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Fear Is Expected - Friday, November 29, 2013

Expected Fear in Haunted House

My wife, Pat, is back in the hospital. She was doing so well in her recovery from hip surgery but this morning when her wound started bleeding the doctor was called and came to the hospital for immediate surgery. It was his fear of infection that drove him back to the hospital. He thinks he got everything fixed and cleaned this time but she remains in the hospital till at least Monday.

Life is like that at times, with unexpected setbacks. However, at times there are unexpected forward plays. It seems all we can do is ride the present, remember and learn from the past and look for a bright future. When everything seems smooth, like with my wife’s recovery, something may go right or it may not. But even setback can be forward plays if we learn from then and move on.

Winter is really here and all I can do is take care my worms in the worm box downstairs, sift some soil into casting, insulate the house and move on. I moved my indoor tomato plants and fluorescent lights from the cold, non insulated sun room to the basement which is warmer. They are solid but fruitless. I do not hope for tomatoes but just they stay alive till next spring when I can plant them outside.

My son and his family were here for Thanksgiving. After my grandsons went shopping with their mother, very early this morning, came back and had some sleep, I asked both of my teenage grandsons for time to talk. They were accommodating and after some small talk they went back to video games they had purchased this morning or had some food before they had to leave for Madison to visit with their other grandparents and many cousins. My asking to talk with them was a little unexpected since most often their mother tells me what they are doing in school, sports and life.

The news today was about the great rush to shop Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The national news commentator reported that people were passionately shopping for stuff like this the last time they could do so. He pointed out how the low prices quite often were more hype than reality and how many products could have been purchase for same amount or less at other sales during the year and online. According to an ‘expert’ they consulted the news station said that a lot of the mad rush to shop was motivated by fear that someone else would get a deal that you did not.

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day in the year because people expect great savings on that day. Expectations are not often based on reality but twined with fear are very strong. The unexpected is never expected so it may catch us off guard. Fear is expected and sells.


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Teach In - Thursday, November 28, 2013

This Thanksgiving Day again reminds me that it is harder for a person stuffed with food to think, pray and act than one who is fasting from food. Too much turkey, stuffing and grape leaves is not good for the digestion system or health.

Our son and his family were here today. My son mostly slept and the grandchildren, outside of dinner time, were busy watching football on TV (like me) or with my wife and daughter-in-law playing card games. My grand children’s dog seem to be the only normal one today, checking out a comfortable chair or couch to rest on or food left around to eat.

I showed my family a group pictures I took on our family trip to Disney World last October. Although everyone says how much fun the trip was there is not much interest is viewing the pictures, although I was able to get them on the TV screen. Memories of the immediate past do not mean as much as anticipation of the near future. When I am not so full I enjoy the present moment the best.

Next week some of us will be having a teach-in event in the Alumni Memorial Union at Marquette. We hope to have flyers and information for students and faculty about military training on a Catholic University campus. In discussing this event this event a friend from the Catholic Worker house in Milwaukee and I discussed what makes Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit university, different from any other college or university in the area. Thinking about this I can only find one major differences at Marquette. It is the only college or university in the five country metro area to host military training (ROTC) on campus. In fact Marquette hosts for the Department of Defense a School of the Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. Students from the five county areas that wish to pursue officer training in the military must attend Marquette’s Golden Eagle battalion for classes and training in warfare and killing without conscience.

Perhaps we can engage some students and faculty in dialog and debate about military training at a Catholic university and what we should do, except keep silent, about it. I will make sure not to eat anything before our Teach In.


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War At Home - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

War At Home

Last weekend thousand gathered at Fort Benning in the annual SOAWatch to close the military training program for Latin America at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Forty or fifty of those had traveled there from the Milwaukee area. Yet when we have a protest to close the military training program for the region at our Catholic University we would be more than blessed to have 50 persons.

Many want to stop military training, teaching a person to kill without conscience, at a military base in Fort Benning, Ga. but few would stop this same military training at our local school, Marquette University. This phenomenon is true on many issues. Churches sent missionaries to poor countries while people go without shelter and food in our cities, like in North Central Milwaukee.

The violence, the poverty and racism on the streets of Milwaukee continues to increase. People call for incarceration and punishment but few ask why. Some help by giving money or food, especially in this season, but few are willing to take a risk that will mean structural change in our institutions that would mean change in how we deal with people in our cities.

Someone asked me the other day what was the difference between Marquette University and other colleges and universities in the area. I thought hard but could only respond saying Marquette University was the only college or university in the five country area to host military training on campus for the Department of Defense.

Many Catholics praise the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for his position on making the main mission of the Church to aid the needy and marginalized. Few say anything when a local Catholic Church, here at home, takes over a million dollars gathered from closing a Church in the poorest and most segregated neighborhood and putting it into an “endowment for future” over using it to provides beds for children to sleep on and refrigerators and stoves for people to store and prepare healthy food.

Why do the Works of War predominate over the Works of Mercy? The answer, my friend, I fear is money. War, violence and killing make money while providing shelter, health care and comfort to poor and marginalized takes money. Waging war comes with major suffering and lost to soldiers and civilians in war zone. To most Americans it is just more violence in a foreign country and without a personal loss has little effect on them. They praise our soldiers yet continue to send them off to “kill or be killed” in endless wars.

In a cartoon many years ago the character of Pogo says: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The War starts and ends here at Home.


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Eat Healthy, Speak Wisely & Leave the Shopping - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It is two days before Thanksgiving and I went shopping for food the last time before this holiday, I hope. Tonight my wife is shopping via the internet for Christmas gifts. Since I cook most of the meals I can understand why I should shop for the food. But the very consuming work of Christmas gift shopping is something that leaves me cold and I am glad my wife, Pat, likes doing it. With her recent hip replacement surgery she has more time to shop but with online shopping she does not need to submit her new hip to lots of standing.

For me the computer and internet is a place to read and write not shop. However, there is no substitute for person to person conversation. A Catholic Worker friend came over tonight and we had a conversation about peace making and stopping the violence and killing that Marquette University, a Jesuit Catholic school, teaches. We both discussed of what distinguishes Marquette University from any other public university. What does it mean to teach Gospel values when you teach values, like killing without conscience, contrary to Gospel values, due to money it brings in?

