Monday, December 31, 2012

Manya Brachear -An Intellectual Bag of Hammers on Gay Marriage

Religion in Chicago Media - Bags of Hammers: Manya Brachear and Cathleen Falsani (emerita)

Supporters of gay marriage call the renewed effort to highlight natural law a clever but disingenuous appeal to the masses. Manya Brachear, The Seeker, of The Chicago Tribune

Let's see, you got invited for tea for an update on the man's cancer therapies and then you wait ten days and called your host a liar?

She's The Seeker!

Here's the deal, on December 10th Cardinal George invited members of the Chicago media over to his house for tea.  Illinois Reps. Greg Harris and Heather Steans are bursiting bowels, theirs and the usual Springfield chattel, old and new, to rush through the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act exactly one year after somehow living through the the Religious Freedom and Civil Union law, which was signed by Governor Pat Quinn, who will sign anything Personal Pac President and Illinois boss wrangler Terry Cosgrove tells him to sign. When Terry Cosgrove opens his yap, Planned Parenthood and Fred Eychaner's dollars pour out; when he clams up so do the dollars.

Among the doyennes and dowagers  of pop culture, religion, economics and of course politics, balancing tea-cups above their cankles, was Chicago's own Seeker, Manya Brachear, the religion/well-spiritualist one-time columnist and extant religion scribbler for The Trib, who somehow managed to convince Chicago that Cathleen Falsani, formerly of the Sun Times, was not just surfing in Nebraska. Yep, Manya Brachear is an intellect to cause hushed awe and reverence among the appliance at Sears Hardware.

Cardinal George explained to this congress of viragoes, yet again, that the Catholic Church and those who attend it maintain that the sacrament of marriage was instituted by Christ to give grace -Will and Grace not withstanding:

"Marriage comes to us from nature," Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said in a recent interview. "That's based on the complementarity of the two sexes in such a way that the love of a man and a woman joined in a marital union is open to life, and that's how families are created and society goes along. … It's not in our doctrine. It's not a matter of faith. It's a matter of reason and understanding the way nature operates."

So, for next twenty days,  The "now moved-on" Seeker , Terry Cosgrove/Fred Eychaner rolo-dex and caught up with the voices necessary present a slam-dunk Gay Marriage New Years buffet of outrage:

"On sexual ethics, nature is neutral," said Bernard Schlager, executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. "We're moral beings. We may look to nature for some aspects of how we are in our lives, but we answer to a higher standard. Sexual behavior is an expression of human love."
According to the tradition of natural law, every human being must seek a fundamental "good" that corresponds to the natural order to flourish. Natural-law proponents say heterosexual intercourse between a married man and a woman serves two intertwined good purposes: to procreate and to express a deep, abiding love. . . . And . . .Other people of faith disagree. Last Sunday, more than 250 Illinois clergy members, mostly Protestant and Jewish, endorsed the gay marriage bill as "morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples. . . .
Alice Hunt, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, said the natural-law argument seems like a "strategic move."
"They quickly saw biblical marriage wasn't going to work," she said. "It doesn't work for me because you're still depending on one person or some group of people's interpretation of natural law. When you look at the history of marriage, there are many ways marriage has taken shape over time."

  • Nature is neutral?   Tell that, Bernie Schlager, to Old John Stuart Mill who noted that “It (Nature) impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel, casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, burns them to death, crushes them with stones… starves them with hunger, freezes them with cold, poisons them by the quick or slow venom of her exhalations, and has hundreds of other hideous deaths in reserve…. All this Nature does with the most supercilious disregard both of mercy and of justice.” 
  • Marriage has taken shape in many ways? Concubinage? polyandry?  polygamy? Good old beer-goggled fornication?

Ten days and that was all Manya could come up with.  Manya, Gay Marriage Illinois is a political power play controlled by our elected officials in Springfield, Santa leaves toys for kids, the Easter Bunny is always seen in the company of former Gov. Pat Quinn, the Red Sun of Krypton turns green on reaching the earth's atmosphere,Oliver Stone has a history show on cable and big old bag of hammers has nothing on you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cardinal George on Chicago's Slaughter-Streets

"Laws cannot create a peaceful person out of someone who has not experienced, especially in his or her family, the love that teaches internal discipline. Without peace of soul, there can be no real peace on the streets, in our homes or among nations." Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago 

What were you doing between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M. on Saturday December 8th, 2012?  I was sitting in visitors lounge of the Cardinal's residence thumbing through a book penned by His Eminence The Difference God Makes.  This is a theology text that happens to be reader friendly, as well as thoughtful.

I was waiting while Cardinal George counselled two high school students who have very tough circumstances confronting them beyond the rigors of sports, scholarship and just getting to and from school without taking a few bullets. His Eminence had a few hours*out of his schedule that includes meeting big shots (clerical and lay), sitting with media ambush-artists, articulating the Catholic position on abortion, marriage, euthanasia which always gets a hot-foot from secularists and movie stars, as well as very painful chemotherapy sessions.  The Cardinal called me to find out 'how are our guys doing?'  Not so hot.  

"Bring them up, Saturday at 3 P,M."  

The dude abides.

I have been to the Cardinal's residence on a few occasions - always as a chauffeur.  The Cardinal is always a warm and gracious gent, but he is not there to see me.  The Cardinal is ministering to young guys whom our secular lifestyles, celebrated in the TV series Shameless, or on the endless reality shows, has pounded them senseless with false expectations.  Evil matriculates  at home and takes graduate-studies in nihilism out on the streets.

Little boys are threatened to 'Man-up,G!'  And warned not to be 'Bitches.'  It's all good.

