Friday, December 31, 2010

For Your Edification

I recommend a recent Smithsonian Production

...on Christianity -notably it's church history from the time of Christ. How did a band of merry rebel Jewish people following a healer end up being such a force in the world with 2 Billion followers of all combined denominations? It is a well done fascinating production that ran this past week while most of us in New England were snowed in and under. Good program by which to sip hot chocolate.
It traced the 2 great schisms, notably that with Constantinople/the Byzanine world and later the Great Reformation. It may surprise Catholics to learn that they represent only half of Christendom. There are one billion followers of papal catholicism about 800,000 Protestants in 800 denominations and around 200,000- 300,000 "Orthodox" Christians spreading from Jerusalem where the church was founded to Russia- the "Russian Orthodox" church developed after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks around the 11th century as people moved north.
"Greek" Orthodox is so named not because it started in what we think of now as Greece, but because throughout the early Christian world Greek was spoken from the time of Alexander the Great's conquests through the entire Middle East region.
It may surprise Catholics also to learn that the chanting in the orthodox world, or forms of liturgical music are more aligned with the Hebrew worshipped at the Temple in Jerusalem than the Gregorian style chanting used in Catholic liturgy after Pope Gregory. Orthodox music is truly hauntingly beautiful. Also more reminiscent of Temple Priest garb, the headwear of Orthodox priests more closely mirrored their Hebrew priestly counterparts.

If the effort at Eceumenicism is truly sincere it behooves us, one and all, to humbly try to understand the different forms and manifestations of the Spirit that have resulted in these various expressions of the body of Christ. A lot of reformation evolved as a result of insupportable intolerable corruption involving what was viewed as a perversion of the gospel message from the purest hearted most educated of the Christian world. The same can be said today.

In America we don't have any concept of how difficult it could become if church and state were not separate, but in Europe they battled to the bone over it and it caused lots of immigration to this country at its founding. People were insistent we not have a church run state. It is disheartening when people now in Italy are engaging in a "debaptism" ceremony to unbaptize themselves because it means that they are not assessed a tax or levy associated with membership in the catholic church. Baptism of course is a spiritual sacrament mirrored after the Mikvah (the cleansing pools around the Jerusalem Temple for example, of which there are plenty of references in scripture) and was a profoundly Jewish purity ritual. (Remember the water jugs at the Wedding at Cana- part of another cleansing purity ritual.) The fact that one church would claim to "own" that and thus because they perform the sacrament, civilly tax people who are then members is alien to American culture.
This is just one way that the gospel message can be perverted- and one reason religion in America is flourishing in a way unlike anywhere else where people have become jaded and skeptical because of the earthly power influence of institution. It is said in Europe no more than one in ten people who self-identify with catholicism actually regularly practice or attend weekly Mass whereas in America is it more like one in three.

The danger of disheartenment is obvious when church gets over its head into politics and tries to manipulate political structures- and aligns itself too strongly with only one political party.
This causes obviously loss of respect for the institution which is anathemetic to effective evangelism. Another disheartening feature is when a single interest group takes over a parish or Archdiocese to cater to whatever industry is strongest in an area for the money. In DC it is too obviously defense contractors and real estate wanna be mini-moguls. Because what other industry is there here? Do you see any factories making anything in Potomac?

When there are enough voices of dissent and discontent it is not wise to stew in a Dominican Inquisition. People will just leave. Especially when it takes positions that are just too ridiculous for words for the sake of tradition.

More Metro Merriment

I can't help myself-it's too funny.

Over the loudspeaker comes a recorded message from Janet Napolitano the head of Homeland Security advising that if you see anything unusual or suspicious to alert the station manager, metro police or other authorities. Metro police are there to stop people from eating I suppose because they don't stop people from doing anything else like yelling into cell phones, goosing people in too tight standing room rush hour or after events or otherwise speaking so loudly you would think you just landed in a chicken hawking market in Nairobi.

As I listen to Janet I look overhead and blinking in Neon above the platform is a notice flashing alternatively with the train arrival schedules saying "No reported Elevator Outages." Because apparently it is pressworthy when there are not any- because typically there are a lot-or at least a lot that are perhaps unreported? Then I look and notice that the escalators at Farragut North a major downtown office location where people cart back and forth heaving document briefing bags, shopping stuff and other luggables, BOTH internal escalators are out and surrounded by the barricades that lived at the Bethesda Metro (and might still do) for about a year. Because it takes that long to fix or operate escalators???

So while I start the New Year totally cracking myself up allow me this note to Dear Janet:
Can you please have a meeting with Mayor Gray immediately- because I have found something unusual. There are apparently today no reported elevator outages but none of the escalators are running at Farragut North. And I only looked at one stop.

I'm going back to New York.

Don't forget to catch a cab if you drink too much tonight----it may even be free.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


The party is on.


Makes One Wonder

Was this actually really a problem at the Vatican? And what exactly is "self-money laundering?" [Forgetting to take your wad out of your pocket at the visit to the laundromat?]

If the answer to the above question is 'is the mob catholic?' I am going to be sad.

And this year's Chutzpah Award

Goes to Father Cutie-who now has a wife and a baby for following his heart. Now if Episcopalians can become priests can he become a catholic priest again and bring his wife and baby along with him? How ridiculous are these rules- apparently he was one of the best beloved priests in Miami before he fessed up-and turned Episcopalian. Look for the January Spanish People Mag.

How many jokes do you think this guy got that ran to his head along the lines of

'Father Cutie-Pie"

Two more for Women Power

You should also contribute to these orgs:

ACS for short.
run for the last two terms by women; one Lisa Brown now works in the White House and the current one, previously with the ACLU Carolyn Frederickson, Esq. is also impressive. They balance out the Federalists, who sometimes have interesting things going on-but on the other ideological side of things often.
I'm all for cross- polination in a civil manner.

Of the politicos- all of whom are begging for bucks this time of year, I have one I recommend to you:
Bob Casey. A moderate Pennsylvanian known for his family's pro-Life stand and vision-against the grain. His father, with the moral courage of a Philadelphia Irishman (OK Wilkesbarre, whatever) stood his ground so insitently on the Pro Life front that he was disinvited from speaking to the Democratic Convention one critical year. Bob Casey is a fighter for women's issues with a tribe full of beautiful girls who gets all angles and works cooperatively with the White House on stuff that matters. Contribute here
and invite him to the John Carroll Epiphany brunch with the Nuncio and I might come too.

Some of my favorite

Year End Charitable Donations

If I didn't spend all my money on Christmas presents. Google these yourself-
They all rely upon and need your contributions because philanthropy took a whopping with the recession of late. It's all tax deductible to you.

Please consider donating to these worthy causes:
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS. A progressive Think Tank with solid scholarship.
John Podesta, a Prince among men runs a brilliant ship. I hear he is also a brilliant Italian cook but I have yet to get his recipes. He should write a book of his favorite fare and sell it on the CAP website for kicks (or next year's Christmas presents. I offer to taste test:-))

Other think tanks I like because I like to think on all sides:
THE HUDSON INSTITUTE (squarely on the other ideological side, but you have to know what they think and why. A bit scary to find yourself sitting next to Scooter Libby or that CIA guy who helped Cheney fabricate the pretext for a war, but they are friends of Israel and so am I-we just disagree on methodology I suppose)

Good scholarship on things like racial profiling of 'illegals' in Arizona and facts on the immigration debate among other great studies on the over-reach of government, that didn't reach far enough to clear the snow in New Jersey this week.

OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE- George Soros doesn't need the money but it's a great effort on all fronts.

BROOKINGS INSTITUTE- especially their new effort on Religion in the Public Square with that pistol of a free thinking catholic E.J.Dionne. Great programs.

NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION-Hill refugee Steve Clemons brings thoughtful Foreign Policy debates to the commoner and brings both sides together to discuss Israeli-Palestinian, US-Middle Eastern Relations, and other such thoughtful courteous debates.

THE RUMI FORUM- Best hidden secret in Washington. They serve up Turkish lunches over panel discussions on everything touching on religious reconciliation and geopolitical peacemaking. Blessed are those Peacemakers. I hope to see more of the Turkish Constitutional scholar at St. Mary's in Maryland who recently gave a presentation to a few Judges and attorneys at their downtown DC Headquarters.

