oxymoron67: (dino head)
This memory jarred loose by the LJ Idol topic "Burnt Sienna".
Adventures in being an altar boy. )
oxymoron67: (history)
Mistress of the Vatican by Eleanor Herman
Renaissance era Italy! Popes! Intrigue! The Plague! )
oxymoron67: (Default)
Perhaps part of my crankiness over the seminar on Wednesday was due to this. My ears are stuffed up and my throat feels like it was removed from my body, rolled around in gravel and then re-implanted.

When I talk, I sound like I have a three pack a day habit AND am coming off a weekend bender.

Yay! Sexxxxxxxy!

At least I haven't been coughing as much today.

I guess this means that I won't be going to the St. Patrick's Day Parade tomorrow.

Not that I was planning on going anyway. I'm Irish the other 364 days (well, 365 this year). I don't need to get sloppy drunk to prove it.

I've attended a St. Patrick's Day mass done entirely in Irish Gaelic. Heck, I even did the responsorial psalm. (It was "The Lord is my Shepherd": Psalm 23?)

And, honestly... corned beef and cabbage? Eh. I like the corned beef. I can do without the cabbage. Boiled cabbage is gross.

I DO love Irish Soda Bread though. Mmmmm.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I met [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant for brunch and museum fun.

We had lunch at Cafe Robert, which is on the top floor of the Museum of Art and Design.

When we were discussing meeting for brunch the night before, and I blanked on the name of the restaurant. I called it "Cafe Some Name That My Family Uses A Lot."

[livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant pointed out that he couldn't exactly google that.

For what it's worth, Robert is my great-grandfather's name, the name of one of his sons, one of his grandsons, my confirmation name, and the confirmation name of my eldest nephew.

Cafe Robert has an amazing view of Columbus Circle and Central Park. The food was good... I loved the parsnip soup, and the crab eggs Benedict were very good.

I mentioned that Robert is my confirmation name, and [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant asked what confirmation was, which led me to tell my multi-part confirmation story.

A jazz trio was playing. It was good.

From here, we went to a few of the exhibits.

Okay, confession time. I am not a member of the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) (shock!), but I do enjoy visiting it occasionally. MAD does unusual exhibits. The only other museum that I can think of that does exhibitions like this is the Cooper-Hewitt, but it;s closed for renovations for two years.

These exhibits can be really good or so bad they're funny.

The exhibits currently on display? A mix. Several of the pieces in the glassworks exhibit were amazing, especially the one with the blood-red chandelier and the ravens.

The Japanese design exhibit was excellent. Well, except for the chairs. Apparently, if you want to own chairs that NO ONE CAN SIT ON COMFORTABLY, buy Japanese. Seriously, they looked like something you'd see in a deathtrap in the old tv show The Wild, Wild West.

Finally, we sent a short amount of time in the necklaces exhibit. This is a permanent exhibit sponsored by Tiffany's.

Tiffany's sponsors this exhibit so they can get these awful pieces out of their store.

None of the pieces were particularly wearable, though some were interesting looking. But they were funny.

All in all a good trip.

Second look

Mar. 1st, 2012 07:58 pm
oxymoron67: (Default)
I spend a lot of time in museums, so I frequently see the same pieces several times. I've noticed that how I think about these pieces changes.

For example:

This is a painting of the Madonna and Child from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. If you spend ANY time studying Medieval European art, you will see roughly 80 gazillion versions of this.


This particular painting has the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) looking all holy and contemplative while her son is displaying the energy of toddlerhood.

But then, I stopped looking at it through the study of art history.

I know she's *SUPPOSED* to look all holy and contemplative, but the BVM just looks bored and detached to me here. In fact,
she almost ALWAYS looks bored in these paintings.

If you ever see a painting of the Annunciation (another ridiculously popular theme), as the Archangel Gabriel announces that God wants her to give birth to His son, the BVM always looks nonplussed, as if her reaction to becoming the mother of the son of God is "That's nice, winged dude, want some tea?"

So, the BVM just looks bored, and the Baby Jesus... well, maybe it's because I'm gay, and I view things through fabulousness colored glasses.. but... to me...

The Baby Jesus is vogueing. Look at him: he's clearly striking a pose. I don't know if he wants to get his mother's attention or if he's just bringing some Messiah realness to the party.

Same painting, different views.

