Cascadia Catholics

A left-leaning Catholic discussion forum.

Friday, August 25, 2006

And yet...

My heart belongs to Kooch!

"We recited the Prayer of Saint Francis to each other during our marriage ceremony."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why I Like John Edwards

Not my brother JohnBecause he is the only politician I know, who takes special notice of the poorest of the poor.

Look at what is happening in Sudan:

"Sudan began a genocide against tribes of small farmers in its Darfur region three years ago. Militia groups backed by the Sudanese government have slaughtered an estimated 400,000 people and driven 2.5 million people from their homes. U.N. troops are on their way, but will take at least five more months to arrive in Darfur. NATO forces -- if the U.S. stepped up to moral leadership -- could end the conflict immediately."

Please follow the link and sign!

Sign Here

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Prison Walk

I was introduced to "prison ministry" about a year ago, when our JustFaith group visited the State Corrections facility in Monroe. We went to the Friday evening Mass and bible study, and because I enjoyed it so much, I've been going back as regularly as I can manage.

Last month, after a great deal of organization by the inmates, the prisoners conducted a "walk-a-thon" for the Jamie Moyer Foundation. The inmates, who were sponsored by doners on the "outside," marched around their athletic track in 95 degree heat in order to raise money for "the kids, man" (as one walker put it) - for the kids suffering from cancer.

One of my jobs was to help with the water distribution. We also provided sunscreen, becuase it was a scorcher of a day. Still, the feeling was very festive, as if we were all at a picnic.

"Anyone need sunscreen?" one fair-skinned volunteer called out. All the black guys howled with laughter. "Don't laugh," said the volunteer, cheerfully applying lotion. "Dark skinned people can get skin cancer, too."

"We don't use that shit," a big, soft spoken fellow said.

"Oh, I don't know," replied the volunteer, who had traveled extensively. "People in Africa use it all the time."

"Well," said the inmate, "I'm not from Africa, I'm from Alabama, and we don't use that shit." More howling laughter.

After the pre-game drill they got down to it. Off came the shirts, off went the runners, joggers, walkers and limpers. And, I can tell you, I never saw so many tatoos in my life. There were hearts and guns and knives and angels; skulls and bones and titties and crosses. It was really quite something, and not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

So my next job was to sit and keep a written record of the laps the inmates finished. At first, it was tough enough just to get everyone's name right, as I had about 25 guys to keep track of, but by the 8th lap (two miles) I was getting the hang of it. And I dare say, those tatoos really did help out! By the 16th lap most were pretty beat, but they kept marching on, and I, sitting on my butt, could gleefully cheer them along. After some thirty laps they had to quit, because their time was up, but I'm sure some of those guys could have kept hiking for days. It was impressive. These were young, healthy men, sure, but there were also a lot of older guys walking. And some fat guys. Some slow guys. Guys with canes. Most of these guys never quit.

In all, they raised over $2,000 for the Moyer Foundation.

There is something very meaningful, when your life is nearly snuffed out behind prison walls, in doing good things for other people. One gains a sense of pride and accomplishment, but more importantly I think, is the sense of human dignity that comes with helping out another human being. And these inmates, isolated from the world, were throwing their physical all into helping "the kids, man," - kids who also live in fear and isolation. This desire to 'give back' is universal, I think, and tatooed on the human heart.

I just thought people should know about this unseen day behind the walls.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Interview With Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! is one of the finest independent mediums streaming on the internet these days. You can also pick it up on the radio in the Seattle area on AM-1090 and KBCS 91.3-FM.

On today's Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interivews Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist at The New Yorker, who has written a very compelling piece on the US support of Israel, in this latest mid-east crisis, and how it sets up conditions for an invasion of Iran. The lead up to the interview states that:
The Bush administration has openly backed Israel's campaign. The administration resisted international efforts for a ceasefire and rushed arms to the Israeli military.

A major new article says U.S. support for the invasion of Lebanon has gone even further than we already know. That in fact, White House support for the massive bombing of Lebanon even predates the day those two Israeli soldiers were seized.
Nothing surprises me anymore, so I can't say I'm surprised, but given the constant and desperate appeals by Pope Benedict XVI for a cease-fire in the region, it is imperative that we Catholics sit up and take notice exactly where our government (or our Vice President) is taking this nation.

You can read the interview here.

