Who do we believe in now?

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News headlines of late have focused on the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that erupted in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, this scandal has dodged the Church for a long time.

Back in 2015, the movie Spotlight, an award winning docudrama,  gives a detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. As per Justin Chang’s review from Variety, Spotlight was “a superbly controlled and engrossingly detailed account of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the widespread pedophilia scandals and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic Church. This measured and meticulous ensemble drama sifts through a daunting pile of evidence to expose not just the Church’s horrific cycles of abuse and concealment, but also its uniquely privileged position in a society that failed its victims at myriad personal, spiritual and institutional levels.

Where the film proves extraordinarily perceptive is in its sense of how inextricably the Church has woven itself into the very fabric of Boston life, and how it concealed its corruption for so long by exerting pressure and influence on the city’s legal, political and journalistic institutions. Given the blurrier-than-usual separation of church and state, and the fact that the newspaper’s own readership includes a high percentage of Irish Catholics, it’s no surprise that it falls to an outsider like Baron — a Florida native and the first Jewish editor to take the helm at the Globe — to play hardball with the Archdiocese.”

But that was just one city’s problem with Catholic priests.  Recently, new revelations have come to light in Pennsylvania, which I fear is just the tip of the iceberg. Even the Pope is cracking down now in public, instead of sweeping it under the rug and moving predator priests around to different parishes like chess pieces.

And like the tip of the iceberg that took down the Titanic, even something that is considered bullet proof really isn’t.  In fact, that attitude makes it even more vulnerable when the cracks start to split open.  The major players start to scatter like rats from a sinking ship.  We have had many examples of this behavior throughout history, and not just with the church.  But I digress.

I think the Catholic church archaic rules of priests/nuns not marrying has landed themselves into attracting a certain kind of person who finds his pleasure elsewhere. Sometimes at the expense of innocent victims. Most other Christian religions allow marriage. Perhaps this would help.

As a Catholic, this issue of sexual abuse by priests has bothered me for a long long time, primarily because of all the payoffs and coverups. Now it seems to be coming to a head, with the revelations coming to light, at least monetarily.  For years now many Catholics have been financially boycotting the church. The Catholic church is the 3RD LARGEST LANDOWNER IN THE WORLD. Financially it is one the wealthiest organizations in the world, Number 1 for religious organizations with 200+BILLION, and on the world stage puts it on par with oil companies and Walmart.

To sum it up, this all is a sad commentary on the world’s largest religion, with nearly a third of the population of the world, with Islam coming in a very close second and poised to take over the number 1 spot in the foreseeable future.  And lets be honest,  Islam/Muslims scare many Americans, don’t they, since 911, which changed how we perceive Muslim-Americans.  The majority of Islam are very peace loving, but as with anything, a few radicals spoil the whole pot.

So what do we do to clean the Catholic house? Keeping in mind it is a VERY BIG HOUSE. It is as corrupt as any large corporation. Or government. In my honest opinion. What is yours?

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How do you say goodbye?

grave

Deep breath.  Another deep breath.

It has happened again, on the heels of another recent deep loss.  One of my dearest friends is gone.  My friend who has always been there for me.  And now he is gone.  We didn’t even have time to say goodbye.  Things like this are never planned.

I am SO grateful that I saw him a week ago Friday.  I am SO grateful that I got to hug him and tell him I loved him, like I did every time I saw him.

I feel like I knew him forever.  I kind of did.  I knew him my whole adult life.  We met at work, we made life long mutual friends.  That was THIRTY YEARS ago.

We did have periods where we lost touch here and there for a few years.  But we always stayed connected and picked up right where we left off.  I remember him coming to visit and go boating with me and my family many times.  My family, neighbors, friends…all loved him.  He was always so friendly, so happy, so funny.

He got me through both my divorces.  He saved my life, literally.  He was always there for me.  He would comfort me and be my friend, when I needed a friend the most.  He helped me, he was just THERE.  Sometimes you just need someone you know you can count on, who will always be there for you.  Jack was that guy.

