Deacon Steven Greydanus on Good and Bad Preaching

Published October 1, 2020

Over on the book of Face, my friend Deacon Steven Greydanus wrote two separate posts illustrating two sides of the same coin as far as what good and bad Catholic preaching looks like. I’m reprinting them here because they are helpful in a host of ways.

The first ran on September 10 and was in response to the dreadful preaching of a Rising Star among the Most Wrong Demographic in the Church, Fr. James Altman, who preached this awful culture war screed disguised as a homily on July 2:

Conservative Catholics are making a folk hero of a “brave” priest who not only ridicules the idea of systemic racism today from the pulpit, but says that of the “top three causes” of lynchings, “homicides and rapes were behind it all, so it was capital punishment.” Does not mention racism once in connection with lynching, in a homily ostensibly *about* racism.

* * * UPDATE: A more extensive critique of Fr. Altman’s homily collected from my comments in various places:

Fr. Altman begins by affirming that there is and has always been systemic anti-Catholicism in this country, but heaping scorn on the idea of systemic racism (“If there were such a thing as systemic racism…”).

He ignorantly and incorrectly indicates that you only ever hear systemic racism discussed in terms of “symptoms,” never “causes.” So he hasn’t done the bare minimum homework necessary to understand the subject he’s belittling from the pulpit.

Discussing symptoms associated with systemic racism, he acknowledges that Blacks are incarcerated at higher rates than Whites, but explains this away by citing higher crime rates in the Black community.

The reality, though, is that even when Blacks and Whites commit crimes at similar rates (as rates of drug use and drug dealing are similar in the Black and White communities), or when comparing cases where Blacks and Whites commit the similar crimes under similar circumstances, Blacks are a) more likely to be arrested, b) if arrested, more likely to be charged, c) if charged, more likely to be convicted, d) if convicted, more likely to receive stiffer sentences, and e) if sentenced, more likely to be denied parole — again, all of this for similar crimes committed under similar circumstances.

Fr. Altman repeatedly and emphatically states that over 360,000 White men — he repeats this statistic, 360,000 White men, at least three times — died in the Civil War “largely to eliminate the scourge of slavery” or “to free the slaves.” This is erroneous on two grounds.

First, NOT ALL OF THOSE 360,000 SOLDIERS WERE WHITE! Hundreds of thousands of Black men also fought for the Union — and they died at higher rates than their White counterparts.

There were fewer of them, but still 40,000 Black men died fighting for the Union. So the number of White men who died was 320,000, not 360,000.

That’s still a lot, obviously, but it’s important that in his zeal to celebrate White men, Father obliterates the contributions of Black men and deprives them of their agency. Black men were not just sitting around passively waiting for White men to liberate them, as Father wrongly indicates.

Second, to say that the Union fought “to free the slaves” (or “largely to eliminate the scourge of slavery”; Fr. Altman varies his language here) is at best highly misleading and incomplete.

It’s true that the Confederacy went to war to defend slavery and white supremacy. But the Union went to war, initially and fundamentally, not to end slavery but to preserve the union.

As the war went on, the necessity of ending slavery did become a larger part of the Union cause in the war. But the Union soldiers who marched on the Confederacy in response to the attack on Fort Sumter were moving to put down a rebellion and preserve the union, not to end slavery.

Fr. Altman seems preoccupied with partisan point-scoring. He finds great significance in the fact that most slaves were owned by Southern Democrats, overlooking the reality that the Civil Rights movement and the Republican “Southern Strategy” led to a mass exodus of Southeners from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party of today. He’s also eager to report that some White people were lynched and that some Black people owned slaves.

He states that in 1860 “only 1.4% of Americans owned slaves,” misleadingly averaging in Americans who lived in states where slavery was illegal. (More accurately, nearly 25% of households in slaveholding states owned slaves — and many non-slave-owning households aspired to own slaves and strongly supported the institution.)

Most egregious are Fr. Altman’s comments on lynching.

