Sunday, April 15, 2018

Lafayette On The Stafford Turnpike

I am involved in the planning for an event this coming Labor Day weekend.  It is the beginning of a long term project to celebrate the bicentennial of Lafayette's Farewell Tour 1824-1825.  I don't intend to make WFG all Lafayette all the time, but you will be seeing quite a bit more about him.  I wrote this for the American Friends of Lafayette who will be in Central Mass this Labor Day weekend.

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                September 1 to 2 Save the Dates

Join us this Labor Day weekend in historic Sturbridge Massachusetts where we will party like it is 1824 again including dinner at the Publick House Historic Inn where Lafayette stopped as he made his way from Boston to New York in 1824.  The dinner will cap the festivities as we welcome the Nation’s Guest in the authentic setting of Old Sturbridge Village.

When Lafayette began his visit to the United States in 1824, he was not quite certain how long he was going to stay.  His epic reception in New York and the cheering crowds as he went through various towns on the way to Boston and his reception in Boston, where he was invited to be present at the laying of the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument nearly a year later probably made him realize that it would be a while.

There has been no celebratory event that has so brought Americans together on such a grand scale as Lafayette’s visit.  It gave them the opportunity to celebrate a nation founded on ideas.  There was an extremely divisive election going on as for the first time the Presidency would not be held by one of the Founding Fathers.  For the first time the Constitution would be tested as the election went to the House of Representatives with the office going to John Quincy Adams in what opponents called a corrupt bargain. But there was no controversy about Lafayette.  Just a competition for every place he visited to greet him in a grander manner. Although the story of Lafayette’s visit is enshrined in national history, the real magnitude is buried in local history. Here is Levauseur’s account of the beginning of his trip from Boston back to New York

“September 2 – Upon leaving the ball, we boarded the carriage to return to Boston, where we awaited our companions for the trip to New York. Having arrived at two o’clock, we set out again at four, making our way by Lexington, Lancaster, Worcester, Tolland and Hartford. In each of these places, General Lafayette received displays of affection from all the citizens, which touched him deeply, but to which he had hardly the time to reply, so swiftly did we travel.”

Despite all that swift traversing, there are detailed accounts of Lafayette’s stops however as he proceeded on the Worcester-Stafford Turnpike – Opened in 1810, the Worcester-Stafford Turnpike was one of a number of toll roads built by private investors with the purpose of broadening business opportunities.Used primarily for commercial travel, passengers along the turnpike were charged 25 cents per coach and 4 cents for each man and horse at tollhouses built approximately 10 miles apart where horses would have to be changed during the 12-hour ride from Worcester to Hartford.



    One such tollhouse was an inn that stood adjacent to the Sturbridge Town Common that has long outlived the very road it was built to serve. That tollhouse, now known as the Publick House, is still a favored destination for travelers and diners alike.

So join us this Llbor Day weekend as we follow Lafayette and cheer him as he goes from Worcester to Connecticut.

Lafayette reenactor Ben Goldman will portray the elder Lafayette as he is greeted at in Charlton at the still extant Rider Tavern, which has a collection of Lafayette memorabilia that will be open by special arrangement with the Charlton Historical Society


Ryder Tavern (Julie Icher in the foreground)

Julien Icher at Rider Tavern


            The high point of the weekend will be Sunday afternoon when Lafayette is greeted at Old Sturbridge Village.  There is probably not a better venue anywhere than OSV for capturing the look and feel of a small town greeting the Nations Guest. Old Sturbridge Village is the largest living museum in New England covering over 200 acres and including 59 antique buildings, three water-powered mills and a working farm.  It recreates life in rural New England from 1790-1840.  We have been working with the OSV staff to make the reception of Lafayette a memorable event.  Our members will be mingling with the general visitors and militia contingents welcoming Lafayette.

Accommodations will be at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center a short distance from both OSV and the Publick House.  We have obtained a favorable group rate at the hotel

Sturbridge Mass is extremely easy to reach.  At the junction of I-84 and I-90 (Mass Turnpike), it is an hour or less from airports serving Boston MA, Worcester MA, Providence RI and Hartford CT .

This Labor Day special is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with Lafayette and to get a real sense of how he was received in small town America.  Look for details and registration materials soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Kent Hovind Critic Deborah Henderson Weighs In On Holy Cross New Testament Controversy

Holy Cross in the news. Senior Elinor Reilly's article in The Fenwick Review made a splash first in the right wing blogosphere and then the mainstream media leading to out of town demonstrators descending on the College and the Bishop of Worcester issuing  a stern warning to the College.  I reached out to logical sources and have coverage here and here

I couldn't resist reaching out to other members of my theological brain trust.  Covering the tax woes of young earth creationist Kent Hovind has introduced me to a number of interesting people with strong view on biblical matters.

