A Tribute (CCR)

No matter the God image fitting into each belief system…
No matter the depth of belief or the strength of non-belief…
No matter the participation in tradition and ritual…
No matter the distance of desire to be part of organized church practice…
No matter the connection with community…
No matter the intensity of standing alone…

It is time.

We–former Catholics, struggling Catholics, stanch and dedicated Catholics, disgusted and achingly sad Catholics, forever Catholics— owe a debt. It is time to acknowledge the debt and participate in paying the debt.

On Friday, October 14, 2011 the Huffington Post article reported that Bishop Robert Finn and his diocese will face prosecution on charges stemming from child abuse allegations. No doubt the Kansas City Star newspaper will carry the story today. Perhaps this indictment is the gear opening the floodgates to flush the filth, to forcibly
cleanse what has festered beyond believing.

And that tribute we owe the Davids fighting the power and money of Goliath? The tribute to perseverance, to strength, to courage?

No matter the God fitting into each belief system, we owe tribute to an Irish Catholic priest willing to face the Vatican. We owe tribute to the very precious few women and men within the structure of the Catholic Church willing to push against the wall of denial, to fight the barricades set by the network.

No matter the God fitting into each belief system, we owe thanks and support to Survivors of sexual and physical abuse by Catholic priests. We owe the years, the decades, the centuries filled with little boys and little girls grown to hurt and haunted women and men. We owe the pain, the neglect, the life contaminated at the hands of shepherds charged with protection and guidance. We owe for dismissal by family and community. We owe for the ugliness of blaming the victims and covering for those ordained into a society of protection.

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With Any Due Respect (CCR)

On Sunday, October 2, 2011, The Kansas City Star published a letter by Mary Pat Miller of Overland Park, Kansas. In her letter, Miller shared her thoughts concerning those attending Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in downtown Kansas City, about protesters outside the Cathedral and about the prayers for “… healing…wholeness…in an environment befitting of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”. To further quote Miller’s letter: “Those faithful sitting in the pews don’t have their heads in the sand concerning the ongoing controversy. They just know that God will not abandon his church if they are faithful to his word.

God will not abandon those faithful to his word?

Are we now facing the devastatingly painful question about what act of faithlessness did thousands of children commit? What sin of childish innocence/obedience created their abuse and the subsequent institutional cover-up of that abuse? Were these children not abandoned by the church of Holy Men of God ordained to teach, protect and walk in the Jesus philosophy?

Healing and wholeness in an environment befitting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Healing cannot happen until the cancer is removed with deep and certain cuts to the core. The Catholic Church has failed to cleanse itself, to monitor, to punish and to excise
those who have abandoned the word of God through their obscene abuse of children. Wholeness may follow this depth of healing only if the Catholic Church abandons the culture of protectionism and accepts the help and the rules of civil authority.

Bags Fly Free

Passengers pay the price.

Don’t get me wrong.  Paying to have a bag stowed in the belly of an airplane is beyond annoying, but the chaos in the passenger compartment is inexcusable.  Once upon a time, airlines followed their own rule regarding the size of carry-on.  No more.  Overhead bins bulge.

A recent trip from Denver convinced me that companies paying millions to ad agencies creating  commercials  spouting reasons to fly that particular sky are companies wasting money on the wrong efforts.

My trip began in Kansas City, Missouri and reinforced my thought that MCI is one of the easiest and most pleasant airports in the country.  Park the car, board the bus, arrive at the terminal, move though security and all without any reason to complain.   Even the pat down was handled well,  though I wondered why a gray haired senior signaled the need for that extra measure.

The cabin personnel from KC to Denver smiled, laughed with passengers, gave the standard announcements with flair and generally added a bit of fun to the flight.  Even that thank you at the end bordered on genuine.

On this particular airline, a passenger pays extra to move up in the boarding line, but the move can only be done 24 hours prior to take-off, a maneuver difficult for those who have little access to a computer.  I paid and sat in the first row going to and coming from Denver.

Denver’s airport is many time the size of MCI and bigger is definitely not better.  That is a given and considering the size and number of passengers moving through the terminal, it went as smoothly as possible.

