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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The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

grinch

This is a story about the Boss  Grinch Who Stole Christmas, literally right out from underneath all his employees.  You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

He was my LAST. BOSS. EVER.  He is the reason why I am self-employed now, and will never ever be subjected to abuse again.

He started out so nice.  My first Christmas there, we had a beautiful Christmas tree, fires in the fireplace, Christmas carols on the radio, Christmas presents, Christmas lunch, Christmas bonus, and a nice Honey Baked Ham to take home.  Plus two paid weeks off, for which we were very grateful, as the vacation and holiday allowance was sparse.

By the time the second Christmas came around, the blush had faded from the rose a bit.  I was starting to see his true personality come out.  Good people fired for no good reason except they weren’t his yes men.  Disrespect to the hourly employees.  Ranting and raving in the office.  Out of control political views.  No Christmas tree.  No Christmas lunch.  No Christmas bonus.  The managers bought the boss a very nice expensive.  No gifts in return.  We did receive the leftover Christmas wreaths, and got the paid two weeks off.  The managers, including myself, still came in over the break to work as it was a very busy snow season.

The third Christmas was the final one.  He was quickly spiraling out of control.  The ranting and raving got the best of me, every day.  There was total silence in the office, except for his screaming at me, a customer, the dog, whatever.  Once again, No Christmas tree.  I brought a small artificial tree in and plugged it in on the counter with an extension cord.  Every day when I came into work, the extension cord would be gone.  I would find another.  Pretty soon I figured out that there was to be NO Christmas spirit and gave up and took the tree home.  No Christmas songs on the radio. (I tried playing Christmas CD’s on my computer, but suddenly my CD drive was broken).  No fires.  No Christmas lunch.  No Christmas bonus.  No Christmas presents whatsoever.  By this time the managers wised up and didn’t bother to buy him one.  He begrudgingly gave us the two weeks off, only because he was going on vacation, but made it unpaid.  The last day before break, he never even said Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, have a nice holiday, go fuck yourselves.  Nothing.  Nada.  I did not go out of my way to go in over break to work, only when absolutely necessary.

That boss ruined my Christmas spirit for quite awhile.  But with time I realized that HE was the problem, not me, and I shouldn’t let someone else force their negativity on me.  He used to make fun of me for going to church, being Catholic and believing in the real reason for Christmas.

I only feel sorry for him now.  Besides his girlfriend, who is just as delusional as him, he is basically alone in this world.  His drove his family away years ago.

When I go to church this Christmas, I will pray for him.

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.

Take your life back

suicide

Yet another young actor has taken his own life.  It seems to be pandemic lately.  Drug overdose, hanging, self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Any way you look at it, it means a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Is something or someone worth paying the ultimate price?  I must be honest here.  I have had thoughts on the subject myself, especially when my husband cheated on me and left me.  I think everyone has had those thoughts.  Luckily, most of us get help or work our way out of situation.

I’m not necessarily talking about teenagers, who sometimes are impulsive and don’t realize that their attempt may be successful.  They may be seeking attention more than they are seeking death.

It’s the recent headlines of young adults, in their 20’s/30’s, that are most concerning right now.  From the drug overdoses of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson and Cory Monteith (which I believe were accidental but playing with drugs is playing with fire), to the most recent deaths of Gia from the Bachelor and former Disney star Lee Thompson Young, who had a promising career on Rizzoli and Isles.

From the outside it seemed these people had everything to live for.  On the inside it must have been a different story.  To be desperate enough, in that much pain, to think you must end it all, that is serious business.  If only they gave themselves one more chance.  If they only knew how much they were loved, or how many people would mourn them.  The loss of a life is always hard to deal with.  How does a family reconcile that death with it’s suicide? The Catholic Church used to state that suicide was a sin, and that persons committing suicide could not have a Catholic service and burial. However, the Church has since changed this point of view, especially if the person was not in their right mind.  But for the family, there is shame, there is guilt, feelings of what more could they have done?  If the suicidee intended to make a statement with their death, well they sure do, with emotions that live on when they don’t.  The parents, the spouses, the children….how do they deal with the fact that their loved one purposely left them?  Is that REALLY what the person intended?  It almost seems selfish, in a weird way, but then again suicide is not a normal thing.  It’s the ones left behind that suffer the most.

I wish that before every important decision in life is made, you must pass a test or have a waiting period.  Too many things are done on impulse, whether it be shopping, marriage, divorce, cheating, stealing, murder, and death.  Too bad we can’t stop the world for a few minutes to rethink our actions.  So many times we have buyers /sellers remorse.  We could use a grace period for everything, especially suicide.  If you make a bad purchase, it is eventually paid off.  If you take your own life, it is forever.

