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Censorship

Keith Olbermann SUSPENDED From MSNBC Indefinitely Without Pay

We want Keith back at work on Monday, without fail. No exceptions and no excuses. We will stand for nothing less. Join us …

From: Huffington Post blog

MSNBC has suspended star anchor Keith Olbermann following the news that he had donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.

“I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement.

Politico reported Friday that Olbermann had donated $2,400 each to Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, and to Kentucky Senate contender Jack Conway. While NBC News policy does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates, it requires them to obtain prior approval from NBC News executives before doing so.

In a statement earlier Friday, Olbermann defended his donation, saying, “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”

Griffin’s statement underscores that it was Olbermann’s failure to obtain approval, and not the actual political donations, that prompted the suspension.

The move is doubly significant in that it represents a major development in the relationship between Griffin and Olbermann, who once told the New Yorker, “Phil thinks he’s my boss.”

“Keith doesn’t run the show,” Griffin told New York Magazine recently. “I do a lot of things he doesn’t like. I do a lot of things he does.”

In recent months, Griffin has taken several bold steps to declare his authority over the network and its sometimes unruly talent: he sent a stern memo warning hosts to not publicly fight with each other, he suspended David Shuster indefinitely for filming a CNN pilot, suspended Donny Deutsch, banned Markos Moulitsas from the network, and reprimanded Ed Schultz for threatening to “torch” the network.

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter and Bill Carter report that, according to one NBC executive, Friday’s suspension is “not a step toward firing” Olbermann, though a source also told the New York Observer that there was “no time frame” for Olbermann’s potential return. The Nation’s Chris Hayes will host “Countdown” Friday night, the network said (according to a tweet from Yahoo’s Michael Calderone). (UPDATE: Stelter later tweeted that Hayes will not host Friday’s show after all. MSNBC has not announced who would be replacing him.)


Off To England And The Lambeth Conference

Diocese of New Hampshire website and Bishops letter

By V. Gene Robinson
Jul 7, 2008, 13:05

Later today, I leave for England and the Lambeth Conference.  I am writing to you to 1) ask for your prayers, 2) to let you know how you can keep up with the goings-on in England, and my reflections on them, and 3) to assure you that I will be taking you in my heart everywhere I go.

YOUR PRAYERS:

First, pray for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the bonds of affection that bind us together might be strengthened and that God’s will might be discerned as we struggle to be the Church in the 21st century.  Pray especially for the Episcopal Church’s bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, that we might greet our brother and sister bishops with grace and hospitality and be ready to learn what they have to teach us.

Then, please pray for me.  Because the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to exclude me from the Lambeth Conference, I will need to be intentional about creating opportunities for interacting with bishops and spouses from around the Anglican Communion.  Pray that God might open up those opportunities for conversation and open my heart for mutual learning.

Because of controversy surrounding my attendance, and the incessant press coverage which will undoubtedly insert itself, pray that God might keep me grounded in the Spirit of love, forgiveness and compassion.

Because of threats against my life that have already begun, pray that God might keep me (and those who have been hired to protect me) safe, and return me home to you.

During this whole time, I’ll be praying with the Franciscan brothers and sisters at Greyfriars, in Canterbury.  Join me in giving thanks for their hospitality and witness.

SPECIFIC DATES ON WHICH TO PRAY:

Some of you have asked for particular dates and particular events for which I would desire your prayers:

Thursday, July 10:  I will be speaking at the Modern Churchperson’s Union conference (along with former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the Primate of Wales, and several African bishops).

Sunday, July 13:  I will be preaching at St. Mary’s, Putney (just across the Thames from London, in the Diocese of Southwark).  This will be the only time I’m allowed to preach while in England.

Monday, July 14:  British premiere of the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” in Queen Elizabeth Hall, at the South Bank Centre for the Arts.  I will be appearing with Daniel Karslake, the filmmaker, and Shakespearean actor (and Lord of the Rings star) Sir Ian McKellen.  This event will be a fund-raiser for AIDS work in Africa.

Wednesdays, July 23 and 30:  American bishops will be hosting two “Come meet our brother bishop Gene” evenings, open only to bishops and spouses.  I will be “introduced” by several clergy and lay leaders from NH in a little DVD we’ve made for the event.  Then I’ll have a chance to engage bishops from around the Communion and tell them about the work of the Gospel here in NH.

August 3-6, I’ll be preaching and speaking in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, as guest of the Church that gave us bishops some 200+ years ago.

KEEPING UP WITH MY GOINGS-ON

I will be writing a daily blog called Canterbury Tales from the Fringe:

http://www.canterburytalesfromthefringe.blogspot.com/

I will also be doing a daily VIDEO blog for Claiming the Blessing, called The Lambeth Gene Pool:

http://lambethgenepool.blogspot.com/

As I leave for Lambeth, know that I am so grateful for all your love and support.  This promises to be a demanding and difficult time, but I go with the knowledge that we are living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in New Hampshire, in the spirit of infinite respect and radical hospitality.  Thank you, my dear and beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, for your love and for your prayers.

+Gene

© Copyright 2004-2006 by The Diocese of New Hampshire, The Episcopal Church


My Interview …

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1. Tell me about yourself. Something I can’t read from your standard
bio.

Well, you know, I’ve been in a religious community somewhere all my life, The Christ Church Cathedral has been my home parish for some time as the Reverend Canon Joyce Sanchez has been my spiritual director for over two years now. I work with the HIV community in post diagnosis situation and aftercare and life skills management and education about “how to live” once you’ve been diagnosed.

I mentor young people and I am a foster parent as well. I have spent years in religious formation through the Catholic church and I still attend masses at parishes that welcome me, but on principle (due to my gay lifestyle) the church as an institution does not want me. So the Cathedral does, and the Bishop Barry B. Clark is one of my greatest supporters as is the entire church body including our Reverend Canon, Joyce Sanchez

2. How long have you been studying in religion?

It seems, my entire life…Seminary (1 year) Concordia University I have a 4 year degree (B.A.) in Religion, and now my first year in Theological Studies…

I spent a year in Catholic seminary and left because of politics and secrets many years ago and now I have since graduated from Concordia with a B.A. in Religious Education majoring in Christianity and “Women and Judaism” as my minor concentrations. I am currently working on my certificate in Pastoral Ministries in the department of Theology. And I do a lot of volunteer work in the gay community through the Cathedral. I am also a presence in the Montreal sober community of AA.