CONFLICT SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL- The All Volunteer org of Pro Bono attorneys, advocates and international peacemaker types founded by George D'Angelo, a former UN Legal Counsel from Italy who did mediation time in Bosnia, (raised in Rome and attended the American School in Rome in his youth) who is a practicing attorney in the greater DC area and even slogging away admirably in Immigration Court in Baltimore once in a while. Very insightful putting together of panels on discussions such as the Iranian issue, Cuban Five and the hostage situation with a USAID worker currently held with Cuban political prisoners, and speakers who would never come together, reporters from major papers and journals such as the Economist, and London Financial Times.

ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE. They are about Justice. Need I say more? They are also about confirming enough Judges who are not out of their minds so we actually have a Rule of Law. It also appears to be run predominantly by a woman, so major Kudos there to Nan Aron. We need more things run by a woman. Like the White House. Just not that woman whose name rhymes with Pained Limbs.

Then there are hundreds of worthy orgs. of every religious persuasion, pick yours. The ones to the right of this blog always get my attention- especially that repose of sometimes sanity Saint Matthews Cathedral in the heart of working schlephood in DC and Holy Trinity because Jesuits, the Society of Jesus, are smart people- and run one of my Alma Maters Georgetown (where I did my law degree.) Especially fond I am of those Jesuits because they allow one to think freely even when it rails against the orthodoxy. Fides et Ratio. Faith should not be divorced from reason if we take seriously that one must worship with one's whole mind as well. The Dominicans seem to have enough money in their palace and trust fund but feel free to give money to them in Bari Italy where they are guarding Santa Claus (the relics of the Real Saint Nicolas from what is now modern day Turkey.)

The Moral Authority

of a Circus Act is Glenn Beck

I don't have to retort to his every last word because I find him basically ignore-worthy.
I don't have to blast him out of the water like someone like, lets see, Bile Barbie, because she actually has the credibility of a first rate legal education and experience working on the hill and knows a bit about what she is speaking, while it comes from a different angle of appreciation sometimes.
Beck is a media wizzard. He says nothing meaningful or significant about anything important and is fancifully deluded
on other matters so I find it not necessary to retort to such tomfoolery. He's like a drunk audience heckler -drunk on his own ego. I mean really, what silliness to stage a rally on "honor" restoration as though the republicans cornered the market on it- guys like, excuse me (and thank you for voting repeal on DADT) John Ensign are paragons of honor? Or what about that Senator from the Carolinas and his Argentinian mistress who recently divorced? The divorce stats among Republicans and Democrats are just about the same aren't they? What Honor does Glenn Beck have with his happy chalk?
Don't get me wrong- I find uncle Bill Clinton's (not really my uncle, my real uncle Bill had Honor) DADT policy with Hillary on his favorite sport of blonde bimbo escapades as offensive as Ensign and that guy from the Carolinas. It just shows you that neither party has a clean slate when it comes to skumbucketry. This is Washington. If the idiots want to watch Beck, let them fall off the Potato Truck.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Kvetch Corner

And Other Ways To Raise City Revenue

On my public transport rant at the moment, allow me to vent a bit more on how DC could improve. First, let me laugh out loud at the hand-written note I found recently in what looked like a fourth grader's handwriting stating "It Works" posted over the button to an elevator at Metro Center. I presume it is there because usually it doesn't (rather par for the course.)

Next after confering with my quite civilized relatives, we uniformly agree that the following are
most annoying on public transport (in no particular order)- and when I say annoying, I mean hair-ripping out scratching chalk on the blackboard someone is going to punch someone out annoying.

1. The guy who plays dvds on his laptop on Amtrak without headphones. I know it's not the "quiet car" but it also isn't the broadcast loudspeaker like you are the stadium announcer car.
2. The guy who refuses to pull his baggy pants up over his A-crack. Disgusting.
3. The guy who can't stop loudly swearing into his cell phone.
4. The guy whose headphones to his I-whateverthingamagic is making all that freaking noise- are so loose you can hear them anyway two cars away.
5. The guy who knows that they will fine you some places for swearing on public transport ($500. recently reported on a connecticut tv station to the shock and horror of the audience)
so he has an 'app' or a preprogrammed verbal finger in the air that he activates with a press of a button under his coat thinking no one will figure out where it came from.

I am all for a police state if it will cause there to be conductors roaming the metro and metro buses to stop this madness and ticket anyone doing this- particularly the A-crackheads. If you are either so stoned or so dumb you can't figure out what pant size you are please buy a bigger belt and tighten it so we don't have to see your A-crack. I am all for ticketing A-crackheads.
And if you are caught swearing like a lunatic or can't shut up on a cell phone conversation until you get to your stop on a bus full of kids and elderly people just trying to quietly read their book, you should get not only a ticket, but a boot to the back-side off the darn bus. Let's call it a 'breach of the peace.' Or in the A-crackhead case, a Breach of the Britches. $500 bucks. That will teach you to start wearing clothes that fit.

The broader public policy considerations in civilizing the nation are obvious. We use too much gas driving gas guzzlers everywhere and we want to thus encourage use of public transport more-don't we? Carbon footprint reduction, etc... The skank factor is a major deterrent. Imagine that on a London double decker bus. Just wouldn't happen. London has all races, ethnicities, religions roaming the buses- and no one dares. It is called basic courtesy. Manners. Makes me think the lead in the water here fried too many brains-or was it the drugs. Can't they say something in schools? Like swearing is for pigs. And makes you sound ignorant. And will incite someone wanting to deck you. And you will never get a real job with a mouth like a sewer so say bye bye to life outside the clink or brig. or something.

If you can't read this- you need lessons.

Cheres M. Sarkozy et Carla:
SVP pardonez-moi pour le mauvais grammaire ici, mais je vous souhaite une tres bonne annee. J'espere que vous avez eu un Noel magnifique et heureux.
J'ai entendu dire que vous avez une tres grande probleme au sujet de l'explosion des couchon sauvage du bois du Nord, pres d'Alsace qui mangeant tous le maize. (C'etait le sujet du EuroNews hier.) Est-ce que vous avez vu le flic "Deerhunter?" Nous avons en Pennsylvanie, Amerique beaucoup des chasseures qui peuvent resoudre votre probleme rapidement. C'est bien possible de les envoyer la pour quelque semaines. Ils ont tue beaucoup des 'bambis' (tristement). Si vous voulez discouter comment on peux trouvez cet espece d'assassin demandez a Roland Celette mon email.

Meilleures Felicitations. Un jour j'espere de chantez avec Carla.
A bientot.
Cynthia Louise

What if........

If wishes were fishes and fishes could fly.....oh, there is such a thing as a flying fish!

We should be fighting demons not Afghanis,
what if the war research looked for instead a thousand helpful things to do with the Poppy.
Expensive perfumes, medicinal uses, pressed into garments to make flower dresses of flowers... make paper with it for fine artwork like korean hanjigram. Press it into cardboard for prefab structures that could be coated with something waterproof to ship to Pakistani flood victims for prefab. housing. There might be less war. And less homelesss Pakistani flood victims.

What if every McDonalds had an ultrasound station room with a handheld unltrasound tester the size of a cell phone, full of bright kiddies playthings and free children's and prenatal vitamins. What if there were a game that all pre-school kiddies loved to play involving rolling a ball up or something that triggered the image of an ultrasound when placed against mummy's tummy. Then all the brothers and sisters could see their next sibling and have fun watching. There might be less abortions.

What if there were recycling laws or central kitchens in every town where left overs could be dropped the same evening at a central depository instead of thrown away or left in fridges for ages until they rot, in every city, where the gleaners could go and pick up without shame or embarassment a dinner at a diner. What if everyone made an extra plate and gave one away to a total stranger.What if there were an inexpensive way to package a healthy granola type or Luna type bar packed with essential vitamins and nutrients for kids that could be easily shipped to the most starving blighted places on earth with the military distributing food instead of armaments. There might be less hungry people in the world.

What if it were more lucrative to make green technologies to export around the world than armaments. There might be less war.

Now you try. Because some Fishes can Fly.

New Year's Resolutions

This Year

I shall try to be on the side of hope.
I shall try never to despair
I shall try to be on the side of Love
and not give myself too much care
nor attention too distractingly vain
I shall try to be on the side of children
mindful they repeat playing
all I say and do
I shall try to be on the side of you
and not insist too loudly
how you must have lost a few
marbles upstairs as well as a few
hairs this year, my dear
I shall try to be on the side of Peace
even if requires like John the Baptist
I miss proclaiming myself the herald
in favor of your salvation kiss
which is more delightful than
the world of myself I shall miss
this year. New means new completely
not half a bit or some, but new
means starting afresh
as though the earth was made just now.

