Friday, April 25, 2014

Jimmy Carter: A Call to Action - Women, Religion, Violence and Power

The Carter Center gathered religious leaders, scholars and activists to align religious and political life with full equality for girls and women. 

Carter's latest tome tells of human trafficking, abuse and the violence that needs addressing the world over.

Human slaves.

Body mutilation.

Legitimized murder on a massive scale.

Men and boys are not superior to women and girls, Carter claims.

Such thinking is supported by some male religious leaders who distort the Bible, the Koran, and other sacred texts to perpetuate that women are inferior and unqualified to serve God on equal terms, the former president notes.

Shame on us.

Such a premise seems to justify physical punishment of women and girls, claims Carter.

"Contributing to the abuse of women and girls is an acceptance of violence, from unwarranted armed combat to excessive and biased punishment for those who violate the law, writes Jimmy Carter who addresses suffering of women and girls who are denied equal rights.

Why are they?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two Merciful Men

Although I wanted Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India to be recognized and canonized as a saint before
Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, the first popes to be raised to the level of saints in 700 years, the festive ceremony Sunday in Vatican Square will be appreciated by many Catholics, and more.

Amid wonderment about the sexual abuse crisis that was brewing during both pontificates, both are merciful men who seemed to lead well the 1.2 million-member Catholics. Leaders are only as good as the information they get from those who could have been more forthright and honest, rather than looking the other way, perhaps.

"Peace on Earth," an encyclical by Pope John the XXIII who called for "fresh air" in the church, is among the most notable of his many writings, coupled with the worldwide ecumenical Vatican II.

The Cold War was raging, and John XXIII spoke up.

He did.

Unafraid was John.

That council from 1962-65 gets blamed for so much in the church's disarray today. 

Got to blame someone, something at some time, I guess.

Social unrest and thunderous change at the time when the authority of God followed human likes and wants reigned.

Fresh air was needed in the church.

Good John XXIII led the Holy Spirit's breeze and wind giving Mother Church a birth anew.

Although I was in the eighth grade at the time, I only wondered what the council in Rome was all about. I was unaware for my age.

And, while Pope John Paul II helped to "get the horses back in the barn," so to speak, Vatican II released the laity with a liberty and respect for their gifts unheard of ever.

Yet, still, their gifts go unappreciated, it seems to me.

Collaboration, collegiality and local ecclesiology was front and center.

Good John Paul II aimed at bringing back devotions, even the Mother of Perpetual Help devotions that were sung and prayed weekly at my home church of the late Saint Thomas the Apostle on Detroit's east side.  I enjoyed them.  Who wouldn't savor prayers to Mary, one mom like all mothers who really are the center of families.

Moms calls us together.

My own mother of seven gathered us with dad around the table for supper, for study, for chores, discipline, boundaries, for the rosary, and, so much more.

Sunday, two merciful men will be canonized.

Praise God.

They are set apart as the rule by which the rest of us may line up our lives after Jesus the Christ, to get to heaven, unless one has other plans.

The ideal of the strength and virtue of mercy is in fact greater than justice.

It is.

Look at Pope Francis.

A merciful man, indeed.

He invites us to walk alongside of those estranged, condemned, forgotten, abandoned, looked down upon.

Moms are merciful, after all.

Popes and all of us are called to be that also.

Like the great Teresa of Calcutta who wanted those no one else wanted to care for and love, and clean, bathe and raise up in dignity.

There's a saint.

For sure.

Yet, I will rejoice that two others saints will also show us how to be more, to be better beyond bitter, bolder in the faith, and, in the daily trek we make in the trenches of people's hurts, desolations and consolations.

Praise God!

Men Can Be Better

Cokie Robert's comment that "Men could be better," is a challenge for all to heed.

The media voice makes much sense.

And, she was willing to stand up.

To say it to us guys.

We can be better.

I forgot the context of her comments Sunday on TV's morning shows, between Mass presiding,
but, I took notice at what she said.

Now, let the men begin. . .with a little push from the gals, of course, as always.

Women seem to know how to press men and lead well.

Thanks, Cokie!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Celebrating Family at the Warren, MI., Civic Center Atrium, Thursday, June 19, 4:45 pm. All are welcome!  Families march in with balloons, and more!

