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How intense was it in the White House Situation Room while the bin Laden compound was being raided?

Courtesy: Rachel Maddow Blog

 –
Mon May 2, 2011 5:40 PM EDT

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Don't Ask, Don't tell …

Courtesy: snooz3r

Just ashamed … what else do we have to say?


Don’t Ask, Don’t tell …

Courtesy: snooz3r

Just ashamed … what else do we have to say?


Live Earth from Montreal

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It has been a quiet day today. I have the house to myself. I got some much needed chores done around the house, with musical accompaniment. At 5:00p.m. eastern time, Madge played Wembly in London. It was a great set from Madonna. She sang “Hey You” with a young peoples chorus, “Ray of Light” and “La Isla Bonita” and finally “Hung Up.” It was like going to the concert itself because she had all her dancers, props and even the stage set up for the runway portion of her music.  Fantastic. I only video taped the last number.

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If you are interested you can visit the “Live Earth.Org Site”  

We started watching the concerts last night from Sydney. It is time to get conscious and start making a difference. I am waiting on the new Canadian Tire to reopen up the block before I start my Summer renovations. The “Tire” is upgrading and doubling its size in the mall, and we have some much needed renovations that need to happen as the sun has charred all of our window blinds and they are falling apart. Light bulbs need to be replaced and  the new “green” bulbs are not cheap. But nonetheless, Montrealers are very active in the recycling and green initiatives. So we do our part. I don’t have a car so my carbon footprint isn’t that BIG!

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So what will you do to change the world? And have you started? Share with my readers what you have done to help the planet. Comments are open and always appreciated.


I Accuse You Mr. President …

Keith Olbermann Special Comment, Bush and Cheney…Resign

WATCH THIS VIDEO!!


My list for today

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It has been a quiet day. The weather has cooperated and it is nice out tonight. But they say that it may rain. I told a friend tonight that a prayer or intention put out in the morning, must be followed up with gratitude. The completion of an intention sent out to the universe must be followed up with thanks and gratitude at the end of the day.

I got to spend a few hours with my mentor this evening. We laugh we giggle and we talk about spiritual things. She says she admires me, I am just me. When you are given a gift by the creator you must use it. And if people or situations are put in your path, you must pay attention to them, for they are there for a reason. That is where discernment comes into play. Why are people put on the path and why are certain situations coming to pass for us right now?

Well, I muse, that each of us have potential. And if we are spiritually prepared and we have sent intention out to the creator, if He thinks we are ready, then the law of return dictates that we will get an answer, and sometimes quicker than we expect. When people are put on our path, we must figure out why. We must never ignore someone who has joined our journey, because they might have wisdom to impart or lessons to teach us. So pay attention.

Discernment also helps us to help others by optimizing our efforts and that voice speaks to us and keeps us focused to make sure that we are helping and not making things worse for those who might be in difficulty. We can’t save everybody, because let’s face it, sometimes people don’t want to be saved or helped. That is when we must let go of those who are wasting our resources and gifts. To commit to helping others – you must decide that you are either willing to walk with them or you are not. But if you commit, you must complete the journey you committed to.

To love selflessly. To love unconditionally. To serve completely. To serve willingly.

It is no longer what about me – but now it becomes what about you?

I got a wonderful letter from Ben tonight. I love men my British friends because they are so beautifully eloquent and cheery. HELLO BEN!!

I have a project to work on for myself. I will be putting together my writings that I want to publish, and to work them into specific groupings by genre, topic and grouping by community and I have to work on my introduction letters and research publishers who will be listed to send my prospectus to in the coming months. I have two weeks to finish this research project and work on my inquiry letters. I am happy to have someone who is helping me keep on track in this writing sphere. I have work to do and a time limit to get it done. This little publishing project just might happen.

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

boya.gif

************************
Haiku White

white sky,
snowy field – the in-between
I try to reconcile

*******************************
Haiku Noir

gathering up
the darkness of this long night –
black teapot

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

 

  • I have great friends

  • I have work to get done

  • I have a job that I love to do

  • I have food in my fridge

  • I have money in the bank

  • I can sleep in if I want to

  • I have finished classes for the summer

  • That my friends trust me – that I am trustworthy

  • That I have guidance from my mentors

  • Today I helped at least one person

  • That I can write a gratitude list

  • That I am sober today

  • I got new poetry as a gift (above)

  • I got mail from BEN!!!!!!!!!!


Isaiah Washington Fired From Grey's Anatomy – edit 22jun07

Washington Says Knight Should Have Been Fired
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 21, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET 

(Houston, Texas) “They fired the wrong guy,” Isaiah Washington told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday.

The Grey’s Anatomy star, fired this month after creating a furor earlier this year with his use of an anti- gay slur, was speaking out at length for the first time about his dismissal.

He told the Chronicle, his hometown newspaper, that T.R. Knight should have been the one fired from the show.

“I’m telling everything. So here’s the truth,” he told the paper.

