Please read the About page to learn the history
of this site. The
Calendar lists events of interest to Catholics which many of us only
hear about after the fact. I have also spent much time on the
Links page, to help you explore the many sites
of interest to progressive Catholics. The Opinion
page contains article and letters written by myself and others, and this
home page has items of current interest. Please share with me any
Thanks, John Kennington
2011 Epiphany Group lecture will be by Dr. Robin Meyers,
senior minister at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in
Oklahoma City and professor of rhetoric in the Philosophy
Department at Oklahoma City University. Meyers is the author of
five books, most recently Saving Jesus from the Church.
His topic will be Galilean
Sage or Supernatural Savior (Or How I Became a Heretic With Help
Sunday, March 27, 2011, 2:00 PM at
the Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St, Tulsa, OK.
Lecture is FREE and open to the public
the Epiphany Group web site for more information
May 23, 2010 Pax Christi of Eastern Oklahoma sponsored the "Tulsa
Interfaith Rally for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons", in support of the
U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. It was held on
the Boston Ave. pedestrian bridge in downtown Tulsa.
We followed this up with a viewing of the
film Nuclear Tipping
June 15, 2010 at the Church of the Madalene,
Fr. Roy Bourgeois in Tulsa
Roy Bourgeois, Maryknoll priest, human rights activist, & outspoken
advocate for women's ordination, was in Tulsa
on May 17, 2009 as the annual
Epiphany Group lecture. Roy has been fighting for two
decades to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., which trains Latin American soldiers, many of whom
have committed human rights abuses in their home countries. In
recent years, he has been one of the few priests willing to speak
publicly about women's ordination, and in 2008 took part in the
ordination of a woman.
Fr. Roy spoke about "A New Model of Being
Church", describing the injustice of the Church preventing
women from being ordained.
for more info and photos from his talk.
May , 2009
Helen Prejean in Tulsa
Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead
Man Walking, was in Tulsa on May 17, 2009 as the annual Epiphany
for more info and photos from her talk.
John Dear in Tulsa
Fr. John Dear was in Tulsa on Oct. 23,
2008 as part of his book tour to publicize his new autobiography,
A Persistent Peace, published in September.
Visit my Pax
Christi page for photos and info on John's visit to Tulsa. And
click here for my update on
John's recent sentencing.
Ancient Image of Mary in
Hidden by Church
During my visit to
Rome in March, 2008 I stopped at the Baptistry of St. John Lateran to
look for a particular image of Mary wearing the pallium I had seen
referenced in an old book. I did locate it, but was shocked to find it
was the central image of an apse mosaic, and even more shocked to see
how it was obscured from view by a later remodeling.
Click here for the full story.
9/11 and St. Francis' Reaction To It.”
an international scholar on St. Francis and author of the book
Francis and Islam was in Tulsa Saturday, June 14 to present a
lecture, “A Medieval 9/11 and St. Francis' Reaction To It.”
His visit was cosponsored by Pax Christi of Eastern Oklahoma, the
Catholic peace movement, and the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Dr.
Hoeberichts’ lecture was held in the Youth Room at the Tulsa Islamic
Irvington in Tulsa, at 6:30 p.m.
A potluck dinner and
optional tour of the center will followed at 7:30 p.m. Click
here for more information
Fr. Tom Doyle in Tulsa
100 people attended the Epiphany Group's annual lecture on April 20,
2008 featuring Fr.
Tom Doyle (who violated Diocesan airspace to fly into Tulsa! We were at
a public library because Fr. Doyle had been denied permission to speak
in the Diocese by the Bishop. See below for background on the Bishop's
It was a superb talk, from someone who
was a true insider of the hierarchy for many years and can speak with
authority on the abuse crisis, and the crisis in the hierarchy. I did
tape the talk, and now have DVDs available for those who want to hear it
again or could not attend that weekend. They can ordered through the
Epiphany Group web
page for any donation you would like to make (a dollar will cover
the 2 stamps needed to mail it out) or I will give them out free.
Everyone needs to hear what he had to say.