ETA: I'm not sure why this photo is stuck on its side. Sorry about that.
oxymoron67: (Default)
“SHE SAID WHAT?!?!" my mother exclaimed as my sisters were crying in the backseat of the car.

“Sister Mary Agnes said that we would have to take our pants off and sit in our underwear if we ever wore pants to CCD class again." One of my sisters replied.

“How dare she?" Mom said. "It’s winter and you have to walk from school to church for CCD." Then, her tone of voice changed to that scary, threatening tone she had when she was angry at us. "We’ll see about this."

Once we got home, mom called grandma to talk to her about it. Grandma suggested that mom make an appointment to see the parish priest. Unfortunately, nothing came from that meeting. Mom and grandma discussed it over dinner a few days later.

Mom: ...even though he agreed that Sister was out of line and had no right to threaten the girls like that, he said that CCD was Sister’s responsibility and he didn’t like to interfere. Then he told me to talk to her myself.

Grandma: He’s scared of her.

Mom: Probably.

Grandma: ...and it takes away from his drinking time. You know he’s a drunk.

Mom: MOTHER. That’s not a nice thing to say.

Grandma: Your Aunt Jane is his secretary. You’ve heard the stories.

Mom: I know... you’re right. Just not in front of the kids. We want them to respect him, even if he was no help. He’s our priest, after all.

Grandma: Don’t worry. He’s leaving: transferring to a different parish. Jane told me so. Maybe you could get Jane to talk to Sister.

Mom: No, that won’t work. She and Sister hate one another. They’ll just scream at one another. Again. Like they did over Confirmation. That won’t fix anything. I have to deal with Sister Mary Agnes myself.

Grandma: Then go kick her ass.

To this day, I don’t know what happened next. I have visions of my mom, in full righteous fury mode, attacking Sister and reducing her to tears. However, mom is decidely vague about what she said at that meeting. I DO remember walking with my pants-wearing sisters to CCD and hearing other kids say, "Those are the girls allowed to wear pants at church." So whatever mom did, it worked.
A few notes: this actually happened. I don’t recall Sister’s name: I know it was something that begn with an "A", so I went with Sister Mary Agnes. Also, while mom and grandma had a conversation, I don’t recall the specifics.

CCD class is a weekly religious class for Catholic kids who go to public school.
oxymoron67: (Default)
And to celebrate: storytime!

Catholic kids who go to public school are required to attend CCD, Catholic religious classes. When I was a child, we had to attend these classes at Holy Cross (not our parish) one year. This was a Tuesday? Thursday? afternoon thing. We'd finish school, which was a few blocks away, and walk over to Hply Cross to be berated by taught by the nuns.

This particular year, because it was right after school, we got a little snack before class: milk and a cookie or milk and an apple, nothing big.

The head nun, Sister Mary Somethingorother, complained that we public school students were so much messier than her delightful Catholic school students. She did this in front of my mom. The following conversation happened.

Sister: Well, they are just so much messier than MY students.
Mom: How?
Sister: They leave crumbs all over my baseboards in the hallway. My students never do that.
Mom: Do you let your students* eat in the hallway?
Sister: No, of course not. That's what the cafeteria is for.
Mom: So why not let them have their snack their?
Sister Too much hassle to re-open the cafeteria. Besides, the children are noisy as well. I can't get any work done in my office.
Mom: So... all of this is happening while you sit in your office?
Sister: Yes.
Mom: And no one is out there supervising the kids?
Sister: No.
Mom: Well, shouldn't you get out of your office to watch the kids? Aren't they your responsibility?
Sister: Are you telling me how to do my job?
Mom: I'm asking where the supervision is.
Sister: Don't you dare tell me how to do my job!
Mom: Do it properly and I won't have to.

*Mom was also irritated at the whole "my students/not my students thing" -- we may not have had sister full time, but we were also her students, but waited until the parish priest was around to bring that up.

More art

Jun. 30th, 2011 11:15 am
oxymoron67: (Default)
Look, work is slow and boring today.

Another piece of jewelry from the ceramics exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design

This is a necklace made out of dirt and knotted rope. Because that's a good way to show your love. "I love you so much that I got you a DIRT NECKLACE."

My inner Catholic may be talking right now, but this sounds too much like a scapular to me. Only secular. A secular scarpula. Say that five times fast.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Pope John Paul II's coffin to be exhumed for his beatification.


