Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Girls and Sex

Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, girls flocked to religious orders in Christianity.  What happened?  Education.  The great founders of religious orders of women opend up schools for poor girls and then middle class girls.  Before this, girls were left in the world of illiteracy and ignorance.  They gave up sex, men, and family for the sake of learning through school education.  They became nuns.  Face it guys.  There was a time when girls would rather read a book than spend time with us.  Things changed of course in the more modern world of public education and higher expectations.  Maybe not.  In some marriages, women still would rather spend time with a book than with the husband.  Happy New Year Ladies!  Read more in 2014.  It is a privilege that is still not universally offered.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Without gratitude, I do not think that the younger generation will stay with religion or any spiritual program for that matter.  My generation bought into guilt and fear of what God might do if we messed up.  That is old hat now.  I find that the generations behind me who have dropped out do not rally have much gratitude for what has been done for them in the spiritual world.  They are people of privilege with expectations that things ought to and will go their way.  It is not a matter of people being more selfish or self-centered.  That is part of the general pitfalls of the human condition.  I attend to my religous practice and prayer life, the more I feel grateful to God for what God has done for humankind.  God did not have to come into his world as a human being.  God did not have to have a Chosen People who God saved time and again from their own mess.  No one is owed sobriety who has a compulsion to drink.  Religious holydays are for gratitude first.  I have found it so.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Baby Sitter

I just discovered the latest in baby sitting culture.  I was at a children's event and standing next to me was a dad holding his two year old daughter.  She got a little fussy, so he sat her up on the floor in front of him.  Then he gave her his cell phone opened to all the icons.  I thought, "Oh, she will play with the pretty, colorful device for a moment or two."  NO.  She immediately scrolled through the icons to find the one she wanted, pressed it and got her download.  No older than two years.  Wow!  If priests are women in 30 years, they will be a lot smarter than me.  Come to think of it, if women were priests now, they would be a lot smarter than me.  But I think I could be a baby sitter now, if that is all it takes.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Burke Out

Most of the hierarchy in this country, picked in the last few years were followers of Cardinal Burke.  He is big on tailing against abortion, and gay unions.  He seems to like the finery of hierarchical clothing.  So "HIS" bishops would be the same kind of people.  Burke has been dropped from the committee that promotes future bishops.  Why am i enjoying all of this?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Man Of The Year

Seems Pope Francis was made Time Magazine's "Man of the Year."  Bishops might take a second look at this.  What did Francis do?  He simply proclaimed the gospel and then lived it out in his own life.  This seems to be Evangelization 101.  Good News always attracts.  What do the bishops do?  They skip the gospel and go right into sex issues, or try and connect the gospel with sex issues.  Or they dwell on points of  Canon Law or liturgical correctness.  They bore or upset the media among others.  I now read homilies online given by Pope Francis.  They are quite good and relevant to our daily lives.  They drip of the good news of God's love.  My should bathes in it.  I rarely read a news column by a bishop.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fix You

I am not in this world to fix anyone.  I cannot even fix me.  But I can tell you how I found a way for Someone else to fix me on a daily basis.  I only can pass on my experience.  I think that having been bad gives me some experience that is worth offering, if I have found a way out.  A priest who has never been bad could also offer a way out.  But I doubt I could identify with him.  I seem to cotton to sinners!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Today is Christmas.  Talk about a selfless act of unconditional love.  The God of a vast billions of years old universe comes to this tiny orb as a baby in a stable manger in an out of the way country.  I can never get enough of this kind of Love.  God is Love.  This is one of the signature days of this Love.  I have a lot of time to think about this God today.  There is no football on television.  Thank God it is Unconditional Love!  I sure did not merit it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Whose World?

When you moan about why God is not fixing up your world, why not stop and ask why you are not fixing up God's world?  Who made you the Creator?  God asked this of Job in the Hebrew Scriptures.  
I wake up to God's world.  My world is just self-imploded fantasy.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Go All Out

If you knew that you were dying from a disease, you might do all you could to not let it kill you.  Selfishness is a killer.  It is also addictive.  One is rarely selfish and self-absorbed every great while.  If you are selfish it is killing you.  The difficulty of selfishness as a killer is that it hides this reality.  You may be blind to it, ignorant of it, and stubborn too.  What is even sadder is that while it will destroy you it will also destroy others.  The cure begins with knowing you are selfish.  Things will fall into place after that.  I have found it so.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gains And Losses

