Saturday, August 9

Welcome to what was Amy Welborn's blog from September 2001 to August 2003.
She's moved, taking most of her intrepid commentors with her.
The new spot is called "Open Book" and you can get there by clicking here:

Open Book

Everything that's ever been posted on In Between Naps is still here - and the comments too - you can get there by clicking on the archives link on the left.

Update (May 2010)...The place where I now blog is called Charlotte Was Both and it's here.

Tuesday, August 5

There ya go, got your openly, non-celibate gay bishop.

To go along with at least one of your openly non-celibate gay priests.

St. Paul, call your office. Or maybe not - I doubt anyone's calling you.

The point being, of course, the discontinuity between an act like this and historical Christianity. If that's not important to you fine - then stay out of this discussion, for that's what's at stake.

Monday, August 4

You might be interested in this listing of how various dioceses voted in the Robinson vote on Sunday.

By the way, someone complimented me in a comment on being interested in this. How can I not? It's a watershed for all Christian churches, not just the Anglican communion. I may be Roman Catholic, but my MA is in religion from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and my MA thesis had nothing to do with Catholicism (it was on the debates over women's role in 19th century American Protestant churches, most particularly on the uses of Scripture in the debates), and I'm just jazzed by religion generally, especially when the issues at hand drive us back to historical considerations.

Eve's suggestions to Andrew

David has much to say on related topics; just scroll down

Was JFK's legacy an "unfortunate" one for Catholic politicians?

According to, 144 members of the 107th Congress identified themselves as Catholic: 15 Democrats and 9 Republicans in the Senate, and 71 Democrats and 42 Republicans in the House of Representatives.
In a political scorecard measuring the voting records from the 107th Congress, the homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign gave all 15 Senate Democrats, one Republican senator, 61 House Democrats and 2 House Republicans perfect or near perfect scores for siding with homosexuals in legislative votes.
,p>"This is all part of the unfortunate legacy of John F. Kennedy, who perhaps paid too high an admission price to enter the race for the presidency in 1960 by basically telling people that he would never bring his religious values into American public life," C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Action League told Friday. "Looking back on it, the election of Kennedy in some ways represented the empowerment of the Catholic elite but a defeat for Catholic values."

Doyle said when politicians say they are not going to let the Church tell them what to do, it really means that interest groups, media institutions and the "big money campaign contributors that make their careers possible" will call the shots for them instead."When they say that they're deeply concerned about the separation of church and state, what that really means is that they're going to do exactly what the polls tell them to do. The response of the vast majority of politicians in this case is going to be both cynical and cowardly, and intellectually dishonest," Doyle said. "It isn't that our politicians have the wrong principles, it's that as a class, elected politicians, including Catholic politicians, have no principles. As a class, they are self-serving careerists."

The blogger from the Episcopal General Convention discusses yesterday's vote and briefly summarizes each statement by delegates speaking for or against approving the election of Robinson as bishop. Interesting reading.

Cardinal George objects to newspaper headline; editors defend

Sunday, August 3

I took Katie to see the documentary film Spellbound this afternoon at our local art house theater. It was really and truly wonderful, and really, most kids 10 or above (and perhaps the more precocious under that) will enjoy it, and any adult with a heart will too. Yeah, it's about the National Spelling Bee, but like all art of quality, it's actually about many other things as well. It's about achievement, its price and its ambiguity. It's about family. It's about social and class differences - how can you not root for the kids who don't have the personal spelling bee coaches or computers? It's about American life, identity and opportunity. And it's about 8 very different, fascinating young people and their families. It's a moving, compassionate and sometimes funny film with a couple of situations that really and truly, if you'd written them into a "fictional" script or story would be tossed out as just too much, too fantastical to be believed - if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about - but, as they say, truth really can be stranger than fiction.

So if it comes to your town or (in a few months I'm sure) video store, please go see it.

First step for Robinson

Gene Robinson’s journey to becoming bishop of New Hampshire passed a crucial milestone Sunday afternoon when the House of Deputies voted to consent to his election as bishop coadjutor. In a vote by orders on resolution C045, lay deputations voted 63 yes, 32 no, and 13 divided. Clergy deputations voted 65 yes, 31 no, and 12 divided. With the deputies' action, the final decision now rests with the House of Bishops, which will take up Robinson’s consent at 2 p.m. Monday. If the bishops grant consent, then Robinson may well be seated in the house that same day. The custom with the other bishops-elect who have achieved full consent this week has been for the bishops to give them seat and voice.

