Showing posts with label Christian ghetto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian ghetto. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It takes a thief?

They don't make charismatic religious luminaries like they used to.

And even back in the day, especially in the Catholic universe, the record was spotty. For every Bishop Fulton Sheen, you also had a Father Charles Coughlin.

It's only gotten worse from there. Today, we have an entire order established by a dead, now-discredited pervert. We have bishops complicit in covering up child sexual abuse by priests.

We have a church in which the historical practice of Catholicism has become foreign to actual Catholics. And we have many "orthodox" Catholics so desperate for authenticity, authority and moral teaching that they latch on to the craziest things -- and people.

The list of such recent -- and, frankly, cultish -- figures is a long one, starting with the Rev. Marcial Maciel, serial abuser, personality-cult figure and founder of the Legion of Christ and its lay organization, Regnum Christi. Among them are "rock-star priests" like Father Ken Roberts, Father Thomas Euteneuer . . . and now Father John Corapi.

All have "fallen" amid sex scandals. All have diehard followers who, in some cases even years later, are sure "they" framed their man because he "told it like it is."

The desperation and confusion of the faithful amid the collapse of catechesis, practice and authority within Catholicism reminds me of the wayward penguin recently discovered in New Zealand. It had lost its bearings, swam far from its Antarctic home and was found eating wet sand, thinking it snow.

Catholics now are "liberal" or "conservative," warring factions rallying behind "orthodox" or "progressive" gurus and sure that God is on their side. Never do they wonder whether they are on God's.

And they follow their guru, like lemmings, to the edge of the abyss. Some jump. Others beg their guru not to leave them, because such dynamism is so hard to come by that the Kingdom of Heaven may not survive its loss. That may be an overstatement -- but not much of one.

IRONICALLY ENOUGH, it was Corapi who gave us the best explanation of our current sad state of affairs, both literal and figurative. The priest -- whose now-former religious order today adjudged him guilty of various transgressions, sexual and otherwise -- hypocritically, it now seems, "told it like it is" in an interview with Legatus magazine.

"it takes a thief," so to speak.

When enough Catholics become true to their calling, a great power will be unleashed. The reason we have this mess, in my estimation, is because the vast majority of Catholics have not lived their faith. We have a billion Catholics on the face of the earth. If they knew their faith, lived their faith, loved their faith, I assure you that the world would be a very different place.

The United States, the situation would be profoundly different if we had 60-70 million Catholics truly living their faith. But, of course, as many as 80% don’t even go to Mass on Sunday — and that’s a precept! So we have a long way to go. But it has to be kind of grassroots, one person at a time. That is why the Church has always encouraged personal holiness, because that is where the reform is going to come from.


I’ve been a harsh critic of ourselves, meaning the Church leadership — priests, bishops and theologians. I don’t think we’ve done a particularly good job in my lifetime. We’ve had great popes; the top of the hierarchy has always been fantastic. But we’ve had a serious problem with “middle management.” There has been a significant problem with bishops and priests. Although, it’s better now than it was 20 years ago. However, the vast majority of Catholics aren’t even going to Church, so we shouldn’t wonder that the Church has been losing its influence on an increasingly secularized society.

You have to ask yourself why people have drifted away. I’m sure there are a lot of societal reasons. We don’t have control over those reasons, but we have control over the reasons inside the Church. You can start with the top. There is an old saying: “The fish stinks from the head down.” Lousy leadership is a disaster.

I once asked an old Carmelite nun why we have a crisis of leadership inside the Church as well as in the secular order. She never batted an eye. She had been a nun for over 60 years and a prioress for decades. She said, “That’s easy. Punishment for sin.” Why do we have bad leadership? Punishment for sin. It’s very biblical. You go back to the Old Testament and you see that leadership was removed from the people of God, the chosen people, because of infidelity to the covenant. They cried out to God because they had no priest, prophet or king. Why not? Because they were unfaithful.

One can recall what happened during the tenure of Pope Paul VI, when he came out with his landmark and prophetic encyclical Humane Vitae. Significant numbers of bishops, priests, theologians and others rejected it. They absolutely rejected it. The majority of Canadian bishops signed the infamous Winnipeg Statement that just categorically rejected Humane Vitae. That kind of rebellion is catastrophic. Paul VI was prophetic with that encyclical and much of what he warned about has come to pass.
WHO KNEW that Father Corapi might be conducting field research on infidelity and the lack of personal holiness as he spoke?

Meantime, it's the rest of us who note yet another scandal by yet another proclaimer of the gospel, then get back to our field research on the ongoing "catastrophic" effects of the ongoing Catholic "crisis of leadership" and the rebellion of those who presume to fill the vacuum.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

It's oy veh, oy veh. . . .

Kill me now. No . . . wait. No need to. Just let this here video play out, and that should do the trick.

Is it just me, or did Christianity start to lose its savor (if not its Savior) when it stopped leading the culture -- embracing and creating art for beauty's sake, because beauty itself is a manifestation of the divine in this world -- and started following a false gospel of crass utilitarianism?

I wonder what went first, the church's mind or its heart?

You remember how, in "American Pie," Don McLean sang "the Father, Son and Holy Ghost caught the last train for the coast"? I now know why the Holy Trinity might have done that.

Sorry, guys, there's no escaping sanctified diarrhea like "Sunday," which merely rebrands the secular diarrhea of Rebecca Black's "Friday." And sadly, the fact remains that crap like this is about the best American Christianity can muster anymore.

crap-evangetastic mush such as this liturgical lounge lizardry if the mere association weren't totally unfair to Nick the Lounge Singer.

It ain't
rocket science, brothers and sisters.

If you spend four or five decades bombarding the wretched masses with superficial garbage and calling it Christian, don't be shocked that the world isn't beating a path to the church house door. Even heathens (well, some of them, at least) have standards.

And eventually, they come to think that God is as full of crap as His people.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tightass likes . . . tight ass?

