A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘roman catholicism

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Detroit and Windsor, Africville, New York City, Calgary, Shenzhen

  • The TVO show The Life-Sized City is spotlighting the revival of the binational conurbation of Detroit and Windsor. The Windsor Star reports.
  • Owners of a house that is a rare survival of Africville, currently in Lower Sackville, are seeking heritage status for this building. CBC reports.
  • VICE reports on how New York City is preparing for the L train shutdown.
  • Students seeking to set up Gay-Straight Alliances in Calgary Catholic schools are reportedly being hindered, even harassed, by hostile administrators despite provincial policy. Global News reports.
  • This SCMP article suggests Shenzhen is a popular destination for daytrippers from Hong Kong, for people who seek a Hong Kong experience at affordable prices.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes that far-orbiting body 2015 TC387 offers more indirect evidence for Planet Nine, as does D-Brief.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that data from the Gaia astrometrics satellite finds traces of past collisions between the Milky Way Galaxy and the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy.
  • The Crux takes a look at the long history of human observation of the Crab Nebula.
  • Sujata Gupta at JSTOR Daily writes about the struggle of modern agriculture with the pig, balancing off concerns for animal welfare with productivity.
  • Language Hat shares a defensive of an apparently legendarily awful novel, Marguerite Young’s Miss Macintosh, My Darling.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle, takes a look at the controversy over the name of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, going up to the recent referendum on North Macedonia.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the high rate of fatal car accidents in the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia.
  • Reddit’s mapporn shares an interesting effort to try to determine the boundaries between different regions of Europe, stacking maps from different sources on top of each other.
  • Justin Petrone at North! writes about how the northern wilderness of Estonia sits uncomfortably with his Mediterranean Catholic background.
  • Peter Watts reports from a book fair he recently attended in Lviv, in the west of Ukraine.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog notes the new effort being put in by NASA into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on some beer in a very obscure bar in Shanghai.
  • Drew Rowsome reports on the performance artist Lukas Avendano, staging a performance in Toronto inspired by the Zapotech concept of the muxe gender.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps examines the ocean-centric Spielhaus map projection that has recently gone viral.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers the question of whether or not the Big Rip could lead to another Big Bang.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the harm that global warming will inflict on the infrastructures of northern Siberia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell considers the ecological fallacy in connection with electoral politics. Sometimes there really are not niches for new groups.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes part in the #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob meme, this time looking at images of linguists.

[NEWS] Five LGBTQ links: Jim Egan, Queer Appalachia, Latinx, Italian convent, Baron von Steuben

  • At the CLGA, Craig Jennex writes about the early activism of Canadian LGBT activist Jim Egan, writing letters to defend gay people in post-war homophobic times.
  • Them profiles the Queer Appalachia Instagram account and its creators.
  • Them reports on a survey suggesting that one-fifth of young Latinx people in the US identify as queer.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on a lesbian sex scandal at a Renaissance Italy convent.
  • The Nib shares a delightful, and historically accurate, cartoon describing how out German aristocrat Baron von Steuben played a critical role in the success of the Americans in their war of independence.

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • Bloomberg notes controversy over Sanders’ attendance at a Vatican conference and reports on the proposal for a bridge linking Saudi Arabia and Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba.
  • Bloomberg View notes mixed evidence behind the idea that separatism can work economically, and criticizes San Francisco’s family leave policy as having too much impact on business.
  • CBC notes that the European Union will require visas of Canadians if Canada does not give visa-free access to Bulgarians and Romanians and looks at the controversy over women praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
  • The Globe and Mail notes the division of the NDP over Mulcair, looks at the importance of the long-form census for northern Canada, and examines Vancouver’s rental market.
  • The Inter Press Service reports on how the Nicaragua Canal is bogged down by money and environmental issues.
  • MacLean’s defends transparent tax havens, as opposed to the other kind.
  • National Geographic reports on the role of amateur mapmakers in charting the Syrian conflict and describes an exciting reconstruction of Pompeii.
  • Universe Today reports on the ice disk of HD 100546.

[BRIEF NOTE] On the pro-gay transformation of Michael Coren

The transition of Canadian broadcaster and journalist Michael Coren, from a conservative Roman Catholic commentator most notable to me for his homophobia to an Anglican who has embraced gay issues, has from my perspective been sudden and remarkable. That homophobia was actually the motive force behind his religious transformation, as he wrote on the 16th of May in the Toronto Star, is still something of a shocker to me.

It’s been an interesting two weeks. I was fired from three regular columns in Catholic magazines, had a dozen speeches cancelled and was then subjected to a repugnant storm of tweets, Facebook comments, emails, newspaper articles and radio broadcasts where it was alleged that I am unfaithful to my wife, am willing to do anything for money, am a liar and a fraud, a “secret Jew,” that my eldest daughter is gay and I am going directly to hell. As I say, an interesting two weeks.

