Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

National Catholic Reporter Announces It Will Restrict Its Commenting Services, Due to "Dramatic Increase in Trolls and Disruptive Comments"

Last week, I pointed you to some valuable (and worrisome) commentary about how trolls are trashing open discussion spaces online and causing some news sites to shut down their commentary threads. 

Charles Pierce on Hispanic Catholics As Key to "Catholic Vote" in 2016 Elections

Monday, August 29, 2016

In New Jersey and Virginia, Lawsuits Filed Against Catholic Institutions Firing Gay Employees: Pretty Talk Not Getting Us Down the Road to Mercy and Justice

Last week, I pointed you to a story recounted at the Bondings 2.0 website about the firing of Paramus Catholic high school (New Jersey) teacher Kate Drumgoole after the school found out that she had married her same-sex partner Jaclyn Vanore. Today, Bob Shine reports at Bondings on the firing of John M. Murphy by the Saint Francis Home (a care facility for the elderly) and the Catholic diocese of Richmond, Virginia. 

In the News: Slight But Discernible Trend of White Catholics Away from Trump — What Does It Mean?

The Blogger platform (which I use here) has a new feature that allows bloggers to designate a "featured post" on the blog's homepage. Some readers may have noticed that I've been using the new feature, and yesterday, I chose to feature a post I wrote at the end of July taking note of an article Father Thomas Reese had just published then, noting that the Catholic vote might well determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections. Reese asks,

Parramatta (Australia) Diocesan Newspaper Catholic Outlook Back Online, with Text of Bishop Vincent Long's Ann D. Clark Lecture Calling for Catholic Church to Reassess Approach to Gay Folks

For those who may not have seen the note I added last night to my posting earlier yesterday noting that Bishop Vincent Long's Ann D. Clark lecture had once again disappeared from the website of his diocesan newspaper Catholic Outlook (and, indeed, h/t to Bose, that the entire website was down):

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Text of Bishop Vincent Long's Lecture Calling for Reassessment of Catholic Cruelty to Gay People Has Disappeared Again

The text of Bishop Vincent Long's recent Ann D. Clark lecture in Penrith, Australia, about which I blogged recently, has once again disappeared from the website of his diocesan newspaper Catholic Outlook. As I noted in the posting I've just linked, Catholic Outlook published the text on 19 August, the day after Bishop Long presented the lecture, and within a day, after the lecture began circulating and being commented about online, it vanished from the Catholic Outlook site. It then popped back up briefly, only to be removed from the website again.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Where Have All the Christian Intellectuals Gone? (Does Anyone Remember John Paul's and Ratzinger's Purge of Catholic Theologians?)

It's a thing now among journalists and religion commentators to ask what has happened to the public intellectuals of the churches in the past few decades — as Catholic commentator E.J. Dionne does in this Commonweal essay. Where have they gone? Why are they not with us any longer — the Niebuhrs (or, as Fred Clark points out, the Martin Luther Kings who never get mentioned in this discussion, and isn't that curious, and noteworthy)?

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Churches and Gay Folks: Three Statements To Read Side by Side

Three statements from religious news sites today that should be read and discussed side by side, I think:

When We Already Know That Every Zygote Is a Baby, Why Waste Time Looking at Scientific Evidence? A Footnote

I have a few more things to say about about the dishonesty of those who want to use natural law theology to argue that a zygote has unique genetic material indicating its ontological status as a full human person, but who simultaneously want to pretend that the fact that the majority of zygotes are aborted naturally has no importance in the natural law discussion of abortion. I'm adding to what I wrote yesterday about these matters. You'll encounter this morally dishonest argument frequently among right-wing "pro-life" Christians, and notably among right-wing Catholic ones, precisely because natural law theology appeals to nature and the Creator of the natural world as it builds its moral arguments.