He begins with statistics on lynching that he repeatedly says are from the “NCAA” website. (This is a slip of the tongue, of course — as a public speaker myself, I know all about such slips of the tongue — but he says it more than once, so apparently he isn’t clear on the name of the NAACP. I can’t help finding it ironic that the letter he drops is the one indicating that we’re talking about, you know, *people*.)

Commenting on “the top three causes for lynching,” Fr. Altman says that “homicides and rapes were behind it all. So it was capital punishment. Carried out by a mob, never a good thing.”

So Father criticizes lynching because it’s mob justice without due process, but adjudicates the victims presumptively guilty of the charges which he says were the “causes” — not the pretext, or even the charges, but the “causes” — of lynching.

So, to review, Father

  1. discusses lynching at length *without once* mentioning or acknowledging the role of racism in the history of lynching — in a homily or a meditation ostensibly *about* racism (and more precisely how systemic racism doesn’t actually exist);
  2. ascribes the “causes” of the lynchings, not to racism, but to the charges in question; and
  3. calls lynching “capital punishment” for those crimes (implying that it was deserved). He also
  4. states earlier in the talk that disproportionate crime rates among Blacks are responsible for higher rates for incarceration (leaving listeners to draw the conclusion that more Blacks were lynched because they just raped and murdered more often, as opposed to being more likely to be wrongly accused of rape or murder, BECAUSE OF SYSTEMIC RACISM).

That’s about as clear a denial, or at least a dismissal, of the role of racism in the history of lynching as you could ask for. * * *

Many white Americans, including Christians and Catholics, are skeptical that racism is a significant reality today.

Yet here’s a priest on YouTube who’s a celebrity with Catholic conservatives because he says you can’t be Catholic and a Democrat—he even has a bishop in Texas on his side!—and so far his racism denialism doesn’t seem to be costing him with his cheering fans.

The following day, Steve wrote another piece which, while obviously related to the piece above, is applicable to a lot of other situations and gets at the heart of what Catholic preaching is supposed to be and do:

Few things trouble me in quite the same way as clergy bandying about their own opinions—liberal or conservative, fringe or mainstream—from the pulpit as if it were the Word of God or Church teaching.

Most recently I’ve been disturbed by homilists claiming from the pulpit that COVID is a manmade conspiracy and dismissing the role of racism in the history of lynching. I’ve heard homilists proclaim the messages of Fátima or pious traditions as if they were binding on the faithful. I’ve also heard progressive priests lean into their own ideas about women clergy and partisan politics.

It’s one thing to have opinions. It’s another thing to make them part of a homily.

The homily is a unique rhetorical form. In current liturgical praxis, it is considered part of the liturgy, but of course there is no text for it. It must serve the readings in the setting of the Mass, but it must also reflect the condition and the needs of parishioners.

It must be “personal” in the sense of being authentic to the homilist’s faith, to his relationship with Christ, and expressive of his insights, but not personal in the sense of reflecting his own opinions, however strongly felt.

There’s no getting around the fact that this requires an integral union of the Gospels and Church teaching with the cleric’s faith and life. More elusively, the homily must be a collaboration with the Holy Spirit, which requires a serious and sustained effort at holiness of life and closeness to Christ.

When a deacon is ordained, the book of the Gospels is placed in his hands and he is told: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

If what you read and what you believe are two different things, you cannot preach authentically at all. If you don’t practice what you preach, then you may preach orthodoxy but it will not be in collaboration with the Holy Spirit and your words will lack power. If you are incapable of distinguishing, either in principle or in practice, what you believe by faith from what you hold as a matter of opinion, you cannot reliably serve the Word of God, the teachings of the Church, and the needs of parishioners.

I have preached about 40 homilies in my four-plus years as a deacon. I still think of myself as a beginner—a talented beginner, to speak in candor, but still far from proficient.

One thing I can say is that from the beginning I have tried to preach what I was passionate about, but to exclude anything like an opinion from my preaching. I may not always have been completely successful, but it’s always been my intent.

