The Abuse Continues

The Pennsylvania Attorney General released the grand jury report looking at clerical sexual abuse across the commonwealth in six of the eight dioceses. The other two were previously investigated.

In the lead up to the release, I had heard it was going to be bad. Real bad. It is.

Just in Pennsylvania, 300 priests over 70 years.

And while the numbers alone are horrible, I read some of the accounts; some of the details not published in the papers. I struggle to find the words.

The level of sin and evil exhibited by these men is incredible. These crimes were against the weakest of us—our children. They were not the results of someone who was sick and struggling. They were not the results of someone having a moment of failure. 

They were the actions of sinister men deliberately and intentionally committing some of the most egregious offenses against nature and morality. They were calculated efforts to abuse children and to coerce submission through their role as our highest moral authorities, our representatives to us and to God of our faith. These were not men struggling with some part of themselves that they tried to use their faith to combat. There were men who used their faith as a tactical weapon against these poor children.

And worse, others around them supported them in doing it. Sure, there are sometimes bad apples in a bunch but for the other priests and bishops who knew about these things to let them go? To hide them? To move them?

For some time, there was talk about the various recovery programs that priests used to be sent to for these crimes. At the time, so the talking points go, there was an understanding that this could be “treated”. Call it denial or something, but I gave the benefit of the doubt to those accounts. Yes, we know better now, but back then, maybe that really did make sense.

After hearing about the scope, reading the accounts, and attempting to internalize and grapple with what the authorities of my faith did, no. That line of argument does not past muster. There is no way that anyone hearing these accounts could think that all someone needed to do was go to treatment to “cure” them. Either these other priests and bishops stuck their heads in the sand and refused to hear what actually happened or they are far more disgusting than we as the American Church have ever been prepared to admit.

I want to be able to propose ways to stop this from ever happening again. Not the sexual abuse—though that should absolutely stop—but this institutional culture. Even after the Dallas Charter and all that we, as a church, have realized since 2002, how are there still more new accounts coming to light from decades ago that were known? Why are there redacted names of priests in the grand jury report of previously known events that weren’t made public. Even in those cases where it was deemed the accusations were not credible, is there enough transparency to vouch for that?

I wish I could write a polished post that would give some glimmer of hope. I can’t. Not right now. I can only remind myself that our faith is in Jesus Christ, not in the ministers of the Church. 

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Happy Fourth of July!

In our neighborhood, we have an annual 4th of July parade between a few of the parks and we’re lucky that the route is down our street. This year, we had a visit from the county sheriff and the precinct constable, plus special guest H.E. Buddy. New this year, our neighborhood shuttle joined the mix and an actual band!

For all of my countrymen, I hope y’all have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!

🧁 WordPress Adds Emoji 11 Support

New emoji are out this month and WordPress will be one of the first to support them.

Note: This post is regarding upcoming WordPress 4.9.8 and this is not applicable to production sites… yet.

In WordPress 4.9.8, among the improvements will be support for the latest Emoji 11 release. WordPress, technically, has already supported it—you’ve been able to add a 🦸 or 🦹 character even since general emoji support was added. One of the pieces of emoji support within WordPress was using the Twemoji library to polyfill emoji that your operating system didn’t support.

In other words, while you can add any Unicode character to your post, it is generally up to your operating system to support it, except for emoji, which WordPress provides a backwards-compatible way for them to display. Emoji 11 went live in early June and WordPress 4.9.7 adds support for the polyfill for these new emoji. Have an old computer? Apple hasn’t released a new version of OS X yet? You’re not on Android P, which is only in development anyhow? No problem, WordPress has your back.

So, no matter if you’re in the heat of summer 🥵 or the dead of winter 🥶, or if you’re 🥺 or 🥳, WordPress is here for you. There are a lot more than just a few smileys or the all-important cupcake 🧁. There are a ton of science-related emoji 🧬 and 🥎 to supplement the existing ⚾️.

If you’re reading this while, um, doing something else ( 🧻 ), Emojipedia has a great run down of the new emoji, specifically as presented by Twemoji.

