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As a progressive Christian I …

1.  Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2.  Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

  • Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
  • Believers and agnostics,
  • Women and men,
  • Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
  • Those of all classes and abilities;

4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5.  Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6.  Strive for peace and justice among all people;

7.  Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

8.  Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

http://progressivechristianity.org/the-8-points/

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I heard this article on NPR and was appalled. Not at the existence or subsistence of convents but at the property ownership of the Vatican.
For the full article go here:
http://www.npr.org/2013/01/25/170267884/spains-strapped-towns-look-to-churches-for-cash

Spain’s Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash

by LAUREN FRAYER
January 25, 2013 3:16 PM
NPR

The Catholic Church is Spain’s largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes.

The Catholic Church owns about half of [Alcala de Henares]. Sometimes people die and leave their house or business to the church, which then becomes the landlord.
..

Nowadays, there’s a different tax man in town who happens to be broke. The city of Alcala de Henares is $400 million in debt.

Meanwhile, if the Catholic Church had to pay tax on all its property in Spain, it could owe up to $4 billion a year.

“These days, towns are cutting their budgets for health care, education, infrastructure and welfare. But the Catholic Church hasn’t had to make a single cut because it gets money from the state,” said Juanjo Pico, a spokesman for Europa Laica, a Spanish group that lobbies for the separation of church and state.

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A RESPONSE TO AN ATHEIST BLOGGER WHO HAS CHOSEN TO BECOME CATHOLIC – click here for the website

I don’t know you; I came across an article about your conversion on CNN news. I am delighted that you have found the love of God; I am somehow offended that you have chosen the Catholic Church. With all its immorality in leadership, its disregard for truth, let alone God’s Truth, its dismissal of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of female religious and in the call to priesthood among women, its rejection of homosexuals as disordered, yet its acceptance of large numbers of homosexuals into the priesthood, its protection and promotion of child abusers and their bishops, its total and absolute disregard for the spiritual and emotional torment of child victims and their families… it is impossible for me to find the Truth that is Jesus within the contemporary Catholic Church.

I wish you well, I hope you can take Jesus with you on your journey into Catholicism and remain faithful to the guidance of the Truth.

It seems to me that in order for the Catholic Church to make any kind of meaningful recovery from the current dismal situation of international moral turpitude, there will have to be an overhaul of the Code of Canon Law, and a re-education of the bishops in the inappropriate use of “mental reservation” which has been used to avoid telling the truth to civil authorities and to victims.  It is pointless for reforms to be written in country after country if the priests and bishops can ultimately still lie while they assuage their consciences by recourse to Canon Law and archaic Catholic Moral Doctrine. Bishops are still instructing victim’s advocates to never admit there has been other accusations against, or other victims of, a particular priest. It has to stop. The dishonesty and denial has to stop.

Canon Law.

We need to have the Vatican remove Canon 1728.2. To quote Sr. Maureen Turlish:

While possible victims of childhood sexual abuse and other lay witnesses are asked to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth etc.” during a canonical trial concerning the public good, an alleged priest-perpetrator is not. Canon 1728.2 says, “The accused is not bound to confess the delict [crime] nor can an oath be administered to the accused.”

http://ncronline.org/blogs/examining-crisis/philly-trial-reveals-unreliability-religions-self-policing-policies

The Scandal of Secrecy

It is time to open all the secret archives, and have an independent non-Catholic committee review the documents for records of criminal behavior. The privacy of priests should be upheld except in cases of written record of criminal behavior such as the sexual abuse of minors.

… canon law encourages — and even requires — church leaders to engage in secrecy so as to prevent scandal. If a bishop suspects a cleric has committed sexual abuse, for instance, canon law requires the bishop to conduct an investigation (or delegate the investigation) and then place the results into a secret archive. Those privy to such investigations swear secrecy and risk excommunication for violating that secrecy, note the authors.

From a review of Sex, Priests and Secret Codes, Thomas P. Doyle, A.W.R. Sipe and Patrick J. Wall, Volt Press.
http://ca.renewedpriesthood.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=764

Mental Reservations

We also need to remove the option of “mental reservation” from the bishops play book. Because despite its “official” rejection it continues to be implemented. Why? Because it serves a useful purpose.  To refer to the same review quoted above:

Then there’s the technique of mental reservation, which, say the authors, is used by a person who is caught between an obligation to keep a secret and a duty to tell the truth. Furthermore, Catholic moral theology allows a person caught in such a dilemma to use misleading words to deceive another so long as a deliberate lie is not told. This is commonly employed in order to avoid a greater harm.  Justification for mental reservation is built into the oath cardinals take to never reveal to anyone whatsoever has been confided in me to keep secret and the revelation of which could cause damage or dishonor to the Holy Church. This might go a long way toward explaining why church officials lie about scandal when, as the authors contend, honesty is the best policy.

