Life · Politics

Some upcoming God events in town

A number of press releases re: events in local religious communities have come my way in the past week, so I thought I’d pass them on. Mark your calendars, God Bloggettes!


For folks interested in what one financial columnist called the “best analysis yet of the global economic crisis,” the Catholic Newman Center on UA’s campus is sponsoring two talks this week on Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict’s social encyclical examining modern capitalism from an ethical, spiritual and technical perspective.

The main message is about promoting human development in the context of social justice and the common good, and the only reason I can tell you that is I’ve read descriptions of the piece by journalists, priests and bloggers because when I tried to read it sans any interpretation, I threw up my hands in frustration. (“Plain English, Papa,” I wanted to scream, “Just put it in plain English!”)

Luckily for me and others of small brain, the Newman Center is bringing in Alejandro Crosthwaite, a Dominican friar from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, to unpack Caritas in Veritate for the common woman and man. The talks are free, open to the public, and start at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the chapel of the Newman Center, which is on the corner of Cherry and Second streets at UA. Map is here.


Next week, also at the Newman Center, for anyone interested in the Israel-Palestine conundrum, Bartholomew Hutcherson, pastor of the Newman Center and also a Dominican friar, will give a talk called “The Geography of Hatred – Palestine in the Common Era.”

Hutcherson said this talk is his “personal reflection” on the two months he spent in study in Israel/Palestine over this past summer. He learned a lot (“Everybody has blood on their hands,” he said) and wants to share it with anyone who is interested. The presentation will be Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in the main chapel and will focus on the story of disputed lands in the Common Era “with emphasis on the rise of Islam, the Crusader Era, the Ottoman period and the establishment of the modern state of Israel.”

The presentation will examine how conflicts in the current day have their origins in religious and cultural understandings from long ago, asking what history and faith could teach people about the future of the Middle East.


A sukkah; image via
A sukkah; image via

From the Old Testament side of the monotheistic aisle, members of the Southern Arizona Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life are offering their second annual sacred water celebration Monday, Oct. 5, from 7–9 pm, with “a new ritual based on ancient practices,” according to a press release from the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

The water celebration will coincide with Sukkot, is a way-cool Jewish holiday marked by Jews constructing outdoor  sukkah in their yards and eating outside in commemoration of the divine protection of Israelites during their 40-year wandering in the desert. Sukkot follows the two-day joyful observance of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and the one-day solemn observance of Yom Kippur (day of atonement), and lasts seven days.

The celebration will be at the TJCC, 3800 E. River Road, and it is free. Those attending should bring a flashlight and wear comfortable shoes. Everyone participating should bring a reusable pitcher or bowl for the water celebration, and if you want to stay for the potluck, bring a vegetarian snack to share and your own reusable place setting and utensils. For more info, contact: or call Deborah at 881-2534.


33 thoughts on “Some upcoming God events in town

  1. Shouldn’t the Newman center clarify that it is for the “common” STRAIGHT man and woman ?
    Otherwise talk of social justice upsets Papa

    1. I don’t know where you get that idea, that homosexuals aren’t welcome at Newman. They are quite welcome and present. Does that mean a priest will stand up and say, “We’ll perform same sex unions/marriages”? No. But as far as being there and being involved, there are gay folks in the majority of Catholic parishes.

    2. when one hates religion, one will always jump at a chance to undermine it.

      whether the statement, such as the one by patty o, is relevant or not and , it wasn’t.

      1. Did you get kicked in the head recently by one of your “hefs”?  You’re not making a lot of sense today, soldier.

      2. point is lefty, the subject is a religous activity, not the homosexual agenda.

        so stick to the topic of the religous activity at hand and stop with the homosexual blah, blah, blah.

        btw, i have been kicked by steers and a mule. not in the head. twice in the ribs and once in the leg ….. hurts.

  2. Personally I can’t say that I would feel “welcome” at any institution that is actively campaigning to persecute gays.
    While they are holding little explanations of the Popes take on social justice, the Bishops are actually soliciting extra collections at Mass to fund referendums to take away the rights of gay families in Maine.
    It’s more than deceptive to pretend that they have anything intelligent to say about social justice, as opposed to spreading superstition.
    And you have to feel sorry for any self-respecting gay person who would feel “welcome” there,

    1. I don’t think you can judge other people and where they find peace or ‘welcome.’ Everyone is different. I am shocked to hear that the bishops (do you mean the USCCB or a renegade bishop in Maine? —- and can you provide a link to a story on this?) are supporting extra collections to fight off an initiative in Maine. If that’s truly happening, something is amiss b/c the USCCB would reject supporting a political cause. That doesn’t mean to say the clergy cannot express the church’s teaching on homosexuality (which, yes, I know it sounds crazy and many, myself included, have major issue with it and have said so publicly) that is support and love gay people and welcome them and fight against job discrimination BUT do not support gay sex.

