A. Priest. Beads. No shirt. Tight jeans. Nice haircut.

May your own pastors never grow thus.


Well, the interview with Vatican Radio went all right. Considering I was straining not to cough my way through it. Considering I spent the whole time on the cordless, following the baby around the house. Considering I feel less than scintillating today. But, we can all be confident that Mark and Kathy are offering up plenty o' scintillating rapier wit that somehow was denied to me while I was choking on my own phlegm and taking credit cards out of the baby's hands without making him scream all the way to Rome.
Russian Orthodox/Roman Catholic Smackdown in Russia.
Be careful When we comment on the Situation and what the future holds. Be careful. I’ve heard too much optimism. I’ve heard too much trumpeting of a moment of grace, of a cleansing, of a purifying and too much confidence that out of this, a stronger Church will arise.

Why be careful? Because at the heart of this are children. Grown-ups now, perhaps, but still, in God’s time, children. Children who trusted and who were exploited. Children whose innocence was destroyed and who were irreparably damaged.

I, for one, cannot rejoice in a new Springtime for my Church that is built on the destroyed innocence of children.

I've been immersed in the Parable of the Sower and should really, really finish it up today when…the baby naps.

Hah.

My husband suggested I should change the name of this blog, considering Joseph's objections to sleep get only more deeply held and clearly articulated as time goes on. In other words, the kid won't sleep. That's not exactly true. He'll sleep for ten minutes in my arms, only to pop up the minute his body senses "crib" under his body. He'll also collapse about four o'clock in the afternoon in a deep sleep, even in the crib, but by that point - dinner to cook, kids to transport - what the heck good is it to me?

But I can't get too mad at him. He's just so darn cute. His latest trick is kisses - lips pressed together, chin raised, going , "Mmmmm -- aaaah!" Tricky fellows, these babies.

Anyway. A few thoughts on the Parable of the Sower. First, a theme you can't avoid when you read and listen to this parable is receptivity. The seed of God's Word is sown everywhere (more on that later) , but bears lasting fruit only in receptive conditions. Jesus points out the factors that make us less than receptive: the press of worldly concerns, fear, the lure of wealth and desire for things. Why do these factors make us less than receptive to the Word?

Well, first, we have to remember what this “Word” is. It’s about the Kingdom of God, God’s reign in our lives. It is, most particularly, Jesus, who embodies God and His kingdom in our midst. And what does that mean? God first. God alone. God, creator, source and end. God everywhere and always.

You can probably come up with your own list of rocky soil and weeds that have made the power of God’s Word wither in your own life. Material things and wealth are dangerous because they seduce us into thinking we don’t need God. The pursuit of wealth and status and concern with the world’s evaluation of us can distract us from God’s call and the plain simple truth that other people’s opinions of us are irrelevant. When faced with stress and tension and lacking in trust of God, we might convince ourselves that God can’t help us here – that his Word isn’t relevant to our times, to our lives, to our particular situation.

But note something about this parable, something brought up by Robert Capon in his Parables of the Kingdom. Before we start using this parable to obsess, one more time, about ourselves, let’s tend to the Sower and the Seed for a minute. Capon, as he likes to do, emphasizes the centrality of God in the parable. That is, an important detail is that the seed – the Word – is sown everywhere. There’s not a spot, not a type of soil, that doesn’t receive the Word, sown by the hand of God.

So what does this mean? Perhaps it means a little mental adjustment is in order. We often think of ourselves, as Christians, as people who are bringing to Word to others, who are bringing Christ to others, who are sharing that Word. Capon asks if we should really think that way. The sowing of the Seed is done by God, and he sows it throughout the entire world, in every land, in every time. Is our job, then to “bring Christ” to others, or is it to help others recognize Christ in their lives, to open their eyes and see the redemption that has been wrought and the subsequent grace offered by God, and to prepare their own spirits to accept God’s offer of grace and salvation, and let it be fruitful?

It is, perhaps, a different style of evangelization, and one, in the end, that is very Catholic, very incarnational: Rather than announcing to people that we’ll will tell them what they’re missing and what we can give them, perhaps it is truer to the ways of God to sit with people and talk with them about where they have sensed movements towards peace, wholeness and reconciliation in their lives, and then help them identify that for what it is: God’s voice, gently calling in love.

Anyway, think about receptivity today. How receptive are you to God’s forgiveness? Or have you decided that you know better than God and that you should be defined by your sins?

How receptive are you to growing in God’s wisdom? Or have you decided that you have all the answers to every problem, no matter how miserable you continue to be?

How receptive are you to God in prayer and in the sacraments? Or are you constrained by intellectual problems and logical problems?

How receptive are you to the Spirit in your life? Or do you have a plan for your time on earth that closes you off to the freedom and surprising ways of God?

How receptive are you to correction? Or have you determined that there’s nothing anyone – even God – can tell you about how to lead your life?


Shanley pleads not guilty.
Church woes invade TV pilots (NY Times, link requires registration, doo-dah, doo-dah) as well as this season's final episode of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit:

The season finale of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" on May 17 will feature a murder linked to the diocese's cover-up of a top ranking priest's pedophilia. That episode was originally scheduled for September, but current events pushed it ahead to the height of the May sweeps.



"We say our shows are ripped from the headlines, so should we ignore this?" asked Dick Wolf, the creator of the "Law and Order" shows. Mr. Wolf, who was an altar boy for Cardinal Francis Spellman at St. Patrick's Cathedral in the 1950's, said he did not expect angry phone calls from Catholic antidefamation organizations. "What can we say that would be any worse than what has been in the newspapers for the last two months?"

I like the Spellman link.

A rough start this morning. Between Michael being so wound up from the Renovation Committee meeting and both us being sick and the baby's normal restless sleeping habits, I don't think I fell into any kind of a deep sleep until 2am. And up around 6 with Joseph. So I'm sitting here with my head and sinuses aching, wondering if my brain is going to work at all today. With enough Diet Coke, it just might.

And the meeting? I'll let him tell you about it, if he chooses to. And if he doesn't...well..you'll just have to wonder. Safe to say that a meeting which featured the paid consultant declaring that the committee would work by consensus because Vatican II said that "voting was un-Christian," only to be met by someone briskly listing off all the voting that takes place in the post VII church, from the election of the Pope (duh) to religious orders' elections to the decisions of national bishops' conferences to well, the documents of VII themselves...such a meeting was not all peace n' love.

Everything you didn't want to know about Scumball Shanley

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