From a review of Sex, Priests and Secret Codes, Thomas P. Doyle, A.W.R. Sipe and Patrick J. Wall, Volt Press

http://ca.renewedpriesthood.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=764

Catholics4Change

 

BY KATHY KANE

I have been to the trial several times but today was a very difficult day. The courtroom was packed with Lynn supporters on the defense side and victims, family members and supporters on the prosecution side. Although, it was so crowded some late-comers had to mix in where there was an available seat.  I looked around at the people who I never knew until this past year: Vicky and Steve, whose bodies were sexually violated as children; Art, whose beloved son is now gone forever; Sr. Maureen, always fighting for children and victims; Joy, who founded a support group for parents of victims;  Sharon, Vicky’s rock through the hard times; Irene and her husband, who attend vigils and support Justice4PaKids; Bill and other senior citizens, who do not let age or infirmity keep them from the vigils outside the Archdiocese in the rain, cold or heat…

View original post 714 more words

Yes, it’s true: there is Justice going on in the Church. Read on and rejoice! Better yet, support CTA.

“In the last two weeks, three parishes in the Seattle Archdiocese have said they will NOT participate in Bishop Sartain’s anti-gay campaign that is being run by NOM, an organization known for its racist strategies.

Instead, by their action, these parishes have declared they are going to stand on the side of love and stand with their LGBT parishioners.”

Jim Fitzgerald, Call to Action

Read more of the story here on NCR.

The changes in the Liturgy are being imposed on Catholics this Sunday. 

  • Do you wonder why a liturgy that was written 400 years ago (1600 years after Jesus, in a language that is long dead and which was not used by Jesus or the Apostles) is being held up as more legitimate, more TRUE than the liturgy that was developed just 50 years ago, a liturgy that has enabled us to enter into the meaning and spirit of the mass is a deeper way and participate in it more fully?
  • Do you wonder why obscure Latin phraseology is thought to be better than contemporary syntax?  Is the goal greater understanding or greater feelings of unworthiness?
  • Does it concern you that “Christ died for ALL” has been changed to “Christ died for MANY?”
  • Is the leadership of our Church simply exercising power or really concerned to help us engage in the Mass and experience spiritual enrichment?
  • Are you saddened that “for us MEN and for our salvation” has not been changed to simply read, “for US and our salvation?”
  • Does it seem to you that we are now regressing to a less inclusive message of salvation, a more anti-female liturgical practice (more and more churches rejecting female altar servers)?
  • Do you think Jesus held anything other than a cup made of pottery at the Last Supper? Certainly not a “precious chalice” that would have adorned a Roman Emperor’s table?
  • Can we honestly say that the Church is becoming more reflective of the message of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, who came to save all of humanity and treated women with respect and equality – sending Mary of Magdala as the first witness and “apostle” (one officially sent with a message and given the authority of the one who is sending) of the resurrection?
  • Is the church you attend looking and behaving more like the New Testament churches of Peter and Paul or more like the medieval Roman churches in which the members were ignorant, illiterate, superstitious peasants and the priests and bishops lived and behaved like aristocracy and kings?
  • Most importantly … do you care enough about your universal Church and your local church community to take a stand in favor of good liturgy, lay empowerment and involvement, and fidelity to the teaching of Jesus?

Call to Action has prepared a flier you can download here:  JC-National-Liturgy-Flyer. It suggests the need for inclusive dialogue with Catholics on these changes, and also suggests ways in which faithful and committed Catholics can make their concerns heard and their resistance felt.


BALTIMORE (CNS) — At the start of their annual three-day fall assembly in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops were urged to restore the luster, credibility and beauty of the Catholic Church in the hearts of its members.

In reading the reviews of this General Assembly and looking at the photo above, it seems that women or women’s issues were only present in the discussion of the nature of “true” marriage and in the archaic (one commentator says creepy) metaphor of bishops being wedded to the Church (personified as a woman).  Working for a female religious leader in a non-Catholic religious institution I am more and more offended, intellectually and even viscerally, by the all-male leadership of our Church. How can we move forward when half our membership (actually probably more than half) is not even represented in the language by which we name ourselves, let alone the authority structure.