3. Why did you start your blog last November? What is its purpose?

My Blog – It is my lifeblood. It is who I am. I have spent years working on my manuscript for a book I am going to publish in the coming months – so much of my writing in “Pages” is my experience. My blog is running really well, I have a modest readership. And I write for my constituents and my readers. I talk about real life issues to the gay community but I am also now a days writing to a wider audience since involving myself in the LGBT Issues of the Anglican Church worldwide. Many of my readers from the communion come by way of other sites (Fr Jake stops the world) on my blog roll, If I help change one life or I help a gay person come out and live to tell the tale, or I help an HIV positive person live another year after diagnosis, then I say I have done my job.

Amongst all the gay reads I have on my blogroll, I am the only one who writes about life and religion. So that makes my blog unique [on my read list] people are awash in critical politics, complaining about life and what we don’t have as a gay community. Here in Canada LGBT issues are on the forefront of change and I write about that change since I read the worldwide gay community through other blogs that I write for. Someone has to write about what is changing and informing the rest of the world [at large] that LGBTQ rights and issues are important and that Canada as a nation is on the forefront of LGBTQ change. I think it is crucial that I write about our successes as ‘church’ and as a ‘nation.’

I have seen so many NEW changes come to the LGBTQ community since coming to Canada, and that I have lived now 15 years being HIV positive, and now being 40, I see the world differently so I write about life, the church, being gay and POZ. Things like these are so far off in the U.S. I think it is important now that I can get involved and write about what I feel so passionately about. Since my marriage to my husband in 2004, through the United Church of Canada, I have lobbied and wrote about marriage issues. The Anglican church has made strides, seeing the negative shit that is being said by the African church, which only forces me to write about every step that the Canadian Church makes in the area of LGBTQ issues.

4. What do you write about?

You will find writing about sobriety, since I am in recovery, I reach a sober audience as well, I write about being HIV Positive and my medical progress as I am a test patient for the Montreal General HIV clinic. I test medications for Canada and the world at large, so what I am doing will become available to others in the coming months and years.

I write a lot about myself, and sometimes I am a little profane and sometimes I am a little bit sacred. I belong to a circle of writing pastors from around the world so we talk about prayer and spirituality a bit. I also belong to the [Avanoo] community so I pen little stories, tales and I write for that community and cross post those reflections on my blog too.

5. Do your friends and family know about your blog? What do they think?

My friends know about my blog. My family does not speak to me. When I moved to Canada they disowned me – add to that I am queer and HIV positive, they don’t want to know from anything. So no sweat or love lost on them. My friends come to read because I write about current issues and my life.

6. What do you not blog about? What do you have absolutely no interest
in?

I refuse to write about my husband because we had issues with insurance companies trying to use my writing against us in the past, so I don’t fuck with assholes like that. I won’t post some personal info for that very reason. There are assholes out there trying to screw the common man. When my husband left his job because of a nervous breakdown, and was diagnosed as Bi-Polar I wrote about the abuse heaped upon him by his employer and they sent the cops to my door with a cease and desist order they tried to silence me for writing about them. And I backed off…

Just to say, Some companies go to great lengths to silence people who talk about bad treatment. And they tell us we are slandering them…

You won’t find on my blog celebrity gossip. I try to stay away from subjects or photography that might be construed as pornographic. As a gay religion writer I do write along a line of social conduct and ethics. Since my readership has skyrocketed in the last year I keep to a fine line about what I present – Word Press as a platform is huge and at any time I can loose that standing if someone clicks my blog as adult content and I loose my standing on the main frame of blog share.

I have no desire to get into the drama of gay life, although I write about my experiences growing up, [ I refuse to get into the piss and moan of LGBTQ writing]. I offer a way out, a hand up and a way of life to others who want to know what it is like to be a 40 year old gay hiv positive Married sober man who is studying for possible ministerial work in the coming years. [ I often fancy myself a minister] in the future and if I play my cards right I might get there one way or another.

I don’t write about hate, unless it directly affects my community, hence my desire to write about church and its progress. I stay away from the drama of life, because in sobriety that does not serve me or the people I work with in the community. Studying religion has taught me a lot about myself and others.

7. How has the blog changed since you first started it?

Wow, my blog has changed so much since I started school in 2003. I have become more confident in my writing, since my graduation I have become more scholarly and I try to uphold “responsible writing” I don’t want to write something that will negatively impact any of my readers or push them to do something stupid in their lives.

8. Who reads your blog?

Ministers and priests read my blog. Laity read my blog. I reach the LGBTQ community and I have a good number of straight readers as well, who are Christian whom I’ve come to know personally. My friends read, and really, right now, the world is reading my blog since I write so much about the Anglican Church. I have readers from as far away as Asia, Africa, and Europe and of course the U.S. I got the Vote out first on Friday night after the Synod closed I got worldwide release of my news reports across the world wide Anglican press online (through Fr. Jake stops the world).

9. What else should people know to understand your blog?

I practice “responsible writing” in that I believe this: That what I write can be used by anyone gay or straight. I write about life and I don’t bullshit or lie about the reality of living with addiction, hiv or any other issue I write about. I don’t ever want to be put to the fire for writing something that negatively impacted someone or hurt them.

When we write we are giving of ourselves. God forbid I write something that pushes someone to do harm to another or to themselves. Take for instance unsafe sexual practice that leads to someone getting Aids or writing something that might spur someone into making a decision that would hurt them. I am responsible for every word I write and I take that very seriously. Nobody can say I gave bad advice or the wrong advice, because I don’t write about anything that I have not experienced myself.

The gay community is at odds with my responsible writing – I don’t cross this line in either life or fantasy. They have said, why should “I” [ read them] be held responsible for what they write? If someone chooses to do what they do, its on them, But my response to that is this: If you wrote on a subject and you [inadvertently or forwardly] led someone to make a decision that you might have contributed to – then you are responsible within that community. And as a writer I take that ethic very seriously.

Because I write about addiction and HIV let’s say, you want to give the proper advice when called upon to do so because my readers [ the addicted or hiv positive] readers come here to learn about life and how to survive, in essence I put my life out there for all to read, God forbid someone get or read bad advice from someone who is irresponsible to the greater conscience. I want to sleep at night after writing, and I do. I don’t post anything that would harm anyone. I am very Christian in my approach in “taking care of my neighbor” and I am very Buddhist in my way “as in stay away from suffering and to Do No Harm!”

I have evolved so much in my religious studies and I hope I present myself more responsibly and respectfully. And you see when I write today, from posts early in my writing career. I have been blogging for many years. I had several blogs when my husband was diagnosed with Bi-Polar depression – and we found that insurance companies were reading my blog and they attempted to use my writings against us, and we sued them and we won!

10.Any Future Plans?

Yeah, I want a job!! I want to publish a book, I want to work in my community for money. This free gig is nice and I get great exposure worldwide and in Montreal as well, since some of my readers are local. I would love all this work as a body to help me professionally with a degree now under my belt and my continuing Theological work, will one day pay off with big dividends. I will continue to write because life goes on. Every year that I survive AIDS I can share with the world how I did that, and that will help someone live as well. You give courage and you share courage and you get courage.