Can we agree it's not a good idea to engage in a culture war when you're completely outgunned and your ranks are full of Benedict Arnolds?

Can we agree that "conservative" Christians engaged in this "war" with all the forethought and all the tactical aplomb of George W. Bush, circa 2003?

And finally, can we just agree the culture war is over, and the "moral majority" lost? Actually, it wasn't even a contest.

MAYBE WE could call it "Dobson's Last Stand," considering this story in Miami New Times about one of the men who co-founded the Family Research Council with him:
The pictures on the profile show a shirtless young man with delicate features, guileless eyes, and sun-kissed, hairless skin. The profile touts his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch c*** (uncut)" and explains he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything" — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.

On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

At the small western Miami townhome he shares with a roommate, a nervous Lucien expressed surprise when we told him that Rekers denied knowing about his line of work from the beginning. "He should've been able to tell you that," he said, fidgeting and fixing his eyes on his knees. "But that's up to him."

For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)
THE FRC will be unable to hide from this one, so it just as well address the issue. Then again, what in the world could its officials say? "Holy crap! This may have just discredited us?"

As for Rekers' part, it seems there's no explaining this one away. His pathetic attempt to do just that was his best possible shot. Read on:
In his interview with New Times, Lucien didn't want to impugn his client, but he made it clear they met through, which is the only website on which he advertises his services. Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or You cannot just happen upon one.

To arrive at Lucien's site, Rekers must have accepted's terms of use, thereby acknowledging he was not offended by graphic sexual material. He then would have been transported to a front page covered with images of naked, tumescent men busily sodomizing each other.
OH, MY! And then it gets really disturbing if you apply just a little imagination.

Not to mention Rekers' blog, Again, from New Times:
Indeed, much of Rekers's activism over the past three decades — beginning with his 1983 book, Shaping Your Child's Sexual Identity — has been devoted to improving children's lives by educating them, protecting them from their own budding sexualities, and keeping them safe from gay adoptions — as he did by testifying as an expert witness in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida.

Well, it's a good thing Rekers isn't gay himself. Lucien tells us that Rekers frequently takes in foster children and that four years ago he adopted a 16-year-old boy. We found the boy, who is now Lucien's age, on Facebook. He declined to be interviewed.
IN THE ARENA of culture and morals -- in the quest to redeem a fallen culture and dysfunctional society -- it just doesn't work to look at this and say "Well, he's a son of a bitch, but he's OUR son of a bitch."

You can't preach the gospel and promote good morals with a gay "rent boy" by your side. Well, you can, but the cynics will laugh and everybody else will be scandalized. You can't win a "war" by giving your "enemies" ammunition.

Assuming, of course, that what Christians are called to is war. Which we aren't.

We're called to love our neighbor and proclaim the truth -- in love. This is not achieved by entrusting a pearl of great price to culture-war hypocrites who lust after "rent boys" as they troll the halls of power, flattering Caesar and living a lie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christ Channel

If Clear Channel and all its radio-consolidating, automating and homogenizing brethren are the death of American radio, what does it say about us when the Christians are worse?

Love it or (more likely) hate it, at least Clear Channel has tiny local staffs of local people at some of its allegedly local radio stations. But what of K-Love, which seems to be K-swallowing the K-dial K-whole?

Radio veterans like Jerry Del Colliano refer to Clear Channel and its corporate wannabes as "repeater radio." And that's true, as far as it goes.

BUT IF Clear Channel, Citadel, Cumulus, Entercom and the other megaliths that control the radio dial fairly can be called "repeater radio," that must make the non-profit, non-commercial K-Love (and a heavenly host of national operators just like it) something akin to a North Korean radio set -- it can tune in but a single station programmed from a central location by the central committee.

No local voices.

No local programming.

No local people.

No local focus.

RIGHT NOW, the Educational Media Foundation runs K-Love on 412 stations and translators in 44 states. It runs the younger-skewing Air 1 service on 200 stations and translators in 40 states. All told, that's 612 stations and translators for EMF.

In the world of secular, commercial radio, Clear Channel still is the Big-Though-Shrunken Kahuna, with 900 stations from coast to coast. Cumulus has 310, by way of comparison, while Citadel has 223, Entercom 110 and Cox 86.

The difference between these big commercial players and the non-commercial, religious "Christ Channel" is that -- though most of their stations have been comparatively gutted over the last decade or so -- the commercial operators still have some local on-air staff. EMF stations don't.

As a matter of fact, because EMF is non-profit and, based on that, the Federal Communications Commission granted it a waiver, not one of the K-Love or Air 1 stations is required to have actual studios in the community it serves.

Not that anyone would be there if they did, however. All programming originates from the EMF studios in Rocklin, Calif. -- a Sacramento suburb.

Of course, you could level the same charge at any number of radio ministry-operated Christian stations around the country, which consist mainly of a computer, an audio interface, a satellite dish and receiver . . . and a transmitter and antenna.

APPARENTLY, when these Christian radio folk asked themselves "What Would Jesus Do?" the came up with the answer "Hold the people at arm's length." Or continent's length . . . whatever.

Right about now, you may be wondering "So what?" After all, the local has been disappearing from "local radio" ever since deregulation came in 1996. Not surprisingly, listeners have been disappearing since 1996 as well.

But some remain, and what Christ Channel has to do with anything is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh. From the Post-Gazette earlier this month:
There's satellite radio and commercial radio. There's secular radio and religious radio. The latter may not be a ratings giant, but Christian radio is growing -- at least in terms of sheer volume.

Yesterday, a successful syndicated contemporary Christian music format called K-Love launched here at 98.3 FM. And when St. Joseph Mission, the new owner of Sheridan Broadcasting's three Pittsburgh stations takes over, it plans to debut Catholic religious programming in the market.

That would give Pittsburgh nine religious stations in a mid-size market of about 40 stations. It also brings in an infusion of new Catholic programming, mirroring growth in other cities.

