This is from a bit back but Paul Potts went from working in a Carphone Warehouse to singing opera. This will bring tears to the eyes of the most jaded person.
Live and in person!
7 hours ago
Then, one night in August, on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, I decided to check my e-mail before going to bed. There was an item in my inbox titled, “I lost one of my students today.” I sat down and took a deep breath. It was from a Catholic teacher in Newark, N.J. One of his pupils, a 15-year-old boy, had been shot and killed that morning while sleeping in his own bedroom. News reports said a neighbor downstairs had been handling a rifle that had gone off accidentally.
The teacher was devastated. He told me that he wrote because he just needed to get it off his chest. “I am stricken with grief at a time when my heart would otherwise be elated—but I know my young student, my child, celebrates this feast in the arms of the Blessed Mother,” he wrote, and asked for prayers for himself, his students and the boy who had been killed.
I did not know what to say. I wrote back to him, offering a few words of consolation, and told him I would pray for him. But something, I felt, had changed.
The flickering words on a computer screen spoke of something greater, and deeper, and sadder than anything else I had encountered in my months of blogging. In the middle of all the bickering in the blogosphere, I had encountered a moment of unexpected grief and profound grace—beautiful, heartbreaking, soul-wrenching grace.
If nothing else, the Internet makes us acutely aware of this: the world is bigger than we realize and smaller than we expect. We are bound together in ways we cannot even imagine. I have learned a lot since I began blogging, but the greatest lesson may be that we are catholic, which means we are universal, and that we are everything and everyone, for better or for worse.
The apology is dated January 28, 2009, and the text below is from the traditionalist website Rorate Caeli:
To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.
For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:
"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."
Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.
Sincerely yours in Christ
Rumours have surfaced that Bishop Williamson, the SSPX bishop whose Holocaust denial has caused such horror, is seriously ill with cancer. Father Z passes on a report in La Repubblica that the bishop - whose excommunication was lifted at the weekend - "has a tumour and is dying".
Similar reports have reached me, but I haven't wanted to print them without some sort of confirmation. Apparently Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has asked for prayers for Williamson, whose recent statements - outrageous even by his standards - may be attributable, in part, to his illness.
In the wake of a global furor triggered by Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to lift the excommunication of four traditionalist Catholic bishops, including one who cast doubt on the Holocaust, another leader in the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X has questioned whether the Nazis used gas chambers for anything other than “disinfection,” and said that people who hold revisionist views on the Holocaust are not anti-Semites.
Fr. Floriano Abrahamowicz, a pastor and spokesperson for the Society of St. Pius X in northeastern Italy, also referred to Jews as “a people of deicide,” referring to the death of Christ, and suggested that the Jewish Holocaust has been “exalted” over what he called “other genocides,” such as the Allied bombing of German cities and the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip.
On the other hand, Abrahamowicz insisted that the traditionalist movement founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is not “anti-Semitic.” Among other things, Abrahamowicz said, he himself has Jewish roots on his father’s side.
Because the whole history of humanity is marked by the people of Israel, who initially were the people of God, who then became the people of deicide, and who at the end of time will reconvert to Jesus Christ. Behind it all is a mysterious theological aspect, which is that of the people of God which rejected its Messiah and which still combats him. It’s a mystery of doctrine. Anti-Semitism is born from the illuminated liberal and Gnostic world. The church throughout history has always protected the Jews from pogroms, as one reads, for example, in Domenico Savino’s book on ritual homicide.
But the more telling perspective comes not from these two extremes, but rather from the majority of students who find themselves somewhere between the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labels. Overwhelmingly, students voice some support for a consistent ethic of life while grappling with many of the nuances intrinsic to the topic.
“I think that the consistent ethic of life is a good principle, and it’s very air tight,” said Junior Rob Finn. “In that sense, I think that it’s good thing. But in terms of my personal beliefs, I question certain parts of it.” Other students stated that while they ultimately hope to eliminate the need for abortion, for now a more practical solution is working to reduce abortion rates. “I feel strongly that no mother that finds out that she’s pregnant wants to have an abortion out of malice,” said McNeill. “She feels cornered and feels that she has no other alternative.” If the cultural ethos is changed to encourage women to have children, and young single mothers are supported through social programs, fewer women will ultimately seek abortions.
