Monday, August 27, 2007

Thoughts and responses for today, August 27, 2007

From the news

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales resigns today. Finally. I feel relief.

Whew, I exhale a deep, cleansing breath of relief. I am sure he was an honorable man who sincerely believed in what he was doing. And he did live the American dream. But he was an instrument in the effort to legalize the use of torture by the United States of America.

I believe, and I hope that this act of resignation is a tangible sign that America (i.e. the American people) is rejecting torture as rationally ineffective and humanly cruel. Debasing and damaging to both the tortured and the torturer alike, and, because of legal and ideological justifications, to the people of the tortured and the torturer too. I feel relief as a loyal American that my nation is trying to live-up to it’s higher self, to borrow a term.

I cannot imagine Jesus ever laying hands on another individual except to heal them.

This sense of relief is absent in the early report on the web page of The New York Times, not that a news report should exhibit relief, of course. What it does is frame the resignation as a result of the imbroglio surrounding the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and various claims that Gonzales has not satisfied the Congressional majority investigating the firing of the U.S. Attorneys. Hence, it is a political hatchet job. True. Politics gets results.

Gonzales’ legal efforts to justify torture will be included in later analyses, to be sure. I hope that the resignation is ultimately understood as a blow for justice and love. The real life result of the American people saying no to the use of torture.

In other news

In John Allen, Jr.’s post All Things Catholic located at the National Catholic Reporter’s website, titled “The deathbed friendship between a bishop and an atheist” seems hagiographic in regards to the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci. She seemed racist and incendiary to me, her opposition to Islam reactionary and ethnocentric.

On with the story...

I last wrote about my story that a spiritual rupture and a slow transformation occurred in my spiritual life. The rupture was that I quit going to Mass.

I must have been 11 or 12 when my Mass attendance started to decline. My mom began to attend Mass infrequently, eventually quitting altogether. I had quit going to All Saints School in the fall of 1964 when I entered 5th grade at Griffith Elementary School so I did not have that connection. I would go to Mass occasionally with my sisters and we often went to parishes other than All Saints. It seems that that after my sisters finished college I quit going to Mass. So by 1968 or 1969 I had effectively quit Mass attendance by default when my ride to Mass quit departing.

The transformation was, well, life. I was growing up. This happened in the midst of the tumult of the social and political revolutions of the sixties and seventies. Vatican II, the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, John and Robert Kennedy, the Civil Rights movement, Chicago 1968, hippies, ecology, and, by High School, LSD and marijuana.

I was reading and going to school. My Side of the Mountain by Jean George and The Pond by Robert Murphy, Boy’s Life, National Geographic, The Whole Earth Catalogue, Thoreau and Walden, Wendell Berry. My world was getting bigger. My worldview was developing.

I also spent lots of time fishing, camping, hunting, and reading about them and the natural world. I hadn’t read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962. I was only 8 years old. But the ecology movement was important by the time I was in Junior High School.

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