The Provincial Emails
Can you tell warm-blooded from cold-blooded animals by sight? Sure, if you can see in the infrared.
Classics, Greats, Masterpieces
My reading list has gotten so long, I thought it time to select a short list. Here is a more manageable list of only the works rated "four star" and above. It's in reverse chronological order for you readers who try such lists but then find you can't get through Homer.
One of the authors whose recommendations I considered in compiling my reading list was Kenneth Rexroth. In addition to reviews, he wrote a considerable amount of poetry, much of which is in a newly-published collection. Here's a review.
The Evangelizing Parish: Theologies and Strategies for Renewal (1987), by Patrick J. Brennan
Fr. Brennan cautions against "programmitis," where a program is successfully implemented and continued but does not much affect the parish as a whole. He notes a then-recent article by Fr. Richard McBrien which says this too often happens with the Renew program. The approach Fr. Brennan advocates, however, is likewise susceptible to what I will call "processitis." The parish approves the flow charts and outlines, the checklists are checked, but the process becomes an end in itself. There is still not much effect on the parish as a whole. But the book is still worth reading for its succinct descriptions of the sources and signs of alienation from the Church.
Leaves of Grass (1855), by Walt Whitman
O take my hand, Walt Whitman!
Three Sisters (1900-1901), by Anton Chekhov
A new age in dawning, the people are marching on us all, a powerful, health-giving storm is gathering, it is drawing near, soon it will be upon us and it will drive away laziness, indifference, the prejudice against labour, and rotten dullness from our society.2003-03-30
HARK! THE HERALD
Spell Check Is Not the Answer
In their Letter to President Bush on Iraq, the American Catholic Bishops said,
We have no illusions about the behavior or intentions of the Iraqi government.The March 20, 2003 issue of the Catholic Herald tells what someone who does have such illusions sounds like in this article.
Before you read it, you might want to consider whether the folks at the Catholic Herald thought it was worth reading. According to the article, Sister said,
The Iraqis are unjustly being signaled out.If Iraq is where the signals are coming from, it's not unjust. She is also quoted as saying,
Since the Gulf War, a lot of the infrastructures that were damaged have not been replaced ...Is the other river the You Fray Tease?
Seville a tea
Archbishop Dolan's column provides the text of his Address to the Wisconsin Legislature on March 18, 2003.
Scholars, commentators, pundits, authors far wiser than I observe a destructive tendency in our society to throw to the side all civility, which I contend is the cement that keeps a respectful, trusting, productive society and community focused and fruitful.All right. Please have your newspaper proofread.
After months of discussion, it now appears that a tentative agreement has been reached regarding the war in Iraq.
Take up sailing, and you'll soon be on catalog mailing lists that tell you about other wind-powered sports, like landsailing and dirtsurfing.
Here are all the emoticons which you haven't seen on my site.
RHETORICAL QUESTION BOX
Q. We have the liberation of the rest of the Iraqi population from the brutality of Saddam Hussein--an argument with genuine moral weight, but even at that, the question remains: will the price be worth it? And: why these oppressed people, but not others?
A. Yet it is hard to explain why, because one cannot right wrongs everywhere, one should not try to right them anywhere.
Today is my web site's seventh anniversary.
Today is also the historical feast of
... St. Karin of Sweden, Virgin and daughter of Saint Bridget of Sweden. She died in 1381 and is the saint invoked for miscarriages.On our recent trip to Vienna, we found holy cards for St. Karin in a religious gift shop on the cathedral square. We bought some, but we couldn't find them when we unpacked.
Here's a story on the ruined chapel of St. Karin on the Swedish island of Gotland.
And in Finland, St. Karin is at latitude 60N, longitude 22E, at an altitude of 68 feet (21 meters).
RHETORICAL QUESTION BOX
Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, or the miracle of prayer, or both, most of Karen Marie Knapp is back at her blog. She quoted the recent letter on the Iraq war from Bishop Botean, then she closed with this question which drew this comment in response.
Q. There are many great and important things that are worth dying for; but what can be so great and important that it is worth killing for?
If, while you're on-line, you want to check periodically for the latest developments in the war, try the "Iraq latest: At-a-glance" link at BBC News Online
Madame Butterfly, music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, translated by Ruth and Thomas Martin, performed by the Skylight Opera Theatre.
HARK! THE HERALD
The March 13, 2003 issue has this article about a nun who gets the part in a community theater production of The Sound of Music.
[Sr. Judith] Schmidt, a member of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes for over 47 years, portrays stern novice mistress Sr. Bertha. ...Back then nuns wore habits. Also, there were novices.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Legal and journalistic technicalities
Also in the March 13, 2003 get an account of the recent dismissal of five consolidated sexual abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese. The headline writer and reporter disagreed over whose side they were on. The subhead says "Victims' lawyer vows to continue the battle" while the story describes one of the legal issues thus.