Internet rumors to the contrary, no Catholic hospital in the United States is in danger of closing because of the Freedom of Choice Act.
As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Choice Act died with the 110th Congress and, a week after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, has not been reintroduced.
But that hasn't kept misleading e-mails from flying around the Internet, warning of the dire consequences if Obama signs FOCA into law and promoting a "FOCA novena" in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.
Said Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., an elected member of the CHA board of trustees since June 2006.
"But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes," he added in a Jan. 26 telephone interview. "There's no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions."
And perhaps what has been controversial in some media outlets, is the final section or Rev. Lowery's prayer, when he said: "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."
Melissa, I was literally laughing so hard when I heard this, that I almost fell out of my seat. First, Rev. Lowery pulled out his metaphorical "jive dictionary" from the 1960's, using expressions that were popular "back in the day." But the moment was a significant one for two reasons: humor has always been an element of the black church tradition. We laugh to keep from crying; we take joy in a life and conditions that would have been completely unbearable for others. So knowing the black church as I do, I know that his humor was intentional, but it was not irreverent. It speaks to the joy and the jive that has helped to bring us through some weary years.
And finally, this last little bit of humor pays tribute to the urban and rural blues/folk traditions that have helped to shape the black church, most especially the music, sermons, and worship style of the black church. As a syncretic faith, pulling from African and Western influences, the black church is also a "patchwork" faith that has been influenced by, and has also greatly influenced, many secular forms of art, music, dance, and culture. So Rev. Lowery's benediction highlighted the black church tradition at its best; a tradition of African descent, but American born and made.
Pope Benedict’s thoughts then turned to the Shoah, the memorial of which was celebrated this week. He said “the memories and images of my many visits to Auschwitz come back to me in these days, a death camp in which blind racial and religious hatred led to the ferocious extermination of millions of Jews and other innocent victims”.
Then Pope Benedict firmly said “While I renew my affection for and complete solidarity with our Brothers of the First Alliance, I urge that the memory of the Shoah lead humanity to reflect on the unforeseeable power of evil when it conquers the Human Heart. May the Shoah be a warning to all against oblivion, against denial or revisionism, because violence committed against any one single human being is violence against all humanity. No man is an island, a well known poet once wrote. The Shoah teaches both the new and older generations, that only the demanding journey of listening and dialogue, of love and forgiveness can lead the world’s peoples, cultures and religions towards the desired goal of brotherhood and peace in truth. Never again may violence humiliate the dignity of man!”.
A $200 million provision for contraception programs is being dropped from the $825 billion stimulus package following criticism from pro-lifers and Republican congressmen.
President Barack Obama personally called House Democratic leaders to ask them to remove the provision, an Obama aide told CNN. One of his calls reportedly went to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and one of the most influential liberal members of Congress.
The president reportedly urged the provision’s removal because it was a hot button issue among Republicans and did not focus on creating jobs as quickly as possible.
Shrewd move, as far as it goes. I would have preferred something stronger (”ill-advised” doesn’t begin to describe what Williamson spews), sooner (why did it take so long for Fellay to publicly condemn Williamson’s unhinged views about the Shoah when he has been repeating them for years?), and less, well, huffy (yes, yes, you’re respected the world over, but why not name the Jewish people in your apology to the pope and to “all people of good will”?).
We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.
It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.
It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.
We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.
This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Updike's first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, was published in 1959. The following year, though, saw the publication of the book which established him as one of the greatest novelists of his age, Rabbit, Run.
It marked the debut of his most enduring character, Harold "Rabbit" Angstrom.
In the following decades he would write sequels, including Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, charting the course of a man's life - his job, marriage, affairs, minor triumphs and death.