The world is not kind, but The Evolution of Jeremiah is an oasis of courage, faith and living. Soberly, Clean and Positively.

A Gay man can be Married, Sober, Positive, and Sacred.

That is my goal, to change the perception of gay men from dirty profane sexual promiscuous irresponsible “unchristian” people. I show the world that gay men can be married to one man, make wise choices, and to live respectful loving lives in Christ. We cannot have the sacred without the profane and I push that adage when I can. A little profanity never hurt anyone.

But at 40, I am a different gay man then I was when I was diagnosed at age 26. Much has happened since then and I have written at great length to tell the world that I was here and that unlike all of my friends who have died from AIDS I survived. My Blog is my living testament to the world at large.


Monday August 20

I guess I am supposed to write something coherent after posting all those articles below. A Canadian MP and his partner were wed in the Maritimes (Yay, Eh!) Mexico is getting blown’ away at this hour and the Queen of Mean is dead “ding dong the witch is dead…’

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I’ve been engrossed by my most recent read “The Power and the Glory” Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Vatican. I have to say that if David Yallop has written one true word in his text, if all of what he writes is true, surely, to me, makes me question the life of John Paul II.

We have read through Liberation Theology, Solidarity, England and Ireland and Scotland  and even Medjugorje, in what is now Bosnia. When I was a young person, in my home parish, we were visited by the priests of the parish church where the young people were receiving messages and visions of the Blessed Mother. I even had a rosary that was said to have been touched by the Blessed Mother herself. Now a relic of that extreme to have been touched by the Blessed Mother, to me, carried sanctified power of the Blessed Mother and of God.

Last night I was lying in bed reading when I came across this paragraph:

“Karol Wojtyla’s lifelong Marian obsession may have clouded his judgment on the events of Medjugorje. Since 1981 the Vatican has defended its inaction over the alleged apparitions by saying that it awaits pronouncement from the local bishop. The opinion of Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar that the apparitions were ‘hysterical hallucinations’ was confirmed in 1982 when he established a diocesan commission to investigate further.”

I’ve never heard this debunking of a Marian Apparition. If one is to take at face value,  everything that David Yallop has written, as fact and certain truth, I must say that he shakes the base of a lot of my base faith beliefs. Much of the read through the latest 227 pages of the book, do not paint John Paul II in very good light. I just wonder how much of this writing is truth and fact and how much is speculation and inference?

This text is hock full of data with places, names and insinuations that John Paul I was murdered because of his move to clean up the ‘church’ and its cover up of the Vatican Bank Fiasco and the involvement of the Italian Mafia and the hierarchy of the church at its highest level.

This text is, so far in my opinion, an indictment of all things sacred and profane during the life of John Paul II. David has gone to great length to inform his readers just how many issues faced the late pontiff, how the world saw him, and what really happened behind the scenes of the “Rock Star Pope.” We know of the double speak, and the issues that John Paul II championed all over the world. David tells us in the text some very damning statistics of the Catholic Church.

“Father Andrew Greeley found in several polls, the following information:

  • In 2002 Zogby poll indicated that Father Greeley might soon need to add the United States to those who are ‘no longer Catholic’
  • 54% in favor of married priests
  • 53% thought there should be women priests
  • 61% approved of artificial birth control
  • 83% though it was morally wrong to discriminate against homosexuals and on abortion nearly a third disagreed that is was always morally wrong.

In contradiction to those figures, in the same poll no fewer than 90% thought the Pope was doing a good job worldwide in his leadership of the church.

In Australia – between 1971 and 2006, Catholic weddings in a church had declined by over 50%, from 9,784 to 4,075. In the United States the number of priests more than doubled to 58,000 between 1930 and 1965. Since then the number has fallen to 45,000 and continues to slip away. By 2020, on present trends, there will be less than 31,000 and more than half of those priests will be over seventy. In 1965, one percent of US parishes were without a priest. By 2002, 15% – 3,000 parishes – lacked a priest. In that same period seminarians declined by ninety percent.

The same grim picture repeated itself in the figures for Catholic nuns and members of religious orders. Almost half of the Catholic high schools have closed in the past forty years. Weekly attendance at mass hovers between 31 to 35%. Annulment figures have soared from 338 to 501,00. Wherever one looks the story is the same yet the US Catholic Church still proclaimed that within the same period, 1965 to 2002, the number of Catholics within the country had risen by 20 million.

The MYTH of a hugely increased membership is perpetuated not only within the USA but globally. The Church’s definition of a Roman Catholic – a baptized person – flies in the face of the fact that hundreds of millions of notional Catholics subsequently reject the Church’s teachings on a huge range of issues and by doing so, notwithstanding what is written on the baptismal certificates, cease to be Roman Catholics. A non-practising Roman Catholic is an ex-Roman Catholic, or in Vatican-speak a lapsed Roman Catholic.”  (Statistic, text pages 205-207, David Yallop).

I don’t disagree with much of David’s writing about the late Pontiff. I know of many of the historical stories that he more than plentifully enlightened. In my study of Papal History, and namely of the late Pontiff, John Paul II, I reserve my scholarly right to look at this text with as David Tracy writes, hermeneutic suspicion.

“All interpreters of religion, whether believers or nonbelievers, can employ something like the theologians sixth sense that to interpret religion at all demands being willing to put at risk one’s present self understanding in order to converse with the claim to attention of the religious classic.

Hermeneutically, I am clearly not bound to either accept or reject and religious claims prior to the conversation itself. But if I would understand that claim, I am bound to struggle critically with the fact that its claim to truth is part of its meaning. To understand the religious classic at all, I cannot ultimately avoid its provocations to my present notions of what constitutes truth.” (D. Tracy, Plurality and Ambiguity, pg. 98)

More to come …


Finding the Perfect Church…

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I have asked this question of some of the ministers that write for our sphere. For many years I have searched for the “Perfect Church.” Growing up in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood gave rise to attending church with my friends. And that served me very well for most of my young adult life.

Labels had not been applied to us in this period of our lives so we were free to worship wherever we chose to. And in most cases our parents followed along, because the church was not only a religious landmark, but also housed Youth Ministry that everyone was part of for several years through high school and junior college and even for myself, Seminary.

After leaving seminary with a bad taste in my mouth for Catholicism, and Church, I walked away from God and his church. I thought that I had been slighted by clergy and I was pushed against the “choose us or get out” wall. It took me many years dealing with the truth to walk back into church.

