Above: On Friday, June 3, I had the great honor of meeting theologian and writer William D. Lindsey (left) and his partner Steve. William maintains the excellent blogsite, Bilgrimage.
Bill and Steve were visiting the Twin Cities from their home in Arkansas, and it was a real pleasure and honor to meet them and share a meal with them at Fabulous Ferns in St. Paul.
Later in the month I met another inspiring figure: Phil Attey of Catholics for Equality. Phil was in the Twin Cities from Washington, DC for the Netroots Nation 2011 conference.
Above and right: My last day as a volunteer deliverer with Trust Inc.'s Meals on Wheels program – Thursday, June 2, 2011. Since February 2007 my friend Ken and I have been delivering meals once a week to folks in South Minneapolis.
The reason June 2 was my last day of being a regular deliverer of meals was because I started work as a site coordinator with Trust Meals on Wheels on Monday, June 6!
It's a great part-time job – one that involves meaningful work and wonderful colleagues! And as one friend remarked: "Sounds like ideal work for you with the flexibility to continue your Gospel mischief!" Indeed!
Above: My friends Alicia and James' wedding – Saturday, June 11, 2011.
Above: The lovely couple!
Left: The parents of the bride, my dear friends (and neighbors) Noelle and John.
Above: Friends Liana and Curtis. Liana is Alicia's sister and not only served as one of the bridesmaids but as the main wedding planner! And what a fantastic job she did – in both roles!
Right: My good friend Phil. It was through Phil that I was introduced to his wonderful family – including parents John and Noelle, sisters Liana and Alicia, and canine friends Quinn and Eddie!.
Above (from left): Jeff, Nathanial, Curtis, Phil and Brittany – Saturday, June 11, 2011.
Alicia and James' wedding was the second beautiful wedding I attended this year. For the first, click here.
Above: Standing at left with (from left) attorney Jeff Anderson, journalist and author Jason Berry, psychologist and Walk -In Counseling Center executive director Gary Schoener, and CPCSM co-founder and president David McCaffrey – Thursday, June 16, 2011.
Berry, well-known for his meticulous reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests, was visiting St. Paul as part of his national book tour for Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.
Writes critic Thomas Powers:
Money dominates the third of Jason Berry’s important books about the Catholic Church. Render Unto Rome probes deeply into the culture of the church. To painful questions about money and sex, Berry finds, the response of the church is always the same – secrecy and silence.
Writing about Render Unto Rome for the Toledo Blade, David Yonke notes that:
Mr. Berry spent 2½ years following the money trail in the Roman Catholic Church, which with 1.2 billion members, is the largest organization in the world.
The financial story includes donations made (or withheld) by average Catholics in the pews, sales of multimillion-dollar properties, and settlements paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Throughout his detailed research — the book contains nearly 40 pages of footnotes — Mr. Berry finds much of the church’s money unaccounted for.
He points out, for example, that Peter’s Pence, a global collection taken every June for the Pope’s use in helping people in dire need, raised $82.5 million in 2009, but the Vatican reported allocations of $8.65 million, only 10.5 percent of the total.
Looming over the church’s financial picture is the monetary impact of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.
In Portland, Ore., the diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection in July, 2004, after a spate of lawsuits was filed alleging sexual abuse by priests, shortly after the diocese reached a $53 million settlement for 100 abuse claims, Mr. Berry writes.
At the same time that many U.S. dioceses faced increasing budget pressures, some — notably Boston and Cleveland — started closing parishes and selling valuable properties.
The debts from legal settlements, as well as from mismanagement, embezzlement, and declining revenue, are not directly linked to the sale of church property but are certainly “major factors,” Mr. Berry said in an interview with The Blade.
He called Cleveland’s closing of parishes, overseen by Bishop Richard Lennon, an “outrage” and “another sign of how downsizing, selling property, and the like become a mere instrument of diocesan finances.”
Above: On the evening of Wednesday, June 22, I was part of Hennepin County Medical Centers' panel discussion on "Health Care, Religion and GLBT Issues." Also on the panel was my friend Barbara Satin (second from right).
Barbara is a highly respected transgender activist who is very much involved with both the local and national LGBT communities. Along with serving on numerous local LGBT boards, she is a founder of GLBT Generations, a group that works to educate people about the needs of LGBT persons as they grow old. Nationally, Barbara serves on the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ, the first transgender woman to have a national leadership role in that denomination. She is also an adviser to the Civil Marriage Collaborative.
Left: My young friend Jonatan made his First Communion at Spirit of St. Stephen's Catholic Community on Sunday, June 26, 2011.
For an excerpt from the homily delivered that day, click here.
Right: With Jonatan and his brother.
Above: A Catholic presence at Gay Pride – June 25-26, 2011.
For more images and commentary, click here.
Above and below: On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 29, my friends Brian, John, and Bob and I enjoyed a visit to the Benedictine St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN. It was delightful afternoon, of which I'll share more images soon.
Above: A beautiful bloom on the first day of summer, June 21, 2011. Thankfully, the day wasn't as hot as this one!
Images: Michael J. Bayly.