The reason for all this probably seems disarmingly banal and for many people absurdly irrelevant. At the beginning of May it was made public that a year ago I left the Roman Catholic Church and began to worship as an Anglican. More specifically, from being a public and media champion of social conservatism I gradually came to embrace the cause of same-sex marriage, more liberal politics and a rejection of the conservative Christianity that had characterized my opinions and persona for more than a decade. I’d won the RTNDA Broadcasting Award for a major radio debate where I opposed equal marriage, I was the author of the bestselling book Why Catholics Are Right, I was Michael Coren, for God’s sake — certainly not someone who would ever appear in the pages of the Toronto Star!

The change was to a large extent triggered by the gay issue. I couldn’t accept that homosexual relationships were, as the Roman Catholic Church insists on proclaiming, disordered and sinful. Once a single brick in the wall was removed the entire structure began to fall.

I refused to base my entire world view and theology, as so many active Catholics do, around abortion, contraception and sex rather than love, justice and forgiveness. Frankly, it was tearing me apart. I wanted to extend the circle of love rather than stand at the corners of a square and repel outsiders. So I quietly and privately drifted over to an Anglican Church that while still working out its own position on many social issues, is far more progressive, open, relevant and willing to admit reality.

He wrote again about this transition, at length, in The Walrus in the appropriately named “Coming Out”.

As a middle-aged, very white, very straight, very Christian man, I was obliged, first reluctantly and then eagerly, to explore the complex dynamic between faith and homosexuality and to work out a new narrative. The crux of that narrative: God is love. The love I felt when I first saw my newborn children, when I watched my mother dissolve into Alzheimer’s, when I found my late father’s diaries that spoke of his pride in our family, when I feel closest to the Christ I worship. Jesus spoke of love for everybody and called for forgiveness, justice, truth, turning the other cheek.

As my faith has deepened over the years, I have tried to broaden the circle of inclusive love rather than guard the borders of what I once thought was Christian truth. Instead of holding the door firm, I want to hold it wide open. I have realized that Christianity is a permanent revolution, a state of being in which we believers must challenge our preconceptions every moment of every day. How dare I—with all of my brokenness and sordid, banal sinfulness—criticize someone simply because he or she wants to live life fully? How the hell dare I?

The standard Christian response to homosexuality is the familiar but entirely inadequate mantra “love the sinner but hate the sin.” In other words, a gay person’s sexual and romantic attractions—much of their being and personality, and all that they want in a lasting relationship—is sinful, but they themselves are just fine. By way of analogy, the teachings go, Christians love alcoholics but not alcoholism, love those who commit adultery but not the act of adultery itself. Such logic presupposes that same-sex attraction is no more central to a person’s identity than substance abuse or unfaithfulness—which any reasonable person knows to be untrue.

I’m still taken aback by this all. The apparent thoroughness of Coren’s transition, triggered directly by his recognition of homophobia, impresses me. Really, the only thing coherent I can say about this is that I hope that I, too, am able to make similar shifts in my thinking when I recognize a fault in my worldview.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 2, 2015 at 2:25 am

[LINK] “Twitter Riles Irish Catholics as Companies Favorite Gay Vote”

Bloomberg’s Dara Doyle notes, in the context of Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, one consequence of its economic policy aimed at becoming a business hub: Big business is interested in the outcome.

When Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny rallied support for gay marriage ahead of a referendum this month, he got a little more than the usual help from Twitter Inc.

As well as disseminating the message through its social media, the company is backing the “yes” campaign, which is leading the polls before the May 22 vote. It says allowing wedlock for two people of the same sex is good for the economy. Other public declarations of support have come from Google Inc. and EBay Inc., which also have European headquarters in Ireland.

“Marriage equality is as good for our value as it is for our values,” Kenny said at an event last month among the stripped-down brick walls and bare floorboards of the Digital Exchange, a home for startup technology companies.

Just as the issue of gay rights in the U.S. has pit big business against a conservative opposition, in Ireland it’s the government supported by some of the world’s biggest Internet companies versus the tax friendly nation’s past as an upholder of Roman Catholic values.

[. . .]

“Twitter’s clear implication is that if we vote no it will be bad for business and bad for our international reputation,” said Ben Conroy, a spokesman for the Iona Institute, whose stated mission is to promote marriage and religion in society. “The most powerful economy in Europe, Germany, does not have same-sex marriage, so the idea that voting no would be bad for business is clearly ridiculous.”

Written by Randy McDonald

May 13, 2015 at 10:47 pm

[LINK] “Crimea’s Vanishing Religious Communities”

Writing for Transitions Online, Felix Corley suggests that many religious communities in Russian-occupied Crimea–particularly ones with Ukrainian or Western links–are facing quiet repression.

