Monday, August 31, 2009

Out and About - August 2009

Above and left: The weekly vigil outside the corporate headquarters of Alliant Techsystems in Eden Prairie - Wednesday, August 5, 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: My friend Jeanne with one of the Mohandas Gandhi puppets that she and others are making for a special peace event to which will take place October 2 on the 140th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.

Above: Standing with (from left) Roy Bourgeois, MM, and Paula Ruddy and Mary Beckfeld of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR).

This photo was taken a few hours before CCCR’s “An ‘Evening in the Park’ Fundraiser with Roy Bourgeois” at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, MN on Thursday, August 13.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest and founder of SOA Watch, is a nationally recognized advocate for peace and justice.

Above and right: CCCR’s August 13 “Evening in the Park” fundraiser with Roy Bourgeois, MM.

Over 200 people gathered at Lake Elmo Reserve’s Park Pavilion to hear Fr. Roy share his perspective on the social injustices within Roman Catholicism, and offer a clear and hopeful vision of what has been termed the “emerging church” – a growing grassroots expression of church that is participatory, collaborative, and valuing of dialogue and diversity.

(NOTE: I’m currently writing an article about this event - and the insights Fr. Roy shared - for the Progressive Catholic Voice.)

“An Evening in the Park with Roy Bourgeois” served as a major fundraiser for CCCR’s September 2010 Synod of the Baptized (entitled “Claiming Our Place at the Table”).

Above and below: On August 18 some friends and I gathered at my home in St. Paul for a “dinner and movie night.” Pictured above, from left: Bob, Rick, Brian, John, and (Bob’s younger brother) Chris.

Last month we gathered to watch the camp classic, Valley of the Dolls. This month we opted for more serious fare: director Otto Preminger’s 1962 political drama, Advise and Consent.

As Glenn Erickson notes over at DVD Savant, the film is noteworthy in gay movie history:

“Advise and Consent” has what might be the first fully-realized, out in the open, real and true homosexual subplot in a major Hollywood feature (post-1934). Gays aren’t likely to be all that impressed, as all we see is the interior of one gay bar, the 605 Club. It looks civilized enough; a Frank Sinatra song is playing. But the incident involves a man with a gay episode in his past, and just the possibility of the truth coming out panics him into taking drastic measures. . . .

Above: Chris, Bob, and John.

Above and below: Roman Catholic Womenpriests' Sixth Midwest Region Ordination in Minneapolis - Sunday, August 16, 2009.

Approximately 500 people gathered to witness the ordination of Mary Katherine Kusner to the deaconate, and Mary Frances Smith, Linda Ann Wilcox, and Mary Suzanne Styne to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican does not recognize such ordinations and last year declared that those ordained within the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement are excommunicated “in latae sententiae” - a type of excommunication which church officials say occurs automatically upon certain actions.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), however, reject this penalty of excommunication, claiming that they are “loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy disobedience to an unjust law that discriminates against women.” Accordingly, they see their ordinations moving the Church forward “in prophetic obedience to the Spirit.” RCWP’s ultimate goal is “a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.”

To read more about this event, see the August 19 article I wrote for the Progressive Catholic Voice, “Ordination of Women in Minneapolis Reflects Emerging Renewal of Priesthood and Church”.”

Above: Blooming fantastic! One of the many summer blooms in my garden.

For more images, see here and here.

Above: My friends Bob and Brian share a birthday on August 30. Brian’s been my housemate for the summer, and so on the evening of the 30th we had some of our mutual friends - including Bob and his partner John, over for a party.

Right:The party on the 30th also served as a “garden party” - a chance for me to share the beauty and color of my backyard!

Pictured above (from left): Greg, Kathleen, and Rita.

Above: Bernie, Eileen, and Connie.

I’m honored to work with these three folks and others as part of the leadership of the Twin Cities-based
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR).

Above: Standing (second from left) with Eileen, Bernie, and Paula.

Paula is also part of the leadership of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR). She’s also part of the editorial team of the Progressive Catholic Voice, and a regular contributor to this important online journal. To read Paula’s latest article, click

Above: Brian, John, and Rick.

Above: Kate, David, and Michael.

David is co-founder of the organization I work for as executive coordinator, the
Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM).

Above: Kathleen, Connie, Kate, and Brigid.

Above: Bob talks Old Catholicism with Roman Catholics (and founding members of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform) Eileen and Paula.

Bob is a priest in the Old Catholic tradition. Regular Wild Reed readers would know that I interviewed Bob about Old Catholicism in September 2007. This interview can be read here. Also, for a review of Bob’s recently released book on the origin, essence, and theology of the Old Catholic Church, click here.

Above: Later that evening, a group of us - including Greg (center) and young Joey - watched the season 4 Doctor Who episode, “The Fires of Pompeii,” on DVD.

Of this particular episode Wikipedia notes:

[“The Fires of Pompeii”] takes place during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. In the episode, the Doctor is faced with a moral dilemma: whether to save any of the population of Pompeii. The Doctor’s activities in Pompeii are impeded by the rock-like Pyrovile, and their allies, the Sybilline Sisterhood, who are using the volcano to convert the humans to Pyroviles.

Donna [the Doctor’s time traveling companion] continually argues with him over the moral issue of whether or not he should save the inhabitants of Pompeii. Ultimately, they are forced to cause the eruption to happen, weighing the destruction of the city against the fate of the whole world. When they escape in the TARDIS and leave behind a family they had befriended beforehand, Donna eventually manages to persuade the Doctor to return and save them. The Doctor later admits to Donna that she was right about his needing someone.

The episode was filmed in Rome’s Cinecittà studios, and was the first time the “Doctor Who” production team took cast abroad for filming since its [2005] revival.

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