The Alt-Right and Donald Trump's Campaign: A Brief Primer

As Charles Pierce wrote yesterday, this is "the week everyone in America started saying 'alt-right.' " As a service to you readers, here's a list of article I've read in the past two days about the alt-right and its mainstreaming via Trump's campaign, which have struck me as helpful. I don't by any means pretend that this is an exhaustive list of articles commenting on these themes. They're only ones I happen to have read in my daily scanning of the news, which I'd like to share with you.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: When We Already Know That Every Zygote Is a Baby, Why Waste Time Looking at Scientific Evidence?

In a just-published essay, National Catholic Reporter regular Phyllis Zagano, who was recently appointed to the papal commission to study ordination of women to the diaconate, writes that embryo destruction is the great moral shortcoming of IVF. Phyllis Zagano takes for granted — this is not questioned or questionable, in her theological worldview — that magisterial teaching holding that a conceptus is a human person, a baby, from the moment egg and sperm unite, is true and binding on all Catholic consciences. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"We've Got to Get Past the Fact That Sexual Orientation Is a Reason to Discriminate": Video Resources

I continue working on the writing project I've been commissioned to write about Garrard Conley's painful, beautiful memoir Boy Erased, a story of growing up gay in a conservative evangelical Missionary Baptist preacher's family in Arkansas, and being sent to Love in Action in Memphis in 2004 for "reparative" "therapy." I mentioned this project early this month, and wrote a review of the book in July.

On Wrecking of Online Conversation Spaces by Trolls: Recent Commentary

Because I happen to have run across two very good pieces of commentary in the past day or so, about how trolls are trashing open discussion spaces online and causing some news sites to shut down their commentary threads, I commented on this topic on Facebook today. I thought some readers of Bilgrimage might be interested in what I had to say.

Footnote to Commentary on Bishop Vincent Long's Ann D. Clark Lecture: Link Is Now Back Up

A footnote to what I posted yesterday about the disappearing link to Bishop Vincent Long's Ann D. Clark lecture, which had been uploaded to the website of his diocesan newspaper, Catholic Outlook, on 19 August, and then vanished from that website after the lecture began to be discussed and circulated online on 20 August:

Monday, August 22, 2016

On a Disappearing Lecture by a Bishop Challenging Injustice Towards Gay Folks: Churches Hostile to Gays Might Consider Just Shutting Up about a Loving God

Last Friday, the publication Catholic Outlook, a publication of the Catholic diocese of Parramatta in Australia, uploaded to its website the text of a lecture given by the diocesan bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen the preceding day as the annual Ann D. Clark lecture in Penrith, Australia. When I saw links to Bishop Long's lecture on Twitter over the weekend, I shared a link to the Catholic Outlook text of the entire lecture. That link is here.*

Peter Montgomery on How Right-Wing Christians Justify Support for Trump; Frederick Clarkson on Dominionist Agenda Hidden in Plain Sight in U.S. Right-Wing Christianity

One of several reasons I have found it difficult to blog here of late is that the ongoing discussion of Donald Trump's candidacy in the U.S. has pulled me into rather intense daily discussions on Facebook and Twitter of issues like the influence of race matters in the 2016 elections and the role religion is playing in the elections.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Michael Coren: Not Only Did Some Christians Oppose Slavery — Many Christians Defended Slavery, Citing the Bible and Longstanding Tradition

As Michael Coren reminds us in his Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Mind and Heart Over Same-Sex Marriage (Toronto: Signal, 2016), p. 61, not only did some Christians oppose slavery and work for aboltion, but many Christians also avidly defended slavery. Noting as they did so that slavery was practiced by the biblical patriarchs, blessed by the bible, taken for granted by Paul, and had long been considered essential to proper social order in Christian societies — just as the subordination of women to men was essential if Christian social order was to be maintained in Christian societies. 

