I reviewed the book Dr Mary Neal wrote about her near death experience a few months ago.
She describes her experience in this video.
I reviewed the book Dr Mary Neal wrote about her near death experience a few months ago.
She describes her experience in this video.
Roman Catholic Bishops assign priests within their diocese.
When priests are ordained, they place their hands between those of the bishop in a sign of their obedience to him.
Bishop Michael Barber, of the Diocese of Oakland, has evidently reassigned Father Bill Edens, an openly gay priest who has been pastor at Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley Ca.
Father Edens responded to this with an emotional homily that included reading an excerpt from a poem: “A friend once gave me a gift, a box of darkness, and it took me a long time to discover that even this was a gift.”
Parishioners at Newman Hall Holy Parish have held meetings in an attempt to try to fashion a protest about Father Edens’ reassignment. Father Edens has not participated in these meetings.
Bishop Barber has evidently said in private that he wants to change the pastoral direction of this parish.
Is moving this priest part of that “change in direction?”
Is the priest being punished in some way?
I don’t know. All I know for certain is that re-assigning priests is part of any bishop’s authority and that these reassignments are often painful, both for the priest in question and for the parish.
People grow close to their pastor. They confide in him and learn to trust him. He becomes a source of comfort and Christ-like love for them. When he’s reassigned, it can feel like being orphaned.
Priests return this love. They become the one who knows all these things about the people around them that no one else knows. They are the repository of their parishioner’s darkest secrets and deepest trust. Being torn away from this is like being tossed out of a warm bed and into the cold rain.
Yet, as Father Edens said with his poem, even this “box of darkness” is a gift. Because new beginnings and fresh starts keep both the priest and the parishioners focused on Christ instead of one another. It is easy for a parish to become ingrown and fixed on itself and its own small issues. A parish can lose sight of the fact that it is part of the Universal Church and that the head of that Church is Jesus Christ, not father so-and-so.
I don’t doubt that this parish and priest are suffering because of this move. But I also know that if they accept it in faith in Christ, that it will lead them eventually to a closer and more trusting walk with Our Lord.
From East Bay Express:
During Sunday Mass several weeks ago at Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley, Father Bernard Campbell spoke of anger, bitterness, and sadness. At the end of the service, the pastor read a short excerpt from a poem: “A friend once gave me a gift, a box of darkness, and it took me a long time to discover that even this was a gift.”
The quote was his way of helping parishioners process the surprising news he had just delivered: Michael Barber, the new bishop of the Oakland Diocese, had decided to remove him and another pastor, Father Bill Edens, from Newman Hall. The “darkness” appeared to be a reference to the fact that, as Campbell told the crowd, the bishop had not met with the pastors or given them any information on the reason for his decision. It was, however, the bishop’s direct order, he said. And yet more troubling was the fact that, according to the pastor, Barber had made it clear that the removal of these two priests supported his broader goal “to see a major redirection of ministry at Newman.” The bishop had apparently expressed this intention last fall to the leadership of the Paulist Fathers, the Roman Catholic order that has run Newman Hall for more than a century.
The details of this “new vision,” as Campbell also described it in his remarks, are not yet clear. In the weeks since the February 16 speech — a copy of which was posted on the church’s website — parishioners at Newman Hall have continued to send letters to the bishop demanding an explanation. A day after the news broke, hundreds of churchgoers met at Newman Hall to discuss the situation and ways they might protest. Campbell and Edens did not attend. The bishop and the Diocese of Oakland have not publicly addressed this backlash or responded to individual parishioners who have written letters.
I’m too tired to write, but here are a few quick links to think about until Monday.
Brewer’s Foolish Veto The news reports about the Arizona bill were dead flat lies from a dishonest press.
No Same-Sex Marriages in Loyola Chapel, Campus Open to Receptions Jesuit-run Loyola of Chicago will not allow gay weddings on campus, but the university will not fight a local law requiring them to host gay wedding receptions. Every venue on campus will be open for wedding receptions “regardless of religious or gender identification.”