And probably not for just me.  Jack was the kind of person who would do anything for all his friends.  One phone call was all it took.

I can’t even count the number of friends Jack had.  Life long friends, from school, work, neighbors….heck, everywhere he went, he made a friend.  He always had a story, a joke.  (I think I could recite most of them, word for word!)

Jack married later in life.  His beautiful, sweet, lovely wife remodeled the house, taught him how to love a fur child, cooked gourmet dinners for him and their friends, and added a woman’s touch to his bachelor ways.  But she knew him and loved him enough to know that there no remodeling him, like so many wives try to do, lol.  He still went to all his beloved Notre Dame football games, and she continued with all her passions and hobbies.  I remember being in awe of her when I first met her.  She sailed, and did the Mackinac races!  What an adventurer!  She added class and culture to the mix, lol.  Jack was a beer guy, she was a wine gal.  My heart goes out to her.  She deserved more time with him.  We all did.

I loved Jack.  I loved him with my whole heart and soul.  He was my buddy.  I will have a huge hole in my heart.  But I know I will see him again.  We will have an eternity to catch up.

P.S.  I just had to go back and keep corrected sentences to make them past tense and not present tense.  That makes it so real.  I can’t believe I will never see him again and hear the same old jokes again.  But I am comforted by the fact that he has entered eternal happiness.  Maybe he will even learn some new jokes.

 

Where was our 40?

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40 heads of state gathered in France after the Charlie Hebdo attack.  Obama and the U.S. took a lot of heat for not attending, even tho it was later pointed out that the “photo op” took place on a heavily guarded empty street.  The world leaders were NOT leading the rally by any stretch of the imagination.

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It was pointed out that many of the rally “leaders” did not have stellar records when it came to journalists.  Many had detained/imprisoned/assaulted and dare I say…killed….journalists.  But they showed up in force to rally round Paris.  Free press.  Good press.  Je Suis Hypocrite (I am hypocrite) indeed!

Obama was slammed from many quarters for not going, or sending a delegate or delegation.  So it got me to thinking……did other countries come to a rally in the U.S. after 9/11?  Or after the Boston Marathon Massacre?  Which is more comparable, I think.  I don’t recall a world wide rally of leaders coming.  I could be wrong, I know that many world leaders paid their respects to us after 9/11 and condemned terrorism, and that France was first.  In retrospect, I’m sure that Obama wishes he had gone, or sent a delegation.  A Texas politician actually compared Obama to Hitler….to which he subsequently apologized for, of course.

Meanwhile, this was Charlie Hebdo’s new cover 2 days after the killings, which included 4 cartoonists.

France3This picture features the Prophet Mohammed, with a caption “All is forgiven”.

The cartoonist who drew the image, Luz, explained his work in an interview translated by Slate:

With this cover, we wanted to show that at any given moment, we have the right to do anything, to redo anything, and to use our characters the way we want to. Mohammed has become a character, in spite of himself, a character in the news, because there are people who speak on his behalf. This is a cover aimed at intelligent people, who are much more numerous than you think, whether they’re atheists, Catholics, Muslims…

 

A Charlie Hebdo columnist, Zineb El Rhazoui, told the BBC that the staff didn’t want to show hatred towards the terrorists responsible for the massacre. She urged Muslims to accept the humor.

 

Well.  I am not sure how I feel about all this.  This was indeed a terrible tragedy.  Many people compare it to our 9/11.  I don’t think it is measurable in that way.  I do think it shows that terrorism is everywhere.  I do think it makes me afraid.  Very afraid.

 

And while some may say that the magazine is very brave to continue their style of satire, I would think it’s like poking a bear.

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Death with Dignity

deathI purposely did not want to post a picture of Brittany Maynard, either before or after her illness.  She stated several times in her videos that she no longer wanted to be photographed because of the weight gain from all the steroids she was on.  It was painful to her see the change in her body in less than a year.  Therefore, I will not post any pictures of videos of her.  You can all google it yourself, it’s all over the news.

I am not going to pontificate on her decision to die, and whether it was right or wrong.  For her, it was right, and at the right time.  That’s all that matters.