Up close, we know it ain't.  Kids can only take so much nonsense from their role models and not become monsters.

Cardinal George had two teenage victims in for a couple of cans of pop, cookies made by lovely Polish nuns, and a few hours of honest pouring out of the nonsense and some prayer.

At the same time this was going on only a few blocks away, kids were just playin' on the Magnificent Mile-

Two teenage boys (both 15) were treated by a real man for a little over two hours.  They exited laughing with the most consequential man in the American Catholic Church and assurances to 'call when you need me.' We will. Followed by a very nice but no-kidding remonstrance directed at the chauffeur -" See to it."

I took the the guys out for chow in Old Town -the great rib joint Twin Anchors was packed and an hour and half wait would not stand - we hiked to grub at Marge's a few blocks north on Sedgewick.  They ate like they were going to the chair.

When the ribs and chicken were disappeared, I asked about the visit.


"Yeah, Cardinal George is a good guy."

"Like the way he prays."

" Yeah."

" We get dessert, too?"

Do try and eat, lads.

Society speaks of victims and their oppressors and settles the conflict through revenge. The church speaks of martyrs and their persecutors and settles the conflict through forgiveness. It is foolish to imagine that “justice” can be satisfied at the cost of love. It’s the difference between getting even and getting it right. Because of the incarnation of God’s eternal Word and his suffering and rising for our salvation, the gift of Christ’s peace is always available, but too often we fail to accept it. The violence done to Jesus himself is the source of the world’s peace, although it takes faith to recognize that truth. Francis Cardinal George - December 16, 2012

* e.g.

Cardinal George’s Schedule

  1. Dec. 16: 2 p.m., Cardinal's Christmas Concert, Holy Family Church (Roosevelt Road)
  2. Dec. 17: 1 p.m., Administrative Council Meeting, Quigley Center
  3. Dec. 18: 5:30 p.m., Big Shoulders Fund Christmas Reception, Residence
  4. Dec. 20: 6:30 p.m., The Illinois Club for Catholic Women Presentation Ball, Hilton Chicago
  5. Dec. 23: 5 p.m., Simbang Gabi Mass, St. Peter's Church, Skokie
  6. Dec. 24: Midnight Mass, Holy Name Cathedral
  7. Dec. 28: 5:45 p.m., Vocation Evening, Residence
  8. Dec. 30: Noon, 100th Anniversary Mass, St. Wenceslaus Parish
Cardinal's Crest

Friday, December 28, 2012

Why Henry Steele Commager Erased Orestes Brownson


A free society cherishes nonconformity. It knows that from the non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas of freedom. Free society must fertilize the soil in which non-conformity and dissent and individualism can grow. permalink -Henry Steele Commager
Unless of course. . .

There is a peculiar fascination about this man who was a friend to Emerson and Thoreau, Ripley and Parker, and who broke with them all. It was his inconsistency which affronted his fellow reformers. He began as a Presbyterian, shifted to Universalism, fell from grace as an Owenite (compulsory public education), recovered respectability as a Unitarian, and plunged from there into the Catholic Church."  
Henry Steele Commager's Review of Arthur Schlesinger's biography Orestes Brownson: A Pilgrim's Progress (emphasis my own)
The granddaddy of progressive academic historians and biographer of Theodore Parker, Henry Steele Commager, paid his student's work on Orestes Browson very short shrift. Professor Commager commanded the high ground of American liberalism from his perch at Columbia University and consigned Arthur M. Schlesinger's subject and point of view to a place on the flat-lands. One year out of Harvard, young Schlesinger attempted to reconcile Brownson to the very mind-set and bigotries from which he departed -now called Progressivism. In order to do so, Schlesinger played down the "plunge" to the Catholic Church which Schlesinger knew to be the haven in the mind of main-line Protestant progressives who"associated Catholicism with censers and ornate masses and the scarlet whore of Rome or with drunken Irishmen beating their wives and selling their votes" (Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., in his A Pilgrim's Progress: Orestes A. Brownson)

Henry Steele Commager damned Schlesinger's subject and the theme with very faint praise - Brownson 'commands consideration.' In fact, Commager's 1939 New York Times review title A Sturdy, but Erratic Reformer serves as a caveat to the hopeful young author, as it paradoxes the subject and theme into oblivion, only equaled by the concluding payoff:

Mr. Schlesinger's study of Brownson is a masterly one. It has technical brilliance-a sure control of materials, an affective handling of background, a skillful use of colors an a certain bravura of execution. It has, in addition, sincerity and integrity, sympathetic understanding, and an astonishing maturity. It recreates for us Brownson as he seemed to his contemporaries and explains him as he appears to us. It hangs equally well in the transcendental or the Catholic gallery, reveals the influence of the romantic and of the modernistic schools alike. It not only rescues from undeserved oblivion a striking and authentic figure in our history, but announces a new and distinguished talent in the field of historical portraiture.
Thanks for playing, Kid! You got plenty of heart!  Henry Steel Commager's life work as thinker, teacher, writer and activist recognized no place at the table for an Orestes Brownson, nor anyone attempting to challenge the progressive evangelism rooted  in the19th Century religious  ultraism,*purged of scripture and dogma with Transcendentalism, activated through politics as reform and fully evolved as liberal progressivism. The New Deal was not enough -multicultral one-world contrarian Americanism free of most authority, or certainty is the goal.  All other considerations receive the contempt of this court of opinion.

Commanding consideration holds the same thimbleful of valorization as an eight grade basketball coach who tells the players and coach of a team he had just humiliated on the hard-wood that "Losers have potential."

