Tuesday, February 10, 2009

They're Baaaccckkk


In recent months, dioceses around the world have been offering Catholics a spiritual benefit that fell out of favor decades ago — the indulgence, a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife — and reminding them of the church’s clout in mitigating the wages of sin.

The fact that many Catholics under 50 have never sought one, and never heard of indulgences except in high school European history (Martin Luther denounced the selling of them in 1517 while igniting the Protestant Reformation), simply makes their reintroduction more urgent among church leaders bent on restoring fading traditions of penance in what they see as a self-satisfied world.

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.”
Oh good lord. I remember these from my early childhood. No wonder I still battle with guilt issues.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

what would Jesus say?

In the NY Times' article by David Kirkpatrick today, A Fight Among Catholics Over Which Party Best Reflects Church Teachings, we learn that the church is currently divided as to which political party best reflects the full spectrum of church teachings. Catholics make up about 1/3 of the voting electorate.

Today is annual "respect life" Sunday for Catholics across America and there are those who believe that issues just as important as abortion are immigration, racism and the war on Iraq. But rich and powerful bishops who apparently pay no mind to what Jesus Christ actually taught regarding social justice and have a total disregard to why their church is tax exempt, have a different agenda. Here's an example:

In Scranton, Pa., every Catholic attending Mass this weekend will hear a special homily about the election next month: Bishop Joseph Martino has ordered every priest in the diocese to read a letter warning that voting for a supporter of abortion rights amounts to endorsing “homicide.”

“Being ‘right’ on taxes, education, health care, immigration and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life,” the bishop wrote. “It is a tragic irony that ‘pro-choice’ candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of ‘social justice.’ ”
Conservatives argue that ending legal protections for abortion outweighs almost all other issues, while liberals contend that social programs can more effectively reduce the abortion rate than trying to overturn Supreme Court precedents. They cite a 2007 statement from the United States bishops explicitly condoning a vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights if the vote was cast for other “grave” reasons.

The subtleties can be slippery. The Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington, Del., where Mr. Biden lives, is promoting a video produced by the conservative Catholic group Fidelis that is intended to persuade Catholic voters to put opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage above all other issues.
What would Jesus say? Jesus knew that social justice would end most other societal ills. If the money that was pissed away in bombing the shit out of Iraq was spent at home, every road and school in America could be rebuilt, creating jobs, good education for all, a safe environment and every American would have health care, every expectant mother would be guaranteed health care during her pregnancy as well as health care for her child.

Would Jesus have preferred war to healthy happy life in America? Wouldn't there be more respect for life if there weren't so many dirty little racist secrets? Would Jesus approve of the greed of the GOP and the inhuman foreign policy that the US asserts? Would Jesus really approve of the RCC's non negotiable issues: abortion, stem-cell research, human cloning, euthanasia and same-sex marriage at the expense of issues such as poverty, racism, sexism, child abuse, lack of adequate health care for America's already born children, lack of jobs and the working poor? I think not. I've read the New Testament- the whole thing in its proper context. What's clear is that if people had love in their hearts, there wouldn't be a GOP as we know it.

No, Jesus would see through the pharisaic lip service to the abortion issue (which by the way was not banned when the Republicans had control of EVERYTHING, mind them) and see the greater evil being perpetrated by the power hungry, the greedy and the mindless of the poor- today's Republican candidates.

The GOP does not make this a christian country at all. When liberals speak of social justice and the poor, it makes conservatives seethe, it makes them hateful and it makes them more apt to deny equal rights and basic amenities such as food and shelter to the least among us- the least of us who are already born.

What would Jesus say about all the racist comments about Obama by so many Catholics?


Today's reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
25:35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

UPDATE: See also Social Justice Catholics fight back against the Church's elite Repubican hierarchy at Americablog.com

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A War Prayer

Whenever we read ... the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind. And, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.
-- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Petraeus endorses book that slams 'non-believers' in the military
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann noted on Thursday that "General David Petraeus ... has endorsed a book written by an evangelical Lutheran chaplain in the US Army, in which the chaplain claims non-believers can lead to 'failure' in their military unit."

A dust jacket quote from Petraeus says the book "should be in every rucksack for those times when Soldiers need spiritual energy."
I don't know what's in the book, but if it's written by someone who takes god's war manual, the holy bible, literally, I'm sure that it should be the companion piece to every soldier who is out there fighting for the "christian" cause (the war on Iraq and Afghanistan) if he or she isn't already carrying a bible in their backpack for inspiration. (See How Many Has God Killed)

But wait! The atheists and non believers have taken exception to this book endorsement by Petraeus. They too can kill for the cause. They don't need no stinking book.

A MRFF (Military Religious Freedom Foundation) representative called Petraeus's endorsement "a slap in the face from the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to the 21% of the men and women fighting there who define themselves as atheists or having no religious preference ... a reprehensible betrayal of all of the non-theists who are putting their lives on the line for our country with every bit as much bravery and dedication as their religious comrades."

Weinstein himself stated, "General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, via his unadulterated and shocking public endorsement of a book touting both Christian supremacy and exceptionalism."
Indeed. But Keith Olbermann took the most exception to the fact that Petraeus' name has been floated as a potential VP candidate for McCain, the future war president who will make bush look, well bush league.

"How about army regulations against promoting religion, against proselytizing?" Olbermann asked. "General Petraeus, who never has been troubled by Army regulations, nor Constitutional ones, claims that when McCoy asked him for a recommendation, he didn't give him to publish it, that it was only intended for McCoy personally."

Petraeus has claimed he "never knew" his comments were being his comments were being seen publicly. However, as Olbermann points out, "Petraeus's endorsement has been on that book jacket since the book was published last year."

"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
-- From the War Prayer by Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 09, 2008