"I've never seen a time in any market where the Christian format has become so highly sought after, and where the competition has been so fierce. I think it's going to heighten," said the Rev. Loran Mann, president and general manager of gospel station WGBN (1150).

"It's a very interesting time for Pittsburgh radio and for the gospel market in particular."


In the current economic climate, selling smaller stations with lower frequencies and less market coverage has been a challenge. This has also proven to be a boon for religious broadcasters.

"Right now it's difficult to find a buyer for any radio station, really," said George Reed, managing director of Media Services Group in Jacksonville, Fla. Still, he says, "Christian operators are actively buying stations. Part of the reason is they can get them at a bargain."

"It's a buyer's market" for these kinds of stations, said Robert Unmacht, a consultant with IN3 Partners, a media and business consulting firm in Nashville, Tenn. "And they're buying."

And while they may not be ratings grabbers, Christian stations can still manage to succeed. "You can have a significant audience, and if it's a commercial station, do a fair amount of commercial business," Mr. Reed says. "Or if it's noncommercial, you can generate donations without being a major player in the ratings book."

Smaller operators can opt for syndicated religious programming and avoid competing directly against a secular music or talk format programmed by a Clear Channel or CBS station.

The popularity of contemporary Christian music is also driving the radio format, Mr. Reed says.

K-Love is a rapidly expanding contemporary Christian music format in radio markets in 44 states. It fills a void here in terms of giving Pittsburgh a full-time contemporary Christian music station.
Part of its appeal is that it follows the model of the traditional adult contemporary format -- a format aimed primarily at young women. "It doesn't get preachy. The music's good and it appeals to that group of women," Mr. Unmacht said.
IN THE CASE of Pittsburgh, K-Love only got one of three stations broadcasting "Froggy" country to the area. The Catholics, however, took out 61 years of Three Rivers history to broadcast, in all likelihood, satellite programming from EWTN. And the "local" studios won't even be in Pittsburgh, but 40 miles away in Latrobe.

St. Joseph Missions bought heritage black stations WAMO-AM and FM, as well as a third black gospel-formatted AM station, from Sheridan Broadcasting for $8.9 million.

WAMO-AM went on the air in 1948 and had served the city's African-American community since 1956, adding an FM signal on New Year's Day 1961. With the takeover by St. Joseph Missions -- which follows the failure of a previous Catholic format on another area AM station -- 35 employees lost their jobs.

Ironically, Joseph is the patron saint of workers.

I USED TO WORK in Catholic radio, so I can tell you how things likely will go. The vast majority of the stations' programming will come from EWTN Radio in Ironwood, Ala. -- near Birmingham -- via satellite. There may be some local programming, but probably not much.

The vast majority of Catholic radio puts the low in "low budget." And with St. Joseph Missions already shelling out $9 million, I can't see significant money going into facilities or programming -- the focus will be on fund raising, which will be directed toward keeping the stations on the air, covering administrative expenses and staging religious conferences.

It is not a good sign that the little-known ministry is located outside the Diocese of Pittsburgh. It is a worse sign that St. Joseph Missions also blindsided local diocesan officials with the purchase, which brought serious African-American heat upon clueless local clerics.

But the worst thing about all this is that three stations will be Catholic -- but not catholic -- and without any sense of real solidarity or engagement with its potential audience. It's really quite simple: Rich Catholics in Latrobe will be beaming traditionalist Catholics in Birmingham into the ether over Pittsburgh in an expensive exercise of preaching to the choir.

To which none of the "broadcasters" belong. Because they're in Latrobe and Alabama -- or, in K-Love's case, northern California.

AND THAT'S the story in Pittsburgh. It also is the story in communities all across the United States. It may well become the story on Long Island in New York, where the only public station is up for sale and no one knows whether you can outbid K-Love's (or some other religious broadcaster's) fat wallet.

Let me emphasize that I'm not against religious broadcasters -- I used to be one. I'm just saying religious broadcasters suffer from many of the same pathologies that afflict commercial, secular ones. And in some respects, those pathologies are even more pronounced.

As I said earlier, you haven't seen "repeater radio" until you've seen what passes for much of Christian radio nowadays. And I don't know how Christ Channel serves the public interest -- or that of the Almighty -- any better than Clear Channel.

The God we serve sent His only Son -- Who not only was from God but was God -- to live, teach, laugh and weep with His creation . . . and then ultimately to die for His creation.

Jesus never phoned it in when it came to the salvation biz. In this age of "economies of scale," He wouldn't have lasted a second at Christ Channel.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Onward Christian soldiers. . . .

Instead of teaching the children and renewing a culture, a group of Christian jihadists finds it's much easier to just make asses of themselves railing against nekkid mermaids.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
has the scoop on Starbucks' morning cup o' ho:
Seems that one person's smut is another person's morning latte.

A Christian group out of San Diego has found grounds for outrage over the new retro-style logo for Starbucks Coffee.

The Resistance says the new image "has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute," Mark Dice, founder of the group, said in a news release. "Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks."

The group, which claims more than 3,000 members nationwide and has found a place advancing various conspiracy theories, is calling for a national boycott of the coffee-selling giant.

The logo will run on Starbucks cups for "several more weeks," said company spokeswoman Bridget Baker, and will live on as the logo for Pike Place bags of coffee.

The image is a less-revealing throw-back version of what the chain used for many years starting when it first opened in Seattle in 1971. That original logo was resurrected in its Pacific Northwest outlets for a time in 2006 to mark the chain's 35th anniversary.


The explanation for that initial logo design is explained in the book "Pour Your Heart into It : How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time," written by company founder Howard Schultz:

"[Creative partner Terry Heckler] poured [sic] over old marine books until he came up with a logo based on an old sixteenth-century Norse woodcut: a two-tailed mermaid, or siren, encircled by the store's original name, Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice. That early siren, bare-breasted and Rubenesque, was supposed to be as seductive as coffee itself."
OF COURSE, while our brave and fearless Christian soldiers are defending against the expected onslaught at Pas-de-Calais, the enemy has been having its way with the Normandy sector of the cultural landscape.

