508 #187: Rectangular Fields

posted by Mike on March 23rd, 2012

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s panel is Brendan Melican and the man the T&G called “Worcester’s most-traveled, most-jailed, and most notorious political radical since Abbie Hoffman,” Scott Schaeffer-Duffy.

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Catholic Myopia

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on March 21st, 2012

When President Obama proposed legislation that would require Catholic institutions to include contraception in their employee health plans, the hierarchy went ballistic. In our diocese, the bishop wrote a very forceful letter, which every pastor was required to read at Mass, urging all Catholics to contact the White House and express opposition to the proposal. Under a banner of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, Catholics raised such an outcry that the President backed down and moderated his proposal.

Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, explicitly forbade artificial contraception. That ban is still part of Catholic teaching, and bishops must promote it, especially when some of what falls under the label “contraception” involves abortion, but the vigor of the hierarchy’s campaign against the Obama proposal raises serious questions of moral priorities.

The last time an episcopal letter was read in all the parishes involved the issue of gay marriage, and the time before that involved abortion. Again, the Church has clear teachings on these issues which bishops are obligated to articulate, but the degree of opposition given to them dwarfs other concerns.

A friend of mine once mused, “I think you have to pay fines for your sins to get into heaven: a half million dollars for killing, ten thousand for stealing, a hundred for lying, and a quarter for masturbation.” The hierarchy seems to be standing this paradigm on its head.
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posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Religion, Worcester | on March 21st, 2012 | Permanent Link to “Catholic Myopia” | 1 Comment »

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

posted by Mike on March 17th, 2012

It’s an annual tradition here at Pie & Coffee to repost this video of “The Real Saint Patrick.”

In today’s Give Us This Day essay on St. Patrick, Robert Ellsberg writes:

Patrick’s thirty years as a wandering bishop are the stuff of legend. He is justly honored as the patron of Ireland. But it is well to remember that Patrick was the victim of Irish injustice before he became the symbol of Irish pride. His spiritual conquest of Ireland followed the prior victory of love over the anger and bitterness in his own heart.

Rocco Palmo covers the feast day in the Saint Patrick’s Day Capital of the World, New York City.

This week in Worcester Magazine, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy noted it’s the 15th (I think) anniversary of the local Catholic Workers being banned from the St. Patrick’s Day parade:

As a proud Irish-American, Worcesterite, and avid runner, I am delighted to see Worcester’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade grow with the addition of the Celtic 5K Road Race. As a member of the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community, I still do not understand why the Parade Committee banned us from carrying an icon of the saint with his words, “Killing cannot be with Christ.” That banner was carried in two parades prior to it being banned, and the Parade Committee gave us the Spirit of Peace trophy in 1994 and Book of Kells Award in 1995. The idea that excluding Saint Patrick’s call for nonviolence makes the parade, which includes many military units, more “fun,” as the current Committee Chair suggested in WoMag, is sad, especially in the context of Ireland’s long bloody struggle and our own wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Irish winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, joined many others in appealing unsuccessfully to the Worcester Parade Committee to welcome our banner. It still mystifies me why they do not.

(This banner is still held at the side of the parade, and various local dignitaries still stop by for a kind word. This St. Patrick’s Day politics is weird stuff.)

Also, here’s the only known audio of Catholic Worker co-founder Peter Maurin. He’s reading his essay “Makers of Europe,” also known as “When the Irish Were Irish.”

Rep. McGovern, others arrested at Sudanese Embassy

posted by Mike on March 16th, 2012

Washington Post:

George Clooney and several of his activist colleagues were arrested and taken away in handcuffs outside the Sudan embassy on Massachusetts Avenue in on Friday morning.

Before their arrest, the assembled group of congressmen, religious leaders and cultural icons spoke about the humanitarian crisis faced by hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who have been prevented from receiving international aid by president Bashir.

Worcester’s Rep. Jim McGovern was among those arrested.

More at Amnesty International.

Last week, Rep. McGovern introduced the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012, “To require the development of a comprehensive strategy to end serious human rights violations in Sudan, to create incentives for governments and persons to end support of and assistance to the Government of Sudan, to reinvigorate genuinely comprehensive peace efforts in Sudan, and for other purposes.”

See also: McGovern’s 2006 arrest at the Embassy, McGovern’s 2009 arrest at the Embassy, various Darfur posts on this blog, Darfur Genocide on Trial, Protesting/Landscaping at the Embassy

508: Sunshine Week 2012 Special

posted by Mike on March 15th, 2012

This week’s 508 is a panel discussion about Sunshine Week and government transparency.

The panelists are Mike Benedetti, Thomas Caywood, Jeremy Shulkin, Kevin Ksen, and Mauro DePasquale.

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Mentioned: Sunshine Week petitions to the City Council, Bootleg 2008 Worcester City Council video archives

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Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, Athlete

posted by Mike on March 11th, 2012

Nice T&G article about Catholic Worker and Pie & Coffee contributor Scott Schaeffer-Duffy’s love affair with running:

He vividly remembers the date — Feb. 11, 2009 — when his mission to fitness began. That April, he ran in the Jay Lyons Memorial 5K and finished in a most-respectable 31 minutes, for a first-timer among the 50-59s. He was in the process of dropping 48 pounds from his 6-foot frame, yet he was now driven to drop his times considerably as well.

Talk: Praying with the Mystics, March 7, Worcester

posted by Mike on March 5th, 2012

Michael Boover, Catholic Worker and theology professor, reflects on the rich wisdom of Bernard of Clairvaux, Julian of Norwich, and other mystics.

March 7
7:00 pm
SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker
52 Mason Street
Worcester, MA 01610

Refreshments to follow.

508 #186: This Nonsense

posted by Mike on March 1st, 2012

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s panel is Tracy Novick.

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