As a Roman Catholic and an ordained Deacon of the Church I am appalled by the enormity of the abuse done to innocent children and young people revealed in the Grand Jury report from Pennsylvania. I am outraged that the Bishops were complicit in this evil by covering up the abuse and allowing it to continue. Certainly these eight dioceses are not the only ones with this abhorrent behavior.
It is clear that the attempt at reforms done in 2002 are not enough. There are still too many men who perpetrated these immoral and criminal actions in active ministry. I addressed this topic in my homily yesterday. It is clear to me that the laity must force reform and take an active role in directing it. The abuse, coverups and lack of transparency cannot and should not be tolerated. My homily is below and on my Homilies and Talks page:
Last evening I gave a talk to the Atlanta Southside Ultreya gathering. I was asked by several members of that group to post my remarks so that others in their group could hear them. The talk can be found here: Southside Ultreya Talk. It was an honor to be asked to address this wonderful group.
Speak Up! Congress is dithering as usual and your voice is needed. DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals expires soon.
Polling in the United States consistently shows that an astounding 87% of all American citizens support bi-partisan action in Congress to protect the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. There is no other issue in our country where such a huge majority of Americans are in agreement. The problem is that Congress, as usual, cannot get its act together. We can change that and each of us should speak up.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis led an inspiring launch of #SharetheJourney, a global, two-year campaign in support of migrants and refugees. He opened his arms wide in a loving gesture and said, “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace.”
Migrants and refugees are not after our jobs, our lives or our culture. They are looking with hope toward a brighter future for their families in collaboration and with integration into their new homeland; just as my ancestors sought the same in the mid-1700’s. Their plight is little different from those in my family who fled war, persecution and economic hardship almost three hundred years ago. Continue reading “#ShareTheJourney”→
For many years I have been a big fan of TED Talks. I find that the talks generally live up to the TED slogan “Ideas Worth Sharing.” I don’t agree with every speaker and I don’t find all of the talks equally stimulating; but I usually learn something, find a unique perspective or discover a new way to think about the world that we all live in.
This week in something of a surprise, Pope Francis gave a talk to TED 2017 that was entitled The Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone. In a world that is increasingly divisive, nationalistic, partisan, and fearful, the Pope makes a strong argument that each person can be a messenger of hope and all of our individual “yous” can be come a collective “us” to address the needs of our world and time. Regardless of your faith tradition or no faith tradition his talk is compelling and worth a 17 minute investment of time. If you would prefer to read his comments rather than listen to them they may be found here: His Holiness Pope Francis at TED2017
#Refugees who are fleeing persecution or the violence and destruction of war deserve to be welcomed. As I have stated before, it is in the National DNA of the American people to come to the aid of those who are in need, oppressed or desperate for safety. When we have failed to live up to this National instinct, we have found ourselves on the wrong side of history and later spoke of our profound regret. Take for instance, our country’s rejection of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. After turning them away, many ended up dying in concentration camps at the hands of those they were trying to escape from. We recall that time and action with shame.
Hostility toward people in need is not an American characteristic or virtue. Neither is cowardice. Historically, Americans are willing to not only speak for those in need, but we have been willing to take risks to protect them. I like to think of our country like the man who is willing to take a personal risk and step into difficult situations to protect those who are more vulnerable. It is the country that we have tried to be in my lifetime. But things are changing.
President Trump’s ill conceived, poorly executed, and legally questionable Executive Order barring refugees seeking safety in the United States, is an act of both hostility and cowardice that is antithetical to our American tradition. Americans should be appalled, but for some reason 30%-40% of us are are not. We should ask ourselves, ‘Is the extremely low probability of a terrorist entering the country a fair balance against the pain and suffering of millions of people?’ My answer is, ‘It is not.’ To let people suffer and die because we might have the slight risk of harm is not an American virtue, it is cowardice.
For a real look at the “dangerous” people that so many Americans are so very afraid of, take the time to view the documentary: 4.1 Miles. It was made by Daphne Matziaraki and has been nominated for an Academy Award. After watching it, just ask yourself, do these people deserve our hostility or should we really have such great fear of them. I hope your answer on both questions is a firm NO! Let’s tell our leaders that we can do more, bear more and be welcoming and brave Americans.
A few months ago I posted from a blog written by a woman who goes by the name JustAScottishGirl. She has spent the better part of the past 10 months working with the refugees who are coming ashore on the island of Kos, Greece. Today she posted another poignant piece reflecting on her time there and the successes and failures she has witnessed. It is well worth reading.
Memories are funny things, they sneak up on you when you least expect, making you feel want to have a little cry in the middle of dinner or making you burst out laughing when you are with…