Here is a brief background on Doyle,
with just one point from his talk, and a very interesting tidbit I came
across that really angered me.
In the early 1980s Doyle served at the
Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. as the staff canon lawyer, and in
1986 became an Air Force chaplain. As you know, during his embassy time
he worked on the first abuse case, from Louisiana, that become public
and put together a manual for the Bishop's Conference warning them about
the church's looming sexual abuse crisis and providing information on
how to respond to these cases. The Bishops buried the report, literally
saying they knew all they need to know. During his talk, Doyle said he
knew the Bishops are lying when they say they did not realize the extent of
the crisis, since he had personally told several of them the full story
back in the 1980s. They DID know. Regrettably, rather than
embrace Doyle, the hierarchy has tried to silence him, as we saw in
Tulsa with his being denied permission to speak.
In 2004, as an Air Force major
stationed in Germany, he was removed from his job as a chaplain by
Military Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, over what were essentially trumped up
pastoral issues. The real reason was retaliation. Especially disturbing
was the timing, less than one year before Fr. Doyle could retire from
the military. O’Brien stated he could not wait and just let him retire
because - and this is a quote - “I can't abdicate my pastoral
responsibility.” When I read that statement I exploded – what
about his and other bishops’ pastoral responsibility to the thousands of
abuse victims? Talk about screwed up priorities! And this is someone the
Diocese recently brought to Tulsa for the Newman Center fund raising dinner! If I had known that then I would have been
picketing his appearance.
So be sure to go to
I'll send you a DVD of his talk.
There are times to be obedient, but also
times to stand up for what is right. Without lay Catholics (and some
priests) having been technically “disobedient” we would still have many
more predator priests raping our children. We in the Epiphany Group have
recently been “disobedient” by ignoring the Bishop denying permission
for Tom Doyle to speak in the Diocese.
Click here to read the complete editorial
Hidden Cost of War Photo Exhibit at Bishop Kelly,
Pax Christi Eastern Oklahoma is presenting
a photo exhibit, "Hidden Costs of War", Thursday, May 8, and
Friday, May 9, 2008, 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Bishop Kelley High School
Library/Media Center. The exhibit features photographs of Iraqi children
and their families by photojournalist Takashi Morizumi. For more info,
see the Pax Christi web page.
I recently had a letter published in the EOC
on the use of Latin in the Mass, and had a response from Msgr. Brankin
that you will want to read. Finally, last year I had a column
published in the EOC about my experiences with the Hiroshima Exhibit.
You can read these items on the Opinion Page.
We are now in another election season, and
concerned with all social justice issues affecting human life and
dignity, and not just the "sex issues",
will be facing the same difficult choices.
We will also likely be seeing copies of the politically motivated
Catholic Answer voting guide. I will have much more information on
this as the election nears.
Here are some voting guides from respected
Catholic sources to provide some guidance on how to vote:
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: U.S. Elections 2008: Loving our
neighbor in a shrinking world
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas: Election 2008: A Practical Resource
Catholics United Voter Guides
USCCB Faithful Citizenship Resources
Be sure to scroll down for information
from the 2004 and 2006 elections which is still relevant today.
Canon Lawyer Fr. Tom Doyle Denied Permission to Speak in the Diocese
The Epiphany Group
has invited Fr. Tom Doyle, the Canon Lawyer who has spoken out about the
sexual abuse crisis, to speak in Tulsa. While attempting to find a
location, we asked Bishop Slattery for permission to use a Diocesan
facility. His response was a resounding no:
Dear Mr. Kennington:
In response to your letter of November 26,
2007, I wish to inform you that the Epiphany Group may not use any
diocesan facility as a venue for speakers. Further, Fr. Tom Doyle, OP,
does not have my permission to speak in this diocese.
With my kindest regards, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery Bishop of Tulsa
Fr. Doyle will be speaking in Tulsa on April 20th at 2:00 p.m. at the
Hardesty Regional Library.