Have you ever noticed that when you do bad things you lose stuff and when you do good things you gain stuff?  Do badly enough and you lose spouses, cars, homes, jobs and even health.  Do good and you gain friends who love you.  Or at least tolerate you, if they are the same people to whom you did a lot of the bad.  If you are looking for something useful to do, I hear that the world is terribly short on self-giving love.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Back-Seat Driver

The back-seat driver tells the one driving the car what the back-seat driver wants and how to get there.  Isn't the "Our Father" prayer about "Your will be done?" Most of us pray as back-seat drivers.  We cannot manage our lives, that is drive, but we can tell God what we want and how God should go about getting us there.  I prefer the more honest approach.  I tell God how unhappy I am with how things are going, including the apparent absence of God at work in my life.  God can take the heat.  It is in the Bible.  Then I say, "Having had my honest whine, God, now your will be done."  I sleep better.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The God Pace

I met a drunk once who told me that he had gone to a Recovery meeting, and did not like it.  He never went back.  I asked him if he had an experience of God, or Higher Power, as it is phrased.  He said no. 
He drank himself to death in a few years.  The  spiritual experience within is crucial to a life being transformed.  But God is not McDonald's fast food.  God is not so hurry, hurry.  It is one thing to believe in a God.  This fellow did, but it was some intellectual belief without much of an experience of the Presence.  Without patience, I would have given up on this spiritual journey a long time ago.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

God's Will

How do we know God's will?  It is never selfish, resentful, overbearing, unkind, deceitful, hurtful, willful, or fear based.  It probably has some feelings of peace to it.  It might be helpful to the common good.  It might really make you all who God made you to be.  Sometimes, we can find God's will by knowing what it is not.  God's will might make you feel whinny.   This is probably because you have been doing your will for too long.  Change can be painful.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Train

One time, I was staring at unemployment.  I took the first job that came along.  I convinced myself it was right for me.  In fact it was more like being at a rail station and jumping on the first train that came along.  I would have no idea where it was going, nor much control about how it got there or when.  You would not do that would you?  I was driven by fear, as I recall.  It was a job that suited me not at all.  I lasted about fifteen months.  I thought about being a priest for a much longer time.  I spent five years in formal preparation and some years before that thinking about it.  I am still a priest, 36 years later.  Next time you think of jumping into something ask yourself if you are frightened about what might happen if you said no to the jumping in or on.  Do you feel like you are at a station waiting for any train to come along and take you away from your present life?  Remember, you go with yourself when you get on the train.  You never leave you behind.  Whenever I have had problems with my choice of priesthood, usually I find that I am much of the problem.  I try not to be a travelin' man.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Life Is Unfair

Life is not fair.  If you do bad things you should be punished, right?  Well not you, of course, but some other bad person.  Fairness is about quid pro quo.  Checks and balances.  But I keep coming across people who did lots of bad and did not get all that punished.  They somehow got a reprieve.  They should be in a living hell if life is fair, but instead they are quite often happy, joyous and free of doing those bad things of their past.  The super reprieve is when someone lives a bad life, is unkind to themselves and others, and so on, but on their deathbed, confesses and receives absolution with their last breath.  It is a bit like the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.  One good act is all it took.  When I am really into self-pity wishes, I fantasize that I spent a life of debauchery but made a good confession with my last breath.   If you are relying on good timing, your chances are about as good as Vegas and the Craps tables.  Or maybe the lottery.  I will go with the daily trudge.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Someone said that nothing is forever.  Well, I think that the spiritual life is forever.  After we die, isn't there the same Presence, Mystery, God, Divine Source, as we found in this life experience? No one would spend much time with a spiritual practice unless they felt some connect.  Boredom is for saints.  I am not one of those.  Saints don't cry at cartoon movies and learn Latin dances.  Or do they?  I digress. Prayer is something I think we would do after we die.  It is a conscious contact with The Eternal One.  Begins here and does not end.  Physical stuff ends.   Spiritual stuff is made of eternity.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I took ballroom dancing class one summer while a priest in San Francisco.  Don't ask.  Anyway, we were taught all sorts of Latin dances.  I started out clueless to these dance steps.  I had only the desire to learn.  I had to show up at the classes on time and be ready to practice what the teacher showed us.  We began very simply and we did the same movements over and over until our bodies began to flow with the music.  Outside of the classes, I had to practice the steps or else I would forget.  I liked the Tango.  The girl had to do more difficult steps, though I had to lead.  Latin dancing appeals to the male ego.  I found learning to dance somewhat akin to spiritual growth, except for the male ego part.  I start out clueless.  I have a teacher.  I try not to practice all by myself, but to have some support.  I show up on time ready to learn, and I practice on my own on a daily basis.  AA calls it the Steps.  Those people are dancing their way out of hell and into a productive life.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Locust Diet