One of the most interesting is Deborah Henderson - Domineering Deborah.  DD has managed to alienate people by giving them handles that they find insulting.  I decided to just embrace that tendency.  I gave her a handle and requested that she upgrade mine.  She kind of likes the "Domineering Deborah" moniker and upgraded me from "Pansy Pete" to "Impertinent Peter".

Deborah was active on youtube, but has slacked off of late.  Here is an example






She recently told me that I am somewhat to blame for her most recent conversion.  I asked her where she stood on a few issues that roil around in Hovind territory.  She checked off a belief in young earth creationism and the King James only view on bible translations.  She was against vaccines and in favor of geocentrism. She wasn't sure about flat earth though and my questioning of her made her look into it more.  So now she is in the flat earth crowd too.

At any rate I thought her thoughts on the Holy Cross matter would be really interesting.  The executive summary is more or less - Jesuits! What else will you have but awful heresy, but that doesn't do her response justice, so here it is.  

JUST TO BE CLEAR - views below are those of Deborah Henderson not We Are The Future Generations or Peter J Reilly.

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The origins of the jesuits was for control of the masses, to lead them away from God and believe the strong delusion God warns us about. Catholic authority has been burning and torturing Christians alive with their Bibles from the origins of this demonic Babylonian religion. Constantine first formed this abomination by pulling a reece's peanut butter cup, mixing pagan religion with Biblical Christianity. AND NO, PETER WAS NOT THE FIRST POPE, I REPEAT PETER WAS NOT THE FIRST POPE.


This is not surprising to me in the least to hear a jesuit say such blatant blasphemous things about my Jesus. Most, if not all jesuits are sodomites and only the mind of a reprobate sodomite could think and say such things. The god they worship is lucifer, the light bearer. They truly believe this baphomet will conquer the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the great 'I AM.' This is also the reason for the surge in the androgynous movement.  

Romans 1:26-32 KJB
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

The Olympics are a huge pagan celebration for their gods, which they believe are half man and half woman. They have fallen for satan's lie he first told Eve in Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

In order to have wealth and fame, you must bow down to satan, and he has disguised himself as an Angel of Light to those who have sold their souls, Jesuits, celebrities, athletes, presidents, etc. The devil does everything backwards, therefore, he requires you to become a sodomite and trans your gender.

As for the controversy of the college paper being named 'The Crusade,' who cares, when there are so many issues facing our youth today. The Holy Cross will be destroyed by God himself, in the meantime He is separating the wheat from the tares, the goats from His sheep. People are waking up, yet more people have been duped into believing the 'strong delusion' and woest unto them.  


500 ad to 1500 ad civilized civilization was controlled by Rome.
A globe earth is unproven pseudo-science but is believed worldwide. It is a huge lie that has taken on a life of it’s own, being passed from generation to generation. Anyone who dares question it is mocked and ridiculed. Vladimir Lenin reportedly observed: “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

Catholic authority were tying Bibles around Bible believing Christians and tortured and burned them alive. The Catholic hierarchy was presented with a perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for a worldwide deception to bear fruit in the final generation. The deception required a small, globe earth, spinning through vast, limitless reaches of space, a space inhabited by aliens and other sentient life forms. This created doubt in the Bible as the inspired Word of Jesus, for the Bible presents the earth as unmoving. It also removed the Creator far away from His creation by presenting a universe unimaginably vast. The change agent to engineer this transformation in belief was the newly created Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits.

The Jesuit order was established in 1540 under the approval of Pope Paul III—the very pope with whom Copernicus had corresponded regarding calendar reform and to whom Copernicus dedicated his book, Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies!

Guided and inspired by supernatural demonic intelligences, the Jesuits became infamous for their adeptness at deception and subterfuge; their ability to infiltrate governments and institutions of learning, and the influence they wielded, standing as advisors to kings and leaders in education. Working through government entities and education, they have been able to guide scientific research to further their own ends and present the biggest lie of all time: a globe earth.

As long as people accepted Scripture’s cosmology of the earth as a fixed, immovable mass under a protective covering, there was no foundation on which to build lies designed to make the human mind doubt the word of Jesus. By decreasing people’s trust in the dependability of the Bible, it curiously increasedconfidence in the pope as Heaven’s appointed authority on what to believe. The Jesuits have always been enemies of the Bible. Since the Catholic Church ranks papal decree and tradition above the Scriptures anyway, decreasing confidence in Scripture increases confidence in pastors, priests and the pope as authorities that know more than the common man can.

