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A Sea Gull and the World Await Holy Smoke A Sea Gull and the World Await Holy Smoke
by Leah Sellers
2013-03-15 11:47:55
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Millions of Eyes around the World, Catholic or not, gazed longingly and questioningly at the slender cylindrical chimney atop the Vatican during these propitious Ides of March.  Eyes of Hope for the announcement of 2013’s unexpected, but expectantly awaited new Pope.
The tension-filled waiting was eased by a curious (and or very tired) Sea Gull, which for reasons only it is aware of, decided to alight the chimney of the Holy Smoke.  A Bird associated with the elements of Air, Water and Land (the Shoreline).  A Bird which lives between two places, and never travels far from either.  This Bird both swims and flies, and knows how to Behave and Work within and upon both elemental spheres.
In some cultures the Sea Gull symbolizes abilities or lessons to be given regarding Proper Courtesy, Behaviors and Knowledgeable Communication.
Valuable elemental properties for a Church badly in Need of these Qualities, and this type of Leadership from its helm in order to Heal what ails it.
And then Pope Francis stepped out upon the balcony, and asked Everyone to Pray Silently for the Church, and for his Leadership to be what the Church, and its Peoples, Needed. 
Silent Prayer.  The Action of an Humble Man, and Inclusive Man.  Instead of saying his own singular Prayer to the heavens for everyone else to bow their heads to, and be attentive to; he instead Created a Sacred Space for EveryOne to participate in that very auspicious moment with him, in their own Ways and in their own Words.  Silently.  Actively.  The Action of an Humble, Inclusive, Holy Man.
Pope Francis, the Son of Italian immigrants who found a Home in South America.  A Scholar who became a Jesuit priest, and rose through the Catholic Church’s hierarchy to become an ArchBishop (a Spiritual Bird of a varying feather coloration, who never forgot his Gull-ties to the Spiritual and Earthly Shoreline).
Pope Francis truly Believes and Lives his Vows of Poverty.  Instead of living in the Church Palace when he rose to his Cardinalship, he Chose to live in a small apartment and ride the bus to his office every day he worked.
He is a Man of Social Justice and Social Action toward the Poor and UnJustly and UnEqually treated.  However, due to his ties to the Traditions of the Spiritual Sea and Land, it is doubtful that he will condone or accept the UnJust and UnEqual treatment of Gays or those Women who want to control their Lives responsibly with contraceptives.  They will probably continue to be left floundering on the outskirts of the Church, and the new Pope’s version of Inclusiveness.  Love the Sinner, but hate the Sin.  The Church’s Doors will be open to you, but we prefer that you sit on the back pew and ‘don‘t ask, don‘t tell‘.  Holy Smoke will probably continue to sting and burn their Eyes, Hearts, Bodies and Minds.
But the Poor and down trodden who are not Gay or seeking methods of contraception, will be embraced, and receive whatever Blessings the Church can bestow upon them.
That, at least, is something in these Times of Global UnCertainty.
Social Justice is once again on the front burner.
Americans voted for President Obama for that very same Reasoning:  the Conscious and UnConscious Need for Social Justice for All in America and Globally.
Social Justice demands Responsible Behaviors and Knowledgeable Communication from EveryOne.  Everyone.
Let Us all Hope and Pray (Meditate) that this Trend for and toward Social Justice in Our Global Leaders continues to be Nurtured and Sustained around the Sea Gulls‘, and Humanity’s, Earthly and Spiritual Shorelines of the World (as well as the Heavens).

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Emanuel Paparella2013-03-15 12:29:03
When St. Francis of Assisi began walking the streets of Assisi as a mendicant and a lover of nature taking care of the poor and the downtrodden, his own father disowned him claiming that he was excluding him from his universal love and his preaching for social justice; his brother would tell his friends when they saw him coming: here comes my crazy brother. In other words, his own family had already prejudged him according to their particular biases.

This new Pope once walked 70 miles to a revered shrine outside Buenos Aires and used to wash the feet of people with AIDS while refusing the trappings of the high clergy. Predictably he too is now being pre-judged by those with a grudge and a millenarian ax to grind against the Church disappointed that the Church has not disbanded and the cardinals have not hung their head in shame. Nothing new there, indeed.

However, believers and non-believers with a sense of fairness will no doubt give him some time to prove himself as a Pope before rushing to judgment. Even Dante waited for Boniface VIII to prove himself before placing both him and his predecessor (St. Celestine V) who had resigned the papacey in hell.

Leah Sellers2013-03-15 14:47:04
I can Understand your wanting to Protect the Sanctity of the Church, Bother Emanuel. You are a devout and honorable man. But ask the Gays and the Politicos, who tried to help them attain further Human Rights, of Argentina if they have not already been judged as UnWorthy by Pope Francis, sir.

Also, I have long been a fan of Francis of Assissi (Expanded Pro-testant and Perpetual Student of the Spiritual Life that I am). I have a large statuatory of him in my Living Room. I smile at him and the Animals within his Hands and at his Side and Feet every day.

