The Point Is…


The sun sets behind a church in the Pittsburgh Diocese, one of six dioceses mentioned in the massive report on sexual abuse among Pennsylvania clergy.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Over 300 priests in Pennsylvania, and yet the true number?—over 1,000. Guilty. Abuse, coverups, transfers, whole families, boys and girls. And this is one state. Are there any innocents left?

Why has the Catholic Church not been shut down? Doors closed? Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, Popes, if not tried in courts of law, stripped of their protecting garments?

Protection and propagation is offered from a church that exhumed a buried Pope in order to take him to justice. (Or injustice.) Pope Stephen VIII tried the dead Pope Formosus in the Cadaver Synod, 897 ce. The corpse played an actual part. Can we assume he was found guilty?

If anyone has not seen The Keepers, on Netflix, please do so. The Church is not above any act, including murder, to protect the Brotherhood of Abuse. All levels of government and the Church are involved.

“The findings [Grand Jury] revealed a pattern of abuse that occurred in hundreds of parishes in 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties going back at least 80 years. It detailed how fellow clergy members conducted shoddy investigations into sexual abuse allegations and how bishops often sided with abusive priests.”
Heard on All Things Considered

How is it that all Catholics are not rebelling? And yet, I’ve heard the retort, for the lesser crimes spoken by nuns in their dark habits, knees blistered from kneeling, hands scrubbed raw. Is it not difficult to get out that damn spot?

The Pope does not speak for God, as God, unless he speaks ex cathedra (from The Chair, the Papal Chair). Then, and only then, does the Pope represent God. God will not let him speak wrongly. They are the very words of God.

It is easy to say then, the abuse, the silence, the coverups, were not the acts of the true Catholic Clergy, the most Catholic and Holy Pope of the Catholic Church. Ergo, the Church is innocent. 

And this is where Faith comes in. Reason will not get you there. 

I am embarrassed to say that I raised my children Catholic. I said the rosary every night in bed. I prayed the souls out of Purgatory on All Hallows Eve. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

I still regret not saving the beautifully illustrated Seven Deadly Sins.

Covers & Other Strangers


Book Covers. The key to the within. I do believe that covers sell the book. Well that and good reviews and publicity about it. It’s all of a package. This has been well documented and substantiated.

Then along comes a cover such as the one above. Tantalizing to me, a Recovering Catholic. I am so drawn to the icons of my youth, the passions for my lost Saints. This cover pointed the way to a journey if not a pilgrimage. Naturally it required a lookup on Amazon. (Buying or not from the big A, it offers reviews, book information, and a look inside at the Prose.) Some of the book information—78 pages!—stopped me short. Not something I’m willing to invest in, considering the subject. So there you have it, the package. And no pictures! Covers alone just won’t do. Nice cover, no sale.

Other Worlds

~ W.B. Yeats

Old Moss Woman’s Secret Garden

Once, many years ago, in a park, I left this world for another. I don’t know how I got to the park, why I was there. It may have been part of some event—a birthday, a picnic—something. I walked off by myself, following the chain-link fence that separated the park from the river flowing by on the other side. Perhaps I was looking for a break in the fence so that I could sit next to the water, dangle my feet in the current. I didn’t find a break in the fence, but I noted a duck nest and a mama duck, the dull mallard color denoting the female, blending with the undergrowth next to the fence. It was stepping down, bending past the nest, into it that left the waving air of ether that pushed me into itself. I don’t know how long I was there, inside that funnel of other, or what it meant. I just knew that I was there. I had a sense that I was invisible to the people standing outside, though I didn’t know for certain. I could not see out. I was just there. And then I walked out, the other end away from the duck nest. I tried to go back, to find the nest again, but I could not. I went back to the picnic, joined some others—strangers I knew. And then the day passed like any other, like thousands of other days in a park where we would eat sandwiches and laugh in the sunlight, spend those infinite high school days of summer.