What Earthly Good Do Churches Do? On Christian Support for Donald Trump, and Whether It's Possible to Remain Christian

Michael Boyle describes, and brilliantly so, the turning that happened inside him after he entered the Dominicans and began preparing for ordination — and then realized that what the Catholic party line was telling him about celibacy, clerical life, and health was not quite cogent:

In the Midst of Death We Are in Life: Spiritual Resources for Living (Gracefully) Through It All

Legendary New Orleans jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain died on 6 August, and his funeral was held two days ago at St. Louis cathedral in New Orleans. Charles Pierce has uploaded to his "Politics" blog at Esquire video footage of Irma Thomas singing "Precious Lord" — so beautifully and reverently — during the offertory part of the funeral Mass. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Michael Coren: Let's Not Forget That Many Churches Used to Oppose (and Not Long Ago) Gender Equality and Women's Right to Vote, Citing the Bible As Their Authority

Another snippet from Michael Coren's Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Mind and Heart Over Same-Sex Marriage (Toronto: Signal, 2016), p. 67. As he notes, many churches today maintain that they would be in violation of unchangeable biblical teaching if they changed how they dealt with gay* people, and became welcoming, affirming, and accepting of those who are gay. 

Claims of Persecution and Catholic Support for Trump: Need to Move Beyond Defensive Parochial Response to Engage Real Issues — Like White Catholic Racism

In a recent essay for Fortune, Matthew Schmalz, who teaches religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, suggests that Donald Trump resonates with some Catholic voters because "[t]here’s a sense among many non-college-educated, white, Catholic voters that they are doubly marginalized—by their economic status and by their religious identity." As Schmalz explains, though (white) Catholics have been assimilated in American society, many Catholics still carry "generational memories" of having been excluded from affluent mainstream Protestant-dominated culture in the U.S.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Michael Coren: In Cultures Where Young People Have an Easier Time Being Gay, Somber Irony That Greatest Opposition Is Still in Christian Homes

"Do All the Good You Can": Not the Catholic Cup of Tea — Really?!

As I noted last week, it is fashionable in some circles within the U.S. Catholic commentariat — I'm going to call these circles centrist ones (and more on that in a moment) — to disparage the kind of traditional Wesleyan piety represented in the venerable Wesleyan adage Hillary Clinton cited in her acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential candidacy:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

John Pavlovitz Commemorates Pulse Massacre: "49 LGBTQ Children Were Murdered in a Nightclub in Orlando"

On this eve of the two-month anniversary of the mass shooting of gay* people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando — the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in American history, and the deadliest incident of violence against gay people in U.S. history — John Pavlovitz has re-posted this 13 June reflection from his blog on his Facebook page today:

On the World of Meanness Hidden in Doctrinally Pure Catholicism: When the Humanity of the Zygote Trumps the Humanity of Post-Birth Gay* Human Beings — NCR and Lead-Up to U.S. Elections

1. Polish Dominican priest Father Pawel Guzinski, who is not situated in the hard-right wing of Polish Catholicism, as far as I can determine, told National Catholic Reporter's writer Donald Snyder the following on the eve of Pope Francis's visit to Poland:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

We've Ended Up with Donald Trump as a Candidate Because the U.S. Churches — the White Ones — Have Brought Trump to Us: 25 Theses on What the Church Is (Not) Good For

1. It is frightening to be in the final period of one's life, to be gay, and to see someone like Donald Trump not only rising to power in one's own nation, but vying for leadership of the nation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I'm Here, and Appreciate Your Asking After Me; My Apologies for Being Silent

Thank you all for asking about me. I've had a number of emails from people asking how I am, and I see John's comment today asking if I'm in a coma.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Michael Coren's Epiphany and Garrard Conley's Boy Erased: "America Remains a Place Where Queer People Have to Fight for Their Lives" — Implications for 2016 Elections

I'm now reading Michael Coren's book Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of Heart and Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage (Toronto: Signal, 2016). I blogged about Coren's book last month (when I had only read excerpts from it), and pointed you to a very good review of it by Michael Boyle at Michael's Sound of Sheer Silence blog.