Henry Steel Commager wrote sweepingly to justify the roots of American intellectual doctrine to practical political power.  American history in the hands of able and compelling young writers directed by like-minded academics could make education, religion sanitized of scripture and authority, politics and economics create Brook Farm Nation.  He did just that.

Schlesinger never seemed to buy in - his Vital Center, though it made the case for the New Deal, excoriated the Brook Farmers who believed that communism and Americanism must be merged.  Schlesinger warned about the dangers of multiculturalism in the 1980's - the American Melting Pot is now considered a racist doctrine.

I believe that Orestes Brownson understood the American soul better than William James, Horace Mann, John Dewey, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker and Jane Addams.  He understood that the American drive for liberty must always be tempered by the obligations of community. We can't always get what we want, nor should we. The sturdy Brownson was anything but erratic - he understood "the drive for freedom and the need for communion"  as Brownson biographer Patrick Carey presents in his 2006 epic Orestes Brownson: American Religious Weathervane. 

America is where it now finds itself thanks to intellectual high ground dominated by Henry Steele Commager for Thoreau, Parker, Garrison, James,, Dubois, Baldwin, and Dewey.  The Progressive American hegemony is being played out on the Fiscal Cliff of 2012.  

*  Most of these flights of religious ultraism were concentrated along a "psychic highway" that stretched from the backcountry of New England, across the undulating plains of western New York -- "The Burned-over District" -- into Ohio. Along this broad belt of land, observed Whitney Cross, the historian of enthusiastic religion in this area, there "congregated a people extraordinarily given to unusual beliefs, peculiarly devoted to crusades aimed at the perfections of mankind and the attainment of millennial happiness." 3 The source of religious ultraism -- evangelical revivalism -- was deeply embedded in the life of the times. Throughout this area small groups of "come outers," "New Lights," "Mercy Dancers," and other anti-Calvinist radicals did battle with the conservative Congregationalists and Presbyterians, while the constant agitation of such theological questions as free will, human ability, perfectionism, and millennialism, produced a climate in which fanaticism thrived. 4 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Orestes Brownson Against America's Convenient Faith and Lock-Step Secularism

Nowhere in the canon of American literature ( essay genre) will one find the brilliant and witty writings of Orestes Brownson.

In fact, Orestes Brownson has been made a non-person, via the Orwellian gradus of literary criticism - villify, ignore, erase. To place an essay by Browson within the period of American Romanticism/19th Century Transcendentalism/Abolitionist brackets, would seem as odd and cranky as requesting the viewing film (watching movies) as a substitute for reading, or teaching comic (graphic novels) book versions of the Last of the Mohicans, Blithedale Romance, or Moby Dick.

Brownson is not 'considered' a considered selection for the American canon of literature because Brownson became a Roman Catholic. Three of Brownson's colleagues and erstwhile friends have been canonized -Hawthorne, Emerson and Thoreau, according to the Modern Language Association rankings of the top twenty-five authors based upon scholarly research output. Unlike the Transcendentalists, Brownson was an original thinker who challenged not only the assumptions of the group, but his own assumptions.

Brownson was an early advocate of compulsory universal state-controlled early childhood education ( Owen-Wright Theory) and dismissed the notion as evil as well as unsound. You see, unlike the Blithedale gang of the Brook Farm movement -the petri dish of American intellectualism -Brownson believed in sin. Can't have that.  If all men are by nature pure and wonderful, sin must only be some judgmental anomaly associated with slavery of every stripe. Thought rooted to core belief has no place on the commune -

Then in 1844 (the year of Emerson's second "Nature" essay) Brownson and his family converted to Catholicism. The very negative response of the Transcendentalists to his conversion is best expressed in Theodore Parker's sermon that ascribed to Brownson an "unbalanced mind, intellectual always, but spiritual never" (J.Weiss, II, 28). After that, the Transcendentalists ignored him.

In 1844, Brownson did the unimaginable and converted to the Church of Rome.  The reaction of his former intellectual companions is rather harsh - they continue to be just that* Brownson sought, like Milton had done so, to justify God's ways to man and not the other way around.  Transcendentalism sprang from the Universalist Unitarian doctrine of Man's inner-light as a pan-theist approach to salvation that requires only that man be man. It's all good! For Brownson and that Jewish kid Gershwin - 'T ain't  necessarily so.

Browson** was engaged in living religion and not merely attending to it. Brownson's life was a constant immersion, not a dabbling, in causes to improve mankind's lot.  Mankind's lot is covered with broken beer bottles, garbage, sharp rusty objects - mankind sins and that is mankind's lot.  The convenient truths of American intellectual tradition deny sin and turn to European models of thought to justify man to himself - e.g. American realism and especially naturalism in fiction ( Howells, James, Crane, Dreiser, Sinclair, Wright) were rooted in Hugo, Stendhal,  Balzac, and ultimately Emile Zola.  Instead of considering personal responsibility for human misery, American intellectualism prefers to hold a mirror above a corpse while a pathologist cuts and digs and arrives at the assumption that preceded the cool science as the conclusive answer - Society, class, race, gender-envy did it!

Brownson disagrees.  American scholars can get their heads around human sin; therefore, ignore it. Brownson flies in the face of Thoreau who went deep into the woods in order to live life 'deliberately,' but had his Mom truck out to his cabin with baskets full of brownies, cookies and preserved treats. Brownson denied the democracy that is the gilt paint and mascara of Henry James' Yanks abroad. Brownson was vilified by William Lloyd Garrison as a copperhead Papist, but gave two sons on Lincoln's altar of sacrifice to the Abolitionist cause. These icons of  American thought and literature taught us to parse as a people and embrace Dewey, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and public everything.