Some weeks later, much later, I tried to find the park again. That was strange too, as I don’t recall ever being there before or since. I don’t know how I found it, but I did. I took the walk along the fence, watching the undergrowth as I went, willing the nest to reappear. But it did not. No matter how much I looked or how far I walked, I could find nothing. No nest, no doorway, no path. Nothing. Perhaps I had taken some flight of fancy, launched some capsule of time which only landed in memory. And then, on that day, it returned to the nothingness of disbelief.

And just how it came to be, I have forgot.

The Trouble With Photos

After spending most of the last few days writing, some of which felt pretty good—until it didn’t—I picked up the purging again. The Purging is the sorting through of old boxes to see what should be kept, given, or tossed. Necessary but unfortunate is the box(es) with photos. Photos of days gone by and people lost. By lost I mean gone the way of the cycle of life and death, stopping at the latter. It sends the mind on a collision course with itself and torments the soul.

Then today a friend in Colorado Springs posted this photo of the Evergreen Lake. My brother and his family lived in Evergreen for years, and I visited upon occasion with whichever dog I had at the time. From Manitou to Evergreen only took around two hours, an easy drive even in early winter. There were some heart-stopping places in winter of course. Especially during a storm.

He is gone now too, and only one nephew and family remain in Colorado. The rest have moved on. No more visits where the elk stand outside your window waiting to be fed, where the wildflowers grow, and where you can ski down your driveway. No more drinking at The Little Bear, where all of the names are carved in the booths.


Susie Willett

And that’s the way things are.

Nooks of Love

Sometimes when feeling a little bit down, a picture can cheer us up. I think it’s something akin to hope. My reasoning is thus: I want something and cannot have it. Yet there it is, all fresh and creative and someone has it. That that someone has it means it can be had. Yes?


Shuffle Sketch

And here it is, the object of a day’s passion. How lovely. I can see myself there, all snuggled up and dreaming. Interesting how it needs all of the things within in order to be what it is. Take away anything as in the candles and it feels empty. Take away the lights and ‘oh no! how will I read?’ The completion comes from the parts, the parts make the whole. This particular whole is not cause for envy, but joy.

How rich we are in the things we behold.

The Hammock



Paperback Books and More

I don’t normally care for cartoon type drawings and prints, unless of course they are in graphic novel form, which I love. But and then, I thought this would do for our purposes here. It quite serendipitously appeared.

I got a hammock. I’ve wanted one for some while and was very excited to get it. So I had to make a place for it in the living room. Sort of done, if I can just figure out where to put a chair. There’s not much room in other places as things have been moved there already. Still thinking.

It could go on the patio, so I’ve started moving plants and chairs around there. I can store the chairs, just need to get to it. There is the issue of the table though. It’s round and takes up a bit of room. It is not really portable and to take it down means take it apart. Lots of tools involved. The plants (many) will need to be relocated. Still thinking.

The patio is smaller than I realized when I got the hammock. I’m not sure it would work there. Maybe I should just move things back the way they were before the hammock descended upon us. Perhaps I should just move my thinking back to the living room.

The hammock is still in the trunk of the car. It fits there.

When The Dead And The Irish Speak

William Butler Yeats


Yeats—Irish Times

In the “Irish Times” on Saturday, Fintan O’Toole declared there is a Yeats Test that can be applied to determine the state of the world. It’s simple: the more quotable Yeats seems to commentators and politicians, the worse things are.

After the election of Donald Trump, there was a massive surge in online searches for Yeats’s magnificently doom-laden The Second Coming. From data collected by Frank McNally, the poem was more quoted in newspapers the first seven months of 2016 than in any other year of the past three decades.

That’s saying a lot.

But more to the point, it hasn’t stopped. On a Twitter account called Widening Gyre, lines from the poem are sent out into cyberspace without further comment.

“The centre cannot hold” was tweeted or retweeted 499 times on June 24th, 2016, the morning after the Brexit vote. It has continued to appear 38 times a day. It also appeared 249 times in newspapers in the first seven months of 2016. Best of all, Yeats’s lines can be claimed by right, left and centre. And they are.

“Things Fall Apart” And more from The Second Coming

“mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”; “The ceremony of innocence is drowned”; and “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity”

Black, White, Left or Right, Yeats has become a man for all seasons. And poetry “is loosed upon the land.”


Yeats—Irish Times