Cardinals Say Synod on Family will Balance Truth, God’s Mercy Synod desires to balance Christ’s teaching about the permanence of marriage and the call for the Church to show God’s mercy to those who have divorced and remarried.
Christian Singer Natalie Grant Walks Out of Grammy Awards See also Mass Wedding at Awards Show a Stunt to Push Gay Marriage Agenda Natalie Grant and Kirk Cameron criticized this year’s Grammy Awards for “an all out assault on the traditional family.” Grant walked out. They will undoubtedly pay a price for this in their careers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Jesuits at Loyola Chicago had this kind of courageous faith?
To see a video of the “wedding,” which, in my opinion, was an attack on Christianity as well as marriage, go here. Queen Latifah, who officiated at the “ceremony” was deputized by the City of Los Angeles for the day, so these marriages were legal. At the same show, Katy Perry, a former Christian recording artist who has said that she no longer believes in Christ or is a Christian, performed this number.
Religious Freedom is a Constitutional Right Not a “Tax-Exempt Status” CatholicVote blogger discusses the coming fight to force churches to perform gay marriage ceremonies.
And finally, a video by Natalie Grant, called, fittingly, I will Not Be Moved.
Conscientious objection about wedding cakes and flowers is not the same thing as slavery, lynching, segregation or a refusal to provide service.
It does not rise to the level of a violation of the civil rights of the cake buyers. It is not discrimination.
We are not talking about a refusal to provide service for a class of people. We are talking about businesses who routinely provide services to everyone, including homosexuals. These mom and pop businesses are owned by individuals whose religious beliefs are not only opposed to gay marriage, but that teach that participation in a gay marriage makes them part of the sin of it.
I believe that this last sentence is the real motivation behind the enormous amount of rage and political energy being expended to force what is a small subset of all the bakers, florists and photographers in this country to participate in this specific event. These people do not want to participate in gay weddings because they believe gay marriage is sinful. That fact, and not the entirely bogus claim of discrimination, is what lies behind the furor.
This is not about discrimination, which is clearly not happening. It is about a need for approval and acceptance, which is not a legal construct.
The question of linking discrimination to service by businesses only occurs when a class of people are routinely refused service because they are of that class of people. The mis-used analogy of the African American civil rights struggle actually demonstrates why these shop owners are not discriminating and why there is no legal discrimination happening in this instance.
African Americans were refused all service at what were labeled “white only” establishments. They could not drink at “white” drinking fountains or even sit at the counter in a “white” drug store. They had to live in “colored” neighborhoods, and attend “colored” schools. This was enforced both by legal penalty and tolerated mob violence, including lynchings which were attended by large crowds of people and ignored by the police.
On the other hand, the bakers, florists and photographers who do not want to participate in gay weddings routinely provide services to homosexual people in every other instance. There is no attempt or desire on their part to refuse service to any group of people. In fact, at least one of the people engaging in these lawsuits was a regular customer of the establishment prior to filling suit.
These businesses are not refusing service based on anyone’s sexual preference. They just don’t want to participate in one specific type of event, and the reason they don’t want to is their religious beliefs which have been honored and respected since the beginning of this nation.
This is not discrimination. This is an exercise of what should be an individual’s freedom of religion.
The true discrimination here is the attack on individual’s right of conscience and religious freedom in an attempt to coerce them to violate their conscience in order to provide flowers, photography services and food for a private event. There is no question that this refusal does not deny the homosexuals in question access to these services. They are available at any number of other similar businesses. There is not and never has been any attempt to deny service to homosexuals. This is not about a class of people. It is about a specific type of event.
What these activists are literally making a federal case about is wedding cakes and flowers. The business people they are attacking provide services to everyone, including homosexuals, in every other instance except gay weddings. To label this discrimination in the Constitutional sense and call it “hate” is ridiculous.
I believe that the real issue is forcing other people, specifically religious people, to provide homosexuals with a sense of social acceptance. I actually understand that longing and sympathize with it. However, the fact is that these florists, photographers and bakers are not practicing discrimination in any sane legal sense.