I have nothing to add except, “May God deliver us from preachers like Fr. Altman and send us a million more like Deacon Steve Greydanus.

35 Responses

  1. Seminaries in the United States need to be dismantled and disinfected. At this point, they are basically Catholic Proud Boy recruiting centers.

    1. @lindadaily1 That’s because Vatican 2 was a vocation-killer…and that’s not just vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, but to the laity. The V2 church is going the way of mainline Protestantism, unsurprisingly. As far as I know our parish has had no vocations since he 1960s. But a young man from our local SSPX chapel was ordained in Écône last year.

      1. @ Tony

        Really! A vocation killer! A literal calling from god, a literal charism of the church, a literal gift from god, can be the subject of cancel culture.

        Who knew!

      2. @ben:

        Regardless of how one looks at it, we ultimately have free will and also make decisions based on our environment. It seems to me that one could be called to a vocation, or potentially called, and not follow that call for various reasons.

      3. I must admit I don’t know enough to give a proper answer, but for some reason I personally would find it more troubling if God only called those whom He knew would say yes and never even gave anyone else the opportunity.

      4. @bensnewlogin A literal calling from god, a literal charism of the church, a literal gift from god, can be the subject of cancel culture.
        I’m not sure exactly what you mean…but if you’re referring to Vatican 2 (or Vatican 1) as a ‘calling from God’ or a ‘charism of the church’ then I’m afraid I disagree with you. Both councils were called by popes for no good reason. Both resulted in serious harm to the church.

        For what it’s worth, I was an altar boy in the US when we switched from the 1965 English language Mass (pretty much the Tridentine rite) to the new Novus Ordo. One week we were an integral part of the eternal sacrifice. The next we were standing around like gooseberries with nothing to do, while Father presided over the community. Being an altar server used to be a window into the priestly life. Suddenly it became a bit of window dressing, like those unnecessary Eucharistic ministers or the folks who got picked to bring up the Offertory gifts.

        Of course, it wasn’t just that altar boys stopped being interested in the seminary. Loads of priests left the priesthood (including one from our parish)–it wasn’t what they signed up for, anymore. And loads of people stopped going to Mass, too. I can hardly blame them.

      5. @Ben

        That He is omniscient doesn’t change what I said earlier, though. God offers free gifts to literally everyone even though He would know who will and will not accept them in the end.

  2. Good stuff from the deacon. I’ve given opinions under a pseudonym but am always conscious of the difference between opinion and Word, even if I mix it up sometimes.

    Fr. James needs the joy of Jesus. They say he’s like Corapi, but when he was on he had a touch of humor.

    Regarding seminaries I think the Sulpicians, who have been through the post Vatican II tumult, do a pretty good job.

  3. I’ve seen it discussed elsewhere that there is little real preparation for preaching in seminaries, so it’s not surprising that political and personal opinions, bad jokes, and personal anecdotes proliferate. I’ve heard that for much of history, the sermon(now homily) was given outside of Mass (as in afterwards or at a different time). How many priests are good enough at preaching that a lot of people would stick around just to hear them once Mass is finished, or go out of their way to listen to them?

  4. I guess I have to take another challenge. I honestly think most of us aren’t that bad. He’s one guy and the whole point of his popularity is being different. But I’ll try to keep improving.

  5. I actually agreed with the vast majority of what Fr Altman said, if not all. But I do understand the difficulties in contemporary issues from the pulpit–how can a priest provide moral guidance without veering too much into partisanship? So I understand, and largely sympathise with leftists who feel uncomfortable with Fr Altman.

    I’ve often felt the same way. A few weeks ago I tuned into the livestream of our Sunday parish Mass (I’ve been taking advantage of the bishops’ suspension of the Sunday obligation), but was so upset by the sermon that I haven’t tuned in again. The Novus Ordo gospel was Jesus saying to Peter ‘upon this rock I will build my church’, and the parish priest, alluding to the (highly questionable) Vatican One dogma of papal infallibility, said he’d like to offer 3 examples of Jesus ‘speaking through’ popes: Pius XII, when he extended First Communion to young children and encouraged frequent communion; John Paul II, when he gathered non-Christians and prayed with them at Assisi, and Francis on climate change.