According to Washington it was Knight who fueled the controversy. Washington claims in the interview that he believes it was part of a plan by Knight to get a raise.

Knight came out shortly after stories began circulating about an argument on the Grey’s set in which the epithet was used.  On the Ellen DeGeneres show last January Knight said the slur was aimed at him. 

“That’s a lie,” Washington told the Chronicle. “I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work.”    

Washington said that he is considering a lawsuit, but did not say whether he would sue Knight, the producers of the show or ABC.

“My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged,” he told the Chronicle.

“I was not fired for making homophobic slurs,” he said. “I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a public service announcement. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful.”

Following the furor over the slurs Washington issued a public apology and went into a residential treatment facility to deal with anger management and homophobia. 

He later met with Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

As a result of the meeting Washington agreed to appear in PSAs for the groups. They aired last month during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy

He was not told until early this month that he would not be returning to the show. (story)

©365Gay.com 2007

 

Michael Jensen

Editor

June 8, 2007

 

Months of speculation over the fate of Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington came to an end Thursday night when TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello announced his sources had informed him that Washington would not be invited back when the show returns to the air in September.

Calls by Ausiello to Howard Bragman, Washington’s high-powered publicist, confirmed that the actor had received a call on Thursday telling him he was off the show. An ABC publicist further confirmed the network had declined to pick up Washington’s option for his role as Preston Burke, but would not specify a reason the network had done so. An Entertainment Weekly reporter reached Washington last night at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood, but the actor refused comment and has yet do so.

The news is gratifying for many in the gay community who had long felt ABC and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes had not handled the situation in an appropriate manner. Shortly after the initial incident, AfterElton.com called for Washington to be terminated, as did writer, director, producer, and Director’s Guild of America Vice President Paris Barclay in January.

The actor’s problems began last October on the set of Grey’s Anatomy when, according to The National Enquirer, Washington had assaulted fellow cast member Patrick Dempsey. Shortly afterwards, reports started to circulate that during the fight, Washington grabbed Dempsey by the throat and said, “I’m not your little faggot like T.R. [Knight].”

Those initial reports didn’t name Knight, but speculation quickly settled on the soft-spoken actor who plays Seattle Grace intern George O’Malley. Neither ABC nor series creator Shonda Rhimes addressed the situation publicly (and Rhimes still hasn’t spoken out on the matter), and word was that the issue was being dealt with “internally”.

While ABC had nothing to say publicly (until finally issuing a statement on January 18th), Washington’s publicist at the time issued a statement after the fight saying, “Differences are inevitable. They were aired, resolved, and everyone has moved on.” Dempsey’s spokeswoman added, “There was an argument on set. In any close knit family, sometimes people argue. But everybody made up and went back to work.”

Nonetheless, on October 19th, Knight released a statement to People Magazine saying, “I guess there have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I’d like to keep quiet any unnecessary rumors about sexuality. While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I’m gay isn’t the most interesting part of me.”

No public action was taken against Washington, angering many gay groups that argued there was a double-standard in society involving the use of anti-gay slurs. The actor did finally release an apology saying “I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words…I have nothing but respect for my co-workers…and have apologized.”

The issue appeared to have died down until this year’s Golden Globes in January when a reporter asked Rhimes a question backstage after the Grey’s cast had won a Golden Globe for Best Drama. Instead of allowing Rhimes to answer the question, Washington seized the microphone and said, “No, I did not call T.R. [Knight] a faggot. It did not happen.”

His statement appeared to directly contradict the apology he had issued the previous October. Rhimes further angered many in the gay community when during the same press conference she added, “I think the best statement is just that things were created in a very odd way by the press that were not necessarily completely reported as true.”

ABC’s decision to release Washington would appear to stand in stark contrast to that statement.

After the Golden Globes incident, another Grey’s star—Katherine Heigl—felt compelled to tell Access Hollywood “I’m going to be really honest right now, he [Washington] needs to not speak in public. Period. I’m sorry, that did not need to be said. I’m not okay with it.”

Shortly thereafter, Knight himself spoke publicly about the incident for the first time. He went on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show where he said in no uncertain terms that Washington had in fact used the anti-gay slur. Said Knight, “It’s an awesome word, isn’t it.”

After Knight spoke out, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation weighed in saying, “When Isaiah Washington uses this kind of anti-gay slur — whether on-set or in front of the press — it does more than create a hostile environment for his cast mates and the crew of Grey’s Anatomy. It also feeds a climate of hatred and intolerance that contributes to putting our community in harm’s way.” (The week after the Grey’s finale last month, a public service announcement made by the actor finally aired.)

TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello added, “His [Washington’s] continued employment on a show that wears its diversity as a badge of honor is the height of hypocrisy. If ABC wants to be remotely true to the principles Shonda Rhimes so eloquently espouses through the show, it has to do the right thing and fire Washington. Anything else at this point is simply unacceptable.”

Many in the gay community were again angered in March of this year when Washington not only received an NAACP Image Award, but received a standing ovation from many in the crowd.