While the statute of limitations on the cases had expired, [Plaintiffs' attorney Jeffrey] Anderson sought to challenge the statute on a legal technicality. According to Anderson, the archdiocese failed to disclose information about Nuedling's propensity to abuse children. It was not until last year that the archdiocese publicly admitted that Nuedling was a child molester, said Anderson. He claimed this legal loophole, known as the discovery rule, meant the statute of limitations should be "tolled," or not begin, until last yearBased on prior newspaper stories, I can believe Mr. Anderson might have literally said he vowed to continue the battle. That he planned to appeal would make a more appropriate headline. I doubt Mr. Anderson said he based his argument on a "legal technicality" or a "loophole." He's arguing for an exception to a general rule, and it's not one so estoric as to be a "legal technicality" nor so unexpected as to be a "loophole."
One thing I do not see mentioned in reports of these cases is how the Plaintiffs' legal theories, if the courts would adopt them, could interact with the advocated disclosure of all past complaints of abuse. Consider the effect of combining such disclosure with the legal theory that if a priest commits any abuse after the Archdiocese knows of an earlier incident, the Archdiocese should now be liable. Someone who has a claim against, say, a long-dead priest might assume that there is no way or no point in pursuing a lawsuit against him. But if he sees that the priest was accused of an earlier incident, he would have a potential claim against the Archdiocese. Publicizing complaints will have the effect, among others, of soliciting claims against the Archdiocese.
P.S. You can read the court's case history here.
We're back at the Cow Palace at the Fond du Lac County fairgrounds for the annual sale of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women. This year, there was quite a few books of poetry, withdrawn and discarded by a local library. I found these by poets on my reading list:
Requiem and Poem without a Hero (1976), by Anna Akhmatova
In other areas, I found these.
Selected Writings: By Little and By Little (1992), by Dorothy Day, edited by Robert Ellsberg
ICH BIN EIN FRANKLINER
Some of our local citizenry is rather emphatically complaining about the incivility of and micromanaging by the City Council. (A former citizen member of the Finance Committee did tell me he resigned when he learned one of the aldermen was counting how many bullets the police fired at target practice.)
Meanwhile, judging by yard signs, there's a hotly contested election campaign here in the Fifth Ward.
NASA's Mars Explorer mission has reached the stage of deciding where to land the rover.
Coffee and Danish
David Frum, who was a speech- writer for Bush ... recounts ... what happened at a meeting in the Oval Office last September. The President, when talking to a group of reverends from the major denominations, told them,If it's presumption to consider sobriety better than drunkenness.
HARK! THE HERALD
While the cat's away on sabbatical
The March 6, 2003 issue reports on the use of computers in the Archdiocese in this article. For some context, remember that the internet has been around for decades and the Netscape browser was introduced in 1994. So when and how did the Archdiocese get started on-line?
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee started taking steps about five years ago toward becoming as paperless as possible, according to Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba.The boss leaves temporararily, and suddenly people start showing initiative.
While he was gone on sabbatical for six months, I was approached by a few individuals in the central office with the idea that we should develop a plan, and the initial goal was that all routine communication in the archdiocese would be done electronically by Jan. 1, 1999."Someone I met at last year's listening sessions told me he subscribed to the Catholic Herald to "read between the lines." Here we might be getting some insight into what it was like to work under Archbishop Weakland.
The committee arrived at four goals:Note that we've gone from "a few individuals" to "the committee." It set four goals which I'll summarize as: email, electronic forms (including fill-in forms), a Catholic Herald website, and an Archdiocese website.
The committee then presented its proposal to the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Once both bodies endorsed the plan, a cost analysis was done and the goals were gradually implemented.Perhaps they had to wait for the pastor to be on sabbatical. And they might have wondered how much technical support they could expect from the Archdiocese.
"I remember encouraging parishes to get some high school kids working on the project, because they could make a contribution and they knew more than anybody else," he [Sklba] said. ...As you'd expect, the balance of the article describes uneven and, by secular standards, somewhat slow progress.
You want Freedom Fries with that?
Next step is to send back the Statue of Liberty.
The latest New York Times Book Review includes this review of a biography of John Boyd.
He was not famous for achievements in aerial combat, although he was widely known as one of the best fighter pilots of his time, or for introducing new tactics or weapons, although his ideas strongly influenced both. Rather, Boyd was famous for a briefing.The briefing is "Patterns of Conflict" which you can find here.
We learn why one presidential campaign may be aborted in this article.