Our hapless army has lost its children and surrendered all the parts of the culture that matter. Better, I suppose, to rail against the Starbucks mermaid's bodacious tatas, then beat a hasty retreat into a cultural ghetto that leaves most right-minded folks hungry for "the good stuff" over at Satan's Place.

Sounds like a winning battle plan to me.

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, I suppose we're fortunate that Starbucks didn't bring back its original 1971 logo, pictured at right.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gimme that old-time anti-Semitism. . . .

Oftentimes, it gets real weird real fast in the Catholic ghetto.

So weird that a generation of Catholics -- adrift in a Marty Haugen present and groping in the dark for a glorious lost Church it never knew -- will grab onto any crazy damn thing that brings to mind what it must have been like in the Good Old Days. Some turn to websites full of alleged signs, wonders and prophesies of how Mary warned that Jesus said that the Father's about to kick some cosmological ass and avenge the offended sensibilities of the True Faithful in this vale of tears.

OTHERS FIND a bishop who talks a good orthodox game and gives him the kind of fealty they ought to be reserving for Christ . . . even when the prelate turns out to be a better wolf than he is a shepherd. As we have witnessed again and again since 2001 in the Scandals.

And others, still, go around trying to rehabilitate notoriously nutty, anti-Semitic radio priests from the 1930s. Yes, I mean that demagogue of the Depression-era airwaves,
the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin.

Unsurprisingly, I stumbled across this last phenomenon because of the
Catholic Blog Awards. It's that time of the year in the Catholic blogosphere, and various members of "St. Blog's Parish" are campaigning for Best Whatever of 2008.

The awards are administered by, based in Abbeville, La. (Oh, Lord, why are all these things in my home state?) And if you go to the home page -- which advertises nominations for the Catholic Blog Awards, incidentally -- and if you scroll down a bit, you will see a column of "guest contributors."

Actually, make that guest contributor. All of the highlighted articles (for example, "Wikipedia is Marxist!") are by the same Canadian guy, Stephen Volk. One of them, naturally, is
a press release for the website

For everthing [sic] there is a season! Knowing that "Satan" means "slander," it's time to call a firm halt against the decades of unwarranted liberal slander towards Father Charles Coughlin…

While this man should by now be hailed as one of America's great heroes - who tirelessly fought for the poor during the Great Depression - his name is still being sloshed in the mud of liberal propaganda.

I have read many first editions by and about Father Coughlin. It is easy to conclude that he was never an antisemite. Absolute nonsense. But in the charisms of the Church he did have powerful, powerful God-given Gifts of Wisdom, Discernment and Knowledge:

"I do ask , however, an insane world to distinguish between the innocent Jew and the guilty Jew as much as I would ask the same insane world to distinguish between the innocent gentile and the guilty gentile."

Is this not completely fair? Or does the Bible not say, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

To clear up decades of confusion, is now open! As a Grand Opening Gift to you, go now to download your FREE complete book by Father Charles Coughlin, "Am I an AntiSemite?" Then check back often for FREE download of all his radio programs!

Why the urgency? Because today's "political correctness" is cultural Marxism.

Once again, we need strong, visionary leadership to prayerfully and boldly combat this before our civilization is left in ruins!

WAS FATHER COUGHLIN an anti-Semite? Here's a clue, from a Time magazine article, dated Nov. 14, 1938:

In Switzerland four years ago a book went on trial—the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion—in a suit brought and won by the Swiss Jewish Community against two booksellers (TIME, Nov. 12, 1934). This notorious work, first published in Russia 33 years ago and circulated more or less surreptitiously throughout the western world since then, purported to expose a Jewish plot to destroy Christian civilization, dominate the earth. The Protocols, as the Swiss court found, have been repeatedly proved a fraud.


Yet in the past two months Rev. Charles Edward Coughlin, rabble-rousing radio priest, has published the Protocols in his weekly Social Justice. Brushing aside the matter of their authenticity, Father Coughlin repeatedly stressed their "factuality," quoted Henry Ford (a onetime believer in the Protocols) : "They fit in with what is going on." Father Coughlin's point, buttered with many a some-of-my-best- friends-are-Jews disclaimer of antiSemitism, has been that Jews are to blame for Communism, that the aims of the Protocols closely resemble those of Communism—and of the New Deal, the C. I. O., numerous other Coughlin bogies.

Last week a fellow priest went to bat against the authenticity of the Protocols and, inferentially, against Jew-Baiter Coughlin. He was Rev. Michael Joseph ("Mike") Ahern, jovial, witty Jesuit, head of the geology department at Weston College near Boston. On his Sunday radio Catholic Truth Period, Father Ahern drew upon European Catholic sources to demolish the Protocols.

He closed his talk with a quotation from a recent talk by Pope Pius XI which, although published in European Catholic papers, has not been publicized in the U. S.* Said the Pope: "It is not possible for Christians to take part in antiSemitism. We fully acknowledge that everybody has the right to defend himself, protect himself against whatever threatens his legitimate interests. But anti-Semitism is inadmissible. We are all Semites spiritually."

OF COURSE, the careful historian must consider his primary-source material. After all, this article was in Time, and Time was part of the media and -- as Coughlin often told his radio audience -- the press is dominated by the Jews.

Or so true anti-Semites would have us believe.

While Coughlin was serializing the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" -- a modern-day favorite of Islamic radicals everywhere -- in his national newspaper, something big was about to happen in Nazi Germany. The night of Nov. 9 - 10, 1938, came to be known as

A month later, Coughlin continued a series of radio talks proposing that the Nazis weren't right, necessarily,
but they had their reasons for going after the Jews. Make sure you click on Undercover Black Man's audio links.