Or, if you have the means, do listen to the interview at one of the streaming links available on the Democracy Now! page.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Evolution (or) Intelligent Design

Given some of the comments in an earlier post, I thought I'd link to this article. It's only mildly interesting, but is at least relavent:

Pope to Dissect Evolution With Former Students

The Catholic Church supports evolution, and has stated that "intelligent design" is not good science. Of course, to clarify, intelligent design isn't even science at all. It's a hermeneutic, an ideology that tries to explain something (the evidence we gather while we explore the universe). And by the same token, the scientific method is not good philosophy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Devil's Miner

I saw "The Devil's Miner" on Independent Lens last night on PBS. For the Seattle crowd, it's scheduled to replay at 3:30 a.m. on 8/13. It's a documentary following a 14 year old boy and his brother, who work in Bolivia's silver mines. It's beautifully filmed, but absolutely heart-wrenching. (And in the updates, they were able to raise 1 million Euros to help child mine workers of that region.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Half of US still believe in Iraq's WMD

In an article published in Mainichi News, a July '06 Harris poll shows that fully 50% of Americans still believe that Iraq did have WMDs when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003. When in fact...
The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million -plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.
The article goes on to speculate why Americans are still so out of touch with reality. I suppose it's true that people need to feel justified in their support of this invasion and occupation of Iraq. But I doubt this is quite so self-inflicted. What I believe, quite simply, is that the Mainstream Media in this country, and particularly the TV Networks, are doing a very good job of manipulating the minds of your average American viewer.

Go read the article.

You'll see why it ends with this stunning Fox News headlie:


We used to laugh at market tabloids with headlines that screamed:


We don't laugh so much no mo'. And why does my head hurt?

Monday, August 07, 2006

SQPN and Fr. Roderick Vonhögen

If you haven't checked out, give it a go look-see (and listen). Podcasts of "Daily Breakfast" with Fr. Vonhogen are both informative and entertaining. Ciaviel suggested I give it a try, which I do from time to time. Thought I'd share. Now back to our own entertaining animations...

Blogging in times like these

Writing a blog is hard work.
Especially in times like these.
It can be upsetting.
Very, very upsetting.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

From Hiroshima to Hope

On Sunday, August 6, 2006, 6:30 PM

You are invited to join "From Hiroshima to Hope."

Hundreds of lanterns floating on Green Lake at dusk.

The event will take place on the northwest shore of Green Lake in Seattle, just south of the former Bathhouse Theatre. It is free, but donations will be appreciated.

This is annual event to remember those who perished in the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombing sixty-one years ago. The family-oriented program will include Seattle Kokon Taiko members and other community performances and culminate with the Toro Nagashi ceremony conducted by a reverend of the Nichiren Buddhist Church and the floating of lanterns at dusk to honor the victims of war and other violence. Please come early to pick up a lantern and to help fold origami peace cranes. Co-sponsored by local community, church and peace organizations, including the United Nations Association of Seattle.

If you would like to volunteer for this event contact or call 206-623-5124, ext 114 or 206-322-1678 (Bert Metzger).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

US Conference of Catholic Bishops - Middle East

On July 20, 2006, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a letter to the US Congress condemning the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

In the letter they condemn the violent and provacative actions of Hezbollah and Hamas, and clearly state that Israel has a right to defend itself. However, they also condemn Israel's disproportionate and indiscriminate bombing, which has killed so many civilians - many of them children - and undermines the work of those who seek a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This comes after many pleas by Pope Benedict XVI for an immediate cease fire in the region. Pleas that have not only gone unheaded, but mostly unreported in our main stream media. The Pope recently issued a day of prayer for July 23, 2006, specifically for peace in the middle east, and calling for a cease-fire in the region which would allow humanitarian aid corridors to reach the suffering populations.

The US bishops call on the United States to take the lead in ending the cycle of violence, beginning with an immediate cease fire. "Immediate!" As the Pope himself has repeatedly stressed. Will this administration listen?

Is anyone?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bill Moyers' Faith and Reason on PBS

I've been watching Bill Moyers' Faith and Reason on PBS these past few Friday nights, and would highly recommend it to Cascadian Catholics. Many interesting interviews with noted authors, scientists, and cultural icons; all discussing issues of faith in our world today.

I particularly enjoyed Mary Gordon's interview. Very intelligent, very knowledgable, and unflinchingly Catholic in her approach to fiction. Richard Rodriquez was also quite good, with a different Catholic perspective. Some others I didn't care for as much, and others I managed to miss. I also rather liked the atheist, Colin McGinn.

If you get a chance, tune in this Friday at 9:00 PM on channel 9 (Seattle), or check your PBS listings. If you want, you can follow the link above and read the transcripts, or download a podcast, or even view a video link (I don't know if it shows the entire interview, or not).

It's good to see some intelligent religous discussion happening in places other than our church basement.