    Never mind the fact that this passage has been (ab)used by Ultramontanists to give absurd levels of authority to the pope. The notion that Jesus is using Francis to give us instructions on the environment is incredibly offensive. Unfortunately our pastor, who (unlike myself) is not a scientist, swallows the whole man-made climate change narrative hook, line and sinker.

    So I get it. Even if Fr Altman is right–and I think he is–what is fair game for the pulpit?

      1. @Mark, as usual your responses confuse and intrigue me. What makes you think I ‘love white supremacy’? I’m not even sure what the phrase means, as you use it. What makes you think I ‘hate the Faith’? What faith, precisely, do you imagine I ‘hate’? I freely admit that i have problems with the 2 Vatican councils, which have been a huge oecumenical impediment.

        My comment was simply that–though I agree with Fr Altman pretty completely–I understand how straying into politics from the pulpit can cause legitimate discomfort. I’ve experienced something similar myself, and gave an example. So my question is: is it ever permissible to preach about political issues? If so, when? Because surely (as Fr Altman made clear) the political can and does intrude on the moral sphere.

  6. 1. I totally agree with Mark and Greydanus.

    2. This kind of defense of racism and institutionalized racism that you are criticizing, the defense created with an absolute lack of concern for and ignorance of sociology, psychology, history, and anthropology, is disgusting.

    3. It is also absolutely nothing new. History is replete with similar examples. The history of Christianity is replete with similar examples. The history of the Catholic Church is replete with such examples.

    It’s called using god to justify what cannot be justified by any other means. Does this priest say “god wants you to despise this race and murder, rape, and maim them.”? No, he does not, because that would be impolite, at best, and worse—impolitic. You’re not not supposed to say the quiet part out loud. In fact, you’re not supposed to admit that there is a quiet part. One of the great commandments, perhaps even greater than “love thy neighbor as thyself”, is that “Thou shalt not offend against the notions of thy neighbor.”

    Especially if you are in a position of power, and comfort, and have a lot of people listening to you, they having been taught from birth that you represent god on earth. Especially if you long ago lost the precise location of the point where you end, and god begins. I have written about religious megalomania many times before. It’s nothing new for me. And this is a great example of it.

    It’s also a great example of what the REAL problem is, which I’ve also written about many times before: no one in a position of power, comfort, and privilege likes “uppity“.

    A long ago pope had this to say on the subject of racism:

    “10. It is deplorable that non-white persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against non-white persons should not be to claim that the non-white person is not disadvantaged. When such a claim is made and when deinstitutionalizing racism is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect racial equality, to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

    And isn’t that what Father Altman is saying?

    Oops! I don’t know what happened with my iPad. It wasn’t about racism at all, it was about the Jews. My erase key isn’t working. Let’s try it again.

    “ 10. It is deplorable that Jewish persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against Jewish persons should not be to claim that the Jewish condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when Jewish activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

    GOSHES! It happened again! I don’t understand why my ipad keeps indicating equivalences of different historical issues. It wasn’t like the holocaust was the result of 1900 years of officially sanctioned and blessed Christian anti-semitism or anything, and extending right down from the book of acts, Martin Luther, and directly to the age of That Guy With The Mustache. I wish I had kept what I found long ago, the justifications of the Lutheran Church in Germany for the murder of 6 million Jews. Because you can bet they were justified, and justified fully. It was absolutely horrific reading, made all the more horrific by the fact that it was THE LUTHERAN CHURCH IN GERMANY that was doing it.

    Nothing to do with 1900 years of anti-semitism, Any more than current racial attitudes have a thing to do with nearly four centuries of white people owning black people, and when they couldn’t legally do that any more, still doing everything in their power to makes the lives of those black people legally as difficult, dangerous, disadvantaged, unpleasant and expensive as they could.