Many people were surprised to learn she did indeed choose to die on her original date of November 1st because a new video was posted a few days earlier that she had changed her mind and might push back the date.  However, I do believe I read somewhere that the video had been made a few weeks prior, and her condition had indeed worsened.  In fact the day after her final bucket list trip to the Grand Canyon, she had two very severe seizures.  She was scared.  So she stuck to her original date of November 1st.  I can’t believe how hard that must have been, to say goodbye to her husband, her family, her friends.  To actually take the meds, swallow them down, and then wait.  They say she went peacefully.  I’m glad.  Whew.  Big stuff.

I did read up on her condition.  None of the medical sites talk a lot about the quality of life issues, the pain, the debilitating aspect of the tumor.  They do point out that it is mostly fatal, and the average life span is not very long.  So I respect her decision to chose not to take chemo or do radiation.  She went for quality of life over quantity of life.  What’s a few more months of life, if it is spent in pain and suffering from side effects?

But.  As a Catholic I am troubled by the whole suicide aspect.  However, I really don’t believe that “Death with Dignity” is the same thing.  If God is all merciful, would he want us to suffer a horrible death?  But now I am veering into that whole religious debate, and I promised not go there.  Too many questions to ask and answer in that whole realm.

I just hope that when it is my turn, I can make a courageous decision, based on fact, and be at peace with it in my heart and soul.

My Bucket List

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To lay in the grass, covered by a litter of golden retriever puppies.

To meet Gavin DeGraw, and sing with him. Just me and him.

To go on a cruise, and eat and drink and dance the night away!

To play the piano with ease.

To be in a theatre play, and act and sing. Or maybe just the church choir!

To finally get my first book published, and continue to write another one, all my own.

To visit Alaska – see the glacier, Denali, and ride the train from Anchorage to Seward!  Go on a sled ride with the huskies.  Mush!

To visit Australia and New Zealand. I believe they have gorgeous landscapes.

To have a beer in Germany during Oktoberfest.

To visit Ireland and drink in the lush greenery.

To take my beloved great nieces and nephews to Disneyland and watch the wonderment on their little faces.

To swim again with the dolphins, this time in the wild, where you can frolic and play in their natural environment.

To make a difference in people’s lives in a positive way.  I love my seniors in swim class, and so many of them remind me of my dearly departed mom whom I miss so much!

Most importantly, going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with all the candles and beautiful voices rejoicing in the birth of Jesus, and then to wake up on Christmas morning snuggled up with a special loved one, having coffee in front of a crackling fireplace surrounded by the scent of a beautiful Christmas tree, with only a few meaningful gifts underneath.  Spending the rest of the day with beloved family and friends.

When my bucket list is complete, I will be ready to cross over to the Rainbow Bridge and be re-united with all my fur babies, who will then follow me into heaven to see my beloved family and friends who have passed before me.

What’s on YOUR bucket list?

The true meaning of friendship

 

happy people

I think my regular readers know that I have been going through a medical situation.  I had my right hip replaced on May 14th, and then it got infected and I was back in the hospital with more surgery etc. on May 31st.

It hasn’t been an easy ride.  At all.  Pretty bumpy as a matter of fact.  Irregular heart rate during surgery, skyrocketing blood sugar, vomiting for days, blood transfusion, blown out IV veins, NO veins, etc.  And that was just the first few days.  Now I am dealing with a bad infection that could jeopardize the future of my hip.  I had another surgery, another 4 day stay in hospital, PICC line (thank God), at home nursing care now and daily infusions.  Actually, today I did my own infusion, because insurance doesn’t pay for daily nurses.

When I came home from rehab back in May I thought I was over the worst and could walk pretty good and pain was minimal. I was ecstatic.  Now, I feel like I have regressed and am way, way back.  I have pretty significant pain, can’t walk without my walker, and am homebound. 😦  I still don’t know what my future holds for me and have to live day-to-day.