Here's what, again, Time reported about the first of Coughlin's post-Kristallnacht radio programs
in its Nov. 28, 1938, edition:
Although all week U. S. radio had been speaking with thunderous unanimity against Nazi pogroms, Father Coughlin made resounding reservations when he joined the chorus. Nazi persecution of Jews was bad, he said, but communist persecution of Christians was worse. Admitting that his sources were Nazi, he said that 56 out of 59 members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the U. S. S. R. were Jews. He also accused Kuhn, Loeb & Co. of giving financial aid to the Bolshevik Revolution, attributed that accusation to a British White Paper.

Promptly Station WMCA (Manhattan) spoke for itself, followed its broadcast of the speech with more than the usual disclaimer of responsibility. Said the WMCA announcer: "Unfortunately, Father Coughlin has uttered certain mistakes of fact."
BOY, THOSE LEFTIST media Jews really had it in for that preacher of the True Faith, didn't they?

Or perhaps it's just that some "Catholic" websites have a weakness for lunatic-fringe "contributors" who specialize in defending the indefensible. Like the egregious media offerings of a demagogue Catholic priest from long ago, in some mythical gilded age when everything that called itself Catholic must have been really, really Catholic.

I shudder to think of what future generations in some dystopian remnant Church might latch onto from this present era of American Catholicism. Note to Catholics of the future: The music of Marty Haugen and David Haas --to name only a couple of bad composers of my time -- sucks now, and it'll suck then, too. Be forewarned.

The Catholic ghetto is a strange and interesting place. And the things Catholics in the cultural feedback loop get caught up with brings to mind a thought that, frankly, scares the crap out of me -- everything we do is a witness to the faith. And I have proven myself lousy at this "witness" thing over and over and over again.

You see, the Catholic cultural ghetto is just like the Evangelical ghetto, or the bar-scene ghetto, or the hip-hop ghetto, or any kind of popular-culture ghetto. There's a pearl to be found here and there (for example, the glories of the gin-and-tonic or black-and-tan within the bar-scene ghetto), but there's a lot more junk and stupidity to be found there.

For example, getting stupid drunk and throwing up all over your pants and shoes after too damn many gin-and-tonics or black-and-tans.

So, while all these Catholic blogs in the Internet section of the Catholic ghetto are competing for Best Whatever in the Catholic Blog Awards -- all in good fun, it must be said -- somebody who knows squat about the Church or what she really stands for . . . what Christ really stands for . . . is going to start following the links and seeing what's there.

If we're lucky, they might find an alleged image of the Blessed Mother on a piece of burned toast.

If we're not, they'll find some wingnut making apologies for a Jew-hating priest from Radio Days past on a website called, which runs the Catholic Blog Awards, which lots of Catholic bloggers want to win.

And in the name of truth, justice and good taste, they'll look elsewhere for . . . well . . . truth, justice and good taste.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

F*** The Golden Compass

I don't want to hear another thing about the evils of the flick aimed at making your kid an atheist -- namely The Golden Compass.

Oh, no. I'm not defending the film. Philip Pullman has been quite explicit in what he's all about. To wit, "My books are about killing God." And The Golden Compass is based on the first in a trilogy of Pullman's God-killing books.

If you're a Christian, and you have kids, and you send them off to see The Golden Compass, that's what you're getting.

"My books are about killing God." And about portraying a fictionalized, twisted version of the Catholic Church in a horrible light. That's what I'm saying.

Still, it's a free country, and New Line Cinema is free to make toxic films about toxic subject matter -- just as Americans are free to poison their minds and their souls. Willingly or ignorantly.

Free will reigns supreme. Free will . . . a gift to mankind by the deity Phil Pullman thinks he can "kill," because He's already dead or, more precisely, never existed.

BUT I'M NOT HERE to talk about that. I'm here to rip the boycotters a new one.

Like I said, I don't want to hear another thing about The Golden Compass. Especially from Christians.

Why is that?

That's because being against stuff is not enough -- our faith is no mere negation of whatever peeves Christians at the moment.

That's also because Christians -- and their denuded culture -- have been too dense, shortsighted, narrow-minded and intellectually sclerotic to come up with much that's any better for the past 20 years, ever since Walker Percy penned his last novel, The Thanatos Syndrome.

Even then, I've had a Catholic bookstore manager tell me a priest once warned him not to stock those "dirty" Percy novels. Ah, Jansenism . . . the heresy that keeps on puckering you up, Buttercup.

Likewise, when Flannery O'Connor was still cranking out masterpiece short stories, all the little old ladies wanted to know why she couldn't write something "nice."

Well, Christians can't create stuff that's uniformly "nice" and inoffensive because that inevitably leads to a flaccid catalog of mediocre crap. Propaganda for Jesus, as it were. And if Jesus needs an army of hack propagandists to do His bidding, He isn't worthy of our worship.

CHRISTIANS ARE OBLIGED to illuminate the truth, which will lead to the Truth.

I say "obliged" quite deliberately. We are "obliged" to be witnesses to the truth, which often neither is nice nor inoffensive, because He Who was Truth hung on a cross until He was dead to ransom our sorry asses out of a Hell of our own choosing.

And I guess -- so far as our sins ended up being the death of Jesus . . . each and every one of us, Christ killers all -- Philip Pullman really is "killing God" with every book he foists off on a lemminglike public. But he couldn't -- and can't -- stop Easter Sunday. The tomb is still empty.

Mr. Pullman is obliged to create art which reflects the truth. Instead, he spins clever tales of the Big Lie.

Christians are obliged to create beautiful things, provocative works, great art that is true to themselves and true to the Truth. Instead, by and large, the world gets vapid junk in the name of Jesus.

FRANKLY, I think crap for Christ is way worse than broadsides against Christ. With broadsides against Christ, at least you can consider the source.

But when you have Christians' cultural defecations in Christ's holy name -- Left Behind, anyone? Or those truly pious and truly awful "classic" Catholic films on EWTN? -- it's easy for people to get the idea that Christ is shit. Philip Pullman couldn't pull that one off in his wildest atheist dreams.