Peace, Goodwill,

Charity toward All, Malice Toward None.

Happy New Year to one and all, friends, enemies, Romans, countrymen, people off their collective rockers, people given to judgmentally slandering, people whose sins are obvious, people whose sins are hidden, the high and mighty, the low and gentle, the bastards, the saints,
the people who think they are saints and are bastards, the clever, the stupid, the beautiful, the grim, the victors, the defeated, and everyone in between.

The rain falls on the Good and Bad and so does the confetti at midnight in a few days time as the huge disco ball drops on the freezing heads in Times Square.

It is a time to say:
I forgive everyone who wronged me, betrayed me, stabbed me in the back and left me for dead, but "Forgiveness is no Substitute for Justice" {declared Pope Benedict this year}
It is a time to say:
LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH AND LET IT BEGIN WITH US, because we are the ones imagining demons and making wars.
It is a time to say as my eternal optimist sister does:
There are no real problems, only really clever solutions.
It is a time to say:
Pass the Champaign and Here's to the New Year.
May we all be blessed, because God is One, and win-win is what he is after. Your suffering is my problem, my suffering is your problem, because we are all in this earth battle together.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where were You

During the Blizzard of 2010?

Funny how Mother Nature has a way of telling you she is in control. Mother Nature must be
Mrs. God.

We got about two feet more or less in winterwonderland Connecticut. Metro North cancelled service after a minor almost accident where everyone had to move to the left of the train to put enough weight to one side to move it along the snowed under third rail in parts. All of New Jersey is apparently in a state of emergency as they clear roads and the red cross sets up emergency shelters for people either stranded in broken down vehicles or without power.

After watching Cupcake wars on TV I took to making odd creations such as guiness chocolate, and brandybutter mini-cupcakes with clementine icing (doesn't everyone have a box of clementines hanging around till they rot over the holidays?) and coconut snow flake icing. Hillary may not bake cookies but I make awesome gourmet mini-cupcakes better than you find in Wholefoods (Whole Paycheck.)

I have now watched an entire DVD library full of classic cinema from my sister and bro-in law's DVD library. My favorite- Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. If you haven't seen it in about fifty years it is worth renting. Classic Rome shots and the Papal Nuncio makes an appearance at a formal state event. She plays British Princess Ann who like a poor little rich girl with a soul suppressed makes a bee-line from the embassy residence when she gets to Rome
in the back of a pizza delivery truck to discover all the delights of the town like a commoner where Gregory Peck finds her sleeping at the edge of a fountain for having been given a little something to put her to sleep by her royal highness' personal physician prior to leaving.
It's quite clever and part of the ending was borrowed for a Julia Roberts film where the love of her life is staring at her during a press conference while she delivers the Royal line on things such as whether Europe should all join in a federation of sorts (something apparently discussed a long while ago!).
If you are snowed in rent it- perhaps Netflix?

Saturday, December 25, 2010


and Out of Control

sorry to spoil the holiday merriment mood with this one (hope yours was jolly) but this HAS to change. If this happened to me I would sue the TSA in a New York minute.

I have too many relatives traveling this season not to be really worried now.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Merry!

Tim Wilhelm got married this year to Rebecca Talbot Blasier. He wore the peachy orangish rose to the right of this blog:-) Happy First Christmas together (OK-legally in the eyes of the Church) Becky and Tim!!

Top Ten Monks

German Chant rocks the charts.

Did anyone catch this HBO special? The CIC should get a copy and air it again when folks are not on travel for the holidays stranded at Heathrow, snowed under in Paris or braving holiday traffic.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gospel Common Sense

Making Room for The Love Of Your Life

God is Love, right? Do we have that one down?

The message to the right says -no one made room for them- so they went someplace else. You know the story.

In the Ignatian tradition of placing yourself in the scriptures to meditate on their current reality and meaning, you can imagine yourself either as any of the parties locked out or as the townspeople or innkeeper who refues you a place inside. No room for you. We are full. Sorry-don't care if you are pregnant with the Love of the Earth. Bye Bye. Have a nice night.

Who was this Inn-Keeper? If Joseph was going home to comply with the census in his home town, there was likely a home household there. This is why the situation in the middle east is so sticky- the homes that were appropriated after WWII had been in palestinian families for generations. People had family heritage estates and they passed them down from family to family for generation after generation. They do this in Europe also. We in America tend to not appreciate this so much because we are a relatively new country, and people view real estate more for their investment value and trade them in for secure retirement residence living not passing estates so much from generation to generation. People in this country buy and sell real estate like cars- not so in other parts of the world. Thus Joseph likely went back to his home estate-something that was in the family for a long long time- possibly bequethed from David orinally himself.

So who was this Inn-keeper? He likely was a relative- possibly a cousin. Possibly someone who stayed back at the farm while Joseph went to the city of Nazareth to be a tradesman rather than tend sheep like his ancestors. This Inn-keeper, as history has told it, appears rather rude doesn't he. How dare he lock out someone with a pregnant wife right there looking exhausted and ready to pop. They didn't have a corner of a couch somewhere with a wet-nurse to help?

Did Saint Joseph kick up a fess? Huff and Puff and knock the door down? Stand on his heritage or laurels- Hey! I am family from the Royal line of David- this is MY Family House-I played here as a kid. How dare you!! Did he threaten to sue the cousin jerks? His wife was pregnant-quite obviously, and here's the kicker.

She wasn't really yet his wife. or-it was one of those shotgun weddings- and the relatives didn't get invited maybe. She was in his heart but not in the law in the proper order of things traditional. And they all knew about it. He was family. So they knew that part of the family in Nazareth had a bit of an interesting situation going on. Scandal! Imagine the rumors- imagine the ----that skank-Ho isn't coming in here with us fine folks. Let them sleep outside! How dare he try to scandalize us with that mess! Can you hear the cousin In-keeper's wife in the background yelling--- don't you dare let that thing in my house!! What a situation. The inn-keeper probably wasn't just gratuitiously cruel, maybe he was really full, and he didn't feel like he had to scandalize everyone by giving space to someone like that. This is a fine establishment. We have a reputation to uphold here. We are not that kind of an Inn. Bye Bye.

No, basically, resignedly, graciously, Joseph just said- whatever, whatever you have that will give my wife shelter I will take it-you can't be totally heartless-I beg of you-we are despirate now. I don't care if it's a barn, she needs a place to deliver. And they made do. Because Love does that- it doesn't care what other people think when you know it is the right thing to do.

Mary could have died. Literally. People died in childbirth. Imagine outside, no running water, no flushable toilet, no stove to heat up towels, nothing. Delivering a baby. No epidural. She could have died. Joseph knew it. He was despirate.

When they don't let you in, move on. It's not the end of your salvation story. It could be the birth of your victory. If you know what Love is this that is coming- you know God is going to take care of you even when the jerks don't get it, or don't wish you well, or kick you out in the cold. Because God is your Victory. God is your Strength. God is your redeemer and your salvation.

Ten Reasons To Donate

To the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Not in any particular order.

1. It's America's Catholic Church- it's the largest Shrine I know of and they host pilgrims from all over the country-all over the world really. They don't have a group of local parishioners (regular worshippers there tend to be working in the area around Catholic U and sometimes belong to other parishes) so they don't have the regular envelope sending parishioners.

2. You can only get some of these cool gift items by donating (on line or send checks or better yet-show up in person and light a candle in one of their many many chapels) -

3. They have, as a gift of a French Archbishop the actual marble from the Prison cell that Joan of Arc stayed in prior to her getting fried by the Dominicans (later retried in absentia postumously and totally exhonerated for hearing the voice of God's angels including the ArchAngel Michael) in the Lourdes Chapel on the crypt level. I go there when I feel the wing-nuts after me to get strength to carry on and light a candle. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of all those politically persecuted and political prisoners everywhere (I just made it so if she isn't already.)

4. Monsignor Rossi the head rector is a cool Italian American from Pennsylvania and we Pennsylvanians stick together.

5. They have awesome Christmas presents in their gift shops

6. They have amazing acoustics for choral presentations and to practice singing like a diva.

7. The art inside in all forms rivals any museum in Europe and they let you bring your camera inside and take pictures.

8. Two Popes have visited there and left a few tokens of appreciation- so you are in good company. Leave a token of appreciation.