Orestes Brownson was a Protestant (Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Unitarian)  who never allowed the sun to set on his own sins against God and in order to become as good a protestant, he was required to become a Catholic.  American writers can born Catholic, but they must be 'fallen away' Catholics, like Fitzgerald, Dreiser,  Wolfe, O'Neill, O'Hara, Ferlinghetti, Farrell, or silent Catholics like Flannery O'Connor.  Orestes Brownson will remain out of the American intellectual mainstream and the canon of American literature.

Orestes Brownson should have a place in American Catholic education - a very prominent place.

* A sermon delivered by the Rev.R. Paul Mueller to the Unitarian Society of New Brunswick on September 14, 1997 was completely free of any reference to Orestes Brownson's conversion to Roman Catholicism. Interestingly, Rev. Mueller speaks of the 'religious person, rather the spiritual persons' frustrations and ultimate cynicism when confronted with the social injustices and draws in another 'frustrating' Catholic - Mother Theresa.  No mention of sin. Always 'sombody else's troubles' - American intellectualism in sum.
His childhood was passed on a small farm with plain country people, honest and upright Congregationalists, who treated him with kindness and affection, taught him the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the Assembly's Catechism; to be honest and industrious, truthful in all circumstances, and never to let the sun go down on his wrath. With no young companions, his fondness for reading grew rapidly, though he had access to few books, and those of a grave or religious nature. At the age of nineteen he had a fair knowledge of grammar and arithmetic and could translate Virgil's poetry. In October, 1822, he joined the Presbyterian Church, dreamed of becoming a missionary, but very soon felt repelled by Presbyterian discipline, and still more by the doctrines of unconditional election and reprobation, and that God foreordains the wicked to sinnecessarily, that He may damn them justly. Rather than sacrifice his belief in justice and humanity on the altar of a religion confessedly of humanorigin and fallible in its teachings, Brownson rejected Calvinism for so-called liberal Christianity, and early in 1824, at the age of twenty, avowed himself a Universalist. In June, 1826, he was ordained, and from that time until near the end of 1829, he preached and wrote as a Universalistminister, calling himself a Christian; but at last denying all Divine revelation, the Divinity of Christ, and a future judgment, he abandoned the ministry and became associated with Robert Dale Owen and Fanny Wright in their war on marriage, property, and religion, carried on in the "Free Enquirer" of New York, of which Brownson, then at Auburn, became corresponding editor. At the same time he established a journal in westernNew York in the interest of the Workingmen's Party, which they wished to use for securing the adoption of their system of education. But, besides this motive, Brownson's sympathy was always with the labouring class, and he entered with ardour on the work of elevating labour, making it respected and as well rewarded in its manual or servile, as in its mercantile or liberal, phases, and the end he aimed at was moral and social amelioration and equality, rather than political. The introduction of large industries carried on by means of vast outlays of capital or credit had reduced operatives to the condition of virtual slavery; but Brownson soon became satisfied that the remedy was not to be secured by arraying labour against capital by a political organization, but by inducing all classes to co-operate in the efforts to procure the improvement of the workingman's condition. He found, too, that he could not advance a single step in this direction without religion. An unbeliever in Christianity, he embraced the religion of Humanity, severed his connexion with the Workingmen's Party and with "The Free Enquirer", and on the first Sunday in February, 1831, began preaching in Ithaca, New York, as an independent minister. As a Universalist, he had edited their organ, "The Gospel Advocate"; he now edited and published his own organ, "The Philanthropist".
Finding, from Dr. W.E. Channing's printed sermons, that Unitarians believed no more of Christianity than he did, he became associated with thatdenomination, and so remained for the next twelve years. In 1832 he was settled as pastor of the Unitarian Church at Walpole, New Hampshire; in 1834 he was installed pastor of the First Congregational Church at Canton, Massachusetts; and in 1836 he organized in Boston "The Society for Christian Union and Progress", to which he preached in the Old Masonic Temple, in Tremont Street. After conducting various periodicals, and contributing to others, the most important of which was "The Christian Examiner", he started a publication of his own called "The Boston Quarterly Review", the first number of which was dated January, 1838. Most of the articles of this review were written by him; but some were contributed by A. H. Everett, George Bancroft, George Ripley, A. Bronson Alcott, Sarah Margaret Fuller, Anne Charlotte Lynch, and other friends. Besides his articles on literary and philosophical subjects, his political essays in this review attracted attention throughout the country and brought him into close relations with the leaders of the Democratic Party. Although a steadfast Democrat, he disliked the name Democrat, and denounced pure democracy, called popular sovereignty, or the rule of the will of the majority, maintaining that government by the will, whether that of one man or that of many, was mere arbitrary government, and therefore tyranny, despotism, absolutism. Constitutions, if not too easily alterable, he thought a wholesome bridle on popular caprice, and he objected to legislation for the especial benefit of any individual or class; privileges, i.e. privatelaws; exemption of stockholders in corporations from liability for debts of their corporation; tariffs to enrich the moneyed class at the expense of mechanics, agriculturists, and members of the liberal professions. He demanded equality of rights, not that men should be all equal, but that all should be on the same footing, and no man should make himself taller by standing on another's shoulders.
In his "Review" for July, 1840, he carried the democratic principles to their extreme logical conclusions, and urged the abolition of Christianity; meaning, of course, the only Christianity he was acquainted with, if, indeed, it be Christianity; denounced the penal code, as bearing with peculiar severity on the poor, and the expense to the poor in civil cases; and, accepting the doctrine of Locke, Jefferson, Mirabeau, Portalis,Kent, and Blackstone, that the right to devise or bequeath property is based on statute, not on natural, law, he objected to the testamentary and hereditary descent of property; and, what gave more offence than all the rest, he condemned the modern industrial system, especially the system of labour at wages. In all this he only carried out the doctrine of European Socialists and the Saint-Simonians. Democrats were horrified by the article; Whigs paraded it as what Democrats were aiming at; and Van Buren, who was a candidate for a second term as President, blamed it as the main cause of his defeat. The manner in which he was assailed aroused Brownson's indignation, and he defended his essay with vigour in the following number of his "Review", and silenced the clamours against him, more than regaining the ground he had lost, so that he never commanded more attention, or had a more promising career open before him, than when, in 1844, he turned his back on honours and popularity to become a Catholic. At the end of 1842 the "Boston Quarterly Review" was merged in the "U.S. Democratic Review", of New York, a monthly publication, to each number of which Brownson contributed, and in which he set forth the principles of "Synthetic Philosophy" and a series of essays on the "Origin and Constitution of Government", which more than twenty years later he rewrote and published with the title of "The American Republic". The doctrine of these essays provoked such repeated complaints from the editor of the "Democratic Review", that Brownson severed his connexion with that monthly and resumed the publication of his own review, changing the title from "Boston" to "Brownson's Quarterly Review". The first number was issued in January, 1844, and the last in October, 1875. From January, 1865, to October, 1872, he suspended its publication.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fabulous Fib : Manya Brachear's "Illinois Clergy Endorse Gay Marriage Bill"