We both are seeking nonviolent actions we can take to communicate our message that Marquette should stop teaching killing; but it seems the only weapons we have these days are our words, spoken and written. Words are powerful but as St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the religious order that founded Marquette, said: “Love is best expressed in deeds over words.” But sometimes words are all we got.

Eating healthy, speaking wisely and leaving the shopping to others may be good advice for me this season.


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Ignore or Misrepresent the Facts - Monday, November 25, 2013

Three young men deported
to Haiti by Executive orders

Last year we wrote three essays on Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee. We tried our best to make the essays historical, but like all recent history, it has a point of view. A few persons responded positively to the essays but most ignored them. One group of Catholics for Peace and Justice censors a link to the essays from its online newsletter. However, no one denied any facts in the essays.

Now over a year later more facts and information have come to light and I need to rewrite the essays. To verify the new information I will write to persons who provided me the information for the first essays as well as those who ignored the first essays but are involved in the history. I expect lots of ‘ignores’ but that is just the name of the game when someone is seeking a truth people do not want to hear or talk about.

I really enjoy studying history and researching events and issues. However, as I said many times before, many Americans are not too interested in learning from history or learning facts that make them uncomfortable.

A good example was in the news today. President Obama was giving a speech on immigration today in the Bay area in California. Someone from the crowd present shouted out about the deportation of immigrants and asked him to stop it or slow it down. He responded that congress was to blame for the high deportation rate and there was nothing he can do. “In fact, even as Obama expresses sympathy for law-abiding undocumented people, his administration has deported 2 million immigrants – more than President George W. Bush did in eight years” ( Christian Science Monitor, November 25, 2013) Yes, he cannot provide a “path to civilization” law but he can, by executive order, slow down the rapid rate of deportations.

When I was in Haiti after the earthquake I met with a number of young men, who had minor run-ins with the US law enforcement and were immediately deported to Haiti. Many of them were in the United States from an early age and had family and roots in the USA. The president did slow down the deportations for a few months after the earthquake but quickly resumed them. There was no trial or appeals given them, just put on a plane once a month and sent to Haiti with nothing, many of them were unable to speak the Creole language of Haitian people.

The president dismissed the young man by misrepresenting the law on immigration and the facts of what he can do or not do. This seems to be the new standard of American truth telling, “Ignore and/or misrepresent the facts.”


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Discirnment of Spirits - Sunday, November 24, 2013

“untitled” by Peter Graf

Winter, sadly, is here in force with a temperature of 11 degrees this morning. I say sadly, because cold weather and dark days leave me feeling a little low. But sad is okay as long as I am at peace inside Joy is better but again without peace inside joy is not so good The other night at a meeting getting angry when I saw the poor were being treated was okay but getting frustrated, losing my cool and inner peace was not good.

St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits, gave all of us a lesson in discernment of spirits in his book the “Spiritual Exercises”. Being aware of how you feel is a big part of his discernment of spirits. To do this, be aware, one must take time out for an examination of consciousness, what brought me peace and what brought me anxiety in my life today. St. Ignatius felt strong about this Examine and held it out to his followers as the most important part of their day.

Our friend Father Jerry Zawada was here last night and, as usual when he stays here, he stays in the room that was our son Peter’s room the last four years of his life. Jerry did not know Peter but, from us, knows about his suffering and death. When I got up this morning Jerry was already up and had made the coffee. He has suffered nightmares recently that kept him awake. This morning he told me he slept well last night but had a dream this morning where he felt the overwhelming loving embrace of God when a person dies. In this dream he felt Peter’s presence in God’s loving embrace and Peter communicating to us how greatly he is loved and with us in our struggles. In his dream, no matter what we do, when we die we are in the loving presence of God. It was a very comforting thought and I told him to tell Pat about it. He did and she cried.

I have never cried in over three year’s since Peter’s tragic death and still cannot. But I have felt his presence in my life and Jerry’s dream last night confirmed my feelings. Yes I am sad about what is going on around me. But with Peter’s presence and awareness and discernment of the spirit within me I can handle any cold, snow or sadness thrown my way


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Where is the Humor? - Saturday, November 23, 2013

“Remember the ‘good old days’
of concern for true health care

Tonight I went looking for a good laugh to put on this posting. I looked at my friend’s emails who usually sends out humorous ones but found none. I did read a serious article tonight that might have been laughable if it was not so sad. It is called The Obamacare Disaster and the Poison of Party. It tells how “Obamacare is a mess largely because it builds a revamped healthcare system around the retrenched and extended power of insurance companies—setting back prospects for real healthcare reform for a decade or more.” Now this might not be funny to most but for people who have been saying this since 2009 it is some kind of poetic justice. Not so funny, I guess!

How about the picture below which shows how even Squirrels know the difference between GMO Corn and Organic Corn. Give me a break if you do not find this picture a little bit funny. Where is the humor when you need it?


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Kenneth Is My Friend - Friday, November 22, 2013

“War Is Hell”
Lee Harvey Oswald being taken
from the theater where he was
hiding, November 22, 1963

This morning while I was waiting in the clinic for my wife, Pat, to have physical therapy, I struck up a conversation with an elderly African American man, 68, who was also waiting for someone. He clearly was a Vietnam Veteran and had this statement all over the jacket he was wearing. We shared deeply with each other our life experiences especially with war. Right after graduating from Rufus King High school in the 60’s he was drafted and remained 10 years in the military, one year in Vietnam where he was wounded. He was proud of his military service and enjoyed it but after time came to realize, as many others, he should been fighting the war at home against racism and did not belong in Vietnam. In fact he had been an early member of the Milwaukee Commando’s, an African American group that protected and organized civil right leaders. He fondly remembers Father Groppi opening up St. Boniface Catholic Church for civil rights efforts. He told me that years later he got on a Milwaukee Transit bus and was surprised to find Jim Groppi was the bus driver. Jim had left the clergy and got married but for him he was still a deeply loved and respected person.

He told me how he was not born in Milwaukee but came here as a child when his father, a minister, was called to a local church.

After serving his ten years in Military service he could not come back to Milwaukee, except for visits. He was out east and down south for awhile but no matter where he went he was haunted by his experiences in the war. I told him about my son, Peter, who always thought that if he escaped Milwaukee, which he did a number of times, all his brain illnesses would disappear. It did not happen. After seeing his reaction to my telling him my son eventually committed suicide I wish, I would not have told him that fact.