    WE WILL LET YOU KNOW IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT YOU ARE LESS THAN US. AND GOD AGREES WITH US, BECAUSE NO ONE LIKES UPPITY.

    So let’s try again. I have rebooted my ipad. It turns out it wasn’t actually about a long ago Pope. And it wasn’t about the Jews, either— THIS TIME.

    “ 10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

    Finally.

    So, when Benedict said that violence against gay people was perfectly understandable, there was nobody to call him out for his words. Most Christian or most unchristian behavior— you be the judge. But clearly, a justification for violence in one, gigantic, cosmic MEH! When Cardinal George of late, unlamented memory, compared gay people to The KKK– the violent murderous, racist, inhumane self-identified-as-Christian KKK, as opposed to 50 years of pride parades — for actually thinking we have rights, that wasn’t deplorable, it was just cardinals being cardinals. When father Ted was molesting pretty much anything that was male and had legs, with the almost certain knowledge of hundreds, if not thousands of people who chose to look the other way, while simultaneously condemning gay people who just want to live their lives, well, we could blame that on gay people for infiltrating the church, as so many rad-trad Qhristians will be happy to inform you.

    Nope. Couldn’t possibly be the 1000 year history (AT LEAST!!!!!!) of the church in this regard, and the culture of clericalism and secrecy that has enabled it to continue on, shall we say, UNMOLESTED? (Not to mention, the necessity of preserving all of that lovely power, money, and bling. Did I forget to mention that the diocese of Rockland was the latest to declared bankruptcy to shield itself from payments for abuse claims? JUST THIS WEEK!). For the record, I have never molested a child in all of my 70 years, and I have certainly not claimed that I was chosen by God not to molest children. I’m a decent person with empathy and morals. That is all I needed.

    It is not my intention to hijack this thread, and I will not get into a debate about homosexuality on it, because that is not what this is about. My entire point is simply this:

    None of this, not one jot nor tittle of it, is new.

    It’s all old news. It has been going on for a long time. As always, it’s simply a matter of who ox is getting gored.

    1. A correction to my previous posting. I’m juggling a lot this morning. One of my dearest friends has dementia, and managing his life, my life, and writing are not necessarily compatible.

      It was the Diocese of Rockville Centre, basically Long Island, the eighth largest diocese in the US, in one of the richer areas of the US. And this is what the bishop had to say.

      “The financial burden of the litigation has been severe and only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bishop John Barres, the spiritual leader of the diocese that serves 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island, said in a video posted on the diocese’s website. “Our goal is to make sure that all clergy sexual abuse survivors and not just a few who were first to file lawsuits are afforded just and equitable compensation.”

      I’m no expert in bankruptcy law, but as Glorious Leader has demonstrated with his four or sox or seven bankruptcies, the goal of a bankruptcy is certainly not to make sure that everybody gets paid, or even more unlikely, that everybody gets paid more money.

      Quite the opposite.

      But I’m there will be someone who can accuse me of being anti-Catholic for pointing it out.

      1. I assume that this was directed at me, Mark. As I predicted.

        exactly what did I say that was untrue? What implication was untrue? I’m agreeing with you 100%. Yes, i was being sarcastic while i was doing it. Mea Culpa.

        I never said that the real core of your faith is evil. Those are your words, words you have used before. Not mine. Nor would I say that, because I frankly don’t care about the real core of your faith. I’ve said this many times. I care what is done with your faith, what nides behind it, or ore accurately, under it. AS DO YOU, or you wouldn’t be writing your daily colimns.

        Father Altman is busy defending racism, immorality. Dominionism, trumpism. You donkt like it. i agree.

        There is a history of defending Jew hatred in the church. I didn’t make that up. As a Jew, I had to wait till 1960 before the church finally apologized for blaming us for murdering Jesus – A totally scurrilous idea taken right from the book of acts and the gospel of John. My ancestors fled the duchy of Bessarabia 140 years ago because of jew hatred.