“The Big Bang Theory is [today] the leading explanation about how the universe began. At its simplest, it talks about the universe as we know it starting with a small singularity, then inflating over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today.”7 The Big Bang Theory is atheist science’s answer to Genesis 1.


That is correct. The author of the Big Bang theory was none other than the Jesuit-trained priest, Father Georges LemaĆ®tre.Follow from cause to effect: without a globe earth circling the sun through the far reaches of space, you do not have the Big Bang. Without the Big Bang, you do not have evolution. Without evolution, you are more likely to accept creation as an act of intelligent design by a divine Creator. The Roman Catholic Church does, in fact, accept evolution. In her report, Kerr further stated: “The pope said it is possible to believe in both, insisting God was responsible for the Big Bang from which all life evolved.”

NASA’s public releases of information, promoting the idea of an ever larger, expanding universe of incomprehensible size, has led naturally to the supposition that there must be alien life on other celestial bodies. After all, if the same serendipitous events that produced life on earth, existed everywhere due to the Big Bang, why couldn’t intelligent life have evolved elsewhere as well? In combination with Hollywood and the science-fiction genre, NASA has created an environment in which contact with extraterrestrial life forms is as desired as it is feared.

The Catholic hierarchy was presented with a perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for a worldwide deception to bear fruit in the final generation. The purpose for this entire intricate, multi-layered deception spanning centuries is to deceive the world’s masses in order to create a desired outcome.

This deception would never work if people knew the true shape of the earth and the universe. Hence, the need for a massive re-education program.

For 500 years, this Jesuit conspiracy has taught a globe earth, circumnavigating the sun—itself spinning around the center of an immense galaxy that is likewise speeding through limitless space. Within this immense realm, it is presumed there are other species of intelligent life that inhabit other worlds. These lies will culminate in the climactic “alien invasion” prophesied in Revelation 9. The ultimate deception will occur when the pope negotiates a peace treaty on behalf of the human race with demons. As Satan’s representative, he will assume leadership of the world and, in the person of the pope, Satan will have achieved his long-desired goal as ruler of the earth.

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I realize that many people might think it irresponsible of me to give a platform to far out of the mainstream views, but I think it is important that you be aware of what is out there and I kind of like Deborah.  -PJR






Prominent Historian Weighs In On Holy Cross Queer Theory Uproar


When I looked into the flap surrounding an article in The Fenwick Review by Holy Cross senior Elinor Reilly - New Ways in Theology at Holy Cross-, I reached out to David O'Brien who retired as Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. Professor O'Brien is an authority on the history of American Catholicism. It seemed like I was not the first person to ask as he had a two page response.  I am delighted that he agreed to let me publish it here.

Professr O'Brien had some brief comments on my post on the topic which I will resist calling QueerJesusgate, tempting as that might be.  I  will share some of them at the end.  Here is Professor O'Brien:

Might Jesus have been gay? And how might gays, lesbians and transgendered people encounter Jesus in the Scriptures? At Worcester’s College of the Holy Cross controversy has exploded around such questions. A student journalist discovered a ten year old academic publication that offered some speculative ideas about Jesus and sexuality. The scholar who wrote that paper was then in California and is now at Holy Cross. The College President and Provost have praised the professor’s teaching, scholarship and character, and they have properly reminded everyone of the importance of academic freedom. Some Catholics, including Worcester’s bishop and some devoted alumni of the College, are not persuaded. They claim to be “outraged” at the very idea that a professor at a Jesuit and Catholic college would speculate in public about Jesus’ sexual orientation. They are particularly offended by the scholar’s admittedly provocative use of language, language made familiar in recent years by newly assertive gays and lesbians. Upset critics probably have heard these words before but they apparently worry that these ideas might endanger the faith of Holy Cross students and even “blaspheme” against Christian faith itself.

Of course these same church leaders and well educated Holy Cross graduates would surely agree that Jesus was fully man and well as fully God, and, as a man, he was probably subject, like all human beings, to emotions, even desires, including the desire to love and be loved. Some Christians might quickly respond that, “well, Jesus was like us in all things but sin”, suggesting it seems that sex and the emotions associated with sex are in themselves sinful, and therefore not part of the humanity of Jesus. All of us, and especially Catholics, might think about that for a while.

As for deliberately provocative language, we might recall what Catholic leaders at the very highest level of the Church said just a few years ago in instructing the faithful about homosexuality.

