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Bits and Pieces, with More to Come

July 29, 2005
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It’s the errant blogging partner, after a long absence! Since I last posted anything here, oh so long ago, I’ve given notice at my job and retired as of mid-July. Lots of change, all good.

Last week I attended the Conference on Spiritual Activism in Berkeley, CA, joining 1,300 other folks who want to find a way to “challenge the misuse of God and religion by the Religious Right.” It was a terrific event lasting four days, although I only lasted two, felled by a very bad cold. I’ll report later on the two days I did manage to get to.

One of my goals for retirement was to be a more faithful blogger; this is a modest (maybe even meager) start, with a couple of items I saw today.

Pope Benedict XVI (aka Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, chief enforcer of orthodoxy at the Vatican) has managed to keep mostly out of trouble so far — oh, except for leaving Israel out of prayers for victims of terror. But that doesn’t mean his flock isn’t keeping an eye on him. “Global Perspective” is a product from the National Catholic Reporter. You can subscribe to this weekly online series, currently a succession of open letters to Benedict XVI from Catholics, mostly in the developing world. The most recent letter, from a young layperson in Malaysia, bluntly challenges the new pontiff:

The points I would like to ask you, your grace is why is the Catholic church so
rigid when it comes to morality but does not seem to have that same passion when
it comes to demanding that is believers share and sacrifice their material
wealth for the common good? Why do you allow millions of rich Catholics not to
worry about our neighbors?

Why indeed? As someone who wavers somewhere between Lutheran and Catholic, I have these same questions of the institutional church — not, thank God, of my Catholic home in San Francisco, St. Boniface in the Tenderloin, an oasis of hospitality and compassion in all ways.

Changing the subject (but perhaps not), the John Roberts nomination is bringing up lots of questions — most of them for Mister Roberts, but also for the members of the Senate who do have constitutional responsibility here. The Center for American Progress has just released a pretty thoughtful and useful report on the confirmation process, prefaced with this admonition:

Senators should insist on exercising fully their Advice and Consent
responsibilities—and should use their political capital—to confirm only those
nominees who recognize that the meaning of the Constitution has continued to
evolve to meet the needs of a changing society and who will interpret the
Constitution to preserve and promote the ability of Congress and the courts to
protect fundamental rights.

As Jay Leno says, the Supremes are pretty important; after all, these are the people who elect the President. (Not!)

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