He was very emotional and a few times had to stop to gather himself together while describing his life since being drafted in the military. I joked with him that he should have tried to escape the draft until 1968 when fourteen of us raided the Selective Service draft board and destroyed all the 1 A files, thus allowing many young men escape from being drafted in the military.

At one time a lady sitting across from us, in true Milwaukee style, joined in our conversation briefly. Seeing his Vietnam jacket she said thanked him for being in the service and said how proud she was to meet him. However, in the same breathe she said the Vietnam War was wrong and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wrong. We both agreed.

He has recently returned to Milwaukee to live and the friend he brought in for therapy was a person he had know since he was about 12 years old. He had return home from the war after 50 years. Finally his friend came out and it was time to depart. His name was Kenneth. He was a military and Vietnam veteran, just the type of causality of war that John F. Kennedy was trying to prevent when he was killed and just the person that motivates me to stop these ‘endless wars’, the continuing racism in Milwaukee and to stop teaching killing at Marquette University. Kenneth is my friend and brother.


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When Will I Ever Learn? - Thursday, November 21, 2013

“Perhaps people will stop
repeating the human-made
catastrophes of the past when
we cease being ahistorical and
truly learn from history’s
lessons.” –Larry Pinkney, The
Boston Globe, April 27, 2006

An important part of nonviolence is holding in anger and frustration when people say or do what “in your opinion” are acts of injustice. This happened to me tonight at a meeting when an issue concerning the poor and marginalized was misrepresented. I expected statements would be made of such a nature but when it happened I was unable to stop myself from speaking out.

These days when I am in the waiting room during my wife’s hospital visits I am reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” It is said that history is written by the powerful, rich and strong but this version of history is from the people.

I have always enjoyed reading and studying history but find it frustrating when people and governments do not learn from history. Today I learned that the US war in Afghanistan, already the longest war in our history, will continue on for another ten years or so. Our role may change but our involvement in this conflict will continue. We withdrew from Iraq but the war continues. Not learning from history we are in an “endless wars.”

History is telling us that John Kennedy was determined to end our involvement in the war in Vietnam when he was killed fifty years ago. He even signed a presidential order making this withdrawal from the war official. After his death, this document and his intent were ignored.

I think of the phrase from a popular song: “When will ever learn”? We can learn from history or be doomed, as we are, to repeat our mistakes.

My anger at the meeting tonight has happened before. I can explain it but not justify it. When will I ever learn?


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Where Do the Mothers Park? - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This morning when going to an interview on the Marquette University campus with a graduate student,I decided to park my car on the street instead of in the parking lot right near where I was going. While I have been ‘unbanned’ by Marquette University to be on campus I was not sure if my known trespasser car had been unbanned.

After the interview, while walking through the parking lot to my car I noticed this sign (on left) on a couple of parking spaces. It read “Parking for Gesu Parish Jesuit Fathers.” I thought to myself if one was not a Catholic they might not know what “Gesu”, “Parish” or “Jesuit” meant. Then the sign would read “Parking for Fathers”. The obvious question would then be “What about the mothers? Where can they park?”

This sign represents the male hierarchy of our Roman Catholic Church. Only men can be ordained priest, pastors, Bishops or Pope. We call God, “Our Father” not our ‘Our Mother and Our Father’. We recognize only twelve apostles, all male, although there are followers of the Way of Jesus, some called apostles, in the early church. A hierarchical top down Church is bad enough but when it is an all male hierarchical Church it can become unbearable.

A woman friend of mine, an ordained Catholic priest, will say Mass this weekend at the SOAWatch to close the School of America’s, an USA military training school for terrorist in Latin America, located at Fort Benning in Columbus GA. The last two male ordained Roman Catholic priests who said Mass with her the last few years, elderly religious priest, have been banned by the Church from saying Mass. The founder of the School of America Watch was excommunicated from the Church and kicked out of his religious order for being present on the altar at her ordination. She and all the many woman Catholic priest in the USA, although ordained by an ordained Bishop have all been excommunicated.

So I ask “What about the Mothers”. Is there room for the mothers and daughters in our Church to preside over our liturgies? Would a woman Archbishop, rather than our present male Archbishop, close her eyes and ears to the poor and marginalized when closing Catholic Churches. Would a woman ignore the teaching of killing without conscience at our largest Catholic University? I doubt it. We need to make spaces for the mothers as well as the fathers.


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More Silence, Less Words - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I was surprised last summer when after a routine hearing exam I was told I have a hearing problem. Since that time I noticed that I do have a hearing problem and someday may need a hearing aid. My unknown hearing problem might explain a few things like why I talk so loud. People with hearing problems tend to talk loud. Also my difficulty hearing is why I cannot sing. In church I just mouth the words of a hymn so not to throw off people around me. I have been accused of talking too much and not hearing. There is some truth to my talking too much and interrupting persons. However, I do hear what people are saying but process the words too quickly and jump too early to a response.

After telling a parable Jesus in the Gospel would often say let those who have eye to see and ears to listen see and hear. This type of hearing and seeing, behind the words, I believe I am good at. This is the type of hearing that many people want to avoid these days. When someone says “Marquette Teaches Killing” few ask what this means and is it true. Most do not want to hear this statement so just dismiss or ignore it. Actually some years ago when I was encouraged to look into ROTC, military training at Marquette, I did not want to find out what it meant. I just looked into it because good people said so. But what I saw and heard what is happening at Marquette I could not ignore what I believed in conscience to be morally wrong.. I have no choice, with my present conscience, but to break the silence on this issue.

In an online discussion I started on this subject of Marquette Teaching Killing, I had a Marquette University alumnus now a distinguished lawyer say that politicians make moral judgments about war not the individuals. Tomorrow I may send him this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2242) He made other statements contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. In all his Catholic education at Marquette he did hear about the ‘priority of conscience’ over any directives of the government. (#2242)

The The Cry of the Poor is also something hard to hear. Someone else wrote me today telling me how complicated and involved a decision to give money for vouchers to St. Vincent De Paul conferences. What is so complicated, if the decision is made, to give money to a group when 100% of the money goes for vouchers for beds, appliances and furniture for those in need.

Maybe what I need is more silence. After all if it was not for the silence between words, words would not make sense. More silence, fewer words may be good for all of us and lead us listen and act.