      What do you mean about “spreading superstition.” Do you mean in re: to gays? If that is what you mean, could you give me a specific example? Thanks!

      1. I don’t believe the faux naivete you affect for one moment – too many “liberal” christians have used it to pretend they don’t have the slightest idea what their churches do.
        In todays installment:
        The bishop has asked churches to take up a special second collection next weekend to support Stand For Marriage Maine, the group leading the effort to repeal Maine’s same sex marriage law
        Your implication that this is somehow “renegade” is laughable – especially to those of us here in Arizona where gays have just been the target of our Bishops also “supporting a political cause” – bashing gays.
        Arizona bishops support Prop. 102
        Catholics urged to vote ‘yes’ on marriage referendum
        Nor does this have anything to do with their chuch doctrine on “gay sex”
        (Note – in THIS context, “homosexual” is appropriate 🙂 )
        It has to do solely with political power and legal persecution of gay families, whether those families are Roman Catholic or not.

      2. Patrick: Wow, I am truly surprised at the first article. I would expect that of, perhaps, Olmstead up in Phoenix, but here in Tucson, the bishop has consistently said one-issue voting is not the Catholic way to vote. That said, Kicanas did support, with Olmstead, the marriage referendum, but said it was about defining marriage. He did not, as the Catholic Sun article alludes, tell people in Tucson to vote yes on it. Flat out, he did not do that. Now, there may have been a few priests in the diocese who took it upon themselves to preach about it, but overall, the bishop’s approach in the Tucson diocese is to explain the church’s position (which is the same as all the major faiths) and then tell people they must vote their “informed conscience.” He is not Olmstead. And really – political power? And how is it legal persecution? Hear me out – I’m all for civil unions for gay people. My feeling is, get gay people settled down the same way we get straight people settled down – pair them up and encourage monogamy. However, it is not just church’s who have a hard time with my (and your) stance – it is more than 50 percent of the American public. They may bemisinformed, they may be ignorant OR, they may be plenty informed and just disagree with what you or I may feel is the right thing to do. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make that person a bigot. Just as you disagreeing with them doesn’t make you an ignorant fool. people are more thanlabels and the issue is very complicated and has many, many nuances that need to be discussed. When was the last time you sat in person with a person of faith and talked about this sort of thing? It seems to me you’ve been pissed off for awhile, but frequently, I find that people are really angry about an issue but have never actually taken the time to talk to the person/group that they are demonizing. (Goes both ways – there are many religious people who’ve never taken the time to hear a gay person’s story.)

      3. I have found from experience – take this one for example – that talking to “a person of faith” is like talking to George Wallace about integrating schools.
        They will campaign to take away your legal rights and then ask “how is that persecution ? ” and they “just have a different opinion” as to whether you are entitled to equality.
        Then they will ask why you are angry – you should see both sides of it – the church who spends millions of dollars to take away your kid’s medical insurance and then your side.

  3. P.S. – For your edification, “homosexuals” is not the prefered term, “gay” and “lesbian” is more polite.
    “homosexuals” is used by the Pope and Dr. Dobson to portray GLBTS in clinical, sexual terms.
    Ref – AP Stylebook
    gay preferred (3/13/06)

    Lesbian is OK for gay women.
    Use homosexual in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.

    1. Patrick: I certainly didn’t mean to offend. I use homosexual b/c I use heterosexual instead of “straight”. I also use it b/c it is easier than writing “gay and lesbian” in every reference where I would write “homosexual.” However, since you know more about this than I do, I will use gay from now on. I’ve been called out by lesbians when I say “gay” … But deferring to AP style is always in the right so, gay it will be. And just FYI, Dobson makes me crazy.

      1. knuckling under are we?

        to call heterosexuals straight is by inference insulting to homosexuals. it indicates that homosexuals are in some way “crooked”. think that this is funny? just repeating what i was told by a homosexual dude.

        however, i am sure that patty o, the de facto expert, can straighten us out. oops. was using “straighten” us out wrong?

        i will call homsexuals just that and heterosexuals just that as well.

      2. correction ……….
        “i will call homsexuals just that and heterosexuals just that as well.”

        should read …………
        “i will call homosexuals just that and heterosexuals just that as well.”

      3. this turned into a vlog about homosexuals. not the point.

        btw, i do not use african-american either ……… they are black just like i am white.

      4. why thanks lefty …….. actually i am very brown, at least part of me since i work outside all the time.

        why thanks tippy ……. actually i am very heterosexual

  4. Thanks – I know it can get confusing – I still frequently use “black” rather than African-american , which I thought was a sign of respect considering what was used when I grew up.
    Thhe thing is, of course, that you DON’T use “heterosexual” – you don’t say anything at all and “straight” is considered the norm.
    You rarely see an article discussing the appearance of openly heterosexual President Obama and practicing heterosexual John McCain.
    “Straight” is normative – you only see mention when discussing gays, and then the use of “homosexual” portrays then in totally sexual terms.
    “homosexual” is perfectly correct when discussing sex.
    And I wonder why Dobson drives you crazy but the Pope doesn’t ?
    There isn’t a dimes worth of difference between them

    1. The whole black or African-American is difficult too. I talk to some blacks who want to be called black and some who want AA. I guess this is where people wonder about political correctness and all that rot.
      As for Dobson and the Pope – if you think there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between them then you are showing evidence that you’ve not read their written works.