Nonetheless, Washington kept his role on the hit drama and speculation swirled that it might be Knight who would end up leaving the show. Just last month Knight told Access Hollywood he wasn’t certain if he’d be back. Said Knight, “I literally don’t know. It would be nice to know if I’m supposed to report back.”

That question was finally put to rest just this week when Knight’s option was picked up and he was given a raise to approximately $125,000 per episode, as well as a share of the show’s profits.

As for Washington, his future is in question. The actor already had a reputation as being volatile, and it is uncertain how reluctant other producers and writers will be to take a chance on such a tarnished and controversial figure. As of today, IMDB.com lists only one movie—The Least of These—a thriller about a priest, played by Washington, is caught up in a sexual abuse scandal.

After Elton, 365 Gay.com News


Isaiah Washington Fired From Grey’s Anatomy – edit 22jun07

Washington Says Knight Should Have Been Fired
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 21, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET 

(Houston, Texas) “They fired the wrong guy,” Isaiah Washington told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday.

The Grey’s Anatomy star, fired this month after creating a furor earlier this year with his use of an anti- gay slur, was speaking out at length for the first time about his dismissal.

He told the Chronicle, his hometown newspaper, that T.R. Knight should have been the one fired from the show.

“I’m telling everything. So here’s the truth,” he told the paper.

According to Washington it was Knight who fueled the controversy. Washington claims in the interview that he believes it was part of a plan by Knight to get a raise.

Knight came out shortly after stories began circulating about an argument on the Grey’s set in which the epithet was used.  On the Ellen DeGeneres show last January Knight said the slur was aimed at him. 

“That’s a lie,” Washington told the Chronicle. “I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work.”    

Washington said that he is considering a lawsuit, but did not say whether he would sue Knight, the producers of the show or ABC.

“My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged,” he told the Chronicle.

“I was not fired for making homophobic slurs,” he said. “I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a public service announcement. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful.”

Following the furor over the slurs Washington issued a public apology and went into a residential treatment facility to deal with anger management and homophobia. 

He later met with Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

As a result of the meeting Washington agreed to appear in PSAs for the groups. They aired last month during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy

He was not told until early this month that he would not be returning to the show. (story)

©365Gay.com 2007

 

Michael Jensen

Editor

June 8, 2007

 

Months of speculation over the fate of Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington came to an end Thursday night when TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello announced his sources had informed him that Washington would not be invited back when the show returns to the air in September.

Calls by Ausiello to Howard Bragman, Washington’s high-powered publicist, confirmed that the actor had received a call on Thursday telling him he was off the show. An ABC publicist further confirmed the network had declined to pick up Washington’s option for his role as Preston Burke, but would not specify a reason the network had done so. An Entertainment Weekly reporter reached Washington last night at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood, but the actor refused comment and has yet do so.

The news is gratifying for many in the gay community who had long felt ABC and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes had not handled the situation in an appropriate manner. Shortly after the initial incident, AfterElton.com called for Washington to be terminated, as did writer, director, producer, and Director’s Guild of America Vice President Paris Barclay in January.

The actor’s problems began last October on the set of Grey’s Anatomy when, according to The National Enquirer, Washington had assaulted fellow cast member Patrick Dempsey. Shortly afterwards, reports started to circulate that during the fight, Washington grabbed Dempsey by the throat and said, “I’m not your little faggot like T.R. [Knight].”

Those initial reports didn’t name Knight, but speculation quickly settled on the soft-spoken actor who plays Seattle Grace intern George O’Malley. Neither ABC nor series creator Shonda Rhimes addressed the situation publicly (and Rhimes still hasn’t spoken out on the matter), and word was that the issue was being dealt with “internally”.

While ABC had nothing to say publicly (until finally issuing a statement on January 18th), Washington’s publicist at the time issued a statement after the fight saying, “Differences are inevitable. They were aired, resolved, and everyone has moved on.” Dempsey’s spokeswoman added, “There was an argument on set. In any close knit family, sometimes people argue. But everybody made up and went back to work.”

Nonetheless, on October 19th, Knight released a statement to People Magazine saying, “I guess there have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I’d like to keep quiet any unnecessary rumors about sexuality. While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I’m gay isn’t the most interesting part of me.”

No public action was taken against Washington, angering many gay groups that argued there was a double-standard in society involving the use of anti-gay slurs. The actor did finally release an apology saying “I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words…I have nothing but respect for my co-workers…and have apologized.”

The issue appeared to have died down until this year’s Golden Globes in January when a reporter asked Rhimes a question backstage after the Grey’s cast had won a Golden Globe for Best Drama. Instead of allowing Rhimes to answer the question, Washington seized the microphone and said, “No, I did not call T.R. [Knight] a faggot. It did not happen.”

His statement appeared to directly contradict the apology he had issued the previous October. Rhimes further angered many in the gay community when during the same press conference she added, “I think the best statement is just that things were created in a very odd way by the press that were not necessarily completely reported as true.”