A brief and by no means thorough reflection on the conversations:

When you read history, one of the things you notice in recent work is the commonly held and frequently voiced assumption that traditional Christian thinking has emphasized a dichotemy between body and spirit, a separation, and modern thinking is all about the reintegration of body and spirit. I have to say that this never made sense to me, and even less so these days. It seems to me that both of the conversations of this week - on homosexuality and marital sexuality - revolve around the question, "What does what we do with our bodies have to do with the spirit?" Does what we do with our bodies affect our spirit, our total being? Should what we do with our bodies reflect any greater plan or purpose built into creation? That's simplistic, but you know what I mean. And the answers fall into two camps: those who wish the Church to give into contemporary Western culture on this score say, in essence - no. What I do with my body has little relation to anything beyond itself. Those who wish the Church to resist the temptation to give into culture say, yes. My body and what I do with it matters, and matters not only in the context of my bed or even my own emotions, but matters in the context of what God wants for His creation.

That's simplistic, and there are countless complexities and caveats that could be offered (and will be, I'm sure!), but it just strikes me that those who maintain the truth of traditional Christian thinking on sexuality are more attuned to the relation between body and spirit than those who want to dispense with it.

Now granted, this connection between body and spirit was more often than not presented in negative terms - you do this with your body, this happens to your soul. The proper relationship between body and soul was of the former being subjugated to the latter. But the relationship was there and understood, nonethless. We are not angels or spirits only temporarily housed in bodies. Perhaps the gift of the modern era is in helping us to see the positive aspects of our integrated beings - not only as we see the positive aspects of marital love, for example, but also, on a more fundamental level, as we unpack the relations between body chemistry and emotions, etc.

New Jersey losing Franciscans

The Franciscan community covering the East Coast has shrunk to about 430 priests and brothers from 1,100 in the early 1960s. As a result, the order will no longer staff St. Joseph's Church in West Milford, where friars have preached the Gospel since the late 1800s.The parish will continue to operate under the diocese, which will supply its own priests."We're a disappearing race,'' said the Rev. Boniface Hanley, who celebrates his last Mass at St. Joseph's today. "That's a fact.'' The Franciscans are considering a range of other cutbacks, including leaving another West Milford church, Our Lady Queen of Peace."I just buried four [friars] last month," said the Rev. John Felice, the order's provincial minister in New York City. "And people are wondering why we are doing this?"Franciscans, Felice said, typically live in communities of at least three friars. After St. Joseph's had been reduced to one priest - the 78-year-old Hanley - the order decided it couldn't spare the manpower to bring the staffing up to previous levels."We are committed to living in community - that's who we are," Felice said. "We love being in these places, but the math just doesn't work for us."

While I was walking/running yesterday, I was listening to This American Life and heardthis personal essay, called "The Slingshot" read by its author. It's a simple, evocative meditation on death - and confronting it.

September 13, Michael and I will be speaking and signing books:

On a Wing and a Prayer Religious Books and Gifts
115 E. South Street, Plano, IL
Michael Dubruiel on: Giving Thanks to God in All Circumstances: Living the Eucharist
Amy on:Teens, God and Life: What They Really Want to Know

More on Michael's appearances here

At this point the only other appearance I have scheduled is a talk at the Diocese of Bridgeport (CT) catechetical convention, which is the first weekend of November.

An interesting reflection on the LA Cathedral

Secular commentary on the cathedral has dwelled on its abstractions, seemingly more Zen than Catholic, and emphasized, appreciatively, how understated are matters of faith in the building's structure. But there is nothing subdued or Zenlike in Simon Toparovsky's life-size bronze figure of a man, black skin flayed, nailed to a post in the moments before his death. Those who have gathered this morning reach out to the feet and knees of the figure on the cross, touching them tentatively. Some lean in to kiss the metal, which is already losing its dark, iron oxide patina. Their consoling embraces recognize the sacredness of the sculpture and make it ours.