They are, rather, being harassed, threatened, verbally abused, legally bullied and, yes, discriminated against themselves. The aggression and “hate” appears to be on the side of the people who are attacking them.
Conflating the question of whether or not a few business owners — who routinely and without question provide homosexuals with services otherwise — ask for the freedom to not participate in a single event which violates their religious beliefs, with the horrible suffering of African Americans under Jim Crow laws is equally ridiculous. It cheapens the African American experience in this country.
It is a fact that homosexuals have suffered violence in the form of gay baiting in the relatively recent past. I have had friends who were beaten up, simply because they were gay. I understand that this scars and damages people, including people who are not themselves subjected to this violence, but who must live in fear of it.
As a woman who has lived all her life with omnipresent and socially tolerated random violence against women, I understand this quite well. American women today are told not to go out at night, to always travel in groups to avoid attack. Movies, television and the internet make a lot of money selling violence against women as prurient entertainment.
Powerful movie directors who rape young girls are defended and lionized by that same industry. Young women are told to avoid drinking from open containers at parties to avoid being drugged and gang raped. We operate shelters for women who are subjected to beatings and violence so they can flee their homes in order to avoid being killed.
The desire of a few mom and pop business owners to ply their trade without being forced by law to provide services for one specific type of event that violates their religious beliefs is not gay bating. It is also not discrimination.
In this case, the discriminatory shoe is on the other foot.
According to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, support for gay marriage by the American public has jumped from 21% in 2003 to 53% today.
The poll results show that 53% of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, with 44% of Americans opposed. Among those who feel strongly about the issue, 22% strongly favor legalizing same-sex marriage, while 20% strongly oppose it.
Sixty-four percent of Democrats favor legalizing gay marriage, while only 34% of Republicans favor it. Sixty-two percent of Republicans actively oppose gay marriage. Fifty-seven percent of Independents favor it.
Based on comments I’m seeing on Facebook and elsewhere, I would say that this poll is behind the curve and that the public sensibility is moving so rapidly toward acceptance of gay marriage that the figure is higher than this. From my vantage point, it appears that the numbers are growing exponentially every day.
At the same time, even faithful Catholics are tossing the concept of religious liberty and individual conscience aside. They are adopting and repeating arguments that not only obviate the issues, but are baseless sloganeering. We have indeed reached a cultural tipping point.
The good thing in this is that it reflects an end to social and civil discrimination against gay people. Unfortunately, it also means that the conflation of the civil rights of gay people with the redefinition of marriage leaves our society with a long-term fight.
Those of us who want homosexuals to be treated as full human beings and at the same time preserve traditional marriage and religious liberty have a long road ahead of us. To be honest, I no longer see the issue of homosexuals being accepted as full people to be a concern in our society. I think that’s a done deal.
What is a question is whether or not Christians have enough identity in Christ to maintain their fealty to basic Christian teachings in what will amount to government-enforced violation of their values and religious freedoms. The DOMA decision did indeed, as I said at the time, tip over the table.
In this sudden flood of changed opinions, even Christians in public leadership positions are tripping over themselves to stand against their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not want to be forced to participate in gay weddings. A good number of these people will recant in the years ahead. Most of those who do will have amnesia and claim they never said the things they’re saying. Others of them will drift further away from supporting their fellow Christians until they end up putting both feet over the fence and standing entirely on the other side.
I remember the sudden movement that accompanied Roe. I’ve seen the lies and sloganeering, the dominance by the press as it put out what was propaganda. I’ve seen Christians recover from this sudden loss of clear thinking, and I’ve seen others become hardened in it and lose themselves to it entirely. The one thing I’m sure of is that there is no way to know who will fall into which camp.
However, the Roe debacle is a faint copy of what is happening with gay marriage.
Nothing in my memory equals the intensity with which the public has been “sold” gay marriage and the hatred of the Church and religious freedom which has gone along with it. This is a new post-Christian zeitgeist in which the dominant powers of the culture are locked on and targeting traditional Christian values and traditional Christians. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have bought into this and are now promoting it themselves.