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This was always my childhood home, the Church I called home. It was the place that God and I communed. And after my leaving seminary – this was the church that I returned to many years later, as a weary, AIDS suffering sinner. I was sick, and I had been away, and I met a man who changed my life when I saw him say mass in this space with his crutches and MS. I vowed never again to complain about things in my life. And I have kept that word so many years later.

Being Gay, had its issues with Church. But not to the men who led this church forward. I was a part of this church and this is where I would find prayer, support and salvation.

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As I grew into my 30’s I hit several questions in my life about faith, recovery and living with AIDS. I’d like to say that I found all my answers in “church” but that would be false. I was living in an area of town that did not afford me the ability to get to church any more. So I was not attending “church” where I had been for so many years. It was just logistically impossible to get there in time for mass.

During my second recovery, I was seeing a therapist and I had friends who were talking care of me at the time. I was having my visions and spiritual experiences outside the church I may have left the church “physically” but not emotionally and spiritually.

*************

Faith is like a garden. Each one of us inhabits the garden of our own making. We tend that garden daily. In the morning we walk through misty, dew covered flowers and plants, and as the day wares on the sun tracks across the sky as we sit in that garden. I believe that everyone is born into some kind of spiritual tradition, more than most may speak of but nonetheless, someone puts the seed of faith within us at some point.

If you were like me, you were baptized, first communion ed and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Some were baptized in the baptist faith and others were raised in the faith of their parents or extended families. But we all carry that seed within us.

For many, being Gay and Christian or Being Gay and Catholic was something we battled with because of the politics of the church. Now in my 40’s I can tell you that I will not walk into, better yet worship in a space that does not welcome me fully into communion. I used to compromise my ethics and my politics because I was attached to the Catholic faith by an unbreakable umbilical cord that still exists today.

When I got sick, the priests told me to come to church and I did because they were 21st century men in an archaic world of Catholicism. That lasted as long as it had to to keep my in line with my faith and connected TO my faith. God was in the church, praying with others took place in the church. Mass took place within the church. And I was ok with that way of life.

When I got sober in 2001 I was filled with questions. My faith was strong because I KNEW who God Was and who god Is still. I did not need the physical building to give me what I had created and cultivated internally over many many years of spiritual exploration. You see, faith is not something you feed once a week in a worship service. Faith is not something you partake on any given Sunday.

I was sober a four months when I came to visit Montreal in the Spring of 2002. It was Ash Wednesday when I arrived. I celebrated Easter here and I loved it. This is such a rich religious city. Later I would meet a Jesuit priest who would give me the same puzzle piece he gave all the other boys I later met on the path later on.

This is where it all starts…

I had a reason to come here and I knew after two weeks of being here, that I needed to stay here. I went back to Florida, packed all that I could and I left, never to return. Lies my mother told facilitated my move out of the United States.

I started my journey of faith in the Church Basilica of Notre Dame. It took me weeks to start putting the faith puzzle together. and now six years later, I can tell you that there are still pieces of the puzzle missing.

I had to get used to living in Montreal, Pre-Iraq War. I had to find my place in the greater scheme of things. And that took a long time. I had my citizenship on February 17th 2003, and I was sober 14 months. I decided that I would go back to school. My chosen major in the beginning was Psychology, that quickly changed to Religion.

These were the years that demonstrations were taking place in the streets and Americans were being warned to sew Canadian flags on our backpacks, so as not to acquire the ire of Canadians in Montreal, because protests against the war were daily occurrences. I did that and I participated in those demonstrations. But eventually I would hit several crises points in my life, ONE would be “where do I fit in?” I had to find my place in the community and that took two years upon beginning University. I remember sitting in Donald’s office asking the all important question: “I don’t know where I fit in and I have one foot in the South and one foot in the North – I don’t know where I should be?”

He was always apt to tell me these key words:

“If you find yourself in between and you can’t decide where to go or move, then sit where you are and survey all that you see before you. FEEL your feelings and get in touch with your dis-ease with where you are. Consult your map and ask your questions of the people on the path, then when you are ready, plot your next step, but not before you are sure of your footing.”

I met a man of faith in the Chaplaincy office. I was a man of faith and I was sure in my faith as any other man or woman was. The one difference? I was a sure gay man living with AIDS. I made no excuses and expected no special treatment, just love and acceptance, which I found in Fr. Ray Lafontaine. Still to this day, as a fellow Christian and Catholic priest in my life, he challenges me in my faith to find the answers for myself.
I attended his church at Loyola on Sunday evenings. And that worked for me because there were others like me in the church and we were all accepted.

****

That haze of Summer lasted for two years. In that time I started working on my religious beliefs. And I maintained my sobriety by attending meetings in the basements of many of Montreal’s most beautiful churches. When Father Ray was moved to St. Monica’s church and new priestly blood was flushed into the chapel, I met my faith match…

Having been singled out over my marriage to my husband and the vile words shared with me by the existing chaplain of the University, I walked away from Church once and for all. Although when Fr. Ray and Fr. Paul said mass, I would always attend.

Having studied religion for so many years of my life, and having lived with AIDS for so many years, I knew several things. 1. I knew who God was. 2. I knew who God is not. and 3. I knew who I trusted to support me in my faith journey.

I have been separated from Church for a long time now. It took the invitation of friends to attend a mass said by the Very Reverend Gene Robinson in the Summer of 2006 at Christ Church Cathedral to seriously contemplate a return to Church. In 2003 I was married in the very Catholic Space at Loyal, much to the consternation of Georges Pelletier. We did it just to make a statement of faith, because the entire Loyola community was there to stand with us and profess our faith and love before our families, friends and God himself.

The only time I ever walked into a church, during my time in the field, was with my Great Aunt Georgette, may she rest in peace… I would pray in the mother house chapel with her and I would attend mass there as well. The last time I attended mass in the Mother House Chapel was the day we buried her in August of 2006.

I would never walk into another Catholic Church after her funeral. Although I still maintain a working relationship with men of Catholic faith, I don’t go to mass in the Catholic Church. The other day that marked a change in my Catholic belief system was the day that the Late Pontiff John Paul II died, and I attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

You see, while I was studying Religion in university, I was studying my past, making peace with it and learning why things happened the way they did for me, and I was afforded this historical review because of the professors that I studied with for the last four years. I polished my religious skills and I mastered my Christian faith.

I was getting sober in church basements and I was ministering to people in the field. I never walked away from God again. I knew better, and he would always wait for me to find Him. Some of you know about the last five years. Some of you sought me out from the field for spiritual guidance. And I was there for you without question.

I always knew where God resided within me. I knew where to find God, outside myself. I can walk into any church in the city and talk to God. And I can talk to God at any given moment of my day or night, because I have built a temple of God within me.