The cathedral resists other embraces. Later, during the sermon, the servers bring out a large brazier to illustrate a point the priest is making about prayer. He pours a handful of incense onto the coals and another until the flames drive up a thick column of gray smoke. I anticipate that the cloying odor of burning incense — a powerful instigator of Catholic memories — will fill the air. It doesn't. By an accident of geometry or ventilation, the cloud ascends, spreads into a veil and joins the light it cannot change. The burning incense leaves no smell.

An LATimes article about a photographic exhibition documenting the building of Notre Dame de Ronchamp, designed by Le Courbusier

Ronchamp, chosen in an American Institute of Architects poll a few years ago as the most significant church building of the last 500 years, represented a startling shift in direction for Le Corbusier. "If you look at his previous work," Safe says, "he did these very stark towers, so the fact that he would get into this sort of poetic, formal manipulation for a church was pretty remarkable. Here is this man who was designing these relentlessly square and, I'm not kidding, mile-long blocks of apartment buildings that he proposed for Algiers and Paris, and all of a sudden he got poetic."

And like any good poem, the chapel at Ronchamp provokes a wide range of readings. Some believe the roof is shaped like the habits worn by French nuns; others feel it's intended as a metaphor for Noah's Ark. Safe has his own theory. "Le Corbusier always had a shell on his desk, and the structural idea behind it is very derivative of a double-sided shell with a bottom and a top with an open structure between it, and I think that's probably more likely." Even the Ronchamp gutter prompts speculation. Pointing to one of Hervé's pictures, Safe says, "This scupper where all of the rainwater comes off of the roof, people talk about [it as representing] a woman's breasts and the liquid of life coming out of the thing. I don't think Le Corbusier ever sat around and explained any of this to anybody, so we're free to interpret."

Links to various secular reviews of The Magdalene Sisters

Catholic News Service's review

James Bowman's (of the American Spectator) review.

As for me, I'm planning to take Katie to see Spellbound on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, August 2

Archbishop O'Malley's first Mass to be celebrated in Spanish.

"People come up and say things like, 'Father Dom, thanks for bringing the Catholic Church into the marketplace.' I say, 'Hey, I'm just a guy trying to sell a little duck doo.'"


Frank Rich on Mel Gibson's martyr complex

Perhaps "The Passion" bears little resemblance to that script. Either way, however, damage has been done: Jews have already been libeled by Mr. Gibson's politicized rollout of his film. His game from the start has been to foment the old-as-Hollywood canard that the "entertainment elite" (which just happens to be Jewish) is gunning for his Christian movie. But based on what? According to databank searches, not a single person, Jewish or otherwise, had criticized "The Passion" when Mr. Gibson went on Bill O'Reilly's show on Jan. 14 to defend himself against "any Jewish people" who might attack the film. Nor had anyone yet publicly criticized "The Passion" or Mr. Gibson by March 7, when The Wall Street Journal ran the interview in which the star again defended himself against Jewish critics who didn't yet exist. (Even now, no one has called for censorship of the film — only for the right to see it and, if necessary, debate its content.)Whether the movie holds Jews of two millenniums ago accountable for killing Christ or not, the star's pre-emptive strategy is to portray contemporary Jews as crucifying Mel Gibson. A similar animus can be found in a new book by one of Mr. Gibson's most passionate defenders, the latest best seller published by the same imprint (Crown Forum) that gave us Ann Coulter's "Treason." In "Tales From the Left Coast," James Hirsen writes, "The worldview of certain folks is seriously threatened by the combination of Christ's story and Gibson's talent."Now who might those "certain folks" be? Since no one was criticizing "The Passion" when Mr. Hirsen wrote that sentence, you must turn elsewhere in the book to decode it. In one strange passage, the author makes a fetish of repeating Bob Dylan's original name, Robert Zimmerman — a gratuitous motif in a tirade that is itself gratuitous in a book whose subtitle says its subject is "Hollywood stars." Another chapter is a screed about how "faith is often the subject of ridicule and negative portrayal" in Hollywood. One of the more bizarre examples Mr. Hirsen cites is "Sophie's Choice," in which "passages from the New Testament are quoted by Nazi officials in support of atrocities that were committed."

