There is a global human rights war going on that isn’t getting the press coverage it needs and deserves. There was a significant outcry at the anti-gay laws in Russia before and during the Olympic games. But, laws are also being passed that make homosexuality illegal and punishable by imprisonment in several African countries. And, these laws are being supported by some Christian leaders and their flocks including some Catholic bishops.
In Nigeria and Uganda, some politicians and religious leaders are blaming the west for exporting its immorality into a supposedly pure African culture – as if homosexuality was non-existent before the dawning of media and the internet. Some are blaming the anti-gay laws on the Christian missionaries of old for instilling a literal, fundamentalist reading of the bible into African churches. Some are pointing the finger of blame on fundamentalist Christians from America who are taking their cultural wars overseas.
The support by any Christians for these draconian laws, or silence in the face of them, is shameful.
We cannot point a finger of blame at the extreme homophobia in other countries until we honestly face the fear, intolerance and hatred that is present in our back-yards. Here is a column I wrote for the Prairie Messenger on the topic.
From today’s first reading,
“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)
Sometimes life seems to give you an unfair amount of trials. I was hoping that life was finally going to slow down into some sort of normalcy. Sadly, David’s father, Sylvester Moyer, died on February 17th. He did not suffer long, which was a great blessing, but we were not prepared for death to come so quickly. He was admitted to hospital on a Sunday evening. We visited him on Monday afternoon and he was gone shortly before midnight.
The last two weeks have been a blur. I looked on the calendar just now to see how many days have passed. He died just two weeks ago today but it seems like forever ago. The Moyers are a big clan. Our days have been filled with family visits; crying one minute, laughing at the happy memories the next.
David and I have been blessed to have all four parents with us until now. Our children reached adulthood with four grand-parents. The loss has been hard on us all, yet we have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support for the entire family.
Death nudges us into deep moments. I know there is wisdom to be discovered in these moments, but the wisdom will have to wait. For now, we just need time to enter into the deepness of it all…
Some of the participants at the meeting. I’m in the front row, second to the left of the banner.
Ok, to be honest, I have been back from Lima for nearly two weeks. The 6th International Meeting of Marianist Lay Communities was a great success. The success came not only from the excellent hospitality of our Peruvian hosts, but also from the depth of reflection and sharing among delegates, guests, and observers from around the world. The theme of the meeting was “Faith of the Heart in the Heart of the World”. The process of the meeting was intentional in connecting mind and heart through much personal reflection and small group sharing. Yes, there was time devoted to business matters but the focus was on the gifts and challenges of living and sharing our faith as lay women and men in the world.
It was evident at our meeting that the spirit of Pope Francis has caught on internationally. Here is a piece I wrote for the National Catholic Reporter blog, NCR Today.
The conclusion of the assembly also marked the conclusion of my term as international President of our Marianist Lay Communities. After all of the intense work in the weeks preceding the meeting, I was expecting to come home with all the worries and burdens magically lifted. I was not expecting the intense physical, emotional, and mental draining that happened instead. I still need to take time to enter fully into this time of transition; in thankfulness for all that has been, and with openness to what the future will hold.
Of course, one immediate goal is to get this blog going again!
Romes clergy tailors find a subdued mood under low-key Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter.
I’m back from Lima, but still in recuperating mode. All the energy expended in the weeks before the meeting plus the meeting itself took more of a toll than I expected. I have much to share in the days ahead, but just need some time to process all that has been before I lunge into all that will be.
In the meanwhile, here’s a great piece from the National Catholic Reporter on a topic that always fascinated me – and not in a good way. There is a new man in town, and his simplicity is shaming cardinals , bishops and priests who desire to wrap themselves in princely garb. Pope Francis sent a message to the newly appointed Cardinals preparing for their upcoming installation, ”I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart. And, while you must do so with pleasure and joy, ensure that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.”
Apparently, our good man from Buenos Aires recycled the robes from his predecessor when he was granted the Cardinal reds in 2001! The simplicity of Francis is good news for all who eschew excessive pomp and clericalism. Apparently it is bad news for the high end clerical tailors.
My bags are packed and I’m flying out to Lima tomorrow. Here’s one last post before I go. It’s actually a two for one special.
The National Catholic Reporter recently suspended their discussion boards due to increased negativity and lack of civil discourse among some respondents. NCR was known for its active comment boards. “NCR Today”, their online blog, received the 2013 Catholic Press Award for its far-reaching discussions. Many of us are missing these discussions, even if they did get nasty at times. Here’s a piece that I wrote for NCR Today on this issue.
In the article, I’ve included a link to a Prairie Messenger column I wrote before Christmas addressing the issue of modern day Pharisees in the Church. (Spoiler alert; Pope Francis is on our side!)
And now I’m off. See you all in two weeks!
In much gratitude for the many good women and men who add to the dialogue with insight, inspiration, and respect.
My friend, Joanne, just shared a wonderful video from Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly on PBS. It highlights the works of Fr. Michael Doyle and the good people of Sacred Heart Church in Camden. (That’s Joanne on the left in the top picture.) Joanne is always ready to share the good works of this amazing faith community, and I’m always honoured to give Sacred Heart a shout out.
I have heard many of Joanne’s stories. I have seen pictures from inside the church, and marvelled at the spirit of prayer and social action. This is the first time that I had a peek into the neighbourhood itself. It is also the first time I actually saw the annual service for those murdered in the community. You are right, Joanne. To see you all stand there, representing each person murdered, tears at the heart and highlights the senseless loss of so many lives.
This is gospel living at its finest. What an inspiration. May God’s blessings continue to rain down on Fr. Michael and the good people of Sacred Heart and Camden.
Here is my latest column for the Prairie Messenger…
The days of maintaining pomp and grandeur at all costs are over. The days of patriarchal superiority are over. The days of claiming exclusivity over wisdom and decision-making based on titles and privilege are over. The days of oppressive hierarchical structures built on the backs of subservient and obedient people are over. The days of women working only behind the scenes with no access to proper leadership positions are over.
Days of Upstairs Downstairs in the Church are over
I had great fun writing this piece It also helped me rationalize the too many hours spent watching TV over the Christmas holidays. I was doing research!