9. It attracts the best homiliests from every order from everywhere so you never catch a bad sermon there and always leave uplifted. Also if you can find the confessionals, chances are the priest there doesn't know you from Adam so you can spill your guts without fear of him telling your real pastor or mother.

10. Jesus resides in the Holy Eucharist in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel which is also an artistic marvel.

P.S. No one made me do this as penance for the blog post below on the Basillica -I just really love the place. Really.

It's HERE!


They do it every year. Some people collect those great White House Christmas ornaments (great gift idea) every year. I collect those National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Christmas CDs. -people with a classical musical ear LOVE those Classic Cathedral Christmas tunes.

The National Shrine in DC ( has a great shop -ideal for Christmas shopping if you are trying to recapture the meaning of the season in the right Spirit.
When you get tired of Bloomies- hit the Shrine Shops (or better yet-get there first before all your money runs out.)

Also- check out the Gingerbread replica of the SHRINE the master pastry chef at the FOUR SEASONS in Georgetown made sitting in its lobby! tres cool !

Also- the Catholic Information Center is running a twenty percent (20%) off sale all this week. They have a full selection of DVDs of saints lives (Ignatian press does a lot of them) as well as christmas cards, books, icons, cds and statues. Its two blocks from the White House. They have a chapel inside and daily Mass. This is an awesome little island of solace for prayerful reflection in the middle of the hustle and bustle near the center of power of the free world. Free for a Reason.
Catch the Spirit of the Season (I just made that up)

Monday, December 20, 2010

From the North Pole

Somewhere Near Flint Michigan

Michael Moore's Santa Letter-too good not to reprint in full.

Last Minute Gifts to Six Groups in Need of Help This Christmas ...a letter from Santa
Monday, December 20th, 2010
Ho! Ho! Ho! And a Merry Christmas to you all!
It's that time of year again and I've been so busy making Xboxes and E-readers and blankets with arms in them that I sometimes forget there are others like me doing good works but who are in need of some help.
These other "Santas" operate on a shoestring and need money to do their kind deeds. Unfortunately they can't do what I do to cover the cost of my operations. (I rent out my North Pole facilities to Superman eleven months of the year for him to use as his Fortress of Solitude.)
So Mrs. Claus, the elves, the reindeer and I are asking if you could make a last minute donation to one of the six worthy organizations I've listed below. Or do it as a gift in someone else's name and make that their Christmas present (thus fewer chimneys for me to go down. I know, I know, stop with the burgers in a donut bun.). These Santas will then turn around and use your money to create gifts greater than anything I could ever make in my workshop.
Here they are:
** The Innocence Project. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans sit in prison tonight having been wrongly convicted of a crime. They are 100% innocent and the system has the DNA samples to prove it. The Innocence Project is an amazing group that provides free attorneys and researchers who devote their time to freeing these innocent men and women. It's no mistake that human rights groups place the U.S. on their list of countries who throw the innocent behind bars. No country on earth (including China, with four times the population of the U.S.) has more people in prison than America. Please give to the Innocence Project so that those who've committed no crime do not spend another night in jail -- and so I don't have to spend so much time on Christmas Eve going through security when I make deliveries to them.
** The Bradley Manning Defense Fund. If I witness a crime while making my rounds on Christmas Eve, and I report it, I'm considered a hero. (Sometimes there's reward money!) Private Bradley Manning of the United States Army allegedly came across video of his fellow soldiers gunning down and killing in cold blood two reporters from Reuters and a group of Iraqis who were civilians. He apparently decided to report this crime to the American people. For this, he has been arrested and thrown into the brig -- where he has sat in tortuous solitary confinement for seven months. He is also believed to be the source of thousands of documents obtained by WikiLeaks which show the disgusting and immoral behavior of your government and Pentagon as they've prosecuted two illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a true travesty taking place and it's being done in your name. Please contribute to his legal defense fund and please send him a holiday card at:
Bradley Manning c/o Courage to Resist 484 Lake Park Ave #41 Oakland CA 94610 USA
(See for how to mail things to him directly.)
** WikiLeaks. What more needs to be said? Frankly, in retrospect I'm GLAD they leaked my 2009 Naughty & Nice list -- especially the parts about the U.S. government. I know that may hurt a bit for those of you who are Americans, but trust me, it's good for you in the long run. What I do foresee in the coming year, though, is a battle for who controls the internet -- and those in power are going to find ways to clamp down and not make it so easy for all of us to share with each other so freely. (Another good group to give to that is helping to keep the internet free is Save the Internet.) From the Iraq War video to the proof that you're backing a corrupt government in Afghanistan to the fabricated cables sent to the Bush State Department from Havana about Mike's movie, WikiLeaks has performed an invaluable service. As long as they don't dig into what my elves do in the 11 months they're on vacation, I'm solidly behind WikiLeaks.
** The Water Project. Over a billion people on this planet have no access to clean drinking water. Approximately two million children under age five are killed each year worldwide by a water-related disease. This is insane considering we have the technology and the people power to fix this in a very short time period -- if we wanted. The money from just one year of the Iraq War would pretty much take care of it. Sad, isn't it, how we're capable of so much more, of being so much better. The Water Project is a hands-on, boots on the ground organization that's digging wells and getting clean drinking water to the Third World. This is one delivery -- water for a billion people -- that just doesn't fit in my sleigh.
** Park 51 Islamic Community Center ("The Ground Zero Mosque"). Here's a tip: if there's anything that will get you a lump of coal in your stocking, it's hating people based on their race or religion. And I'm sorry to say, folks like that were out in full force this year. They even won themselves an election. Soon they will hold congressional hearings to out America's Kenyan-born Muslim president. (My team's already getting extra coal ready for Christmas 2011.)
Meanwhile in lower Manhattan, a group of people who happen to be Muslim want to build a community center. They asked the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan for help. They helped them. It was so nice it made me think I should branch out into Hanukkah and Ramadan. Then the haters showed up. But I believe Park 51 will win this fight. Please help them.
** Democracy Now. This great daily show presents the news we never get to hear on mainstream radio or TV -- especially at the North Pole, where for some reason the cable system only runs the Hallmark channel and Spike. Amy Goodman and Co. do an incredible job bringing the truth to the American public every morning. I listen to them and I support them. (And I support all efforts for non-profit, community-based radio stations. You can learn more about that movement at Radio for All.)
So give if you can. I know these are tight times for most people and you've got yourselves and your families to take care of. I hope this time of the year is going well for you and if not, then please know that there are many -- including me -- who care about you and yours. Working together, it will get better for everyone.
Finally ... those of you who don't have chimneys, could you possibly leave the door open this year? I don't like it any more than you do when I have to break in through your bathroom window.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night, Santa (c/o Michael Moore)

Not A Monolith

Beware Label Appropriators

You are not the Confessor of Me.

There are a number of groups out there who call themselves "Catholic" this or that- and Papal bag carriers. They don't all agree. They don't all vote for the same things or hold the same things to be true. They each have varied clerical adherents. The ones on the right tend to be more slanderous of the ones on the left making names up about them- like Catholic Lite or Catholyk, as though they had different Gods. There is a guy who because the Pope champions lay movements took that to mean he was directly endorsing specifically him and titled a blog post something like What Benedict thinks of Meeeeeeeeee:-)

There is another Catholic group with a petition out to call out the conservatism of a group run by a guy raking in PERSONALLY close to half a million to incite ire over culture war stuff (he probably secretly uses words like fag after a few guiness, just a hunch)- name Donohoe or Donohue (can't keep them straight)- Catholic League with a twenty-some Mil. warchest for 2012. Take it seriously. Seriously scary.

Word to the wise- anything calling themselves THE this or that Catholic thing or Papist thing speaks basically for himself and anyone else he can convince to join him to guest blog or donate- the Catholic world is not a monolith as much as the Dominicans want to run another inquisition.

One thing I do agree with Wuerl about- these virulent Obama haters should tone it down a bit. It's unbecoming a Catholic. We are supposed to pray for those in civil authority-because scripture teaches they are there because God put them there- with the help of all those Catholyks.

The Wages of Sin

In Bangladesh are Death

Forty lashes can kill you.

