Bono: U2 Need to Ask Where Your Soul Is

Bono wrote a compelling piece in the NY Times yesterday

I come to lowly church halls and lofty cathedrals for what purpose? I search the Scriptures to what end? To check my head? My heart? No, my soul. For me these meditations are like a plumb line dropped by a master builder — to see if the walls are straight or crooked. I check my emotional life with music, my intellectual life with writing, but religion is where I soul-search.

The preacher said, “What good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Hearing this, every one of the pilgrims gathered in the room asked, “Is it me, Lord?” In America, in Europe, people are asking, “Is it us?”

He seems to also point out that much charity comes not from religious people but rather from spiritually agnostic people. Which causes me to reflect on whether we as religious people are really committed to all that we say we believe… especially when others who don’t believe in much of anything, or at least anything with some structure or a tangible kind of God that’s not some amorphous, unknowable being.

A big question remains in this Easter season: Do we really believe in the resurrection or is there really no good news at all? If we believe than it’s about time that we start acting like it and start taking better care of one another.

Richardson at the Vatican: Successful Dialogue at Work

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a pro-choice Democrat who recently ended the death penalty in his state with help from his local Archbishop Michael Sheehan met with Pope Benedict today as I reported yesterday. Rocco has the report:

Richardson, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, led a state delegation to Rome for the evening lighting ceremony, which was sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic group whose activities include a world-wide campaign against capital punishment.

Earlier in the day, Richardson attended Benedict’s weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square, where he was seated in the front row of spectators, along with Sheehan.

Following the audience, Sheehan introduced the governor to the pope, saying “Holy Father, this is our governor and he just repealed the death penalty,” to which the pope “nodded very happily in agreement,” the archbishop later told reporters.

Perhaps the folks at Notre Dame can take a lesson from Archbishop Sheehan who is one of the finest men I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet with and know. We need to work with people, to influence them charitably. Maybe even to wear them down a bit. Governor Richardson said this was a tough decision for him to make but still, he was able to do this with the Archbishop working with him to save the lives of prisoners who have the right to live and to inform the state that they don’t have the right to play God.

What if we all looked for openings of influence like this? Would our elected officials give us more of a benefit of the doubt when we bring them an issue that we disagree on? Would they listen to us more because they’ve had a good experience of working alongside us despite our disagreements at times?

If the folks at Notre Dame were smart they’d ask President Obama to outlaw the death penalty and to work with them on it to bring that to fruition. That’s something that has a better chance of happening and maybe if it does move us a stride forward we can then work together on seeing where we can go further in uniting on the abortion question.

But my sense is that those in the Cardinal Newman Society will point out that Capital Punishment isn’t as bad as abortion and will say that it’s not an objective evil and the church even allows it in certain situations. Ingrained in their own limited Republican agenda, they fail to see that in a country such as ours there is no compelling reason for us to execute anyone. We have the means to protect society from those who do evil and instead many state governments opt for a cheaper solution and resort to vengeance. Let me be clear, I don’t favor abortion and think we should do all we can to end abortion in this country (and in the world for that matter), but we also need to do this strategically in order to succeed. And right now, yelling nasty words at politicians doesn’t seem like a good strategy to me.

I’m just sayin’.

A final point: if anyone should see the madness in capital punishment it’s Christians. After all, that’s how Jesus died.

America the Beautiful

Congrats to America Magazine, the Jesuits fine weekly Catholic magazine which celebrates 100 years today. Three of my favorite people Maurice Timothy Reidy, Fr. Jim McDermott, SJ and Fr. Jim Martin, SJ are editors there and have done a wonderful job in bringing the magazine into the new Millennium.

Ad Multo Annos!

My Pastor the TV Star

Yesterday Msgr. Michael Hardiman, the pastor of my parish, St Sebastian’s in Woodside launched his TV career, sitting in with Jim Watkins and Mary Murphy on Channel 11’s coverage of Archbishop Dolan’s installation here in NY.

The good pastor is also a blogger and had this to say after the experience:

One question Jim asked me off air and then on as well was “What do you think the reaction of a man is when he receives that phone call from the Nuncio, a great sense of accomplishment and recognition, the way a man feels when he is elected CEO?” I said, no from having spoken with more than one bishop, the man feels completely humbled. And I’m sure that was true of Archbishop Dolan today as well.