One friend of mine said something like "Maybe they'll throw lepers at the coffin in the hopes that he cures one."

Bad taste? Yes. But so is doing this. It also feels vaguely Communistic... you know, how they kept Lenin in his glass coffin.

Why not just let the pilgrims file by his burial site?

Also... given the mess surrounding sex abuse in the priesthood and JPII's twin responses of blaming the queers and doing nothing in particular, I'm not sure he should be beatified. This feels rushed to me.
oxymoron67: (no bear)
Belgium;s archbishop says that AIDS is a punishment.

Let's start off with ridiculousness.

Léonard, who Pope Benedict XVI appointed this year to replace a much-loved liberal, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, compared the suffering of AIDS victims to human-caused degradation of the environment, for which people themselves then pay the price.

This is, in some ways just a continuation of Pope Benedict XVI's whole "Gays are as much a threat to humanity as the destruction of the rainforest."

The archbishop's defenders are saying that God didn't strike gays with this curse, that it's the fault of homosexuals for being who they are. Isn't blaming the victim grand?

Note, that this is just another way of blaming gay men for AIDS, and saying that AIDS is proof that homosexuality is wrong.

Also, this man is in a post in Belgium, which has been wracked by cases of priestly sexual abuse. I would think that that situation would take precedence over the Church;s continuing attempts to deny that gays are really human and deserving of respect.

For me an important point is this:

Léonard's comments are also not winning him or the institutional church many points with Catholics themselves, who are increasingly indifferent to their religion, as is the case in many European countries.

I'm beginning to wonder. Early in his career, now-Pope Benedict XVI said that he;d rather have a smaller church that basically never questioned authority than the much larger Church that is currently in existence. Could the tone deaf stuff that he and his underlings continue to say be a way to encourage that?

Also, if you know you're losing people, and that the outdated, frankly immoral policies* that you are promulgating are driving people away, shouldn't you take a look at them?

*Comments like these, or when the Archbishop of Guam compared gays and suicide bombers and suicide bombers won contribute to a society that tolerates violence against the GLBT community.

Because I can't reconcile being gay and being Catholic. I did not choose to be gay, nor am I hopelessly broken because I am. I CAN, however, choose to be Catholic, and I choose not to.
oxymoron67: (Default)
... Bill Donohue is an embarrassment.

Bill Donohue releases a statement about priestly sexual abuse.

Why do people take this man seriously?

On September 28, the Chicago Tribune reported that "former Chicago priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormick sexually abused him [Doe] while he was a grammar school student." We then learn that the student was really a middle-school student, in the eighth grade, when the abuse began. The abuse reportedly continued for five years. According to the lawsuit, "McCormack inappropriately sexually touched, hugged, rubbed and/or abused Doe."

It's time to ask some tough questions. Why did this young man not object earlier? Why did he allow the "abuse" to continue until he was 18? The use of the quotes is deliberate: the charge against the former priest is not rape, but rubbing. While still objectionable, there is a glacial difference between being rubbed and raped.

So... much... anger... where to start?

Abuse starting in eighth grade is somehow better... different... than that starting in grammar school? Actually we'll get to that later. So, for now, we'll focus on the second paragraph, wherein Mr. Donohue plays victim blaming.

The young man did not object earlier BECAUSE ABUSE VICTIMS FEEL TRAPPED. Also, since his victimizer was priest, a respected member of the community, he might have felt that no one would believe them or that he would be surrounded by people like you, Mr. Donohue, who would demonize the victim, rather than treating him with the respect and sympathy he deserves.

Of course, now that Donohue has blamed the victim for the abuse, he proceeds to downplay the abuse. It's not rape, because that requires penetration, so it's not so bad.

Here's what we know. We know that this case, like most of them, was the work of a homosexual, not a pedophile. And like most of the cases of priestly sexual misconduct, there was no rape involved. Inappropriate touching is morally wrong, and the offenders should be punished, but the time has come to object to all those pundits who like to say that the scandal is all about child rape. Most of the cases did not involve children—they were post-pubescent males—and most weren't raped.

Again, no penetratrion = no rape, so why should these poor boys feel victimized at all? Besides, it wasn't pedophilia. Since many of these boys were teenagers, clearly is was homosexual. SO WE CAN BLAME THE QUEERS! HOORAY!