We are all temples of the spirit of God. Most of us do not know this truth. So I share it with you now. We are all created in the image of God, and therefore we carry the image of God within us. We are walking talking miracles of God’s love and grace. My garden of faith is Eden within me. And I share that garden with anyone who wants to come and walk amongst the flowers. I do not need a building or the perfect church to settle my restless heart.

I’ve spent the last five years searching for God in the sacred churches of Montreal. He was always there where ever I looked for Him. As for the perfect church? You will never find it, because of the true nature of men and women. Humans are imperfect sinners who need to be taught what is right from wrong. And those who come to church already have their preconceived notions of who their God is, and what they will be willing to accept, in the way of Christian teachings, dogma and practice.

So take a church full of imperfect humans and ask them to build for you the perfect church! With all the heads buzzing in the church, each with their notions of church and God, and what do you have? A room full of buzzing heads, who could not agree on what they would call church, and I am sure that their conception will not be what you had in mind either. The perfect church does not and will never exist…

Where did Jesus do his best work? In the field, over dinner in sinners houses. Working with the homeless and the poor and sick. How many times does Jesus step into a church in biblical writing? And what does he say about the ‘church?’ What would he say about all of the terrible incarnations of Church we have today – in the world?

I do believe that God and Jesus weep at the way Christianity is lived out in the millions of lives of people around the globe. We know the scripture, we know the reason yet we can’t see past the noses on our faces and we cannot take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to help another, so what does that say about active Christianity???

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I’ve been in the process of Spiritual direction for some time now, ever since coming to Montreal many years ago. I have sought the advice of many people over the years. And I work with others “in the field” every day…

Where is my “Church?” If I had to give you an address, that would be the Christ Church Cathedral because the bishop has said to the LGBT community that we are just as important to the church as any one else. That he supports us and wants us to participate in community and be active participants in our own faith. I am 40 now, and I have my morals, beliefs and values, and if I choose to leave the Catholic faith based on principle I can do that today, because of the certainty of WHO I am and What my faith means to me, because I am ‘out of communion’ with Benedict’s Church, and I can live with that today.

****

But I don’t need a building to worship God. I don’t need the perfect church to teach me God’s word. I don’t need the perfect minister to keep me on the path of Godly living. Why, you ask? Because I can do all these things on my own. I celebrate my Christianity every day through prayer, word and action. I live my faith – therefore it is in front of me every day for all to see. I practice my faith. I talk the talk and I walk the walk, daily…

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This is not a task I ask you to ponder on your own and it is not for the feint of heart either. But in order to build your inner church, you must start with a foundation, a garden. Mark out the space in your heart. Till the soil and plant your seeds. Give them plenty of water and sunlight and then pray over them…

We each have the capability to till our own gardens of faith within us. Because until you have a strong garden of faith within you, will you be able to find a church that will serve you, because without the understanding and cultivation of your own garden, do you remove the judgments within your heart of men and ministry.

If you are looking for the perfect minister of Christ, he will not appear, save Christ himself. We are flawed human beings, and therefore we must understand that and with that knowledge we can better serve the community at large, and if we able to serve the community at large, we can then see God for ourselves where ever we go, and in whatever church we visit.

The best work of the field is done in the most imperfect churches, because most people know that perfection is unattainable. Your Heavenly Father is perfect, so we have every ability to be as perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. But that will take a lifetime to achieve.

In order to find church outside of you, you must first build church within yourself. You must find your definition of God, you must let your faith garden grow. You must be strong in your faith because without strong inner faith, you will not have strong outer faith for community. Without using the gardening tools that God has given you, how can you practice your faith? You must find Sacred Space within yourself, and you must build sacred space for yourself, while you are in the field.

Because, what good would looking for the perfect Church do for you, if you do not have a handle on your own inner faith to begin with??? Build your inner church and invite God to inhabit your sacred space. Get to know this God of your own understanding. There are certain things a Christian must do every day…

 

  • Read Scripture every day
  • You must Pray every day
  • You must Meditate every day
  • You must Actively Practice your Faith every day

Because the simple act of prayer – asking God for those things that weigh heavily on our hearts, must be followed up with a period of silent “Listening” for God’s voice to speak to you. Because sometimes we get the answer… ‘keep praying, not today, NO!’ Cookie cutter Christianity is too easy. You must live your faith actively in community, that is one sure way to find Jesus in the field.

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Start with your garden
Plant it, Till it, and let it grow
Listen to your heart song
and share it with the world
Take off the blinders on your eyes
and see the world in its imperfect state
Find Christ in the field and walk with Him
talk the talk and walk the walk
practice your faith in ACTION
in time your heart will soften
and you will see God
and you will find that

‘Perfect Church’

is but
‘Perfect Union with Christ’

AND

One day
A church will find its way to you

Because you will be ready to serve…


China frees 3 Canadian activists after Tibet protest

CBC.ca

Canadians, all from British Columbia, were demanding China pull out of Tibet

Three Canadians arrested by Chinese police following a protest at the Great Wall against China’s presence in Tibet have been released.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

The British Columbian activists — Lhadon Tethong, Sam Price and Melanie Raoul — left China after their release on Wednesday and flew into Hong Kong.

“It was draining, exhausting, psychologically traumatizing, although we weren’t physically hurt,” Raoul, 25, told CBC News from Hong Kong.
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Raoul and Price, both of Vancouver, were arrested Tuesday after they unfurled a 42-square-metre banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” in English and Chinese from the Great Wall.

The banner adds three words — “Free Tibet 2008” — to the official slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which began their one-year countdown on Tuesday.

Tethong, 31, was arrested Wednesday. She was not involved in the Great Wall protest, but she spent her time in China writing a blog and posting videos and photos online about what the group calls China’s “propaganda campaign” leading up to next year’s Olympic Games.

Five other activists — two from the U.K and three from the United States — were also arrested and released.

All the activists are part of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based group for which Tethong serves as executive director.

Tethong said the group knew their actions on the Great Wall weren’t legal and that arrests were a possibility.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.
(Beijing Wide Open/Canadian Press)

“We knew that was the most likely scenario, but it’s not like it was the goal of what we were doing,” said Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian who was born and raised in Victoria, but now lives in New York.

“The goal was to raise the issue.”

“Some people might think that’s sort of extreme, but we would say China violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetans and their own people and the cultural genocide of Tibet is extreme.”

Police surrounded Tethong in front of an Olympic merchandise store in Beijing and demanded to see her passport. They brought her into a police station, where they showed her printouts of her blog.

“They definitely took jabs at me for being Tibetan,” Tethong said. “They were saying I have an an accent like a Chinese and I have blood from China.”

We were scared for her
Tethong’s sister, Deyden Tethong, told CBC News that she and her family were scared while Tethong was in custody.