“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder”. Of course violence against homosexual persons should be condemned, but “the proper response to such attacks should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

One does not have to look far, probably not far from one’s own parish or family, to find good people who have been deeply hurt by the contempt communicated by this presentation of church teaching. At a key moment of public discussion in our country that language about gay love gave legitimacy to extreme anger leveled by some at “out-of-the closet” gay men and lesbians. More broadly it raised questions about whether or not such men and women could be fully members of the Christian (or any other) community if they acknowledged their “disordered” orientation, much less acted on it. In my own work with the contemporary American Catholic church I encountered priests, even a bishop or two, who were disciplined because they offered Mass for gays and lesbians and their families or, even worse, allowed out-of-the closet gay and lesbian Catholics to meet on church property.

 As a retired Holy Cross Professor I can assure friends of the College that the faculty and administrators who hired this professor did so with due deliberation, weighing the problems that would unfortunately arise if this earlier essay became widely known against the quality of his overall body of work. They must have determined that he would make an important contribution to the “conversation about basic human questions” that is central to the Holy Cross mission. I know and love Holy Cross graduates and the College’s many friends, and I believe deeply that Christian intelligence and imagination are invaluable to people of all sorts and to our diverse and often contentious human family. But I also know that our faith communities have long histories of opposition to homosexuals, often expressed in languages of contempt that would make this professor’s flip phrases look benign. Even now Catholic and wider Christian discussion of gay sex and gay marriage centers almost exclusively on sex, not love, even though we Christians all believe that love alone gives deep meaning to sex, and to life for that matter. Our church most of the time teaches that genuine love more than anything else makes God present in our world. I am confident that the Holy Cross community, which has welcomed and now supports this professor, is deeply committed to teaching and research that leads to truth, and to love for the world and all people. In this and much else it is as Catholic as it ever was.

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Professor O'Brien's comment on my piece - How Obscure Article By Holy Cross Prof Made It Into The Right Wing Outrage Factory -was "a good job as far as it goes"/  Considering the source I take that as high praise.  He also told me that when he was at Holy Cross he found The Fenwick Review deplorable, but never missed reading it. 

 Commenting on how The Fenwick Review piece ended up on Breitbart he wrote that in the seventies and for a while after the left and center were organized and networked, while now the right has the organization and networking while left and center are fragmented.

More background- according to its website, The Fenwick Review was founded in 1989 by Father Paul Scalia son of the late Supreme Court Justice, who I can never resist pointing out was a graduate of Xavier High School.

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Peter J Reilly CPA writes about taxes on forbes.com.

Here is Professor O'Brien giving a lecture on Catholic social teaching.









Monday, April 9, 2018

How Obscure Article By Holy Cross Prof Made It Into The Right Wing Outrage Factory

How did a second semester senior at Holy Cross manage to create what I can only describe as a major you know storm for our college including a rebuke of sorts from the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and out-of town protesters at the gates of the college?  In one of my rare forays into being an investigative reporter of sorts, I think I found the answer.  It was Breitbart and a crafty unidentified Jesuit priest.  Here is the story as far as I have been able to put it together.

Crusading Without Weaponry

My alma mater, The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts has been providing grist for the right-wing outrage mill of late.  There was the matter of the Crusader moniker which, no surprise if you reflect on it, has some negative connotations.  They resolved that probably to no one's satisfaction with keeping the nickname but demilitarizing it - no more knight in white and purple armor with a blunt lance as a mascot.



New Testament Queer Theory

Well that was fun, but the latest is something else.  LGBT Jesus! Holy $$$$!

The story is all over the place, but you want a really balanced treatment so here is Fox News - Jesus was 'drag king' with 'queer desires,' claims theology professor' by Caleb Parke.
A theology professor at a Catholic college is making some bizarre – some would even say blasphemous – claims about Jesus Christ that is causing a stir on campus. 
Dr. Tat-siong Benny Liew, chair of New Testament Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., said Jesus was a “drag king” who had “queer desires.” He also claims the Last Supper was a “literary striptease” and that Jesus was not a man, but gender fluid. 
The “Gospel of John” professor cited the book of John in the Bible to try to back his arguments.
Now I am not going to get too deep into what Dr. Liew wrote for a very good reason. I have not read "Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John's Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds".  In order to read it I would have to get my hands on We Were All Together in One Place: Toward Minority Biblical Criticism. There is no kindle edition and the paperback is forty bucks.  I did find some links in the other coverage, but they seem to be to google books, so you don't get the whole thing.  Regardless, I pretty much don't understand it.  Here is the overarching concept of the book.
Critics from three major racial/ethnic minority communities in the United States African American, Asian American, and Latino/a American focus on the problematic of race and ethnicity in the Bible and in contemporary biblical interpretation. With keen eyes on both ancient text and contemporary context, contributors pay close attention to how racial/ethnic dynamics intersect with other differential relations of power such as gender, class, sexuality, and colonialism. In groundbreaking interaction, they also consider their readings alongside those of other racial/ethnic minority communities. The volume includes an introduction pointing out the crucial role of this work within minority criticism by looking at its historical trajectory, critical findings, and future directions. 
I have a small taste for New Testament scholarship, but I have some skepticism that after a couple of hundred years of treating the scriptures like any other historical document, they are going to come up with much that is new.  Of course the Gospel of Thomas and the Dead Sea Scrolls did give them  some new old things to chew on.

