I hereby officially quit Catholicism

According to this site, it is possible to officially quit being a Catholic, despite the fact that Catholics believe there is an indelible mark put on your soul at baptism that identifies you forever as such so that the hereafter knows what to do with you when you get there. Apparently, you just need to make a formal and official statement, called the Actus Formalis Defectionis Ab Ecclesia Catholica, and you will be taken off the list of identified Catholics kept by — hmm. Whom, I wonder?

I just found out about that statement from here, which led me to the official wording of the document here.

I have to admit that it’s hard to totally shake the programming of 13 years of a Catholic education. For example, although I shed the confines of Catholic doctrine decades ago, I still won’t allow myself to put that wafer in my mouth, even though I have since been to many wedding and funeral masses (that’s the only time I go; and only for relatives). I was indoctrinated (through horrific stories of the wafer oozing blood into the recipient’s heathen mouth) with the fundamental feeling that it is a terrible sacrilege for a non-Catholic to receive communion. I don’t know if I sit out the communion line because I refuse to be a hypocrite or because it just doesn’t feel right to go against that old rote rule.

However, having come upon an official way to sever that denominational tie (if not erase that indelible soul mark), I feel that it is time to do just that. So here is my Actus Formalis Defectionis Ab Ecclesia Catholica:


I ___Elaine of Kalilily__, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I want it to be known that I no longer wish to be regarded as a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

I further declare that I am aware of the consequences of this act regarding the reception of the sacraments of the Church, including the sacraments of the Eucharist, marriage and the sick and also with regard to burial.

I undertake to make this decision known to my next of kin and to ensure that they are aware of these circumstances in the case of my being incapacitated.

I acknowledge that I make this declaration under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.

Signed:___Elaine of Kalilily______________________ Address:___www.kalilily.net______________________

Witness:____the readers of kalilily.net_____________
Address:____the world-wide web___________________________

Date:____October 23, 2010______________

Now, the instructions say that:

With the above Form, you should include a letter with the following PRINTED information:
Your name,
Your full address,
The name under which you were baptised if married since,
The date of your baptism,
The parish Church of your baptism,
Your date of birth,
The name of your parents, and
The name of your godparents.

Of course I’m not going to put all that information out in public here, but if the ecclesiastic official who needs that information emails me (link to above “About” for address), I will be glad to send him those specifics. (I can use the male pronoun without question here, since we know that, in Catholicism, only males can be ecclesiastic officials.)

While I probably should have been excommunicated a long time ago, given I never got married in a church and then got divorced anyway — and I have proclaimed heresy any number of times and ways — somehow making it official makes it feel like it’s finally official.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I am vocally and officially coming out as a big

Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
— Albert Einstein

What have been [Christianity’s] fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
— James Madison

The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes; fools and hypocrites. To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.
— Thomas Jefferson

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.
— George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 726]

(go here for some of the above quotes and more that show the intent of the founding fathers to ensure both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.)

ADDENDUM: Somehow it seems even more appropriate to post this today, Creation Day!

…the date that James Ussher, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, determined to be the very first day of creation in 4004 BCE. That makes the world 6013 years old today, in his chronology (if you’re adding it up at home, remember that there is no year 0).

Keep in mind that you now have excuses to party almost all week. Tomorrow, you should celebrate the creation of heaven and Space Water. You knew the earth was a floaty in a watery universe, right? I think the appropriate celebration is to drink.

Monday, you can celebrate Oceans and Plants day. Garden or go to the shore. And drink.

Tuesday is Moon Day. It’s also Sun Day. It took god a few days, but he finally got around to creating the celestial bodies. This should be a day sacred to werewolves and anathema to vampires. Celebrate by voting for Team Jacob. And drinking.

Wednesday is birds and fish day. This is a day of sorrow, because all the cephalopods will be weeping at their neglect — they don’t even get a mention in the book, except for a later declaration that they are generically unclean. Either that or the clueless idjits who wrote the book considered squid to be fish, which is highly offensive. Celebrate by contemplating cephalopods and raising many toasts to them.

Read more here.

education in a democracy

It’s reasonable to assume that education in a democracy is distinct from education under a dictatorship or a monarchy; surely school leaders in fascist Germany or Albania or Saudi Arabia or apartheid South Africa all agreed, for example, that students should behave well, stay away from drugs and crime, do their homework, study hard, and master the subject matters; they also graduated fine scientists and musicians and athletes, so none of those things differentiate a democratic education from any other.