Really? Really? Is this the best argument that those who would minimize what the Catholic Church allowed to happen can come up with? That, since it;s teenagers being victimized and penetration didn't happen in every case, that this behavior and the covering up of this behavior didn't ruin lives? And that the Church doesn't need to just admit this, but take strides to fix it?

After all, isn't part of penance and forgiveness trying to fix wthe bag things that one is responsible for? And isn't part of that actually ADMITTING what happened and not BLAMING THE VICTIMS AND MINIMIZING THE HARMFUL ACTIONS?

Or did the nuns lie to me in CCD classes?

And then there;s the ending:

Why does this matter? Because those looking to sue the Catholic Church for being inappropriately rubbed decades ago are not exactly the poster boys for the victims of child rape. And because those who hate the Church continue to use the term child rape as a way of discrediting the Church. They lie about this being a pedophilia problem and they lie about the nature of the misconduct. That’s reason enough to call them on it.

These young men who were attacked and victimized repeatedly over a span of years by predators that were/are protected by the Church? They don;t matter. They're suffering isn;t important because Mr. Donohue decided that it wasn't so bad.

As far as discrediting the Church goes, I would say that Mr. Donohue and people who agree with him (several of whom I am related to, unfortunately) are harming the Church far more that the victims of abuse. Mr. Donohue and his ilk are saying that the abuse doesn't really matter; that the victims are unimportant; that the Church didn't really do anything too, too badly by allowing this sort of conduct to happen FOR GENERATIONS.

That is far worse than any lawsuit brought against the Church. Why? Because Mr. Donohue and those who think like him have missed the point of the foundations of the Church:

1) When you (in this case the Church... and its members... we turned a blind eye to these things) do something wrong, you need to go back and fix it.

2) The whole "love your neighbor as yourself" thing. Not seeing it here.

3) Cruelty in the name of the Church or of God (and rest assured, Mr. Donohue is being deliberately cruel here) is sinful. This certainly isn't the reaction that Jesus would have had.

Look, I know that the Catholic Church doesn't want to admit that anything that occurred after 1870* matters and that It doesn't need to change. But it does.

*In 1870, Italy seized Rome and the Papal States, relegating the Pope to Vatican City. Of course, even in the 1850's the Pope was complaining about the evils of the modern world, even though he allowed electricity and train service in the Papal States.
oxymoron67: (Default)
This just reinforces my bad week.

First we have Senatorial Republicans defeating the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That the policy has been abused and is a titanic waste of money? Not important. That the policy is opposed by an overwhelming majority of Americans? Unimportant.

Let's just keep those damned faggots and dykes down.

I posted on Facebook about this, and of course, my asshole ultra-conservative brother posted a "Oh, you shouldn't talk about this here" thing. He later added a comment about Congress... but I know him well enough tto know that he meant me.

For those who do not know... I am gay, but my family refuses to recognize that fact. Just about every family member has, in fact, made it clear that I could either be gay or be part of the family.

And then they wonder why I don't live near any of them.

But this isn't just about me and my family issues. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a vile policy. It needs to be repealed.

Meantime, in Minnesota, the archdiocese is sending out a DVD to all Catholics reminding them that gay marriage is EEEEEEEEEEEE-VIL!

Two of the three gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota support gay marriage. This DVD is a "reminder" that Catholics are supposed to be opposed to gay marriage... because spending money on this DVD is so much better than helping the poor.

One wonders if Catholic Charities would withdraw from Minnesota like it has from Massachusetts and D.C.?

Also, if the Church is going to continue to dabble in politics like this, shouldn't it lose its tax-exempt status?

I'm currently disgusted with the universe.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I returned to the J. P. Morgan Library and Museum today.

Why? They had two things I wanted to see:

1) A collection of Near East Seals

2) WWI silent movies

I saw two other things while I was there

3) a display of medieval religious items

4) The drawings and etchings of Albrecht Duerer

I had a geeky blast.

The Ancient Near East Seals are small cylinders that they would roll onto clay tablets. They usually represented religious scenes, or at least these did.

The Morgan did something cool: they showed the cylinders, then rolled the cylinders in plasticene and showed the printings. Then they photographed the plasticene imprints and blew up the images.