Did you know that a locust can eat its weight in food each day?  Some people eat as if they are on the locust diet and get very offended if anything is said.  I think that the resentment and anger is in part because it is hard to deny that you are fat…if in fact you are fat.  Think of some one who is called stupid, a drunk, a sinner, lazy, prideful, judgmental and so on.  These are all attitudes or ways of acting.  In these situations people can argue their way out, defend their behavior, compare and contrast themselves with someone else and so on.  A fat person cannot really say they are not fat if in fact they know they are fat.  Lazy is not an appearance.  Some people don't really care if they are fat, or at least they say so.  When we have to face God after death, if not in this life, God will give us plenty for which  we cannot argue our way out.  At that point I suspect we will feel as badly as the person who is fat but wishes they were not.  Fat people can go to heaven.  Gluttony is a rathe minor offense in the scene of things, as is an eating disorder.  I think that the prideful, judgmental, will have a harder time because these hurt others.  I wonder if any of the apostles are fat?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cold Kills Business

I teach in a room in San Francisco that has no heat.  It went to the mid 30's with wind chill this past Saturday, when I taught for three hours.  I brought in two heaters.  It took the whole three hours to get the the heat from 62 to 66 degrees.  They are good heaters.  People kept their coats on.  When they walked out into the next room where we had our "hot" coffee, it was even colder.  The bathrooms were chilling experiences too.  Why no heat?  It is a church with a very small congregation, and a small collection.  We watch the news in the cold and eat in a cold dining room.  When San Francisco is having a more mild climate in the 50s and 60s, we survive.  This morning it was 30 degrees outside, a little warmer inside, but not by much.  I am getting a lot of days off from my expected time in purgatory.  See, people suffer here in San Francisco.  So be be so jealous.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Full Time Mother

What is this thing called, "Full Time Mother?"  What an odd saying.  It seems to refer to when Mom goes off to work away from the child.  Mom is out of the house at an income producing job.  But that does not make her a part-time Mom.  She is still a Mom.  If the Mom stays at home and the child goes off to school for eight hours, they are still apart for that time, but we call her a "Full Time Mom."  It is strange how we find put down terms to express our prejudice against Moms who go to work outside the home.  I don't think women use this term, so maybe it is a male thing?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Some people say that we should not be praising Mandela because he was a communist.  He was, and then he grew out of it with the changing times and his own time in prison.  To me, the communist thing is a cover for white prejudice against people of color.  Some people simply do not think all people are equal.  But they don't want to sound like Neanderthals in public.  It is the same reason some people will never vote for a woman for president.  They will talk about qualifications, but it is really about prejudice.  Christians have a history of saying how they are better than Jews.  They hide behind theology, and the bible, but it is prejudice.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


This is a really good movie with a wonderful spiritual message.  A true act of selfless love will transform a heart.  Isn't that much of what the Advent/Christmas message is all about?  God does something selfless so that we our frozen, fearful hearts can be freed and warmed to then do good for others?  Doesn't a kiss from a true love warm your heart too?  Take the kids or grandkids.  Good musical numbers too.  So what do priests do with their time?  They see cartoon movies, and cry at them.  I went on a gift certificate.  Think about that when you ask, "What to give Father for Christmas?"

Monday, December 9, 2013


I read where a Vatican official said as regards sex abuse issues, that the church does not try to control every part of the world Catholic Church.  Interesting.  When it comes to sex and laity issues, the church seems to try and control everything.  Maybe sex and clergy not so much?  

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Remember the record player turntable that went with the 78 RPM records?  Young people might see them in history museums or period piece movies.  When I would turn off the record player, the turntable would keep going with the record on it.  I had to wait for it to slow down and stop,  or try to slow it down with a finger on the record.  I think that the bishops are like the turntable that cannot stop and their message on sex issues is the record spinning around.  The Pope has said that we need to stop that turntable with that record which the bishops have been playing for quite some time.  The bishops just cannot seem to stop, but keep spinning around with the same tune.  The Pope would like a new message or a change in message.  Maybe bring back a really old tune.  God loves you unconditionally.  That never gets old for me.  