Almost 18 years after it was founded, a small Catholic convent in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, was forced to close down in November when its three Franciscan nuns had to leave. They were refused the possibility of extending their residence permits in Crimea, the chancellor of the Odessa and Simferopol Catholic diocese, Krzysztof Kontek, told Forum 18 News Service from the Ukrainian city of Odessa on 15 January. The sisters, who are from elsewhere in Ukraine and Poland, had been helping in pastoral work in the city’s Catholic parish. Their enforced departure came a month after the parish’s main priest was similarly forced to leave.

In addition, December saw the enforced departure of the last of Crimea’s 23 imams and Muslim teachers from Turkey, a spokesperson for the Muslim Board told Forum 18 from Simferopol on 20 January.

Officials from the Crimean branch of Russia’s Federal Migration Service said in October that only registered religious communities are able to invite foreign citizens. No religious community in Crimea or Sevastopol (an administratively separate city) has state registration recognized by the Russian authorities.

A Russian law from 31 December extended the deadline for re-registering religious communities (and other entities) in Crimea until 1 March.

Fines for religious books the Russian authorities regard as “extremist” seem to have reduced in recent months, though they did not stop. However, as a moratorium on raids, seizures of literature, and prosecutions in such cases ended, it remains unclear if such raids, fines, and confiscations will resume. Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and librarians have been particular targets.

The moratorium was announced by the head of Crimea’s Russian-backed government, Sergei Aksyonov, in mid-October.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2015 at 10:56 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that crowd-funded transit might be coming to Toronto’s Beaches.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her favourite shopping experiences in Paris.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the question of how to name planets.
  • Crooked Timber discusses predictions for the coming year which descend into Bitcoin debates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that giant stars tend not to have giant close-in planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper noting the complicated entry of maize from Mexico into the United States.
  • Livejournaler jsburbidge notes the serious costs associated with a public housing problem for the homeless of Toronto.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that many Poles hold mortgages denominated in Swiss francs, and have thus been hit by the recent currency fluctuations.
  • Otto Pohl describes his writing project on the 1966 coup in Ghana.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the problems with inexpensive manned spaceflight.
  • Torontoist and (again) blogTO and their commenters react to the end of Target Canada.
  • Towleroad notes that anti-gay American Roman Catholic cardinal Raymond Burke is also a misogynist.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that a Belarusian revolution would lead to a Russian invasion of that country, and wonders about European Union policy towards Crimea.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Claus Vistesen’s Alpha Sources considers the arguments for thinking stock markets will continue on their current course.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of eight potentially Earth-like worlds by Kepler, as does The Dragon’s Gaze.
  • Crooked Timber considers the future of social democracy in a world where the middle classes do badly.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at a redesigned American anti-missile interceptor.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that same-sex marriage in Vietnam is no longer banned, but it is also not yet recognized.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reacts to reviews of bad restaurants favoured by the ultra-rich.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla provides updates on Japan’s Akatsuki Venus probe and China’s Chang’e Moon probe.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the immediate impact of political turmoil last year in Crimea on the peninsula’s demographics.
  • Mark Simpson suggests that straight men want attention from gay men as validation.
  • Spacing Toronto reviews The Bohemian Guide to Urban Cycling.
  • Torontoist looks at a Taiwanese condo tower that featured on-tower gardening.
  • Towleroad and Joe. My. God. both note that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami has told its employees it might fire them if they comment favourable about same-sex marriage.
  • Why I Love Toronto really likes downtown restaurant 7 West.
  • Window on Eurasia notes turmoil in the Russian intelligence community and a higher density of mosques than churches in the North Caucasus.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomy shares Dawn‘s first picture of Ceres.
  • The Crux considers whether chimpanzees should be considered people in a legal sense.
  • Cody Delistraty shares 13 vintage photos of winter in early 20th century Paris.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the current state of research into the magnetic interactions of stars with their exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a new generation of brain sensors.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Ireland’s Roman Catholic bishops are campaigning against same-sex marriage.
  • Livejournaler jsburbidge ruminates on the pitfalls of misreading the past, starting from Jack Whyte’s historical novels.
  • Language Hat reports on the digitization of old Russian books.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig considers what exactly the “Russian world” actually is.
  • Marginal Revolution notes falling birth and fertility rates in the United States.
  • Livejournaler moiraj mocks Diane Francis’ claim that indigenous peoples in Australia benefit from a better land-claims settlement system than their Canadian counterparts.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla reacts to Dawn‘s first picture of Ceres.
  • J. Otto Pohl compares the plights of Crimean Tatars and Palestinians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer updates us on Panamanian-Venezuelan relations.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a projection of the Ukrainian population forward to 2100.
  • Towleroad notes how a Latvian politician destroyed her career and is now facing criminal charges by praising Nazi homophobia.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that the University of Virginia can’t lodge a libel claim against Rolling Stone for its flawed rape report.
  • Livejournaler nwhyte notes some interesting long durée patterns–in net reproduction, in family wealth, in residence, and the like–in the families whose DNA was used to identify the body of Richard III.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a Russian who defines his country as an empire with rightful claims and argues about the need for non-recognition of Crimea’s annexation to be finalized.