Is there only one true Jesus? – REDUX

Now that we are “Popeless”, and Lent to boot, my Catholic friends and I have been having “Christian” dinners together on Friday nights.  (This means meatless).  We have been having some lively discussions on the reason behind the Papal retirement.  I mean, he quit.  There is no quitting in the Papacy!  I’m sure to non-Catholics, all these cover-ups and conspiracy theories are making for a lot of “told you so” fodder.  Anyway, I originally wrote this blog over a year ago, but it seems very relevant today.

Last night I got into an very interesting conversation about my renewed interest in God, Jesus, and all things religion.  Lately I have been reading the Left Behind series of books, and what a revelation the Book of Revelations has become to me!

I went to Catholic school back in the days of real priests and nuns as teachers.  Since most of them were not necessarily educated to be teachers, they relied very heavily on teaching reading, writing and religion.  The whole school attended Mass every morning, and twice on holy days.  I think I can still recite the entire thing in Latin!  Which actually turned out very useful to me, as Latin is the root of all Romance languages, and my love of reading and writing is with me to this day.

I grew up receiving most of the sacraments and going to church and never questioning the teaching of the church.  That has changed since I began questioning evolutionism versus creationism.  I have my own theory on that which combined the two to my satisfaction.  (I will write a blog on my theory soon!)

Then along came Left Behind and a few other books I have read along that genre.  It really made sense to me.  I had never really thought much about the “rapture” and all that would happen afterwards.  I read the words years ago but never studied them or knew their true meaning.  Also, I have always been troubled about what would happen to all those good people on earth who believe in their own God, like Buddha and Allah etc.  And the Jewish faith, who is still waiting for their Messiah.  Is it really true that they cannot go to heaven because they don’t believe in Jesus?  Do they go to their own heaven?  Or are they “left behind”, and become true believers during the Tribulation?

Crikey, I remember back in grade school when I thought my non-Catholic (but still Christian) friends couldn’t go to heaven with me and I cried and cried.  That’s what the nuns taught us, and we all bought it hook, line and sinker.  I think that is why some people think the Catholic church is like a cult.  I am proud to be a Catholic, but don’t buy into 100% of their doctrine.  Which they change.  More than once.  Confusing.  Also they don’t aways practice what they preach.  What?!?! you may say.  Think about the cover up with priests/boys.  Enough said.  Moving on.

The idea of an Antichrist and Armagedon has always fascinated me.  But I never thought about the reality of that actual scenario.  The Left Behind books, even though classified as fiction, give me a believable picture of how it will happen and what life will really be like. And if so, I certainly don’t want to be left behind, as I have I stated in a previous blog!

Our conversation last night debated the question on why God would not let a good person into heaven, if they follow all the commandments and moral code, but don’t necessarily believe in Jesus like he wants.  Many people figure that if they are Christian and live a decent life that they get a free pass into heaven.  I’m afraid that isn’t true.  I’m afraid I may not make it there, even though I am a believer.  But I am going to try my hardest.

I am glad that I had good friends to have this interesting debate with (thanks Amy, Kathy and Lin!).  Everyone has their own beliefs and their slant on religion.  I learn so much from other people.  I hope to keep an open mind and become a better person.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned?

pope

The Pope quit.  QUIT.  I’m sorry, but the Pope is not allowed to quit.  Maybe he is old and sick and senile…..whatever.  The other Popes never quit.  You stay Pope until you die.  It’s tradition.

But.  There’s always a BUT, right?  When people quit out of the blue, there is usually an underlying reason for it.  And it’s usually not good.

The Catholic church has been under fire lately, mostly for priests that can’t keep their pants on around boys.  The Catholic church has been “recycling” these priests for years, in an attempt to cover up their “sins”.  Dear Lord, we Catholics are going to confession for our little sins and asking a pedophile for forgiveness.

And now, CARDINALS are dropping out of the Pope race because of scandals.  Good Lord, where does it end?  Does it end at the POPE?  Did he quit because he was tired of covering up for others?  Or for himself?

There is a document about leaks of a supposed network of gay priests.  A document that only the Pope, and his successor, have access to.  No plans to share it, not even among the conclave.  Once again the Catholic church chooses secrecy over transparency.

Please don’t preach to me about how I shouldn’t think such thoughts about holy men.  I’m sorry, they are HUMAN, they are NOT perfect, they commit SINS, no matter how HOLY they are.  I grew up as a good Catholic girl thinking that priests and nuns etc. were special people who had a true calling to God and were above human temptations.  I no longer think that.