Manya - The Seeker
View Larger Map Each dot represents a church and there are 10,360 churches in Chicago and a
thick number in Auburn Gresham

More than 250 faith leaders, many from Chicago, back measure that could face vote in January -Manya Brachear the Chicago Tribune's Seeker

And you shall find that Manya Brachear numbers of support for Greg Harris's Gay Marriage Bill are underwhelming.

Consider this, The Archdiocese of Chicago which represents and shepherd's more than 2.3 million Catholics in Cook and Lake Counties numbers 3,325 clergy persons on its rolls alone:

  • Diocesan Priests (including active and retired): 791
  • Religious Priests: 710
  • Religious Brothers: 250
  • Women Religious: 1,781
  • Permanent Deacons: 559
  • Certified Pastoral Associates: 164
Total of 3, 325 persons numbered as clergy within the Roman Catholic  Archdiocese of Chicago alone.

 Manya's total smacks up a tiny 7% of that clergy demographic alone.  Now add to the total of Catholic clergy the reported 1,190 clergy of other denonminations for a total of 4,515 that percenatge drops to 5.7%

Liars figure and figures do lie - Now, this I know. There are 10,360 churches listed in the city of Chicago, each with a pastor/clergy person doing the shout-out to the Lord.  I dare say that most are not Catholic. Now, that makes the number of clergy listed as a bit light. If there are 10,360 and only 4,515 clergy persons -what's up with that, Manya?  That head-scratcher needs a Seeker.

Take a peek at the map of Churches in Auburn Gresham up above.

Let's consider one Chicago neighborhood that I am familiar with -Auburn Gresham.   I drive each morning from Morgan Park to Leo High School and I take either 79th Street from Western Ave east, or 87th Street to Racine.  Between 87th Street and 79th Street on Racine alone there more than 20 African American Churches operated by clergy persons and that is a matter of a mere eight(8) city blocks. Here's the pay-off there are 10,360 churches listed in Chicago and a very thick number of those in this neighborhood alone.

I dare say, there might be one or two pastors in this demographic in full communion with Manya and Boss Terry Cosgrove and Representatives Heather Stearns and Greg Harris and media mogul Fred Eychaner, but I seriously doubt that the other 10,358 Chicago pastors favor Gay Marriage.  I could be wrong.

The Seeker and the Chicago Tribune, as well as the Gay Community are very happy that 260 clergy support Gay Marriage.  That is fabulous.

Richard F. " Dick" Prendergast - Always Faithful !

And when he gets to heaven,To St. Peter he will tell,"Another Marine reporting, Sir,I've served my time in Hell!"
Christ welcome home, a sweet, generous, loyal and thoughtful man, who was fierce defender of his Faith, Family and Country.
Dick Prendergast, Leo 1943, was one of the twenty three members of that class to serve as WWII Marines. Mr. Prendergast came home after three years in the Pacific and later in China, took a college degree, began a career as a CPA, started a family and gave of his time to his beloved Leo High School and his Church

Dick is a member of the Leo High School Hall of Fame and was the Leo Man of the Year.  He and classmate Jim McNicholas were constant visitors to Leo and ever present from functions to help our school.
Prendergast, Richard F. "Dick" WWII USMC Vet. Beloved husband of the late Dorothy A. (nee Caraher). Loving father of Ellen T. (Martin) Kelly, Maria A. (Thomas) Moran, and Richard A. (Carrie) Prendergast. Proud grandfather of 14. Fond brother of John (the late Celine) and the late Mary, Helen, Jim (the late Mary) and Thomas (the late Rita Mae and Mary Catherine) Prendergast. Dear brother-in-law of Arthur J. (Ruth) Caraher and the late Marion I. (the late Thomas) McDermott. Kind uncle and great-uncle of many nieces and nephews Visitation Wednesday 2:00 to 9:00 pm. Funeral Thursday 10:45 am from the Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home, 9000 W. 151st Street, Orland Park to St. Francis of Assisi Church, Mass 11:30 am. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to Misericordia, Heart of Mercy, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, IL 60660-1017, would be appreciated. 708-857-7878 

Sons such as these are not rare, but most precious. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Babe Leaped In Her Womb - Older Children of Men Get It

People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being,” he said. “They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.” Pope Benedict XVI

We had a very nice Mass this morning.  Babies and toddlers were sporting their Christmas togs and jabbering all through the service, which to my old hairy ears is what going to Mass is all about. They do not, as some of my more devout friends and neighbors hold, distract from the sanctity of the Mass, but adorn it.

