View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Huckabee for President

So, what do people think of Mike Huckabee for President? He's not perfect, but I'm liking him better than any of the others. At least he seems to be genuinely pro-life, and he has a sense of humor.
And he's a musician!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's final: No to the diaconate

I had a chat with the head of the local permanent deacon program.

The canon lawyers considering the canonical issue in my case determined that it can't be solved locally, so the next step was appealing to Rome. We both agreed that that was not a reasonable option in this situation, and not likely to change in the near future.

So, even if I was in a position to pursue the diaconate, it's not going to happen.

I have mixed feelings. Relief that there is a decision. Sadness that it is not an option.

I have to seek my role in the Church as a lay person.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town

Just got the call from the North Pole.

Santa needs some help again this year at the local mall.

Of course, I immediately said to count me in.

Ho. Ho. Ho.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Blue Jay Limerick

A big, bold and bossy Blue Jay
from the feeder drove all birds away.
Greedy for seed
he failed to heed
the hawk that was swooping his way.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Simple prayers

Deacon Angelo preached today. He's a down-to-earth guy, and clearly a man of faith.

The homily focussed on prayer. He pointed out that we should be praying every day. He said getting to daily Mass is a wonderful way to pray, but for working people that's sometimes not possible. He said we can pray instead in other ways, including with how we do our jobs.
Then he cited something his mother used to do.
She used to cook soup or sauce, she'd take the big spoon she was using to stir, and make a sign of the cross over the pot.
I love that image.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dumbledore is gay

Well, JK Rowling let the cat out of the closet, so to speak.

She has acknowledged, that Albus Dumbledore, the beloved and wise (and as of the sixth book, dead) head wizard of Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter world, is gay.

He did always seem to have a certain affection for outcasts (Snape, for example), but it does add a creepy edge to some of those Harry/Dumbledore moments.

This tells us a bit more about her moral vision. Even if she had that in mind as she wrote the series, I question the need to mention this about a positive character (and role model) in a children's book.

Maybe those anti-Potter people had a point?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Al Gore

Emmy, Oscar, and now a shared Noble Peace Prize for former Vice President All Gore

Oh, and getting the most votes in the 2000 Presidential election.

President Bush has been a disaster, so a part of me has always wished that the Supreme Court had ruled differently and Gore had been our leader on September 11. I suspect a few things would have been done differently, and I think there would have been a better chance that Bin Laden would have been captured long before now. And that we would not be involved in this immoral conflict in Iraq.

But then, what bugged my about Gore even in 2000 - and one of the reasons I did not vote for him - was he began his political career as pro-life, then switched sides when he wanted to run for higher office as a Democrat. Very Clintonian of him.

Which raised questions in my mind about what his true convictions were in the first palce.

Of the current crop of top tier candidates, Clinton, Obama and Edwards are pro-abortion, Romney and Giuliani have been pro-abortion when it was politically expedient (raising doubts about their pro-life claims now) and Thompson, while having a pro-life record in office, lobbied for a pro-abortion group (money talks!).

There's also their other stands on issues like gay marriage/unions, illegal immigrants, health care and Iraq.

What's a consistent life Catholic to do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Consistent Life Ethic

The Diocese of Rochester supports the consistent life ethic -an ethic that links such life issues as abortion, the death penalty, unjust war, euthanasia, violence, and economic injustice.

In my career as a Catholic journalist, and though my involvement with such groups as Pax Christi and the Catholic Worker, I have written about the ethic a number of times. I've certainly read a great deal about it, and covered people who discuss and promote it.

Sadly, I've seen some folks voice distortions of what the ethic actually says.

The ethic does not maintain that all the issues are equal, just that they are linked.

Killing an unborn child is clearly more evil than not paying a fair wage. But not paying a fair wage is still wrong, and a violation of our call to respect life.

Killing an unborn child is equal to killing an innocent "born" person through such things as unjust war or murder. But the sheer scale of the killings of hundreds of thousands of babies each year through abortion in the U.S. results in far more evil than, say, the killing of tens of thousands of civilians over the last four years in Iraq.

Cardinal Bernardin, who articulated the ethic, did not claim that all things covered by the ethic are "equal" - despite the misrepresentations of his views some people state as fact.

I suspect that many of those people simply do not know what he actually said or what the ethic is about. Often, they are repeating things they've heard - just as people repeat and perpetuate urban legends.

I hate to imagine that they are intentionally distorting the facts for their own purposes, like using it as a way to attack this diocese or as an excuse not to help support it.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

My kind of art

Folk artist Thelma Winter of Eden, New York, who began painting in her 50s.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A lesson in liturgy

I went to a liturgy workshop Sunday.


It was put on by a nearby church, and included liturgical ministers from several Gates churches. The speaker was Joan Workmaster, the former director of the Liturgy Department of the Diocese of Rochester.

I'm a double dipper - a musician and a lector. I was looking forward to it.

The first half was a general overview of liturgical ministries. I was pleased to hear Workmaster mention that she considered sacristan/servers and musicians as the two most important ones, and describe lectors as "storytellers" (which I am professionally).

She also made a point of pointing out that we should not call our Ministers of Communion "Eucharistic Ministers": The proper title is Extraordinary Ministers of Communion. She explained that normally Priests and Deacons should be the ones who distribute Communion, and the EMs are there to serve when there is a need (such as large numbers of people - as is the case in most churches on Sundays).

We then broke into groups. I chose to sit with the musicians. There were a series of questions that we were supposed to discuss. Alas, we had a woman with us who took over the discussion in our group, shooting down terms and ideas that did not fit in with her "orthodox" views. She jumped on top of something I was saying at one point, and when I pointed out that what she was stomping on was not what I was trying to say, she acknowledged that was possible, then did not let me finish and went on stomping.

Discussion at our group essentially ended as she went on.

Then Workmaster asked for questions. One man asked about who should say the homily, and Workmaster pointed out that the Priests and Deacons are the ones who are permitted to say the homily. Then a woman asked about why she remembered women preaching, but that that practice had stopped in the Diocese.

Workmaster began to explain that the Diocese had issued guidelines earlier this decade placing strict limits on the non-ordained delivering scripture reflections (not homilies), and that most of the women and laymen who had been doing it no longer could qualify or chose not to go through the involved process to qualify.

At that point, our discussion stomper stood up - interrupting Workmaster - and started going on about how only men could be Priests and Deacons, and the Magisterium determined that they were the only ones who could deliver homiles, attacked liberals, etc., and then stormed out.

A member of her parish tried to defend her, but a fellow musician and I both said we thought she had come with preconceived ideas and was not prepared to listen to what was actually being said.

Too bad. The day had been a good one until that point.

I went home with a headache.