a few days ago, but I’m heading off to Boston anyway. If I can’t get in I’ll see if I can score some interviews with bloggers in attendance for DaTechGuy’s Field Guide to Bloggers. I’m presuming they will have an accessible wi-fi so in or not I’ll do some posting from there.

Wish me luck.

is a must read:

Just as we Catholics love to accuse protestants of “church shopping”, there has never been a time in the Church’s history that Catholics haven’t “priest shopped.” Want to use birth control? Need an annulment? Keep looking and you will find a priest who will lend, perhaps tacitly, a way for you to circumvent doctrine.

After you have finished her first rate post don’t miss the excellent post by Robert Kumpel that she quoted:

We have had individual bishops and/or the USCCB take positions that suggest:

1) Compassion means looking the other way at illegal immigration

2) Compassion means legitimizing homosexuality

3) A politician’s position on abortion is unimportant

4) Environmental concerns trump concern for the unborn

5) It is perfectly permissible (or even laudable) to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history

6) Ordaining women is inevitable

7) The Holy Father’s liturgical roadmap is flawed

EVERY ONE OF THESE POSITIONS IS A LIE.

Love means to desire what is good for others. We can disagree about what is good, but goodness is built on the truth.

The biggest problem of the church is not its doctrine, it is those who particularly in positions of authority who ignore, misrepresent or teach it falsely for their own pride and/or popularity. When you have authority you are expected to use it, if you aren’t going to use it then you shouldn’t have it. The great church scandals of the last decade would have been avoid if Bishops and Cardinals did their jobs.

And I remind everyone that Catholicism is a totally voluntary choice. If you want another church there are thousands of other out there. Liberal churches in particular can use the bodies these days. If you don’t like Catholicism don’t be one.

Poet James Marley… as said to me after I called and read him the Anchoress piece. (He has no computer) The “Act accordingly” is his but he doesn’t recall where he heard the rest of the quote.

That’s two Great Christian minds I’ve been exposed to in under 1 hour. Am I lucky or what?

Various news outlets are treating the story of the three Gay Cathlolic priests out getting laid in Italy as a “church scandal”. This is incorrect. Before you faint dead away let me explain:

The Huge church scandals of the last decade involving priests were a church scandal not because of what they did. (Which was scandalous and sinful) but because when knowledge of this came to their higher ups, they to their shame hid it, moved the priests around and/or didn’t report it to the proper authorities. That turned the sin of an individual (the priest in general) into a scandal of the church (an official action) and a sin by their superiors as well.

If instead this had been handled publicly when it happened it could have been addressed and stopped. Instead sin begot sin and it’s taken a lot of time, effort and money to weed this stuff out. In trying to avoid the exposure of scandalous behavior they created an actual scandal.

Now take a look at these priests in Italy. They are without a question sinning mortally, their behavior is scandalous but unless their superiors knew this was going on and looked the other way, OR if they do not take some kind of action, it is not a church scandal. It is individual sin. As the church has stated:

The Rome diocese pledged to pursue “with rigour any behaviour that is unworthy of the priestly life”.

It added: “No one obliges them to remain priests and keep enjoying the advantages.

“Consistency demands that they reveal themselves. We don’t wish them any harm, but we cannot accept that the honour of all the others is dragged through the mud because of their behaviour.”

If further information comes out concerning this then that’s another story, until then; No!

I moan a little about some long terms troubles and look at what my pastor writes in the bulletin this week:

Winners never quit and quitters never win. Did you ever have a coach or a teacher or a parent tell you that when you were a child? It’s still great advice. Perseverance is a powerful virtue but it is a tough one. It’s hard to keep going when it appears that we’re making no progress. But that is exactly the advice which Jesus gives to His disciples. Persevere in prayer. Never give up. Believe that God hears you and that God will answer when the time is right. It doesn’t mean that God will answer in the way that we want, but that God will answer. We are not abandoned. We are not alone.

The breakthrough in humanity’s understanding of our relationship to God was in the first words of the prayer which Jesus taught. Our Father. God is a loving father, not a fierce being detached from us and our concerns. Our Father. Not “my” Father, but “our” Father. We are a part of a community of believers. We are One in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It’s never us against them, but all of us before the throne of a loving God who is our father.