BUT.  There’s always a but.  In this case, a good but.  This whole situation has made me realize who my real friends are, and I have been become much closer to my family, especially my sister.  People have prayed, sent cards, visited, sent flowers, presents, and most of all have supported me in this ordeal.  I can actually FEEL the outpouring of love and prayers floating up to heaven.

When I was in the hospital this past weekend, I went to the Chapel on Saturday night during my nightly walk.  The hospital was pretty much empty.  Who wants to stay in a hospital on the weekend, besides this girl?  Anyway, the chapel was very peaceful and had a login book you could write requests/prayers to God in.  So I sat down and wrote 2 journal pages of thoughts to God.  I asked him for healing help and also thanked him for the new hip he gave me, and could I please keep it?  I told him I would take very care of it.  I ended my journaling with a plea for a Blackhawks win, and he gave me both Sat and Sun win, so I know he is listening to me.  The next day, Sunday, the Chaplain came to visit me in my room and said how much he enjoyed reading my entry.  He was a nice man and stayed to chat for a while.  I told him my fears and he helped calm me with thoughts of Jesus taking care of me.  So, thank you Jesus, for everything so far, and yet to come.

And thank you to all my friends and family, without all of you I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I appreciate all the help that has been offered and given.  Love to you all.

 

 

 

OMG, a GAY athlete?!!!!!

gay
Seems to me that the world of sports was kind of like the military in that regard. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Cause soldiers and athletes are manly men, and nobody wants to think of them as being gay, because that is just not right, right?

Wrong. I am not for or against gays, I am neutral on the whole subject. But I do know that gay men are not all hairdressers or designers. There are gay/lesbian people in ALL walks of life, whether you acknowledge it or not.

I am not gay, and I don’t pretend to understand the mind/body mechanisms of being gay. I do not know if you are born gay, become gay, want to be gay, don’t want to be gay, whatever. I do know that having gay parents doesn’t make you gay, just as having straight parents doesn’t make you straight. I know that it is a religious issue, and some religions condemn gays. I know that being gay causes great pain and suffering for both the person and the family.

Coming out is the big deal. What you do behind closed doors is your own personal business, but once you put it out there, you can’t it take it back. Even if you try, people will always wonder.

Back a few years ago, it seemed that all the high school girls were making out with other girls, and all the guys thought it was hot. Did that make them lesbians, or bi? I don’t think so. I think they did it just because it was the new, off the hook thing to do to shock and amaze people. High school/college seems to be the time for experimenting, with sex, drugs and rock and roll. Don’t laugh, it’s true! Except for me, I believed everything the nuns beat into our heads.  I am still damaged to this day.

This world we live in has become so diverse.  People of all color, religion, sexual orientation…..need to work it out, and live in peace.  Together, while still respecting each one’s individuality.   I’m not sure what God’s plan is with all this, but I am sure that he wants us to be happy and live in harmony.  So, live and let live!

Russian, Iraqi, Indian…..it’s all Greek to me

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The Boston Bombers are from Chechnya, Russia. I don’t think that really matters. I think there are people from every country in the world, including our own, that have political or mental issues that cause them to blow people up.

One of the more interesting things to me about so many criminals that do heinous acts is that their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers etc. all say that they were nice, polite normal people who they NEVER would have suspected of this. Everyone is shocked, especially the family. It isn’t until after digging deep into the person’s psyche that there were subtle hints of trouble.

How do you protect yourself against this? These kinds of people? Where do they get the guns? The suicide vests? How can they act like normal people, just walking down the sidewalk, then dropping off a backpack with a bomb in it? Then watching the horrific aftermath, all the blood and guts and death and suffering. What are they thinking then? Do they feel shame or sorrow? Are they happy about what they did? Do they maybe regret it afterwards? How could a mother or father not know what their children are not capable of? Is this political? Religious? What? What is the problem now?

I’m not sure if there are answers to any of these questions. Each person is different, and two people may be motivated by entirely different things. I do feel sorry for their families, who were either enablers, in denial, or totally clueless.

The uncle of the Russians was on TV this morning, and you could tell he was PISSED. He hadn’t seen nor associated with the family for quite a while, but regardless, those boys besmirched the family name. Think about it. What would YOU do? How would YOU feel?