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Keeping Hope Alive! - Monday, November 18, 2013

Cold weather is here to stay this winter. Cold brings hardship for many, high heating bills, children sleeping on cold hard floors, car and transportation difficulties, more work to obtain food, warm weather jobs disappearing, children are confined inside more times and the list goes on. Most of us will not experience any of this difficulties but the growing number of people in poverty do. Our response is to give money to charities for food and toys for people in need. Charities compete to collect money and food while poor families increasingly have no stoves and refrigerators to store and cook the food and children with new toys still sleep on the floor.

In Catholic social teaching the main mission of government is to serve the ‘common good’ and the mission of the church is to bring to what we do the “evangelical and preferential option” of Jesus to the poor and marginalized.

By these standards our government and Catholic Churches are failing. Our government seems more worried about ‘tax breaks’ for rich, more money for the military, killing enemies, imprisoning poor and minorities, protecting our borders and deporting people and cutting service for low income than for the ‘common good’. Our church, at least locally, seems more concern about spending money to prevent victims of sexual abuse from getting compensation, hiding money in endowments for ‘future church’, closing churches in poor and segregated neighbors, talking about the dignity of human life but looking the other way when we teach and practice killing without conscience.

What do we do? A friend mildly accused me of giving up hope by not working for ‘results’ or ‘outcomes’. I do want a government concerned about the ‘common good’ more than allowing health care to be a profitable business for the few. I do want a Catholic Church using its money for those in need rather than giving it to bankers for storage. I do want to see our Catholic University stop teaching killing. However, if I only look for results I would have despaired and lost hope by now. It is like struggling against the cold of winter only to find more cold and more winter. Hope means believing that spring will come or, for us, that someday governments will be for the ‘common good’ and the Church will given preferences to serving the poor and marginalized.

Facing the death of winter or the rejection of efforts justice and peace is not the time to look for ‘results’ or ‘outcomes’. We just live through the winter making the most of our conditions and believe that spring will come. We just resist violence and injustice and believe that goodness will overcome evil. If it happens or does not happen we can keep our hope alive by listening to our hearts and the silence within us. Keeping Hope alive, especially in the cold of winter is hard, but it is all we can do, as we try to bring the new life of spring to our planet


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Naming Names! - Sunday, November 17, 2013

Names and Images of Persons
Killed in El Salvador

I have been hearing some about the book: “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness” and now I am convinced it is about what I have been trying to say and write about in North Central Milwaukee and what the M.A.P.S. project shows graphically. The last few days I have heard a number of persons use one of the findings researchers at UWM who wrote the paper Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males, 50% of Young African American adults have a prison record. The way this fact is being used, which has been known for some time is disturbing since it is being used for people’s own agenda not to help decrease the criminalization of young adult African American males.

Tonight an elder African American leader in Milwaukee wrote to me how this use of this fact is hypocritical since no one is naming names or looking at the source. I agree. It is just like my posting Bed Bugs and Greedy Landlords it makes for good talk but who are the people responsible for it and what are we going to do, besides talk, about it.

It seems to me these days everyone wants to talk about controversial issues but no one wants to take action on the cause or even name names. My recent article Child Soldiers and Teaching Killing at Marquette University was first sent to the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rev. Jerome Listecki and the President of Marquette University, Father Wild. These are two persons are top two that are responsible for moral teaching at Marquette.

On every issue from putting money into an endowment fund rather than use it, as intended, for welfare of poor in neighborhood, no one wants to name names or hold any group or individuals responsible. A Killer Drone is sent to Pakistan to kill persons on orders of the President yet no one will hold him responsible for an assassination.

If a poor person violates rules and procedures to make money they are named but when rich persons do it, for the most part, we name the corporation or call it “Wall Street.” The punishments for poor and rich are not equal. When a poor person is a victim of a crime, even homicide, police and media go out of their way to talk about the police record of the victim which is not the cause of crime.

Naming a person with an uncomfortable message is usually done, as I have discovered, to marginalize the person so the message can be ignored. Marquette University under President Wild teaches killing without conscience on campus and Archbishop Listecki is taking money intended for the poor and needy and using it to store away in endowments for the future.

I, Bob Graf, would like to be held accountable for my statements but I do not want to be used, as incarceration of young adult African Americans, to ignore the message. Naming a person and holding person(s) accountable is not necessarily playing the blame game but is just placing moral responsibility where it belongs. Let us name names not for blame but to hold persons, including ourselves, accountable for actions.


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How Do We Ask? - Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blind Beggar in back of
Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

Today I attended a conference on Urban Ministry at local Catholic University. The main speaker was good as well as the three members of the panel that responded. During the question and answer period I asked the rhetorical question from last night’s posting: What to do about Bed Bugs and Greedy Landlords. Of course there was no answer for this question but a few of the panel made sympathetic remarks.

Afterwards two ladies from a St. Vincent De Paul Conference out of the city came up to me and asked how could they help? I told them we need more persons making home visits in North Central Milwaukee and more money for vouchers for beds, stoves and refrigerators. Where they lived was too far away from Milwaukee to make home visits practical but they do have money in a treasury due to a very profitable St. Vincent De Paul store they have it their area.

One of the ladies said they had made small donations to conferences like ours but next time they discuss what to do with their money she will suggest that the conference made a significant donation for beds, stoves and refrigerators.

This is the type of generosity that we were hoping to receive with the Sustainable Works of Mercy fund for the 1.1 million dollars the Catholic Church realized from closing another Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee. The idea was ignored and the money is going into an endowment for ‘future church’. But the generosity of these two women made me think that if we only we ask there may be many persons out there willing to make home visits or give money for vouchers in North Central Milwaukee. How do we ask?


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Bed Bugs and Greedy Landlords - Friday, November 15, 2013

My friend Brian and I made a number of home visits today to people in need in North Central Milwaukee, near St. Catherine, the parish that just took 1.1 million he received from the closing of other Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee and put it an endowment for ‘future church’ needs rather than in present ones. The visits today confirmed once again what we knew that begs bugs and greedy landlords are hurting this impoverished neighborhood. The overwhelming need of people in this area is for beds and for stoves and refrigerators.