        And as a gay man, well, as i said, your molestation problem, which rightly horrifies you, is YOUR molestation problem,. NOT MINE. NOT THE GAY COMMUNITY’S. I am sick to death of being blamed for the depredations of heterosexuals, celibate priests, and the Catholic Church. As I’ve commented before on these very pages, for decades the Boy Scouts banned anything gay, scouts or scoutmasters. For decades they had a problem with child molestation, which they blamed on gay people. The bulk of the scoutmaster’s were heterosexually married; that is a simple fact. they were not members of the gay community. If you ask them, they would tell you they were heterosexual men. But there they were, molesting boys. And the scouts were covering it up just like the Catholic Church did, trying to lay the blame on the people who actually weren’t the problem.

        Why is pointing this out prove that I hate the church?

        The church is trying exactly the same thing, relying on an ancient and vicious prejudice to make people like me a scapegoat for its depredations on innocent children. If I called you a child molester, and accused you of being a danger to morality, family, and children, I suspect you would be very upset about it.

        So why am I not allowed to be upset about it?

        As I have also said many times, father Ted committed his depredations over decades. He had a beach house to which he wold invite his victims. It is impossible to imagine, given his history, but lots and lots and lots of people knew all about it, and just looked the other way.

        So why am I the bad guy here?

      2. Ben, some twenty-something years ago, I have been slandered and called a pedophile by a member of another denomination. He did not make that claim public, he denounced me in secrecy.
        I finally found out about it in 2006 when I saw his comment under my picture in my profile on a social network. I deleted the comment and asked him what it was about. He said that he noticed me browsing pedophile content in an internet cafe and assumed I was a pedophile because I was close to the Church and to him, all Catholics are pedophiles. Never mind that by “browsing pedophile content” he meant that one time that I was asked by the cafe owner and his policeman father-in-law to demonstrate how easy it is to find this content on the web and discuss how to handle it.
        No, to him I was a pedophile like all Catholics.
        This immediately explained *a lot* of things. Like how I was beaten up three times by his classmates. Or how one girl rebuffed me without any explanation whatsoever. Or how I got some rude comments from others.

        Oh, and never mind that he was 18 and already married to a 16 year old girl and they had a three year old child. Like Mark says, some accusations are actually a form of confession.

      3. @tough

        You have a good idea of what I am talking about, then. And I am sorry you went through that experience. I’ve been going through it for 50 years as i have fought for the rights of my people to live free of prejudice.

        I don’t think all catholics, or even most catholics, or even most priests, are pedophiles. I have never said that, nor would I say that, because I do know something about the subject. My point was that the depredations of father ted, like the depredations of bishop bransfield, or Nienstedt, MUST have been known to others. We know this as priests were routinely shifted around, reports quashed, and so on.

        The scandal is as much about the coverups as it is about the actual crimes. It has always been that way. The piarist scandal was 400 years ago. The Jew hatred has been in my lifetime. Father Altman is RIGHT NOW. Mark’s columns about all of this are also right now.

    2. You have a bad habit, in your fathomless hatred of the Church, of always meeting every good faith expression of Church teaching (such as Steve’s repudiation of Altman’s vile racism) with redoubled and retripled attempto to always insist that, No, the real core of your faith is evil. You seem to find it impossible to take yes for an answer. I gotta tell you, it comes off as graceless and insulting. And it frankly feels like being caught in the crossfire of your rage at somebody else and your obliviousness to the people you are actually speaking to and about.

      1. @Mark, When people disagree with you, they’re not necessarily evil or vile racists. Sometimes they disagree because they interpret data differently to you, or see data that you don’t, or don’t see data that you do. Listening to such people, instead of condemning them, might go a long way to making this world a more peaceful planet. It might even change their mind…or (and here’s the risk)–yours.

      2. Tony wrote: “When people disagree with you, they’re not necessarily evil or vile racists.”

        True! But when someone hears a priest justify lynchings and then says he agrees, it becomes obvious what their core motivation is.

  7. On the night of the debate we got together with some friends to drink wine instead of watching the sh*t show. It was an excellent choice.

