Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tim Kaine: 'let women be priests'

Hillary has chosen her running mate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine. He's a Catholic who has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood for voting consistently pro-choice. The environmentalist group, League of Conservation Voters, likes him too. Still, many feel he's not quite liberal enough, and I do wish Hillary had chosen Elizabeth Warren instead. Having said that, though, I was happy to see this ...

Let women be priests, Sen. Kaine tells the pope

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a practicing Catholic and former missionary, had a clear message Wednesday for Pope Francis: Allow women to become priests.
Hillary's VP pick: Tim Kaine
Kaine said ending the church's centuries-old rule that only men can be ordained would be the most significant thing the pope could do.

"If women are not accorded equal place in the leadership of the Catholic Church and the other great world religions, they will always be treated as inferiors in earthly matters as well," Kaine said in a statement. "There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women." .....

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Pope, Star Trek, Trump, and foxes

- The Pope stomps on women yet again. When will those Jesuits who consistently tout his wonderful-ness have the integrity to call him on his sexism? Francis mandates changes for contemplative women religious, requests revision of constitutions

- New Star Trek movie :) From TIME: How Kirk and Spock’s Relationship Held Star Trek Together

- Jon Stewart's Well-Timed Comeback

- An Irishman and his fox children

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Carpool Karaoke: the First Lady

Michelle Obama's Glorious, Savvy 'Carpool Karaoke' Clip. Enjoy :) ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

London Has Fallen

- Butler in better days

My latest movie rental was London Has Fallen. I signed up for it because I like Gerard Butler. I thought to myself, how bad can it be? It can't be any worse than Gods of Egypt! I was so wrong ;)

The basic plot: The British Prime Minister dies and the heads of state of many countries, including America, must go to the funeral in London. Little do they know that an arms dealer/terrorist whose family was maimed/killed in a US drone attack a couple of years earlier has elaborately planned, with the help of a UK mole, to kill them all (and blow up lots of famous landmarks). Only the US President survives, thanks to the dogged determination of Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Butler).

There are no good reviews of the film - it's that bad - but here's an interesting one from NPR ... Saving The President's Bacon Again In 'London Has Fallen'

The movie I liked Gerard Butler best in was Timeline. It's one of the few movies he's been in where he actually gets to be Scottish ;) Here a clip from it with him and Paul Walker ...

I hope he'll be in some better films like Timeline in the future. Meanwhile, here's a trailer for London Has Fallen ....

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yard photos

One of the roses that's fading but still looks pretty ...

The evening primrose plant is taller than me now :) ...

Thor, relaxing on the dead tree ...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday

I've been following Hugh Jackman on Twitter and he often has a Throwback Thursday photo :). I know it's really Monday and not Throwback Thursday but I wanted to re-post this old photo my past college boyfriend had emailed me of us and our families from the days of yore ....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Playing on the muzak at the grocery store today ...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Your donations to Peter's Pence

- Candy Crush Saga

I was reading an article by Jesuit Thomas Reese about the recent VatiLeaks trial ... 'VatiLeaks': A foolish and embarrassing case ... and it made me wonder what the guys at the Vatican have actually been doing with all the money they collect from those in the pews for Peter's Pence, that money sent to the Vatican to be used to help people in need. Here's what the Vatican states about Peter's Pence ...

“‘Peter’s Pence’ is the most characteristic expression of the participation of all the faithful in the Bishop of Rome’s charitable initiatives in favour of the universal Church. The gesture has not only a practical value, but also a strong symbolic one, as a sign of communion with the Pope and attention to the needs of one’s brothers; and therefore your service possesses a refined ecclesial character”. (Address to the Members of the St Peter Circle, 25 February 2006).

The ecclesial value of this gesture becomes evident when one considers how charitable initiatives are connatural to the Church, as the Pope stated in his first Encyclical Deus caritas est (25 December 2005):

“The Church can never be exempted from practising charity as an organized activity of believers and, on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love” (No. 29) ...

Well, the truth of what Peter's Pence is really being used for is somewhat less noble ....

[...] “Holy Father…there is a complete absence of transparency in the bookkeeping both of the Holy See and the Governorate,” five auditors wrote Francis in 2013, according to Nuzzi’s book. “Costs are out of control and it is quite difficult to meet with anyone, due to the fact that many in the Vatican are often too busy playing Candy Crush.”

It goes on to mention that Vatican officials had spent all of 2014’s Peter’s Pence money in just over two months on Clash of Clans gem upgrades.

“Every day I walk the streets of Rome and see the homeless and other citizens of this city,” one anonymous Vatican official told EOTT. “Not on purpose…I mean I’m not trying to see them. I’d rather not see them, but since the homeless and other Romans are there walking, I am often forced to look up so I do not trip, but when I look up, I begin to lose in Clash of Clans. When I lose, I need to spend more money on the app. Since it is typically the fault of a drunk homeless man bumping into me on my way to work, then it should be the homeless man that pays for the in-app purchase. But they have no money, so I simply take it from Peter’s Pence. And like that, we are even. It all makes sense now?”