Emanuel Paparella2013-03-16 02:03:35
Indeed Leah, nobody has ever appointed me protector or defender of the faith or the papacy, nor do I wish to be one. No need to echo the trial of Thomas More, that other saint of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, let me say that what I was attempting to put across was the simple point that we should not rush to judjment or protestation of this Papacy when it has barely begun. It remains to be seen, whether this new Pope will be true to the name he chose.

Since we are both fans of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the thousands upon thousands of saints in the Catholic Church, it is good for us to remember, that asid from the pretty pictures of Francis preaching to the birds, that St. Francis was a near perfect follower and mirror of Christ and he never condemn and emarginated any human being as unworthy, since he believed with every fiber of his being that all human beings are created in the image of God and loved by Him as a providential God. After defending and forgiving the woman caught in adultery Christ did not say: nobody has condemned you, neither do I, go home and continue doing what you have been doing. Rather he advised to “go and sin no more.” Which is to say, he readily forgave the violator of the law but did not condone the violation itself, and that surely was much more than what those ready to cast the first stone could envision or were ready to do.

Vatican smoke and mirrors2013-03-16 02:48:00
There is a possibility that the people of the world have built up false hopes about the new Pontiff. The new Pope is just as much an "insider" as any European. He is a theological conservative, so one cannot expect any breakthroughs on issues like contraception and gay rights, etc. He is the nearest thing to an Italian, just geographically located in the largest catholic continent, so has been selected to placate the sentiments of Catholics outside of Europe

Vatican smoke and mirrors2013-03-16 02:49:14
He is not a true representative of the developing world. He is not someone who confronts but compromises, hardly the quality of a reformer. Other than some change in ascetics, it will be live as normal in the Vatican with very little change, especially with Pope Francis age. It's a pity he didn't take the Francis from Saint Francis Xavier, that may have had more significance.

Leah Sellers2013-03-16 04:43:42
Yes Sir, I am well aware of the Lessons you drew upon in your most recent explanation, Brother Emanuel.

Perhaps, the World can Hope that Pope Francis will Evolve on these Social Issues of InJustice as well, sir.

Perhaps, it would behoove all of to Re-Member, that many who discover that they are Gay, do not wish to be so, but are truly Born so.

Perhaps, homosexuality has been with all species from the Beginning of Time as a way to Re-duce and/or naturally Control the populations of all species. That it is not an Abomination or a Sin, but merely a state of Being that should be Acknowledged and Accepted by all Societies, so that Gays can Live full and complete Lives without being discriminated against and villified at every turn of their Personal and Social Lives.

Perhaps, we should all Re-Member what it is like for any group of Peoples to be discriminated against and villified (cursed at, spit upon, cast aside and murdered) because they are considered to be Different from what was once trending to be the so called Norm.

Perhaps we should Re-Member the Strident and Destructive Voices of Social History: You Jewish Kike ! You Savage Red Skin ! You Black Nigger !
You Pepper-bellied Spic ! You White Cracker ! You Witchy Hag ! You filthy, low-life Gentile ! You slanty-eyed Chink ! You whore-mongering Bra-Burner ! You Heathens ! You blaspheming Galileo ! And on and on and on.....etc.
The Bible tells us not to eat pork, but we know about trichinosis now. We know how to thoroughly cook pork, and we enjoy it as one of our primary forms of meat now. And there are many other Social Laws like this throughout the Bible which we Choose not to abide by, because we have Evolved in Our Understandings and Knowledge.

Adultery - cheating on someone you Love is a Betrayal of the Person you cheating upon, the Family the two of you may (or may not as of yet) created together, and YourSelf. It is a Sin. it destroys Lives and damages the Self.

Being Gay in itself is not a Sin. It is a Scientific and Social fact/state of Being for which that group of people should not be continually punished and cast under foot any longer. They deserve to be able to marry and build stability, and a productive Citizenship within their Lives and Society at large as much as any other Person.

There are many Gifted and Talented Persons who are Gay whose Abilities and Contributions are being ignored and wasted simply because they are Different. Because they truly Love someone of the same sex and want to build a Life with them freely and free of forced Sin-Eating within their Communities.

I Believe that Christ would have Recognized this Social failure and wrong and Spoken out against it, and Included them within his ranks without calling thme Sinners. They are Seeking and Choosing to Love - not to Sin.

I Believe that Christ would have seen the way Human Beings are overpopulating the World, and told us to Control OurSelves - and that part of that Control would include Contraception.

I Believe that Christ would want to See Women empowered within the Church (all Churches) as Pastors, Priest/Priestess, Cardinal/Cardinala, Arch Bishop/Arch Bishopa, Pope/Popa.

Christ was All about Social Justice, Inclusion and basic Human Rights and Dignity for All - for All.