I am a baby sap from a very long line of Hickey males, who delight in the innocent and encourage the cacophony.  My Grandfather, father and many uncles were like minded "children of men."  Little guys of three were tapped on the shoulders by an Uncle Bud, Mike, Pat, Jack Bart, Sy, or Donnie during Mass with nod to celebrant in all of his liturgical splendor and asked, ' Hey, Pad'jeen. . . How about that guy's dress up there?  What gives with that?  Thinks he's Milton Berle?'

There followed a flow of questions from the targeted cherub concerning the guy up on the altar getting all the attention -" Fa'r Garrady got a dress on, Mom!  Why he got dress, Mom?  Mom, He wear'nah dress!"  There followed good-womanly remonstrances to 'Hush, Clam up, Let it Alone, Pay Attention!'

It is good to go to Mass.  Kids fiddle with Golden books, grab toys from siblings, reach for whatever the hell they see and want but have yet to verbally identify, punch, shove, hug, nap and eat dry Cheerios like they were truffles.  These babies will soon conform into devout little ladies and gents of the pew -midget Moms and Dads and will also Hush, Knock It Off and quiet the human voice and heart at its best.

Suffer the older Squares and and Biddies, but  revel in the reason for God's Being -babies.  God's Will, as understood in Paradise Lost is the promise of Life and that is tied to love between a guy and girl that allows babies to join us in adoring Him.

After Mass, I read the papers.  No joy there.  One goof in the Tribune decided to mock Pope Benedict's Christmas message. That is because the Pope refuses to roll over on what constitutes a marriage - a man marries a woman and go half's on babies.  The goof in the Tribune is as doctrinaire as we Catholics, but his faith is grounded not on rock but on paper - Dewey's thoughts, Windy City Times, Boss Cosgrove's e-mails and Eychaner's currency.

Today's gospel which I had absolutely no trouble hearing above the jabber of many babies and toddlers, is very clear in its language - Mary is expecting a child.  A Babe is leaping in Mary's womb, just like all three of my babies, aged 17-26 in 2012, battered and bumped and treated my wife Mary's innards like an inflatable play zone for the better part of her 'confinement.'

Christmas would not be much with this Immaculate Conception.

Luke 1: 39 - 45

39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

History Via Pigmented Body Modification

Lydia The Tatooed Lady

Oh Lydia, Oh Lydia
Now have you met Lydia
Lydia the tattooed lady
She has muscles men adore-so
And a torso even more-so
Oh, Lydia, Oh Lydia
Now have you met Lydia
Lydia the queen of tattoo
On her back is the battle of Waterloo
Beside it the wreck of the Hesperus too
and proudly above waves the red white and blue
You can learn a lot from Lydia

There's Grover Walen unveilin' the Trylon
Over on the West Coast we have Treasure Island
There's Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon
And Lady Godiva--but with her pajamas on
She can give you a view of the world in tattoo
If you step up and tell her where
Mon Paree, Kankakee, even Perth by the sea
Or of Washington crossing the Delaware.

Oh Lydia, Oh Lydia, now have you met Lydia
Lydia the queen of them all
She has a view of Niagara which nobody has
And Basin Street known as the birthplace of jazz
And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz!
You can learn a lot from Lydia!
--Lydia the queen of tattoo!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Escape: Epilogue; Joseph " J." Banks' Herr Bartlett Moment

 Joseph "Jose" Banks was been caught by FBI agents and Chicago police late Thursday night, according to law enforcement sources.FBI agents and officers from the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and Chicago police arrested Banks about 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2300 block of North Bosworth Avenue in the Sheffield Neighbors neighborhood, authorities said.
He and his cellmate, Kenneth Conley, both convicted bank robbers, were awaiting sentencing and were last accounted for at 10 p.m. Monday during a routine bed check, authorities said. About 7 a.m. Tuesday, jail employees arriving for work saw the ropes dangling from a hole in an exterior wall near the 15th floor. The duo used sheets to crawl from a window.

Feel ya, Bro.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who Do It Prophet?

Niebohld  Stor Drittsekk of Evanston, Illinois has take the bull by the short and curlies and pre-empted any and further discussion of the End of Days.

In response to the Mayan Calender controverse du mois,  the past Chairperson of Progressive Choices PAC, regular open mic-night dulcimer perfomer and Norwegian folk singer and Present Guidance of The New Brown Cross Services  predicted  An End to Doomsdays, subject to change and sexual preferences, on 12, 21, 2012 at 12 seconds after midnight CST.

Mr. Stor-Drittsekk, a leader in Illinois Personal PAC since its conception, was member of the famous 1960's garage band group Michael and Messengers, while he attended Winona High School in Minnesota. Curiously,  his membership in that ground-breaking hits cover band has been purged from current webites and group histories.

When questioned about his Midnight Hour prophetic pronouncement the Present Guidance, asnwered, ' I get tired of this apocalyptic wiz-bang theory of the universe.  Somebody needed to stand up and end Doomsday and I'm just the boy to do it and see it through. Vote Progressive! Can have the rest of that apple if you are not going to finish it?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Am Never, Ever Bored!

Come again?

Once more, please?

The preacher’s garment is cut according to the pattern of that of the hearers, for the most part. Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oh, Yeah . . .this kills me , too!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Holiday Feel- Good Story of the Year for All of Us Guys

Dirk - " Hey, Soames; rough night?  You got blood on your wingtips."