When I arrived at Terminal C, speaking to the airline employee at the podium was a sure-fire clue–this was not MCI.  Showing her my boarding pass, I asked for reassurance that I was in the right place at the right time.  S-l-o-w-l-y, she lifted her head from her reading material and pointed towards a gate.  “That says Kansas City.” End of interaction.

Soon the herding began.  My carry-on was small and I stashed it  under my seat as did the two others in that first row.  Overheads banged as luggage was stuffed and smashed into spaces unable to handle the load.

A very bored and uninvolved attendant pointed to our bags and said, “Overheads.”   The passenger next to me said, “No room.”  As I was in the aisle seat, the attendant took my bag and said, “Make room.”   She did, but only for my bag.  Absolutely no room for the other two.  Madam Robot moved on.

After take-off, M. Robot went into the toilet stall having just made the announcement of no standing in the aisle waiting to use the toilet.  A full 10 minutes later, she came out with new make-up and freshly done hair…on the job beauty treatment.  And so went the flight.

Time to deplane and my bag is not where M.R. stuffed it.  I asked for her help in finding it as it held my meds.  She looked in the bin and said, “It isn’t there.”

Wow!  I’m impressed!  Whatever happened to cabin personnel who at the very least pretended to be interested in passengers?

A woman down and across the aisle said she had seen someone move the bag.  Of course, I knew I was being annoying as I blocked  the line, determined not to move until the bag was in my hand.  And the attendant?  She was standing by the door checking her nails.

MCI never looked so good.

Extraordinary Gratitude

There are moments.  Perhaps all to few, but there are those moments.  And for the gift of being able to participate…Wow!

Last evening, three of the Four Ordinary Women became part of an extraordinary group of men and women visiting the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Library.  We were there to share our process and our product, the writing and publication of our book, Four Ordinary Women.

The important part of  sharing is that participation from the group, the presence, the faces, the words of interaction.  I learn so much.

If you stop by often, Gentle Reader, you know that I tend to ramble about  topics that are difficult, same-sex marriage, abuse of children by clergy, consequence of the economic situation–my Quixote tilts.  Of course, there are occasional stories about my completely amazing family, but I do try to keep that pride swell to a minimum.

This morning I want to thank you.  I want to thank you, Gentle Reader, for being here, for taking moments of your time to check-in with this blog and for your emails and comments.

I want to thank the Plaza Branch representatives, Joel, Margaret, the sound expert and the gentle giant security guard for their kindness and professional expertise.   I want to thank old friends and faithful supporters who continue to encourage and validate.  I want to thank every person who listened, asked questions or made comments thereby enriching the evening for everyone.  It feels important to thank you individually by name but that isn’t possible so please accept these words of extraordinary appreciation of this ordinary women.

Shameless Self Promotion

Words spoken by our publisher—Shameless Self Promotion.  Advice given about a year ago as he planned to launch Four Ordinary Women at the New York Book Expo, June 2009.

Three months later the economy claimed another victim and the publisher closed the doors.  Those words, Shameless Self Promotion, became our only means of marketing and publicity.  That thousand step journey multiples exponentially, but Patti and I continue to believe in our book and work towards the success of our efforts at very open communication.

Actually, Shameless doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in June of 2009.  What was difficult and almost embarrassing has a new and livelier flip side.

I love this book, Four Ordinary Women. I love the memory of the process of bringing it to publication.  I love the concept of open communication.  I love the finished product.   There is no shame in any of that.

Amazon.com has about a dozen reviews of our book to further spark your interest.  Copies are available from our website                                    http://www.fourordinarywomen.com  as well as from Amazon.com and Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kansas.

On June 23, 2010, 6:30 PM,  we will have an author event at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Library system.   This is, of course, open to everyone and we invite and encourage you to attend.  The RSVP phone number is 816 701 3407.  In a few days, the library website will have another RSVP connection.

In-town Gentle Readers, please consider coming to this event.  We want to meet you, to hear your comments, to share your stories, to be in the company of you, our Gentle Readers.