Bed bugs are devastating to the neighborhood and being spread from one house to another. Ridding a house of beds, clothes and other furniture is one step. The spaying to rid house of bed bugs is very expensive and something many landlords are not willing to occur. A friend who manages some apartment on the East side said that an apartment he manages had bed bugs and immediately the absentee landlord hired expensive spraying for bed bugs to be done. A woman who we saw today did not have bed bugs but allowed some children of family members to stay awhile at her house and her house became devastated with bed bugs. She had to throw all her mattress and other furniture out and is now starting again, after extensive spraying. One elderly man who had been driven from his rooming house on the East side by bed bugs to a rental unit in North Central Milwaukee told us that ‘roaches’ are his friends but bed bugs are a terror. They bite and spread furiously.

Appliances, particularly refrigerators and stoves, used to be supplied by landlord. My friend who works for landlords around town, not in North Central Milwaukee, told me that all his landlords supply stoves and refrigerators. However, many landlords in North Central Milwaukee have kept their rent the same or raised them but no longer supply used stoves and refrigerators. One woman we met had eight children or grandchildren living with her. Ten years ago when she moved in the house there was a used refrigerator supplied by landlord. Not that refrigerator is worn out and the landlord will not supply another one.

If you are poor and call 211, help line, looking for beds, stoves and/or a refrigerator the only response you will get is to call St. Vincent De Paul Society. Our parish conference gives vouchers for appliances from used appliances stores and provides new single or double beds at our ST. Vincent De Paul store. We are glad to do this but the only problem is that our conference attached to the parish that just put a million dollars plus into an endowment does not have the money to provide what is needed. (Each voucher for a bed, stove or refrigerator cost our conference around $125). If a family needs beds, stove and a refrigerator, as many do, we give them what I call a terrible choice, two of the three. Some choose beds for children to sleep on and some choose stove and\or a refrigerator to provide decent food. One woman facing this terrible choice last April chose beds and refrigerator. We told her to call us back in six months if she still needed a stove. She did and today we gave her a voucher for a stove.

There is a solution to this epidemic of bed bugs and landlords. Provide new beds after extensive care to rid a place of beg bugs and to either require landlords to provide stoves and refrigerators in a local rental unit or give out used stoves and refrigerators and help families moving the appliances when they move to a new location. If the city, Churches and social service organizations and landlords worked together to solve this problem and put off short term profits to solve a long term problem it could be solved. Instead, people blame the poor for these problems, Churches put money into endowments rather than family in neighborhoods, legislatures, like now in the Wisconsin legislature, pass laws favoring landlords and denying renters’ rights, In an age when greed and profits dominate the poor get stuck with bed bugs and greedy landlords.


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Due To Technical Difficulties - Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tonight’s posting will need to be postponed indefinitely due to technical difficulties. During the day my computer was bombarded by fake emails. I did not download anything but somehow my security system was disabled. By chat I got hold of a customer service representative, Nicol. After working with me to fix the problem she tried to take control of my computer and failed. After another try by me she was able to take control of my computer. However, that was not the end just a new beginning. I spent the next long period watching Nicol moving my pointer around, starting and restarting, uninstalling and installing on my computer. Finally, after many hours all was okay and I am back. So now I can truly say that due to technical difficulties this posting of observations will start up again tomorrow, pending no more technical difficulties.


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Greed Denies Opportunity - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

“When I give food to the poor,
the call me a saint. When I
ask why the poor have no food,
they call me a communist.”

Dom Helder Camara,
Brazilian Archbishop

Ms. Obama visited a high school in Washing D.C. to kick off her initiative to increase the number of low-income students graduating from Universities and Colleges. The USA rates low right now and she wants to make us number one. She told students how she was poor on the Southside of Chicago yet went to Princeton and Harvard. She said, according to the media, that each student can do the same thing, graduate from a University if they really want it and work hard.

I am glad she did so and I believe a few children, with a few breaks can do likewise. But as poverty and racial discrimination in our central cities goes up; as unemployment soars and rates of incarceration increase; as the public schools system has less and less money as the military gets more and more; as crime rate soars; as the very rich profit more and more and the poor become poorer, the opportunity to be like Mrs. Obama decreases. The greed of the few eats away at the opportunity of the many.

So no matter how hard some youth try, how much they work and study very few low income youth will graduate from universities like Princeton and Harvard. A few will join the military and survive for an education, a few who are very smart or athletic will get grants and scholarships but most will fail to get that university degree, no matter how hard they try.

Gaining the ‘American Dream’ or pulling yourself up by the bootstraps is just a myth perpetuated by the rich and very rich to keep the poor with hope and dreams so they accept, what Dorothy Day, called the “filthy, rotten system”.

A friend from the past was on UWM public radio this morning. She and her husband are researchers at UWM who did the research paper Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males. She was asked what was the most shocking fact she discovered in her research. She said the fact that one-half of Milwaukee’s African American young adult population has spent some time in State prisons.

Rather than ask why this is I received an email tonight from a Catholic Peace and Justice group who is using this information to promote two conferences on the talk circuit, one about transportation and land use issues and one about creating safer and healthier communities. This is the same Catholic Peace and Justice group that censored, in its electronic newsletter, links to essays on The Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee and the parable Thy Kingdom Come On Earth as it is Heaven. I guess it makes for a good way to promote a conference. But who will ask why and who will act on this information?

I better quit now since I am preaching rather than observing. Hopefully a few more people will see that opportunity fades when greed increases and real love, as St. Ignatius of Loyola says, is best expressed in deed not words.

I have an African American friend who has had a tough life with criminal convictions but who now has put his life together only to find out that he cannot get a job since he is black with a record. I will call him tomorrow and help him, whatever way I can. This seems to me more worthwhile than any meetings I could attend. If greed denies opportunity perhaps good deeds enhance opportunity


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Balance Between Feeling and Numbness - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out of Balance
Wall mural on the West Bank
in Palestine

We watched the end of PBS TV series on John Kennedy (JFK) tonight. The series tried to be true to history while balancing the hype about JFK with a realistic picture of who he was and what he did or did not do in his shorten life. From my limited perspective I think they did a fairly good job and avoided all the mystery behind his assassination. There were a few moments in the documentary when they pointed our direct lies that the President or his representative made to public or media. I believe the same happens today but the public relation aspect of all politicians is keener.

