Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Gospel of Father Joe

I am not Catholic. Frankly, I believe that the institution and teachings of Roman Catholicism are mostly nonsense, and I was only half joking when I used to say, "Popes are for dopes." But there's no denying that some Catholics, because or in spite of their religion, have done and are doing wonderful work. Here is an article about a Catholic priest named Joe Maier who has spent three decades serving the poorest of the poor in the slums of Bangkok. I look forward to reading the book about this man and his great work.


Anonymous said...

Excellent and thoughtful blog. I stumbled across it googling "The Gospel of Father Joe." I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the book after you finish it. ... Please keep up the mindful living and excellent insights.

Steve said...

Thank you for the compliment and the encouragement. I'm now reading the book and plan to post more about it in time. If you haven't read it, I recommend it. It's especially compelling to me because of my connections with Thailand--Thai wife and longstanding interest in the country--and my special appreciation of religion or spirituality that is actively engaged in the amelioration of human suffering. Fr. Joe is an amazing man who has accomplished miraculous things in the worst slums of Bangkok.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Joe is but one of many faithful Catholics living out the faith. When you make comments like the teaching of the Church is nonsense you reveal both your ignorance and undermine that work of people like Fr. Joe. After having met the man I think you'd be surprised by this mans faith and commitment to the hurch you mock.

Steve said...

I don't believe that anything I write in this blog "undermines" Fr. Joe's work. How could it, since almost no one reads this blog, and, even if many people did, I PRAISE Fr. Joe's work and RECOMMEND a book about it that, it seems to me, could only have an effect that is utterly opposite to that of compromising it?

As for my evaluation of the teachings of the Catholic Church, did you notice that I characterized it in my original post and in this comment as my BELIEF; I did not characterize it as truth? Please let me explain that I deliberately inserted this qualification because I don't presume to KNOW that most Church teachings are nonsense. It only SEEMS to me that they are. And one purpose of this blog is to 'nakedly reflect' how things SEEM to me and provide those with contrasting perspectives the opportunity to take issue with mine and to present their own.

I would be the first to agree with you that I am woefully ignorant of Church teachings. But then I wonder how knowledgeable of them I have to be to form a clear and compelling impression, that may well be true, that some of the Church's most fundamental teachings about free willed sin, hell, and the special divinity and salvific sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus seem exceedingly dubious at best?

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