But while the revocation may heal one internal rift, it may also open a broader wound, alienating the church’s more liberal adherents and jeopardizing 50 years of Vatican efforts to ease tensions with Jewish groups.
Among the men reinstated Saturday was Richard Williamson (right), a British-born cleric who in an interview last week said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers. He has also given interviews saying that the United States government staged the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.
The four reinstated men are members of the Society of St. Pius X, which was founded by a French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, in 1970 as a protest against the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, also called Vatican II. Archbishop Lefebvre made the men bishops in unsanctioned consecrations in Switzerland in 1988, prompting the immediate excommunication of all five by Pope John Paul II.
Father Küng agreed. Benedict “does not see that he is alienating himself from the larger part of the Catholic Church and Christianity,” he said. “He doesn’t see the real world. He only sees the Vatican world.”
who has entrusted us with the care of this great land:
We humbly ask that we may always prove ourselves
a people worthy of this trust and pleased to do your will.
Bless our nation
with honorable industry, sound learning, and mutual respect.
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion,
from arrogance and greed, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people
the multitudes brought from all the corners of the earth.
Bestow the spirit of wisdom
on those to whom we grant the authority of government,
that there may be justice and peace at home.
Through obedience to your law,
may we show forth your glory among the nations of the world.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, strengthen our trust in you;
all this we ask in your holy Name.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins summoned Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Cherokee sources among others.
Although Watkins began festively -- " 'Mr. President.' Has kind of a nice ring to it, doesn't it?" -- she told Obama that the White House "will tend to draw you away from your ethical center. . . . In the days immediately before us, there will be much to draw us away from the grand work of loving God and the hard work of loving neighbor. In crisis times, a basic instinct seeks to take us over, a fight-flight instinct."
Former Rep. Bob Dornan of California delivered a caustic assessment of Obama's comments from his inaugural address. .March for LifeMarch for Life
Paraphrasing the president's speech, Dornan said, "We will not apologize for our way of life -- I add our love of life -- nor will we waiver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror -- the terror of abortion -- and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you."
"I add we will defeat you," Dornan said, the pitch of his gravelly voice rising, "and defeat the culture of death or we will perish as a nation."
Near the rally's end Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia introduced to loud applause 23 Catholic prelates representing both the Latin and Eastern rites, including Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.
"All of the Catholic bishops are in solidarity with this wonderful group," he said.
In his closing prayer, Auxiliary Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Washington prayed for world peace, a solution to the economic crisis gripping the globe, and the continued commitment of the marchers as well as policymakers and elected officials so that they work to support all life.
We left on time and as we taxied onto the runway the pilot came on. "This is the USAir 4 p.m. shuttle to Washington, D.C.," he said in the old-fashioned Chuck Yeager style, and from the back of the plane came a roar of cheers and applause. When the sound reached the cockpit, the pilot came on again. "Hope has come to America," he said. The plane went wild.
The whole experience the next few days was marked for me by a new or refreshed knowledge that those who had not felt included or invited in the past were now for the first time truly here, and part of it all, in great numbers. And I suppose the fact that this would never have come about without the support, the votes, of the traditionally invited and included gave a special air of inclusiveness to the event. There was great kindness between people and true friendliness. No one was different. Everyone, whatever their views or votes, was happy.
It’s a matter of basic civics. The legislation, which never got a hearing in the last Congress, would be subject to hearings in both the Senate and House, and then have to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee, the full House, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate (with a 60-vote margin to overcome the inevitable filibuster). And then the respective versions would have to be reconciled in a conference committee and sent back to both chambers for final passage.
The notion that a bill this controversial could jump each of these hurdles is fanciful. Basic rule of legislation: It’s much easier to stop something then to pass it.
Further, the House already has a strong coalition of both Republicans and Democrats who either oppose abortion rights or do not want to see them expanded. And even if the bill were to make it to the Senate floor (which it won’t), it’s hardly a 60-vote lock. First rule of lawmaking: Know how to count. The pro-FOCA forces simply don’t have the votes.
But didn’t Barack Obama pledge during the campaign that FOCA’s passage would be his top priority? And doesn’t that change the legislative calculus?