Pearl Harbor Memory

Actually, I am losing my mind.  Pearl Harbor came about sixteen months before I was born.  So I was not two years old when Pearl Harbor attack came.  Whew! I was feeling old.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


This date, for us old people, is remembered as "a day of infamy."  If you don't know what this is all about, you are too young, or losing your mind.  I find fewer people today refer to the memory of Pearl Harbor on this day.  I have never forgotten it, though I was only two years old when it happened.  Which memories do you tend to forget first, and which remember?  Some people remember things from when they were children that bother them forever.  Some remember things that were messy but don't let them control their adult lives.  I think that we all tend to remember our first romantic kiss.  Or am I just projecting?  I didn't always want to be a priest.  I used to be normal.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Losing Weight

Losing weight is one thing.  There are various diets and even surgery to help us to lose pounds.  The goal though, is to stay slim once we lose weight.  It seems that the method used to lose weight should be connected with the way to stay slim.  There are reasons that we got fat.  We ate and lived a certain lifestyle.  To change the eating but not the lifestyle will lead to loss and then return to fat.  I  have found it to be so.  I have found that to change the lifestyle, I can eat a bit of junk and carbs.  So I run, or as I get older, jog.  I eat fewer treats, but still eat treats.  I have to decide what price I will pay to have the weight I want.  Many of us do not want to pay a price, or cannot for what ever reason.  The good news is that you can go to heaven overweight.  People will love you still.  You can be kind and loving.  Skinny people are not any better than heavy people.  But if you use food to make yourself happy, you are living an uphill life.  Regardless of what God and others think, I like me better when I am slim.  After all, I am the only one who has to live this life in my body.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


The pope used a great image of how we too often treat the sacraments in my church.  We act like a tollhouse.  You don't get through the toll until you pay the fee.  Sacraments become a reward for living a good life, following the right rule, having the catechism faith.  Sacraments rather are supposed to be for those who need the grace to live a better life, or who feel that they just need grace to get through the day.  Sacraments are not rewards.  They are food for us who are starving for some of God in our life.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


What makes a good Dad?  I know a fellow who was not a good student, does not have much of a job or prospects, a bit of a partier and somewhat stupid sex.  He got a girl pregnant.  No marriage.  Turns out he is a great Dad!  Go figure.  Another fellow did well in a good school, has good job, got married before having a baby, but turns out to be clueless about Dad-ness.  Maybe Dad-ness is passed down from father to son.  I am not sure.  Jesus seems to be at ease around children, but that is not the same thing.  I do know that from what I see in guys who are good Dads, Grace is everywhere.  School diplomas and money sure does not teach it.  Maybe it is a gift?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Do As I Say

When the pope in 1968 put out Humane Vitae, he said no to artificial contraception. Many Catholics simply did not follow his orders.  Such Catholics were condemned for their disobedience.  Bishops always do what the pope says, and so should the laity, right?  When JPII and B16 said something, the bishops all lined up to follow.  Then came Francis I.  He called a meeting of hierarchy for next Fall on the topic of the Family, which of course will include sex stuff.  He wants a survey to be done of what the laity think.  Now our bishops decided that each bishop will decide what to do.  Say what?  Could it be that when bishops don't like what the pope says, they drag their feet or just ignore it?  Dissent seems to run in all levels of my church.  Time for chocolate.

Monday, December 2, 2013


I am stuck in the past!  I serve food the same way my Mom did.  Each item has its separate place on the plate.  This way, I can eat all the potato/rice, and then all the other veggie, and then the meat.  Or I can eat some of one and then some of the other, but never combined.  Plating says, "get over it."  The new way is to serve food combined.  The plate used to be stacked, but that is out now too.  Yet, new, simpler ways are being presented in which foods are combined on the same plate.  This way you eat things together instead of separately.  Now I have to teach my sister, Jane, and my friend, Mary, both good cooks, how to get with the new ways.  No family style either, as that would tend to go toward food separation.  "Presentation" is the focus.

Institutions might learn from this.  "Old" or as it is sometimes covered up with the word, "tradition" might not be the best focus if you want to reach out to the modern person.  If you are only into maintenance, doing the same old thing for the same old people, soon you will be feeding no one.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I look back on the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.  In his honor, I went to mass that day.  In Jackie's honor I went shopping.  God and sales are hard for me to resist.  I can pray anywhere, but San Francisco is a great shopping town.  I don't want to spend too much time living in "what might have been," because that includes my past as well.  JFK never had a day past November 22, 1963.  I did.  I still have today.  How can I be of service?  How do I recognize the miracle of my life given one more day by God?  I try to keep the past in perspective, in memory and respect, but not so its energy controls the present.  Even my past successes guarantee nothing today.  Live in the now and destiny will take care of itself.