ABC’s decision to release Washington would appear to stand in stark contrast to that statement.

After the Golden Globes incident, another Grey’s star—Katherine Heigl—felt compelled to tell Access Hollywood “I’m going to be really honest right now, he [Washington] needs to not speak in public. Period. I’m sorry, that did not need to be said. I’m not okay with it.”

Shortly thereafter, Knight himself spoke publicly about the incident for the first time. He went on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show where he said in no uncertain terms that Washington had in fact used the anti-gay slur. Said Knight, “It’s an awesome word, isn’t it.”

After Knight spoke out, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation weighed in saying, “When Isaiah Washington uses this kind of anti-gay slur — whether on-set or in front of the press — it does more than create a hostile environment for his cast mates and the crew of Grey’s Anatomy. It also feeds a climate of hatred and intolerance that contributes to putting our community in harm’s way.” (The week after the Grey’s finale last month, a public service announcement made by the actor finally aired.)

TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello added, “His [Washington’s] continued employment on a show that wears its diversity as a badge of honor is the height of hypocrisy. If ABC wants to be remotely true to the principles Shonda Rhimes so eloquently espouses through the show, it has to do the right thing and fire Washington. Anything else at this point is simply unacceptable.”

Many in the gay community were again angered in March of this year when Washington not only received an NAACP Image Award, but received a standing ovation from many in the crowd.

Nonetheless, Washington kept his role on the hit drama and speculation swirled that it might be Knight who would end up leaving the show. Just last month Knight told Access Hollywood he wasn’t certain if he’d be back. Said Knight, “I literally don’t know. It would be nice to know if I’m supposed to report back.”

That question was finally put to rest just this week when Knight’s option was picked up and he was given a raise to approximately $125,000 per episode, as well as a share of the show’s profits.

As for Washington, his future is in question. The actor already had a reputation as being volatile, and it is uncertain how reluctant other producers and writers will be to take a chance on such a tarnished and controversial figure. As of today, IMDB.com lists only one movie—The Least of These—a thriller about a priest, played by Washington, is caught up in a sexual abuse scandal.

After Elton, 365 Gay.com News


Sidney Crosby named Penguins captain

CBC Sports

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Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who this season became the youngest player to win the NHL scoring title, is now the youngest team captain in league history.

The Penguins made the move official during a luncheon on Thursday.

“Sidney has done so much for this franchise in his first two seasons, made so much history, that you have to keep reminding yourself that he is only 19 years old,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said on the team’s official website.

“It is obvious to all of us — coaches, players, management, staff — that he has grown into the acknowledged leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is only appropriate that he wears the ‘C’ as team captain.”

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Crosby, who won’t turn 20 until August, served as an alternate captain while topping the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists) in his second season, earning him a nomination for the league’s most valuable player award.

“I was always told that age is just a number,” Crosby said. “I try not to let it get in the way of anything.”

Crosby’s precocious production also helped the Penguins to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and their first playoff berth since 2001, though they were brushed aside in five games in the first round by the Ottawa Senators, now in the Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks.

After Pittsburgh was eliminated, Crosby revealed he had played the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs with a fractured bone in his left foot.

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Crosby, a native of Cole Harbour, N.S., is the youngest-ever NHL captain by about two months. The Tampa Bay Lightning named Vincent Lecavalier captain in 2000, when he was 19 years 11 months old, but later rescinded the title.

The Penguins have not had a captain since Mario Lemieux announced his retirement in January 2006.

With files from the Canadian Press


And so it begins again…

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So much for down time. Tomorrow morning I start the next phase of my educational development as a member of the Department of Theology, with my Certificate in Pastoral Ministries at Concordia University.

Summer Session 1 begins tomorrow (30 April to the 13 June) …

I will be taking Comparative Culture in the Department of Anthropology and in the Department of Theology – Spirituality- Personal, Social and Religious.

It looks like the grades are in and we have:

In Modern Christian Thought I have a (C+)
In Christian Origins I have a (B)

My GPA to date is : 2.75

Not bad for an old fart!!

I have one last bill to pay tomorrow and then we wait for the word “Conferred” to appear on my transcript sometime during the month of May.


Homosexuality, Sanctity and JPII

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To continue my study and discussion of the Late Pontiff, John Paul II tonight, I am going to touch on some of the inconsistencies between Papal Encyclicals, Christian teachings and beliefs and the movement towards the sacred and holy lives of homosexuals.

In the life of John Paul II, he was faced with very stark realities from around the world based on the historical circumstances of the times, what was going on around the world as his papacy began and flourished. We find in studying the Holy Father’s writings and even including his public speeches and pronouncements that on one hand he wrote one thing and then he said another. He acted one way to his minions at masses and public gatherings, but behind closed doors, he was an angry opinionated and very strict enforcer and disciplinarian. Some of his outwards actions became questionable when visiting Nicaragua and Central America. John Paul did not mince words in any case. He ruled his papcy with a strong hand and a strong voice, although seeming as “the people’s pope” what they did not see may have saved him public ridicule. One must remember though his papacy was bolstered by the men who supported and assisted him. Those who had influence over him, took full advantage of that, even IF John Paul did what he wanted to do and said what he wanted to say to those he needed to speak to.