Bishop Slattery Calls Immigration Law Immoral
While many of us may sometimes
disagree with Bishop Slattery, he deserves our support and thanks for
his position on immigration reform. His position made the front page of
Tulsa World and triggered responses from around the state, including
many angry letters to the EOC from Catholics.
Bishop Slattery has also released his
second Pastoral Letter,
“The Suffering Faces of the Poor Are the Suffering Face of Christ."
Pledge of Resistance
Susan Murphy has passed on the
pledge of resistance to H.B.
1804 which was signed by Archbishop Beltran, and I want to pass it
on others. I would encourage everyone to sign this letter, and perhaps
take it to church and have others also sign it and then send it on to
the Governor. It is still not to late to do this.
Also be sure to read Marilyn Duck's
editor's note from the EOC on immigration facts.
The Firing of the Pastoral Studies Institute's Director
In June & July
2007 I sent letters to every Catholic I know to inform them of a very
disturbing development, the arbitrary firing of the Pastoral Studies
Institute's (PSI) director, Monica Skrzypczak and the future of the PSI.
There was universal agreement Monica had done an outstanding job in her
various positions for the Diocese, and built the PSI into the valuable
resource it used to be. Here the facts:
Monica sent an
email to her PSI instructors (which included myself) on May 30
stating that she had been asked to hold off scheduling any PSI
classes for Fall 2007, because the Diocese was considering using
some portion of the PSI budget to fund the new Liturgical Institute.
Just a few weeks earlier she had written us asking us for proposals
for classes for the Fall, so she felt she needed to inform us of
fired from her job with the Diocese on June 5th and escorted from
The bottom line is the Bishop personally fired her for disclosing plans
to essentially replace the PSI with the new Liturgical Institute.
Click here to read my complete letter
Biased Election Guides Again Distributed in
the days before the 2006 election, some parishes were distributing the
politically motivated Catholic Answer voting guide. In response, I
created this flyer and handed it out with an alternate voting guide,
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
Following is the text from that flyer.
Click here for a PDF version.
With numerous voting
guides for Catholics in circulation, and critical moral issues at the
forefront in many state and national races, many Catholics are wondering
where to find the most reliable guidance on how best to cast their vote.
a document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the best and
most complete guide for Catholics concerned about voting and moral
issues. See reverse for this excellent guide.
widely distributed Catholic voting guides contain only partially
accurate, incomplete, reflections of Catholic teaching as it affects
voting. For example, the
"Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics"
published by Catholic Answers lists only five "non-negotiable" issues -
abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and
same-sex unions - and urges Catholics to reject any candidate for any
office who endorses or seeks to legalize any of those practices. But the
Catholic Church doesn't teach us to shut off our conscience this way.
A Catholic who has an awareness of the life of Christ and a
commitment to the teachings of the church cannot single out
five nonnegotiable issues. The implication is that other
sins ARE negotiable. When Christ was asked what is the
greatest commandment, he did not single out any issue but
said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul and with all your mind" and "Love your
neighbor as you love yourself."
Catholic Answers guide is not adequate and is inconsistent with the
teaching of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Vatican, and
the Catholic Church. It reduces Catholic teaching to a few issues
at election time and undermines the Christian responsibility for the
common good. It tends to cut off debate about many urgent moral and
social issues at a time when we need to be finding effective ways to
deal with them.
lists 18 issues important to Catholics and rejects voting based on
The Bishops say it is very difficult for a Catholic to subscribe to the
complete philosophies of either the far left or far right. Both have
agenda items that are not in keeping with a well-developed Christian
A good alternative is
the guide “Voting
for the Common Good”
which is based on the full teaching
and is the result of two years of consultation with theologians,
priests, women religious, and Catholic lay leaders from all corners of
our nation. It is published by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
The Alliance is committed to promoting a culture of life and concern for
the common good, as articulated by the Vatican’s
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Example, Another Issue to Consider...
Many Catholics defend our country’s use of “alternative” or
“coercive” interrogation, which are simply euphemisms for
torture. After World War II Japanese who used water boarding
on Allied POWs were convicted of war crimes and put to
death. This is a technique that is now officially sanctioned
by Congress. And do not forget that Jesus was a victim of
“stress position” torture before he was killed. These and
other sins - and these are surely sins - are being
perpetrated in our name by our country. Is this not an issue
Catholics should consider when voting?
