Common Ground is the physical and spiritual ground that we share together while alive on good ol' Planet Earth.
Wayne Dennis Kurtz.
News/OpinionCalifornia | LocalNationalWorldBusinessSportsWashingtonScienceEnvironmentOpinionArts/EntertainmentEntertainmentThe GuideCompany TownArts & CultureCalendarThe EnvelopeTV ListingsMovie ShowtimesLivingTravelHealthAutosHome & GardenFoodImageBooksLiving GreenMagazine Data DeskVideoPhotographyObituariesCrosswords/SudokuYour Scene BlogsColumnistsPrint EditionReaders RepCorrectionsAll SectionsBuy, Sell & MoreJobsCarsReal EstateForeclosure SaleRentalsPersonalsLocal ValuesCouponsNewspaper AdsPlace an AdIn the NewspaperOnlineSettings/ServicesSign InRegisterE-Mail Newsletters RSS FeedsHelpContact UsL.A. Times ArchivesReprint RequestsWork for UsHome DeliveryCustomer SupportSubscribeProtesting priest's path leads repeatedly to jail10:52 PM PDT, April 8 2009Single Page « Back |1|2|3The church remains open to homeless sleepers.Today, walking with Vitale in the Tenderloin is like touring with a celebrity. As he heads down Golden Gate Avenue from St. Boniface to a dining hall run by the Franciscans, homeless men and women call out, "Father Louie." Photos: Father LouieADS BY GOOGLEBe a Franciscan FriarAre you being called by God to be a Franciscan friar?www.vocation.orgOaxaca: What happened?A book of first hand accounts of the 2006 uprising in Oaxaca.www.casacollective.org/Catholic Nuns & the FullTruth About What Happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican IIwww.mostholyfamilymonastery.comA man in a scruffy camouflage jacket stops him and shakes his hand. A middle-aged woman, a little unsteady on her feet even though it's barely noon, gives Vitale a big hug. Slightly embarrassed by the attention, he chats with each of them briefly and asks after their health.In November, Vitale returned to Arizona to protest the training of military interrogators at Ft. Huachuca. After a similar protest in 2006, he received his harshest sentence for trespassing, five months in jail. Home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, the fort trains personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps in intelligence techniques. Vitale contends that military interrogators have been taught torture methods, an allegation the Army denies.About 200 protesters are gathered in a nearby park. Vitale, taking the microphone, delivers a stream-of-consciousness rap ranging from his time in the Air Force to his meeting former Abu Ghraib prisoners in Jordan.He theorizes that St. Francis suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after he joined a military expedition and was taken prisoner. "He came out and rebelled against any kind of war," the friar says. Vitale closes by invoking Cesar Chavez and leading a chant of "Si, se puede."Afterward, several people come up to have their picture taken with the friar."He's a rock star," says Chelsea Collonge, 24, a Catholic Worker activist and friend who was arrested with him at the Nevada Test Site. "He's so good at affirming people. He loves what he does. He loves people."The group marches more than a mile to the fort's entrance, where barricades block the way. Vitale, determined to get arrested, surveys the dozens of police near the entrance and calculates how to enter the fort."When you see that people are being tortured, what's a few months in jail?" he asks.He walks through the line of police, crosses the street and slips through two strips of yellow police tape. Across the road, the protesters watch and cheer."Sir, you're going to be arrested," a soldier with a bullhorn warns repeatedly.But that's exactly what he wants. He walks a few more steps into the custody of two burly military policemen, who handcuff him and put him in a van.The protest has no visible effect on the military's activities at the fort, but Vitale says results are not the point. "Effectiveness is not what we're after," he says. "We are doing what's right before God. That's what we are called to do, and what happens happens."Vitale has already begun his next protest, fasting and holding vigils at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Pilots there remotely fly Predator drones, which target terrorists but sometimes also hit civilians.He hopes to be arrested to commemorate the arrest of Jesus on Holy Thursday. If all goes well for the friar, he will be in custody by this firstname.lastname@example.org