“It was nerve-racking for us,” Deyden said at 12:15 ET, about 15 minutes after learning that her sister had boarded a plane out of Beijing.

“We were very scared for her, but at the same time she keeps saying, ‘I have a Canadian passport, so I know people are looking out for me.'”

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

Deyden said she was surprised her sister was detained, since she was not part of the group of activists on the Great Wall.

“The activists that were taken off the Great Wall, that made sense,” Deyden said. “It was pushing the boundaries and it was illegal, but my sister, all she was doing was blogging about her feelings … and talking about what she saw and what she felt.”

Raoul’s mother, Valerie, said she is excited to see her daughter again.

“We don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Vancouver, but they know they’ll get a really big welcome,” she said.

Harper Promised to Help
The incident drew international attention, with videos of the Great Wall protest posted on YouTube. Prior to news of the activists release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday that his government was working to gather information.

“We’ll be doing everything we can do to help and of course pointing out to the Chinese government — as we’re entitled to do — that such expressions of opinion are a natural part of the human rights that Canadians do expect in this country,” Harper said.

The Students for a Free Tibet group wants Tibet freed from China and say the Chinese government is using the Games to gain international acceptance.

The group also wants the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to push the case for Tibetan freedom.

China invaded Tibet in 1950, and in 1999 declared it to be an “inseparable part of China.” In 2004, a government policy paper said Tibet had always been part of China, and before the Chinese imposed direct rule, Tibet was “even darker and more backward than medieval Europe.”

With files from the Canadian Press


The Tams in Montreal

The Tams in Montreal

Woo Hoo my first production video from Mount Royal taken with my new camera.

Enjoy!!!

Ugh, after all that work, there is a freakin typo at the end of the video!!

*ACK*


Custodians of a Living Earth …

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I’m reading again, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” and I am in the mindset to write about the custodianship of the living earth. The earth is in a shift, I think we can all agree on that – and attention is now on prevention and maintenance of the earth as it exists today. I have written recently about the fact that many people in my own community are not “Being Maintained” by anyone, they are lost among the crowd, banished to sidewalks, doorways and shelters. What can I do to change that? Write…

What if the governments of the world decided to stop warring and fighting amongst themselves? How much money would we have to spend on other things like food, shelter and water? I heard a comment on late night radio last night that

“There will be wars fought over drinking water!”

I am sure that there are some who think about the Order who seek to bring down the number of earths inhabitants by the millions. There is a surplus in population in certain areas of the world, and for some that is too much, and they would rather see them eradicated than to house and feed them.

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The earth is sputtering on its axis. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricane, Oceanic changes to salinity and food source and the cooling of warm water fisheries all over the globe are causing catastrophic changes to major areas of the worlds oceans. How many more signs do we need from Mother Earth to tell us that something is wrong? And if we don’t stop with our preoccupation with war, division, killing and ignorance, that when “IT” happens we will not survive whatever IT will unleash.

I know better than to sit in my what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda! I can look out my windows from here and see trees and grass and the mountain off to the North. We can look out at our world and know that there are forests and people and animals who live amongst that forest. Forests are burning – trees are dying – infestations of beetles are killing swaths of forest across Canada, borne on the winds moving West to East. But I wonder what haven’t we done as custodians of the earth to try and mitigate these things from happening.

What if, The Almighty came down from heaven and told warring factions to lay down their arms, and those in power were removed and power was granted to the masses to govern themselves and the wars stopped all over the earth, not just in certain areas. All the warring areas on the globe. What if we heard from on high that “they” believe that wars fought over ideologies and factions needed to end today, right now, for us to stop killing each other and become custodians to one another. How would that change the face of the earth?

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Is there a way for the world to get up and state unanimously that the wars should end? Can we impeach presidents around the world, in countries that are sponsoring, funding and are waging wars on other peoples? Do you see what I am asking here?

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We truly need to depose several key world leaders, and the American President AND his entire cabinet need to be removed from office, sooner than later. Because America has been hijacked and “Nazi Control” is becoming an adjective to explain George W. Bush.

Mr. Bush, we are not With you –
And We Stand Against You!! It is time to leave Office…

 

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DO WE want to maintain another Hitler in office? Do we want this man making law and imposing unconstitutional amendments upon his people and the world? Because if he does it – the world is watching and you know, the only reason Hitler was so successful at what he did in the Holocaust, was because the people listened to him, and if the American President can do what he is doing, that gives free reign to other leaders to do the same!!! Bush still has the ears of many world leaders, who are not MAN or WOMAN enough to say NO! We will not follow you. So what do we do?

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There are some in power who would see people determined to be locked down and subjugated. That is already happening all over the globe, in many countries. Darfur, Sudan and in other areas of Africa, people are corralled into camps, with no water, electricity or better yet SHELTER. People are being slaughtered by militia men. We need to stop them and the killing needs to end. Genocide is happening in OUR time once again, and on many fronts, we must stop the genocide because:

 

 

 

“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”

In the Middle East, the most contentious area of the globe, not to mention Iraq and the Fertile Crescent area of the world including Afghanistan, the militias and the Taliban are trying to eradicate (on a mass scale) entire peoples akin to the likes of Adolf Hitler. If we prayed for the savior to come again and save us, this would be the time and the place.

We must now act, decisively and verbally. We need to lobby those who are in power to do the right thing. We need to Impeach the President. We need to stop the killing in Darfur, we need to stop the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. We need people on the ground who can be trusted to help reconcile the factions that are fighting with each other and those factions who have fighting going on within themselves. We need ambassadors to get in the game and negotiations must be made to end the worlds strife and wars. If we don’t start this now, WHO is going to take our place later to hold those in office accountable for

“Crimes Against Humanity”

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It’s not about who – but What is in this photo, read on…

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There are too many people around the globe, being ignored. There are entire continents and nations of people that need to be cared for, not to forget those people in warring countries who need to be fed, re-housed and repatriated back to where they came from, those who had to flee to save their own lives. Rich countries sit back and say “we are doing all we can for those inside our borders.”

Yet on the European continent we know for a fact that there are disenfranchised peoples, in the millions, who are not being cared for properly because of the arrogance of status, ethnic superiority and ignorance to accept everyone for who they are not what form of dress or religious affiliation they identify with.

It comes down to the people to start the tide of Anarchy and Dissension. It is time to take back our land and our government from those who have taken it from us. They have been poor stewards of the land, the environment and of peoples. We must stop this – there is too much conflict in the world, so much that any “other” needs are being ignored at the expense of the whole, for a chosen few.

It Is Time to:

Bring the Soldiers Home – Stop the Wars. You either follow certain prescriptions here: (1) You bring ALL warring leaders to Justice, (2) Let them kill each other and save us the headache, or (3) You bring ‘Just’ Diplomatic Solutions to Warring Factions and Areas – and Sit Down and HAMMER out Peace Agreements and Co-Existence Clauses.