Even though the 2004 election is now
history, we want to continue to encourage Catholics to follow the
teaching of our Catholic Bishops in their publication
"Faithful Citizenship" - in contrast to the biased
"Voting Guide For Serious Catholics", which was published by
an outside group and distributed to many around the Diocese. We should
also all become familiar with the Bishop's teachings on
social justice. Many Catholics may find it surprising what their
"The Challenge of Faithful Citizenship - A Catholic Call To Political
Responsibility", is an excellent guide published by the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), discussing the Church's social
doctrines and how to translate them into political action.
In this guide, the Bishops specifically do NOT rank
They encourage us to measure
"all candidates, policies, parties and platforms by how they protect or
undermine the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, whether
they protect the poor and vulnerable and advance the common good."
a Newspaper Ad? Just prior to the 2004 election we placed an ad in
local papers based on an ad that Pax Christi, the national Catholic
Peace movement, had placed in Catholic and secular papers around the
country. This ad was paid for by individual concerned Catholics from
around Oklahoma. We want to spread the message of the Bishops.
Click here to view the ad
Most of us continue to feel that we need a change in Washington.
In fact, many Catholics in Oklahoma agree with the Bishops - and
disagree with the actions of the Bush administration. Unfortunately some
of these Catholics are afraid to speak out for fear of being ostracized
by their more conservative friends and being told they are going to Hell
if they voted for John Kerry. We want to give encouragement to those
Catholics, and let them know they are not alone.
We hope everyone will prayerfully consider all the
issues as presented by our Bishops. After you have done so, if you still
support the current administration, we can certainly respect that. We
hope you can accept the fact that other faithful Catholics may disagree.
Our concerns go beyond the election, and we hope to encourage all people
- Catholics, other Christians and non-Christians, to be concerned with
all the social justice issues affecting human life and dignity.
Why this Web Site?
This is a new site, to provide Oklahoma Catholics with a source of
information about all life issues, and links to resources and
email us your suggestions for what you would like to see on
Be sure to visit the Opinion
for a selection of writings by local and national authors
Following are some articles by Bishops and Cardinals, leaders of our
policies are in opposition to a culture of life
an editorial by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
...How are Catholics to deal
with this split between rhetoric and reality? Ours must be a prophetic
voice. We must call on Bush to account for a deeply troubling record.
And we must also challenge Democrats to embrace the entire culture of
life, not just a selective economic and social agenda. The sad reality
of American political life is that no candidate or party embraces and
advances a "culture of life" in the fullest sense of the term...Yet
responsible citizenship calls us to cast our vote Nov. 2. How do we
choose amongst imperfect candidates? We must each consult our conscience
and consider the entirety of church teaching. And, as the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops' voter guide, Faithful Citizenship,
encourages, we should measure "all candidates, policies, parties and
platforms by how they protect or undermine the life, dignity, and rights
of the human person, whether they protect the poor and vulnerable and
advance the common good." What we will not do is vote for a candidate
just because he uses words that we like to hear; remembering, as
scripture tells us, that we must be "doers of the Word and not hearers
Click here to read the complete editorial
opposes death penalty for terrorists
(October 22, 2004) – Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick has urged House and
Senate conferees working on legislation concerning intelligence reform
and 9/11 recommendations to report out a final bill without the
expansion of the death penalty for terrorists .... "Based on our
Catholic teaching, however, we oppose expanding the death penalty even
for terrorists," the Cardinal continued. "As you know, the bishops of
the United States oppose the use of the death penalty in any instance.
Catholic teaching on capital punishment is clear: If bloodless means are
sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect
public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit
itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete
conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity
of the human person (Catechism of the Catholic Church)."