Our liturgy continues to say, “For us MEN and for our salvation.”  Why could we not take out “MEN?” How can a years long review of the liturgical language not give that small concession to the women in the Church? Simple!  There were no women in the “we” that decided on the new translation, only men and why should they care to change it even if they noticed its sexism, and I doubt they did. Just as there were no women present when the leaders of “our” Church met to discuss our national concerns and blithely continued the use of a gender-specific metaphor that inherently denies the possibility of women ever being included in the ranks of priests and bishops.  How can a female bishop be spiritually wedded to the Church personified as a woman?

Language does not just convey meaning it creates meaning, and hence changes how we perceive reality.  If we cannot change our Catholic language – our pronouns and metaphors – we have no hope of changing our Catholic reality. And that is a damn shame. No progress only regress.

For those who are interested, the November 2011 General Assembly of the United States Catholic Bishops is available as a video record here:

http://usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/video-on-demand.cfm

According to the article in Commonweal quoted below, the principles guiding the new translation include: maintaining a literal translation, adopting archaic Latin syntax, using words that are not part of our everyday usage and are therefore more difficult to process. The assumption seems to be that if it is unassailable to the intellect of the ordinary Catholic it is holier.

Jesus, in the  tradition of Jewish teachers, made it a practice to engage his audience using metaphors and language that were accessible, drawn from the everyday. It was his desire, it seems, to bring people closer to God, not to obscure God. Our Bishops must have a different agenda.

Our Bishops seem to be as committed to making our liturgical experiences engaging and meaningful as they are to full disclosure of the personnel files of accused sexually abusive priests: not at all.

Which is “truer” – closer to God’s Truth – something that we can understand enough to engage our minds and hearts in the liturgical moment, or something that is intentionally constructed to make such engagement more difficult?  Using Jesus as the model for developing religious language, the answer is clear.

Is this another case of, “power talks and the truth walks?”

 

“It Doesn’t Sing ~ The Trouble with the New Roman Missal,” Rita Ferrone

“Clarity and intelligibility were principles of liturgical renewal specifically named by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Until 2001, those who translated liturgical texts into English placed a high priority on the council’s mandate for clarity and intelligibility. Those were essential guiding principles of liturgical reform, not secondary considerations.

Since the publication of the new Vatican instruction on translation Liturgiam authenticam in 2001, however, other principles are deemed more important. They include: the exact rendering of each word and expression of the Latin, the use of sacral vocabulary remote from ordinary speech, and reproduction of the syntax of the Latin original whenever possible. When a choice must be made, those principles trump the principles of clarity and intelligibility. The result has been, not surprisingly, a translation that is filled with expressions not easily understood by English speakers. It has resulted in prayers that are long-winded, pointlessly complex, hard to proclaim, and difficult to understand.

There are many places in the new translation where the words simply don’t make sense in English. On the First Sunday of Advent, we pray that we may “run forth with righteous deeds.” What does that mean? Many expressions sound pompous: “profit our conversion,” “the sacrifice of conciliation,” “an oblation pleasing to your almighty power.”

Rita ends her article thus:

“Yes, we can get used to the new translation of the Roman Missal. But we shouldn’t. The church can do better, and deserves better, than this.”

http://commonwealmagazine.org/it-doesn’t-sing

In a speech to Young Republicans last weekend, Herman Cain likened himself to Moses, an initially reluctant ambassador for God. As we move closer to election time God seems to be getting busy again with political campaigns. Of course there has to be time set aside for sports, as more and more athletes give God credit for their successes. Apparently God has an opinion about who should hold political office and who should win football games. But what about those religious candidates and athletes who are unsuccessful? Do they take this as a sign of their unworthiness in God’s eyes and give up running for office or for the next touchdown? Or do they blame God for letting them down?

It’s not that I’m against thanking God…in the big picture sense everything is gift, everything is grace. But when we take the view that God is busy micromanaging our lives and our fortunes (or misfortunes) we are losing sight of that big picture and giving our individual lives too much importance.

 Athletes can be forgiven for being overcome in the moment of victory, but politicians should be more circumspect in their attribution of political calling to a personal invitation from God. Not only does it give them an even greater appearance of hypocrisy when their inevitable shortcomings are made public, it also makes God or at least faith in God seem a little ridiculous. And God deserves better than that. Maybe God should get a campaign manager.

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