Regardless, if we think of the Gospels as documents created by humans, there has to have been a lot more thought about them than went into them in the first place making it tough to come up with anything new.  As it turns out gay Jesus is not something new. Check out the wikipedia entry on the sexuality of Jesus and you will see what I mean.

The Second Semester Senior

What intrigues me is how this became a thing and the implications of the Fox story to the contrary notwithstanding, it is not because Professor Liew has been shouting from the rooftops that Jesus is gay or even telling his undergraduates that Jesus was of indeterminate gender.

No. The source of the current scandal may well be a sort of Holy Cross second semester senior prank.  We didn't have the Fenwick Review back in my time at Holy Cross 1970-1974.  Its role was filled by my friend Bob Gasser who was ready to give his life to prevent the Radical Students Union from firebombing the Air Force ROTC building (the one with the peace symbol painted on the roof) again.  Anyway the conservatives got their own journal.  It's mission statement is:
As the College of the Holy Cross’s independent journal of opinion, The Fenwick Review strives to promote intellectual freedom and progress on campus. The staff of The Fenwick Review takes pride in defending traditional Catholic principles and conservative ideas, and does its best to articulate thoughtful alternatives to the dominant campus ethos. Our staff values Holy Cross very much, and desires to help make it the best it can be by strengthening and renewing the College’s Catholic identity, as well as working with the College to encourage constructive dialogue and an open forum to foster new idea
In the March Issue Elinor Reilly Class of 2018, whom I am certain will turn out to be a cousin after we do enough research, wrote New Ways in Theology at Holy Cross. In typical second semester senior fashion the article was posted at 4:15 AM and updated at 5:32 AM. It provides the juicy quotes from Dr. Liew's work that have lit up the internet, but here is the thing that I really love.  Ms. Reilly's article is in no way judgemental.  It is really pretty much just the facts.
Professor Liew’s unconventional readings of Scripture has brought a new theological perspective to Holy Cross. The position and prestige which accompany an endowed chair in Religious Studies testify to the esteem in which his work is held by the College’s administration and academic community. He continues to be held up as an example and a bold successor to the learned and discerning tradition of our Catholic and Jesuit College of the Holy Cross.
I just love that sentence - Professor Liew’s unconventional readings of Scripture has brought a new theological perspective to Holy Cross - I mean how can that be a bad thing? The only way you can tell that Ms. Reilly might be a conservative is the platform.  The piece could have been promoted by Abigale and Allies the Holy Cross Gay-Straight Alliance to let everybody know what a great guy Professor Liew is.

The viewpoint that she is putting forth subtly in that pieces is much clearer in the review of Beyond The Abortion Wars in the November 2017 issue.
"Beyond the Abortion Wars" has good points throughout, and Professor Camosy’s analysis of the actual views of the American public on abortion is particularly interesting. However, as a Catholic theologian working at a Catholic university, his deceptive statements about Catholic teachings and moral truths are unacceptable. He should clarify the instances in his book where he dissents from Church teaching—or better yet, he should cease teaching theology at a Catholic institution and stop representing himself as Catholic if he so clearly disagrees with the Church. As a Catholic teacher, he ought to recognize that he has a duty to his students’ (and readers’) souls as well as their minds. There is a tradition in Catholic religious communities that when a superior dies, he or she will have to answer at the throne of God for anyone led astray under their care. Professor Camosy would do well to reflect on this idea. (Emphasis added)
And then, working backwards through the archive there is "Why Holy Cross Needs A Monastery" in September 2017
 Holy Cross needs a monastery so that we can return to our Catholic roots. I do not suggest that we abandon altogether our career searching and grad-school applying, only that each of us re-evaluates our priorities. A monastery on campus or just outside the gates is a way to emphasize the importance of prayer and refocus the mission of the school on bringing souls to heaven and not just to Fulbrights. The spiritual and financial investments would be worth every bit.
Clearly my second semester senior prank interpretation is unfair to someone as committed as Ms. Reilly, but I still think there is an element of it in the article about Liew.

