Brothers, once when bishops leveled penalties, the effect was to isolate the miscreant from society. Now the effect seems to be to isolate us. Before we take that as a sign of how close to perdition everyone else is, perhaps we should think about our own inadequacies in dealing with the world around us.
Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today writes
“It’s galling, really galling, that they are so eager to speak out now on things they have no influence at all, when they kept silent when they could have done some real good,” says David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). . . . They are grandstanding to score points with with the Catholic right wing, just as Mahony and O’Malley were grandstanding to the left with their gratuitous denunciation of Bishop Williamson.
Does the contrast between past quiet and current political involvement begin to explain their collective loss of authority?
Watch the WCNC investigative video to decide whether you agree with Watchdog that affiliation with this group is lamentable. Chances are good that you will be troubled by at least part of what you learn.
Watchdog notes that FBC pastor Mac Brunson asked for a special offering last Easter to raise $180,000 to purchase Inspiration Network air time.
Then, illustrating why his blog has received such a Byzantine reaction from the leadership of FBC Jax, says:
I, for one, could not donate money to any organization that gives money or is associated with these “Televangelist Gunslingers”, as this report calls them. I can’t believe any bible-believing church would need to affiliate with the likes of these folks to spread the gospel.
Why, indeed? Not the kind of question the powerful always field well.
“So I’m looking around for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra,” she said. “And the McCain campaign, love ‘em, you know, they’re a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray.” As the crowd laughed, Palin grinned and said she meant no disrespect to the McCain campaign. She said she ultimately prayed with her daughter Piper.
Sen. John McCain didn’t clarify things when in answer to a question at the Heritage Foundation this week he said:
Over 50 million people voted for me and Sarah Palin—mostly for Sarah Palin.
The United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ have joined together in support of distribution of condoms and comprehensive sexual education by houses of worship and faith-based education institutions.
Their initiative contradicts recommendations which follow from Pope Benedict XVI’s plane-board statement during his visit to Africa that “You can’t resolve [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
The Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, the UCC’s executive for health and wholeness advocacy, urges a more scientific and compassionate approach to the prevention of HIV. “The availability of condoms as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention sends the right message and more importantly, it saves lives.”
Shuenemeyer said, “The message is rooted in the belief that loving carefully is a moral responsibility. The practice of safer sex behavior is a matter of life and death. People of faith make condoms available because we have chosen life so that we and our children may live.”
The United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network (UCAN) speaks directly to a key issue in the raging international debate over condoms and sex education, and is on sound behavioral ground, when it says:
There is no evidence that making condoms available promotes sexual activity. In fact, condoms, when distributed with educational materials and integrated into a broader, more comprehensive prevention package, have been shown to delay sexual debut among those who are not sexually active. Among sexually active youth, HIV prevention education programs have resulted in a reduced number of partners and increased condom use.
UCAN says making them available does provide “opportunities to open conversations that can save lives. In this context, condoms become educational tools.”
They are in good faith striving to follow the best available science.
The 27 March Facebook group is protesting Pope Benedict XVI’s condemnation of use of condoms by sending him a few (tens of thousands, even millions).
The group had close to 30,000 members as of this writing. The organizers expect(ed) to send 60,000 condoms to the Vatican on Friday. Der Speigel reports:
Similar social networking groups supporting the condom campaign have sprung up elsewhere on Facebook, triggering pledges of participation from across Europe and beyond. Some estimate that deliveries to the pontiff may total 5 million. One Web site calls on people to either send a real condom addressed to “His Holiness” at the Vatican or a photograph of the contraceptive to his email address.
He went on to say of himself and other members of the group:
. . . none of this group believes that the condom is the “holy hands” to the eradication of HIV from Africa, but there is one thing that has never been emphasized: the Pope’s words were not in Africa. The condom is used throughout the world . . . no one should make it possible to convey the message that the condoms do not drastically lower the risk of infection.
Try a thought experiment: There are two large groups of people of both sexes. Each group is half and half not HIV-positive. Members of one group have sex using condoms. The group other does not us condoms. What do you expect?
The ongoing criticism of the Pointiff’s condom remarks has made some church officials unhappy. The London Telegraph reports:
Senior Catholics rallied to the Pope’s defense this week, with the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, saying the depth of opprobrium directed towards the pontiff had “been prolonged beyond good reason.”
What the critics seek, however, is the change of Vatican policy they believe reason requires. Thus the number of protest-participating Facebook groups is multiplying, along with the number of voices raised in disagreement with the Pope’s unretracted remarks.