Emanuel Paparella2013-03-16 12:20:25
I hear what you are saying Leah, but I continue to insist that it is not helpful to anybody concerned to fudge the issue of adultery (by a man or a woman) and homosexuality or feminism for that matter, just to continue grinding the ax against the Catholic Church, (there is another such article in today's issue of Ovi)as it predictably happens every time a new Pope is elected and pre-judged even before he has had a chance to prove himself as such. Those are distinct ethical issues and ought be kept as such and not collapsed into one biased attack against the Church.

The fact remains that Christ, and St. Francis too and any other innumerable saints of the Catholic Church, in accepting each and every human being, none excluded, as children of God, and therefore as brothers and sisters, created in the image of a common Father/Mother, were not at the same time advocating or tolerating what destroys community, trust and love, as you yourself rightly observe. Indeed, it would be the wrong lesson to deduce from the behavior of Christ toward the woman caught in adultery that he showed tolerance toward adultery. The more appropriate lesson there is that he would have condemned adultery or the breaking of vows in a man as well and that in fact that is what he was doing when he said "he who is without sin, cast the first stone," showing that he was capable of hating iniquity and sin without transposing that hatred to the sinner.

When a priest or a nun break their vows of celibacy taken solemnly before God, their sexual orientation with which they were born is besides the point; the transgression is not the sexual orientation, a natural condition which one does not choose but the breaking of communal trust about which one can and does choose. What destroys the communal spirit is not the sexual orientation per se but the breaking of a promise. May I assume we agree on that without for the moment confronting the issue of the definition of what has constituted the definition of marriage throughout history, which is another distinct issue already dealt in an Ovi article? In short, what I am suggesting, without presuming to take any position of advocacy to which nobody has appointed me, is that we search for the discernment and a modicum of wisdom to make the above mentioned rational distinctions.

Leah Sellers2013-03-17 00:17:20
Brother Emanuel,Dear Sir, please, re-read what I have said. I did separate being Gay and Seeking a Life without constant strife and diminishment in Quality from the Sin of Adultery, just as Christ separated the Woman's being a Female Human Being Seeking a Better Way of Life from the Sin of Adultery.

The analogy you first provided was a faulty one, sir (and I do not intend this to be disrespectful in any way, because it is used by most Christian churches against Gays).

Also, one of the Reasons I left my Protest-ant Seminarial Studies was because of the UnConscious/Conscious Female Suppression at every turn by both the men and women at the institution. I was both shocked and dismayed. However, it did not weaken my Spirtual Growth or Curiosity. I merely took other Pathways of Service and Spiritual Study.

Also, I am not condemning the Catholic Church. These issues Need to be dealt with Effectively within All Religious and Social Institutions.

Social Justice covers a wide and varying array of Issues under the Umbrella of basic Human Rights and Dignity.

Peoples who are constantly maligned and cast underfoot will usually find themselves facing Poverty and Societal Dis-Association.

As Christians, it is Imperative that we struggle against All forms of bigotry, discrimination, intolerance and hatreds fed by fear and ignorance.

Also, Dear Vatican Smoke and Mirrors, thank you for your assertions. I suspected as much, but Hope and Enlightened Evolution spring Eternal. We can All but continue to Pray (Meditate), Stand Up For and Work Toward the Highest - the Best - the Brightest - the most Wondrous within Us.

Vatican smoke and mirrors2013-03-17 08:34:35
FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Emanuel Paparella2013-03-17 14:47:56
In point of fact Leah I do acknowledge your distinction between being gay and being adulterous when I say in my comment “as you yourself observe.” It is always good to emphasize the common ground of agreement in a discussion without at the same time fudge the issue by failing to clarify and define terms, for truth is one even it there are many paths to it and we are never unfailing sure that we have reached it…

I think we are in agreements on the ethical principle, as Kant has well taught us, to have any kind of ethical life one needs to be and to feel free and that the principles (what Kant calls the “categorical imperatives”) that underpin such a life need to be universal and not just what is in vogue at the moment or what is customary or what is relative to a particular society in which one lives. One cannot exercise the ethical life on what one is not free to choose or to reject (what Kant calls the hypothetical imperatives) and on mere customs or what is politically correct at the time. So, it is a good basis for us to continue our dialogue on the basis of those rational principles as enunciated by Kant even when we may continue to disagree on corollary principles, (such as the definition of marriage) for we could do much worse; we could engage in a pseudo dialogue based on ad hominem blanket attacks or victimhood defense mechanism, or sheer slander and axes to grind against religion in general and the Church in particular has unfortunately we have seen displayed in the media and still ongoing since the resignation of Benedict XVI.

Leah Sellers2013-03-17 15:09:35
Dear Sir,
I am well Aware of the Dark Forces (even within Religions)at Work against the Lighter Shades of Positive and Productively Creative EnLightenment and Evolution in the World at latge.

I have even had some very up close and very personal experiences with these Forces which have left some very indelible marks of deeper knowings upon me. I Choose the Pathway of Hope and EnVisioning Brighter and Better Future Realities because that is what helps to ignite the Courage within to
'Carry On'.

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