Isn’t it time to sit down and think and come to the realization that what war has done for the last 4 years has NOT worked, so let’s allow the Diplomats to work on Peace.

The Mission is NOT Accomplished.

Peace and Democracy has not been attained and WON’T be attained with the present course of action. WAR does not create Democracy – it Breeds Contempt, Rancor, Hatred and brings Division instead of creating Unity.

In Stopping Wars, Governments Agree to Equal care to all Soldiers repatriated home and for their families. And Agree to Rebuild war torn areas with the funds used to carry out war, and Care for those most affected by the war in their Respective regions.

This applies to Canada and the United States and All Countries involved in wars worldwide. It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against WAR!! It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against a President or a sitting Prime Minister.

 

 

Democracy is built on the premise of government for the people by the people !! Well People need to start speaking out for Change…

 

 

The ‘People’ are being AND have been hugely ignored, save those who support the puppet in office and his cronies he protects. The Ship is Sinking – and is Going down. Who is going to save us? It comes down to us, those of us who are writing around the world, to speak up and ask each and every one of our readers to join this movement. To call your leaders and rulers to task, to make them accountable not only to you the citizens of the country that you reside in, but also to the immigrants who have resettled there as well. Leaders need to be accountable to the earth as well.

Or We Shall Pay when Catastrophe Occurs

 

We cannot remain self absorbed and self centered. We must step beyond the borders of nationalism and ethnic superiority. We all must be made equal, in that we must begin to love and take care of each other and to become custodians of the world at large, and it begins with me. It begins with you. It continues with US. We must, with a resounding voice say “we have had enough of this…” It is time to end this.

Before We Kill Each Other Trying to create Peace !!!

 

 

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We must become better custodians to the earth. If we stop the raping and pillaging of the land, we must stop the wars, we must stop the killing of innocents. We must stop the tide of suicide bombers. West and East must come together. The West and The East must agree NEVER to wage war again, however possible that is… We must find peaceful and RIGHT means to the future sustaining of the worlds populations. We MUST find an earthly solution, if we must, a heavenly solution.

“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”

 

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


Quiet Time

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A candle is lit, Quiet time commences. We reflect on the Psalmist’s words:

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult you; I will sing praise to your name, O most high.” Ps. 9

Tuesdays are always a challenge because I never know what is going to appear before me or who will show up at the table of gratitude. My day to replenish the stores after a week of work is always good – that is why Tuesday has been reserved for me for now over five years. I haven’t been very vigilant about my mornings – and that has to change.

I heard wisdom spoken today at a meeting: “That upon waking before we have that first conscious thought, we should fall to our knees and greet the creator and start with gratitude on our lips and praise for our God.” Truer words were never spoken.

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The single candle burns – my thoughts and prayers rise to the heavens as I remember my friends and fellows in prayer. The meeting today was packed – 50 chairs set out, almost none of them empty. A soul for each chair. We spoke of the third Step, I was right in line, I was ready to preach from my seat. Many people come and go, and if you don’t get a word in at the right time – you might miss an opportunity to minister to someone who might need it.

“God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always…

I got up and grabbed a 12 and 12 to read from – Ah, Willingness. I spoke of willingness and how difficult willingness was to me in the beginning. It took me a year to learn how to be willing, to release my will and Let go and Let God. To stay in my day and keep it simple. Some people just roll their eyes – they are not ready for the message, but my “people” were there. The ones I have not seen in over a fortnight. I was pleased and overjoyed.

 

I grabbed my Big Book and paged to the Third Step – on page 63 of the Big Book and I raised my hand because second shares are frowned upon. I spoke up anyways. Never stop a member from sharing something pertinent or when in difficulty. So I stood up and grabbed my Big Book, as if it were my bible and I read the prayer – in the basement of St. Leon’s I said the Third Step Prayer for me, for them, for whomever was listening. At that point everyone was grabbing for change for the basket. but we try at least to send them home with something to hang on to.

 

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I took the long way home after walking Louise home on the way, and fingered my rosary the rest of the way. I carry it with me when I leave the house, and at any time I can reach into my pocket and connect with my God. I guess my prayers came at a time of need.

 

The phone was flashing when I came in so I changed out and sat down to listen to the message, which was from one of my “people” announcing glad tidings that the Kahuna man was hired at the University. And I was the first person she called with the news. I am blessed to have such friends in my life. There is not enough gratitude in my heart ot express it. We have been to hell and back, and today we rejoiced. Which leads back to the Psalm at the top of the page:

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart”

I made a phone call to connect and had glad conversation. And as soon as it was over, the circus started.

 

“Email and Ebay, Big Brother OH MY…. Email and Ebay, Big Brother Oh MY!!!”

 

Can I tell you how much I HATE Big Brother!! Thank God I am a silent husband and do the bidding of my mate and tape such crap and insanity. Have you ever seen a bunch of eighth graders fight in a school yard? Can you think back that far and remember how stupid it was? That just set me off on a tone that took me straight to hell!! Insanity I tell you. Utter Insanity! Then to have to sit through it again, when he got home from school!

 

Oh, God
Please help me!!

 

Being overwhelmed at any point of the day for a person in recovery at any stage of the game is not good. I went into my head, which is a “place that angels fear to tread!” I forgot the silence and I entertained insanity for a few hours. Woe is me. After a round of angry bitch writing the phone rang at 11 p.m. There are angels in Montreal I believe that.

 

The soothing and calming voice of my ministry partner calling to take me to task, asking her questions yet, searching for the answers – forgive me for being an ass I asked her!! We talked for an hour about Common Ground, and decided that it was better not to act until we had an act. Keep it simple stupid… I should have known better. It is good for someone to keep us honest and help to to remember our accountability and our spirit.

 

That’s why at the end of the day – when all is said and done I can come to the silence and the lit candle and I can ask the Lord most high to forgive me, and He does.

 

“At the end of the day when we fall to our knees to make an accounting of our day, it remains us and the Most high and no one else. As it will be on the last day – God and they who stand before him.”

 

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Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

R. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 


Remembering John Paul II

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem 

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

 

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

 

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

 

Primo Levi

 

Survival in Auschwitz

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“You brought to many comfort
True shepherd of your flock.
Hallmarks of your wisdom shone
With kindness entwined –
A loving knot.

So many on our planet loved
Your charity of ways.
Your path through life
Showed us well –
How not to fall astray.

Let’s take the teachings from your reign
Let’s not forget the lessons.
Let’s ever remember your inspirations
Came directly from –
Our Father in Heaven.”

Prayer by Susan Kramer


It’s a Beautiful day in the Neighborhood..