Conservative Catholics

I have a certain grudging sympathy for the views of conservative Catholics even though like the faculty adviser to the Fenwick Review Professor David Schaefer, who is quoted in the Worcester Telegram, I don't have a dog in the fight.  Professor Schaefer, a long serving teacher of political science at Holy Cross, is Jewish and I am a Unitarian Universalist.

Like a conservative Catholic, I don't understand why somebody who has the perfectly reasonable view that not practicing birth control can be irresponsible or that it is just fine if graduates of Xavier High School or pre-1974 Holy Cross graduates  marry one one another (Both all male schools) chooses to remain a Catholic.  Unitarian Univesalism is much more suitable and if you really like all that ritual there is always the Episcopal Church, as long as you pick the right diocese.

Only I do understand it, because it is tribal. And there is a attachment to many fine institutions and I don't share the embitterment that many ex-Catholics have.  And those institutions were built and supported by people who didn't necessarily swallow all that infallible teaching whole and sometimes had a jaundiced view of the clergy.  

That American Catholicism had for a time possibly the most devout laity in the world may well have some roots in Ireland where Catholics were persecuted with the persecution continuing in milder form as they moved into being the most despised white people in the United States and of course successive waves of immigrants from Catholic countries have faced prejudice which helped bind them to the church, regardless of their thoughts on particular points of doctrine.

The Bishop Reacts

The wave of outrage includes a stern warning from Bishop McManus of Worcester. 
Holy Cross has a duty to, at least, ask Professor Liew if he rejects the biblical positions he penned some ten years ago or if he supports and defends those positions today. If he disavows them, then he must state so publicly, so as not to create confusion about the nature of Christ.  If he does not, then it is my duty as the Bishop of Worcester to clearly state that such teaching is a danger to the integrity of the Catholic faith and, in prudence, warn the Catholic faithful committed to my pastoral care that such unorthodox teaching has no place in a Catholic College whose mission is to promote and cultivate the Catholic intellectual tradition. 
Well I guess compared to burning at the stake it is not that stern a warning. After all nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition


The College Reacts

The Holy Cross response to the whole thing is kind of interesting.  Back to the Fox Story

Holy Cross spokesman John Hill told Fox News that Liew hasn't taught the controversial material in the classroom. “The decade-old work referenced in the Fenwick Review article was not intended for an undergraduate classroom, nor has it ever been assigned at Holy Cross. It was an intentionally provocative work, not a statement of belief, meant to foster discussion among a small group of Biblical scholars exploring marginalization. No one has made a complaint about the content of Professor Liew’s classes in his four years at Holy Cross.”
Here we get an implicit, very subtle rebuke to Elinor Reilly.  What is she doing publicizing stuff written in a book that normal people would never read?  Doesn't she know that old truth - What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

A More Eloquent Defense of The College.

To get a different sort of Catholic view of the matter I reached out to Professor David. J O'Brien who retired from Holy Cross as the Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies.  He is an historian.  He was one of the people who inspired me to want to be an historian, but I try not to hold it against him.  I'm not the first person who has asked since he came back with a two pager, which I would publish here if he ever got back to me with permission.  Here are some of the high points:
 The College President and Provost have praised the professor’s teaching, scholarship and character, and they have properly reminded everyone of the importance of academic freedom. Some Catholics, including Worcester’s bishop and some devoted alumni of the College, are not persuaded. They claim to be “outraged” at the very idea that a professor at a Jesuit and Catholic college would speculate in public about Jesus’ sexual orientation
As a retired Holy Cross Professor I can assure friends of the College that the faculty and administrators who hired this professor did so with due deliberation, weighing the problems that would unfortunately arise if this earlier essay became widely known against the quality of his overall body of work. They must have determined that he would make an important contribution to the “conversation about basic human questions” that is central to the Holy Cross mission. I know and love Holy Cross graduates and the College’s many friends, and I believe deeply that Christian intelligence and imagination are invaluable to people of all sorts and to our diverse and often contentious human family. 
I am confident that the Holy Cross community, which has welcomed and now supports this professor, is deeply committed to teaching and research that leads to truth, and to love for the world and all people. In this and much else it is as Catholic as it ever was.
But How Did This Become A Thing?