Soames -" Boy, I'll say, Dirk. Took me five whole minutes to realize that was you on my lawn, before I stopped with the boots."

Nothing makes a guy feel the glow of holiday giving and good fellowship as a story of another gent just a tad more incontrôlable than ourselves - Regardez ça!

Lying drunk on the ground
Wednesday December 12 2012

A LISTOWEL man was fined €500 for posing a danger to himself and others when he lay drunk on the ground on the John B Keane Road, Listowel on July 23 of 2011.JJ Hegarty, Tullamore, Listowel, was charged with being drunk in public to the extent of being a danger to himself and to others. Gardaí said he was so drunk when they found him that he had to be 'physically held upright'. Mr Hegarty has 73 previous convictions, 17 of which were for being drunk in public.

Boys, clips this out and tuck it into your wallets for future emergencies. Happy Holidays, JJ Hegarty! 

Tales of the South Side Música Por La Mañana en Back of the Yards

Dios bendiga a todos ustedes, hijos de puta!

My first stop in my Leo van route is now 46th and Laflin where I wait for BK, a tough little Irish/Polish kid from a few miles west of St. Gabe's in Canaryville.  I had drained my morning's Dunkin Donuts coffee twenty  minutes earlier at Leo, before I hiked the # 7 grey Ford van west on 79th Street and north on Loomis to 47th Street.  Loomis is the cat's nuts for driving and should be on every south side drivers short list for alternate route, when the Ryan is glutted.  I wanted  to coffee up and reluctantly chose the Mickey D's.  McDonald's is to Dunkin Donut coffee as Span is to  jamón de bellota of Barcelona.

At the McDonald's located at 47th Laflin the crowd is treated to music by man in his thirties who stands almost as tall as his guitar.

He is a Mexican gent who the City workers, cops, Leo Van drivers and the lay-abouts all with campesino tunes - the Irish would call these Culchie tunes and Americans hillybilly music.  This morning the hardest working man in Mexican folk music broke into a tune done by the Gipsy Kings:  Campesino:
No te vayas tu de miNo te vayas por favorNo te vayas tu de miEl mundo seria en florUn mundo mejor
CampesinoCampesinoCampesino sono yo
CampesinoCampesinoCampesino sono yo
Que campesino que campesinoQue campesino que sono yoQue campesino que campesinoQue campesino que sono yo
No te vayas por favorNo te vayas tu de miNo te vayas por favorUn mundo sera mejorUn mundo en flor

translates to -

Do not go 'bout me
Do not go, please
Do not go 'bout me
The world would be in bloom
A Better World

Farmer sono I

Farmer sono I

That peasant farmer
That peasant sono I
That peasant farmer
That peasant sono I

Do not go, please
Do not go 'bout me
Do not go, please
A better world will
A world in bloom

Tell me about it.  Now this is way to wake-up the human juices and get the old nose out of one's belly button.

This little guy is fully No Se, Ingles and carries a battered guitar with cut-gut strings which he thumbs out the bass notes with a thick plastic thumb plectrum and works blistered and gnarled fingers with the delicacy of a Segovia and gives full-throated appreciation of tune an lyrics.

After I got my coffee, I listened to the song and offered my Spanglished appreciation, "Maravilloso! Que dulce el canto, Senor!" I duked him three bucks and my manly grip in Adios, Bub!

What was marvelous, in all of this was the man's pride and dignity.  He stood all of four feet and change and locked smiling eyes on all of us.

¡Qué hombre!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Carol Marin's Controlled Damage on Anita Alvarez' 'Damage Control'

Anita Alvarez’s efforts at damage control keep generating more damage than control.. . . And I’m not referring to what sometimes appears to be her office’s excessive zeal in prosecutions of would-be critics of the criminal justice system. Like Northwestern students probing wrongful prosecutions. Or citizen watchdogs who attempt to audio-record police or public officials.  Carol Marin Goes Full-Medill on Anita Alvarez

Then of course, I must add probing wrongful prosecutions?????  Bribing is probing?
After the student paid the cabbie, the driver recorded the transaction in his log, today's filing states. Apparently suspicious that it was a drug deal or a sting, he wrote: "detective gave me 60, told me to give him 40, gave me 60... gave him change." The "him" refers to Drakes.
Seems like Professor Dave Protess and the Kids of the Innocence Project - in the zeal to free Mr. McKinney of course - engaged in a little Pay-to-Play, " "You be a Witness to Justice , Mr. Drakes, and You Keep the Change! Change You Can Believe In!". Hickey -11/10 2009: Shell Games Catches up to Professor Dave Protess - Innocence?
What to think!  Carol Marin gives Cook County States Attorney, who was punk'd by 60 Minutes and refused to lie down again with flea-bitten newsies, one of her patented 'You Go, Carol!' haymakers right in the old snot-locker! . . . Well, near her schnoz . . .within a few feet . . .nearby. . . . same Zipcode. Anyway. Carol Marin tried to drag the WLS socko-tag team of Danny Proft and Bruce Wolf into the range of her air-punches with a Marinade of scorn for this 'Alvarez Damage Control.'
What I am talking about is Alvarez’s amazing — not in a good way — interview last Wednesday on WLS-AM in which radio hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft asked about the 2004 death of David Koschman, who was struck, according to police, by Richard “R.J.” Vanecko, the nephew and grandson of two mayors named Daley.
Anyone who has followed this story knows neither the Chicago Police nor the Cook County state’s attorney’s office (where, at the time, Alvarez was third in command) displayed what could be described as zeal investigating this 2004 “heater” case.
Wolf and Proft asked why it had to take 8½ years and the appointment of Special Prosecutor Dan Webb to finally charge Vanecko? . . .Police and prosecutors are not known for their politeness when it comes to charging a case. Prosecutors can override the cops and charge anyway. And police top brass can go over the head of reluctant prosecutors. . . . Any other reason there were no charges back in 2004? Alvarez’s answer to this question is much, much worse.David Koschman’s mother, she said, didn’t ask.“I feel horrible for Mrs. Koschman that she lost her only child,” said Alvarez. “It’s a tragedy. It’s horrific that she has to go through that.”
“But there was no contact with her and our office demanding this be charged,” said Alvarez.
         I can only imagine an incredulous radio audience.

