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From the Pope’s homily the day before: 

Judgement – doesn’t this word also make us afraid? On the other hand,
doesn’t everyone want to see justice eventually rendered to all those
who were unjustly condemned, to all those who suffered in life, who
died after lives full of pain? Don’t we, all of us, want the outrageous
injustice and suffering which we see in human history to be finally
undone, so that in the end everyone will find happiness, and everything
will be shown to have meaning? This triumph of justice, this joining
together of the many fragments of history which seem meaningless and
giving them their place in a bigger picture in which truth and love
prevail: this is what is meant by the concept of universal judgement.
Faith is not meant to instil fear; rather it is meant to call us to
accountability. We are not meant to waste our lives, misuse them, or
spend them simply for ourselves. In the face of injustice we must not
remain indifferent and thus end up as silent collaborators or outright
accomplices. We need to recognize our mission in history and to strive
to carry it out. What is needed is not fear, but responsibility –
responsibility and concern for our own salvation, and for the salvation
of the whole world. Everyone needs to make his or her own contribution
to this end. But when responsibility and concern tend to bring on fear,
then we should remember the words of Saint John: "My little ones, I am
writing this to keep you from sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one" (1 Jn 2:1).   
"No matter what our hearts may charge us with  – God is greater than our hearts and all is known to him" (ibid., 3:20).

In a speech about reason and the place of theology in the university, Pope Benedict XVI quotes part of the forceful argument (disputatio) of an ancient Christian.  He uses the quote to illustrate the depth of passion the speaker (that ancient Christian) in speaking to a person of another faith.  It is one sentence in a speech that is itself passionate about the role of reason in faith.  Aside from the arguably unwise insertion of that quote, the speech is quite interesting.  The academic and Scriptoral knowledge and articulation thereof is moving, interesting, intelligent, cohesive, coherent, thoughtful and profound. 

That quote, however, taken out of context and given emphasis manages to weaken the whole message.  Could the Pope have made his argument without the quote – absolutely, yes.  Would his argument have been as powerful – I think so.  Why, then, is it included?  Why would an intelligent, thoughtful, faithfilled person injudiciously say something that could be used against him, his Church and his persuasive argument?  Unless he tells us, we can’t know.  Here are some guesses, though…  He’s busy, harried, running ragged; he’s hopelessly academic and assumes others will understand the context and usage of the quote; he’s weak, he’s tired, he’s traveling, he’s excited to be back in a university setting, he’s talking to other academics…. ummm, he’s human? 

If using that quote in a university lecture, if the Pope’s using that quote in a university lecture is a sin… well, he alone will face the judgement of that.  (Though we may all suffer in the here and now.)  We all face the judgement sooner or later.  And I for one like the way this Pope articulates that. 

I do.

Dropping Knowledge

Christian Peace Team members rescued.  Thank God.  Thank you, God. 

I believe in the intercession of the saints.  I believe Tom Fox had a great deal to say to God for the remaining members of his team.  Thank you, Tom.  Blessings on all peace activists and all those in harm’s way: soldiers, civilians, and especially the children.  May they all be freed.

Recent news led me to share my own shooting accident story with the sisters.  In my case, only a BB, but still, it hit me in the face and lodged there.  drama mounts….  (Okay, not that much drama.) – Though you COULD put an eye out with that thing.

Imagine if you will three boys and a girl (brothers and sister) playing cowboys and indians.  Since my two older brothers had the guns, they were the cowboys.  My little brother and I were the indians.  At some point, out in our front yard, I lifted the corner of the orange blanket thrown over two sawhorses that served as the cowboy’s "fort".  "Pop!"

The  next thing I remember is being wheeled into the operating room so some masked doctor could remove the BB from between my mouth and cheek.  I still have the scars (two inside, one outside).  The story goes that my brother didn’t know the gun was loaded or the safety was supposed to be on… I don’t really remember.  I do know I never talk about it with him – so somehow, I think, it was so serious that it became not so much taboo, as just "non" topic material.  I don’t remember ever using it to bug him.  And I used a LOT of things to bug him. 

Anyway, as TalkLeft points out, Cheney’s hunting story maybe makes Bush look smarter…  This is ironic.


Today is World AIDS Day – one fight, one hope, one cure – be one.

As an example of a hermeneutical exploration, we are reading Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads by Gil Bailie for my Hermeneutics course.  I’ve read the text before and have heard Bailie speak (even had him as one of our Theology on Tap presenters in the Archdiocese) and this text is on my lifechanging books list. 

Based on the theories of French anthropoligist Rene Girard, Bailie’s text explores the roots and uses of violence in culture.  Using a plethora of materials from the vast intertext of sources, he explores the effects of mimetic desire on humanity and culture. 

In a time of war (and when has there been a time of no-war?), on  day when we honor those who have fought in the name of national safety and interests, let us hope for a time when we will grow beyond the impulses that drive us to war with others for any reason.

Rosa_parks_2"As long as there is unemployment, war, crime and all things that go to
the infliction of man’s inhumanity to man, regardless — there is much
to be done, and people need to work together."

Rosa Parks, 1913-2005 – Rest in Peace

I’ve had a hard time getting my thoughts to cohere around President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers as a Supreme Court Justice.  There are lots of questions, lots of answers and for me, they just haven’t added up.  Joan Chittister has some thoughts on it which, I think, have helped me clarify not so much the issue as why the issue is an issue. 

Harriet Miers is simply a symbol of a far deeper question in
contemporary life, one which we all have a stake in resolving, one
which is tearing at the fabric of the democratic society we say we are
prepared to export.

And while it doesn’t answer the question for me, Chittister’s article does provide me with a frame in which to continue to struggle with the questions.  I like that.

Stjerome100px_2Ah, Serenity.  This Friday is the Feast of St. Jerome.  Also, the release date for the new movie, Serenity, based on  Firefly.  Coincidence?  I think not.  (St. Jerome is the patron saint of librarians… read on for the connection.)

My good friend, Mickey, sent me a set of DVDs for my birthday last year: the entire season of  Firefly.  A television program, by Joss Whedon, (creator of the fantabulously under-rated and misunderstood programs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel).  I began watching the series and was immediately hooked.  Even passed the show on to my family, friends, and, well, their families too!  Though Firefly was cancelled after just that one season, the creator, actors, fans, and apparently studio, couldn’t stop the signal…. Hence, Serenity.

Western, Science Fiction, Humor, Drama, Action Adventure, Political Commentary?  Who’s to say….  Okay, I will… all of the above, really.  Here’s what one commentator says:

. . . . The primacy of character, story, and theme, as opposed to special
effects, also distinguish the Serenity ambience from what’s found in so
much science fiction, horror, and fantasy. The carefully woven sense of
another reality and its fascinating inhabitants provide a context rich
enough to inspire feelings of care and, if my experience is typical, a
general sense of being more alive. This work is thoughtful in its
messages, beautiful in its recognition of struggle and contingency, and
deeply invigorating.

Book_1One of the characters, Shepherd Book, (get it?) a preacher man who travels spreading the word wherever he goes, is conflicted about the mission of the Serenity crew… And who wouldn’t be?  Played by Ron Glass, Book, embodies one way of being missionary. 

Glass is also a scholar and social activist, having earned a Medal of Honor
commendation from his alma mater, the University of Evansville, for his
scholarship and career accomplishments, and serving as chairman of the board of
the Al Wooten, Jr. Heritage Center in Los Angeles, whose goal is to empower
young people growing up in crisis communities. via

Of course the rest of the cast and crew are fabulous too…  You can’t stop the signal…


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