Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catholic Church - Insular or Open-Minded

I am a Catholic. I love the Catholic church. I love the sense of peace and reverence when I walk into a Catholic church. I love the ageless grace and tradition of the mass. I even love the smell of a Catholic church, so it understandably causes me a great sadness when I experience the unbending, narrow minded, stilted, old-fashioned attitude of the church.
The Sacrament of Marriage is a good example of the inflexibility of the church. If a couple wants to marry in the Catholic church, they have to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop. If you are both Catholic and you want to marry in your home parish, you have to make an appointment at least 6 months in advance, meet with the priest or coordinator, gather all your documents such as Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation records and attend an approved marriage preparation program, and that's just for a start. If you are Catholic, but your fiancee is not, or if you want to be married in a Catholic church outside of your parish, it is a confusing, timely and frustrating process. If you are marrying someone who is outside of the Catholic faith, you will need a dispensation from the bishop. If you are marrying an unbaptized person, you will have to obtain a "disparity of cult" dispensation. Also, your marriage will be considered a natural marriage, not a sacramental marriage. If a couple thinks they might want to be married somewhere other than in a church, think again. A Catholic wedding, with few exceptions, has to be performed in a Catholic church. The church teaches that marriage is not just a social or family event, but a church event as well. I don't understand that mentality. What could be more spiritually thought provoking than a grove of thousand year old redwood trees, or a bluff overlooking the sea, or the sun shining on a quiet lake. Those are settings that inspire the glory of God.
At the end of the day the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a gift from the hands of God, but if that is truly their belief, then their man-made church laws should not be so restrictive and unforgiving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Difference Between the Octomom and the Gosselins

There is none. Exploiting their children is the common thread with both of these families. Reality television should be off limits for children. Jon and Kate's children suffer the embarrassment of having parents who parade their unparent-like behavior in front of millions of people. The eight children of Nadia Suleman are too young to understand their public humiliation, but that does not make it right? There was a time when children were cherished and protected. Not since the Dionne quintuplets have we been so rigorous in our public devaluing of some of our most precious commodities. At the end of the day, children are not a product to be used, sold and exploited. Children should be allowed to be children.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye, Serena and Joe Wilson - Shame On You

Have we lost all sense of decorum? Have good manners gone by the wayside? Is it due to ignorance, is it a generational gaffe, or is it a class difference? It could be any or all of this, but I think we not only allow, but encourage celebrities and people in power to have such a hugely inflated sense of themselves, that their ill-manners and rude behavior do not seem inappropriate to them. It is all about them and you better not forget it.
Who does Kanye West think he is, to get up on stage, interrupt and embarrass 19 year old Taylor Swift in the middle of her MTV acceptance speech? Does he honestly think his celebrity gives him the green light to to impose his unwarranted opinion on others in a boorish manner?
Is it okay for Serena Williams to threaten a referee because she doesn't agree with a call? Does she think it is appropriate to use such foul language at a public event?
Probably the saddest demonstration of ill manners and self-gratifying behavior is Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to the Congress.
Are these the people we want to hold up to future generations as role models? Is their bad behavior something to be celebrated? Are apologies that are only made because outside pressures have come to bear really apologies?
Kanye West should have been escorted out of the MTV Awards, Serena Williams should be penalized from playing the next game and Joe Williams should be sanctioned by Congress and the people of South Carolina.
At the end of the day maybe we need to let these people know how we feel about their rude, uncouth and ill mannered behavior. Stop buying Kanye West Cd's. Stop watching Serena's matches; and think twice before you step into that voting booth.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Castro Valley Hwy 580 Fiasco

Whoever designed the new Highway 580, Center Street, Crow Canyon, Grove Way exit in Castro Valley, CA must have had his head up his gluteus maximus. I don't profess to be a highway expert, but I am a highway traveler and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:55 a.m. I am on that exit. There is a traffic back up coming down Grove Way, a traffic back up on the exit turning onto Grove Way, due to cars blocking the intersection. In general it is a misguided, snarled traffic mess.
I am willing to listen to an explanation of why the old, Crow Canyon exit was closed, but for now, I cannot find one redeeming feature in the new plan. At the end of the day, traffic is worse, fender benders are causing blocked traffic, which in turn breeds angry, late commuters.