In my life keeping balance between feeling and being sensitive to people and events with not being overwhelmed and numbed by all the sorrow and sadness, that come flying at us is a task. Some people say and practice the other option is to numb ourselves and just turned off and not want to hear things that are upsetting. I exercised this option unconsciously for the middle part of my life and really do not want to return to it even if I could.

For example when I hear, see, touch and feel the poverty and violence of life I cannot turn away, yet I cannot deal with all of it at once. The key for me is the realization that I need to do the right thing according to my conscience even if I see no results or have any positive ‘outcomes’. (I am not sure what ‘outcomes’ means but find it used a lot these days.) Thomas Merton in a letter giving advice to a young activist said “you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect.” (You can fine an expanded quote on posting in the Diary of the Worm, In a Time of Discouragement.)

Thomas Merton goes on to say what I describe as “do the right thing” and follow your conscience no matter what the results may be or not be. He claims that struggling this way eventually you will not be working for an idea but for a person, everything becomes a personal relationship.

I had a good example of working for a person not for results today. A friend with a mental illness has been calling me the last few days. Last Friday he had lost his wallet and when he found it all his money in it was gone. He has a social worker and a payee that control his money. He tried calling the payee and the social worker with no luck. Now that he is down to seventeen dollars on his food stamp card I said I would give it a try. First I called his social worker’s agency. I got the name of his social worker and called her only to get an answering machine to say call her supervisor if I could not reach her. I called her supervisor only to get a similar voice message saying to call his supervisor. I did it again only to get a voice mail. My friend found the name and phone number of his payee. I called him only to get a similar message to call his supervisor. I did only to get the same message but there was no other numbers in this chain to call. I finally called the receptionist of the social agency again and told her of my dilemma and run around. She gave me a number to call which she said would get me to a real person. I got to a real person who took all the information plus the name and number of my friend. A few hours later my friend called me to say his payee would be over tomorrow morning to give him some of his own money. If he gets some money tomorrow you can say we got ‘results’. If he does not get money we struggle on. I felt a little frustration with all the answering machines but since I was doing it for a friend, not to test the bureaucracy of social service agencies it made it all worthwhile.

Keeping the balance between feeling, seeing and hearing and numbing myself always is not easy but it is the only way to live at peace with oneself.


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Child Soldiers and Military Training - Monday, November 11, 2013

Drawing of Child Soldier

Recently I read an article called “Obama Quietly Okays Military Aid to Countries That Use Child Soldiers.” In the name of National Security the president exempted Yemen, Chad, and South Sudan from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 that prohibits the U.S. government from providing military assistance to countries that directly use, or support the use of, child soldiers.

From a friend exiled from a county in Africa I heard tales of horror how children are conditioned to kill without thought or conscience. Child soldiers are so abhorrent of the killing they did they often cannot talk about their experiences afterwards but they do draw pictures of the horror.

Today, Nov. 11th Veteran’s Day I listened to two veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars talk about their own experiences in war and about the book they edited “Fire and Forget”. The book is a collection of short stories by veterans of these wars who have a tough time about their war and killing experience but via fiction, like the drawings of child soldiers, are able to describe the effect of being conditioned to kill, or as the Army calls it, “reflexive killing”, killing without conscience.

The military admits and soldiers confirm they are being trained at military schools, like at Marquette University in this type of killing, which violates the teachings of our Catholic Church and the values of the Gospel. You can find more documentation of Marquette University teaching killing at Teach War No More or Marquette Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of the Military (ROTC).

Despite our protest and “breaking the silence” this type of training young man and woman, to kill without conscience, like child soldiers. continues at Marquette University, the only university in the five county area to host this type of training on campus. Colleges and Universities, by law, are required to make available ROTC military training but are not require to host it on campus. ROTC students from the five county area are sent to Marquette for classes and military training and conditioning how to kill without thought or conscience.

I asked the question of why the Catholic Archbishop, Presidents of Marquette University and other administrators at Marquette are allowing this to happen. They have not responded. Is it for money? The other day I heard that the Department of Defense is closing thirteen ROTC programs so they can spend millions more on big city universities like Marquette University. How much does Marquette take in from the Department of Defense for hosting three departments of the military, Schools of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force? If not for ‘riches’ is it


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Nature Is In Us - Sunday, November 10, 2013

Over 10,000 feared dead after
typhoon Haiyan hits Philippines

Putting the still pictures of our family trip to Disney World on Flicker today made the trip seem much calmer and relaxed than I felt during the trip. Perhaps it was because the photographs capture one second in time but when we were there I felt my senses being overwhelmed by sound, visual images, smell and taste. The attack on my senses was more than I could handle during the 8 hour or more days we spent in a theme park. The rest of the family, my wife, son, his wife and three grandchildren seemed to do better at the time of the event and perhaps the pictures will be faint memories of a few things on the trip. Maybe it is because I am getting too old. Today was my wife’s, Pat’s, birthday but I am still the elder or senior in our family.

The wave of destruction in the Philippines by the typhoon, the world’s largest recorded natural disaster, seems to have been too much for media or anyone to fathom. The deaths of 10, 000 or more persons in one country are hard to grasp. More fanfare, fundraising and media attention was given to smaller natural or man-made disasters. I say natural and/or human-made since listening to an interview on the Tavis Smiley show of Humorist Harry Shearer Mr. Shearer, who lived part-time in New Orleans made a documentary “The Big Uneasy” about why the New Orleans flood following Hurricane Katrina were not caused by nature. There were a lot of human mistakes made that led to the devastating flood that cost many lives and let to such major destruction.

Last night Pat and I watched the movie “Impossible” based on a family’s survival of the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. It was truly ‘impossible’ or a ‘miracle’ of how this family on vacation survived this natural disaster.

The world between the white cultural based American Disney World and the Asian based life in the Philippines seem so far apart that it cannot be bridged. The human made violence of Americans to Americans, like in latest public place shooting get more press time than the violence of the typhoon, natural disaster, in the Philippines. But deep down I believe that what is in nature is in us.


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Wonderings - Saturday, November 09, 2013

There are lots of special events this week. Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when German Nazis coordinated a nationwide attack on Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. Also it was on this day in 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down in Germany. Tomorrow is my wife’s, Pat’s, birthday and yesterday was the birthday of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker. Also today, November 9th, in 1965 was the day Roger LaPorte , a Catholic Worker, 22 years old, set himself on fire in front of the United Nations building in New York City to protest the United States involvement in the Vietnam war.