...[Congressman Dennis] Kucinich has an Achilles heel with Iowa liberals. I saw him speak before two small groups in the college town of Iowa City, and his attempt to explain away his pro-life congressional record seemed like a deal breaker for voters at both events. "They're not going to go with someone who bobs and weaves about something so important," says Catherine Denial...
In the latest (print) edition of The Atlantic Monthly, Richard Brookhiser observes that,
An important effect of going to business school is that it may keep one from going to law school.The Economist provides an update on the other effects.
ICH BIN EIN FRANKLINER
There's warm weather in the forecast so yesterday looked like it might be my last chance of the season to do some downhill skiing. One advantage to living in Franklin is it has a ski hill, so after work I could go home, change, put my equipment in my car, and be at the lodge in five minutes. From the top of the hill, you look out over about half of Milwaukee, with the downtown skyline to the northeast.
At the foot of the hill is the Timber Wolf Preservation Society facility. One night at Crystal Ridge something got the wolves excited. So I can say that I once was five minutes from home on top of a ski hill looking over the city lights listening to timber wolves howling.
Ski conditions were typical for Wisconsin. If you're used to skiing in fresh powder, this might seem like skating. Despite it likely being one of the last chances to ski, and despite half-price lift tickets, it wasn't crowded. Half the time there was no lift line at all.
Blessed are the cheesemakers
As this morning's newspaper explains in this front page story.
My parish hosted the communal Reconciliation service for our district this evening. In case you need clarification, Reconciliation is probably still more commonly referred to as Confession. The parishes of the Archdiocese are divided into districts, each headed by a Dean. Archbishop Dolan presided at the service. This is, presumably, part of his plan to get Catholics back to confession.
Despite there being a dozen or so priests available, a large percentage of the several hundred people in attendance waited in line to confess to the Archbishop. I didn't, having the benefit of this.
An alumnus [of the North American College in Rome] was telling me how he and his classmates went to see Padre Pio some forty years ago when seminarians here. They waited for hours in line to go to confession to him, but never got in. The next morning after Mass, they met him, and this young seminarian told Padre Pio how disappointed he was at being unable to confess to him. The great priest shrugged and said, "Go to confession back in Rome. It's the same thing!" He wasn't being rude--he was being realistic! Christ is the confessor; we priests are only his instruments.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
You can't trust any cause of action over 30
This morning's newspaper reports on Monday's dismissal of five recently filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese.
Anderson attempted to argue around the 1997 Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the statute of limitations, by saying that the victims learned only in the last two years that church officials were aware that Nuedling was a pedophile who had abused more than a dozen children. The church's failure to stop Nuedling amounted to fraud and negligence, which the victims didn't discover until decades after the abuse, Anderson argued.Usually the statute of limitations begins to run when the harm occurs. There is an exception for fraud. By its nature, fraud conceals the harm from the victim, and so the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the fraud is discovered. It is unclear how "failure to stop Nuedlng" would constitute fraud. There are a small but growing number of other situations in which this discovery rule applies. Anderson appears to be arguing that the Archdiocese negligently failed to stop Nuedling from abusing additional children after it was aware of past abuse, and that the statute of limitations should not begin to run until a plaintiff became aware that there were other victims.
But [Circuit Judge Michael] Goulee said the sexual abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago still served as the "underpinnings" of the victims' lawsuits. Until the state Legislature changes the law or the state Supreme Court changes its ruling, the victims' suits and similar cases cannot proceed, the judge said.Anderson said he would appeal.
War will seem in the Protestant culture wrong in itself, because it is painfully dangerous and will therefore only be waged against the weak. In the Catholic culture it will be admired or hated according to its object.
Here's the kind of question people ask a lawyer during a cocktail hour.
The Wisconsin Constitution provides in Article I, § 14,
All lands within the state are declared to be allodial, and feudal tenures are prohibited.What does "allodial" mean?
The best brief explanation I've found is in this case.
Under common law tradition, all private titles since Norman times have originated from title held by the sovereign. (1 Tiffany, The Law of Real Property s 13 (2d ed. 1920).) The seminal opinion in American jurisprudence analyzing the origin of sovereign titles and setting forth the principles by which conflicting title claims based upon competing sovereignties was authored by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall in Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. M'Intosh (1823), 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681. There, Chief Justice Marshall outlined the means by which sovereigns acquire title (conquest, cession and treaty) and stated that by the Treaty of Paris in 1783: "[T]he powers of government, and the right to soil, which had previously been in Great Britain, passed definitively to the states." Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. M'Intosh (1823), 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681, 691.In other words, when the government conveyed title to land to private citizens, it did not convey sovereignty over that land to them.
Alistair Cooke reminisces in this article.