John Paul’s actions conflicted with his academic writings in his capacity as Pontiff. He missed the mark on several fronts and occasions to really make a difference, where life demanded understanding and logical thought. One must scrupulously interpret the writings of John Paul, because what he wrote spoke to all, yet included few. In retrospect we could say that the heavy hand of the Church, alienated more Catholic’s than united them. As strict as the church was, there was no evolution of thought inside the walls of Holy Mother Church, and that was one of the greatest downfalls of John Paul’s papacy.

He did not build many bridges, yet he burned many. John Paul was the consummate politician behind the scenes, yet he preached against priests and clergy from engaging in political actions or ‘countering’ the Church. John Paul was a huge influence on the fall of communism. He was also a large influence in the fall of the Berlin wall. During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, John Paul assisted him in many ways, by attaining and passing critical information to government officials. So we must ask about the duplicity of the office of the Pope, when it comes to certain teachings from the halls of Mother Church.

In the ministry of John Paul II, we know that what worked for the church in one “world region” was not necessarily the answer for another. For example, coming from a WWII region in Europe, Poland, to be specific, the Pontiff set out an ambitious plan to liberate Poland from the Nazis’ and then communism. His hard line preaching to his homeland was shaded by his love of country and his devotion to his own.

His hard line in Europe was also the same hard line that was used in other regions of the world, namely South and Central America. John Paul was staunchly against Liberation Theology and made no bones about it. Archbishop Oscar Romero, who preached to his people and was against to the government of El Salvador, Archbishop Romero was shot and killed while saying mass in the chapel at the hospital where he lived on March 24, 1980.

As a Catholic, living in North America, the hard fist of the church was not as strong as it was in mainland European nations, where the church was a solidly entrenched adversary. And that is how many Catholics began to see the church as “adversary” because much of what was written from the Pontiff and the Vatican was so hard lined that the faithful had one of two choices, to follow Holy Mother Church, or find themselves outside the acceptable parameters of proper Catholic adherence to Papal Guidance.

As a young man, growing up under the shadow of Holy Mother Church, I followed the law and had no qualms with what the Holy Father had to say, until I entered seminary and the definition of self and the divining of a vocational calling that I thought I was following took center stage. My only goal at age 19 was to become a priest, to be part of the church and to walk in the good graces of Holy Mother Church and as it happened, I had the opportunity to meet the Late Pontiff twice in my life, which was auspicious.

John Paul believed that “the Catholic priesthood involved heroism, discipline, and ultimate self-sacrifice.”[1]

Continuing with John Paul’s vision of priesthood, “when he came to be Pope, would reflect his mentor’s view (Garrigou-Lagrange) that the priest enjoys supernatural charisms that privilege him and separate him from the rest of humankind. In his book the priest in Union with Christ, Garrigou-Lagrange argued that “ordination is a calling to the highest vocation on earth, higher than the archangels, in union with the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, himself of whom the Holy Father was vicar. Later generations of progressive vocational advisers would question this approach, arguing that it put an unbridgeable gulf between clergy and laity, especially female laity.” [2]

John Paul placed himself and the men in his charge above all others, and therefore were afforded grace and special protection by the church, because of their rite of ordination in the Church.

As Pontiff, John Paul II had much to say about a multitude of subjects. His massive library of books, encyclicals and exhortations and millions of sermons throughout his life, is a historical vision of Church through the eyes and spirituality of the Late Pontiff. As members of Holy Mother Church and maintaining valid “card carrying status” meant that one towed the party line and that was maintained by the threat of loosing ones ability to celebrate with the Church through the reception of the sacraments.

Aside from excommunication, which is the ultimate penalty to be handed down by Holy Mother Church for the most grievous of infringements of the Catholic faith, the Church now practices fully in the revocation of sacraments from those members of Church who step outside the teachings and guidance of the Church. This punishment has been handed down by local dioceses and enforced by local Bishops and Archbishops, as handed down by Holy Mother Church in Rome.

We know that the current Pontiff, Benedict XVI the former Cardinal and keeper of the CDF, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the main impetus in making sure that John Paul II words were certain, swift and precise.

