In today's commentary from Tom McMahon in San Jose we find Bishop Geoffrey Robinson being quoted in a recent edition of the San Francisco Chronicle on the need for the Catholic Church to return to the drawing board on the entire meaning and moral rules about human sexuality. The earlier thrust of his commentary though is a reflection on the shape of the Phoenix that might arise from the present destruction going on in institutional Catholicism.
Is the Phoenix dead or alive?
I was happy to "meet" Brendan Coyne in the editor's introduction to my last commentary [LINK]. I sense rebellious genetics in this Coyne family, myself refusing to take sides on the demise of the Roman Institution. My preference is a combination of both Brendan and Brian, my picture being a Phoenix rising from the ashes. In today's discussion we shall zero in on the Roman Institution as being our primary interest. And then I'll go a bit further into the idea of worldly.
Life: a series of Phoenix experiences...
Is the Roman Institution a dying human institution? Is Phoenix an apt comparison for the R.C.? Is the Phoenix we are hoping for the Jesus-way-of-life, Christianity always rising first from Calvary and the other historical deaths at the hands of human beings, some popes and others like myself who in this topsy turvey journey through life have veered from the master's path? One blessed experience of Romanism is our being taught forgiveness of self and others, straight from the historical Jesus himself. Life for me has been a series of Phoenix experiences.
In fantasy I calculate that in my 62 years of conscious awareness of the need of church reform I have witnessed "ten thousand "experiences of new life, especially after Vatican Two. I marvel at the progress we have made. When first ordained I spent hours in the confessional listening to people fearfully telling they missed mass on Sunday (when they were sick) or forgetfully eating meat on Friday (with the big god-eye in the sky about to pounce); today I rejoice in reading people reports questioning if the Roman Catholic institution qualifies for being Christian if it neglects the poor. THAT'S PROGRESS — a real phoenix experience! We have come a long way and the people are maturing. Let's hope a phoenix-a-day takes place in the very hearts of the people ... and myself.
Jewish-by-birth therapist, Stanley Keleman, in the 1970's was the first to teach me the phoenix theory. Stanley had a sense of evolutionary new life coming from the destruction of the old. My vision of Vatican Two is an intellectual catalyst, words acting like a type of brain chemical that separates the old slag (miner's term for useless material) from the new. Since I was a major seminarian in 1950 I began to examine the decay/slag in the church, e.g. gently challenging a nun who chastised a six-year-old boy during a group first communion practice for not kneeling up straight. Sister Brendan, r.i.p., of the Holy Family Order and I became friends and together we became followers of Vatican Two in 1966.
I learned greatly about human conduct from Stanley who lectured in Berkeley where phoenix experiences were taking place in student protests daily. A true celibate, I ventured into the secular/world, outside the rectory wall into the gathering places where genuine people lived, loved, and worked. I became familiar, that is I joined the family of humans attempting to make sense of the mystery of life. In 1971 I entered a five year study program in the Transactional Analysis Society where the human body and person were studied intensely. Here I began to realize in the flesh that our bodies are truly temples of a holy spirit. I had entered territory forbidden to clerics, the secular world and I began to discover the footprints of the Creator. The world was the Creator's play yard and the Creator had designed it for us to play in. I had long ago abandoned the idea of saving souls. Jesus had called us to make the world a safe place for all the children of the universe.
A follow-up to the appointment
In my last commentary [LINK] I promised to address two black type newspaper headlines: "Bishops acting like roadblocks to condom use" and "New Archbishop key in passage of Prop. 8". This one about road blocking condom use came at a time a convention was being held in Washington D.C. concerning the elimination of HIV worldwide. I had lunch and spoke with a Holy Name Sister from Africa who shared with me how the use of condoms in their area was being successful in eliminating the plague. This vowed nun lives in the real world while Benedict regrets the secularization of the church. Read the Gospel of Luke and realize how secular was our friend and brother Jesus. Again THE WORLD is the Creator's play yard.
Let us let Brian Cahill respond to the appointment of Bishop Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco, a conservative point man on the Vatican's hit squad.
To understand more fully a brief history is needed here:
On November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk, well known gay San Francisco supervisor, and Catholic Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back. White was Catholic, trained in Catholic schools and representing the bigotry common to his pastor and constituency. I wonder if Cordileone knows of the city-wide bitterness of the gay community toward the Roman Church? Both Archbishops John Quinn and William Levada failed in what I see as a Vatican-led attempt to rid San Francisco of homosexuality; it is time Rome came to the party ... when will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? The new bishop of San Francisco comes to Baghdad by the Bay having lead the opposition to gay marriage in the State of California (Prop 8) whereas across America States are passing laws to allow acceptance of gay marriage.
What follows below is an image of the article by Brian Cahill, former executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities. Click the image to read the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle where Cahill goes on to devote three paragraphs supporting Australian Bishop, Geoffrey Robinson's, call for "a complete overhaul of Catholic teaching on sexuality".
Tom McMahon, San Jose, Ca. ... See ya next week and we bring Charlie McCarthy with us ... much to talk about 07Aug2012
What are your thoughts on this commentary?