Saturday, August 01, 2009

Out and About - July 2009

Above: With friends at a July 1 talk by South African-born Roman Catholic Bishop Patricia Fresen.

Among other things, Bishop Fresen (pictured at right) spoke about the current state of the institutional Roman Catholic Church. “The male-only, celibate priesthood is on the way out,” she said, adding that we are witnessing in our time the end of clericalism, i.e., the “dividing of people in the church into the ‘nobility,’ who are the clergy, and the ‘serfs,’ who are the laity. That gap is closing.”

Bishop Fresen also believes that the “Roman imperialism, whereby the Vatican imposes Roman culture on all of us,” is similarly coming to an end. “Despite Vatican II’s emphasis on collegiality,” said Bishop Fresen, "the pope still rules the Church with the Curia, not with the college of bishops. But I believe that the Church’s feudal, imperialistic structures will go, and there will be - let me dare say it - a democratic Church.”

For more of Bishop Fresen, see the previous Wild Reed post:
Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordained in Minneapolis.

Recommended Off-site Link:
Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Above: On July 7 my friends (from left) John, Brian, Rick, and Bob joined me for a meal and movie. We watched the camp classic, Valley of the Dolls. And, yes, it really is “so bad it’s fabulous”!

A commentator on one of the documentaries that’s included as an extra on the DVD, notes that many gay men are drawn to either the character of the noble (a silently suffering) Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins) or the more over-the-top and bitchy characters of Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke) and/or Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward).

I’m actually drawn to a secondary character: the beautiful but hard-assed Miriam (played by Lee Grant, pictured at right). Hmm . . . I wonder what that says about me!

Actually, I think it’s Miriam’s determined purposefulness that I find appealing - especially in light of all the superficiality and selfish ambitions of most of the other characters. Plus, it’s Lee Grant! - a phenomenal actress who epitomizes for me a certain late ’60s/early ’70s cool chic. I also appreciate (and get a chuckle out of) what Michael Musto of the Village Voice says about Grant’s presence in Valley of the Dolls:

Lee Grant seems to have been beamed into this movie from a Greek tragedy or something. She’s always on the phone having these mysterious calls. . . . She’s always brooding [and] making these caustic, weird, bizarre comments like, “At night all cats are gray,” or “I’m heating up the lasagna.”

To see Valley of the Dolls stars Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, and Lee Grant interviewed on The View in November 2007, click here.

Above: Drinking a toast with my friends (just before heading off to heat up the lasagna!)

Above: The July 15 gathering of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s Synod 2010 work/study groups.

As I note in an article for the Progressive Catholic Voice, in serving as both a community-building event and an opportunity for the various work/study groups to report on their progress, the July 15 gathering marked an important stage in the ongoing preparation within the local church of St. Paul/Minneapolis for the September 18, 2010 Synod of the Baptized, “Claiming Our Place at the Table.”

Above and below: Down by the Mississippi River with my friends Kathleen & Joey, and John & Kathy and their three sons Noah, Cole, and Aaron.

For more images, see the previous Wild Reed post, A Delightful Summer’s Afternoon and a Moving Tale.

Above and at left: Visiting with my friend Susan and her niece Emma - July 25, 2009.

I’ve known Susan since 1994 - the year I arrived in the U.S. She’s teaching out east but is currently home in Minnesota for the summer break.

Above: A fish fry at the home of my friends Bob and John.

Bob, who is also pictured in photograph 3, is a priest with the Old Catholic Church. I’ve known him and his partner John (pictured at right with our mutual friend Emily) for almost two years.

For an interview with Bob about Old Catholicism, click here.

For an article that Bob wrote for The Wild Reed, click here.

For a review of Bob's recently released book on Old Catholicism, click here.

Above: My friend Jo holds a banner at the weekly vigil outside the corporate headquarters of Alliant Techsystems in Eden Prairie - Wednesday, July 29, 2009.

Alliant Techsystems is the largest Minnesota-based weapons manufacturer and the primary supplier of landmines, cluster bombs, nuclear missile rocket motors, and depleted uranium munitions to the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition, the corporation has sales representatives in over 60 countries.

For more information about this weekly vigil, click here.

Above and below: Kathy Kelly speaks at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis - July 30, 2009.

Kathy, a Catholic Worker, pacifist, and longtime justice and peace activist, currently co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

As a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, she helped form 70 delegations that between 1996 and 2003 openly defied UN/US economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing by the US military.

More recently, she has visited Gaza and Pakistan, writing eyewitness accounts of war’s impact on civilians. At St. Joan of Arc on July 30, Kathy shared her experiences from her June visit to Pakistan.

“We’re hearing of imminent [Pakistani] army operations in South Waziristan that have already forced about 45,000 people to flee the region, joining about two million men, women, and children displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley and other areas,” notes Kathy. “People from Waziristan who flee from their villages, trying to save their lives, trying not to be seen by the omnipresent [U.S.] drones, will likely join the unseen, the displaced people whose lives and hopes escape international notice as they die slowly.

“President Obama has taken us into an expansion of Bush’s war on terror, presumably guided by the rationale that his administration is responsible to root out Al Qaeda terrorists. But the methods used by U.S. and Pakistani military forces — expelling millions of people from their homes, failing to provide food and shelter for those who are displaced, and using overwhelmingly superior weapon technology to attack innocent civilians — these methods will continue creating terrorist resisters, not defeating them.”

For more of Kathy Kelly, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
Walking for Peace, Witnessing Against War
Out and About - August 2008
Saying “No” to Torture and the Republican Agenda

Above: With my friends Joe Palen and Polly Mann - St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, July 30, 2009.

Polly is a co-founder of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), one of the most influential justice and peace organizations in the Midwest.

Above: One of the many beautiful summer blooms in my garden.

Right: The cute little fella who’s taken up summer residence in my garden.

For more images, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
Summer Blooms
In the Garden of Spirituality - Jesse Lava
In the Garden of Spirituality - Geoffrey Robinson


Anonymous said...


I would be interested in hearing why you believe Bishop Fresen to be a Roman Catholic bishop. Why is it not inappropriate to call her this?
To be frank, I just don't buy the argument that she is a Catholic bishop because she was ordained by bishops who claim Apostolic succesion - why would this be important when sex is not?
As is probably obvious, I do not believe Bishop Fresen to be a Catholic bishop, but I would be very interested in your reasoning for allowing her to claim this title.
Thanks for your help.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Anonymous,

You yourself provide the answer - although you don't accept it: Patricia Fresen was ordained by a bishop in good standing within Apostolic succession. If that's good enough for a man, it's good enough for a woman, in my opinion - and also, as some compellingly argue, in the opinion of many within the Christian church of the first millennium.