What makes education in a democracy, at least theoretically, distinct is a commitment to a particularly precious and fragile ideal: every human being is of infinite and incalculable value, each a unique intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and creative force. Every human being is born free and equal in dignity and rights; each is endowed with reason and conscience, and deserves, then, a sense of solidarity, brotherhood and sisterhood, recognition and respect. Democracy is geared toward participation and engagement, and that points to an educational system in which the fullest development of all is seen as the necessary condition for the full development of each, and conversely, that the fullest development of each is necessary for the full development of all.

The above is an excerpt from Bill Ayres’ piece in yesterday’s Huffington Post

Ayres, now Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was the founder of the militant Weather Underground in the turbulent 1960s.

Many of my beliefs about government, politics, education, and learning were formed during those years of widespread controversy, disillusionment, and rebellion.

Ayres piece, written when two talks that he was scheduled to give at the University of Wyoming were canceled because of “security threats” and “controversy,” reinforces those beliefs I still hold today and is worth reading in full.

almost as immorally nuts as GOPers

I gave up raging over the mess that the GOP so-called “leaders” have been making of my country. It seems like too many of the people on this planet are hell-bent on helping with the demise of sense and sanity.

All of the following are excerpts from this week’s Harper’s Weekly Review, where you can find documentation and a citation for each of these discomfitting reports.

A Walmart in New Jersey asked all black people to leave.

An Ohio man told police that since January he’s been sucker-punching little children at his local Walmart for thrills.

A Kentucky man was charged with wanton endangerment after he got drunk and put his five-week-old son to bed in an oven.

Wachovia Bank was fined $50 million, and required to remit a further $110 million, for laundering funds for Mexican cocaine cartels.

A Swedish report found that the United Arab Emirates is now the fourth-largest importer of weapons in the world.

Dutch officials repudiated a claim by U.S. general and former NATO commander John Sheehan that the gayness of the Dutch army had rendered it unable to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to Ireland to apologize for the sexual abuse of children by Church leaders.

A lawyer in Oregon was planning to release the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files,” a secret archive of 1,000 documents identifying Scout molesters.

A cable network in North Carolina played two hours of porn on the Kids On Demand channel.

Then there’s the “a little nuts but not immoral” category:

Members of the Winnemem Wintu Indian tribe traveled from California to New Zealand to beg forgiveness of the salmon.

Mexican police were praying to spirits and sacrificing chickens to protect themselves from drug lords.

The Vatican was investigating the daily appearances in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, of the Virgin Mary, who is crowned with stars and floats upon a cloud.

Indian politicians wanted to ban both black magic and Lindsay Lohan.

Finally, neither nuts nor immoral, and maybe a good idea — especially since I haven’t been able to wear my removable bridge because my gums are swollen:

A Bavarian baby-food company said it was planning to market its product to adults who dislike chewing.

Makes you just want to break out in song, doesn’t it?

Stop the World I Want to Get Off


Stop the World I Want to Get Off


Stop the World I Want to Get Off

haunted houses vs global warming

In the United States, more people believe that houses can be haunted by the dead than believe that the living can cause climate change.

The above from here.

The piece cites some polls that only reinforce the general lack of critical thinking among many Americans, particularly those who also believe in evolution, and adds:

Since republicans attend church much more regularly, perhaps a more active stance by churches on climate change would increase the urgency and conviction? Well at the highest levels, this has already happened. In 2001, the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying, in part, “At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both ‘the human environment’ and the ‘natural environment’ …Passing along the problem of global climate change to future generations as a result of our delay, indecision, or self-interest would be easy. But we simply cannot leave this problem for the children of tomorrow.”

A summary of the science of climate change is available at ClimatePath.

Capitalism, Jesus, conspiracy theories, and Bohemian Grove

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you’d have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

The above is a quote from Michael Moore. Read the entire article here.

According to The Curious Capitalist:

The top 400’s share of the nation’s income went from 0.52% in 1992 to 1.31% in 2006—an even bigger increase than its share of taxes paid. When you chart the average tax rate paid by those in the top 400, the picture is nearly opposite.

Yet, even non-fundamentalist religious people continue to let the Republican Conservatives brainwash them into believing that somehow everyone else who is not them is an instrument of the devil. Despite Enron and Madoff and any number of smaller versions of these capitalist-inspired fiascos, there are people — people wealthy in neither money nor knowledge — who believe that the rich and powerful know what’s best for them.

Now, I’m a big fan on Dan Brown’s novels and just finished reading his latest, The Lost Symbol (which I read on my iphone with ereader). Being an eclectic agnostic brought up as a Catholic, I love Brown’s wild and well-documented speculations about hidden histories and mysteries. The Lost Symbol explores the influence of Masonic beliefs on our nation’s establishment (then and now).

But I know that, while Brown uses facts as his building blocks, he fits them together with the mortar of his imagination. One man’s conspiracy is another man’s frat party.

