Kim is a single mom with two daughters. The elder girl is nineteen and ebony goddess Kameron is eight years old with designs on capturing America's heart on the Disney Channel. I was easy. Kim works a brutal day preparing salads for the Medical staff at U of I ChicagoMed Center. Last year, I began driving Kim and spending real quality time with these three African American women, along with the cops, firemen, skilled tradesmen, City of Chicago white collar folks, nurses and cousins at Kareem's Dunkin Donuts.
These tasks, like my prayer ritual, are part of me. I was taught to pray and then forgot how, until times of trouble or when I had managed to piss off every carbon foot-print within my five mile radius. Prayer is not only a public ritual, but should be a reflexive action that underlies our waking hours and balms our sleep.
Being Irish, I am embarrassed to make a public display of prayer - that kiss of Peace at Mass ( 'Peace Be with You!' - Uh-huh, thanks. Back at you.) really tossed Irish Americans into a spiral. Some of the more pious took to it like duck's to Cheetos and evolved into the folks who extend arms with palms up like ad hoc Melchizedeks I belong to a subsection of Irish Catholic America that winces when publicly hugged, touched, or complimented. I like traditional prayers and go absolutely Bat Guano when Catholic educators begin every Goddam meeting with the distribution of xeroxed copies of personal prayers to be read out loud. We got plenty good prayers, but we insist on being the center of the show with a presentation of badly formed words and phrases - "Dear God, the sexually ambiguous Trinity, bless our actions this day as we bring about an end to universal poverty, racism, torture with this day's breaking into groups for discussion and sharing and all kinds of passive aggressive gamesmanship . . .!"
Prayers get answered in God's own manner and with his own brand of theological larceny - "Hickey, the door to back . . .right is open and you already signed in . . .pull a Murphy . . .let Dan know . . . there, see behind the faculty from St. Benedict's? Yes, the doors with exit sign . . . Really, how do you get a fork to your mouth without mutilating yourself? Now, you guys go . . .clear the exit to parking lot . . .wait for the signal . . . the command for heads to drop in Humble supplication . . .Go!"
I am proud on my Church and more than proud to find a pew in the back and off to side at Mass on Sunday and a few days of the week. For the last twenty or thirty years, Catholics have been goaded into becoming Unitarians - Let's call Blessed Virgin Mary Hospital - All Faiths Health Services! No, let's not. Most of the kids at Leo High School are non-Catholic, but they all take Catholic instruction and attend Catholic Mass. Leo High School prays every day, because it is Catholic.
The American Catholic Church in America and every other faith is under attack. The new Pastoral by the American Catholic Bishops clearly road-map the paths to the situation and identify assaults. In subsection of this pastoral the government handcuffs on religious liberty are here -
Our First, Most Cherished Liberty:
A Statement on Religious Liberty
Religious Liberty Under Attack—Concrete Examples
Here in Chicago, the two daily newspapers fully ignored Francis Cardinal George's statement on Rahm's Chicago Values. It is not about the chicken sandwiches at all. The media wants the Catholic Church in Chicago to obey the meme text maxim -STFU -What about the pedophile scandal? What about it? What has not been said, or done about it? The media washed the homosexuality of the scandal right out of the issue and turned its guns on administration. The pedophile priests weren't looking for Bachelor and the Bobby-Sox-er dates. It was and remains overwhelmingly Man on Boy predation.
I am a Catholic and I pray everyday -thoughts, words and, I hope, deeds.