Each word of this most perfect prayer is worthy of an extensive, prayerful study. In just the first two words, Jesus turns upside down the world’s pattern of prayer and invites to see God in an entirely different light. No matter how bleak the circumstances, those two words alone give us the hope to persevere.

Peace and Good Will,

At Mass, this week’s Gospel Luke 11:1-13 is all about perseverance. It’s exactly the message I needed today at the time I needed it the most. God is funny like that.

should be read by any person who wants to understand just how radically different Christianity was regarding women.

One of the things that people forget about inspired scripture is that with the possible exception of Moses, when it was actually written the author, (in this case Paul of Tarsus) didn’t sit down, pen in hand to say: “Ok time to write the scriptures”. Each author was in fact writing for a particular reason.

In the case of Paul this is more pronounced than any other example. Paul’s letters were in fact, letters. Specific instruction and advice for specific churches for both general instruction and to handle individual issues.

One of the biggest dangers in scripture is the tendency to take specific quotes out of context to make an individual point. I see a lot of this particularly when debating non-catholics and atheists. In scripture it can’t be over stated that things need to be in context. Joy Addresses this:

The lines must be interpreted in the context of a Church that did place women in leadership. As J.R. Kirk has pointed out, Romans 16’s long list of early church leaders included some female names: Phoebe (whom Paul referred to as a deacon, though the word is often translated as “minister”), Prisca, Julia, Mary, and Junia, who is referred to as “relative and fellow prisoner” of Paul’s. Along with Adronicus, Paul says, Junia was “prominent among the apostles,” and was in Christ before Paul’s own conversion. (Junia is often translated as “Junius,” a masculine name.)

Paul did not want Christians to conform to the dictates of the world, nor did he want us to violate them. We are to transcend them. He was brought into faith directly by the Lord, the same Jesus Christ who first explained that it was as much adultery for a male to break the bonds of matrimony as for a female; the same Lord who showed himself first to women when he rose from the dead; the Lord who ate with female prostitutes. And it was this Lord who admonished Martha that learning the Word was more important than cooking or housework (Luke 11:38-42).

Let’s take another example Ephesians 5. I’ve actually written about this before but lets do it again. Most people who want to cry misogyny in the church look at verses 22-25 but lets look at the verses 21-33 in context. All Emphasis mine:

21: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The concept of being subordinate to each other suggest equality, something very radical for the time.

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. v22-24

This is the verse that gets people all a twitter. For its time there is nothing odd about it. The subordinate place of women was well established in culture for centuries at this point. It is often made optional when it comes up for reading. My parish priest’s tackled it a few years ago. I want you to remember the text in italics it is very important.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. v: 25-27

Note that As Christ loved the church. Can you measure how much Christ loved the church? That in itself is a radical statement but the next one is even more radical:

So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. V 28

That is the ultimate statement of equality. The wife is the same as the husband, and must be loved as one loves oneself.

For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, v:29

“No one hates his own flesh.” Paul is breaking the rules of centuries here. He is re-writing culture in an absurd way for his time. Can you imagine how this must have sounded in the 1st century?

because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” v:30-31

This is significant because by this line he directly links Christ’s words to this whole argument. He shows that this is not just his opinion but the command of Christ.

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. v32

To a first century person this would be a great mystery, this whole idea is a great mystery.

In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.V33

And the big finish. Repeating what was already said. Reinforcing it.

In conclusion taken for its time this was an incredible statement. Paul is making the case for the respect for woman in the 1st century and it is from that base that western civ has reached the point it has.

And just one other note. Remember in the dark ages it was the Church and the monks who copied scripture that kept it in place and decided what was inspired scripture. If the Catholic Church was as hostile to women as some pretend how easy would it have been for the Catholic church to in that first millennium to exclude that from scripture or drop or it declare it wrong. Who could have stopped them? It was within the church that scripture and literacy was the most prevalent. Yet guided by the Holy Spirit it did not.

It is not a coincidence that the Koran although it steals a lot from the Bible it never quotes Paul. It’s misogyny would have a hard time coping with it.