When Hurricane Katrina hit, I was actually in RCIA classes, not at St F (which, as a traditionalist parish, considered RCIA to be an “innovation” of Vatican II), but at the first stop on my religious misadventures, St A, which was mostly black. Many of the parishioners at St A had a familial connection to Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular, and an influx of evacuees arrived at the parish after Katrina. During RCIA classes, we would discuss theodicy as it related to New Orleans and Katrina. At the time, the usual suspects were claiming that New Orleans was targeted by god because of its randy Mardi Gras celebrations, and the ever-present problem of “the gays.” It’s not surprising that fundamentalist Protestants like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would beat up on New Orleans, but this article by Richard John Neuhaus illustrates the ambivalence that conservotrads had towards the United States’ most Catholic city:
The newest plan in the anti-abortion play book is the creation of crisis pregnancy centers on steroids that would provide a variety of health services that would supplant the need for Planned Parenthood clinics and other mainstream women’s health centers:
This quote sums up the rationale behind this beefed up crisis pregnancy center model:
The idea…is that a woman can go to a Guiding Star center and find the services she needs for her fertile years under one roof: well-woman care, OB/GYN and birthing services, pregnancy-support services, natural family planning education and fertility care, pharmacy needs, counseling, grief support, adoption resources and even spiritual care with a chapel. Having all the services from vetted partners in a single building owned by Guiding Star, Jacobson pointed out, eliminates gaps between a positive pregnancy test and a doctor’s appointment. It also allows women to get help with lactation or pregnancy difficulties that may make them wary of having another baby.
As usual, this flowery rhetoric sounds wonderful, but these crisis pregnancy centers are never going to replace Planned Parenthood, because of their insistence on treating public health issues through a lens of sin.
Earlier today, I was on the Wartburg Watch site, reading the comments for a post on the fallout from Joshgate 2.0:
The Wartburg Watch takes a critical look at the trends in evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism, particularly in the Southern Baptist world. Nonetheless, many of the commenters were complaining about how Josh Duggar was being unfairly demonized for having an Ashley Madison account, when there are liberals out there doing the same thing, without anyone complaining about it. While I’m sure there are people all across the political spectrum cheating on their significant others, there’s a very good reason why Josh Duggar in particular is being raked across the proverbial coals.
Another day, another Duggar scandal:
As you probably recall, Josh Duggar also admitted to molesting his sisters and a family friend about four months, making this his second sex scandal in less than six month, which could be a record; even Jimmy Swaggart waited a couple of years before re-visiting prostitutes’ row.
When Pope Emertius Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum first came out back in 2007, I remember there being a lot of excitement at St F’s because we widely believed that it would cause a proliferation of Latin Masses in the archdiocese. Eight years later, the number of officially sanctioned Latin Masses in the Archdiocese of Atlanta is the same as it was then: one. I checked the Latin Mass Times site for all Latin Mass sites in the state of Georgia, and it lists three “independent chapels” (whatever that means), the SSPX parish up in Roswell, an official Latin Mass once a month at a parish in Macon, a weekly official one at the cathedral in Savannah, and St. F (http://www.latinmasstimes.com/Georgia). For those of you who aren’t familiar with Georgia geography, Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah are all in completely different parts of the state. When I was still “orthodox,” I visited the church in Macon where the Latin Mass is held, and the woman who ran the parish bookstore told me that it’s mostly attended by elderly people. If Catholics are demanding the Latin Mass, as traditionalists claim, they don’t seem to be in Georgia.
Do you remember an incident that occurred some months ago in which Justin Harris, a “Christian” state representative from Arkansas, gave his adopted daughters to a sex offender who ended up abusing one of the girls? Well, he’s back and he’s getting an award!
My trip to the Louvre roughly two weeks ago was a very interesting experience, not the least because I discovered that Chinese tourists have become what Japanese tourists were in the 1980s. Looking at the many famous works of art caused me to reflect again on the role of the arts in modern religion, particularly Christianity. I recently found out that Thomas Day, author of the famous book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” wrote another book entitled “Where Have You Gone Michelangelo?” about the supposed loss of beauty in the Catholic tradition. Like many religious conservatives, Day’s remedy appears to involve simply resurrecting what worked in the past and doing more of the same, but I don’t think that it’s that simple.