Monday, July 1

More Northern Indiana adults getting Life All Wrong:

(Former) Baptist school principal confesses to indescretions with 11-year old girl.

You knew this was coming...

Jody remarks in the comments on the Cosby post:

To him, it is as real as a wine becoming blood, a wafer flesh, or a god incarnating in human form. ...Faith, remember.

Is it really all the same? Is "faith" a one-tone word, applicable to all senses of belief in exactly the same way?

Of course not. As another reader points out, "credulity" isn't the same as "faith." But what is the difference? It seems to me that making this distinction is crucial for believers in this post-modern age. (or is it post-post modern? I forgot...)

We live in times in which relativism reigns, and the content of belief is not as important as a)the fact of believing and b)the level of sincerity involved in your belief.

But you know, that's what happens when a few things get lost: logic and rationality, and authority.. Yeah, authority. You heard me. But not "authority" in the blindly submissive, authoritarian (hah) sense, but rather in the people who can testify and witness to truth sense.

So sure, the belief in the Real Presence or Jesus' divinity might seem the equivalent of believing that truth can be discerned from throwing seeds into a fire. On the surface, as statements, they are. But when you consider the authority standing behind the first set of statements, the view shifts a little. The person who made those assertions rose from the dead - (which yes, presents a whole other set of problems of "belief" but maybe not...) - an event that was testified to be true by many witnesses (whose subsequent actions - that is, dedicating their lives to spreading this Word) are inexplicable through any other motive except the one they said did, indeed propel them - that what they were saying was true.

Christianity doesn't rest on reasoned propositions, as helpful as those may be. Christianity rests on the testimony of those who experienced Jesus and talked about it, and therefore it rests on Jesus himself.

There's more, but that's the best I can do at this moment, with Joseph awake from his nap and heading for the kitchen drawers.

As you can see, I'm personalizing the template, making the title expressive of reality. I'm still playing, so hold yer fire until it's done, which will be next week.
Peter Vere explains why hard cases make bad law.
Irony while driving:

Lawn sprinklers going full force, spraying the grass, the shrubs and the flowers in front of the local "women's clinic," making sure that no matter what, the lives of the plants are preserved.

Wacky Stuff with Bill Cosby in Philadelphia, but not exactly what you'd expect.

Cosby has evicted a long-time friend from his property, which she has overseen for decades, because (she says) Cosby's spiritual advisor says that she's a witch.

But both Rodgerses blame the breakup of a 40-year friendship on the intervention of an Englishman named David Kirby. They said the Cosbys call him their "lama."A lama is a Buddhist monk. But Gladys Rodgers said Kirby used fire, dice, seeds and beads to do "readings" while wearing a "gorgeous purple-and-white striped [robe] with an amulet around his neck."This does not appear to comport with traditional Buddhism....Rodgers said Kirby became part of the Cosbys' inner circle after the murder of their only son, Ennis, in 1997."I first met him when he came to the house a few years ago to do a spiritual cleansing before [Cosby daughter] Erin's wedding," Rodgers said. "He said he once was a monk and lived in a cave for nine years. He'd attained a spiritual enlightenment that allowed him to see things other people didn't."Rodgers said she watched him do a "fire reading." "He starts a fire and throws some kind of seeds into it and works these beads and rolls dice," she said.Rodgers said she'd seen him a few times over the years, but trouble began earlier last month....The next morning Kirby did "a ritual of fire" in the living room while Rodgers, Cosby and Cosby's cook sat in the kitchen. When the ritual was complete, Kirby joined them at the kitchen table and began talking. As he did, he rolled dice, Rodgers said. She said Kirby accused her of bringing a person into the house "on every full moon."...Kirby said the witchcraft was designed to help Rodgers gain control over the house and over Cosby.

Why do people get so desperate for meaning, control...whatever..that they let obvious charlatans into their lives? This is too bad. I was under the impression that Cosby's wife and their children were Catholic.

Here's an article about the bus that crashed carrying pilgrims to Medjugorje
Pope thanks the faithful for their support and prayers

The 82-year-old pontiff did not refer directly to his health in remarks to those gathered for his weekly address in St. Peter's Square. But he did say that it was the prayers of others that helped keep him going. "My ministry is supported by the incessant prayer of the people of God: By so many people unknown to me — but very close to my heart — who offer to the Lord their prayers and their sacrifices according to the aims of the pope," he said. "In the moments of great difficulty and suffering, this spiritual force is real help and an intimate comfort." The remarks came amid discussion of whether the pontiff might consider stepping down. However, Vatican ( news - web sites) specialist Vittorio Messori, who collaborated with John Paul on the best-selling book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," said in a newspaper article Saturday that the pontiff had decided firmly not to retire.

Thanks to Jay for this link to a story about gubernatorial candidates in Michigan doing their best to avoid talking about abortion, especially pro-life liberal Democrat David Bonior:

The third Democrat, U.S. Rep. David Bonior, a former Catholic seminarian, has to hope that abortion politics play a negligible role in the election. His basic opposition to abortion is at odds with prevailing sentiment in a Democratic primary in which polls regularly show a strong majority of self-identified abortion rights voters

Did you know that because of the greater availability and sophistication of audio technology, the use of braille has been declining? I didn't. This article from the Boston Globe details why and sees a slight resurgence.'