I was so curious that I had took up the games mentioned - Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. Actually, I never did get to Clash of Clans because I found a place online to play Candy Crush and I've been standing at the computer, playing like a brain dead zombie ever since.

I'm making light of this, but really, if I still attended church I would be horrified by the misuse of my donations. I don't know how people manage to ignore all the Vatican's badness.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The firecracker saga continues

I wrote in an earlier post that someone has been throwing firecrackers into my yard or driveway at my cats. It's been happening most days or nights, always (except once) when I'm inside. So last night I stayed out with the cats as much as possible and around 11:30 pm someone went by on his bike. Not unusual. But then he went by again and again and again, back and forth, and at one point when he went off down the block, there was the sound of firecrackers. For the next 15 minutes he did this this - he could obviously see me - and then he seemed to give up and leave for good. I don't doubt he'll be back.

What do normal people do in this kind of situation? Do they confront the person? Do they just ignore it and wait for it to pass? The one time something like this happened before - someone knocking my mailbox off its stand over and over - I did see it happen finally and chased the guys who did it down the street, telling them off. It didn't happen anymore after that. But I can't chase anyone now with my bad knee, and the cats are here now too, little hostages to fate if I piss someone off too much.

I know that in the grand scheme of things ... one only has to read the news ... my worries are petty, but still it's tiring to be harassed, to be worried all the time because you don't know if or when it will happen, to know someone out there has made the decision to make your life worse.

"Let’s Grow Up, Liberals"

Let’s Grow Up, Liberals

At last! Senator Bernie Sanders joined Hillary Clinton on a New Hampshire stage Tuesday to say two things many of us had begun to despair we’d ever hear from him. One, that he actually did lose the 2016 primary campaign to Secretary Clinton, and two, that he was endorsing her for president of the United States.

Sure, Senator Sanders’s embrace of the presumptive Democratic nominee included all the inclinations that many of us have come to find, shall we say, a tad grating about the man: his interminable, self-congratulatory stump speech, wearingly bereft of humor, argument, story or anecdote, more a listing of all bad things in the world and how they must be put right, delivered in his usual droning shout. The need to make it all about the platform concessions he had wrangled out of Mrs. Clinton, and the historical magnitude of the Senator himself: “Together we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution continues.” Followed by about as short and perfunctory an actual endorsement as possible.

At least it was done. If Achilles had sulked this long in his tent we would all be speaking Trojan .....

Heh :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mary Magdalene movie

- Mary Magdalen and angels from St. John's Cathedral

Coming to a theater near you, a new movie about Mary M ... Chiwetel Ejiofor in Talks to Play Peter the Apostle in Mary Magdalene Movie

Chiwetel Ejiofor is in talks to join Mary Magdalene as Peter the Apostle.

If cast, the Oscar nominee will star opposite Rooney Mara as Magdalene and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ in the Garth Davis-direct film, which is being described as an "authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history." ...

That would be great. I'm actually just watching him in a film right how - 2012 - and saw him most recently in The Martian.

Don't know what the film will actually be about, but hopefully it will be interesting ... maybe they will reference the Gnostic Gospel of Mary, which would kind of pit her and Peter against each other.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bye Bye Bernie

- Bernie’s Uninspiring Endorsement ...

Bernie Sanders went off for a month to contemplate life after the revolution, and this was the best he could come up with? “Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that.”

So said Sanders at a rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where he appeared on stage with Hillary Clinton as an ally for the first time. As big events go, it felt pretty small, with Sanders waving his arms around and offering up his usual list of shouted slogans.

Sanders avoided subjects like war and foreign affairs, since he and Clinton disagree violently on those things. He harped on his successes, which was understandable, but it was passing strange when he claimed that he and his backers “showed the world that we could run a successful national campaign based on small individual contributions.”

Yes, if you define successful as losing ....

- Does Hillary Clinton even need Bernie Sanders? ...

Bernie Sanders at long last appeared alongside Hillary Clinton on Tuesday morning in New Hampshire for an endorsement that had been a long time coming — surely too long, if you are on Team Clinton — but was also somewhat anti-climactic.

Of course Clinton would prefer to unite her party and have Sanders's long-withheld support to ensure against his supporters staying home or perhaps even supporting Donald Trump.

But in recent weeks, it's also become clear they were very unlikely to do that.

In fact, two polls showed Sanders supporters rallying to Clinton rather quickly and overwhelmingly, with more than 8 in 10 saying they would support Clinton in the general election. In both polls, fewer than 1 in 10 Sanders backers indicated that they would support Trump — despite his efforts to woo them ...