Which brings me to the stuff online about the Bohemian Grove gatherings, where smart powerful people dress up in costumes, light fires and fireworks, sing and enact a ritualistic “cremation of care”. What looks to me like a glorified frat party or boy scout fest is touted by the likes of Alex Jones as satanic ritual. If you want to see a conspiracy, you’ll figure out how to make it look like one.

I wish I had written down Dan Brown’s reflections on pagan rituals that described the drinking of blood and consumption of human flesh as an empowering and spiritual act — an act that gets translated daily into the Holy Communion of Christian churches.

Now, personally, I am not comfortable with secret societies of any kind, and the “old-boy” Bohemian Club makes me nervous, even though, as Daniel’s Free Speech Zone, describes:

For the last century, an elite group, called the “Bohemian Club,” has been gathering at the grove for a yearly retreat. The “Bohemians,” also called “Bohos” or “Grovers,” are an all-male pack of corporate, financial, military and government leaders. No women are allowed. The group has included every Republican president since Herbert Hoover. Both Bushes have been here; so have Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, and Collin Powell, as well as a horde of lesser-known Bohos. All together, some 2000 of them descend upon Sonoma County each summer in July and assemble in the depths of the dark forest to imbibe huge quantities of costly alcohol, to piss on the trees, and to let it all hang out for the duration of 16 days.

“Weaving spiders come not here,” is the club’s motto, meaning that they’re here to relax and not to negotiate business.

While not a “conspiracy theorist,” I, like Daniel, have a concern, as he expressed:

…given the context of today’s world and the role these men play in it, the form of the Cremation of Care ritual — the priests in hooded robes, the mythologem of human sacrifice — seems to symbolize the mindset of men who profit from war, chop up the forests, pollute the environment and scheme to privatize Social Security. The ritual most likely creates an fraternal atmosphere in which they can bond and set the stage for future cooperation in the exercise of evil.

That seems to be the essence of what the Bohemians bring out from the Grove and foist upon the rest of us.

I don’t believe that Jesus, if here today, would be a capitalist, a conspirator, or an “old-boy” networker. He certainly would not work on Wall Street, although he might be forced by circumstance to work at Wal-Mart.

He would be out advocating for a single payer health care system. And if he tried to run for office, he would be eaten alive by the far Right/eous. [pagan ritual reference intended]

oh boy, oh boy!!

Maureen Dowd’s column in Saturday’s NY Times calls a spade a spade (no, this is not a racial slur).

She writes:

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.


Now he’s at the center of a period of racial turbulence sparked by his ascension. Even if he and the coterie of white male advisers around him don’t choose to openly acknowledge it, this president is the ultimate civil rights figure — a black man whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a loco fringe.

For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.

Dowd’s piece gives a little history of the South’s failed efforts to fight on the wrong side of national moral issues since the Civil War.

Obama, as an educated, eloquent, and erudite mixed race black man is the redneck’s nightmare come true.

For the rest of us, he’s our last great hope for rescuing our country from the lying maws of the stupid, selfish, and snide.

news from this strange world

As reported in the latest Harper’s Weekly Review:

A woman in Tel Aviv was searching through the city dump after she bought her mother a new mattress as a gift and threw out the old one, which was stuffed with $1 million in cash.

The parents of young “trustafarians” who live in fashionable Williamsburg, New York, could no longer afford to pay rent for their adult children.

A bakery in the Spanish city of Valencia was sued when the arm of an undocumented Bolivian worker was severed by a kneading machine and put out with the garbage, and French prosecutors commenced the trial of a woman accused of killing her babies and storing their bodies in the freezer.

Johanna Ganthaler, a woman who missed the May 31 Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and killed all aboard, died in a car accident.

Farmers in the Netherlands were using pig excrement to generate electricity, and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested that painting roofs white might reflect sufficient sunlight to stave off global warming.

A Nebraska doctor said that he would offer third-term abortions.

Nurses in the Czech Republic were receiving free breast implants and liposuction as signing bonuses. “It helps to improve the morale,” explained a clinic manager, “of both our employees and our patients.”

Young girls in Zimbabwe were trading sex for food, three boys in Dorset, England, stomped a baby deer to death, a 16-year-old boy in California was running for city council, and a 14-year-old boy in Germany was hit by a meteorite.

California scientists studying guppies found that evolution can take place in as little as eight years, and scientists conducting research in Africa announced the discovery of a penis-shaped mushroom that they christened Phallus drewesii, after herpetologist Robert Drewes. “I’m utterly delighted,” said Drewes of the new species of stinkhorn fungus, which is two inches long. “The funny thing is that it is the second-smallest known mushroom in this genus and it grows sideways, almost limp.”

