From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness
Late 1959: During my senior year, at St. Mary’s High in Cheyenne Wyoming, it was announced one day that we would be treated to a field trip, all the way to Denver, to visit the nearest Catholic colleges: Regis, for men, run by the Jesuits; and nearby Loretto Heights, for women, operated by the Sisters of Loretto.
I enjoyed the trip, though I was already clear that, wherever I went to college, it would be at a secular school. And this resolve was greatly strengthened when we visited, of all places, the Regis College library.
Signs of the Times: Quakers Stand With Muslims in Carolina
Fayetteville NC — Fayetteville Friends Meeting is small; and Quaker House, the peace project that’s been here, near sprawling Fort Bragg, since 1969, is also small. But they count. And they counted on December 18 when a rally was called to show support for the Masjid Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim mosque there.
“Spotlight”: A Movie About Reporters: A Treatise On Evil
Just watched “Spotlight.” The reviews are right: it’s a taut journalistic thriller about how the Boston Globe’s legendary Spotlight investigative reporting team blew the lid off the system of pedophile priest protection in the city’s Catholic archdiocese. And through that, opened the door to exposure of a worldwide criminal conspiracy that is still being dismantled, and still being protected.
Memorial Minute for Katharine “Kat” Royal: January 28, 1982 – October 23, 2015
[Read at her memorial service in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, October31, 2015.]
I’m a Quaker, and at our memorial meetings, Quakers have a custom of preparing and reading what’s called a Memorial Minute. These sound in one way like biographical sketches, and so they are.
But there is a deeper dimension to them for us than simple chronology or the succession of dates and facts. That’s because of an advice that has come down to us from our founders; that advice is to “let your life preach.”
In presidential years, the farther-right GOP candidates line up at the FRCA “Summit” to preen and toss red meat. This time most of them showed up, even Trump (but not Jeb!?) The Summit also runs a straw poll, of course, and this time ted Cruz, perhaps the nastiest of them all (but it’s a tough choice), won.
Still, despite the flurry of media attention that followed the disclosure, the visit turns out to be not exactly a big deal.
To be sure, Francis is on record as being against same sex marriage, and LGBT issues generally (even if he said “Who am I to judge?”); and has repeated the “religious liberty” meme which the American right (including its large Catholic wing) has been turned into a dog-whistle for protecting homophobic discrimination. None of this is new, even if he went out of his way to NOT repeat any of it in public while he was here.
In all his public, to-the-country statements repeatedly (& honestly) trashed the right wing Catholic political agenda, and the bishops’ alliance with them. If I was scoring all this, it would go: 20 for Francis’s good stuff, 1 (so far) for bad. In sports or politics, that would be a landslide or a rout. And in Vegas, betting on the pope saying progressive things while in the USA would have been a very big, loud winner.
Compare: the Davis meeting was held in private, with no papal aides, news media, or Davis’s lawyer; it lasted only a few minutes; the pope’s reported pleasantries were boilerplate; and when asked later, he did not seem well-briefed on her case.
Further, the fact of the meeting was embargoed until the pope was safely back in Rome. And late on September 30, the Vatican was still declining to comment on it, sounding embarrassed and blindsided. Some ballyhoo.
Of course, homophobic crusaders like Davis’s “Liberty Counsel” and the “Alliance Defending Freedom” were ecstatic at the news leak, and insisted that it showed that Francis was on board with their campaigns. They can’t be stopped for grabbing this patronizing shred of recognition.
But time to cue the Evita sound track again:
She only got a rosary, a kindly word– I wouldn’t say the Holy Father Gave her the bird, But papal decorations, never a hope . . .”
Papal decorations? Yeah, there are lots of them. They weren’t likely in this case; but just so you know.
But the rest of us could shed a tear for Parks, King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose witness and martyrdom were twisted by a creepy group whose worldview would have all of them spinning in their graves.