I’m a little excited by the cupcake emoji, so I decided to use real cupcakes to help make it happen…. These baked goods would be from my wife, Vanessa’s own Qué Bueno Bakery, which is a bronze level Unicode sponsor for the cupcake emoji.

Okay, maybe I’m more than a little excited.

If you’re a 🦸 and testing out Gutenberg, the emoji won’t yet render when editing a post. There’s an issue for it—need to find a good way to ensure the emoji aren’t saved as images when they’re rendered via Twemoji.

What is your favorite new emoji coming soon to your WordPress site?

I’ll Have Another

Vanessa took a pregnancy test and you’ll never guess what happened next! Oh? You can? Just read on.

I never imagined being a father growing up. In my teenage, college, or early young adult years, I could never picture myself being a dad. Even having Olivia, it took years before I owned fatherhood. Losing my dad young in life was a part of it, but simply I never pictured myself with kids.

Things change.

Olivia and Catalina were born. I quit working to focus on being a stay-at-home dad. Teresa was born. I went back to work outside the family. Ana and Dorothy were born.

Fatherhood ain’t a bad gig. After five kids, fatherhood is part of my core identity. So, why stop there?

After a little hiatus that was long enough to sneak in a family trip to Disney World, Vanessa and I are back in the baby business. We’re happy to announce that the newest member of the Kraft team is expected to arrive in late November. 🤰

Yes. Another one.

Yes, newest member. Singular. The doctor looked. There’s only one kiddo in there this time. Bases checked.

With the first three, we waited until birth to learn if we were having a boy or a girl. With the twins, there were so many unknowns and we needed so many ultrasounds, we figured we should find out and save some poor tech accidentally saying something.

For this time around, we have two bedrooms for the girls and a boy would, well, require some decent reorganizing of our home sooner rather than later. We wanted to know how much chaos to expect in the near term!

Yup, another girl.

We appreciate all of your prayers in advance! The little one is due the same week as Vanessa’s birthday and the twins’ fourth birthday.

👰🏽🤵🏻👧🏼👧🏼👧🏼👧🏼👧🏼👶🏼

MLB Attendance Dropping? 💸⚾️

The Wall Street Journal reported on information out of the Owners Meeting that attendance at MLB games dropped 6.6% over last year.

I’ve been spoiled through the Round Rock Express and Texas Baseball. The cheapest seats for a Texas Rangers game is $17 for a random game I looked up high up in the outfield. For the Astros, $20 for the edge of the outfield.

At the Dell Diamond for an Express game I’m taking the family to next week, we bought seats 18 rows back for $12 a pop. I think the outfield lawn is $7.

We looked at tickets for an Astros game when heading to Houston later this summer, but our family is too big to justify that total cost for those seats. 🤷‍♂️

Have A Cupcake From Qué Bueno!

Vanessa’s Qué Bueno Bakery is the an official sponsor of the cupcake emoji!

Vanessa’s Qué Bueno Bakery is the latest Unicode Adopt-a-Character sponsor!

Unicode is the non-profit responsible for coordinating the Unicode Standard, which specifies how to encode text in virtually every modern electronic system. It is how every computer knows that when I type an “A” it should be an “A” everywhere. In addition to the standard alphabets that most English or Romantic language speakers are used to, the Standard sets Han characters (the unified character set for Korean, Japanese, and Chinese) and fun stuff like Emoji. More importantly, Unicode also standardizes a lot of far lesser-used text characters that helps promote continued scholarship and electronic usage for languages and character sets most of us have never heard from.

Just from Unicode 11, announced the first week of June, there were a number of areas with added support:

  • For the Mazahua language, a Mesoamerican language recognized by law in Mexico
  • For Mayan numerals used in printed materials in Central America
  • For Sanskrit manuscripts written in Bengali
  • For Gurmukhi manuscripts
  • For historic documents of the Buryats of the Barguzin Steppe

While people love emoji these days and they would likely get made either way, supporting Unicode enables support for these lesser-known scripts, which is pretty darn cool in my book.