Something to meditate on- when Pilate had Jesus lashed 40 times with flesh gnawing knife like whips he could have easily killed him. He didn't want the blood on his hands (remember his wife's dream?) So he asked the righteous leaders- who do you want me to save ? Look, this Jesus or Barabas. -because they could get released only one according the a law of release. Give us Barabas they said - so the final decision to kill him off was not with the Romans, but with those considered most righteous of the day who had the final say according to their law. Here is where their law it is noted, did not serve Justice. It served their envy. Because they hung an innocent man who threatened their power. Now go look in the mirror.

NOTE TO THE UN: Caning should be banned with Stoning for Adultery for women. It is as eventually lethal and brutal.

There Went the Neighborhood

When the Joneses can't keep up with each other

...they have to rewrite the town budget. The recession is trickling up to one of America's wealthiest suburbs as Chevy Chase, Maryland feels the heat and has to invite comments for it's budget shortfall revision which may mean less disposable income for city workers as bonuses are slashed as well as less reliable fire, police and emergency services.

Federal freezes will only mean less and less inclination to spend and more people moving down to lower property tax values scaling back a bit more and more perpetuating the cycle. Will the new Obama tax package save the declines?

Moral of the story? Go where God calls you to be- not just where they or you think you are going to strike it richest for you or them, because you never know what will happen. The belly of a bloated whale is no place to be if you were supposed to make it to Ninevah.

Scooping Poop

and Making a Clean Break For It.

Today's Fox-hole internet news reported that Obama told a classroom full of Arlington kiddies that he scoops Bo's poop up when he walks him. This met with a children's chorus of "eeeeeewwwww!!" I imagine that Fox reported this to mock the Pooper Scooper in Chief. But it backfired because anyone who has or had a dog would find that admirable- even endearing. What-you want a federal salary going specifically toward someone following behind the Presidential pooch for the sole purpose of watching wandering waste? Would this be a Schedule C Presidential appointment for "The Plastic Hand." Cabinet level for "Waste Management" maybe? The President demonstrates exactly the kind of literally down to earth realism we want. Bravo.

My metaphoric mind races onward- to that children's book "Everyone Poops" that helps kiddies in potty training not be afraid of Mr. Flush. Everyone who eats, generates some waste. It is what you do with it that distinguishes you either as a piggish dirtbag or Mr. Clean.

The clean-hearted wise pick it up and with a swift toss flush it or dump it for good never be seen or heard from again. Waste is, after all, waste. It smells. It cannot be used for anything good except composte once buried. No one likes walking around a yard dodging bullets for all the piles of crap lying around.

Now you know why some girlfriends demand that in order to get serious with their man they insist that the guy get rid of all the pictures and letters of old flames. Now you know why God said in scripture that in order to get married a man had to LEAVE his mother and father (mother being a very tall order for some Jewish mommas boys) and cleave to his wife so that the two shall become one. Now you know why the Prince could not kiss his Sleeping Beauty to wake her up until he figured out that the wicked evil mother put a curse on her and he kicked the wicked mirror-gazing vain hag to the curb and ran to his beauty.

There is no growth without dumping the waste. If you keep it hanging around and lying around eventually all it will get you is a shoe full of crap. Some old bag crap just needs to be scooped and dumped where it belongs so everyone around isn't dodging bullets of excrement.

Misreading Scripture

and Missing the Message.

If your mother did nothing but make dinner and sent you to your room without dinner if she didn't like anything you were doing would you even want to come home to dinner? After a while of that you might just want to get chinese take-out. This is how the catholic church is perceived in large measure. If the Eucharist is the pinnacle and summit-everything revolves around it's dissemination and people like Cardinal Burke want to send politicians he doesn't get to their room without it. God never told the people treking through the desert with Moses that they were to obsess idolotriously over the manna. It was food for the journey not the end of the journey. They didn't bow down on the ground, make great altars and cathedrals to the manna and stay squated on the ground.

The church has to be about Love or it is not about Anything really God. Your mother doesn't make dinner so you can worship the potato. She makes dinner so you have energy to do good, to love hard and live long. People who live to eat not eat to live are said to have an eating "disorder."
My Mother the Minister Will Get To Heaven Quicker Than Some of Your Cardinals.

(You say a pederasy pedofile priest child molester is more worthy? Your mother wears ugly brown mindless rosary chanting shoes-would you like to level any more insults to half of Christendom?)

Facing Down


Because hypocrites don't get to heaven. Period. Jesus blasted them. God hates them. Hates them.

Remember that old addage "Those who can't - teach, and those who can't teach, teach PE."
You don't want it said of preachers. Those who can't -preach. Because if you cannot Love like God you don't want to be spouting pontifications blasting other people for being less Godly than you aren't.

Jesus Heals. Amen. So lets cancel all spousal medical coverage for everyone working for us.
Marriage Matters. Amen. Except for all those gays, and for all our male clergy employees and any and all those deranged women who really love them.
"Life" means every human is made in the image of God and endowed thus with undefilable dignity: Amen. Except Gays and all those deranged women who really love them-actually ALL women- and all those criminals we can put to death, and anyone we think we need to torture (republican oil wars pay the mortgage).
"Love your neighbor" and let your third order spend every last penny on you so they are homeless and make them sleep outside on your front steps because no women are allowed in the Palace.

And now you will all go to us for confession to save your souls.

I confess. I don't think you have any more moral authority to save my soul than my mother. She's a protestant "Saint Stephen's Minister."

Talk about 'stumbling blocks'- these are stumbling brick walls. Just can't manage to walk through them yet. Am I sad? Is the Pope a childless old european intellectualized white guy over 70?

My Mother the Minister will get to heaven quicker than some of your cardinals.
Oh- I almost forgot my favorite one: We are Pro Life and Everyone Pregnant Should Bear the Child. We just don't want any babies. (too much diaper rash and burping going on there.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Can You Please Turn up the AC

Honey, Can we please make a pit stop at the next rest stop I have to go. Can we please change the CD, I have a new one. Can I please lower the seat to a better angle. Can I please roll down the window.
Words Mary never said to Joseph on the trek to Bethlehem.
She was eight and a half months pregnant, one assumes, and riding on a -wait for it- donkey. A long ride. Not a little amusement park ride. A town to town to town ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Do the Google Mapquest on that one. On a donkey. No wonder she went into labor as soon as she got there.

Joseph we are told today had a wild dream and was convinced it was trustworthy.
Your girlfriend/fiance is pregnant and you didn't get to be with her yet. What is going on there?
An honorable man, he didn't want scandal so he was going to quietly take her back to her parents and 'divorce' her. Until he figured it out- the dream was real. It was one of those so real dreams you remember it when you wake up. She is your wife, don't be afraid to take her home, the child is- wait for it- conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever been presented with some scenario that sounded so off the wall you couldn't make it up- but there it is in front of you? And you are not supposed to run from it or be afraid. It is from God. It is not there to taunt, terrorize or scandalize you. It came from God. You are to Love it, like your own.

A good honorable man sees the good and does not suspect evil of the good. A good honorable man believes the Good.

Grazie, Merci, Gracias

I Would Like To Thank

on behalf of my gay clients and friends who may now job hunt at the Pentagon openly, all those who pushed for and passed that repeal of DADT, especially Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and that Senatorial Equalitarian Eight who defeated any hope of Filibuster and voted with the Democrats on this one. I especially want to thank the esteemed honorable Madam Senators Collins, Snowe and Murkowski for their bravery in battle in not caving to party pressure.

Like the President, I won't ever face discrimination because of my sexual orientation, but I have plenty for merely being born Female. I imagine Joe Lieberman has known a bit of discrimination due to religion. Anyone who has any idea what discrimination actually means in terms of ability to make a living should be elated at this recent repeal.

Because discrimination against anyone is discrimination against everyone.
Thank you again. Proud to be an American.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Prayer Request

For Ron Wyden of Oregon

"I don't care who you love so long as you love your country-you can serve." Said Wyden, who is scheduled Monday for surgery on early prostate cancer.

Say a Prayer for the Senator from Oregon.


The Leading Ladies: Madam Senators to you please. They probably get that discrimination in a boy's club thing-Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined them in ending any hope for a filibuster-brown on the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal.


No Women Need Apply

The Men's Only Club of the Dominican Palace of Studies in Washington, DC. Let them eat cake.
This is the "official" Preaching Order of the Catholic church. All graduate Seminarians get an OP title after their name, to signify Order of Preacher.
Women religious who are in the order are called the "Second Order" -and can also in some cases put OP after their name, but enshrined in second class status. No women can live in the building. It covers the equivalent of a Manhattan city block across from Catholic U. in 'little vatican' DC.