Of course, you won't be hearing a recitation of this particular rant on Catholic radio. Or on your local evangelical "praise and worship" station. Or on the Catholic News Service wire.

See, I said a bad word. I wasn't being pleasant. Some superannuated citizen might be taken with the vapors . . . no matter how therapeutic those vapors might ultimately be.

Walker Percy, pray for us.

Flannery O'Connor, you pray, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dear Diary: Of porn and blue jeans

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

* * *


Dear Diary,

Well, now. From today's newspaper: Father Bob Kolfrier didn't actually POSSESS the kiddie porn, his lawyer says in entering a not-guilty plea. Now, if he hadn't been wearing SHOES when he said Mass at the Pope FM chapel Tuesday of last week . . . .

Yes, that's right. Said Mass at our chapel. My boss told me FIVE MINUTES before he showed up to say Mass for some station staff and Spirit Fire adult leaders.

You see, "He has been hurting to say Mass for people, and he's in a state of grace." The chancery approved of the whole thing. But it was kept strictly on the QT so reporters wouldn't "hound him."

I understand compassion for the sinner and redemption. I do. But the recklessness of it all is deeply weird, deeply disturbing and deeply shocking. It just WAS NOT APPROPRIATE. If he absolutely, positively had to say Mass for a congregation, do it at somebody's house. NOT AT THE RADIO STATION.

I got the hell out of there and tried not to see him. But he was there eating pizza with the charismatic Spirit Fire folk when I got back and was still there when I left.

Yes, my boss has compassion for priests into kiddie porn but not for lapsed Catholics who show up for Mass on September 12, 2001. Or for the people at what she described as "the grunge Mass" she ended up attending at St. Mark's last Sunday.

Grunge Mass? Yes, people were mostly wearing blue jeans and were just sooooooo lukewarm, don'tcha know?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dear Diary: Shakespeare comes to Pope FM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

* * *


Dear Diary,

Father Bob is a sick man, obviously is in deep denial, and his priesthood in all likelihood is shot to s***. But, hey, so are we at Pope FM . . . at least the deep in denial part: Our official response to this present darkness is "Time to circle the wagons."

We're probably pretty damn sick (in our own peculiar, clericalist way), too.

Not that Father Bob's priesthood shouldn't be toast. The saving grace of all this is the Madis County prosecutor stepped in and shined light on this (I hope) before Bob had the chance to slide from kiddie-porn addiction to something worse.

I've heard some things over the transom that cause me to have more sympathy for the man.

What the story is here is how just about EVERYONE is victimized by chanceries' ineptitude (to put it charitably) in dealing with this issue. In this, Father Bob has been victimized by the chancery's refusal to act more decisively just as much as anyone.

The archbishop basically destroyed the man's priesthood by putting him back into parishes right away with only the "stay away from kids" caveat -- one on which the archdiocese obviously did not follow up. If he had been reassigned to a desk job, been monitored and mentored closely and required to get serious mental-health counseling, perhaps one day -- one day -- he could have safely resumed parish work.

Here is what I think is going on. The arch has a bee up his butt about the media, and he has an ego the size of North Dakota. I mean, this is a SERIOUS blind spot the man has, with serious arrogance about it.

And he spreads this us-against-them mentality to everyone around him, and in the case of my boss, eggs on her native "evil secular media" mindset. It's all very Nixonian and, indeed, paranoia will destroy 'ya.

Furthermore, his chancellor's playing poor scared and eager-to-please souls like Mary, my boss, like a Stradivarius, feeding them full of crap about the latest "assaults" and recon missions against Mother Church by the evil and stupid press corps.

A pretty good trick if you can pull it off -- which, quite frankly, isn't tough to do when dealing with pious Catholics -- getting the people whom you have victimized to help cover your ass when the press tries to hold you accountable for your (to put the most charitable interpretation on it) bumbling.

This evening I told Mary in no uncertain words that the only way to "handle" the press is to tell reporters the truth, and if there's something you just can't comment on, to say "no comment." I told her reporters aren't stupid and they know when people are bull****ing them.

I also told her that I had read the newspaper story and asked her whether she really had said Father Bob was on Keys to the Kingdom two or three times, because that struck me as being way low -- that it was more like seven or eight times. She told me that she just wanted to get the reporter off the phone and pulled a number out of her hat.

Later, I told Mary that I thought the archdiocese had victimized everybody involved, most notably Pope FM and "Spirit Fire" by not keeping adequate tabs on Bob and by keeping the station and the youth group in the dark. (And the jerks did keep EVERYONE utterly in the dark.) I said that the chancery had risked unspeakable tragedy if anything had happened with a kid, and now was trying to hide from the press to escape accountability.

Basically, I said, the archbishop's job is to take responsibility for what goes on during his watch -- that was why the pope made him a bishop, to be a man and take the heat when the rubber meets the road.

I closed by saying I have been nearly physically ill over this since the news broke this weekend, and that I was totally disillusioned with the archdiocese. I added that I had expected better than the way Cardinal Law handled things in Boston.
(Yes, in talking to True Believers like Mary, the chancellor is using the "shrinks gave him a clean bill of health" line. But they're not even saying that much publicly.)

Everyone keeps writing about this like it's an ecclesiastical Watergate. It's not. What it is, is a Shakespearean tragedy. And when you start stringing this s*** together from around the country, it's a Shakespearean tragedy of earth-shattering proportions.

THAT is the story. And the question at hand is this: How do we free faithful Catholics and scared-s***less Catholic media managers like Mary to do what needs to be done to save our Church, instead of them just being rank enablers for the walking pathologies in our chanceries?

A big question, that. And the stakes couldn't be higher.

Dear Diary: It gets worser and worser

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

* * *

TUESDAY, FEB. 26, 2002

Dear Diary,

The archdiocese is trying to pull a fast one.