Bridging Eight Mile Road with the Second Annual Unity Walk from 8 Mile/Van Dyke Warren, MI., side into Detroit, Thursday, August 28, 6 pm.
Call 313 530 2777.

Dedicated to families, and, to victims of human trafficking, and, to Molly Bish!

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Humans need hope.

We need healing.

Without both, life is hard.

Easter's 50 days give the evergreen virtue of hope, of possibilities amid struggles and challenges that the trek through life faces.

Faces and faith merge with hope, even healing, that morphing and mending so needed in South Korea when hundreds perish in a ferry capsizing this week, and, problems elsewhere.

The victory of Jesus Christ over death, sin, and a life lived well for the common good soothes souls.

Amid Roman and Judean rule and oppression, people sought hope from an earthly king.  Jesus' kingdom is not of this world, however.  It is beyond us.

We inch along and do what we can to be for and with one another in healing.

We do.

Ever so slowly.

Like the Easter bunny, or empty colored eggs, Christ is risen.  And, the shell is filled with hope and healing.

Happy Easter all fifty days of celebration beyond the 40 of Lent's fasting and praying.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inter-religious Dialogue Good Friday, 11 am, Historic Sacred Heart Church, Roseville, MI., 48066

Join Rev. Dr. Yvette Griffin, Marge Hallman, responding, and more, on "GOOD FRIDAY GRIEF OF JESUS, THE LORD, AND, MOURNING OF MARY, A MOTHER'S, AND MORE ACROSS FAITH TRADITIONS." 586 777 9116.






Tuesday, April 15, 2014


These days before Good Friday and Easter are called Holy Week.

There is a calm and quiet about them..

It is Jesus' time.

Christians recall his suffering, dying and rising to save us from sin and death.

Truth is told by Jesus.

To live.

To love.

To speak truth to power as he did.

One's aim is to get to Heaven by being a saint on earth.

No easy order.

Yet, it is done daily by countless souls.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Silence, Sickness, Authority and God

No longer do I trust in human authority alone.

In God we trust.  That's on currency for all to read. And, to make it meaningful, the late William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis, of Detroit's Focus:HOPE would press a penny into the palm of people they made.

With an admonition:  "Remember in whom we trust!"

Perhaps it was around the 80s when authority was put in its place, so to speak.


People no longer seemed to rely on the authority of God. Rebellion ruled.  "Selfies" shined ego!

They resorted to one's own whims, wishes, and desires, following their own versions of truth with a small T!

Of course this has been true throughout human history.

However, a tremendous turn from God to one's own truth and authority became paramount, it seems to me, in the last few decades.

Relegating God to "just in case" ruled.  I believe with my lips but not my lives, some seemed to suggest. My heart was far from the authority of God's Word, for example.

The candid conversion of the late physician, Bernard Nathanson, MD., a pioneer in the abortion industry, is a case in point.

After enormous amounts of abortions at his hand and scalpel, Dr. Nathanson's ways and "authority" turned to God's hands leading and guiding him after the murders of over 175,000 babies.

Anyone of us can rely on his or her own authority alone, sad to admit.

It is insufficient.

When I was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976, the revered John F. Dearden reminded me to be sure that what I preached was "God justice, God's truth," and, not my own.

Wise words.  Well spoken!


God's own.

Now, I more fully  realize that unless I stand up for the most vulnerable "on the edge" human beings, this culture will continue to be sick.

And, we need to imagine a way out of that path placing one's self in the hand of the Creator, and, his authority.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Parade

Everyone likes a parade.

A procession hailing Jesus as King of the Jews starts what Christians call Holy Week, seven days before Easter Sunday, April 20th.

It's a sad week for me.

As I learned of the murder of Basim "Basil" Sulaka of Clinton Township, Michigan, and, so many more violent and deadly crimes, I wonder how this epidemic of violence may lessen.

How did Jesus tolerate the agony in the garden of Gethsemane?

How did he walk with that heavy cross amid the whipping that tore his skin to the core?

It aches within.

I mourn such pain when I see it all around me these days.

40 million addicts in the U.S. need their 'fix.'

They will kill to get cash for it.

They will.

They do.

We need to come together to find a way out of this fog this nation seems to be waling amid.

