Mark, chapter 6: The dance, the promise, the beheading

John the Baptist, model of conscience.

Spoke truth to power, as many self-righteous of this day claim they do, when they know nothing of the kind of power he faced, autocratic, middle eastern, first-century A.D., rule by whim of ruler.

Herodias the trophy wife gave the word to her dancing daughter, voluptuous, tempting, the coolest of chicks. Her stepfather Herod, a potentially decent sort, got lassoed. Had been drinking, the kid got to him (and his hangers-on, watching his every move), he promised the world or half of the part he controlled (I said POWER). The fool.

The angry mother told her. The head. She told the fool in charge, gulp. He liked John, liked to listen to him. John used the occasions not to butter him up but to admonish him. He was not going to back down, knew what was right and what was his duty. Very gutsy guy. Went with his conscience, angered the spiteful woman.

Now what? The others are looking at him. He had promised, had he not? What kind of king was that whose promise meant nothing? He swallowed hard. Turned to the hatchet man (not a figure of speech, as we use the phrase today), said get the head. Hurry up, chop-chop.

The daughter, learning how things are done, took the head on a platter (not figurative), and the mother smiled.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

Same-sex-attracted Roman Catholic priests, what about them?

I speak of percentages here. What per cent of RC priests are same-sex-attracted (SSA) compared to priests and other ministers of religion who have the marriage option?

Would RC ordination of married men or legitimization of a priest’s taking a wife — just one, until death they were parted — reduce said percentage?

Would such a change in RC customs reduce the influence of SSA priests and bishops in the councils and consultations of clergy members, as in undercutting support for SSA-friendly moral teaching and practice?

Loaded question that last, brimming with certain assumptions.

Such changes, of course are in no way guaranteed, assuming they are in order, the church being an imperfect institution, the Body of Christ on earth after all, not (yet) in heaven.

May I pursue these questions in later posts? I may just do that.

Pope Francis’ Favorable Rating Drops in U.S.

For a worldly attention-seeker, it would be very bad news, but as a follower of Jesus he’s not impressed with this sort of thing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope.

The coronation bounce is it at this point.

Chicago archbishop and U.S. EPA in this “fight” together: Take that, climate change!

The archbishop and the EPA administrator co-author Sun-Times op-ed.

The Most Reverend Blaise Cupich and the head woman of the nation’s whole damn Evironmental Protection Agency, also known as its Employment Prevention Agency, take us from clean air asthma-protection (who can object to it?) to this:

The fight against climate change isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon. But with continued leadership and committed action from the archdiocese, from Chicago, and from congregations and communities across America, we can turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.

A month ago, Pope Francis asked, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

We all know the answer, and that’s why we’re working together — faith leaders, public officials and private citizens — to make it a reality. [Italics added]

To make what a reality? Give me antecedents to match those pronouns.

And turning challenge of such and such into an opportunity? To build a cleaner, healthier, etc.? How about cleaning up the air for asthmatic children and letting it go at that?

This is such a play for national visibility as to unleash a flood of disbelief. What about flood-prevention while we’re at it?

The crafty Mundelein loved FDR and boosted the New Deal, however. There’s precedent for this, sad to say.

via Opinion: We have a moral obligation on climate change | Chicago.

Fr. Barron gone, Abp Cupich can further remake Chicago, says Crux writer

The seminary’s the thing, social justice to be king?

As rector of Mundelein, Barron reworked the curriculum to focus on the New Evangelization, an idea promulgated by Pope John Paul II and institutionalized at the Vatican in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI aimed at engaging contemporary culture with the Catholic faith.

Whether Cupich’s choice to replace Barron changes the focus of that curriculum — and in what direction — will be closely scrutinized by Church-watchers.

Bye-by New Evangelization, hello Social Gospel?

(BTW, the former is “in a nutshell . . . salesmanship,” wrote Crux’s John Allen from Rome in March of ’13, in his National Catholic Reporter days, which is linked above.)

Chicago-based Media Star Priest Off to Hollywood

From Midwest to Far West, into the belly of the media beast: (per Wall St. Journal via Google)

LOS ANGELES—A Catholic media star is coming to Hollywood.

On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that FatherRobert Barron,a popular Catholic commentator, author and television host with a significant social media following, would relocate to the Los Angeles Archdiocese from Chicago afterPope Francisnamed him an auxiliary bishop.

The move is expected to boost the Catholic church’s voice in a region that is the center of the entertainment industry and home to the nation’s largest Catholic diocese.

Father Barron will continue running a robust media operation that includes his “Word on Fire” media ministry, as well as posting video talks on his YouTube channel. His videos have been watched more than 13 million times

He’s happy as a clam:

At the announcement of his appointment in Los Angeles Tuesday, Father Barron said that he plans to carry on the mission of “evangelization of the culture, bringing Christ to the arenas of media, politics, law, education, the arts. I can’t think of a more exciting field for this sort of work than Los Angeles, which is certainly one of the great cultural centers of our time.”

. . . .

In an interview Tuesday, Father Barron said he’s eager to “meet some of the players out here, the screenwriters, actors and producers and directors.”

He has plans:

The priest’s videos and writings have a conversational tone, and often reference pop culture, history and politics. His slickly produced videos, usually about 10 minutes long—often show him sitting in a library or sanctuary. He’s tackled topics such as original sin and belief in God, but also the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gay marriage, comedian Bill Maher and “The Hunger Games” movies.

Father Barron said his strategy is “not to scold the culture for what it’s doing wrong” but to find common points of interest.

For instance:

After criticism [by some] of the movie “Noah,” [for deviating from the Biblical original]  Father Barron brushed aside its critics.

“It’s remarkable to me how this movie preserves an awful lot of what I call the biblical logic of the story of Noah in a way, I must say, that’s rather remarkable for a major Hollywood movie,” he said. “God is clearly affirmed throughout the movie.

The ball is in Chi Archbishop Cupich’s court as to who should succeed Barron as rector of the Chicago and regional seminary, a very important post as to the quality and pastoral orientation of presumably many ordination classes of priests.