Of the present Pontiff, Cornwell writes “Thus began a close partnership that would continue into the late years of his papacy (JPII). Small, compact, handsome with silken silver hair (and as imminent British theologian has noted “cruel mouth and bedroom eyes”), Ratzinger was a Bavarian born in 1927 and ordained in 1951. He was an academic theologian who served as professor in several universities in Germany before becoming a theological adviser to the German bishops at Vatican II. In those days, he was a noted progressive and enthusiast for reform. With little pastoral experience, he was appointed to the Archbishopric of Munich in 1977, the year before John Paul was elected and named a cardinal… They agreed the most important task that lay ahead for the governance of the Catholic Church was the protection of the Truth… Over the years, Ratzinger would be accused of discourtesy, lack of charity, and of being a bully in his pursuit of orthodoxy.”[3] This last thought has become very apparent in the present day papacy of Benedict XVI. I make no bones about my disdain for the German Pontiff…

Evangelium Vitae

When one reads any of the encyclicals of any pope, one has to carefully wade through the written word to figure out just who he is speaking to and for what reason. John Paul did a lot of writing, and he spoke about a myriad of topics. I am going to talk about “Evangelium Vitae,” The Gospel of Life. And we shall look at this document through the lens of a gay man, or as John Paul has called us, “homosexuals.” Let us begin with this quote and take this in the spirit that it is written:

“The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father’s love, shows how precious man is in God’s eyes and how priceless the value of his life. The Apostle Peter reminds us of this: “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your father’s, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1Peter 1:18-19) Precisely by contemplating the precious blood of Christ, the sign of his self-giving love (cf. Jn 13:1), the believer learns to recognize and appreciate the almost divine dignity of every human being and can exclaim with ever renewed and grateful wonder: “How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he ‘gained so great a Redeemer’ (Exsultet of the Easter Vigil), and if God ‘gave his only Son’ in order that man ‘should not perish but have eternal life!’” (cf. Jn 3:16)”[4]

These words are written by the Late Pontiff, and I take this specific quote from the context of his discussion of abortion, the culture of death and the sanctity of life, and I apply them to present day Christian theology and practice. We take this quote and we read it as it is spoken by the Pontiff speaking to his flock at large, which is a very important message of inclusion, faith, love of the Church for human life, and ultimately, the love of God, as we were created in his image. I continue my vision of Papal writing with my gay filter and I offer this next quote from ‘The Pontiff in Winter,’

“Equally distant from experience are John Paul’s comments on homosexuals, who can never aspire, he declares, to a relationship, or “familial” love, since it is impossible, he says, for two men (or two women) to give themselves physically to each other in genuine love. Hence any attempted union between the ceases to be a total self donation and such acts are “always and in every case sterile, not serving life.” Thus homosexuality can never become more than a way of two persons “using each other.” This denunciatory reflection takes a very narrow and unrealistic view of the circumstances of many homosexual relationships. Nor can he accept that many religious homosexuals see themselves as part of the richness of God’s creation.”[5]

When you see the pope in action, he smiles and hugs and welcomes everybody that he sees in front of him, but in private circles, behind closed doors and in his writings to the people of his ‘Church’ he is not so forgiving or accepting. This is problematic for many Catholics and it has been this way for as long as I can remember. Being Catholic and living a good Christian life, means that one must wade through all the writing and find what works for them and leaving the rest behind, we begin to build a ‘faith of our own.’ Here John Paul is clearly uneducated and speaking from a place of misunderstanding.

John Paul did this countless times, where he writes something in the capacity as Pontiff talking about subjects that he clearly has not life experience with, that he could write a well rounded, informed and logical piece of work. He does this many times in writing to and about women and about AIDS and here, homosexuality. John Paul took certain liberty in his writing to address topics that were clearly ‘outside his personal purview.’ But he believed strongly about many issues, and was passionate about every single topic he wrote about. But to be fair, one must also take into consideration the social atmosphere of the times, and what was acceptable and not. What was normal and what was not. And we must also recognize the narrow vision one has in Rome, versus the rest of the world as a whole. The world that John Paul was born into, raised and educated and the atrocities he witnessed in his homeland and of his people clouded his vision at times, this critical flaw hurt his ministry in other parts of the world.

As a young man I idolized my Pontiff. He was a rock star Pope and he made certain impressions on millions of young people world wide. And as I grew up, I still respected the man for his station, because deep down, I loved the church. I loved my Pope. It was my goal as a young person to serve this man to my dying day, and pledge allegiance to his Church.

Just because I came out of the closet did not change the fact that John Paul was the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, because the men of faith I grew up with accepted me with all of my flaws and subsequent illness, so I was not affected by Rome on a local level. In University, I learned much about my Pontiff, and I grew to love him more, even if I am critical of his papacy. What Religion Scholar is not critical of their leaders? It is my job as a student to look at all sides of the topic and present my insight as a gay man to others who might need some education on what made John Paul tick, what and who influenced his papacy and in the end, what shaped the papacy and life of John Paul II.

There is so much more we could talk about, and I am moving away from my original topic, so let us return to our discussion and move forward into meditations on Gay Men’s spirituality, we will look at the writing of my mentor and friend, Donald Boisvert.