This Monday is Veterans Day, a day we honor all military veterans. My veteran friend came over today to help work in the garden to make some spending money. Besides medical insurance he receives no military compensation for his eleven years in the military. He receives no payments from the military and so far, has not be able to qualify for S.S.I although he has a serious illness related to his military training.

He was a military “expert” with guns and today he talked about how he was training in reflexive shooting drills where one is conditioned to fire the weapon without thought or conscience. He is proud of his military service, as he should be, although it left him with an illness that prevents him from going back to work. He proudly told me how he could kill an a person at 400 feet away.

With all these anniversary of people and event these days I was reminded in my own life and the life of few friends that is easier to be joyful when one is not in pain and or worried about finances or family crises. The day after my wife had her hip replaced last week I noticed an immediate aura of good spirit around her. It was not that she was a ‘mean’ person but,as we all know, it is hard to display joy while in pain. I have a friend who is, rightfully so, worried about money at the end of the month. At the beginning of the month he walks with a little more joy since he knows he has money to provide basics for his family.

So there are lots of special days and events in the calendar year. The point of all this is to remember to live in the present and not to worry about the past or future. What will be, will be! Worry does not help.


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Easy Friends - Friday, November 08, 2013

Salad Bowl from our
Garden in 2007

I have a good friend who, in a group, whenever he hears something he does not like or does not get his way he threatens to quit. He is a good resource and valuable person to the organization so it is fortunate he has not followed up on the threat so far. Why he does this I do not know. I probably have plenty of similar habits that people do not like. Sometimes we pick our friends and often we make friends by engaging in life together. Whenever I make a home visit for our St. Vincent De Paul conference to a person in need I feel I made a friend, although usually I do not see the person anymore.

Today in the grocery store I met a friend from the past. We hugged and exchanged comments of what we are doing these days. Although we do not see each other anymore or belong to the same group or organization I feel she is a friend for life.

Then there are those friends who others tell me are no longer friends because they have some political or social disagreement with me. I do not understand how people that are friends can be unfriends so I told a close friend who told me this to let me know who is my friend or not.

In 2007 I wrote in these Diary of Worm postings about Salad Bowl Friends, I talked about how the melting pot analogy of Americans might be replaced by salad bowl friends, an “endless network of friends who are united by the zest for life.” All the friends talked about above, ones from past or present fit this definition for me. Although we may all have our disagreements, we are all engaged in life. I ended that posting saying: “While keeping their unique diversity, together they are Growing Power. Watch out world, here comes the nonviolent revolution of salad green friends!”

I think, like a young child, I make friends too easily. Friends, for me, are like the ingredients of a good salad that when mixed with a good dressing is delicious. Perhaps is why friends say I make good salads. Easy Friends are the best.


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The Little Way - Thursday, November 07, 2013

St.Theresa of Lisieuz,
the Little Flower

With my wife, Pat, home from the hospital today I got a taste of what it means to be a home health aide, (CSI). A number of my friends have home health aides coming to their home to help with cooking, cleaning, running errands and more. Since I will be such an aide for the month to come I have chosen to look at the good side of being a CSI.

For one thing it gives you a blessed chance to practice the “little way” of Saint Theresa of Lisieux praised by Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement. Theresa entered the convent at the age of 15 determined to be great saint. Once she learned how insignificant she was she learned that it was in her littleness, doing the little things of life, like cleaning the dishes, with great love was her way to be a great saint. She died at the age of 24 in complete obscurity but a diary her superior had asked her to write made it clear how great a saint she was. Thus the ‘little way’.

A CSI or home health aide does no great things like a Doctor or Nurse but he or she contributes greatly to the health care of an ill person. The recovery or ill person can stay at home and still function completely with this aide. The independence of being at home does well for the ill person.
I pray and hope I can be a good CSI these coming days and like Theresa find blessings and love in doing ordinary things in the ‘little way’.


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Feel Gratitude and Love - Wednesday, November 06, 2013

“Oh, I have got an all new attitude,
A lifetime subscription to gratitude.
Friend, you’ve got to change your
Live an attitude of gratitude!”.
-Sponge Bob

Despair is the great temptation for people who try to live by conscience. The more you try to “do the right thing” the more obstacles there seems to be in your way. A good friend reminded me tonight “to take it light” when I was spewing out all the things that were bothering me. He was right in a way. We cannot let the negatives we face in our daily life take us down. But I take ‘light’ to mean taking life seriously while not letting it get you down.

The great remedy for temptations to despair and giving for me is feeling gratitude. I look at my wife coming home from the hospital tomorrow from hip surgery and am grateful. I look at all our family and friends who have reached out to us and prayed for Pat and I am grateful. Over my years in Milwaukee I have got to know so many good people that keep me going despite the teaching of killing at Marquette University, the greed and segregation of the Catholic Church in Milwaukee, the bureaucracy that hinders our St. Vincent De Paul Society in Milwaukee from being more effective and the good people that keep silent when seeing evil.

Another image that comes to my mind to keep me from despairing is the overwhelming love of God for each one of us, no matter what we do or do not do. A former Jesuit priest reminded me of this fact last weekend at the Call to Action conference and is something I know and feel when I take time to retreat and reflect.

I hope to make the next 4–6 weeks while my wife, Pat, is recovering at home a retreat time for more reflection. The more gratitude and love of God I feel the more joy and peace will me in my life.


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Hard of Heart in Politics - Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I saw part of a skit on Saturday Night Live last week when an African American host was interviewing two African American supporters of President Obama. He was asking them a number of questions about issues they were concerned about. He would ask if President Obama did this what you say. They would rail against the policy and he would follow up with the question: “Would you still support him”. They would always say yes, although more meekly as the issues offensive to them grew in nature. The bottom line was that they would support him no matter what he did.

President Obama has increased deportation to about 1200 each day while still retaining support of immigrant community and its supporters. The president has seriously increased drone warfare, assignations without trial men, woman and child. Yet many persons of peace still support him.

An election poll on news tonight about the Governor’s race in Virginia showed that nearly 90% of African American voters voted for the white Democratic candidate while over 60% of white persons voted for the white Republican candidate. In my opinion, Personality, Party, Race and money matter more in elections than any political stand on any issue.