I’ll tell you how I feel. I feel like all I have done is ask questions throughout this blog. I want answers, but I doubt I will get them. I doubt anybody will really get all the answers. As I said at the top of this post, it’s all Greek to me.

Bah Humbug, I mean Happy Easter!

easterbunnies

Typically when people think of Easter, it’s all about easter eggs and candy and cute little bunny rabbits.  Ham for dinner, hopefully with your family and friends.

Except it’s not supposed to be all about bunnies and chocolate and jelly beans.  It’s the day that Christ has risen from the dead, after being horribly crucified and dying for us.  Pain.  Suffering.  Blood.

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But nobody wants to think about that.  They run out and buy little rabbits for their kids, forever dooming them to a life spent in a tiny cage with nobody paying attention to them after the first day.  Do you know how long a rabbit can live in a cage?  A long time.  Just ask my sister.  The pet store does NOT take them back.  Many will release them into the wild, sentencing them to certain death by more experienced predators.  Maybe that’s better than sitting in a cage.

The candy and the easter eggs are fairly harmless, albeit to your waistline.  But some families go WAY beyond that.  Another gift giving opportunity!  Bicycles and new spring clothes and iPods and iPads….the list goes on.

Call me a scrooge.  I don’t believe that children need pricey Easter baskets full of gifts that the giver probably put on their credit card which will take them ten years to pay off the balance.  And don’t get me started on Christmas.  All these RELIGIOUS holidays have turned into a marketing frenzy for stores.  Presents galore!

Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing cuter than an Easter egg hunt with the little ones for that perfect Kodak moment.  But too many people are too busy with the extravaganza they have made these holidays into to even go to church.  Too busy shopping, baking, cooking etc. to go to church, and give an hour to God to praise him for sending his only begotten Son to earth to SUFFER and DIE for our sins.

And that makes me sad.  And a scrooge, I guess.  I’m done with the Easter baskets and presents etc.  If parents want to give their kids presents, I’m all for it.  But beyond that, I think it is unnecessary.  I love getting together with my family, but we should be rejoicing in the MEANING of the day, and not about how many gifts we bring.

The saddest part of all are the people who think of themselves as good Catholics or Christians and spent a lot of money to send their kids to private Catholic school, and then never go to church.  I sure don’t understand that one.  What is that teaching their children?  What kind of example is that setting?

Trust me, I am no Saint.  I am not a good example of a good Catholic.  I go to church willy nilly, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.  I went to the Easter Vigil last night for the first time in my life, and I went to Catholic school for 10 years!  I grew up in a Catholic family who rarely went to church on Sundays, and it used to embarrass me on Mondays when my friends at school would ask why they never saw me at church on Sundays.  My mom and dad were hard workers and I suppose they thought it was their day of rest.  After all, us kids went to mass every day before school.  That was enough.  And as kids, we agreed!

So, I guess it is a personal interaction with God.  Some people say they don’t need to go to church to pray.  I myself feel better to go to God’s house to pray.  It gives me peace, and I mostly enjoy the familiar ceremony.  As long as you feel at peace with God and yourself, you should be go to go.  As for me, I hope that God accepts me into the kingdom of heaven, and I am not left behind.

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Dear Rainbow Bridge

It must be getting crowded on your side.  Several of my friends and bloggers have recently lost their pets.  I have contributed more than my fair share.

I love the idea of the Rainbow Bridge.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a story that goes like this:

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Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. 

Author unknown..

I just KNOW the Rainbow Bridge is real.  I just KNOW that God will reunite us with our beloved pets.  I cannot wait to see them.  Laddie, Scuffy, Mimi, Cali, UPer, Baby Kitty, Savanah, Maggie, Mollie, Maddie, Simon, and eventually Ozzy and Izzy.  I can picture myself, young and strong and beautiful again, running across the bridge, and being covered by all my loves, and playing in a beautiful green meadow covered in flowers.

That would just make my idea of heaven complete.