Sunday, July 10, 2016


- A Week of Bloodshed in America

- Is Pope Francis Pro-life? The Perplexing Silence of Laudato Si’ on Human Overpopulation

- The Debate Over Sulu’s Sexuality in Star Trek Beyond Should Set Off Your Red Alert

- The Importance of Contraception to the Zika Fight

- I'm looking forward to seeing this sometime soon :) ...

The church on not-really-married sex

In the news, Catholic Bishop Wants to Ban Married Sex: A conservative bishop in Philadelphia says remarried Catholics can take communion just as long as they aren’t having sex. And gays? Fuggedaboutit.

Yep, Catholic views on people's sex lives has reached The Daily Beast ;) What makes it news is that conservative Archbishop Chaput is willing to put into public words the church's belief (a belief shared by Pope Francis, BTW) that people who are divorced/remarried and LGBT people who are married are not really married. And since the church only allows married people to have sex (in theory), divorced/remarried people and married LGBT people must refrain from sex in order to be in good standing.

This is why there's the dust-up over whether divorced/remarried people can take communion - given the church's doctrine, these people are living in continuous sin if they're having a sex life. They can't even confess their sin, be forgiven, and then go to communion, because they plan to continue to sin .... what's weird is that if they had murdered their spouse instead of merely divorcing them, they actually could confess, be forgiven, and go to communion.

And when I wrote that Catholics in good standing are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage in theory, what I meant was that at any given time about half of the celibate clergy is having sex, and that almost all Catholics have sex before marriage and that most cohabit before marriage. Yet there's no great campaign to stop all these people from going to communion, as there is with divorced/remarrieds and LGBT marrieds.

But, anyway, there's a way out for these not-really-married people (well, unless they're LGBT). Just buy an annulment from the church in which you and the church enter into the fiction that you were actually never really married the first time. Then your second marriage becomes your first (wink wink) and the church gets to preserve the falsehood that it follows Jesus' advice not to allow divorce.

The level of cynicism and dishonesty is depressing. And what is never discussed is whether the church has got the view of what Jesus meant wrong. That is the one bridge too far for the church - admitting it might be mistaken.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Last Ship

The 3rd season of The Last Ship has begun, so my latest viewing experience is a re-watching of seasons 1 and 2 of the series. For those not aware, it's ...

an American post-apocalyptic drama television series, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by William Brinkley. In May 2013, the cable network TNT placed a 10-episode order for the series .... After a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 men and women) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

It's pretty fun and action-filled ... no surprise, given that Michael Bay, the executive producer, has made action films from The Rock and The Island to the recent 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

To catch you up, here's a trailer for season 1 ...

And season 2 ...

And season 3 ...

Friday, July 08, 2016

Cupich: not a liberal beacon

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops. The idea is that he's so liberal that in the future we will end up with liberal bishops. I don't think so. This is the man who implied that marriage equality would lead to incest and polygamy. Here's part of what he wrote in 2012 in Spokane, Washington, against a marriage equality referendum, in "Some Reflections on Referendum 74 " ...

[...] If there is anything we have come to appreciate and value more fully in this modern age, it is that men and women are not the same. That is true not only biologically, but on so many other levels. Men and women are not interchangeable. They each bring something of their difference to complement each other. In a marriage union, a mutual sharing of each other’s difference creates life, but it also nourishes that life in a family where sons and daughters learn about gender from the way it is lived by their mothers and fathers. The decision to unhinge marriage from its original grounding in our biological life should not be taken lightly for there are some things enacted law is not capable of changing. Thoughtful consideration should be given to the significant consequences such unhinging will mean for children, families, society and the common good .....

If marriage is only about relationships, why limit unions to two people? Why does the new law include the traditional prohibition of close kinship unions for both opposite and same sex couples? The threat of genetic disorders in children is not an issue for same sex couples. Is it not reasonable to assume that a closely related same sex couple will in time successfully challenge this prohibition as an unreasonable imposition? .... In the coming weeks I will provide through the Inland Register, and our websites ( and materials based on what we believe God has revealed to us about creation, the meaning and value of marriage and family, and the way we are called to live as Christ’s disciples.

So, he's not exactly a liberal beacon in the night and I wouldn't expect the guys he picks as bishops to be any better. What few liberals there are left in the church are so demoralized that it seems to them like a victory to simply have someone appointed to the Congregation for Bishops who isn't obessed by man-lace like Burke or who isn't a signatory to the notorious Manhattan Declaration like Rigali. Sad. I guess I sound bitter ;) and I suppose I am. I joined the church like 20 years ago and nothing has changed for the better on the issues that matter to me in all this time (a mere change in "tone" doesn't count).

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

This is why I hate fireworks

Police: Man tortured chained dog with fireworks

On the muzak at Whole Foods tonight :)

Rick Springfield: Jessie's Girl ...