I also reached out to Professor Schaefer who, having no dog in the theological fight, did have something to say on the academic side of things to the Worcester Telegram along with a bit of pride in what the students had accomplished:
I would be inclined to guess that this is the biggest scoop the Fenwick Review has run in 28 years.
He goes on:
I want to emphasize what is quoted from this man’s writing is the same kind of approach that has infiltrated what are broadly called the humanities across the United States. About 20 years ago somebody ‘discovered’ that the composer Handel was gay. Needless to say, Shakespeare was a cross-dresser and so on. Whether in English, philosophy, religion, history, and I’m sorry to say, in political science, my own field, this is how you get ahead: by coming up with something that first, will be outrageous or cutting edge, and second, will appeal to certain constituencies
I have to say that there may be as much or more of a threat to academic freedom from the left as there is from the right, but this time it is the right acting up and I wanted to find out how it got started.  Professor Schaefer got back to me quickly.  He didn't know but couldn't resist plugging the achievement of the students.
Please understand that as faculty adviser to the FR I have no supervisory role - barring some catastrophe (such as has never occurred) - and am limited to offering suggestions to the editors, both positive and negative, that they are free to ignore. I had no idea whatsoever that this article was being written or published, nor have I ever met the author. So I was in no position to anticipate any sort of reaction to it. Nor, finally, do I know how it wound up on Breitbart (and until your email I did not know it was there.) So far as I know the first national medium to pick up the story was National Review and I don't know how they got wind of it.  
I have not seen O'Brien's response, but I will simply observe that since the story appeared nobody has come forward to deny a single statement in it - not surprising since the author apparently drew directly on the professor's own writings. In my opinion the story seems to be a most impressive and much-needed work of journalistic enterprise. 
Breitbart

Like Professor Schaefer, I had thought that National Review had broken the story on a national basis.  There was Defending the Indefensible at Holy Cross by George Weigel a followup on March Madness at the College of The Holy Cross.

Under the regnant canons of academic freedom, Liew’s repulsive eisegesis will doubtless be defended by some, including colleagues at Holy Cross, as a “challenging” opinion that causes his readers to think again. To which the appropriate response is, “Bosh.” This isn’t challenging exegesis; if you want challenging exegesis, try the Anglican scholar N. T. Wright, or Duke’s C. Kavin Rowe. Liew’s eisegesis is ideological besottedness from the academic fever swamps. Anyone who considers it “scholarship” calls into question his or her own credentials as a scholar.

I tried reaching out Mr. Weigel who is a distinguished senior fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, but didn't have any luck.  If I ever got to talk to him I think I would want to ask how you can ever keep a straight face when your title is "distinguished senior fellow".

So I went through the tedious process of doing a day by day google search and I'm pretty sure I found the first shoot from the seed planted by Elinor Reilly and the Fenwick Review -

Holy Cross Theology Professor Says Jesus Was A 'Drag King' With 'Queer Desires" by Thomas D. Williams Ph.D who is the Breitbart Rome Bureau Chief.  I don't think the lead paragraph is that fair of a characterization of the Fenwick Review piece:
The theology program at the Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross has taken on a new tone ever since the school appointed a gender-obsessed Chair of New Testament Studies who claims Jesus was a “drag king,” a new article contends.
Doctor Williams has a lot more theology training than I do, though.  I suspect that he is not responsible for what you might call the flaming Jesus photo that accompanies the story.  Doctor Williams expresses a concern:
What makes the heterodox perspectives of Professor Liew all the more scandalous at this Jesuit institution is that they are not reserved for some obscure graduate seminar, but are offered to undergraduates. In his prestigious role as chair of New Testament, Professor Liew often teaches “New Testament,” the College’s primary New Testament class.
As noted above, the College denies that Professor Liew was bringing these matters up in his classes.  You know the as long as you don't frighten the horses defense or undergraduates in this case.

I reached out to Doctor Williams and was pleasantly surprised when he got back to me.
A friend of mine (a Jesuit priest…) sent me a heads-up on the story. He thought it might be good to give it some publicity
Something tells me that that particular Jesuit priest did not call Father Philip Boroughs, President of the College of the Holy Cross, to ask him whether it would be a good idea to get his friend Thomas at Breitbart interested in the story.

Everybody Should Lighten Up A Little

Although, of course as the saying goes I don't know most of them from Adam, I really kind of like everybody involved in this story.  I think they are all engaged in "A free and responsible search for truth and meaning", the Fourth Principle of Unitarian Universalism and all trying to do the best job that they can.  There is probably a good chance Father Burroughs and Bishop McManus are frenemies.