Indeed, in July 2007 candidate Obama pandered to the pro-choice lobby. In response to a question from the Planned Parenthood audience he declared that to protect abortion rights “the first thing I’d do as president” is sign FOCA. But that doesn’t change the fact -- back to Civics 101 -- that President Obama won’t have the opportunity to sign FOCA.
While I agree that FOCA is not a dire threat, and I do understand the way that Congress must act before something like this could even cross the President's desk, I do think that the continued opposition and discussion is good as a whole.
This ongoing discussion reminds the President - and those who support FOCA - that there is a very vocal outpouring against this proposed measure. That vocal support AGAINST FOCA will keep it from coming out of committee...
by silently sitting back, as is the case with any law, we risk its passage due to our apathy.
This discussion also allows us to move into and broaden our discussions in the areas of stem-cell research and the financial aid of NGOs that provide abortion counseling...
"The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One." And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made."
The first half of that paragraph—Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One—is the Shema, the most important prayer in Judaism. Many Jews recited it on the way to their deaths during the Holocaust.
'I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!'
I didn't think Lowery's benediction was written particularly well, but I also didn't see anything wrong with it.
I heard it simply as an attempt to use humor, rhyme, and rhythm to make his point: our goal as a nation must be to achieve equality for all people, regardless of race or color. Granted, the rhyming was a bit awkward (yellow/mellow ... I don't hear anyone complaining about that), but it was hardly a statement about whites or right vs. wrong.
I didn't have much issue w/ it. He didn't say anything that hasn't been said in racial/ethnic minority communities before for years already. I suppose it could be off-putting if it's unfamiliar. I also chalk it up to a certain generational take on race that is shifting.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.
OBAMA: It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
OBAMA: For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.
OBAMA: Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.
OBAMA: The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.
And those of us who manage the public's knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.
OBAMA: But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
OBAMA: They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.
OBAMA: With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.
We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.
And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.
OBAMA: These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
OBAMA: This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us “Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our god; the Lord is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.
We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.
And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.
Give to our new president Barack Obama the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.
When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Essa (ph), Jesus, Jesus, who taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
Rachel Bundang rocks.
She sings, plays jazz and gospel piano, and listens to hip-hop, classical and Brazilian music. On her laptop are musical selections from Los Amigos Invisibles, a Venezuelan funk group. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Tagalog, a language used in the Philippines. She moves from stage to pulpit to Manhattan street with aplomb. She talks politics, art, culture and religion, peppering her sentences with language taken from urban neighborhoods and the halls of academe. She studied tap and ballet as a child and took up modern dance in college, and then there's salsa dancing, of course, at parties.
Bundang is also a leading Asian/Pacific-American Catholic theological ethicist. A "1.5 generation" Filipina-American (born in the Philippines but raised in the United States), she is a leader and former conference chair of Pacific/Asian and North American-Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM, pronounced "pan-autumn"), served for three years as co-convener of the American Academy of Religion Women's Caucus/Religious Studies, and has since 1997 been a delegate to the U.S. Minorities Section of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians. She is active in the four-year-old Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative.
Behind these involvements is the constant negotiation of complex identities--American, immigrant, New York resident and frequent California visitor, raised in the deep South, heir to her mother's popular religion and forger of new religious paths, daughter of a Navy man, Catholic high school alumna, feminist of faith, working-class and "double Ivy" (Princeton and Harvard), Pinay (Filipina-American), intellectual, artist, minister, scholar.
Working her way through a Ph.D. in ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York, Rachel Ann Rodriguez Bundang has spoken around the country on such varied topics as young adult ministry, home and exile, devotions to Mary and Jesus in Filipino-American Catholic life, the ethics of cyberspace, Asian/Pacific-American women's theologies, and New York City memorials in the wake of Sept. 11. Besides a vast collection of music, her laptop also holds speeches, homilies, papers-in-process, and a voluminous correspondence with friends around the United States.
We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word "good" should in any way be associated with death.