Holding Sexual Predators Accountable is a Pro-Life Issue

Roy Moore wants to be the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. Today a fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, came forward to tell Alabama voters that Moore had assaulted her when she was 16 years old. This disclosure follows the Washington Post story of November 9th in which four women accuse Moore of groping them and initiating sexual acts even though he was in his early thirties and they were teenagers. I looked in vain for a statement from the Archdiocese of Mobile or the Diocese of Birmingham . The website for Youth and Child Protection on the Diocese of Birmingham...

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Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Times

WIS 6:12-16 PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 1 THES 4:13-18 MT 25:1-13 It is hard to read the Gospel words, “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” without thinking of my own vigil as I prepare for Baby #4 to make his or her way into the world sometime this month. In fact, the midwife at my last appointment said as much. “It could be soon,” she said with a shrug, “or it could be weeks. Just be ready.” Our Gospel tells us to be ready for the second coming of Jesus through the parable...

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Of Tax Plans and Honesty

Just about everything is wrong with the outline for tax reform offered by the Republicans. And it is wrong not simply for debatable reasons. A lot of it is flat-out lying. The truth about this overall proposal is that: (1) it is based on a non-evidence-based connection between taxation and economic growth, especially suspicious at a time when the American economy is actually relatively strong (albeit not for everyone) and (2) it will deliver a substantial tax cut almost exclusively to the very wealthy, while socking plenty of Americans in the middle with what could amount to a severe...

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Toxic Shame and Sin-Talk: Church Militant Has It All Wrong

Church Militant continues to claim that Fr. James Martin is a heretic while misrepresenting his book, Building a Bridge. While it is certainly painful to see a good priest attacked in this public way for his attempts to create spaces for dialogue in the church, what is particularly troubling to me is the way that Church Militant employs sin-talk and shaming discourse. Among the list of their complaints: “Fr. Martin publicly suggests that God created homosexuals that way.” Despite the fact that medical and mental health professionals have long noted the dangers of so-called conversion therapies or reparative therapies,...

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Threats, Fear, and Intimidation: Just a Regular Day at the Rectory?

This Saturday, at 11am, Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan and Father Lucio Castillo, OMI, together with other concelebrants, will host a liturgy for families of the LGBT community in the Diocese of San Diego. The Mass will be held at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in the Hillcrest neighborhood. The Mass is an anniversary celebration of “Always Our Children,” the 1997 pastoral message of the USCCB that encouraged parents of gay and lesbian children to accept and love their children and encouraged all readers to avoid stereotyping and condemning. While much has changed in the world in the past twenty...

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What We Normalize

The bounds of “normal” behavior are funny things. They are pervasive, and it is unimaginable to have a shared culture without them. Yet we all know that they shift over time. We can have passionate arguments over whether this or that shift is “progress” or “decline.” I tend to lean on the side of flexibility: maybe teaching helps this, since every year I get one year older, but I face a set of students in their seats who are ever-fixed in their 18-22-ness. Norms shift. Get too fixated on that shifting, and it can be bad. But to say...

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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Trouble with Generosity and Fairness

IS 55:6-9 PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18 PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A MT 20:1-16A My children and students are fond of telling me how life just isn’t fair.  If I inadvertently seem to give a larger scoop of ice cream to one, the others will wail. If my students perceive that one of their peers won an award or a scholarship that “I should have received (after all, I worked just as hard)” they might be envious or angry that they lost out. The question of fairness is a real sticking point for all of us, especially in a society where we’ve built laws and professional codes of conduct around the concept of fairness.  When we say fair, we often mean “equal.” “Equal pay for equal work” is a fair treatment of our work – especially when considering disparities in pay among genders. In a hospital, a checklist of standards ensures that patients have been treated equally – that is, fairly – by all. And if someone fell short in treatment of others, then the code of conduct enables fair retribution. When disasters happen, when someone treats another person wrongly and unjustly (as they do), fairness enters in as the concept that helps toward a good resolution of the problem, especially by paying careful attention to the rules and codes at hand. For the record, I am in favor of a good...

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24th Sunday: Escaping the World of Anger

“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.” – Sirach 27:30 “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. ” – Matthew 18:34 Forgiveness is the opposite of wrath and anger… or at least of “hugging them tight.” If we live in a time filled with anger, where people feel justified in visiting wrath upon each other, we should ask ourselves more deeply what the root problem is. The problem is often a sense of an utterly righteous cause. These other people owe a...

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