My personal problem is that I tend to be attached to and admire various institutions I encounter, but seem to lack the ability to become a true believer in anything and muddle along as best I can.  I feel bad that my lack of attachment to any side in this debate has me experiencing a bit of schadenfreude.

 Overall I think Dr. O'Brien comes out best:
Our church most of the time teaches that genuine love more than anything else makes God present in our world. I am confident that the Holy Cross community, which has welcomed and now supports this professor, is deeply committed to teaching and research that leads to truth, and to love for the world and all people. In this and much else it is as Catholic as it ever was. 
But what do I know?

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Peter J. Reilly CPA writes about taxes for forbes.com and whatever piques his interest on this blog.  He graduated from Holy Cross in 1974 with a degree in history.  He has gotten over them changing the words to the school song, so nothing will phase him now.

























Sunday, January 28, 2018

Natalie McMasters Is No Nancy Drew - A Female Detective For The New Millenium

If you are one of those people who likes detective fiction, (And really - are there people who don't?), I can't think of a better investment of your time and money than Stakeout by Tom Burns.

The money part is the really good deal
And then there is the time part. Stakeout is only 24 pages.  As I was reading it I was getting nervous that it was some sort of teaser and that I was going to have to jump through some other hoop or, God forbid, spend some money to avoid being left hanging on the cliff, but Stakeout is a satisfyingly complete, if rather compact short story.  So seriously, give up the like and shoot the email.  You won't regret it.

Short Story - Short Review

I can like a story for any of three reasons - character, plot and setting.  Stakeout is very strong on plot with a classic ticking clock that kept me on edge. And Natalie McMasters, the first person narrator, is engaging and likable with a great sense of humor and she paints a wonderful picture of her mentor/boss/ detective uncle. 

Natlaie is a twentiesh college student private detective trainee working for her uncle.  Their work is extremely mundane - monitoring "the disabled" on behalf of insurance companies. But what will she do if she notices something beyond feigned disability?

In my role as critic, I would say that setting is on the weak side, being somewhat generic.  The school Natalie attends is called State and I could really not get much of a feel for where in the country things were happening.  Also nothing I noted to placed the story in time. Finally there is one key character, who I think should have been fleshed out better.

Can't give you much more without creating plot spoilers, but really you should go for it.  If you get hooked on Natalie, Tom has a novel waiting in the wings.  It's the movie I am really looking forward to, but that may take a while.

Full Disclosure

Tom Burns, not a nom de plume, is one of my best friends from high school.  He is a recurring character in my memoir series and even made a contribution - Xavier High School Memories Of The First Inspection.  As students we shared many of the same reading tastes. Jean Shepherd (although that was more his radio work) and Robert Heinlein come to mind.  Some of my fondest memories of teenage years are walking up Fifth Avenue from 16th Street to 42nd street talking with Tom.  One literary passion of his that I did not take up until later was Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe.  Natalie, in spite of being a cute blond college student does have just a bit of Stout's Archie Goodwin, the narrator of the Wolfe novels, about her.   A realistic eye for the foibles of humanity transcends time, space and gender.

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Peter J Reilly writes about taxes for forbes.com and, on this platform, in the words of Tom Burns - "anything he damn well pleases".














Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sister Kathleen Reilly 1942-2018

Sister Kathleen Reilly died on Wednesday, January 17 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY after a long illness.  She was 75.

The daughter of Jerome Reilly and Muriel (Lyons) Reilly, she grew up at 380 Kennedy Drive (formerly Broad Street) in Fairview, NJ.  She attended St. Johns school in Fairview and Holy Rosary Academy in Union City

In 1960 she entered the Pallottine Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate and began her formation at Queen of the Apostles in Harriman, NY.  She taught elementary school in New York City and then attended Hunter College where she received a masters degree in biology,

She was Director of Financial Aid for Harriman Junior College and then taught science at Holy Rosary Academy, St. Joseph’s High School in West New York, NJ and finally at Christ the King Preparatory School in Newark, NJ.

She is survived by her brothers Peter J Reilly and Robert J Reilly and his wife Annamarie (Carbone) Reilly, her niece Kaitlyn Reilly, nephews Timothy Reilly, Michael Reilly and William Reilly, and her Pallottine sisters.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the science department of Christ the King Preparatory School 239 Woodside Ave Newark NJ.

Viewing will be Sunday January 21st from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Funeral Mass will be Monday, January 22nd at 11:00 AM.
Both will be at Queen of the Apostles Convent - 98 Harriman Heights Road Monroe NY.