Bob Kolfrier may have been "ordered" to stay away from kids (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) but he didn't. He was involved with the "Spirit Fire" youth group connected to Pope FM this whole time. He was an occasional guest priest on Keys to the Kingdom -- and we know that because of the bishops' document on Catholic media, HE HAD TO BE APPROVED BY THE ARCHBISHOP.

I know for a fact this was the case. The producer told me there were only so many priests approved to appear on that show.

This is total and complete bulls***.

THIS IS THE BUNCH OF LIES being fed to the newspaper:

Eight months before authorities started investigating a priest for allegedly
viewing child pornography, the Catholic Church removed him from his teaching
duties and limited his contact with children, according to police documents.

The Rev. Bob Kolfrier told his archbishop in February 2001 that he
viewed child pornography as many as four times a week, for several hours each
time, according to a search warrant filed Monday in Madis County.

Kolfrier was removed from his teaching position at Carson Catholic High
School and was ordered to abstain from contact with children outside of worship
services, documents state.

Last June, Kolfrier transferred to St. Theresa Catholic Church in Southtown as part of a regular rotation.

AFTER READING TODAY'S ARTICLE and seeing that what it stated was not the truth, the missus and I knew what conscience demanded that we do.

We called up one of the reporters on the story, and told her that Father Bob had been involved with Keys to the Kingdom, the Spirit Fire youth group and had gone on bus trips to "Steubenville of the Rockies." We also told her the chancery HAD to have known he was involved with Keys to the Kingdom because every priest on that show was approved by the archbishop or Father Mark Leinstell, the chancellor.

We also gave her the name of the bishops' document so she could look it up on the Web.

I wouldn't bet money that I won't be fired. Damn these people. Damn them all.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dear Diary: My pervs-in-the-Church nightmare

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.
* * *

MONDAY, FEB. 25, 2002

Dear diary,

From the newspaper:
A priest at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Southtown told an investigator that he viewed child pornography on the Internet as part of research he had been conducting since he was a seminary student.

Details of the investigation were included in a search warrant filed Monday in Madis County District Court. The investigation is taking place in Carson, where the Rev. Bob Kolfrier formerly served at Word Incarnate-St. Joan parish.

No charges have been filed against Kolfrier, and the investigation is continuing.

The search warrant gave these details of the investigation:

Church officials learned in January 2001 that two young men had seen Internet addresses for child porn Web sites on Kolfrier's computer in the church office.

The young men told a priest at another church, who notified the Word Incarnate-St. Joan pastor.

A meeting involving Archbishop Felton Burris, the Rev. Mark Leinstell, chancellor of the archdiocese, the pastor and Kolfrier was held Feb. 1, 2001.

Kolfrier was removed from his teaching position.

Kolfrier later transferred to St. Theresa in Southtown during the regular rotation period in summer 2001.

Police learned of the allegations in October 2001.

Sgt. Michael Bauer of the Carson police interviewed Kolfrier in his Southtown office Wednesday. According to the search warrant, Kolfrier told Bauer that he viewed child pornography on his computer three or four times a week for two or three hours at a time over three years. He said he was conducting research on child pornography. He also said he used a computer program to remove the Web site addresses from his computer.

Kolfrier was not at Masses this weekend and will not be working in the parish until the investigation is concluded, Leinstell said.

One reason for Kolfrier's absence, Leinstell said, is so television and newspaper reporters "won't run him down."

Leinstell said the archdiocese will cooperate with the investigation.
WHO THE !@#$ does Father Bob think he's fooling . . . other than, perhaps, himself? And note that the archdiocese knew about this for more than a year, but kept him in parish ministry. AND WORKING WITH THE KIDS ON KEYS TO THE KINGDOM !!!!!!!!

Ths is outrageous. Here at Pope FM, my boss is swimming down the River of Denial. She buys the research line, though she says it was "incredibly stupid." A quote from her: "I've known Father Bob since he was in high school, and there's no way he has any interest in child pornography."

One of the kids involved with Keys to the Kingdom is like a daughter to Mrs. Favog and me. She's devastated, more or less. She kept telling her mom, "But he's a great guy!"

Furthermore, Mary -- my boss -- said they would be having a meeting Friday night with the Keys to the Kingdom kids. She, the "spiritual activities director" and Father Fabian Desmond will handle it. I suggested they bring in a counselor specializing in this, from the Catholic rehab facility. I was rebuffed out of hand.

God help us all. Damn these people. Damn them.

Dear Diary: It's no longer academic. It's personal.

Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.
* * *

SUNDAY, FEB. 24, 2002

Dear diary,

So much for Jesus in the tabernacle warding off all the bad s*** from Pope FM. It don't get no badder than this. Southtown is a suburb, pretty much right in the south-central part of town. Fr. Bob Kolfrier is a pretty regular guest on Keys to the Kingdom . . . I know him. Our assistant pastor at St. Matthew's is a good friend of his. He is (was?) supposed to be the priest on Keys to the Kingdom tomorrow night to talk about the Mass.

This from today's newspaper:

Published Sunday

February 24, 2002

Southtown priest under investigation in child-pornography case

A parish priest in Southtown is under investigation by authorities in Madis County in connection with allegations of child pornography.

Madis County Attorney John Nift confirmed the investigation and told the Carson Daily News that two search warrants had been served - at the Carson church where the priest had been assigned until last June as well as at a residence in the Southtown area. Computer equipment was seized in the search, the newspaper said.

Nift said no arrests have been made and the investigation was continuing. He could not be reached Saturday for comment.

The newspaper said the priest, the Rev. Bob Kolfrier, served at Word Incarnate-St. Joan parish in Carson from 1998, when he was ordained, to June 2001, when he became an associate pastor of St. Theresa parish in Southtown.

The Rev. Larry Beidecker, pastor of St. Theresa parish, said Saturday that he had no information on the investigation. He referred all questions to the Rev. Mark Leinstell, chancellor of the archdiocese. Leinstell could not be reached.