LITURGICAL POLICE BLOTTER
Dishonesty in the defense of social justice is no vice
Some time back, Adoremus Bulletin discussed in this article some of the writings of Fr. John Huels OSM, who it described as an "influential liturgical canonist, professor of canon law and vice-dean of Saint Paul University in Ottawa." What I found particularly interesting is Fr. Huels' position on improvising inclusive language in liturgy.
The Code of Canon Law in Canon 846, § 1, says
The liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments. Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books.This seems to say that if you want to change anything, such as changing to inclusive language, you need to persuade the competent authority to change the liturgical books. On the contrary, according to Fr. Huels, you are legally obligated to use inclusive language despite what the liturgical books say.
In "Liturgy, Inclusive Language, and Canon Law", Huels argues that "minor adaptations in the texts ... to make them more inclusive are by no means against the intent and spirit of canon 846, § 1. On the contrary, because the purpose of the law is to promote the good of the community, the use of inclusive language best upholds the spirit of the law" (p 150 ...).Since he bases this on an obligation of all the faithful, then his argument would lead to the concusion that each Catholic has an obligation to change the words of the liturgy on the basis of an individual judgment that the change will promote social justice. It would not be limited to pastors or parish liturgy committees or parish directors of liturgy. Further, this analysis could lead to concluding that considerations other than social justice might permit or even require any individual to improvise liturgical language.
Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (SC 22)Huels has an answer to that.
"In the dialectical context of the council", Huels writes, the reason for the restrictive statement against unauthorized liturgical changes "doubtless ... was to reassure the conservative minority who did not want to change anything and who feared abuses.... The [restriction] thereby helped to bring about the consensus that ultimately resulted in the nearly unanimous favorable vote on the constitution as a whole".One purpose of dialogue, in Fr. Huels' view, is to put one over on the other side. This language, he indicates, served to mislead some of the bishops into voting for Sacrosanctum Concilium, thinking that these words would deter abuses. Now that those bishops are out of the way, Fr. Huels says we are free, or even obligated, to make changes which they might have considered abuses. Which would mean that the apparent consensus on at least one council document, under Fr. Huels' analysis, was procured by dishonest means.
I didn't expect to see an article about something written by the Pope in a major newspaper's entertainment section.
HARK! THE HERALD
One technical difficulty in citing the Catholic Herald is that the articles have one URL when linked from the latest issue and another when they are moved to the archive of past issues. So if I link to an article in the current issue, the links will go bad when the next weekly issue is posted.
The February 27, 2003 issue has its permanent links, and contains Archbishop Dolan's Herald of Hope column with an invitation to Catholics to return to confession.
For six months I've been telling you -- from the heart -- all the things I'm so happy about in this great church of southeastern Wisconsin. Now I'm telling you something I'm worried about: we aren't going to confession anymore.Can't quarrel with that approach to bringing up a problem.
Are you nervous about returning, nervous that you have forgotten how to celebrate the sacrament? Don't worry. Simply approach a priest and tell him you need help examining your conscience and celebrating the sacrament properly. The priest will be thrilled you're there.If he first told the priests he was going to say this, and got every one of them enthusiastic about it. If not, some people looking for the scheduled time for confessions might find,
... "Confession available by appointment." ... We cancel them because the people don't come; the people say they don't come because we cancelled the times!
Amitai Etzioni has a weblog.
Windy conditions in Cuba cause erosion
Kendall Powell tell how a robot submarine will chart the waters under the Antarctic ice shelf in this article. Let's hope it didn't come "batteries not included" since it's
Powered by 5,160 D-size batteries...
Shanthi Kalathil writes on the potential for the growth of the internet to undermine authoritarian governments from within their borders in this article.
And there's Uncle Joe, he's a-movin' kind o' slow, at the Kremlin.
Lysistrata and NSSOTUSA
There's been quite a bit of recent public reading of Lysistrata and private reading of The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
John Walker explains when and how you can view the planet Venus in broad daylight.
HARK! THE HERALD
CNS promotes Tony Blair
Blair's three stops at the Vatican in less than 24 hours may have set a record for a head of state.That is, if a prime minister was a head of state.
The February-March issue of The Jibsheet, newsletter of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center has an update from Jan Lawrence. You might recall that she is a longtime member who spending January through March volunteering her skills as a physical therapist at an orphanage in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. She writes about an invitation from Padre Rigo.
...we went on foot and horseback up the mountains to a Mayan pueblo to say mass and join them in their celebration. It took 2 hours to get there--there are no roads. ... The church is small, with the floor covered with pine needles and a whole band up on the altar. ... There were firecrackers going off--very exciting! Padre Rigo introduced me and then asked me to come up and talk! My Spanish is still not so great, so it was a good thing they spoke mostly their Mayan language.So far no indication she's been able to try sailing on the local lakes.