Agreed. Most of the Bishop’s I know say similar things and even the Pope mentioned that “it was obvious that the guillotine was going to fall on me” during the Papal election.

A similar analogy: Most U.S. Senators can easily see themselves being President of the United States. However, most priests have a hard time imagining themselves as a Bishop and many have an even more difficult time thinking about the idea of them ascending to the Papacy. That being said, there are certainly social climbers in the priesthood, to be sure, but many of them and certainly the best of them don’t think they deserve all the accolades that go along with being a Bishop.

Congrats to Msgr. Hardiman on this TV gig and read more of his blog here

Attention College Students

My colleague Nora Bradbury Haehl is writing a book in collaboration with Busted Halo on adjusting to college life. She needs your help:

That is why we’re asking our readers who are still in college or recently graduated (in 2007 or 2008) to offer us their wisdom via our Freshman Survival Guide Survey, so we can pass it along to incoming freshmen. Your advice will be a resource for new college students and will help smooth the transition from life at home to life on campus for thousands of college freshmen across the country. If you wish, your results will remain completely anonymous. If you would like to participate further in the research for this book, you will have the opportunity to share your contact information at the end of the survey. All respondents giving contact information by our deadline (3 a.m. EDT, May 1, 2009) will be entered in a random drawing for a $100 Amazon Gift Card (one entry per person, all contact info must be verifiable).

Go here to take the survey:


Maybe it was because he suggested that she was going to hell?

From AP:

Mel Gibson’s wife of 28 years filed for divorce Monday, citing irreconcilable differences.

Robyn Gibson filed the petition, which offers no details of the breakup, in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The couple have seven children, but only one under 18. Robyn Gibson has requested joint custody of their son who turns 10 on Tuesday.

Details of how the couple’s assets will be divided were not spelled out in the court filings. Robyn Gibson is seeking jewelry and earnings and assets she accrued after the couple separated, and a share of the money and assets Gibson, 53, has earned during his nearly three decades as a Hollywood hitmaker.

She wants the actor-director to pay spousal support and her attorney’s fees.

The Gibsons released a joint statement Monday, seeking privacy.

“Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so,” the statement read.

Never good to see a marriage break up. But I found this unseemly interview awhile back:

Gibson was interviewed by the Herald Sun in Australia, and the reporter asked the star if Protestants are denied eternal salvation. “There is no salvation for those outside the Church,” Gibson replied. “I believe it.”

He elaborated: “Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. Honestly. She’s, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it’s just not fair if she doesn’t make it, she’s better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it.”

Yikes. So she’s a saint but she’s going to hell?

Someone needs a theology lesson.

And apparently a good lawyer. Rumors of possible infidelity on Gibson’s part have surfaced on a few gossip sites.

Today’s inspiration: Britain’s Got Talent

A hat tip to The Anchoress for pointing us here:

Susan Boyle as the Anchoress duly noted seems a bit eccentric but then again, aren’t well all? She then does something simply unbelievable and stuns the entire panel. Something you’ve never seen before for sure! And it will stay with you all week.

There’s no embed on this video from Britain’s Got Talent
but it’s a must-see.

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Palm Sunday

I love Palm Sunday. We get to see more people on Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday than we do most of the year. And while many people find it annoying that these folks only show up during these times (and maybe in addition Christmas and Easter) we have such an opportunity to feed them some good spirituality.

I would also challenge those who don’t like these people that they may be the reasons that they don’t show up more often. Complaining about their lack of attendance might just be the nudge they needed to go right back out the door from whence they came–and most likely not to return again. Other traditions would fall over backwards welcoming these people with open arms each and every Sunday–and yet, we don’t do that often enough–not even four times a year when we know they’re going to make their way back to us. There’s a lot of hatred out there–why not be a force for positive change? Pastors often are too busy with preparations as are the rest of the staff–what is it that we can do as laity to take on the task of welcoming people into our pews this Palm Sunday?

So today, ask yourself–not father, not deacon, not the choir director…

How can you welcome someone in your parish that you might not see on a regular basis?

That’s where we need to be this Holy Week…and I pray that we all find it in our hearts to do just that.