I (WE) NEED PRAYERS. If the archdiocese and my boss do not do the right thing tomorrow -- that is, make sure Father Bob (even though legally there is a presumption of innocence) IS NOT on the air and DOES NOT interact with those kids -- I intend to immediately quit my job. In this kind of thing, there is no debate, there is no worrying about the extreme financial hardship you will be leaping into.

There just isn't.

So, Holy Mother of God, pray for my boss to have common sense and for a sense of Pope FM's self-preservation override her propensity toward ultrapiety and circling the wagons. Pray for the archdiocese to do the right thing . . . and quickly. And pray for my actions to be guided by the Holy Spirit and not by intense anger, righteous though it may be.

Dear Diary: More Catholic than the Pope FM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

* * *

SATURDAY, FEB. 18, 2002

Dear Diary,

I am spitting mad.

The other week, as I told you, I somewhat got into it with a couple of the Pope FM powers that be over their planning to bar the Keys to the Kingdom teen-agers (the ones not on the air) from our chapel during the show. I was told it was just for one week, until the little darlings could be "instructed" in proper decorum before the Blessed Sacrament.

Well, tonight, the kids were supposed to be instructed. But still, before I left the station tonight, our "spiritual activities director" denied one teen-ager permission to go into the chapel when he asked, and then told several of the kids that they were requested to (again) stay out of the chapel during the show.

I find this outrageous and incredibly self-righteous. Absolutely outrageous, this telling ANYONE, without demonstrated cause, that they cannot enter into the presence of the living God. That IS what we Catholics believe about the Eucharist, right? That it is the living God? Christ incarnate?

TRUTH BE TOLD, most of these kids are a lot more pious than I am. Though the young volunteer producer of Keys to the Kingdom told me last week that she had to "yell" at one kid for going in the Pope FM chapel barefoot.

I barely restrained myself from telling her "So what? The best Jesus ever did in the footwear department during His earthly life were first-century flip-flops."

Dunno, maybe my revulsion and puzzlement at this rigidity and hyperdevotionalism has turned me into a squishy AmChurch goofus, but I figure Jesus cares more about what's in the kids' hearts than what's on their feet.

This is deeply weird.

And Lord forgive the plank in my own eye, but I told the missus this morning that if Flannery O'Connor were still alive, she'd be writing about our "spiritual activities director."

Furthermore, I offer the following prayer with total sincerity and considerable pain:

"Saints Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor, O precious barefoot Son of Man who had no home to lay Your sacred head . . . HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPP!!! Amen."

And "Oy veh!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dear Diary: Going to Eucharistic charm school

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

* * *

SATURDAY, FEB. 9, 2002

Dear Diary,

A massive sex scandal (again) is upon the Church -- priests diddling CHILDREN, diddling TEENS, and bishops covering up the whole mess. It is too much to bear. For me, this may well end up being the final straw. I cannot bear this; I cannot bear AmChurch vapidity; I cannot bear "traditionalist" obsession with protocol above all.

If many are to persevere as Catholics, we are going to have to find a way to reconcile doctrine with the fact that many of those whom we are supposed to obey in matters of morals and faith possess neither. And these are the corrupt shepherds God supposedly has given us.

How, exactly, is a body supposed to get his mind around that? And the reality that the faction of the Church so concerned about the Church's eroding moral authority is the most prone to whistle in the graveyard when presented with the gravest erosion of that moral authority. How am I supposed to get my mind around that?

There were two great schisms over less serious stuff than this. I know there is precedent for similar kinds of corruption in the Church. But would there have BEEN a Church anymore had these previous fits of corruption taken place in the age of mass media and a disarmed Vatican?

God help me, I think the only way some superpious types retain their faith with such (apparent) serenity is that they are, on some level, deeply warped.

We had a staff meeting at Pope FM yesterday about the dedication of our Chapel of the Eternal Word this coming Monday. It was like being hurled back to Jansenism 1955.

Listen, I get upset about liturgical abuses. I cringe when I see women going up for communion with their cleavage falling out of their tops. I was apoplectic when I saw a college kid in the communion line on Good Friday with a "Coed Naked Volleyball" T-shirt on. And I came close to doing physical violence to kids at a "youth Mass" who couldn't stop acting up even during the consecration.

But it damned near enraged me to hear our station manager and volunteer "spiritual activities director" imply strongly that while genuflection on one knee is the Vatican requirement, it really doesn't go far enough. Thus, we should feel free to genuflect on both knees or prostrate ourselves when entering the chapel.

And I was sooooooooo encouraged to hear that I would be allowed to enter into the presence of my Lord and Savior only when properly attired. My usual blue jeans, I understand, are OK so long as they are "in good repair." But staff members are not to wear shorts in the chapel, even walking shorts, as we are to set an example for proper reverence.

Walking shorts are OK for visitors.

Our spiritual activities director then said how it dismays her to see kids in shorts at Mass at the boarding-school chapel near her house. Egad!!! I'm sorry, but when it's 95 or 100 degrees here, I wear nice shorts to Mass.

You know, I know people who work at that school, and I know the reputation of Father, and I know that any inappropriately dressed kid would be out of that church in a heartbeat.

But for me, the coup de grace, was when the powers that be decided that on Monday night, the kids in for Keys to the Kingdom will not be allowed into the chapel without adult supervision because they had not been instructed yet in proper chapel decorum. I objected in the strongest terms about denying them the opportunity to be in the Eucharistic presence, saying that if a kid went in there and -- out of ignorance -- wasn't sufficiently reverent, it couldn't be held against him. And if a kid were in there unsupervised and were willfully irreverent, that was a matter between him and God.

Furthermore, I said, suppose someone called into the show and had real problems. Should the kids not on the air be prevented from taking their prayers to the Real Presence?

"Jesus hears our prayers just as well wherever we are," said the spiritual activities maven. "They don't necessarily have to be in the chapel to pray."

I love it when people slow-pitch to Barry Bonds.

"Well," I said, "that would seem to beg the question of why exactly we have a chapel."

At that point, the boss decided that we needed to move on to other topics.

Of course.