The whole thing just makes me sad.  I do think that Popes should be able to retire or quit if they want to.  At a certain age maybe they are no longer effective.  Perhaps we should elect younger Popes.  But again, age is not the issue right now, I don’t think.  The issue is the failings inside the church.  Like any big corporation, just keep promoting the trouble makers, right?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

P.S.  Personally I think it was his Twitter account that caused all this mess.  Ha.

Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies

We all have them.  Things we don’t necessarily announce right away when meeting people.  Sometimes things we don’t want ANYBODY to know. Things we hide. Things we keep under lock and key.

Now, I’m not talking about murder, assault with a deadly weapon, significant stealing or other felonies.  I’m talking about your run of the mill misdemeanors like stealing office supplies, mean things you have done to other people, thoughts and deeds that you regret.  In other words, things you wish you had a mulligan for.  (For you non-golfers out there, that means a do-over).

Everybody has different standards on what constitutes a dirty little secret or lie.  For instance, some business owners think nothing of stealing from their own company, or violating OSHA, Immigration, and IRS laws.  For others, it means getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar, and you blame it on the cat.

And their IS a difference between a dirty little secret, and dirty little lie.  A secret means you keep something you’ve done under wraps.  A lie means you got caught, and must now misdirect the truth to something you’ve said or done.  Obviously a secret is better than a lie, overall.  I’m not sure what category I would put cheating on your spouse in.  It’s a heinous secret and lie.

And then what do you do when somebody tells you their dirty little secret or lie.  They swear YOU to secrecy, and then you become an accomplice to their deed.   It can be too much of a burden to bear, and most people WILL tell someone else.  You can’t really blame them, it’s human nature.  If you don’t want them to pass it on, then tell your priest or lawyer.  It is their duty to keep your secret.  In the case of a lie, a priest can absolve you from your sin, and actually make you feel better.

But sharing with other people can sometimes be fun, like playing Truth or Dare.  I always chose Truth, being the good Catholic girl I am, ha!  I’m pretty sure some people lied about their truth, and maybe elaborated a bit, but that was half the fun!  So……

I’ll tell you one of mine, if you tell me one of yours…

Exorcise Nicki

I never liked Nicki Minaj much.  Now I don’t like her at all.  She is just too in-your-face-disgustingly-gross.  If she was going for the shock factor ala Lady Gaga at the Grammys last night, she was successful.

Successful in shocking people.  Not necessarily successful in making her a star.  In fact, I think she did a good job in tarnishing her image.  A great job.

The younger generation won’t agree.  They love her even more.  She is the flavor of the month.  I don’t think they realize how blasphemous and disrespectful some of these “singers” are.  I hesitate to call Nicki a singer, she is more of a rapper.  She can spit out words faster than I can understand them, but it must be because I am old.

I wonder if the Grammys would have allowed her to mock the music used in the Islamic call to prayers. Her “pope” would be the prophet Mohammad and the performance would be as reverent and as elevating as the riff they did on Adeste Fideles last night .  Or maybe insult Judaism.  Whatever.  I found it to be offensive, regardless of what religion she was insulting.  I guess if you can’t dazzle them with brilliant singing, then baffle them with religious bullshit, eh Nicki?

Adam Lambert was shunned from musical appearances a couple of years ago because he kissed another man.  I guess that is worse than impersonating a bishop and exorcising demons on stage.  And worse than beating up your girlfriend in a fit of anger like Chris Brown, who was welcomed back with open arms, and even won a Grammy.  How quickly we forgive and forget in some cases.  Having said that, I do think Chris Brown is VERY talented and has unbelievable dance moves, and I think he is truly sorry for his actions.  (Jan, how do you know that, have you talked to him?  No, but I think his humble acceptance shows it).  Or worse than girl-on-girl kissing like Madonna and Britney. I don’t understand why mainstream hasn’t embraced Adam Lambert.  He has one of the BEST male voices EVER in my opinion.  I would LOVE to see a duet with him and J Hud or Lea Michele.  I reckon Adam is too flamboyantly gay for the music industry, altho gay seems to be very popular in other arenas.

All in all, with the exception of Nicki and a few other people I had no idea about, I enjoyed the Grammys.  J Hud was brilliant in her tribute to Whitney.  Adele is just…Adele.  The voice of a generation.  Beautiful, and yet shyly humble too.  Oh and loves to throw out a few swears, and snot too, all in a highly entertaining British accent.  Gotta love it.

Is there only one true Jesus?

Last night I got into an very interesting conversation about my renewed interest in God, Jesus, and all things religion.  Lately I have been reading the Left Behind series of books, and what a revelation the Book of Revelations has become to me!