In Preface Donald quotes Ronald E. Long, “A gay man is one who recognizes and lives by the ‘sacrality’ of masculine beauty and homosex. And ‘coming out’ is a gay man’s refusal to live a life that belies the sacrality of what he holds sacred.”[6] How we see ourselves as gay men, as Catholics and as men of God are as unique as we are individually. Donald believes that “Gay spirituality to be a form of religious expression and a manifestation of identity politics. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive.”[7]

I have cultivated and worked on my gay spirituality for over a decade since I am reaching that point where I can safely say that I have been out and gay for half my life today. It has not been easy and the study of religion with professors that have encouraged me to think ‘outside the box’ has only helped me in my quest for spiritual truth. In further reading of ‘Out on Holy Ground’ Boisvert writes:

“Gay spirituality is characterized by a spirit of defiance. In asserting the truth and viability of the gay religious experience, and in creating the conditions that allow it to assume a meaningful and treasured place in the lives of gay men, gay spirituality situates itself squarely in opposition to the orthodox religious norm. Though some forms of gay spiritual life may be very much tied in with more established churches, gay spirituality, as a whole, is transnormative. It may borrow blatantly and deliberately from a universal storeroom of religious symbols and rituals, but it posits a radically different understanding of the human body and of human sexuality, on the one hand, and of human relationships with the holy or with the sacred, on the other.”[8]

 

What is it we are called to be, men of faith, men of God, loved by the One who created us, in the face of disinformation and exclusion by Holy Mother Church. This is our ministry to reach out to those who find themselves outside the walls of holy Mother Church trying to find ones way into faith, by any route available. I believe that a faith component is integral to the life of every human being, gay or straight, male or female, young or old. To close out this episode of religious teaching I give you one last quote from ‘Out on Holy Ground,’ Boisvert writes:

“We return to our initial question: What is gay spirituality? In discussing its characteristics, we have examined how it consists of three elements in symbiosis: critical discourse, political action, and sexual affirmation. Gay spirituality reveals the ways by which gay men define, recognize, and assert themselves, not only as individuals having a religious dimension, but as beings whose very difference is the source of their spiritual and historical election.”.”[9]

I may not have agreed with alot of the Late Pontiff’s writing and they way he excluded so many from the ‘flock’ I maintain that there must have been a disconnect within the humanity of John Paul, versus his Pontificate persona of the church. I must believe that he did not want to exclude anyone from God or the sacraments, but I think the establishment forced him against a wall, that he produced some of the most incredibly painful words in his papal encyclicals. Amongst pages and pages of the sweetest poetry John Paul II wrote were the few thorns that put many at odds with the church. We may never know what John Paul thought, humanly, but for me I believe that John Paul was more human than he led on, because I am faithfully sure that whatever he wrote to his church, he took those concerns to his chapel and his God, and I believe that he prayed that God would understand and forgive him for many of the things he wrote. We must remember that the Church is larger than John Paul was humanly. And what came from the “Church” may have been to placate and silence those who would silence him, if he wavered from the party line. If God created us in his image and blessed all of us with life and love, then we need not look any further for God’s love than what is written about God. We do not need a man to intercede for us to God, if we have faith, then we can get to God on our own.

You can take the boy out of the Church, but you cannot take the Church out of the boy. I will be a religious man till the day that I die, my Catholic faith is burned into my soul, however much I criticize and judge it for its flaws and foibles. We each have to find our way into faith by whatever means. And if that means subversion is useful, then so be it. I have been accused by Catholic priests here in Montreal of subverting the teaching of the church to justify my homosexuality, and that is (his) problem, not mine.

What’s done is done, and in the end, on that last moment of my life, I will stand before God and He and I will have a discussion, and you know what, nobody else will be privy to that conversation.

That is my sermon for this week. Stay tuned, I know I will have more to say about John Paul II.

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O Holy Trinity,
we thank you for having given to the Church
Pope John Paul II,
and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendor of the Spirit of love

He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself
in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd
and has pointed out to us holiness
as the path to reach eternal communion with You.

Grant us, through his intercession,
according to your will, the grace that we implore,
in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints.
Amen.

Can you tell I am missing academic writing, in presenting this paper for your reading pleasure, I hope that it stirs some discussion and maybe some of your own writing and reflection on this topic.

[1] John Cornwell, The Pontiff in Winter, Double Day Press, 2004, pg. 21

[2] John Cornwell, The Pontiff in Winter, Double Day Press, 2004, pg. 25

[3] John Cornwell, The Pontiff in Winter, Double Day Press, 2004, pgs. 94-95

[4] John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, Daughters of St. Paul, 1995, pg. 46

[5] John Cornwell, The Pontiff in Winter, Double Day Press, 2004, pg. 141

[6] Donald Boisvert, Out on Holy Ground, Pilgrim Press, 2000, Pref: xi

[7] Donald Boisvert, Out on Holy Ground, Pilgrim Press, 2000, pg. 3

[8] Donald Boisvert, Out on Holy Ground, Pilgrim Press, 2000, pg. 10

[9] Donald Boisvert, Out on Holy Ground, Pilgrim Press, 2000, pg. 18


My Undergraduate Career is FINISHED !!

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This morning I got up early and took a shower and headed off to find my fortune. I went to talk to financial aide and got some much needed cash, so money is taken care of now, for now. They are going to take my Summer balance next month, at least we can catch up on Peter’s tuition and have some money for food. We can worry about May in May.