We need to get beyond "selfies" that are OK, and move to concern for the common good.

Holy Week is a good week to lead.

An Open Letter to Warren, MI.,Mayor Fouts and Detroit Mayor Duggan

Dear Mayors:

While "Celebrating Family" is our theme to rejoice Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm with hundreds of families, among others, including clergy and civic leaders, joining together in the Warren Civic Center Atrium with colorful balloons, and more, my heart aches deeply over the rampant crime, and our inability of various disciplines of social scientists, business, education, and family systems to come together to address the 40 million U.S. addicts who kill for their next 'fix,' a broken mental health system that seems to simply hand out countless psychotropic drugs to children these days, the rising epidemic gun crimes everywhere daily, and, the unhealed soul of this metropolitan region in need of our collective imagination to begin to address and stop this violent cycle of human destruction.  Your own emphasis for a safe, secure and clean Warren and Detroit motivates others, and me, to intensify our efforts for the common good of the region, Mayors Fouts and Duggan. 

I thank you for leading!

It would please me no end, if you and other mayors will join clergy and families who are stepping up to the plate with objectives and aim of healing and  bridging Detroit and the 'burbs these decades with our family annual  Belle Isle Park picnic the first Sunday of August from 12 noon, another walk from Warren at Van Dyke and Eight Mile Road into Detroit the last Thursday of August at 6 pm, Inclusive Communities Uniting, and much more.

Thank you for your attention.

Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min.
All-Faiths Festival
Board Certifeid Professional Counselor

Monday, April 7, 2014


April showers bring may flowers!

Showers do.

For sure.

I like rain.

It's wet, cool and more.

One can make something good from rain.

God can.

God does.



Sure sign that Spring is coming.

I'm glad.

Get to walk between the raindrops.

That's a challenge.

But, affords me the chance to be creative ducking here, there, in-between, more.

Rain and the dark is difficult on wet pavements.

Got to be careful of slipping and following too closely to other vehicles.

Raindrop keep pouring on my head.

A good thing.

Thanks be to God.

God:  The Rainmaker.

Praise the Maker.

Friday, April 4, 2014

+ Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. . .

Tributes of flowers and hand-written notes line the facade of the Moon Lite Store at 14/Harper in Clinton Township, Michigan this rainy Friday afternoon.

Customers came in and out in the busy place.

Is a family member here," I asked the
guy tending the counter.

"You may consider me family; I control things here now," he added.

After expressing my condolences on the murder a week ago,  I said I would see him at 11 pm for a vigil this sad night..

Mr. Sulaka was loved by the community.
He helped the needy with food, and more.

All the cards and scribbled sentiments proved a life lived well.



A husband, father, friend for many.

His face could be any man or woman's.

His face looks like my own.

Praise God for this believer who lived and loved well.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Against the Tide: The Radical Leadership of Pope Francis

A new tome.

It's a year since Pope Francis became head of the universal Catholic Church.

And, Liguori Publications has published John Allen's book titled above in the post tag.

The Pope of Mercy.

That's how he is dubbed.

"Miserando atque eligendo," a Latin phrase that means, "choosing by having mercy."

That's a line on his coat of arms.

It comes from a line from the Venerable Bede's homily.

Jesus and Zachaeus, the tax collector, comprises the content of the sermon of Bede.

Zachaeus is a sinner. 

A well-known one like all of us.

(Who doesn't know this fact, even though most hide the truth that we are human and limited.)

Jesus invites Zak to follow him despite sin.

God never tires of forgiving.  I do.  Perhaps, you also!

Francis  seeks the lost and gives us hope.

And, healing.

For sure.

A pope of mercy.

Couple that with a community of mercy that each of us is called to shape and be part of daily.

To care for each other, and lift up the one who may need me most at any given moment.

Divine Mercy, to be sure.

A head-turner of a book.

(To order, call, 800 325 9521, Code 14307 to order 5 or more copies at $3.99 each).

The beatification rite for two former popes, John the XXIII and John Paul II approaches soon.

A day to behold in a Church of the old and the new, the classic and the fresh Scripture and Tradition of an age-old institution that seems tired and tried. 

Yet, she is a Spartan enduring long-suffering.

And, full of virtue, the strength to be carried through it all by Christ the Lord of live, love, and mercy
abounding always.