    Our host was raised Catholic by very conservative parents. When I brought up the strange marriage between white supremacy, religion, and right wing politics, (and how it has manifested in my own extended family) our gracious host, without an ounce of malice or rancor, nodding slowly at the words “strange beast” (that the marriage has produced) stated “at this point I feel utterly detached from Catholicism.” I told him that I completely understood. And I do. It has produced a collective PTSD in the post-boomer generations. The symptoms have manifested intensely for some, and with a kind of sentiment of death for others.

    I went home feeling sad for what has been done to such a nice family. It was stolen from them. They are such good people. It is clear to me that Christ lives on in their family, and that they are far more Christian than the haters who proudly go to church every sunday.

    My older children are asking to be registered at the consulate of their father’s country. They have never felt as ashamed of their country as they feel now. I feel ashamed that I acted like systemic racism wasn’t the actual blight upon our country that it is –for as long as I did. I’d been brainwashed to believe terrible lies. People I love still believe those lies, but it has produced a hard shell around their hearts. Their Christian faith has been stolen from them too.

      1. :). Thank you Ben. That would be good! Friendship and therapeutic laughter makes what is awful out there so much better. We will be wintering in SB if you should feel so inclined as to visit for a beach bbq.

        Smokeless SB sounds pretty good right now, (did you see that red moon last night?) –but I will still be a subject in my mother’s kingdom. She hasn’t quite forgiven me since I drew that little mustache on her Donald and Melania portrait. She will be happier to see my poodle Juno than me.

        The beach always makes everything better.

  8. Fr, Altman fits right in with Republicans, racist to the core, suppressing the legitimacy of non-white people in this country. He is joined by his fellow racist Gov. Abbot and Bishops (checkout Texas Bishops in the last USCCB conference debate on the voting guide)

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election/texas-mail-ballot-drop-vote-2020-election-b744020.html?utm_source=reddit.com
    Gov Abbot can do this, by the way, because Racist-in-Chief John Roberts and his fellows on the Supreme Court struct down the Voting Rights Act.

    The American Church, Republicans, the Pro-life Movement – all believe in and collaborate in white supremacy. Thank God Trump ripped off the covers and made it open.

    It’s all about white supremacy. A pure white Jesus and his pure white Church.

    ****
    Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the removal of mail-in ballot drop-off locations across the state, limiting to just one drop-off point per county.

    Harris County, one of the largest counties in the US, has 12 satellite offices, covering the greater Houston area. The county covers more than 1,700 square miles, with more than 2.4 million registered voters. In Travis County, which holds the state’s capital of Austin, officials had opened four satellite locations for voters to hand-deliver their mail-in ballots. The county of 1.2 million people includes more than 800,000 registered voters, all within a county that’s more than 1,000 square miles.

    Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said state Republicans “are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute.”

    “Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans are scared,” he said in a statement following the governor’s order. “We are creating a movement that will beat them at the ballot box on 3 November, and there’s nothing these cheaters can do about it.”
    ****

  9. @Ben,
    My Mom is lovely except for the horrendous brainwashing. I was trying to tell her something a few days ago and she snapped “I’ve got to go, I’m buying the boys tacos.” –My boys. My response was, “how nice. and they will be tempted to never leave.” Good God, what enablers they have been.

    She loves her family to a fault. She also likes her boys more than her girls. What the heck. I suppose a therapist could explain it. At the end of the day, I remember a saying that came from *her* Mom which was, “it all comes out in the wash at the end.”

    I seriously bring the whole dirty load to God, and ask him to give me patience. Now that I’m in my 50’s I’m humbled enough to extrapolate to the reality that I should apologize to *my* kids for all the sh*t I’m certainly guilty of due to my generation and the myopia it produced.

    Come have tapas with us on the beach.

  10. @Ben
    p.s. She won’t be there at the bbq. Not any beach bbq. It is so sad. She has lost her joi de vie. It breaks my heart. I’m trying to learn from this.

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