      1. No, I am very aware of their works – the fact that you don’t recognize how similar they are shows evidence that you lie to yourself about what their positions are in order to hold the Pope in high regard, as a fellow religionist.
        I think we have already established that I am more aware of what the church does than you are, since you seem constantly “surprised”.

      2. Ok, we have to set this straight – you don’t know me, and you don’t know all the stuff I’ve written where I’ve disagreed with the church’s stance on any number of things, including gay marriage. I hold the pope in high regard not because I’m a “religionist” – which, fyi, I am not. There are things I disagree with him on, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think he does good in the world as well. Just like you – I’m sure you do good in the world; I give you the benefit of the doubt. However, you being so constantly critical leads me to believe you’re really really angry about a particular issue and you see it from one perspective. I happen to AGREE with your perspective (gays should marry, practice monogamy, fight about who takes out the trash) but I also see the side of various religious leaders. I see that because, unlike you who reads summaries of what these people say, I read the actual documents and try to figure out where they are coming from. They are dense theological treatises based on long history, tradition and religious writings. You or I may feel they are outdated, but that doesn’t mean that they are automatically wrong. For instance – I think it is better for a kid to be raised in a gay household than in foster care, but you know what? We do not yet have enough research to back up my gut feeling saying that boys, in particular, are not harmed by being in a home with only women and not being in a home with a father. We don’t know that yet. The research we do have shows that, regardless of socio-economic factors, boys raised in single parent homes without a father do less well in every manner (school, dropout rate, prison time, deliquency) than boys raised in a home with a father. Sooooooo, does that automatically transfer that boys raised by two women (thus a two-parent home) will suffer in the same way (even if they do have “uncles” and other father-figures around)? We simply do not know yet, and I can tell you that that is one of the major concerns of religious leaders (particularly those in the African American communities) about gay marriage. You see it one way, they see it another and you call it bigotry. They call it concern for children. And because the research is not yet in, you cannot say you are right.

      3. It is hard to “set a record straight” when you raise 5 or 6 straw men in one post – I have to pick which one to respond to.
        So let’s start with “concerns” and “research”.
        There really isn’t that much “research” which proves that a child raised in an African-American household does as well as one raised in a white one either, you know.
        But we still allow African Americans to raise children, and even adopt, because they have that right regardless of “research” and even if “research” should establish that they don’t do as well.
        And so yes I can say that I am right, and those who would deny African Americans, or gays, equal rights are wrong and “research” has nothing to do with it – it is sheer prejudice.
        Then add in the sad fact that preventing gays and lesbians their right to marry does not stop then from living together or having children, it simply punishes them, and the children, by denying them protections such as income and medical insurance which straight families receive.
        They are wrong, and bigoted.
        As for the Pope – just because he does some good does not excuse the evil that he does.
        It’s kind of you as a straight chrisitan to forgive him the evil he does to others but don’t expect his victims to be so forgiving.

  5. Actually I should correct myself – I realized afterwards tht there is more than a dimes worth of difference between Herr Ratzinger and “Doctor” Dobson – there is literally billions of dollars worth of difference.
    I should have said that other than net worth and power, there is no difference in what they campaign for.

    1. Tip: In order to discuss those articles, we really would need to meet in person. The documents in question are theological documents using theological terms that are consistently misinterpreted by people who are not trained religion writers (and that doesn’t mean someone who is religious, but someone who is trained to write about religions). It’s like a biologist talking to a biologist using biological terms and the rest of us thinking it means X when it means Y.
      I know all about the 1980s doc. (even wrote against it at the time), and can tell you what it exactly means – and how it is always misinterpreted –  if you’re open to hearing that as opposed to reading it on the surface and jumping the gun. You still won’t like what it says, and you will probably have the same objection I do about it, but at least you’ll understand it more clearly.

      1. Again – my “understanding” of “deep theology” is totally irrelevant to the actual effects of the Popes writing – which is political campaigns to persecute gay people.
        Just because he writes in Latin doesn’t make him any different from Dobson.

  6. “why thanks lefty …….. actually i am very brown, at least part of me since i work outside all the time.”
    “why thanks tippy ……. actually i am very heterosexual”

    I don’t know, mopckoe; the whole business of spending your life in the company of well-muscled and sweaty men, showering together, working out, sleeping in the barracks; it all has a bit of the homoerotic fantasy to it, don’t you think?

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