Sunday, August 28, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

A dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was suppose to have taken place this weekend.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature, in the form of Hurricane Irene, had other plans, the the dedication has been postponed.  the TV program, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, has a nice report about it.

I was only 15 years old when he died, assassinated in Memphis TN.  It was only during my seminary years that I began to appreciate what he accomplished for civil rights, not just for Black Americans, but for all minorities.  He showed what power non-violent protest and action could have.  He showed what could be accomplished when you treated opponents, even violent opponents, as fellow human beings.  In many ways he reminds me of another famous preacher, of St. Francis of Assisi, who would walk amidst the warring factions of an Italian city, preaching peace; and who call a Muslim sultan a brother.

We live now in times when protests about injustices in society either turn violent, or are met with state sponsored violence.  We are becoming a society where civil discourse about issues is no longer seen as "in," and name calling and yelling is becoming part of politics.  Never has there been such a need for the spirit of  Doctor King, the spirit of Francis. 

I have an image in my mind, of two individuals, one a black man dressed in a dark suit, the other a small white man in a tattered brown robe, walking on a road to Washington, DC, ready to preach to power, ready to preach peace.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Archdiocese of Boston Release Lists of Accused Priests

Yesterday, August 25th, the Archdiocese of Boston issued a list which contained the names of those among the Archdiocesan clergy who had either been found guilty of abusing children, or have had credible accusations of abusing children. The list has been posted on the Archdiocesan website, with a cover letter from Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM CAP, Archbishop of Boston. In that letter, Cardinal Sean describes the process used in creating the list, who was included on the list, who was not included on the list and the reasons why they were not.

The Boston news media, including, reported on the issuance of the list and the reactions of various parties who have been involved in the effort to bring the clergy abuse scandal to light, and to prevent any such abuse from happening again. The reactions of some Massachusetts politicians, local advocates for sex abuse victims, and church reformers were not positive.

The truth of the matter is that no matter what Cardinal Sean did, he would not have been able to satisfy everyone. One faction would say he did not go far enough, that there are additional names that should have been released. The other faction would say that Cardinal Sean went too far, that he sacrificed the reputations of priests to satisfy a vengeance hungry mob. I have read what I feel is two good analysis’s of Cardinal Sean’s actions, one by Michael Sean Winters, the other by John Allen, Jr., both columnists and bloggers for the National Catholic Reporter.

I belong to the Archdiocese of Boston, and like many local Catholics, I was upset and angry when the scandal first broke so many years ago. I angry over the fact that there were priests who abusing children, I became angrier when I learned that these acts were being covered up by the bishops. It has been because of the cover up that advocates of the abused want all the names of accused priests made public. I have been uncomfortable with this demand. I am one of those people who believe in the legal ideal that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I understand the need many feel to bring to light all those who may have abused children, but is the price worth it if at least one innocent priest’s reputation is destroyed forever.

Beginning with the Dallas Charter, I do believe that there have been good faith efforts by many American bishops to prevent future child abuse by clergy, and to bring to light those who have abused in the past, Cardinal Sean being one of them.

This Post Is A Test

I am trying out some new technology for blogging for the first time.  This is only a test.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Franciscans Taking Cover in Tripoli

Franciscans have had a presence in the Arab world since the early days of the Order’s founding. It began with the first missionary journey to Morocco that lead to the first Franciscan martyrs; then St. Francis of Assisi’s own journey to Egypt and his meeting with the Sultan, and to the friars receiving responsibility for the holy sites in the Middle East. So it should not come as a surprise that there is a story of Franciscans taking cover in Tripoli, Libya, from the street fighting taking place there. This is the link to the Catholic News Service story.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Catholic Deacons Arrested

There are reports from the local news services of the arrests of two deacons of the Diocese of Providence; one for three counts of child abuse, the other for indecent exposure.

I am both sad, confused and angry about this. Sad that the clergy abuse problem continues, and sad that it now includes deacons. Confused on how men who are supposedly formed to serve the poor and powerless, could do such things to children. Angry that the church still cannot seem weed out the "bad apples," through proper evaluation.

St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, pray for us.

Friday, August 12, 2011

St. Clare of Assisi

“Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation.”

St. Clare of Assisi