'It has played a vital part in my life,'' says Timothy Vernon, 18, of Mansfield, a member of the National Honor Society and a lector at his Catholic church who will attend Fitchburg State College in the fall. ''I sometimes wonder how people without braille get through life. It's saddening that more people don't know braille.''
Saddening it may be, but the fact is that most blind people don't. Braille literacy has fallen from as high as 50 percent of all blind people 30 years ago to as low as about 12 percent today. Reversing that trend, and restoring the place of braille, has been the main mission the past 20 years of a venerable yet little-known Boston-based publisher, National Braille Press. ''In the last five years, we think we've begun to see a turnaround, but it's just begun,'' says William M. Raeder, the longtime president of the 75-year-old publisher on St. Stephen Street. As he sees it, much is at stake: ''The only way for blind people to truly read and write is via braille.''

Scenes of Catholics around the world this weekend:

A Hungarian Catholic priest prays at the site of the fatal crash of a busload of pilgrims traveling to Bosnia.

A Catholic soldier prays with his M-16 beside him during Mass in Afghanistan

A Catholic nun receives Communion in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Peruvian Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Peter (and Paul, we presume) by carrying his image in boats

A Catholic rioter throws a tire wheel in West Belfast

Colombian Catholics attend the funeral of a priest slain by leftist rebels.

A look at how California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon (a Catholic) is and isn't using religion. He appeared on the Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network a little while back. Blech.
Falun Gong hacked into Chinese television channels last week

Falun Gong hijacks satellite channels
Chinese religious sect Falun Gong successfully hijacked satellite TV broadcasts to homes in the Shandong province last week.
Viewers were surprised to find a banner reading 'Falun Gong is good' beamed across their screens during prime time on Tuesday. At the same time, people in Beijing complained of picking up their phones and hearing a five-minute recorded message from Falun Gong attacking the Chinese regime's attempts to silence the group.
The phone messages contained details of torture which the group claimed had been carried out on its members currently in jail.

Gary Wills on the reluctance of American news figures and analysts to factor religion into their ocassion.
What if the Dolans traded jobs for a day?

(In case you didn't know it, Archbishop-elect Dolan's brother is a morning radio DJ in Milwaukee)

Finally, a journalists wakes up to the dissonance between the Catholic public's alleged pressure for "zero tolerance" and their orgies of grief when their priest is removed.

When the nation's Roman Catholic bishops passed a policy this month to remove from ministry any priest or deacon who had sexually abused a minor even once, many lay Catholics at the time thought it wasn't tough enough. But now that clergy around the country are starting to be removed, some Catholics are wondering if what they thought they wanted isn't too harsh and simplistic. As some popular priests find themselves facing removal, their parishioners and colleagues are wrestling with the realization that the policy may essentially end the careers of some priests they have grown to love and respect.

I have to wonder about two things: Although newspaper stories are selective and incomplete narratives of a situation, I'm struck by the consistent lack of concern for victims that I see in all of these stories about parishes grieving their priests. There are never any dissenting voices quoted in these stories from the parishes themselves - is it because there aren't any or because such voices don't fit easily into the story the reporter is trying to tell?

This is not a good way for me to start my week

Reading articles like this one from the Dallas Morning News (LRR)

One of the priests who was a part of the St. Sebastian's Angels website, and was serving as a pastor in a Dallas parish, resigned. Why?

Because the poor baby says he received death threats.

But - the police say they've received only one complaint from him, regarding a phone threat to "beat him up." Now he's staying at an "undisclosed location" for "his own safety."

Spare me. What in the world is this really about? Could it be that the bishops of Dallas, who have been moving priests who fail to do background checks on volunteers, didn't have the courage to move this guy because he did something seriously wrong that indicated that his commitment to his priesthood was a few degrees less than serious, so this story about threats was concocted to get him out of there? Interested parishioners are well within their rights asking why wasn't the guy removed when his participation was first discovered - why was he allowed to stay at all?

Good morning all.

A quiet weekend spent mostly around the palace here.

On Saturday, we did venture downtown to the "Greek Festival" - remember I told you before that when it's not snowing here, this town likes to have festivals practically every weekend at the downtown park they constructed over the flood plain downtown. This week it was the Greeks - there wasn't much to it. One booth selling reproductions of Greek classical sculpture, the other sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Church, selling icons and such. And then, of course, there was food. I liked the food better than Michael did, although he did like the desserts. I tend not to like Greek desserts - too sticky sweet for me. We ate our lunch with a small band playing Greek music in the backgroun, then left. We contemplated taking a walk around the PrideFest being held across the street at the same time, but they were charging an entrance fee, so we moved on and came home.

Michael worked on a book much of the weekend. I worked on a pamphlet I'm doing with another Catholic blogger - details to come when it's all finished and the publisher's satisfied enough to print it, I guess. We took our walks both days, went to Mass early Sunday. We've learned who our new pastor is to be, but since we don't know the guy (he's now in South Bend,), he's just a name at this point.

We watched The Man Who Wasn't There, which was (in my opinion) more meaningless cinematic dexterity from the Coen brothers. I loved Raising Arizona, their first successful film, but I've never been able to grab onto any of their films since. O Brother came close, but it, like all the others, was just too arch, too distant from human emotion to impact me. (Not even The Big Lebowski, Nancy, although my husband loves it.)

Ah yes, and through the entire weekend, we chased Joseph, who had his rough nights, but rebounded nicely during the day to pursue his hobbies of opening drawers, scattering kitchen utensils through the house, hauling trash cans out of their proper places and digging mysterious dark particles out of corners and popping them in his mouth before we can get to him.

But then he comes up to me, puts his hands on my cheeks and murmurs, "Mama. Mama," so of course, all is forgiven.