Creative conflict and dialog, the heart and soul of good politics, seems to have disappeared. All we seem to have now is emails back and forth or ignoring the other who is in disagreement.
We seem to be a nation hard of heart in politics. We are hard of hearts about acting in the present times, based on history or what we want in the future


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Renew The Face of the Earth - Monday, November 04, 2013

Worms renewing the soil

Early to rise and late to sleep is the story of my day. We got up at 5am to take my wife to the hospital for her hip surgery. All went well but I had to depend on coffee to keep me going. It is now past 11 pm, after the Packers lost to the Bears and the coffee is wearing off. Soon I will be sleep.

I heard bits of news today. There was a major financial firm that pleaded guilty to “inside trading”, robbing of millions of dollars. I doubt if anyone will serve time since the Supreme Court said corporations are people but do not have to serve time for robbery.

A major pharmacy company made an out of court settlement of billions for falsely presenting to the public two strong psychiatric medicines they provided. No matter the money they made, the lives they hurt, there is no admission of guilt and they just give back the billions they made on this scheme and again no one goes to jail.

This big corporations and people may get away with, as our government does, major crimes. It bothers me but then I think of all we have to be grateful for. I knew how grateful Darwin was for earthworms but it was not until the other day when I read an article in a magazine that I knew of how Darwin was obsessed with earthworms near the end of his life. He wrote about earthworms: “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which played so important a part in the history of the world as have these lowly organized creatures.” (Smithsonian, Feb. 2013). Darwin knew the greatness of these overlooked tillers of the soil.

The leaders on the top of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Milwaukee refused to talk to the loyal employee of the store who was fired after 25 years of service by a phone call when she was on sick leave. The real inspiration to the Society in Milwaukee is not in the Central Office which eats up and wastes our monies but in the people at the bottom, the people we serve. This injustice. like others, angers me but then I think of the greatness of these people we serve in the society, poor and marginalized and overlooked. They, like earthworms to the soil, renew the face of the earth.


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New Direction - Sunday, November 03, 2013

In about five hours I need to get up and drive my wife, Pat, to the hospital, for a major surgery, a hip replacement. Surgery makes her think of the direction of her life.

I saw an old friend in church at St. Ben’s today. She and her husband were recently divorced after 30 years of marriage and four sons. In her words her husband wanted to go in a new direction.

I just wrote a letter to the board of St. Vincent De Paul Society of Milwaukee County question their firing of our store manager, who has been loyal for twenty five years, with a phone call from Director of Central Office saying we are going in new direction.

I attended one day of the Call to Action national conference in Milwaukee and found it the “same old, same old” message. Now there is one organization that needs to go in a new direction.

The direction of teaching young adults in military training how to kill without conscience goes on and on and silence of good people is deafening.

North Central Milwaukee is going in the direction of more poverty and more segregation and no one wants to talk about it and going in a new direction.

During the next month or so of being at home and serving the needs of my wife and her recovery from surgery will be a good time to examine the direction of my life and see if I need to go into a new direction.


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Being Consistent Is Not Pretty! - Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bumper Sticker

Today I attended the Call for Action conference with Jerry. I received a ticket from a person in a suburban parish so I could escort our 93 year old Jesuit friend, Father Brennan S.J., who is confined to a wheel chair. When Father Brennan S.J. could not get permission from his superiors, probably due to his saying liturgy a year ago with a woman priest, I ended up going anyway.

Call to Action draws Catholics on the ‘liberal’ or left end of the Catholic Church in the USA. I hesitated to use the word ‘liberal’ or left but that is the only word I could think of for those wanting to change the church toward their vision of a Church with more equality.

All but one of the speakers today told the audience at the talk what they wanted to hear, how inspiring and right they were in their words and ways. One speaker did not, instead talking how we do not need priest in our communities or the institutional of the Church. His saying there was no need for priest and church institutions was something they did not want to hear. There was backlash to his talk with many expressing anger toward him during the question and answer period at the end.

My problem with so called ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ are that they both are not consistent. Some say abortion is wrong but the death penalty is okay. Some say abortion is okay but support the death penalty. Both groups seem to ignore the major issues of justice, war and peace in our age. There was no talk about Marquette University teaching killing, the extreme segregation and poverty of the neighborhood just north of conference center or the ‘kill list’ of the President targeted persons for assassination by drones.

Poverty and War are not pretty items so do not fit a conference like this. Both sides, conservative and liberal in the Catholic Church want no conflict and for everything to be all right. There is no black or white, no sin or blessings. Now I know why they say God is not a Republican or Democrat and the conservations or right are wrong and the liberals or left just do not get it. Being consistent in moral beliefs is not pretty but for seekers of the truth it is the only way.


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Big Franz, Little Franz - Friday, November 01, 2013

Witness by two nuns in
front of Marquette’s store

To celebrate the feast of All Saints Day a few of us decided to march through the Marquette campus calling for Marquette University to end its military training programs that teach war, violence and killing without conscience. Call to Action a national group of progressive Catholics was meeting in town so we got a few of them to march with us.

Earlier in the day when I drove through campus it was buzzing with thousands of students walking between classes. But at four pm on a Friday with a slight drizzle the campus was bare with few students around. We passed out our flyers with pictures of three saints, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King and a few quotes on one side and where to watch the video on YouTube on the other side. Since there was a light drizzle we made a few stops in the Library and Union but even there we found few students.
I had brought with me from the Call to Action Conference two religious sisters and one priest in my card. On the way back my friend, Joe, called me to say he had picked up one of the nuns. The other one was in my car. After I picked up the priest at the library I noticed that I had his plaque of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, a martyr in the World War II for refusing to become part of Germany’s army, that he had worn around his neck.]] He had made it from a larger post of Hans that had been given to me. I called Joe to tell him I had a nun and priest in the card as well as his small poster of Franz. He said he wanted it back and I said I wanted my larger poster of Franz back. At first he heisted but then remembered he had the larger poster in the truck of car. So when I dropped off the religious sister on 4th st. right in front of the convention center we made an exchange in the middle of 4th street, large Franz for small Franz.

It was a humorous ending to a somewhat disappointing March of All Saints with the light rain, ten to twelve people showing up and the few students we saw. But I got back my big Franz and he got back his little Franz so all ended well.


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