The stable, the Manger

The Basillica and the Mid-Life Melt-Down.

Ever watch the sad tragectory of a married family stricken with the disease of "affluenza" (thanks Marion Wright Edelman for coining that term).
You know the story. A young couple, madly deeply in love- can live anywhere and make do with anything just so long as they are together. It's them against the world in their undying love.
They forsake all others, women give up careers, they give up anything to be with the man they love for the ring and blessed union. They start in a one bedroom apartment with a tiny galley kitchen and don't care. They get married. They have kids. One, two , three, four, five, etc...Kids. Then all the worldly stress comes- bills, OMG. electric bills triple, they have to get a bigger house. They have to move to the schruburbs. The woman gets chunky. The guy gets annoyed. He deals with work stresses and comes home to "how are we going to pay for all these private school tuitions! " The woman wants to be envied by the other ladies who lunch. She needs a better wardrobe all of a sudden- Marshalls isn't good enough, now she needs Saks, because Mrs. Jones down the street just got something spectacular. They have to move to better bigger digs in Chevy Chase because Rockville is too pedestrian now. More stress, higher property taxes, and now your wife wants you to buy more life insurance because your kids want to go to more expensive colleges and you already had one heart scare. The guy thinks she can't wait till he kicks it- his paralegal starts looking really hot and lives in a one bedroom with a galley kitchen in a cool part of downtown. Oh No Mr. Bill.
This is where the mid-life fantasy can dangerously evolve into the mid-life divorce.

And this is what the church is sort of experiencing now historically. The church was born in a rustic stable in a manger-an animal feeding trough. You cannot get much more humble than that. Jesus could not have picked a lower place to not brag about being born in. No silver spoon, no Macy's carriage, no staff of wet-nurses. Just mom, dad, a bunch of cows, ox and ass and a bed that smelled of Ox saliva. Humility. The church was born in humility.

Over the years the congregations that met in catecombs got to surface and built cathedrals to rival and outdo Palaces and Chateaus as Clerics vied for power with secular Princes and Kings.
Eventually the status, the power and the buildings eclipsed their message in part and over-rode the people. There were some major historical corrections- like the Reformation. This is like a marriage getting to the marriage counselors office for a major talking to.

Basillicas became more important than the people in them. Policies and programs were directed toward maintaining properties and school buildings. And the people- they fended for themselves.

Now the church is dangerously tinkering on the edge of a divorce- and it needs a major date night out with it's people--alone without the buildings.

The Basillica is not the Body of Christ. It is a piece of rock and mortar and a lot of expensive paintings, stained glass and sculptures. It is a museum without the body of Christ present in it.
It is a fancy fortified Manger with no baby in it. in fact a lot of the churches in Italy are now actual State run Museums and you have to pay a museum fee to get inside them. Relics of a
marriage that lost the love and got swamped with the worldly cares of tuition bills and electric bills and vain old women who want to keep up with Mrs. Jones and things that drive love out of a marriage.

You can't kick the love out of a church and call it Church. You can call it anything but church. Like Yuppiville or Affluenzaland.

If the Shoe Fits

What Penalty is there for Party Disloyalty?

Do the words of Martin Luther ring true today? Here are points 41-50 of his 95 point thesis addressing the practice of paying for an 'indulgence' to get a written papal pardon letter which was your paid for ticket out of purgatory :

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.
42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.
43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;
44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.
45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.
46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.
47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.
48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.
49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.
50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.


Will Do You Good.

The Lutheran-Catholic dialogue that the Pope is currently engaged in is interesting to watch.
The Lutherans are called "The Reformers" as opposed to 'the heretics' or 'those heathens' or 'that bunch of dissenting schismatics' in these ecumenical dialogues.

The movement was called 'The Reformation' and inspired Vatican II some five hundred years later (they are a little slow to catch on.) Ignoring massive movements of the Holy Spirit throughout the evangelical and charismatic world in whole segments, they ostrich in 'tradition' as though the Holy Spirit left the planet for good after Pentacost.

Catholics are nothing if not Traditionalists. They believe tradition is a virtue and the rightness of something is demonstrated by the 'we've always done it that way' unthinkableness of changing script - whether or not the script is nonesense in some matters. They have a fondness for static things like buildings that don't move or speak or rock boats.

This is the case with married priesthood. It is even more delusional when they base it on tradition (because they can't base it on scripture or Jewish practice obviously because priests were married, including popes until the 11th century when evolution of primogeniture laws made it too difficult- what happens when the priest's widow is left with a son and the rectory property.)

What is galling however is that they fabricate theology around it, and call it tradition, and that they base practices on the fabricated theology- and even engage in perverse vicious persecutions of women in the name of it. The story lost in the 'abuse' scandal that I am waiting for a full Time Cover story on is what has happened to try to destroy women who threaten the order.

"Church" in catholic tradition is more that expensive building (some outrageously tacky and gaudy, others gloriously magnificent) than the actual Body of Christ. That is why a Church can be a magnificent piece of stained glass and marble columns and you never hear a catholic priest addresss his audience the way protestant pastors do as "Church!" The Body of Christ is the Church, not the building. They could be church in a catecomb, in a rented hall, in a field or in a chinese house. Church is the congregation not the building.

Where your treasure is, there your heart lies. Thus, for budgetary purposes more money should be spent on the actual body-the people, than the buildings. I was very impressed by one protestant pastor during this recession that gave each parishioner in his small congregation $100 and said- you go for three months and invest it and bring back what you made and I will give you back half. Just like the parable, some were able to double it, some made a little by buying stuff for bake sales and made a handsome profit, some hid it and gave it back because they didn't know what to do with it (and didn't want to lose it having to pay it back out of pocket).

The church is the Body of Christ. The People. not the building.
That is why I find it shockingly appauling that a place like the Dominican House Palace in DC (12 Mil and counting thank you the Dominican Foundation trust fund in New York) would let one of their 'Third Order' admirants sleep outside on the front steps in the cold homeless. (no it wasn't me, don't get excited.) It is just twisted. There they are teaching the theology and living like it only existed in books inside the Palace. They are teaching love your neighbor and persecuting women who love them in the misplaced name of holiness. Warped beyond all reasoning. As is the fact that the scripture teaches that 'there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus' and only men are allowed the degrees necessary to be preachers, women are definitionally only of second or third rank (literally, the second order are the teaching sisters and the third order the lay folks who support them.) Women are only allowed degrees that are not preacher qualifying credentials and women have to pay for their education as opposed to having it paid for either by the order or the people like the Knights of columbus or other catholic groups that pay for Seminarians. The women are not 'seminarians' they just help the finances by paying for their vanity degrees for masters' credentials and the like. There is no male nor female in Christ- except there is in Catholic hierarchy. NOT ONE FEMALE CARDINAL. NOT ONE FEMALE BISHOP. NOT ONE FEMALE PRIEST. And merely attempting to make it otherwise is automatically excommunicable-whereas a convicted pederasty child molesting priest is not. WARPED BEYOND ALL TELLING.

I also find it appauling that people like the catholic architects guilds and catholic building fund and maintenance 'real property' development characters get so much control and power over what goes on in churches- and control over the pastoral care of the actual church-the body of christ. Church is not the building. It is the people. It bears repeating because it is so lost on the congregations, notably the Pastors who like to live in Palaces while the flock get foreclosed all around them.

This imbalance and misplaced priority system was corrected in the reformation. Those people who worshipped in the German Wittenberg Cathedral, a magnificent cathedral under the inspiring, purist reformer Martin Luther their inspiring Augustinian monk pastor who refused to burden his flock with the nonsensical "indulgence" system wherein they were guilt tripped into buying indulgences under fear of losing salvation for the Vatican Building Fund (check your dates, yes, this was all part of the Bishop's fundraising for the Vatican Building Fund, no offense to Michelangelo who was paid with the pennies of starving peasants everywhere) were following the Holy Spirit- even to eventual martyrdom- because the followers were hunted down ruthlessly and tormented. War literally for a hundred years followed.

The Martin Luther 95 point theological thesis that he posted on the door is the equivalent of a long Pastoral Letter posted in a bulletin on the web. It is the Pastor addressing his flock in tender care of the salvation of their souls. It is worth reading in full.
It is brilliant to this day in it's theological truth.

This reformer would have died for his beliefs. He had more moral courage than half of
Rome at the time. His followers have not given up their beliefs while they have tried to show the light to the institutional traditionalists. There are some ways in which Vatican II did not go far enough.