It is going to be increasingly difficult for anyone to stay true to Christian values in the times ahead, and I am not talking just about gay marriage. We are not dealing with a fixed situation. This is a moving and constantly degrading target.
What began as “If you don’t support gay marriage, then don’t get gay married” has now become “It is discrimination and hate not to provide services for a gay marriage.” I wrote a post a few days ago about the gathering clouds concerning polygamy, and was astonished by the bold and aggressive support for polygamy that commenters voiced. Polygamy is indeed the new gay marriage.
Euthanasia was once supposed to be limited to terminally ill people who were facing imminent death and in irremediable pain. That argument has been broadened to the idea that euthanasia is about choice and should be offered as a storefront service to anyone, at any time, without question.
We are living in an imploding post-Christian culture.
Americans have been sold lies on a number of issues, all of which have their aegis in a diminution of the distinctness and value of the human person.
I know this is a bleak picture. But it is far from hopeless. The worst aspect of what I’ve described is the seduction of many good Christians by this culture. We have the task of re-converting our lost society, and we will have to do it in the face of self-identified Christians who will fight for and support the anti-Christian zeitgeist. This task is complicated by the fact that Christians who follow Christ’s teachings are rapidly becoming the new cultural hate objects.
It seems a contradiction for me to say that the situation is far from hopeless in the same paragraph in which I describe fallen away Christians using their nominal Christian identity to attack Christian values. But it is inevitable that a good many of our fellow Christians will fall prey to this and become voices of destruction within our churches and religious communities.
The important thing to remember is that it will sort itself out in time. Those who stay true will become stronger in their faith and closer to Christ.
I’ve lived this.
Those who follow the culture will lose themselves to their little g gods. Those who follow Christ will become stronger in Him with a deeper and ever-empowering faith. We’ll become bolder, more fearless witnesses for Him personally, and our numbers will grow as we do it.
We’re not going to lose in the long run. The outcome of this battle is already decided.
I’m going to talk more about this in the future. We’ve got a fight ahead of us.
All I’ll say for now is that it is apt that we have come to this pass at the beginning of Lent.
From Public Religion Research Institute:
Support for same-sex marriage jumped 21 percentage points from 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, to 2013. Currently, a majority (53%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. In 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing gay and lesbian people to legally marry, compared to nearly 6-in-10 (59%) who opposed.
Governor Brewer did what everyone expected and vetoed the religious freedom bill.
You can find a video with her explanation here, if you want to see it. I didn’t bother to look at it because I don’t believe that she’s going to tell the truth and I am not in the mood to hear lies. However, I could be wrong. Decide for yourselves.
A group of legal experts wrote the governor a letter concerning this legislation that answers most of the things which have been said about the bill. You can read it here.
I’m evidently somewhat different from the average pew-sitting Catholic.
I don’t want my pastor to confirm me in my sins.
I want my pastor to tell me the truth about my spiritual condition and to lead me in the Way that leads to eternal life. I don’t go to church to validate myself, my sins or my choices in life. I go to church to grow closer to the Lord and to learn how to follow Jesus.
When I ask a Catholic priest for instruction on moral issues, I am not asking him for his personal prejudices or his individual neurosis. I want him to give me the straight truth about what the Church teaches so that I will be better able to evaluate what I should do and how I should live.
In short, I rely on the priests I go to for help to be authentic in their Catholicity and to tell me the truth.
I trust them to not use their position and power to lead me in ways that are sinful, belligerent to the Church, or that will allow me to commit grave sins against myself, other people, or my God.
So far in my Catholic life, this trust has been well-rewarded. I have had priests who always told me the truth of Church teaching, even when it made them personally uncomfortable and when I argued back and gave them a hard time about it.
Every person who lives brings themselves to the altar. They bring their own story, their own sins, their own desires for validation of their sins and an easy out from the narrow way of truly following Christ. There are no exceptions to this. Jesus told us that the Way of following Him was hard, and it is.
I, for one, would have loved to have been told that abortion in the case of rape is alright. I’ve seen what rape does to women and girls. I know how desperate and terrified a woman who’s been raped feels when she learns she is pregnant from that rape. I understand the price of choosing life in the face of this crime against her humanity.