I went to Catholic school back in the days of real priests and nuns as teachers.  Since most of them were not necessarily educated to be teachers, they relied very heavily on teaching reading, writing and religion.  The whole school attended Mass every morning, and twice on holy days.  I think I can still recite the entire thing in Latin!  Which actually turned out very useful to me, as Latin is the root of all Romance languages, and my love of reading and writing is with me to this day.

I grew up receiving most of the sacraments and going to church and never questioning the teaching of the church.  That has changed since I began questioning evolutionism versus creationism.  I have my own theory on that which combined the two to my satisfaction.

Then along came Left Behind and a few other books I have read along that genre.  It really made sense to me.  I had never really thought much about the “rapture” and all that would happen afterwards.  I read the words years ago but never studied them or knew their true meaning.  Also, I have always been troubled about what would happen to all those good people on earth who believe in their own God, like Buddha and Allah etc.  And the Jewish faith, who is still waiting for their Messiah.  Is it really true that they cannot go to heaven because they don’t believe in Jesus?  Do they go to their own heaven?  Or are they “left behind”, and become true believers during the Tribulation?

Crikey, I remember back in grade school when I thought my non-Catholic (but still Christian) friends couldn’t go to heaven with me and I cried and cried.  That’s what the nuns taught us, and we all bought it hook, line and sinker.  I think that is why some people think the Catholic church is like a cult.  I am proud to be a Catholic, but don’t buy into 100% of their doctrine.  Which they change.  More than once.  Confusing.  Also they don’t aways practice what they preach.  What?!?! you may say.  Think about the cover up with priests/boys.  Enough said.  Moving on.

The idea of an Antichrist and Armagedon has always fascinated me.  But I never thought about the reality of that actual scenario.  The Left Behind books, even though classified as fiction, give me a believable picture of how it will happen and what life will really be like. And if so, I certainly don’t want to be left behind, as I have I stated in a previous blog!

Our conversation last night debated the question on why God would not let a good person into heaven, if they follow all the commandments and moral code, but don’t necessarily believe in Jesus like he wants.  Many people figure that if they are Christian and live a decent life that they get a free pass into heaven.  I’m afraid that isn’t true.  I’m afraid I may not make it there, even though I am a believer.  But I am going to try my hardest.

I am glad that I had good friends to have this interesting debate with (thanks Amy, Kathy and Lin!).  Everyone has their own beliefs and their slant on religion.  I learn so much from other people.  I hope to keep an open mind and become a better person.

I don’t want to be Left Behind

I was born and raised Irish Catholic.  Catholic schools until junior year of high school.  Church on Sundays.  Singing in the choir.  Saying the rosary.  Gathering up those “saving graces”.

Somewhere along the way, it seemed like it was not cool to profess your faith in God and shout to the heavens that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  People made fun of the “born agains”.  The general consensus was that if you were Christian and led a good life you had a free pass to heaven, but there was no need to shout it to the heavens.

Nope.  Not.  Don’t believe that anymore.  Even before I read this eye-opening book, I realized that I needed to REALLY let God into my life.  Why should it be embarrassing to say out loud that you believe that a higher power created life as you know it and that you want to be welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven?  When the alternative is nothingness or Hell?

I had a personal revelation this past summer when a tragedy happened to some friends of mine.  I realized that faith can pull you through the darkness and sadness and bring you back into the light.  I admired them and their church so much, it I attended services there for awhile.  It was a refreshing change from the same old service every Sunday at the Catholic church, with all the sit, stand, kneel etc.  At their church there was singing and bands and speakers and praising the Lord, and nobody was self-conscious to show their love for the Lord and each other.  Isn’t that what it should be all about????

Now don’t get me wrong, I still consider myself a Catholic and still go to my Catholic church too.  It is comforting to me because of its sameness.  I can let my mind wander and speak to God in my head and not miss a beat of the familiar ceremony.  The choir at my church is superb, especially at Christmas time, and I love to just sit and listen.  Music and singing move my soul.  My Catholic church was a place of refuge for me to go to after my divorce.  I would sit in the back row, with tears streaming down my face for the entire service.  Some of the regulars would pat my shoulder as I passed by, and gave me comfort.  I was too embarrassed to seek professional help or even go and talk to a priest, but felt I got it in the back pew of the church every Sunday.

So I will say this now.  I am a Christian, and I believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I want to go straight to heaven.  I want to see my dearly departed family members there.  I want all my puppies and kittys to meet me at the Rainbow Bridge.  I want to earn my wings.  If you are a Christian, I highly recommend that you read this book and the whole series.  It may give you a different perspective on how you look at your faith.  It is not good enough to just be a Christian by default.  You must make it so.  I don’t want YOU to be left behind either.