My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow



Dear Blog Visitors:

As I was combing my hair this morning, I thought of a line from Shakespeare: "Parting is such sweet sorrow." If I were to do this at the seashore, I guess I would be referred to as a 'beach comber.'

Hopefully, you'll excuse the play on words above. This was simply a lead-in to the video I have posted, which serves the purpose of a long-held secret: I color my hair. I thought it would be fun to get away from my usual video format, ranging from social topics to church politics. In this particular video, I take viewers with me for a visit to my hair stylist, Shari (daughter of high school classmate). We shot this at Donna B's in Penfield, New York.

As I near retirement from my job at City Hall, I may let my gray hair color return. For the time being, the coloring helps me to blend in with my co-workers, many of whom are much younger than myself. (As I point out in the video, I would hate for anyone in my work environment to accuse me of being an old fart; the hair coloring
at least helps me to fit in with the crowd visually.)

I realize this is quite a departure from my usual fare. However, I look forward to expanding my horizons in my soon-to-be-retired state, whereby I hope to address a variety of topics at both my blog and YouTube channel, whether I appear in brown or gray hair.

My best wishes to all of you.

Ray

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Vatican's Latest Outrageous Statement

Dear Blog Visitors:

If you have followed my blog the past month, you are aware that I announced a shift of focus, concerning the subject matter I will be covering. Whereas I used to devote the vast majority of my writings to reform initiatives in the Roman Catholic Church, I made a decision that I wanted to address other topics of interest as well. However, when an important matter arises in the Catholic Church, I will certainly address it from time to time.

A matter of extreme importance arose the past week that I felt needed at least a few comments on my part. In brief, a Vatican official stuck his foot in his mouth by announcing that in the future, any woman seeking ordination to the priesthood would be guilty of a crime against the church as serious as sexual abuse by a priest.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith perhaps does not realize that the Inquisition ended a long time ago. However, the behavior of Vatican officials is such that we have to wonder if they want to bring back the days of extreme punishment and banishment for matters such as the ordination of women.

As can be expected, many Catholic reform organizations have issued press releases in response to the Vatican's latest display of stupidity. I was very pleased to write a press release for CORPUS (www.corpus.org), which is the National Association for an Inclusive Priesthood. (I was national secretary of the organization for a few years, and now serve as its national media liaison.) Here is the press release I wrote, which is posted at the CORPUS website:

PRESS RELEASE
CORPUS
The National Association for an Inclusive Priesthood
www.corpus.org

July 10, 2010

CORPUS (The National Association for an Inclusive Priesthood) is appalled by a recent Vatican announcement that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would treat any “attempted ordination of a woman” as a serious crime against the church. In fact, such an ‘attempted’ ordination would be classified by the church hierarchy as the same category of offense as sexual abuse.

CORPUS would like to point out that sexual abuse is not only a crime against the church, but is a civil offense as well, whereby convicted offenders are sentenced to lengthy jail sentences. Does the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith propose that women called to ordination, and those who support these ordinations, should be arrested, tried and sentenced to prison? This perhaps would have been the case during the infamous Inquisition. However, this is the twenty-first century, and women have long claimed their rightful place in society as equals to men.

CORPUS began over thirty-five years ago as a supportive and collaborative organization for ordained celibate priests who later entered into marriage. As our organization grew, we came to realize that we could not truly call ourselves inclusive until we fully addressed and supported the call of women to ordained priesthood in the Catholic Church. So, we have moved from being an organization devoted exclusively as a means of support for married priests and their wives to an organization that embraces all called to ordination, inclusive of women.

CORPUS has come to embrace the fact that the Eucharist is central to all Catholics, whether they be on the liberal or traditional side of the spectrum. Due to a severe shortage in the number of ordained celibate male priests, our organization has sought creative ways to bring consecrated elements to believers. In this respect, we fully endorse the ordination of women to the priesthood and we will continue to support women who are called by helping to nourish their journeys and to be a visible presence at their ordinations.

An inclusive church continues to be a reality, with or without the support of the Vatican.

HERE ARE TWO PERSONOAL VIDEO RESPONSES I PRODUCED TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE:



Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Mysteries of God



Dear Blog Visitors:

On occasion, friends will inform me when they notice a blog post that is critical of me. Just yesterday, a friend let me know that an orthodox Catholic blogger referred to me as a heretic, for the simple reason that I don't follow all the rules of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

I am the first to admit that I don't follow all the rules of the RCC hierarchy. So, if an orthodox Catholic wishes to refer to me as a heretic, I am certainly fine with that.

As I have grown older, I have become increasingly fascinated with images sent to us from the Hubbel telescope. The images help us to realize that the universe is much larger than we ever imagined. When we consider the vastness of God's creation, we also come to realize that what we know of our Creator is in actuality very little.

Many persons have told me that they are suspicious of any religious institution that claims to have the fulness of truth about God. I share in such suspicions, which is why I have occasionally challenged assertions made by members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

In the video above, I examine the mystery of God. My primary thesis is that all we can say about God without absolute certainty is that he is MYSTERY.

My best wishes to all of you.

Sincerely,
Ray