If I had been given my druthers, I would also have loved to hear my pastor say that it’s ok to be all in for gay marriage. It would have been wonderful for me to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder on this with the friend I loved. I will grieve the loss of him in my life all my days.
It cost me dearly to accept that I was wrong about these things. It costs me almost every single day of my life.
But if my priest had lied to me, and given me his pastoral permission to do these things, he would have done me a great disservice. Also, I believe that part of my sin would also have been on his soul.
I do not begin to know how God deals with priests who throw away their priesthood to mislead the people who trust them; people they are supposed to shepherd.
But I can say from personal experience that the remorse you feel later for misleading people is a terrible sorrow. I would also add that you can’t often undo it once it’s done. I have gone to people I misled and told them I was wrong, that I regretted everything I had done. I could not change them. I could not unconvince them of the sinful things I had convinced them to believe earlier.
Priests who throw away their priesthood to preach and teach that which is contrary to the Gospels are the most piteous of creatures.
I believe that the laity has a right to expect authenticity from the men who pastor us. I believe we have a right to know that they will not mislead us and tell us our sins are not sins and that we should go and sin even more. I believe that we have a right to be able to trust that they will tell us the truth and teach us the Gospel without their personal prevarications and politically correct longings getting into it.
A case in point is the fallen Catholic school in Seattle that I wrote about earlier. Students at this school walked out because the school dismissed a member of the staff who had gotten “married” to his same-sex partner. There was a lot of carrying on, and ultimately, the school backed down about another staff member.
A priest from the Seattle area recently wrote an opinion piece for America magazine which accidentally illustrates the abysmal Catholic leadership that went into this tragedy of a failed Catholic school. I am sure that he’s very popular with the gay rights people. I would imagine that he’s viewed as a hero by his many friends in those circles.
He is also evidently a priest who many unsuspecting Catholics have chosen to follow. Again, I’m sure that these people feel they have the best pastor in the world, affirming them as he does in placing the teachings of the world ahead of the teachings of the Church. I would imagine that he’s a legendary folk hero in certain circles.
But from my viewpoint, he is inauthentic as a priest. He is not teaching what the Church teaches. In fact, he is using his collar to give gravitas to his personal teachings that the Church is wrong. He is leading people away from the light and into the darkness of popular piety without actual fealty. He is teaching them to turn their back on the real God and become their own little g gods.
I hate and detest singling out one person for the misbehavior of many. I am quite sure that there are a plethora of people in the Church who are responsible for the mess that is this school and for other fallen Catholic individuals and institutions around this country.
But I feel that someone, somewhere, has to point out that the Catholic laity has a right to expect authenticity from their priests. I don’t know anything about Canon law, but if this is not Canonical, it should be. We, as the people of God, have the right not to be deliberately misled by our shepherds.
Lecrae found Christ, but only gave himself to the Lord half way.
Jesus told us you can not serve two masters.
Lecrae gave his life over to Christ completely after a terrible automobile accident. The rest is rap.
I don’t know how accurate this is, but it does seem likely to be true.
NBC News is reporting that Governor Brewer will veto the religious freedom bill passed by the legislature this week. According to that same source, the governor does not want to jeopardize Arizona’s economic future.
Three Arizona senators who had voted for the bill re-read it in the light of all that reflected green and asked the governor to veto.
Everyone, it seems, was just confused originally and now they’ve seen the light.
It doesn’t matter if this was a good bill or not. It doesn’t even matter what the issue is.
Money talks. And democracy walks.
That’s the real story here.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will veto a controversial bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians on the grounds of their religious conviction, NBC News is reporting via Twitter.
Brewer has been under intense pressure from business groups and political leaders to diffuse the situation and veto the legislation which they fear will draw unnecessary attention to Arizona a year before it hosts the next Super Bowl and following economic losses on controversial immigration stances.
At the same time, three GOP state senators who initially ratified the measure have written to Brewer, a Republican, asking her to reject Senate Bill 1062, according to The Los Angeles Times.