Citations for these and other equally disturbing news tidbits can be found on the Harper’s Weekly Review page.

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541 ataacaa ccc actttcaaag aaaaaggaga gtaagagaca acatgaccaa gaagatggtc

No, neither I nor my keyboard has gone completely haywire.

The above are the first lines of the results of geneticists’ efforts to sequence the genes of the swine flu (renamed H1N1).

I don’t understand any of that scientific mumbo jumbo. I also don’t understand why (from Harper’s Weekly):

Egypt, which has no cases of the flu, ordered all its pigs killed, especially slum pigs; police at Manshiyat Nasr slum fired tear gas and rubber bullets at rioting Coptic Christian pig farmers.

Well, I guess I do understand why. I just think it’s stupid.

Some sciences might be awfully hard for lots of people to understand, but, I swear, even more often, I find it hard to understand the people who don’t understand.

I watch my home-schooled grandson as he moves each day toward understanding more. While he already knows “where babies come from,” my daughter has been waiting for him to ask how they got there. And he finally did, the other day.

Using videos on the web and available books designed to help children understand the process of conception, gestation, and birth, my daughter is helping her son to begin to grasp the complexity of it all.

While I am unswervingly Pro Choice, I also understand the awesomeness of fetal development. And that’s why I don’t understand why those who oppose abortion don’t make a big deal of disseminating information about how babies come to be and how “sacred” (see 5th definition here) and amazing the actual, factual process is. I wonder, if young children were instilled with awe while explained the facts, would they be more likely, as teenagers, to avoid unwanted pregnancies — not out of fear of some god, but rather because they would value life more. Maybe it shouldn’t be called “sex education.” Maybe it should be called something more scientific, like “human procreation.”

C’mon, even Sarah Palin’s daughter admits that abstinence doesn’t work. She certainly has learned that from her own experience.

Knowledge and understanding can sidetrack many bad decisions, and “knowing” and “understanding” are not the same thing. If children truly were helped to understand the scientific marvel that they are as human organisms — right from the very beginning — perhaps as they mature, they would have more respect for themselves and for other living things. And then, maybe, abortions wouldn’t be necessary except in extreme cases.

Of course, I’m just speculating. What do I know? I’m just a little ol’ grandma raising hell at the keyboard and trying to understand this world that seems to be “going to hell in a handbasket.” (Hmm. Why a handbasket, I wonder.)

Some extreme things that are happening I understand and accept, some I understand but despise, and some I just don’t understand. All of the above are reflected in the following, again lifted from Harper’s Weekly Review:

Sweden recognized same-sex marriages.

A food-service industry survey found that schoolchildren would like to replace lunch ladies with robots.

Kenyan women’s organizations called for wives to boycott sex, and for prostitutes to be paid not to work, until leaders in the coalition government stop feuding.

South Korea bioengineered four fluorescent beagles

A senior Buddhist monk in Thailand named Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedhi vowed to teach gay and transgender Thai monks better manners, which would include the elimination of their pink purses, their sculpted eyebrows, and their revealingly tight robes.

Officials in New Delhi were investigating the case of Shanno Khan, an 11-year-old girl whose teacher allegedly forced her to stand in the hot sun for two hours as a punishment for not doing her homework, ignoring Khan when she promised to learn her alphabet and begged for water. The girl fainted and was hospitalized. “I never want to go to school again,” she told her mother, and died a day later.

a black cat almost

A black cat almost crossed my path yesterday as I walked along almost spring streets.

It saw me coming, took a left, trotting a path ahead and parallel to mine, looking back to see if I were still there, moving forward.

With a last look back, it skittered under a car and watched me pass.

I wrote the following a decade ago while on a weekend writing retreat.

Walking the Stone Labyrinth

Sometimes life
like a labyrinth,
leads you where you have to go.

You think you make choices–
this man or that,
some child or not.

You set your alarm,
choose your shoes,
gather friends for tea,
count your changes.

Until one day a corner comes,
slipping you a glimpse
of those strings of stones
shaping your shadows edge.

And sometimes, perhaps,
on a perfect day,
under a perfect sky,
a perfect black cat
with eyes like glowing stones
races across your path
and waits in the early ferns
for you to cross hers.

it’s not just that 11:11 thing again

Well, actually, it is that 11:11 thing again, with but an added twist.

According to the 2012 Blog,

..What to make of the fact that the winter solstice in 2012 will occur at 11:11 universal time? It is of course this event that is so deeply linked with the Mayan calendar and its ending – or, if you are a fan of “The X Files”, the date of the alien invasion.

And we all know what December 21, 2012 is, right?

And as far as 11:11 is concerned, this account really spooks me.

I guess I could lie and say I’m posting this at 11:11, but it’s more like 2 a.m.