In the ecumenical dialogue the Pope should be less engaged in a power grabby kind of how can we pursuade everyone to come in under our tent so our doctrine dictates everything, and more, how can we learn from each other with truly open hearts regarding what the God of the Gospels is really trying to tell us.

Because what has gone on in the catholic church, can be viewed as a boiling over of an overheated pot which had the burner on too high for lack of reading correctly the instructions.
It has not served the church to not read the instructions-meaning the body of christ, the people. It might have served the petty developers, church builders, architects and people who make a living off gawking at the architectural marvels, but it has not served THE CHURCH, the body of Christ.

And this is why things like Time magazine run unflattering articles about the Pope- this is why there is abundant criticism in the real world about the church, this is why all the good work is eclipsed by the reporting on the perversions- because the hierarchy still unbelievably refuses to change, even when the Tradition is shown to be the problem. Tradition is not Spirit, and can in some cases butt heads against it. You don't want to be on the wrong side of the Holy Spirit.

When the pot boils over it burns everything around it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unto Us Is Born.......

I love this holiday email from Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund, so in the spirit of the season, I here share:

As those of us who are Christian celebrate a poor, homeless child threatened by Herod’s violence which took the lives of innocent first born boys, let us commit to standing up and caring for the millions of children in our midst who are destitute, homeless, and hungry, and threatened by violence in our rich, powerful nation today.

A law enforcement officer is less likely to die from gun violence than a child under 10. Nine children and teens die from gun violence every day in our gun saturated nation. Let’s care and call for justice for the over 15.5 million poor children, millions living in extreme poverty and with daily food insecurity. It is time for all of us to do better: to reset our nation’s moral and economic compass to protect and invest in every child.

Let’s pray that we may commit to acting on God’s call through the prophet Zechariah “to see that justice is done, to show kindness and mercy to one another, not to oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, who live among you or anyone else in need” by joining together and serving and caring.

I Care And I Am Willing To Serve
Lord I cannot preach like Martin Luther King, Jr.or turn a poetic phrase like Maya Angelou
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I do not have Harriet Tubman’s courage
or Franklin Roosevelt’s political skills
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I cannot sing like Fannie Lou Hamer
or organize like Bayard Rustin
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I am not holy like Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
forgiving like Nelson Mandela,
or disciplined like Mahatma Gandhi
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I am not brilliant like Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
or as eloquent as Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I have not Mother Teresa’s saintliness,
Dorothy Day’s love or
Cesar Chavez’s gentle tough spirit
but I care and I am willing to serve.

God it is not as easy as it used to be to frame an issue and to forge a solution
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I can’t see or hear well or speak good English,I stutter sometimes,
am afraid of criticism, and get real scared standing up before others
but I care and I am willing to serve.
I’m so young nobody will listen
I’m not sure what to say or dobut
I care and I am willing to serve.
Use me as Thou will today and tomorrow
to help build a nation and world where no
child is left behind and everyone feels
welcome and justly treated.

...or maybe I am....Merry Christmas to everyone at the Children's Defense Fund and especially Mrs. Marion Wright Edelman and her husband who makes I am sure lots possible.

So much to do

So little time- So here's My letter to Santa

Dear Santa: I am really busy swamped writing christmas cards and holiday Peace cards for folks who don't get christmas (yet), and putting out minor fires in the snow storm here. So can you please help me out and tell
Senator Reid and anyone else who has a voice there in the Senate- to pretty please schedule votes on the thirty some judicial nominees sitting on their desk yelling 'why haven't you moved me to the floor yet!!'
What is going on? Filibusters? Tax policy? You have to be kidding me. Egg-nog parties? Just vote. We aren't getting trial dates for years because there aren't enough judges. Please give those nice lawyers nice judicial appointments so we don't have to keep wondering why there are only really conservative judges making really questionable decisions that affect far too many people. OK I am calmed down now. All I am asking for is a sit down with your schedule-to mark a few days to vote. I bet McConnell and you could work it out if you both went to the Dubliner down the street, knocked down a few Shirley Temples and talked about it nicely. I especially like that Goodwin Goodfellow. What a nice balance on the Ninth Circuit he would be. Smart fellow.
I have another request, and it would really help me out a lot if you could talk to those Senators again for me dearest Santa. Could you help to please tell them to give all those (mostly hispanic) kids a chance this Christmas and pass that Dream Act thing. Wouldn't that be a load off. What a great Christmas present. For a lot of people. You have a better plan? Bring them to work in the elves workshop at Pole Norte you say? That's only seasonal work. They need regular jobs eventually and real educations. We need them here- and they like us. So many people don't these days. Please help them pass the DREAM ACT.
Because they really are now Americans. Just like those pilgrims on Plymouth Rock eventually who came without their green cards.
Thanks Santa- I appreciate it. And also, if I can ask just one more thing. I have a friend who needs a job, loves his country and has high security clearance. He's gay and everyone knows about it- he would make a great Marine. Don't Ask Don't Tell? Too late? He's already de facto married to a guy with two masters degrees and has a child with this partner. Wouldn't ELLEN make a great USO comic on staff as a special ambassador of sorts to the military? Would the USO have kicked Elton John off the base? Please pass the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal.
and please repeal the Don't sneeze, don't wipe your nose with your sleeve, don't eat with your mouth open, don't pick your nose, don't wipe your boots on your cot law also. Oh- there isn't one of those you say? Then why is there a Don't Ask Don't Tell law? Don't we have a First Amendment to talk-or are all those constitutional rights suspended just by joining the military? Is the military like jail?

Oh- and one other thing for my friend who can't meet her medical bills with her bad habit of having to grocery shop who is civilian military making GS-i can't believe numbers go that low.
Please don't freeze all federal salaries for folks making under 50k a year. They have rent to pay.

Thanks Santa- I know you are tight with those guys in the Senate because this is really a great country. So I hope you give me those Christmas presents and prove my grumpyish grinchish uncle wrong when he says that adults don't need to get Christmas presents.

Army Manual

Chapter 5: How to Put Off A male Gay Advance (Unless you are curious)

If approached by someone you suspect is taking an extreme liking to you in close quarters of the same gender any of the following remarks is considered appropriate and effective:

1. I have a headache tonight and no left leg, how attractive can you possibly find me.
2. I prefer natural blondes, with real natural breasts but thanks for the offer.
3. Unless you are capable of carrying twins I prefer fooling around with people who come fully loaded with child-bearing capabilities.
4. Is that a gun in your pocket or did you mistake me for Nurse Hoolihan?
5. Trust me, you can't afford me. My medical bills alone will bankrupt us.
6. I have a rule. Dinner and a movie first- oh, there are no movies in the Green Zone-guess that means no date night for you.
7. You first have to ask permission of my spiritual director- Archbishop Broglio.

Prayer Request

For the Queen of Soul


I will never forget getting to sing along at the top of my lungs at Wolftrap to Aretha.
Preacher's daughter this Soul Sister has a spot of health trouble now that she and we can
all pray to Jesus is nipped in the bud.
Because I want to sing with her again!

Inflatable Slashers

and Stealing Baby Jesus

This year people already have horrendously tacky inflatables bobbing in the wind in their yards that kids love with all their colorful outdoor lighting-you have seen them if you drive around any suburban neighborhood in America- large blown up Frosties or Santas, sometimes with a full cadre of inflatable reindeer and sleigh and huge inflatable snow flakes hanging from gutters. While not exactly Martha Stewart tasteful against the colonial house backdrops they have a certain kitche appeal. Entire neighborhoods in Richmond Virginia vie for tackiest house in a contest called Tackiest Christmas Lights House contest. It must be bonus time for Pepco because people must pay an extra mortgage for their lighting bills in December.
This year it is all the rage for night pranksters to go around knifing the inflatables so they all deflate. One guy called in a radio show bragging he decapitated a bobbing Santa in the breeze. A proud papa who inflated his glow in the dark inflatables wakes up the next day, gets his coffee and finds his Frostie folded in on himself in a heap in the front yard. Ha Ha Ha Ha. LoL. Grab My Gut Funny. Are you done ? That sinking feeling of -I just wasted $400. on a pile of plastic junk hits him. A guy on the radio remarked (while laughing uncontrollably at the phenomenon because he thinks them horrendously tacky to begin with-which they are but it is holiday fun for the kiddies) that this is today's equivalent of last years' holiday pranksters stealing the baby Jesus out of town Nativity scenes.
Stealing Baby Jesus. I recall one church almost snickering that in a Nativity procession in which a church Nativity scene was blessed they forgot the baby Jesus. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Not really.