The results were amazing. The amount of detail was breathtaking. The seals chosen for display ranged from the days of the Sumerian City States and the rise of Akkad through the Assyrian periods to the Babylonian, Chaldean and Persian Eras, ending with Alexander's conquest, when these sorts of seals fell into disuse with the introductions of ink and papyrus.

The gods and goddesses were frequently portrayed, as were sphinxes and demons. The hunt was frequently portrayed, and, in fact, the hunt was frequently combined with struggles against demons.

Also on display were some agates used to portray eyes, a tablet covered in cuneiform from Nebuchadnezzar's time and a bowl, also covered in cuneiform.

Wonderful. This display was worth the $12 admission price on its own.

Because of bad timing on my part, I only got to see one of the WWI shorts. This one was mostly about VE day (Now Veterans Day in the U.S.) and involved a parade at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

I did, however, get to see a small documentary about the Morgan and how J.P. Morgan and his son set it up.

Overall, nice

Next up, I went to see Albrecht Duerer's exhibit. It showed his work as an engraver, architect, designer and sketcher, including his famous Adam and Eve sketches as well as a piece of heraldry he designed and the design of columns for a cit hall in Nuremberg. This hall was never built.

Very nice.

Finally, the Medieval Religious Artifacts
These include the Stavelot Tryptych, a tiny altar-like work that contains an alleged piece of the True Cross.

A portable shrine used by a French cardinal was also on display, as was a chalice dedicated to St. Michael. (Among other objects)

Overall, a great trip.

Alas, no photos allowed.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Vatican changes how it deals with sex abuse.

The Vatican is trying to streamline how it deals with claims of sex abuse. It has also decided that sexual abuse is to be dealt with the same way as child rape.

This is a good thing.

One issue I do have is that the article doesn't mention turning the religious who rape over to law enforcement authorities. This does not mean that the Vatican won't do so.

I still wonder about those who covered up the abuse. If a bishop covered up sexual abuse, why is he still in a position of power? This isn't an accounting error... this isn't an accident... it's the willful cover-up of CHILD RAPE. These bishops, when given the choice between protecting child raping priests or their victims, chose child raping priests.

I don't see how alleged men of God can justify that. Hell, I don't see how these people can call themselves "men of God."

Still, I hope these new regulations help.


Jul. 7th, 2010 09:24 pm
oxymoron67: (Gay Army)
I am currently reading The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by David I. Kertzer.

It's a great read and I heartily recommend it, even though I'm only half way through.

Edgardo Mortara was a six year old Jewish boy living in Bologna, Italy in 1858. At that time, Italy wasn't a country, it was a patchwork of many states including Savoy, Modena, Tuscany, Parma, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Lombardy and Venice, which were controlled by Austria-Hungary.

Bologna belonged to the Papal States, a chunk of central Italy ruled by the Pope.

At the time, Jews in the Papal States were allowed to live there, but under harsh laws, involving where they could live and do business, curfews, extreme taxes and the like. At one point, the Jews had to attend weekly meetings were priests tried to harangue them into converting, but this had ended about a decade before this story unfolds.

One day, the police come to see Edgardo's family. He has been baptized, and, since he is now Catholic, he is not allowed to live with his family. A day later, he is taken from his family and packed off to Rome.

In other parts of the Western world Jews have already been emancipated. When they hear of the case, they publicize it, getting then-French emperor Napoleon III involved.

Pius IX would not be moved, however. He doesn't believe the Jews are being treated badly. His logic is that the Jews could live in the Papal States, so they had it better than Protestant, who can't.

A lone religious, a French abbott, pointed out that if the Papal States can force Jews to convert, what's to stop a Muslim or non-Catholic Christian state from forcibly converting Catholics.

He was silenced.

The Church launched a counter-offensive against this bad publicity, saying that it was being persecuted by the Jews, who controlled the media. No, really. Even back then when Jews were just allowed to fully engage in public life, this was said.

I am finding parallels between how the Church reacted to this scandal in 1858 and how it has reacted to the priest sex abuse scandal now. Crying persecution is one HUGE similarity. Blaming people the Church hates is another: a Jewish boy was kidnapped because of the Jews and child rape was all the fault of those queers, who are the plastic trash choking the life out of the rainforest that is heterosexual humanity.*

*Yes, Benedict XVI made a rainforest analogy quite similar to this one.


oxymoron67: (Default)

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