A few photos from the neighborhood today. The sun is shining and there is a light breeze so I went out on the balcony and took some shots of the neighborhood and the churches just down the block from here.  The second photo down from the top is of another church across town to another area of the city, taken with the telephoto lens! Very Kewl!!

Enjoy!!

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It's a Beautiful day in the Neighborhood..

A few photos from the neighborhood today. The sun is shining and there is a light breeze so I went out on the balcony and took some shots of the neighborhood and the churches just down the block from here.  The second photo down from the top is of another church across town to another area of the city, taken with the telephoto lens! Very Kewl!!

Enjoy!!

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Come quick and see the sun

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Before it falls behind the mountain. The sky wasn’t this dramatic tonight, but the sun was setting as the meeting let out and Louise and I were on our way, I just happen to look up at that right moment where the sun was blazing orange-red and was just atop the mountain looking towards the North. Between the trees, the church steeple and the mountain in front of us, Louise said to others standing outside the church

“Come quick and see the sun set, and for a brief moment, stop what you are doing and enjoy the moment.”

This is actually a photograph of a Montreal sunset.

The negative, petulant energy that has been so pervasive at our meeting has passed on and we had a clear night to navigate the wonders of sobriety. Aside from dogs in the church we didn’t have any other pressing issues to discuss at the business meeting, thank the Living Christ.

One of my boys was actually early tonight and we there to help us set up, which was a noted change from his usual pattern of fly in and fly out and stay distant. Tonight it was as if God has opened the little door into his heart and he sat and shared with us like never before which was fantastic. We have exorcised the bad juju from the room.

Interesting that a new crop of newbies are coming around. A woman shared tonight that she was diagnosed with cancer and that someone told her to “come to us” that we would help her – and that struck me. She actually said, amid the insanity of doctors and not drinking someone actually said to her, GO to Tuesday Beginners and share, and they will help you. I guess we are doing something right? A number of our women have been diagnosed and been through surgery, chemo and radiation so we have a very good group of strong women who can help each other and that support each other so well.

You never know who is going to walk down those steps on any given Tuesday. It seems that our work in the community has brought us some new blood and some new life and people to serve, albeit through a cup of coffee and some cookies and a kind word. A lot of people showed up for our “Meeting before the Meeting” which is nice, it is a time for us to get to know new people and talk amongst ourselves on the business of the week, how we are all doing, what we are all struggling with at the moment and we have some added time to share with members who might be in a rough spot. Our little practice of caring about others – having compassion is spreading.

Isn’t that one of the ways we stay sober? To show up and do service and to understand that sobriety doesn’t come on our time but on God’s time, and all we have to do is show up every week and open the door and build it, and they will come…

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  • All my boys showed up tonight
  • We were able to help someone through just being there
  • That everyone is well, and safe and serene
  • I was able to share experience, strength and hope
  • That new blood has been infused into our community
  • That people come to us because they know they will find help
  • The business meeting wasn’t a fiasco this week
  • There is food in the fridge
  • There is a roof over my head (I forgot that last night)
  • and I have a warm bed to sleep in
  • And we saw a beautiful sunset on the way home
  • Being sober one can admire, observe and participate in the solitude and beauty of the seasons, the changing leaves, the whispering wind, the beautiful warmth of Summer

That’s all for now…

Toodles…


Pope changes rules for papal elections

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** Thou shalt never post any images of the current anti-Christ pope **

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer 

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules for electing popes, making it potentially harder to name a successor but ensuring that when the white smoke rises from the Sistine Chapel, the new pontiff will have broad support among cardinals.

Benedict issued a one-page document in Latin on Tuesday requiring that two-thirds of the cardinals in a conclave agree on the new pontiff. The move was a return to Vatican tradition and reversed Pope John Paul II‘s 1996 decision to let an absolute majority of cardinals decide on the next pope if they remained deadlocked after 33 rounds of balloting.

Some analysts had argued that with John Paul’s rules, the majority bloc in a conclave could push through a candidate by simply holding tight until the balloting shifted from the two-thirds requirement to an absolute majority.

In the document, Benedict said his predecessor had received a number of requests to return to the former system after he issued his 1996 document.

“It would seem that Pope Benedict wants to ensure that whoever is elected pope enjoys the greatest possible consensus,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

The new document — essentially an executive order called a “motu proprio” — came as something of a surprise, since the main public criticism of the Vatican’s voting process to date has concerned the exclusion of cardinals over age 80.

There was no explanation about why the pope, who turned 80 in April, made the change now. It came just before he goes on vacation and the Vatican essentially shuts down for the summer.

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected pope April 19, 2005, in one of the fastest conclaves in modern history. In an unauthorized account of the secretive balloting published in 2005, an anonymous cardinal revealed that Benedict was elected after four ballots with 84 of the 115 votes — seven more than necessary.

The diary, published by the respected Italian foreign affairs magazine Limes, was significant because it showed that Benedict didn’t win with a huge margin. Pope John Paul II and Pope John Paul I are believed to have garnered 99 and 98 votes respectively, and that was when there were 111 voting cardinals.

John Paul II instituted the simple majority in part to avoid a deadlock like the one in the 13th century, when negotiations over choosing a new pope lasted three years. Angry locals in Viterbo north of Rome, where the conclave was held, removed the roof of the cardinals’ meeting hall and threatened to slash food rations unless they picked a winner.

In 1623, eight cardinals died of malaria during a summer conclave in Rome that lasted 19 days.

But no conclave in the past century has lasted more than five days, and the 1978 election of John Paul II took eight ballots over three days.

The Rev. Michael Fahey, a theology professor at Boston College and a specialist in papal elections, said conclave norms had shifted over the years, and that Benedict’s change merely corresponds to the reality today where a conclave lasting weeks or months just isn’t likely.

John Paul’s norms “did create the possibility for tension and jockeying whereby you could have a group of cardinals holding out until the bitter end so that they might be able to get a simple majority, but the chances of that happening were remote,” he said.

He called the switch a “minor adjustment” that carried no real significance.

“You could write an encyclopedia in the way cardinals elected popes over the centuries,” he added in a telephone interview.

The Rev. Jesus Minambres, a professor of canon law at the Opus Dei-run Santa Croce University in Rome, said popes over the centuries have adjusted conclave norms — and that their successors have changed them at will.

He noted that John Paul II frequently surpassed the limit on the number of voting-age cardinals set by Pope Paul VI — 120. Benedict has said he would respect the number, and with Tuesday’s document, he is also going back to Paul VI’s norms concerning the two-thirds majority.

Minambres said Benedict was acting “perhaps out of great respect for the laws of the past.”


Prayers for the Day

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Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

R. Amen.

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Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen.

R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.

Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.

R. Amen.