The ENTIRE message of the Season is a BABY.

The ENTIRE raison d'etre is an infant, born basically on the run in make-shift housing, bunking down with whatever needed to share it, like an Ox and Ass, maybe a few cows-who knows. With a mother grabbing whatever is around to keep her baby warm, folded on some hay in a feeding trough.

If you lose the Baby you have lost the message completely. It's worse than slashing Santa's throat.

Thursday, December 16, 2010



What's in a Name


There are litanies to the Names of God. He has a number of them. Jehovah Jirah (God the Provider)- Kaballah or the Zohar I believe teaches there are some sixty at least names of God.
Here is one that Mary the Blessed Mother of Jesus called him in speaking to the Angel Gabriel after learning she would conceive a child because she was so highly favored: HOLY.

HOLY is your name. Blessed be the Lord, HOLY is his name.
That's what she is reported to have said. Wow. I am pregnant! HOLY is the Name of the Lord.
Blessed be the Lord, Holy is his Name. Jehovah Holy.
Holiness connotes a Wholeness. It means the highest sanctity -the highest virtue, the highest
perfection of heart's goodness. Holy. There are not even words adequate in any human language to really express what it means, because it means GOD. HOLY. Holy is his name. Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh.

That is why an entire clerical construction that elevates celibate childlessness as a higher virtue in the name of holiness is way way off base. It wasn't the virginity of Mary that was holy (she was a virgin before she said it)- it was her belief in her procreative potential, it was the fact she was with child by ACT OF GOD. Wow. Holy. High-five Gabriel.

She did not apparently say- Yeah! I am still a perpetual virgin in spite of that baby thing going on. Holy is your name! But that is what you might think she said given how the church has distorted the theology around this.

Don't Ask

Don't Tell and Definately Don't Wink

The battle is still on concerning whether Gays should be allowed to openly serve in the military and it hinges on the principles of Constitutional Equal Protection as well as an
informed assessment of whether it compromises military readiness.

The House Wednesday night passed it. Now it turns to the Senate. Gates, the head of the military wants it repealed. It could add tens of thousands of needed bodies including specialties, like linquists and IT expertise that we badly need now in an all volunteer force.

John McCain thinks it compromises military readiness. People who think it does seem to think it does mostly in smaller combat units.

So is there a way to compromise? Perhaps backburnering the smaller combat units for consideration later in effort to pass for the areas in which it would not matter. There are entire military installations that are not combat but are more strategic and research oriented with guys at computers. What about a Gay Military Medic? How does that compromise morale if you suspect your physician is gay? Who cares if they are sewing your leg back on straight.

If there is one category that is highly suspected to be dicey- then exclude that category-
If "Radar" on Mash was gay, or Clinger- who in real life is I think- then how is gayness not
up to snuff given the job description? If there is anything not up to snuff then we look at performance issues, not 'orientation' proclivity. If someone in a fox hole somewhere is worried he is going to get felt up by the soldier next to him in the heat of battle, I submit that the guy probably has other things on his mind- like not getting whacked with an IUD or rifle fire. Tends to put a bit of a damper on the candle-lit romantic mood.

Sign Me Up

No Labels, No Fables

Just good old fashioned American Common Sense. The movement in New York to get beyond the partisanship of blind party loyalty at all cost is on its way out- one can only hope. The new movement that Mayor Bloomberg of New York is all about is just getting back to the basics of our democratic principles- No Labels means no party has a monopoly on common sense, or on
bull headed blistering misguidedness.

Where do I sign up??

Now I'm Excited

God is Green

Environmental stewardship gets a big boost from this Pope who will install, word has it, solar panels at the Vatican residence and/or at his summer residence in Gadoland, and is looking at an electric Popemobile. But here is where it got my attention: Vatican Radio reporting on Eric Holder, the US Attorney General suing BP and eight defendants in the Gulf Oil Spill. Hope they whack Haliburton who just agreed to pay $250 Mil. to keep Cheney from a Nigerian prison cell. on a kickback plot that has a lesser subordinate already sitting in a Texas jail I believe. Guilty- heck yeah.

Vatican Radio does not usually report on American litigation unless it involves pederasy clergy.
They didn't report the Wal-Mart case did they? ( the most significant employment law case to hit the Supreme Court in a long while.)
Vatican Radio does report on environmental damage litigation- because the EARTH is the Lord's and everything in it- it's God's good green earth. And we are merely tending his garden.

The Popular Sport of

Shooting Messengers

I watch with intrigue the Julian Assange Wikileaks character's plight. Is he being more a flame-throwing target because he hacked and bribed his way into sensitive information or because he told?
First- imagine if he can hack his way into Pentagon and State Dept. servers what any random hacker can do to our electronic voting machinery (and likely has already....)

Second, yes, that is probably breaking a lot of laws (counter-espionage, etc...) to invade the privacy of our government. Because the government for and by the people is allowed to have privacy or can't operate without it?

Third, is it that he let the cat out of the bag or the cat itself you can't stand? Is it that he told or what he told that has you hot under the collar?


That comes somewhere from scripture- google it yourself. (It's not a threat please don't send homeland security or a TSA wand after me)

If I say - that chick who is giving you large donations is making money off a network marketing game that would keep a staff of attorneys at the FTC busy for a year with all the fraudulent misrepresentations and hype are you mad that I told you that or mad that she is making off like Marvin doing that?

What is Julian Assange supposed to cop a plea to confess in the confessional? That he aired the dirty laundry when someone else rolled in the mud?

Some people want to hang him and some people want him given an honorary award in the Foreign Legion. Michael Moore wants him to feature in his next movie and posted bail already.

If Jesus is Spirit and TRUTH shouldn't we be a bit more forgiving of the Truthtellers (I say as someone who has applied for membership.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sorry Walter Dellinger

Still Don't Buy It

Unless I have to-health insurance that is. In the battle of former soliciters general I hate to say it, but the Bush one won out on the Commerce clause constraint arguments. Congress is authorized to regulate COMMERCE not CONSUMERS. They can't tell consumers what they must buy and at what price. They can regulate interstate fees, tarrifs, pricing to an extent to satisfy anti-monopolistic reasons, taxes, regulatory compliance in all the areas we do, etc. But they cannot regulate THEIR CUSTOMERS.

That I believe is the distinction with a difference.
Dellinger, Clinton's Soliciter General made the argument that health insurance is different and should be in a sui generis category all by itself because everyone at some point in their life will need it.

But will they need it before they hit medicare age?
I hope not. We already have it for everyone over a certain age don't we?
And is there a conscientious objector sort of excusal for christian scientists or really healthy vegans who prefer to treat with medical mary jane in California and the occasional Merlot?
Seriously- this does not pass the 'get the feds out of my kitchen medicine cabinet' smell test to all the Cato-ist libertarians, nor does it particularly sit well with people who try to take really good care of themselves so they don't ever have to go to the Doctor.

Look how France does it- I prefer to be sick in France.

Still looking at how whacked that reasoning is:
think about how many things that argument could be said-- everyone needs toothpaste-so the government will mandate that you buy toothpaste (at $200. a tube every month) in the interest of regulating health and welfare. Come on! Women need sanitary items only for women- in the interest of general health and welfare -$400 a box.
There is nothing in the commerce clause allowing regulation of consumers. Sorry.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


And Rights.

Traditionalists who want to dog women's 'libbers' disdain 'women's rights' as something somehow anti-family when nothing could be further from the truth. They transpose this into
a general broad anathema to all rights-based legal theory, because they are so mad at women-probably their mother (for good reason.)
But the apostle Paul indicated he believed in 'rights' of a certain kind- don't we have a RIGHT to travel with our wives as does Cephas [Peter], etc... he says in Corinthians.
And the international community got together after WWII and proclaimed with the help of one rather famous 'women's libber' Eleanor Roosevelt- that there are universal RIGHTS that human dignity dictates we are all endowed with. Such RIGHTS were enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights- and here the Vatican Radio even pays them tribute.

So all 'rights-based' legal reasoning and theory is not intrinsically rotten or lesser. It comes from the God given natural law. Things like- we have a Right to Marriage under the Constitution because God made Adam and Eve and declared the 'help-mate' status for populating the earth.
And for fun practicing. You have a Right.