Home    About    Local Groups    Calendar   Opinion   Links


Welcome! 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 feedback! Thanks, John Kennington DVDs

Breaking News

The 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 from Jesus)

 

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
 

See the Epiphany Group web site for more information

 

 

John's Catholic E-mail List

Please sign up for my E-mail list, for occasional messages of interest to progressive Catholics in Oklahoma (or anywhere.)


Name:

E-Mail:

Parish/City
(optional):

 

May 2010
On 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 Point on June 15, 2010 at the Church of the Madalene,

 

March, 2010

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.

Click here for more info and photos from his talk. 

May , 2009

Sr. Helen Prejean in Tulsa

Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, was in Tulsa on May 17, 2009 as the annual Epiphany Group speaker.

Click here for more info and photos from her talk.

 


Fr. 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 Priestly Vestments 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.
 


“A Medieval 9/11 and St. Francis' Reaction To It.”

Jan Hoeberichts, 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 Center, 4630 S. 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

 
April, 2008

Fr. Tom Doyle in Tulsa

Over 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 denial.)

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 www.epiphanygroup.org and I'll send you a DVD of his talk.


Essay on Obedience
John Kennington

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, May 8-9

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.


EOC Letters/Articles

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.

 
February, 2008

Election 2008

We are now in another election season, and we Catholics 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.

January, 2008

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.

November, 2007

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 the 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.

July, 2007


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 this development.
  • Monica was fired from her job with the Diocese on June 5th and escorted from the premises.

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

 
November, 2006

Biased Election Guides Again Distributed in 2006 Election


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, from 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. "Faithful Citizenship”, 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.

Other 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."

The 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.

In contrast “Faithful Citizenship” lists 18 issues important to Catholics and rejects voting based on litmus tests. 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 conscience.

A good alternative is the guide “Voting for the Common Good” which is based on the full teaching of “Faithful Citizenship” 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 (www.thecatholicalliance.org). 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.

 For 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?

 

November, 2004

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 church teaches.

 

"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 the issues. 

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."

 

 

Why 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 organizations.

Please email us your suggestions for what you would like to see on this site.

Be sure to visit the Opinion Page for a selection of writings by local and national authors


Following are some articles by Bishops and Cardinals, leaders of our Church

President's 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 only." Click here to read the complete editorial


Cardinal McCarrick opposes death penalty for terrorists

WASHINGTON (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)." click here for more


Cultivating a 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...  click here for more


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


Bishop Kinney's 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 their communities.”

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 voting booth:

• 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 and responsibility?
• 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 conflicted world?
• 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.


Some Prayers

Prayer for Leadership

Prayer to Mary, Patroness of Our Country