Archives for the month of: March, 2013

I spent the second day of the Conclave in a cloud of determination bent on opposing Cardinal Dolan’s wishes that all cooperate with the Conclave. I was to involved with it to not be part of it. So I headed into the city by train first stopping at my daughter Sharon’s apartment in Washington Heights. The rain was torrential. While there I was delighted to find several huge boxes which held my grand children’s new beds. The boxes were perfect for writing my wishes about the Conclave and my first problem was solved. Leaving the apartment 20 minutes later I headed down by subway to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to case the place out. When I arrived I found the press swarming as they were reporting about the Conclave from the steps of the Cathedral. The rain was relentless. I left deciding to wait until the press left determined to return in the evening. Returning to Washington Heights I waited the day playing with my grandchildren. Then around 6:30 I set out again taking my unwieldy boxes on the Subway. First making a prayer of thankfulness for the rain had stopped and my final problem was solved.

Not surprisingly I found myself in a pub around the corner from St. Patrick’s fortifying myself with dinner for the long night. While there I struck up a conversation with an elderly black women who was seated alone next to me. This turned into a typical occupy conversation. First I talked about my mission and mass incarceration. Then she told me she had only slept for one hour, had just arrived from Virginia for a one day ministerial conference and then divulged several deeply personal childhood traumas. One included this story. “The night of the worst racial rioting in Mississippi, my father gathered all of his children in the car and he just drove. He drove until they were hungry and tired and in the middle of he had no idea where but it was away from the rioting. He stopped in front of a house knocked on the door and explained his plight. A white women welcomed them in and gave them dinner, filled several large boxes with food and sent them on their way.” Minister Cornelia told me I reminded her of this woman. We ended the evening with a very long embrace and her prayers for my mission and the healing of my brokenness. Taking my large boxes off I went to make my signs and stand in front of St. Patricks. The signs read:

Occupy Catholics

Conclave wishes

No sexism

no racism

no pedophilia

Embrace the poor and



To the Cardinals

Cooperate with what?

More of the same?

I would say that about one hundred people passed St. Pat’s that night. All stopped to read the sign. No one said a word. It was like a silent prayer. Around midnight a man came and took pictures of the sign propped up against the huge doors of the Cathedral. He never said a word. When he left, the place was deserted so I left my sign on the closed doors and went home.


As part of the Catholic Conversations series on the public radio station WNYC, Occupy Catholics organizer Susan Wilcox discusses the views of American sisters on the papal transition:

Sr. Susan Wilcox, 54, is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph/Brentwood. The order, founded in France in 1650, “seeks to promote justice, to live lives of non-violence and to respond to the needs of our time.” She entered religious life in 1999, at the age of 40. She currently teaches at St. Joseph’s College in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

“There is a sense that women in Church are feeling that there’s no place for them, that they are second class status in the Church. It’s a structural problem that needs to be addressed. But ultimately, whatever decisions are made within the structure of the Church, it doesn’t relieve any of us of our own baptismal call to live the Gospel of Jesus. When things get big, that’s what we fall back on. It’s our own responsibility.”

Listen to the show here.

Nathan Schneider in Religion Dispatches:

The pope is not the church.

It’s going to be very tempting to forget this fact over the next few days. The pundits, Catholic and otherwise, have been rapt in the suspense of awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis. We heard a lot of impossible hopes for who the next pope would be, along with the less thrilling reality of the actual candidates. But Catholics, along with the masses who have been suddenly and momentarily interested in Catholic affairs, should remember that the papacy is not to be confused with the church itself. At no time should this have been more clear than those strange and special few days when the Catholic Church was a people—an assembly, a community, a mystical body—without a pope.

Katherine S. Newman in The New York Times:

Debates over the fairness of the tax code are as old as the federal income tax itself. A cornerstone of the tax — established a century ago, by the 16th Amendment — has been the principle that those who make more should pay more, while lower tax rates help the poor to support their families and depend less on government benefits.

That social compact shifted into high gear during the Nixon administration, which tried to incentivize work by rewarding low-income households with a tax break that became the nation’s most successful antipoverty tool ever: the earned-income tax credit. Politicians of both parties have embraced the credit, making it more progressive three times since it was enacted in 1975.

While the federal government has largely stuck by the principle of progressive taxation, the states have gone their own ways: tax policy is particularly regressive in the South and West, and more progressive in the Northeast and Midwest. When it comes to state and local taxation, we are not one nation under God. In 2008, the difference between a working mother in Mississippi and one in Vermont — each with two dependent children, poverty-level wages and identical spending patterns — was $2,300.