May 2005 Archives

Our Fathers

Showtime aired "Our Fathers" last night. A badly acted, hurried production, nonetheless I'm glad Showtime did it. The bright exceptions are superb acting jobs by Christopher Plummer and Brian Denehy. The rest of it was a sloppy production. It does, however, remind us of the secrecy and arrogance of the Catholic church. Thankfully, we also see the caring and holiness of the Church. The Washington Post review of the movie is apt.

Reality Monastery

Jane in London has faxed me an article that appeared in the Tablet about a reality show, The Monastery, on BBC2.

Isn't that a fascinating idea for a reality TV show! Jane says the show is a real hit and has received positive reviews. I'd LOVE to see the same thing done on reality shows both in the US and Latin America.
The even more fascinating thing is how the monastery has seized upon the show, the media context, to embed itself into it seamlessly. You'll love this: one of the reality participants, Tony Burke, an Advertising writer, helped with the website following his religious-awakening experience during the show!

Here's an interesting new book that I've just ordered from Notre Dame Press. "A Church That Can and Cannot Change" by John T. Noonan. He is a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California. He was nominated by Ronald Reagan.

A review in America says: The judge's survey begins with slavery and how it was regarded as morally acceptable from the time of St. Paul and Philemon down thourhg the fathers of the church adn a host of popes and moralists up until its official, long overdue condemnation by the Second Vatican jCouncil which declared slavery to be intrinsically evil. Noonan cites "experience and empathy" as key factors in bringing about the change.


Yesterday I visited the the exciting "Miguel Agustin Pro Human Rights Center" here in Mexico City and learned about their venture, these past 18 months, into the arena of: copyleft, intellectual property rights, public cultural space. They are a 30 person staff dedicated to legal aspects of human rights, including legal actions. Their entry into this important communications rights field is a good sign for the future of open sources.

My friend,Dennis Smith has sent to me an article written by Carlos Romero Moragas, “Copyleft - Software libre: libertad de conocimiento, libertad de creación”that I've uploaed onto my website. It is a concise, clear description of the copyleft rationale and its implications. I think that every church pastor and every religious education leader should read it because open source computer software affects all of us.

From an airpot in Quito,

From an airpot in Quito, I just want to make a mention that Mary Hess´ book, ¨Engaging Technologies in Theological Education¨ is a helpful and deeply insightful book. I´m halfway through it and already the scope of the ideas is breathtaking. The examples are clear and grounded. The theory is apt and helpful.

Good news from Mexico

I'm on my way to Quito for a couple of days, then onto Mexico City. I've been feeling good because of the courage of a group of families and government leaders in Mexico who are standing up against hate and bigotry with radio ads and public discussion. As soon as I land in Mexico on Wednesday of this week I'll try to hear one of these radio spots. The fight for justice and loving human community continues. Hurrah.

Also, this beautiful video lifted my heart this morning. From friends inManila, Simeon's Canticle is inspiring. write Fr. Ari Dy, SJ, and let him know your reactions to the production.

Hurrah! Mary's book is out and I'm gonna start reading it now.
"Engaging Technology in Theological Education: All That We Can't Leave Behind" has a table contents that is inviting.

The price is good too, just $22.95 for the paperback.

Congratulations, Mary.


Last night I saw "Santitos," finally. It was so funny that I roared aloud in my chair. I've not laughed that hard in years, and I'm still happy over it. I've not seen the English subtitles so I don't know if the humor translates well.
This is a visually complex film about material culture, religion, women/men roles and Mexican psychology. Beautifully shot, wonderful music, and ....the writing is gorgeous. One interesting thing is that every review I have read sees a different storyline. Each critic says that the story is "about......." and the story plots are all different. That's a sign of a good film.

Also, and AT LAST, we have a Catholic priest figure on film that can make us Catholics proud. The priest is not a central character but serves a central role as the foil to the adventurous main character, Esperanza. The priest is involved in Esperanza's life, in the life of the town. He really cares, personally and emotionally, about Esperanza. He guides her the best way he can, trying to accompany her by giving good advice about the ways of God. At one point he exclaims to God, "she tells me where she's been but not where she's going." And at another moment he is there for her to embrace (hug)fully in her moment of desperation. When after her repeated confessions he doles out penances to Esperanza, "just in case, throw in five rosaries before tomorrow," he is hilarious.

This is a refreshing depiction of so many priests whom I know and whom I have know since my childhood. They are people who try to be holy and who search like the rest of us, but who have that one special gift: they are sure sources of grace and groundedness when we search for God's voice.

The screenplay was written by María Amparo Escandón, a bilingual writer who lives in Los Angeles. It is based on her novel, "Esperanza's Box of Saints."

liturgies on the net

I enjoyed browsing through the liturgy that Mary pointed to, a video of a liturgy held at Luther Seminary. So I'm going to format two taped liturgies I picked up in Manila last February from Jesuit Communications and stream them here. Nice when you get inspired by friends.

Copyright and Church Worship

If you can make it to Faverges, France, just outside Geneva, I recommend you attend a consultation organized by WACC and WCC on worship and copyright. From September 6-11, it gathers communications and religion activists to discuss the Gospel aspects of the copyright context in our neo-liberal global world. I plan to be there.

For more information, contact:
Simei Monteiro
Worship Consultant
WCC / Faith and Order
150, route de Ferney
P.O. Box 2100
CH-1211 Geneva 2
tel. (+41) 22 791 6486
Fax: (+41) 22 791 6407


Getting Angry is not good

Yesterday I lost it during brunch with three of my friends. One of them (friend X) asked if I had received his email in which he asks friends to sign a petition urging Bush to close and fortify our border with Mexico. (a la Schwarznegger) I reacted from a deep primal place that was completely uncontrollable -- I was totally taken off guard by my reaction. I glared at him, close to his eyes, and said "when you tell me that you have befriended, touched and looked into the eyes of a desperate, violence-torn immigrant, I'll listen to you. Otherwise, I don't wanna hear it. I will not to listen to this hate talk." I stood up from the table and was going to walk away in a fury. I controlled myself, sat down and asked to change the conversation. He was quiet, then was about to continue his explanation of why securing our US borders is good for "them" but then agreed to stop talking about the topic.

I think that angry outbursts are not helpful. I remember another friend, Lynn Schofield-Clark, telling me about the importance of patience and sharing of ideas in a way that can open up new understanding. I failed at that miserably. I am still trying to figure it out.

It is just so terribly sad, really "triste," that economic US policies and political alliances between North and South elites are the substratum for horrible economic misery. The scandal cries out to God. And yet, because it is complex, people can see only "them" and "us" in simplistic terms.

I long for more patience.

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