In memoriam: Robert McClory (1932-2015)

On Good Friday, I boarded the Metra Electric train to the Chicago Loop. There, I represented Call To Action at the annual Good Friday Walk For Justice, which is sponsored by the 8th Day Center For Justice.

The walk is a modern-day Stations of the Cross that examines contemporary social issues at each station. Each station has a different organization presenting it. With CTA program director Ellen Euclide, I read for the Fourth Station, “Helped In The Struggle.” It focused on the struggle for justice within the church.

Other Call To Action folks were there. They included our colleague, retired chapter liaison and development director Bob Heineman. As Ellen and I completed our station, near the Chicago Board of Trade, Bob looked grim. He told us he had a new message on his voice mail. He needed to check it now.  Continue reading

The Vatican explains

The Vatican’s International Theological Commission recently published a document entitled: “‘Sensus Fidei’ in the Life of the Church.” Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service, in an article reprinted at NCR, summarized its argument: “the document emphasized the importance of assuming church leaders are correct, trying to understand the basis for their teaching and, in particular, for praying, regularly receiving the sacraments, studying and being an active member of the Catholic community before claiming to be able to discern that a church teaching needs adjustment.”

Kelly Stewart, an NCR Today blogger, had a different way of summarizing the argument. Her June 30 post about “Sensus Fidei” is entitled: “Church leaders’ condescension an affront to Catholic laity’s intelligence.”

Stewart wrote that the document “prompted me to revisit Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Men Explain Things to Me.’ Solnit’s 2008 essay is something of an Internet classic, famous largely for the feminist portmanteau, ‘mansplaining,’ that it inspired: ‘Men explain things to me, and other women,’ she writes, ‘whether or not they know what they’re talking about.’” Continue reading

Church reform: Calling all accountants and auditors

It is not often that an article starts this way: “The $20,000 bathtub and $482,000 walk-in closets ordered by ‘Bishop Bling-Bling’ — the moniker of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the now-suspended bishop of Limburg — have scandalized the German public.”

That recent piece, written for Religion News Service by Nele Mailin Obermueller and Jabeen Bhatti, and reprinted by National Catholic Reporter, explained that Pope Francis had temporarily suspended Tebartz-van Elst. Church authorities wanted to know why the bishop spent $42 million to renovate his residence.

Tebartz-van Elst has a well-known predilection for pomp, circumstance, and finery. See another article, written by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt (Austrian correspondent for the London Tablet), and also posted at NCR: “He favors ornate vestments with gold brocade and white gloves when presiding at Mass. During a hospital chapel dedication this year, he used so much chrism oil and incense that the altar caught fire and two-yard-high flames shot up. A catastrophe was only avoided in the last minute.”

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Reflection on this Blog’s Birthday

I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this blog and how far it has come.  It was launched about a year ago on Pentecost 2008.  It grew out of a concern that the Catholic blogging world is dominated by conservative voices.  That’s fine, but on a sociological level, it’s only a small sampling of who makes up the American Catholic Church.  We wanted to provide a sampling of the other side of the coin – to show that there are young Catholic voices that weren’t being heard, yet were just as committed and faithful to the Catholic traditions for social justice as others.

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Two helpful tools on a spiritual journey

Two opportunities have struck me this past week as being helpful on a spiritual journey:

  1. There is a Benedictine monastery in my hometown of Middleton, Wisconsin, (recently named the #1 place to live by Money Magazine!).  The monastery recently became ecumenical, opening its doors to Christians of all faiths for the opportunity to live a communal, monastic lifestyle.  They have about 130 acres near Lake Mendota, a short drive from downtown Madison.  They currently have an opportunity for a 2-week to 2-month internship over the summer: Continue reading