The real spirit of Pentecost is inclusion. It is solidarity. It is ecumenism. It is reaching out beyond our own limits and biases to speak in a language that all can understand. The more rules and boundaries we place between ourselves and others, the more we negate the true message and purpose of Christ’s Spirit bestowed upon us.
There is one part of the USCCB statement that is so shameless, even I was shocked. It reads, “In an attempt to avoid these needless conflicts, states that have passed “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” prohibitions have overwhelmingly included protections for religious employers. When the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by the President’s own party, passed the similar Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last year, it included religious liberty protections as well. Indeed, all prior versions of ENDA had at least some religious liberty protections.” The authors of this statement might have had the decency to mention that the USCCB has opposed every previous iteration of ENDA, yes? Does not the eighth commandment deserve some attention and respect from the bishops? Or is it only the sixth that has any juice over at USCCB headquarters?
I do not believe that Pope John Paul II was endorsing or validating Castro’s rule when he visited Cuba and met with the dictator, although he was recognizing him. Nor, do I think the Catholic Church in Cuba is validating or sanctioning his rule when they work with the Cuban regime to alleviate poverty. This way of thinking, that any form of recognition means we are complicit in actions that the Church does not approve only makes sense if one has adopted a thoroughly defensive posture.
Call me foolish, but I find it astonishing, that a statement signed by an archbishop and a bishop, on behalf of other bishops, fails to mention God, makes no reference to the Bible, and is so utterly devoid of pastoral sensibility. This is the work of a lawyer, not a bishop.
The more worrisome fact is not that so many people now accept gay relationships. The more worrisome fact is that we have a bishops’ conference that does not perceive the danger of how alienating they are making the public face of the Church by becoming an arm of the Becket Fund, adopting the role of litigants-in-chief, and how at odds this is with the culture of encounter, the evangelical methodology of accompaniment, and the Gospel imperative to serve the poor that has been so clearly, repeatedly articulated by Pope Francis. The bishops do not meet as a group until November, but at that meeting, some brave soul needs to stand up and ask: Why, having dug ourselves so deeply into the culture war hole, why do we keep digging?
"The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests donated $1,000 to a Catholic Worker house that shelters homeless women after the Cincinnati archdiocese retracted its funding because a woman priest led a prayer service at the shelter…
'We spent the money in June with the promise that it would be reimbursed at the start of the new fiscal year July 1, and we submitted the receipt on July 5,' said Mary Ellen Mitchell, one of the founders of Lydia's House. 'We found out Wednesday, July 16, of this week that [the archdiocese] wouldn't do the reimbursement.'”
-In an act that proves that the hierarchy cares more about associating with women’s ordination rather than keeping their promise to help homeless women and children.
And how hard is it to land even a minimum-wage job? This year, the Ivy League college admissions acceptance rate was 8.9%. Last year, when Walmart opened its first store in Washington, D.C., there were more than 23,000 applications for 600 jobs, which resulted in an acceptance rate of 2.6%, making the big box store about twice as selective as Harvard and five times as choosy as Cornell. Telling unemployed people to get off their couches (or out of the cars they live in or the shelters where they sleep) and get a job makes as much sense as telling them to go study at Harvard.
"Excuse me," said an ocean fish. "You are older than I, so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the ocean?"
“The ocean,”said the older fish, “is the thing you are in now.”
“Oh, this?” But this is water. What i’m seeking is the ocean,” said the disappointed fish as he swam away to search elsewhere.
"Stop searching little fish," says the older fish. "There isn’t anything to look FOR. All you have to do is LOOK."
We all know that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph remains the bishop of that diocese even though he could not be hired to teach Sunday school because of his prior conviction for failing to report suspected child abuse.