I am registered for the Summer now for my Certificate in Pastoral Ministries Studies.

I paid off my tuition so my file is clear, I can graduate now with no stress.

I turned in my final paper and last writing assignment to the department.

I got a Brand New I.D. Card good through 2010!!!

I am now Officially finished with my Undergraduate career.

I am now a Graduate Student…

I am officially on VACATION…

Thank the Creator

YAY !!!


A day of Reflection…

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Today is March 25th, one month ago today Sister Michelina passed away. Today 12 people gathered at the Chaplaincy office to celebrate the life and ministry of Sister Michelina. It was a rough start, obviously, some people do not know how to communicate properly and add to that the fact that the chaplains that were there did not want to help us find things we needed to have.

It seems to me that those women in ministry at Concordia could not be bothered with assisting students. My complaint stands that certain Chaplaincy officials are just assholes and if it was my call, they would not be in the positions that they are in today, for the simple fact that they are rude, obnoxious, petty and petulant.

Overall it was a great afternoon and we talked and sang a lot. Acapella singing  is not my forte and I don’t sing very well, but like any person in ministry one must learn to lead their congregation in song. Our resident “soon to be” seminarian Frankie was sitting next to me and we held the pitch and scale pretty well. It was nice to spend time with my friends from religion and theology departments, seeing that we will all be in the certificate program come this Summer.

One of my friends named Karen made these beautiful little angels which we were given at the end of the day as keepsakes from the retreat. Karen and a number of other students have some of the same observations of people and administration that I do. Sad that today when we were trying to organize the day, that people shut their doors to students, and the Catholic priest in residence is from S. Africa, and he is a very quiet and passive man and the dyke in residence is a cast iron bitch. Don’t tell me you can’t when you are sitting in your office socializing. Some people will never learn and just because one is in a position of power, does not mean you can walk all over people or be rude to them and to students.

I am powerless over people, places and things…

God grant me serenity…

This week we are grinding to a slow end of semester pace. Things are winding down quite nicely and I still have some work to do. I’ve got a couple exams this week and I am working on my research paper for Modern Christianity. Let us Pray…

We are told that we should grasp life like an egg, cradle it to our hearts and take care of it, lest we drop the egg and it break. We should not sit and be sad and mourn forever in the absence of Sister Michelina. We decided on a forward thinking mandate, we will gather again in May and hopefully we will begin to build on our little community in the memory of Sister Michelina.

After the retreat we sat down over coffee and cake, “oy how Anglican is that?”  There are a few of us on the same track of ministry in the coming years. Frankie is going into the ministry as a seminarian, and Karen and I are persuing the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry, although, the good Reverend Canon has other plans for me. So we shall see what the future holds for us.

So that was the day. I am cranking to some Linkin Park !!! Great Angsty music…

see ya later…


Graduation Countdown…

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Hopefully, by the grace of God and some good grades from here on out, I will graduate from Concordia University with a B.A. in Religion in 88 days. I have ONE final term paper to write for Modern Christian Thought a few exams and a class presentation in Christian Origins, and as they say, That Will Be All she wrote for my Undergraduate Career.

Thank God…

Then it is on to my Certificate in Pastoral Ministries in Theology beginning in the Summer! Does anyone have some spare cash, I want to go to Africa and climb a mountain. Graduation is Monday 18 June 2007, at Place Des Arts. I don’t know how many tickets I will be able to get, there are a few people here that already have reserved seats. So if you want to come and attend you must let me know in the next 30 days.

This will truly be a HUGE milestone in my Sobriety, second only to my Marriage.

Let us pray…


Acceptance … Is the key to all my problems!

Dear Mr. Andrews,

On behalf of the Faculty of Arts and Science, I am pleased to advise you that you have been granted admission to Concordia University. Your program choices have been carefully considered and you have been admitted to the following program:

Certificate in Arts – Science
Certificate Pastoral Ministry

Additional information about the program to which you have been admitted and any conditions that apply to your admission will be found on the attached Offer of Admission.

The Faculty of Arts and Science is the largest and most diverse of Concordia’s faculties. With more than 25 departments and interdisciplinary colleges, it offers nearly 2,000 different courses every year. With both human and natural worlds as its objects of study, it provides a true wealth of opportunities for students to explore the full spectrum of human knowledge. Our graduates have a strong grounding in their major areas of study, and they are also familiar with a variety of other subjects of interest to them. We are confident if you choose to attend Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science, you have made a good decision; your education will continue to serve you well throughout your life.

I take this opportunity to welcome you to Concordia University and wish you every success in your studies. If you have any questions, or wish to discuss your acceptance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,

Maria E. S. Ponte

Academic Counsellor, Faculty of Arts and Science

My studies begin, Sept. 2007. Barring a failing grade this semester! Let us pray!!

YAY !!!!

I’m in! Not that I was out, but you know, gotta do things by the book!