Thursday, September 24, 2015

People's Pope of Family Stepped One Step to Far?

I don't know. But, perhaps Pope Francis is a bit too brave. And, courageous. Although I savor such stellar stepping out, did he go one step too far earlier today when he addressed the joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.? I don't know, but I'm paying attention to my parish priest who would have relished the image of the family at a fireplace like a folkloric feast with food and fellowship, so to speak. The late Father Edward Popielzarz of Polish origin in Saginaw, Michigan, perhaps, unlike any other mentor and pastor of my seven decades, taught me to listen well to my feelings, and, to heed what joy or 'heartaches by the number' I may be entertaining at any given time or day. For sure. When Francis called for conclusively eliminating this Nation's death penalty, evangelicals and fundamentalists must have had the hairs on their head, or, neck rise in anger. Really! After a splendid, urgent, and clarion call in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," Pope Francis' urging for the prayer and dialogue of my favorite Cistercian monk of Gethsemane, Kentucky, buried at my favorite retreat house, Father Thomas Merton, got the pope to want the world to emulate Merton, and, connect with the Creator often each day. And, Abraham Lincoln's cry for liberty was held up high for us all, and, union of the Civil War era, finally, revered Catholic Worker Dorothy Day's pleading for social justice, and, the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights' race, and massive march on Washington, D.C., did the pope of the people and the poor and impoverished lean a step to far? I think so. But, I may be wrong. Of course the arc of justice is long, and, it leans toward justice, as King would have applauded the Pontiff, but, one can spoil the soup, so to speak, with one step too much, no? Who knows? With little clarity, the Pope concluded on the side of mercy and hope and rehabilitation possibilities for criminals on 'death's row. He did. I affirm that also. However, some fine nuancing, and, elaboration on this 'magical' man's point would have helped Francis to trek on in his firm, feisty, and virtuous procession through the weekend in Philadelphia for the World Family Meeting without a glitch, and 'possession' of unnecessary attachments, to borrow from his speech to Congress today. The fallout may follow. We'll see. Too risky for the fledgling U.S. family that needs all the help that it can give. The late, and former Archbishop of Detroit, John Cardinal Dearden, would agree. "We never do enough for family," bolted the reasoned and progressive Dearden who participated in all of the sessions of the ecumenical Vatican II Council from 1962-65.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Married Couples, Family Income, Poverty, and an Angelic Phrase to Protect the First Institution of the Sacred Scriptures

New estimates of 2014 poverty and income just published show that poverty increased among groups that are traditionally less vulnerable: Married couples with children and people age twenty-five and older with at least an undergraduate degree. According to reports, no President has done as bad by the middle class in modern times. Other resources now note that growth rather than social justice needs to be the measuring standard. That will be tough in a time and culture of entitlement-mentality, and increasing dependence on federal monies by individuals and others. All of this points to indicators of even more anxiety and anger disorders in the work of counselors and clergy, among others, especially the fledgling American family that could use all the help it can get from people getting back to work and buoying the economy in urban areas, and more. Detroit's poverty rate below $24,0000 incomes is highest in the Nation at over 39 per cent. The future, I must confess looks bleak in a 'feel-good,' politically-correct-driven America that would rather be comforted by lies than the facts and truth. After all, C.S. Lewis noted that the question about religion is not whether it makes one feel good, no, it's about whether religion is true. God help us work to provide hope within and around ourselves in a culture of violence and reduced respect for all of human life in and outside the womb, coupled with global wars erupting everywhere. Such fracture further divides children broken by conflict, longing for family affection, unity, and, mentoring by mom and dad. The village and neighborhood may help also with effective, functional examples of the common good. Angel of God, my guardian dear. . . may I be moved to stand up fearlessly for, and, defend the first institution of the Bible, and, my America. Family First! For sure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

War Room Is Number One - A Bit of Restorative Faith in a Fledgling Family

Tops. A shattered marriage of Liz, who is Priscilla Shirer, merges with some mentoring by Miss Clara, who is Karen Abercrombie in a thrilling, laughable and most loveable cinematography. War Room, a remarkable and fast-moving, funny drama, is No. 1. It topped the Labor-day weekend with close to $13 million in about 1,500 theaters. With about thirty inter-religious leaders, steered by Bishop Jerry Pepisco, and, his wife Sherill, of Evangel Christian Ministries in Roseville, Michigan, this flick had me in stitches with all my feelings flowing freely from glad to sad, and, everything in-between. Faith-based movies are bringing throngs of people into theaters everywhere these days filling the longing for moral meaning and purpose-driven living in an oft-void culture we inhabit all around us. War Room is the top hit for director Alex Kendrick. His, Courageous title, in 2011 and Fireproof flick in 2008 cashed in at $34.5 and 33.5 million, according to bean counters. The crowd I was with went over to a new National Coney Restaurant nearby following the movie to unpack its pearls of wisdom. For me, I'd love a spiritual director like Miss Clara, who I affectionately call, Grandma God working for Jesus like a fury of fire catching on in Liz' fragile home first, only to ignite neighbors, the workplace, and beyond. Like an amassing snowball copycatting is everywhere. Applause to the producers. The world needs this movie for mending a broken home, or two, on your block. Bring on more. Enter more makers of movies like this. The faithful, and more, are hungry. Real hungry. Beyond any need of reconstructing Genesis' male/female marriage partners, this film only aims to strengthen marriage and family as the Bible's first institution. No need here to remake God's marriage design, as in the latest fad of the five attorneys who wrongly decided for so-called democracy in America.