Prophetic Model of Church
By Bishop Gabino Zavala, President of Pax Christi USA
The world in which we live today
certainly does not reflect God's design for the universe or God's hope
that people and creation would live in peace and harmony—that all would
enjoy the dignity that ought to be accorded the children of the Creator
and that all would have fullness of life. Far from this ideal is the
tendency toward “empire-building,” with our own country taking the lead
in modeling this. As the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke to the
inhumanity of the “Empire” and called God's people to a new vision and
hope for humanity, so must the Church today. Reading the signs of our
times, we see too many people in our midst and in our world that suffer
from oppression and all forms of injustice. We see violence and
destruction that plagues our neighborhoods, society, nation and
world—and characterizes relationships. The majority of persons who
populate our world lack those basic goods which would enable them to
live with dignity and respect. We cannot escape these realities along
with the other “eyesores” that mark our era...
Holy Communion Must
Not Be Used As A Weapon
John F. Kinney,
Bishop of Saint Cloud
(May 27, 2004) ... It has been
suggested ... that bishops refuse to offer Communion to pro-choice
politicians, or to legislators who favor same-sex marriage, or cloning,
or stem cell research, or capital punishment, or the war in Iraq, or . .
. the list seems to grow longer every day. It has also been suggested
that Catholics who vote for politicians who hold certain views on these
issues should not present themselves for Communion ... You may be
wondering about my position on the question ... I want you to know that
I refuse to allow the Eucharistic liturgy to become politicized. What I
mean is that I will not allow Holy Communion to be used as a weapon in
ongoing political and ideological battles. For this reason, it is not my
intention to reject anyone who comes forward in a respectful manner to
receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
At the same time, I uphold Church law
which states that a Catholic who is conscious of grave sin may not
receive Communion without previous sacramental confession... The Church
recognizes that it is for each individual to examine his or her own
conscience in this regard, and I assume that those who come forward to
receive the Body and Blood of Christ have done so and honestly believe
they are not in a state of grave sin. I want to emphasize that no human
is capable of judging someone else’s relationship with God. While I
admire efforts to preserve the integrity of Holy Communion, I caution
against allowing the Communion procession to become an occasion for
pointing out the supposed sins of others.
I return to the prayer with which I
began. Note that it says, “Oh Lord, I am not worthy.” It does not say,
“Oh Lord, my neighbor is not worthy.”
Click here to read Bishop Kinney's complete comments
criteria for voting
(October 28, 2004) Dear brothers and
sisters in Christ... Next week, each of us will perform a very sacred
civic duty — we will exercise the right to vote for the leaders of our
country. In preparation for this national election, the Administrative
Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document
entitled, “Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political
Responsibility.” In it, the bishops note, “One of our greatest blessings
in the United States is our right and responsibility to participate in
civic life. Everyone can and should participate. Even those who cannot
vote have the right to have their voices heard on issues that affect
After months of reading about and
listening to the candidates — and yes, being inundated with ads and
sound bites — I am ready to cast my vote! “Faithful Citizenship” lists
some very important questions that helped me to prepare to enter the
• How can we build not only a safer
world, but a more just, secure, peaceful and respectful world?
• How will we protect the weakest in our midst, and how can we keep our
nation from turning to violence to solve difficult problems — abortion
to deal with difficult pregnancies, capital punishment to combat crime,
euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with age and sickness, and war
to address international disputes?
• How will we address the tragedy of 30,000 children dying in our world
daily because of hunger and disease?
• How can our nation help parents raise their children with respect for
life, sound moral values, a sense of hope and an ethic of stewardship
• How will we address the growing number of people without health care?
• How will our society combat continuing prejudice and heal the wounds
of racism, religious bigotry and other forms of discrimination?
• How will our nation pursue the values of justice and peace in our
• How can we work together in our society to overcome poverty, pursue
the common good, care for our creation and overcome injustice?
• When should our nation use, or avoid the use of, military force?
• How can we join with other nations to lead our world to greater
respect for human life and dignity, religious freedom, democracy,
economic justice and care for God’s creation?
I urge you to reflect on these
questions and, come Tuesday, Nov. 2, to exercise your right to vote.
Prayer for Leadership
Prayer to Mary, Patroness of Our Country