Immigrants and religion:

Filling the pews in Northeast Ohio

It's where they receive most of their help," said Nora Illades, a Mexican who married an American and came to Painesville in 1994. She said that at St. Mary, Spanish speakers receive financial advice and information on obtaining the "metricula," an identification card issued by the Mexican consulate that can open doors formerly closed to Mexican nationals. The metricula is a boon for workers who are not U.S. citizens and who send money back to relatives in Mexico. For them, wiring money can cost huge fees, said Fitzroy Da Silva, a Fifth Third Bank retail associate. Fifth Third and a growing number of banks now accept the metricula card to open a bank account. At least 200 Hispanics, and sometimes as many as 500, attend Mass weekly at St. Mary , said Vellenga, who learned to speak Spanish fluently during his missionary years in El Salvador. This mushrooming community has meant a huge boost to the church's membership rolls. In turn, St. Mary has chosen to be responsive, with Masses in Spanish and by offering special rituals familiar to Mexican Catholics, Vellenga said.

Adapting non-Christian religions for kids raised in Western culture:

Many non-Christian immigrants are keeping their religions alive in America by looking to an unlikely place: church. In some cases, such as the Chinmaya Mission, stories and songs might be infused with Christian teachings and concepts. In other examples from Buddhist temples to Sikh gurdwaras, immigrant congregations hold Sunday school, summer camps, discussion groups and singing practice -- activities often unheard of in their homelands. And many communities' efforts begin with educational programs for children that later grow to encompass families. At Camp Gurmat, a weeklong retreat for Sikh youth in a woodsy area in Silver Spring, young worshipers spend days and nights learning about Sikh history, identity and scriptures. But much of the program is devoted to helping children navigate their place in the United States.

Well, cool. I may be way behind the curve on this, but I didn't know that the ArtsJournal site had started running blogs, including one by Terry Teachout. Good stuff.

Here's the link to all the blogs

Just what I need. More to read.

A review of Catholicism and American Freedom by John McGreevy

Thank goodness

A gentle, but still thorough take-down of the bogus art interpretation in The Da Vinci Code in the NYTimes.

Friday, August 1

A previously unpublished interview with Walker Percy

..hat tip to TSO

Ramesh Ponnuru on Pryor, et al

So Republican rhetoric about the Democrats' having adopted a "religious test for office" is not true. It is true, however, that the Democrats have adopted the next best thing. They have a viewpoint test for office that has the effect of screening out all Catholics faithful to their church's teachings on abortion. The fact that the test screens out a lot of Protestants, too, makes the problem worse, not better. It really is true that faithful Catholics "need not apply" as far as most Democrats are concerned. A Catholic can win their support only by ceasing, on the decisive issue, to be Catholic — by breaking from his church's teaching, as Senator Durbin has done. (It is rather disgraceful for a man who went in six years from supporting the Human Life Amendment to supporting partial-birth abortion to keep carrying on about the extremism of people whose beliefs have been less supple.)

Thanks again to Captain Yips for word of another blogger from the Episcopal General Convention who leads off with a letter fromt he Archbishop of the West Indies to the presiding Bishop of the Convention:

Thus, it is out of our commitment to communion that my colleagues and I are
calling ECUSA to a focused reflection upon the Scriptural constraints that must mark our teaching about sexuality. We wish to be instruments in your ability
to be freed from cultural limitations, rather than be enslaved to them. After all, part of the grace of communion is that we each welcome from one another
the clarifying and liberating light of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Daily finally retires; replacement actually named right away, also:

The pope made two other U.S. appointments Friday. He named the Rev. Peter Jugis, 46, as bishop of Charlotte, N.C., and Monsignor Sam Jacobs, 65, as bishop of Houma-Thibodaux, La. Jacobs had been serving as bishop of Alexandria, La.

Andrew Sullivan's conscience:

I feel my own conscience getting closer and closer to making the same decision.[to leave] It tears me apart to see no prospect of the Catholic Church ending its war on gay people and their dignity in my lifetime. In fact, I think it's getting worse; and the next Pope from the developing world could make the current one seem humane. Leaving the sacraments would be a huge blow to the soul; but the pope just called the love I have for my boyfriend "evil." That's a word he couldn't bring himself to use about Saddam Hussein. How can I recognize what I know to be true with what the Pope has just said? I cannot. It doesn't leave many options but departure.

The mention of "evil" in the document:

Where the government's policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

Comment and be kind. Imagine, not that Andrew Sullivan, along with the authors of the letters he quotes, is a collection of bytes in cyberspace, but is, say, your son, your brother or your friendly neighbor. Speak to him that way. Because, in a way, he is.

David Morrison on the document


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