Shoot, Carol, I remain credulous to that answer because Ms. Alvarez answered both Bruce and Dan (@ 14;23 on the broadcast) that from 2004 until Tim Novak ran a story on the Koschman/Vanecko Incident and Death of David Koschman in 2011there was no outrage and demands for inquiry let alone justice.  Sadness, loss, personal grief to be sure for a mother whose only child died in a senseless brawl, but from 2004-2011 there was no public outrage.  

Now, that is incredible. And so is this- Carol Marin seems to believe that it was she and not Chicago Sun Times Investigative Newsman Tim Novak exhumed the the sad story of the late David Koschman. The fact is the city's most tenacious and honest investigative pit bull Tim Novak, unearthed the saga while investigating extended and immediate Daley Family connections to sewer contracts and other things - I believe that in law that is called discover.

The booze-fueled incident, subsequent death and burial of young Mr. Koschman took place in 2004.  Tim Novak dug up the details with a request for a police report, which he received from Chicago Police Department records in 2010 - that was six years after the death and burial.

The year before, Anita Alvarez requested information of the Medill School Journalism pertaining to e-mails and notes of the students of David Protess in the McKinney wrongful conviction drama.  This caused no end of outrage from CNN who hired several of Protess' students from the very case, the Huffington Post and the connected ink-slinging hair-pins local, state and national.  They even trotted out a retired Federal Judge with a very odd CV -to accuse Cook County States Attorney Alvarez of using Gestapo tactics on poor old Dave Protess and his minions. The Headline Club of Chicago issued a scathing rebuke of Alvarez and thundered and woe-be-tied ed up a storm.

However, even Northwestern University which harbors the Medill School of Journalism and docked David Protess's dinghy for years, was forced to axe that cable and cut Professor Dave adrift.

Dave buoyed up as Chicago Innocence Project of the big NYC based Innocence Project International! Medill connects people to good paying gigs - CNN, NYT, & 60 Minutes etc. Talk about a code of silence!  They can silence Gabby Hayes and get Marcel Marceau to canary-up with that power of the media.

Carol Marin is no Medill-ian  herself- she is a U of I grad.  However, following her rather silly Jerry Springer wilderness years landed Carol a gig with 60 Minutes to hitch up with her WTTW and Sun Times and back to NBC 24/7 visibility.  Solid. (these are some cut-outs in my Anita Alvarez scrapbook). Here's a peach, from December 2, 2010 - 
One of the cottage industries that has eroded any and all faith in our Justice System is the Lawsuit Lottery. The Lawsuit Lottery was invented by radical lawyers and assaults police officers, prosecutors, judges and city, county and municipal governments in defense of convicted murderers and career criminals by tugging at the heartstrings attached to our American sense of fair play.The gambit is always the same -
         A. A murderer was convicted of a horrific crime because,
                   B. A prosecutor hid evidence in defense of Systemic Racism
C. A Corrections Official tortured, abused and denied basic civil rights to whole bunch of copyrighted Minorities -usually many black men- while they awaited trial.
D. A convicted murdered can only be freed and given Justice by kids taught by Professor Dave Protess of the Medill School of Journalism as part of the Innocence Project.
Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez smelled the same stink that many newspaper readers found wafting through their senses as the endless parade of G. Flint Taylor Burge Bonanzas and Professor Dave Protess Atticus Finch Productions blared from the front pages and spilled into the evening news shows. Now, we learn, via the e-mails that the Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez has stoically demanded that Professor Dave turn over, that Professor Dave Protess, the too much lionized leader of the Medill Innocence Project, tosses "Treats" to obtain the intended outcome of Innocence, where the Justice System had declared Guilt.No American wants an innocent man to suffer an injustice and the Hegelian Progressives use that sentiment to make millions of dollars and careers for future Katie Courics. Triple figure cab fare, a few few Iron Hotel visits by NIU college cuties . . .nothing seems too costly in the purchase of the intended outcome. That is pure John Dewey flavored Hegelianism.It seems the wheels are off of Professor Dave Protess's Snake-oil Wagon -
It sure seems to me, as one who reads the papers, listens to the news and generally remembers things, that Anita Alvarez as Cook County States Attorney incurred the Medill Media rath-universal when she dared to demand the notes and e-mails that exposed Professor Dave Protess as a hypocrite publicity hound and tweedy Fagin who trained phalanxes of journalist who embrace his ethics.

It also seems to me that a herd of practiced jackals who bound after wounded gazelle's only hardly seem worthy of emulation.   Let's try and remember that Tim Novak broke this sad saga when he was digging after connections in a family sewer scam and blood is always sexier than sewage.

Cook County States Attorney is getting hammered because she out-ed a hypocrite.  Carol Marin is only doing what Medill Industries requires and this applying Controlled Damage upon one who crossed them -Anita Alvarez.

2011 -Jan. 4: Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak requests the Chicago police reports from the Koschman investigation through the Freedom of Information Act. Source: