Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Truman Capote

Recommended reading:
by Truman Capote at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Oscars Create New Truman Capote Biopic Category, The Onion, October 27, 2006

A Lad of the World: Truman Capote and the cost of charm, review by Joseph Epstein of Too Brief a Treat, The Letters of Truman Capote, edited by Gerald Clarke, Weekly Standard, December 6, 2004

The Truman Show, review by Daniel Mendelsohn of The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, and Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote, edited by Gerald Clarke, New York Times, December 5, 2004

Truman Capote’s first novel goes from wastebin to auction, by Andrew Buncombe, New Zealand Herald, December 4, 2004

Good Fibs, by Andrew O'Hagan, review of Truman Capote: In which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career, by George Plimpton, London Review of Books, April 2, 1998

American dream became American nightmare

Cheri Perkins Mantz, with Matthew Ryno, reports in our Catholic Herald on Juan Melendez's appearance at Marquette University to speak against the death penalty. Mr. Melendez spent 17 years on death row in Florida after being convicted of murder. He was later exonerated.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, but raised in Puerto Rico, Melendez dropped out of school after ninth grade, a decision he calls his worst mistake. He moved to the United States at 18 and began work in Delaware as a migrant worker, picking fruit.

"I migrated to the United States to make a better life," he said. "I was in search of the American dream, instead, unfortunately, I lived the American nightmare."

Others found it did no harm to Melendez's story to give a more complete picture. Our Herald's "American Dream" angle required omitting Melendez's prior bank robbery conviction.

Trick or Tract: Satan, Jack Chick, and Other Halloween Horrors

Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost,
Chick produces tracts and comics that look like work that R. Crumb would have produced had he attended Bob Jones University.

In this case, the tract "Boo!".

(via Steve Dillard at Southern Appeal)

Update: "Boo!" translated from Chick-Speak to English by Scott Ward at The Boar's Head.

Local Bishop Speaks Out About Marriage Amendment

Channel 3000 reports that Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison has sent a confidential letter ordering all the priests of his diocese to play a his recorded homily at this Sunday's masses. Among topics he addresses is the referendum on the defense of marriage amendment to the Wisconsin Consitution.
The second sentence in the amendment [2 pp. pdf] talks about legal status similar to marriage being outlawed. Some believe that statement went much farther than just defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, WISC-TV reported.

In his homily [wma], Morlino talks about such arguments.

"I am tired of reading that in the local newspapers. The nicest thing I can say about that in church is that it's bologna," said Morlino.

In the letter [2 pp. pdf], he told priests that any of them who express a disagreement with the church's teachings will be engaging in an act of disobedience, which could have serious consequences.

(via WisPolitics)

Update: Doug Erickson reports in the Wisconsin State Journal Bishop Morlino defends his vocal views on marriages, death penalty, stem cells
Morlino's warning to dissenting priests differs from the approach of his counterpart in Milwaukee, Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Dolan, publisher of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's newspaper, the Catholic Herald, ran a guest column last month by the Rev. Bryan Massingale that urged Catholics to reject a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Massingale, a Catholic priest and an associate professor of moral theology at Marquette University, could not be reached for comment Monday. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday that he has suffered no repercussions from Dolan.

Milwaukee Archdiocese spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said she was not aware of any contact Dolan has had with priests regarding what they can or cannot say about ballot issues.

Update 2: Pat Schneider reports in the Capital Times Morlino: Amendment stance universal truth
But those positions are not "Catholic" positions, Morlino said in a letter [2 pp. pdf] distributed to area media today. "These are not tenets of our 'faith' we are defending. They are universal truths, based on reason alone."

Reaction was swift.
Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said the bishops letter left him "speechless."

"We were defending the public's right to know who is trying to influence the election," McCabe said.

"Now he's saying these are not Catholic positions at all -- he's done a complete 180 on these issues," he said.

If "Catholic positions" means like whether or not to eat meat on Fridays in Lent.

When 'Catholic' isn’t Catholic

Maryangela Layman Roman reports in our Catholic Herald on local churches which use the name "Catholic" but which are not connected to the Archdiocese of Milaukee.
If you attend the service conducted in Latin in the Tridentine rite by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, would you have fulfilled your Sunday Mass obligation?

According to Zabrina Decker, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the answer is no.

According to a Letter by Msgr. Camille Perl Regarding Society of St. Pius X Masses, it's not recommended, and "If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin", but the answer is yes.

More at Open Book.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Standing on New Borders - Islam

This column by Father Ron Rolheiser ran in our Catholic Herald. His theme is the need for peace between Christians and Muslims. Or is it?
The Gospels recount an incident where, one day, Jesus was "walking along the borders of Samaria, when he met a woman." Scripture scholars assure us that what is being described here is more than mere geography and more than a simple conversation between Jesus and a Syro-Phoenician woman. A border is a boundary, the edges of something foreign, and Samaria and this woman were what was particularly foreign at that moment.

Samaria was a different ethnicity and a different religion, and the woman a different gender. In essence, the Gospels are saying: "One day Jesus was walking along the edges of ethnicity, religion, and gender, as these there then known and accepted."

Fr. Rolheiser sure has a knack for equivocal expression; the idea that Jesus pushes gender boundaries almost slips past.

George Sand

Recommended reading:
by George Sand at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Ashes to ashes, Sand to sand: Gillian Tindall finds the roots of French culture exposed in the wrangling over a writer's interment, The Guardian, September 13, 2003

Will George Sand Join the Immortals In the Pantheon? Why does a conservative French president want to reinter a famous socialist? by Benjamin Ivry, Opinion Journal, January 30, 2003

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A month of effort can make a change last

Philip Chard, a psychotherapist, in his "Out of My Mind" column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells what modern research shows about how to "acquire and sustain desirable new behaviors", like exercising regularly.
Think about it. The only reason you know how to walk, talk, write, catch a baseball, cook and all the rest is because, when you were learning this stuff, you kept at it. Sure, you fell a lot, babbled, scribbled, flubbed catches, burned pork chops and so on but, for the most part, you didn't let those setbacks stop you.

How much persistence is required to instill lasting change? Not that much.

Research indicates that if you implement a new behavior and continue it for 30 consecutive days, doing it at more or less the same time daily, there is about a 90% probability it will take hold. For example, if you want to exercise regularly ...you simply need to put your head down and push through those first 30 days of struggle and discomfort.

In other words, you have to get into the habit, and that takes a month of effort. Probably applies in reverse for breaking a bad habit. I appreciate him writing this up, but doesn't it sound like the kind of thing that everybody used to know?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quote of the Day: The court, by the way, is not being activist.

Mickey Kaus takes issue with the claim by Andrew Sullivan,
The [New Jersey supreme] court, by the way, is not being activist. It had no logical option but to apply its equal protection clause to everybody.

Kaus points out,
... a) The creation of a new protected class is pretty close to the paradigm of judicial activism; b) The final step taken by the New Jersey court may have seemed the "only logical option" only because of all the earlier activist steps the N.J. courts had taken to help bring the law to the point of giving some-but-not-full marriage rights to gays; c) ... the breathtaking speed with which this sort of radical cultural change has gone from being unmentioned to being a litmus test for all rational people is one of the things that worries ordinary voters and turns them into cultural conservatives ...
Kaus quotes Kevin Drum's observation,
Sullivan wrote Here Comes the Groom, an article for the New Republic that defended gay marriage, in 1989. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that the state needed to show a "compelling state interest" in order to continue denying gay people the right to marry. Vermont passed a civil union law in 2000 ...

Kaus concludes,
Four years from a provocative Andrew Sullivan TNR cover story to the law of Hawaii? Yes, that's alarmingly fast. Especially for constitutional law, which can't be repealed by simply electing new leaders. Especially for a change in family structure. (How many years did it take monogamy to displace polygamy? You mean how many millenia.) ...

The Moment We've All Been Waiting For

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) emails on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
... I can say without a doubt ... that on November 7th, we're going to win.

With that out of the way, what's next?

In Democrats Snatching Defeat from Victory's Jaws, Tom Engelhardt presents the post-1986 errors of a Democratic Congress as seen by Greg Grandin, "author of the other book endorsed by Hugo Chavez on his recent New York visit."
Rather than attacking Reagan's restoration of anticommunism as the guiding principle of U.S. policy, they focused on procedure -- such as the White House's failure to oversee the National Security Council -- or on proving that top officials had prior knowledge of the crimes.

(via Common Dreams)

What Grandlin says was the Democrats' mistake is just what Paul Krugman advocates in One-letter politics.

Even if the Democrats take both houses, they won't be able to accomplish much in the way of new legislation. They won't have the votes to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, let alone to override presidential vetoes.

But while the Democrats won't gain the ability to pass laws, if they win they will gain the ability to carry out investigations and the legal right to compel testimony.

Catholic women priests, banned by the Vatican, plan liturgy in city

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the Call to Action national conference to be held here next month. The conference includes
...presentation of Call to Action's 2006 Leadership award to Cindy Sheehan ...

... an opening plenary address by Sister Joan Chittister on "A Spirituality for Our Times" ...

... a Eucharistic liturgy ...

or so it is called by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, who will present it. The article notes Archbishop Dolan's Catholic Herald column warning that neither the ordinations nor the purported Eucharist are valid. While claiming validity,
We know our orders are not licit; they are against (church) law. We are saying we want to confront the law," Meehan [Womenpriests spokeswoman Bridget Mary Meehan] said.

If our prayers are answered with Karen Marie Knapp off the sicklist, perhaps the post she is contemplating can address directly how to judge the appropriateness of these protest ordinations and this protest Eucharist.

Update: Mike caught the link.

Samuel Beckett

Letter by letter: Lois More Overbeck finds collecting Samuel Beckett’s correspondence endlessly engaging, by Elizabeth Station, University of Chicago Magazine, July-August 2009

The Tony [Award] show was so long that at the end Godot finally arrived. --David Letterman, June 8, 2009

Beckett's novel Murphy, completed in 1936, the first work in which this chronically self-doubting author seems to have taken genuine if transient creative pride (before long, however, he would be dismissing it as "a very dull work, painstaking, creditable & dull"), draws on his experience of the London therapeutic milieu and on his reading in the psychoanalytic literature of the day. Its hero is a young Irishman who, exploring spiritual techniques of withdrawal from the world, achieves his goal when he inadvertently kills himself. --J. M. Coetzee, The Making of Samuel Beckett, The New York Review of Books, April 30, 2009, review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1: 1929–1940, edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck

One naturally seizes on such statements — and on all evidence of stasis, itinerancy, nausea, angoisse, etc. — because they are so utterly Beckettian. But our understanding of this adjective is radically enlarged by the evidence, in this correspondence, of other qualities. --Joseph O'Neill, I’ll Go On, The New York Times, April 2, 2009, review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume I: 1929-1940, edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck

Despite the comic patter consistent throughout the play, this expression of despair for the irremediable suffering of mankind clings to the characters like the fog one imagines inhabits the world outside their decaying cocoon. --Aisha Motlani, Incurable Despair, by Aisha Motlani, Shepherd Express, March 26, 2008, review of Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, performed by the Milwaukee Repertory Company

This ability to tear into what he dislikes but not let it blind him to what is admirable in a work or artist would remain typical of Beckett. --Gabriel Josipovici, Letters from Beckett, The Times Literary Supplement, March 11, 2009, review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume One: 1929–1940, edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck (via Arts & Letters Daily)

My Darlings, Colm Toibin on Beckett’s Irish Actors, London Review of Books, April 5, 2007

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tenure? Easy. Sainthood? Quite Possibly.

Sam Kean in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the cause for the canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
After earning a prestigious Agrege degree in 1923 -- a sort of European superdoctorate in philosophy that guarantees a job at a European university -- Fulton J. Sheen had offers to teach at both Columbia and Oxford. Excited but unsure, the young priest telegraphed his hometown bishop in Illinois to ask where he should go.

The answer? Back to Peoria, son. A local parish needed a priest. Bound by his vows, Father Sheen obeyed.

The summons home, it turned out, was a test to see if the future Archbishop Sheen could be humble -- a concern that dogged him his whole telegenic life.

How telegenic was he?
... Sheen became the best-known priest in the country, appearing as host of a show called Life Is Worth Living, on which he preached against the pessimism he saw in modern philosophy. The gig won him the 1952 Emmy for outstanding television personality ...

While it doesn't count as a miracle, Wikipedia recounts,
One of his best remembered presentations came in February 1953, when he forcefully denounced the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin. Sheen gave a dramatic reading of the burial scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, substituting the names of Caesar, Cassius, Marc Antony, and Brutus with those of prominent Soviet leaders: Stalin, Beria, Malenkov, and Vishinsky. From the bishop's lips came the pronouncement, "Stalin must one day meet his judgment." On March 5, 1953, Stalin died.

and, again not counted as a miracle,
The show would run until 1957, drawing as many as 30 million people on a weekly basis.

As many as 30 million people, who watched and listened each week as a bishop "preached against the pessimism he saw in modern philosophy".

(via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

Discussion or dissent?

Bill Glauber reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In recent weeks, a small number of priests have expressed reservations about the amendment, which would define marriage "as between one man and one woman" and deny "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals."

As the article later points out, that "small number" includes the 140 member priests' union local which has issued a press release endorsing not the views expressed by the bishops of Wisconsin's five dioceses, but those of Father Bryan Massingale.
One theologian even called for the amendment's rejection last month in a "guest opinion" for the Catholic Herald, where Dolan is not only a columnist but the publisher.

The Catholic Herald is published out of concern that there are not enough other places where people can see the bishops' views disputed.
A reprint of Massingale's opinion piece was distributed in bulletins at several local churches.

For example, St. Matthias, pp. 4-5 [6 pp. pdf]. Judged by column inches in the Catholic Herald and parish bulletins, Fr. Massingale is Bigger Than Jesus.
Yet by taking the stand he did, Massingale now finds himself in a different position, his profile raised a little higher beyond the usual academic and religious circles.

Not that publicity could be a motive, in case you got the wrong impression from the priests' union's December 13, 2005 meeting minutes [2 pp. pdf] in which they consulted with Tom Heinen on how to get their statements in the newspaper.

(via Dad29)

Henry Fielding

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Excerpt from Lucky Man

In Chapter 8: Unwrapping the Gift, Michael J. Fox recounts his September 28, 1999 appearance at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.
I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.

(via Get Religion)

One Holy Apostolic Rite

A pictorial manifesto by "New Catholic" at Rorate Caeli in response to dire warnings by French clergy about a universal indult for the Latin Mass.

(via Open Book)

The God Squad

From The Economist, October 26, 1996
... Catholic bishops published a report [The Common Good] this week, aiming to apply their church's teaching to "the choices we face ... especially as we approach a general election." Labour, with reason, greeted the document as an endorsement. ...

... Of course the bishops disagree with both parties and nearly all voters on issues such as abortion and sexual license. Far more space is therefore devoted to a discussion of "morality in the marketplace" and related matters. Here the report peddles a populist line that conforms to Labour's, not only in substance but also in rhetorical technique.

In particular, much effort is given to attacking the "dogma" (look who's talking) of "unlimited free-market capitalism". The question is, what has this to do with Britain? There is no such thing as unlimited free-market capitalism anywhere, never mind in a country where public spending, after 17 Tory years, accounts for nearly half the economy. No serious thinker--certainly not Adam Smith, who gets a thumping from the bishops--has ever proposed it. ... To say that Britain's election at the next election requires a view on the merits of "unlimited free-market capitalism" implies that one of the parties supports it; though, obviously, the bishops can't say which one, because that would be improper. No party supports it. The intellectual centre of the report is no more than propaganda: pro-Labour propaganda.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Debate extends beyond marriage amendment

Timely in light of today's decision by the New Jersey Supreme court is Cheri Perkins Mantz's report in our Catholic Herald on a debate on the proposed defense of marriage amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution.

For a "No" vote, Mike Tate, campaign director for Fair Wisconsin.
"Gay marriage is already illegal in Wisconsin and nothing on the ballot can change that," said Tate.

The something that could change it is a decision by the Wisconsin courts saying current law violates the Wisconsin Constitution, similar to what happened in Massachusetts. The proposed amendment would prevent that.

For a "Yes" vote, Julaine Appling, CEO of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin.
"Vermont-style civil unions are exactly the same as marriage," she continued. "Who gets to define marriage? We, the people, or a judge?"

In Vermont, it was the courts which mandated civil unions. That's why the proposed amendment [2 pp. pdf] has it's second sentence.

Religious beliefs at core of death penalty opposition

Maryangela Layman Roman, in our Catholic Herald, interviews Jeff Sweetland, an attorney who once represented a defendant convicted of murder and eventually executed. Mr. Sweetland works with the Death Penalty Project of Milwaukee's Catholics for Peace and Justice.

What does he think motivates people who disagree with him?

"... We want to be tough guys, we don’t want to look like sissies and I think thats what an awful lot of this is."

Churches may close in consolidation

Jesse Garza reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on likely closings and mergers of parishes in and around West Allis (an old western suburb of Milwaukee).
Options for both clusters would also depend on the number of priests available and financial status of each parish.

Local Catholics are decreasing Mass attendance and participation in the sacraments, doing their best to ease concerns over priests' workloads, but it's a difficult process.

Jane Austen

Pride. Prejudice. Perfection. by Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, July 30, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies , Seth Grahame-Smith’s sly zombification of Jane Austen’s Regency-era romance, is no act of literary desecration. To the already-irresistible story of the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennett and the proud Mr. Darcy, Grahame-Smith adds only the lightest sprinkling of walking corpses, Shaolin training, katana duels, dojos on country estates, and young ladies succumbing to the strange plague. --Donna Bowman, review, A.V. Club, April 16, 2009

Classic stories still retain their storytelling power centuries later, and smart remakes do well to retain much of the original plot. That's the case in a new literary mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, where Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy take time away from courtship to hone their martial arts skills on the walking dead... --Jeremy Hsu, Why Dead Authors Can Thrill Modern Readers, Live Science, posted: 15 April 2009 09:37 am ET (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Many Austen fans would give anything to enter the charming world of her novels-a scenario explored recently in the successful BBC series "Lost in Austen" and Laurie Viera Rigler's Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. --Aisha Motlani, Austen’s Powers, Shepherd Express, March 15, 2009

Currently in the works are two horror films based on Jane Austen's best-loved novel, titled - Google them if you think it's a joke - "Pride and Predator" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." --Joanne Weintraub, Rep puts its pride into Austen adaptation, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 4, 2009

Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class. --Henry Churchyard, Everybody loves their Jane Austen

You've Read the Novels (Now Read the Footnotes) by William Grimes, review of The Annotated Pride and Prejudice edited by David M. Shapard, The New York Times, March 16, 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

A question of pride: So Pride and Prejudice has been voted most life-changing novel - but how well do you really know it? by John Sutherland, Guardian, December 13, 2004

Change your life with Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice wins Radio 4 poll of women's fiction, by Hadley Freeman, Guardian, December 9, 2004

Jane Austen, Public Theologian, by Peter J. Leithart, First Things, January 2004

Hume, Austen, and First Impressions, by Rodney Delasanta, First Things, June/July 2003

The Sense and Sensibility of Betrayal: Discovering the Meaning of Treachery through Jane Austen, by Rodger L. Jackson, Humanitas 2000 No. 2

The Collected Work of Jane Austen, by Jane Austen, Ultra-Condensed by Christina Carlson and Peter da Silva, at Book-A-Minute Classics

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hot-button issues: War

In this "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan reaches for what must be a very hot button, so hot it takes him a long time to actually touch it.
Now... and here's the "hot-button issue" ... is war always and everywhere (intrinsically) evil?

We have to respond, no.

And he quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2309, then goes on.
Which brings us to the current urgent debate on the war in Iraq. Thoughtful voices can be heard on both sides, one maintaining that American initiatives in Iraq are morally licit and meet the classical requirements of a "just war," the other holding that our military action there is not only a political disaster but clearly immoral.

Sounds like a matter of what is referred to as prudential judgment.
It must be stated that the voices of Pope John Paul II and of Benedict XVI (both as pontiff and as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), as well as of the bishops of the United States, strongly and consistently question the wisdom and morality of this current war.

Sure, but we see the prudential judgment of our bishops barely acknowledged when our priests are of a different opinion. So why should we expect lay people to see the bishops' judgments as significant when our pastors don't?

Stuck in the Sixties

...Some people and some parishes immediately following Vatican Council II seemed way out ahead of the pack in the implementation of that council. They may even have wanted to give the impression that they were the true implementers of the council and that the others would eventually catch up with them.

But now they seem fossilized, frozen in the '60s. The church has simply not moved in the direction they thought it would: it took a different turn. Now instead of being avant-garde, these parishes of the '60s appear just out of step and idiosyncratic. ...

...Many then saw the priest as purely functional, the hired help at their beck and call, not really needed, since the laity were soon to take over the church from the clergy.

Often we noticed that that group, when they had control, turned out to me more "clerical" than the clergy. ...

--Archbishop Rembert Weakland in the "Herald of Hope" column, Catholic Herald, October 24, 1996

Sir Walter Scott

Recommended reading:
by Sir Walter Scott at Reading Rat

Reference: The Walter Scott Digital Archive, Edinburgh University Library

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): Life of Sir Walter Scott by Richard H. Hutton (1888)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Not this Time.

James Carville emails on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
The American people finally get it.

I hope it hasn't been a strain for his party to be so patient with us.

Nobel Prize Library

This work on winners of the Nobel Prize in literature was published in 20 volumes by Alexis Gregory, New York, in 1971. At least, I think it's 20 volumes. It has tables of contents on for the individual volumes, and those lack volume numbers. When a search of the Library of Congress on-line catalog did not include all the volumes, I decided to prepare a list from my set and whatever information I could find. The print set includes, for each laureate, the presentation address, any acceptance speech, a work of the laureate significant to the judge's decision, bibliography, and a brief explanation of the reasons for the laureate's selection. For this post, I've linked to the Nobel Foundation's information on each one.

1. S. Y. Agnon, Ivo Andric

2. Miguel Angel Asturias, Jacinto Benavente, Henri Bergson

3. Samuel Beckett, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Pearl Buck, Ivan Bunin

4. Albert Camus, Winston Churchill

5. Giosue Carducci, Grazia Deledda, Jose Echegaray, T. S. Eliot

6. Rudolf Eucken, Anatole France, John Galsworthy

7. Andre Gide, Karl Gjellerup, Paul Heyse

8. Gerhaupt Hauptmann, Verner von Heidenstam, Johannes V. Jensen

9. Halldor Laxness, Maurice Maeterlinck, Thomas Mann

10. Francois Mauriac, Frederic Mistral, Theodor Mommsen

11. Roger Martin du Gard, Gabriela Mistral, Boris Pasternak

12. Ladislas Reymont, Romain Rolland, Bertrand Russell

13. Nelly Sachs, Jean-Paul Sartre, George Bernard Shaw, Frans Eemil Sillanpaa, Rene Sully-Prudhomme

14. Giorgos Seferis, Mikhail Sholokhov, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Carl Spitteler

15. St.-John Perse, Liugi Pirandello, Henrik Pontoppidan, Salvatore Quasimodo

16. William Faulkner, Eugene O'Neill, John Steinbeck

17. Ernest Hemingway, Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse

18. Yasunari Kawabata, Rudyard Kipling, Sinclair Lewis

19. Juan Ramon Jimenez, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Par Lagerkvist, Selma Lagerlof

20. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Rabindranath Tagore, Sigrid Undset, William Butler Yeats

I'm posting the list now as part of a housecleaning. My study is overflowing with books and something has to go. I've decided it will be works that are substantially available for reference on line. Doing that with this set emptied a shelf, and I can get a stack or two of books off the floor. The set I'll donate to the local library Friends for their resale fundraising.

Protesters' words, actions speak for peace

Karen Mahoney reported, special to your Catholic Herald, on an anti-war protest by Peace Action Wisconsin.

The cover photo is from a prayer service with liturgical dancers bearing large votive candles around a peace pole.

The peace pole was also at Cardinal Stritch College for what appears to be a Renaissance Faire for Peace.

NCCW convention draws nearly 850 to Milwaukee

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on the biennial General Assembly of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), held in Milwaukee. Much of the article was about NCCW recruiting.
Lawton [Carlotta Lawton from the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois] said some of the newer activities implemented in her diocese to attract younger members include golf outings, knitting groups, a fashion show and Christmas craft bazaar.

Nem members are then encouraged to start a program in their parishes.
"Bunco, knitting and golf outings were all started by younger members on their own because there was an interest," she said. "Women like to go out. We also find our bus trips draw a varied age group."

That's it for specifics on what NCCW does.

Update: There's more at the NCCW web site, such as the Spring 2006 issue of its Bulletin Board newsletter.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Recommended reading:
by William Makepeace Thackeray at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): Authors' Calendar, by Petri Liukkonen (2008)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Left, right and religion: A double standard

Patrick Hynes and Jeremy Lott in USA Today
Americans have proved willing to grant some authority to religious leaders in matters of faith and morals, and rightly so. But they are more skeptical when it comes to ceding control of the economy to people who draw paychecks from the not-for-profit sector.

(via Catholic and Enyoying It!)

Salvatorian brother called to social justice ministry

Catherine Jozwik reported, special to your Catholic Herald, on her interview of Salvatorian Brother Blaire Mazur.
He and the Salvatorians have worked for many local shelters, including Repairers of the Breach, a homeless shelter in downtown Milwaukee, and the Cathedral Women’s Shelter, a center for homeless and abused women.

There was a "God or the Girl" prelude.
Around age 19, after graduating from a public high school, Br. Blaire felt a calling to religious life. His plans were put on hold, however, after he met a young woman, Briana, and fell in love. Br. Blaire and Briana dated for three and a half years, but around the third year of their courtship, Br. Blaire felt God calling him back to religious life. While working on a social justice committee in New Jersey, Br. Blaire realized that he was meant for that lifestyle.

He realized that he could not create "a happy balance between ministry and a relationship" and that God came above everything else.

Charles Dickens

It's no "Bleak House" or "Great Expectations," but it nevertheless has held a curious grip on certain readers. Ever since "Drood" was published shortly after Dickens's death, people have puzzled over how it might have ended -- and specifically whether the character of Edwin Drood was murdered and who might have killed him. --John J. Miler, The Continuing Story of 'Edwin Drood', The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2009, review of Drood, by Dan Simmons, and The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl

There is a lost book by Dickens, one that recorded some of the most remarkable encounters of his life. Within it, he catalogued the stories told him by the women – prostitutes, confidence tricksters, thieves and attempted suicides – whom he interviewed before they were admitted to Urania Cottage, the refuge for fallen women he established in Shepherd’s Bush in the 1840s and effectively directed for a decade or more. --John Bowen, Dickens's Refuge for Fallen Women, The Times Literary Supplement, February 18, 2009, review of Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women, by Jenny Hartley

Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry says it has perfected the recipe for Oliver Twist's most famous meal — workhouse gruel.

Members of the society consulted historical sources and Charles Dickens' beloved novel to recreate the porridge, which is made from water, oats, milk and an onion. --The Associated Press, Chemists concoct Dickensian gruel, January 13, 2009, ABC News (via JSOnline)

Reading Dickens Four Ways: How Little Dorrit fares in multiple text formats, by Ann Kirschner, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Life would be poorer without the characters to whom he provided an introduction: Skimpole, Mrs. and Mr. Jellaby, Scrooge, Micawber, Edwin Drood, Miss Flite, Buzfuz, Fagan, Pickwick and Pecksniff, and on and on. --Richard John Neuhaus, The Fantastic Shadows of Charles Dickens, The Public Square column, First Things, November 2008

The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the quintessential yuletide tale, read and rehashed the world over. Why has it been so perennially popular? The Week, December 22, 2006

The Case for Ebeneezer, by Butler Shaffer, Lew Rockwell, December 13, 2004

The eternal mystery, by Peter Ackroyd, Guardian, December 4, 2004

Hands that mould the imagination: How Great Expectations moves the reader as great fiction should, by Sarah Waters, The Guardian, March 1, 2003

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Fathers" Cooper, Schramm, Mich, Massingale, and the Gays, Part One

Dad29 notes that the local priests union issued a press release on the upcoming statewide referenda.

Here's your chance to test your power of clairvoyance. In the the minutes of the priests union's December 13, 2005 meeting,
We have discussed the possibility of getting some issues out in front of the membership for discussion/action through our website. Steve Amann was asked to get the Alliance Bulletin Board Website cleared off; and then Dave Cooper would post a listing of topics and descriptions and notify the membership by email that guys should check out the website listings. The membership would be invited to comment and share opinions and state priorities. Among the issues was the new proposed legislation banning Gay Marriage in Wisconsin.

They have a committee examining the recent Vatican document on the unsuitablity of homosexuals for the priesthood. As you can see in the minutes of their March 13, 2006 meeting, they call this committee the "Witch Hunt Group".

Now, guess which way the press release says they went on the defense of marriage amendment referendum. Did they agree with the Wisconsin bishops who are in favor, or with Fr. Bryan Massingale who is opposed?

Check your answer against the press release [2 pp. pdf].

Until the fax come out

Bought the latest Milwaukee Magazine for the Catholics in Crisis cover story. Among those interviewed for the story were Bishop Richard Sklba and Father Javier Bustos. The article recounts how Bishop Sklba chaired a Catholic Biblical Association of America task force that produced a 1979 report suggesting there is "no historical reason not to ordain women." If that's not enough, here's more historical revisionism via the article's interview with Fr. Bustos, who came here in 1995.
But by the time the report was published, John Paul II had become pope and the church was moving in a different direction. Sklba, then still a priest, says he was pressured to tone down the report. He refused, and almost wasn't appointed a bishop, says Bustos. (Sklba confirms that he refused to tone down the report but would not discuss almost being denied an appointment.) In his office, as a bittersweet reminder, Sklba keeps a statue of the prophet St. Jeremiah shown in stocks and "punished for saying the truth." [p.55]

Thus nicely exemplifying that combination of self-pity and disingenuousness so commonly encountered among our local clergy.

Here's Archbishop Weakland's account, from The Education of an Archbishop (1992), by Paul Wilkes, pp. 58-59.
"Take the appointment of Bishop Sklba. The Wisconsin province had recommended Father Richard Sklba as an auxilary bishop for the Milwaukee archdiocese, and in 1979 the word came down that he was about to be named. ... Then, between the time of the announcement and the date of his consecration, I got a phone call: The Vatican was going to cancel the appointment.

"Not long before, Sklba had chaired a Catholic Biblical Association committee that was charged with examining whether Holy Scripture precluded the ordination of women. In his rather lengthy report was a line or two stating that Scripture in fact did not preclude women priests, and pointing out that the fact that the Apostles were all men couldn't in itself be used to defend an all-male clergy. ...

"I couldn't let that [cancelation] happen. ... Cardinal Casaroli, [Pope John Paul II's] secretary of state ... asked us to draft some sort of statement, acceptable to the Pope, that would in essence have Sklba back down from his position. We drafted something -- not a backing down but an attempt to put Sklba's statement in the context of church teaching -- and the word came back that the Pope said no. We drafted another statement and waited. Dick was to be consecrated on a Wednesday. ... Finally, late Saturday night, we got word that the Pope had approved, but with the stipulation that the statement appear in the Milwaukee papers on Tuesday, the day before Sklba's consecration. Well, the papers not only didn't play the statement as Sklba backing down but gave it the angle that he stood behind what he had originally written. We sent the articles on to Rome, but, fortunately, it being the pre-fax era, they didn't arrive in time for Rome to respond. So, while Sklba's career was certainly stalemated right off the bat, he was consecrated a bishop."

Think "truth arbitrage". It's not a new or uniquely Catholic phenomenon. Here's an example from The Long Shadows of Lambeth X (1969) by James B. Simpson and Edward M. Story, their account of the 1968 meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion.
The unauthorized addition of two words, and women, in the bound proceedings of Lambeth X made it appear that the bishops recommended the ordination of women to the diaconate--thus implying that they would be in line for advancement to the priesthood.

That was decidedly not the case and subsequent investigation brought to light one of the greatest ironies of all Lambeth Conferences--that the Archbishop of York, who as head of the Ministry Section had suggested that the misleading words be removed at the time the Resolution was on the floor, was, by his own admission, responsible for later reinserting them when the approved Resolution was put in the hands of the printers. [p. 171]

I note those who say they want to advocate the ordination of women want to decide what arguments the other side can use. Compare Bishop Sklba's CBA report to this from Lambeth X.
Of the five resolutions (Nos. 34-38), the first was of basic importance because in a single sentence it swept away a longtime barrier: the belief that since Christ chose only male apostles those who followed in apostolic succession should be male. The Archbishop of York and his party consistently sought to downgrade the argument as "silly" and "insulting". [p. 188]

Certainly easier than showing that it's wrong.


Lofts let renters live above the shop

Paul Gores reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinelon the continuing trend toward living in the same building where one operates a business.

I'll have to go back and ask again why it's essential that Catholic pastors live away from their parishes.

Binding faith, family

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Pastor Osie Tatum Jr.'s new 900 seat church. His congregation is now only 400 so he must be anticipating growth.

I'll have to go back and re-read Archbishop Weakland's explanation why almost all the inner city Catholic parishes had to be closed.

George Eliot

Eminent Victorian: The story of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, by Joseph Epstein, The Weekly Standard, June 8, 2009, review of The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (via Arts & Letters Daily)

David's Bookshelf 64 by David Frum, National Review, February 18, 2008, and David's Bookshelf 65, February 24, 2008

George Eliot: Good Without God, by Alan Jacobs, First Things, April 2000

Complexity & contradiction: Virginia Woolf & George Eliot, review by Brooke Allen of Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee & George Eliot: A Life by Rosemary Ashton, The New Criterion, November 1997

Friday, October 20, 2006

Catholics in Crisis

More on this article Mike mentioned, from a statement by Peter Isely, SNAP [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests] National Board and Midwest Director, Milwaukee.
In 2005, according to this month's [November's] Milwaukee Magazine cover story [print only] on the crisis in the Catholic Church in Milwaukee, 20,000 registered Catholics in the archdiocese left the church.

... In addition, financial contributions under Dolan, unlike other dioceses that have turned the corner on the abuse crisis, are in alarming decline.

Update: The article blurb says
One of the nation's most Catholic archdioceses is hurting bad. Can new outreach programs and a super-salesman archbishop win back people's trust?
by Mary Van de Kamp Nohl

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Recommended reading:
by Nathaniel Hawthorne at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Hawthorne, by Brenda Wineapple, American Literary Scholarship, 1998

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Priest Acknowledges Relationship With Foley

Howard Schneider and Debbi Wilgoren of the Washington Post report on a telephone interview with Rev. Anthony Mercieca, identified as the priest who had an intimate relationship with Congressman Mark Foley back when Foley was a 12 or 13 year old altar boy.
"The whole idea is . . . that I did something that he did not like, but at the time he did not say anything."

Apparently thinking Foley wasn't complaining then, but now the squealing begins.

Free-speech group decries Marquette removal of quote

Megan Twohey reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The quote: "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."

It's from a column by Dave Barry. A graduate student teaching assistant in the Philosophy Department put it on his office door.
But shortly after the quote went up, it was removed by the department's chairman, associate professor James South. In a Sept. 5 e-mail to Ditsler and the other teaching assistants, South called the quote "patently offensive." He said free-speech zones required him to take it down.

"I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not 'free-speech zones,' " South wrote. "If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note."

Here's the Philosophy Department page on the MU web site. The department logo symbolizes that they're in the dark because no one knows how many of its faculty it will take to screw in that light bulb.

Update: It will take more than four, according to an email from the quote-removing Department Chair James South to the quote-posting T.A..

I did not do so unilaterally, but consulted two members of the Executive Committee and the Assistant Chair.

Washington Irving

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Reference: About Washington Irving, Historic Hudson Valley

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): A Storyteller's Life Story by Richard Brookhiser, review of The Original Knickerbocker by Andrew Burstein, Opinion Journal, February 27, 2007
(via Althouse)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dolan considered a strong candidate for New York

In today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Heinen collects other media reports on the possibility that Archbishop Dolan would be appointed Archbishop of New York when Cardinal Egan resigns.
A native of Missouri, Dolan, 56, was installed as Milwaukee's archbishop on Aug. 28, 2002. At the time, he was seen by some observers as on the fast track to gain a cardinal's red cap and unlikely to stay here more than a few years.

Well connected to the Vatican, Dolan previously served in Washington, D.C., as secretary to two papal nuncios, the pope's representatives in the United States, and as rector of the Pontifical North American College, an elite seminary in Rome.

Asked about rumors Archbishop Dolan has been walking the halls of the Cousins Center singing the theme from The Jeffersons,
Milwaukee archdiocesan spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said, "To speculate on a possible successor to Cardinal Egan when he continues to serve the people of the Archdiocese of New York is not appropriate."

Edgar Allan Poe

"There comes Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge,
Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge,
Who talks like a book of iambs and pentameters,
In a way to make people of common-sense damn metres,
Who has written some things quite the best of their kind,
But the heart somehow seems all squeezed out by the mind..."
--James Russell Lowell, A Fable For Critics, VI. Poe and Longfellow, Read book online

Nearly everything Poe wrote, including the spooky stories for which he is best remembered, has this virtuosic, showy, lilting, and slightly wilting quality, like a peony just past bloom. --Jill Lepore, The Humbug: Edgar Allan Poe and the economy of horror, The New Yorker, April 27, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Poe was a literary writer ne plus ultra, a hero to Verlaine and Baudelaire, an avatar to Romantics, Symbolists and Surrealists. But he is also a giant precursor to today's genre writing: the acknowledged father of the detective story, thanks to his story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"; the godfather of American horror writing and filmmaking (take a bow, Vincent Price); and a kindly uncle to science fiction tradition, thanks to his hoax stories and his influence on H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. --Jim Higgins, 'Life Cut Short' traces Poe's enduring influence, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 18, 2008, review of Poe: A Life Cut Short, by Peter Ackroyd

A good story, Poe wrote, must have "a single effect." Every element must work together to put "the soul of the reader" at the writer's mercy. In his tales of terror and his stories of ratiocination, considered early examples of detective fiction, Poe is the master of this "single effect." --Carole E. Barrowman, Toast Poe's birthday with tales new and old, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 17, 2009, review of In the Shadow of The Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Michael Connelly, and On a Raven's Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allen Poe, edited by Stuart Kaminsky

For promoting Poe, no city can compete with Baltimore, which named its football team the Ravens in his honor. It also has the Poe birthday tradition that fascinates the public - each year, a mysterious visitor leaves a half-full bottle of cognac and three red roses at his original gravesite. --Ben Nuckols, Cities battle over Poe's legacy, Associated Press, WTOP

In the “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the first detective story ever written, one can feel the trepidation and excitement of C. Auguste Dupin as he wanders the winding streets of Paris in the dead of the night. Poe knew man’s inner conflict better than most, and expressed it fifty years before Freud bought his first couch. --Edward Lawrence, Poe Man’s Immortality: The great author lives on in comic books, cartoons, and wherever dark secrets of the human heart are written, Humanities, September/October 2008

Poe: An Assay (I), poem by Jane Hirshfield, Threepenny Review, Fall 2003

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bret Harte

On this author from the The Harvard Classics The Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Bret Harte, The Online Books Page

Monday, October 16, 2006

Robertson Davies

Is it just my imagination or has Robertson Davies faded considerably over the past decade? --Joseph Bottum, On Robertson Davies, On the Square, October 16, 2006, 9:39 AM

The dominion of Robertson Davies, by Brooke Allen, on the author's work and a new biography, Robertson Davies: Man of Myth by Judith Skelton Grant, The New Criterion, April 1996

Other works online:

Literature and Moral Purpose, by Robertson Davies, First Things, November 1990

2006 Leadership Convocation Tending the Lord's Vineyard

At the Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site
The Parish Leadership Conference, "Tending the Lord's Vineyard," will take place Saturday, October 21, 2006 at the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center.

Unless the realtors schedule a showing for a prospect?

Before you click to the link to the program [3 pp. pdf], consider that the file is 11 megabytes, so it could take a while. Odd that we can have parishes without web sites yet the folks at the Archdiocese assume everyone had a connection so fast that there'd be no problem downloading this. The document's only three pages so the enormous file size apparently is due to the vineyard graphic and the color photo of featured speaker Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.

My personal favorite among the workshops is "Tasting & Sharing the Wine: Re-Evangelizing the Faithful".

We all know someone who is missing at the Table, someone who once joined us at Sunday Mass. Perhaps they are searching elsewhere for direction and answers in their lives. Perhaps they have no time. Maybe they do come but go away unnoticed or ignored. In this workshop we will discuss the meaning we "taste" through the Word of God and ways we can share that "living wine" of faith at home, in our work places, neighborhoods and larger communities. Evangelization is everyone's responsibility.

When I "discerned" for Parish Council ten years ago, I raised the issue of getting more parishioners to attend Mass. My then-pastor and the Director of Adult Ministry had panicked responses on why that did not need to be addressed. As I've noted before, years later a parish insider clued me in that the real but unstated parish policy was to not try to get attendance up because that would mean more work. With the benefit of that insight, the way the parish was run made sense.

Maybe someone can let me (or Mike) know if devangelization is the real archdiocesan policy as well.


Edward Everett Hale

On this author from the The Harvard Classics The Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Edward Everett Hale, The Online Books Page

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Julius Caesar

Caesar was careful with his own language. His war with his rival Pompey -- the attack he was masterminding during his sojourn by the Rhône -- is not called a "civil war" by him. That pejorative name came later. He never described the "crossing of the Rubicon" in his memoirs either. The phrase that later denoted an irrevocable step or a self-justified illegality was avoided by the man who actually crossed that stream near Rimini in 49 B.C., formally leaving the province of Gaul, where he had lawful power, for Italy, where he did not. --Peter Stothard What Came After The Ides of March, by Peter Stothard, review of 'Caesar: A Life in Western Culture', by Maria Wyke, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2008 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Recommended reading:
by Julius Caesar at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): Caesar, Augustus and the fall of a republic, review by David Walton reviews Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy, and Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor, by Anthony Everett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 2006

300 million Americans? Bad news for Bambi

Gregory Stanford in his column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports from the Disney Cartoon Reality-based Community.
The state aims to thin the deer herd, which numbers about 1.6 million, close to an all-time high. ...

But what about the human herd? It's swelling to a milestone in America: 300 million, the U.S. Census Bureau says. By contrast, deer number just 30 million. Bambi would doubtless argue it's humans who need thinning. And the deer's logic would be impeccable: Humans have despoiled Mother Earth far greater than have deer.

A Letter to Catholics in Wisconsin on Defining Marriage in Our State Constitution

This letter from the Wisconsin Bishops was an insert in this week's bulletin at St. Al's. They must have decided to give the bishops equal time.

There was an insert on the Human Concerns Committee's effort to have the parish sponsor a refugee family, probably Hmong or Somali, in cooperation with Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

And there was an insert on this year's mission trips. After Mass I signed us up, tentatively, for a fall trip to Peru where we'd teach English as a Second Language. Carpentry Shop storage August 2006If we can't do that, there are available April and August trips back to the orphanage in Santa Apolonia, Guatemala. (See May 2006 and scroll down.)

Update: Here's a photo of testing on the new storage shelving our August 2006 group helped build for the orphanage carpentry shop.

Mark 10:19.5

from The Sardonic Verses
17As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." 19.5And, it went without saying, you shall not ask one question too many. 20He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 22At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

John Milton

Johnson was, understandably, reluctant to be Milton's biographer, remarking that there already existed plenty of biographies of the poet, based on much "minute enquiry"; but another was thought necessary to preserve the uniformity of his Lives of the Poets. He wrote it in 1779, in six weeks, obviously against the grain; and despite its cantankerousness it remains the best biography. With due respect to the scholars who have conducted so much more "minute enquiry," no other is so brilliantly written, scathing yet sourly deferential. --Frank Kermode, Heroic Milton: Happy Birthday, The New York Review of Books, February 26, 2009, review of John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought, by Gordon Campbell and Thomas N. Corns, Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot, by Anna Beer, and Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare? by Nigel Smith (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Recommended reading:
by John Milton at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Thanks to his abundant self-esteem, Milton is able to give us his breathtaking vision of heaven, earth and hell, of creation, Eden and human history. --Steven Fallon, At 400, Milton still hard to pigeonhole, The Australian, August 9, 2008

Heavenly muse, review of Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot by Anna Beer, The Economist, February 28, 2008

Stanley Fish’s Milton, review by Edward T. Oakes of How Milton Works, by Stanley Fish, First Things, November 2001

Friday, October 13, 2006

Praying for peace

Compare and contrast,
We Entrust, O Mary, and Consecrate the Whole World to Your Immaculate Heart! by Pope John Paul II (excerpted in today's entry of his Prayers and Devotions)

Litany of Repentance by Pax Chisti (via the Pray with us page at Catholics for Peace and Justice)

Ordination 2006

Company (Summer 2006) reports on the Jesuits' eleven ordinations this year.

In the print edition, there's what appears to be a quarterly report on Jesuits who've died, listing 22.

Alphonse Daudet

On this author from the The Harvard Classics The Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Alphonse Daudet, The Online Books Page

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The evening news in retrospect

Bishop Richard J. Sklba touches on the great controversy of the day in today's "Herald of Hope" column of our Catholic Herald.
Night after night I was subjected to the torture (at least that’s what it seemed if I wasn’t really interested) of three separate weather reports within a half hour!

Update: In passing, he later says,
As I have often recalled, there were three general aims of the Second Vatican Council, namely the renewal of the church, the reconciliation and reunion of the churches and the transformation of the modern world by the Gospel.

The first sentence of the Council's first document puts it a bit differently.
This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Seems like his paraphrase avoids that pesky calling the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Speaking of avoiding, Karen Marie Knapp at From the Anchor Hold posted a recollection of those heady years of the Second Vatican Council in A History of a True Blue Conciliar Kid.

Most of my classmates dropped out of religious education after fifth grade (and Confirmation), as seemed to be the perpetual tradition, but those of us who stayed had a steady stream of fresh Church documents to ponder as the Council continued and then was implemented.

Picturing her class oohin and aahing reading of the call of the whole of mankind into the household of the Church while their classmates dropped out around them, I commented,
Forty-four years of the attrition of people and accumulation of documents sounds pretty dismal.

In a subsequent post, she characterizes what I said this way.
I cannot believe that he actually thinks it is better to remain ignorant of the holy faith ...

I don't think that, but she apparently thinks such ignorance unimportant. She watched most of her classmates drop out of religious instruction and shrugs it off. Like I said
... It's all quite a contrast to the Good Shepherd, who thinks even 1% attrition deserves his full attention.


Orthodoxy and me

Given that Rod Dreher took Archbishop Rembert Weakland to task for
dissent from Catholic teaching,

and given that Mr. Dreher has now left the Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church,

now, therefore, if and when Archbishop Weakland takes a turn in the dunk tank, he ought in turn to get a shot at Dreher.

Update: TS at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor posts,

Isn't part of the secret to mercy to be able to say, "there for the grace of God go I?" And I can't say that with Dreher because I considered his move a logical contradiction rather than a crisis of faith or even a sin. If you believe that the Catholic church is the church Christ intended to found and promised not to leave, then the holiness or lack thereof of its members is irrelevant.

On the other hand, you might believe the Church has to fullness of truth yet find the people on the payroll determined to obstruct it. It might then be hard not to conclude that rather than be left on your own as a Catholic, it would be better to get what help you can elsewhere in the limited time you have to raise your children. Or before you die.

Vatican source says pope to expand use of Tridentine Mass

John Thavis reports at Catholic News Service.

Tridentine. That's the sugar-free Mass?

(via Built on a Rock)

The Pastoral Letter

Bishop Tod Brown of the Diocese of Orange in California has issued The Pastoral Letter [18 pp. pdf], in which he asks a series of bullet-pointed questions (pp. 2-3). These are all in the same form; here's the first,
Our religious education programs are packed with youngsters preparing in the second grade to receive their First Communion but the enrollment often drops dramatically in the ensuing years. Why don’t they come back?

and the last,
While Catholics are the largest religious denomination in Orange County, I am told that the second largest are socalled "former Catholics." I presume that these are good people. Why has the Catholic faith become for them less the priority I believe it needs to be for all of us?

Let me ask in reply, why are these in the form of rhetorical questions? Why isn't each followed by him saying what these people say when asked these questions?

From what I've seen the reason these questions are asked rhetorically is that real answers threaten the status quo. That's certainly my experience with my parish and my archdiocese.

(via Open Book)

Christopher Columbus

As we know beyond question, such conversations as Columbus had with scholars at the behest of the Spanish crown did not deal with questions of the earth’s roundness but of its size and the location of land masses. (The theologians’ theories, incidentally, were far closer to the truth than Columbus’ optimistic projections.) --Robert Royal, The Pizza Theory, First Things, March 1992, review of Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians, by Jeffrey Burton Russell

Get ready for the eclipse that saved Columbus, AFP, February 18, 2008 (via Drudge Report)

Claiming naming rights: How Vespucci got credit where credit wasn't due, by David Walton, review of Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. From the August 5, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Columbus and the Beginning of the World, by Robert Royal, First Things, May 1999

The Crimes of Christopher Columbus, by Dinesh D'Souza, First Things, November 1995

Consequences of Columbus, by Robert Royal, First Things, February 1992

1492 and All That by Robert Royal, review of The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy by Kirkpatrick Sale, First Things, May 1991

Repenting of America 1492-1992 First Things, October 1990

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Handy Latin Phrases

From the BBC. Includes potential Catholic weblog names.
Ita erat quando hic adveni. It was that way when I got here.

Re vera, potas bene. Say, you sure are drinking a lot.

Quo signo nata es? What's your sign?

Radix lecti - Couch potato

Cogito ergo doleo. I think, therefore I am depressed.

Abutebaris modo subjunctivo. You've been misusing the subjunctive.

Farrago fatigans! Thuffering thuccotash!

Update: Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor already has a Latin title, but Re vera, potas bene could serve as a caption for its right sidebar photo.

Update 2: TS adds "Don't forget: the more you drink, the better this blog reads." Takes me back to the '90s when the St. Al's Parish Council did its long range plan brainstorming in the rectory so we weren't subject to the ban on beer on parish grounds. In actual comparison tests, no beer was as mind-numbing as the parish long range planning process.

Guy de Maupassant

From young Maupassant's practical point of view, short stories were not only more marketable than full-length novels, they were also less likely to interfere with other, more pleasurable pursuits. He had seen a family friend toiling away at a long novel, and he knew what an exhausting and dispiriting activity it could be. The novelist was Gustave Flaubert ... --Graham Robb, Cruising with Genius, review of Afloat, by Guy De Maupassant and Douglas Parmee

Recommended reading:
by Guy de Maupassant at Reading Rat

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Pitcher Is Worth a Thousand Words

A Review by Doug Brown of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle
Breweries in large cities had all the business they needed within a couple miles of the brewery, so had little need to expand. Brewers in smaller cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis had to transport their beer elsewhere to expand their markets. As they shipped to more and more distant cities, their capacities grew. Thus, the fact that these cities didn't have large local markets ironically became the reason most of the major brewers were located there (similarly true later on for Coors).

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Monday, October 9, 2006

My Friend's Against the War

Mark Peters, founder of Catholics for Peace and Justice, may have finally found someone he can regard as a worthy partner in dialogue, Fr. John Yockey of St. Jerome Church in Oconomowoc. Fr. Yockey will respond next week to what Mr. Peters had to say on the Iraq war in yesterday's Sunday bulletin.

Peters says he grounds his views on the war on his religious beliefs.

To me, "salvation" in Christ means being saved in the here and now from all human and Satanic forces that oppress or imprison us. Yes, I also hope to enjoy "heaven" in the afterlife, but my faith in our Lord has changed my life in this world irrevocably.

Through an odd set of circumstances, Peters sent me and several others his draft of this paper, unsolicited. In it the above paragraph went on,
If the Pope told us tomorrow that there was no afterlife, it would not affect my life as a Christian one iota.

Perhaps someone did a final edit with Peters' penchant for misstatement of Church teaching as rhetorical flourish in mind.

Update: The CPJ web site has a link to an item it describes as

Archbishop Dolan Speaks Out on War - Peace is Nobel, Obligatory Chrisian Vocation, Catholic Herald, Herald of Hope Column, September 28

Either that's a typo, or Archbishop Dolan might be headed for Oslo, not Baltimore.

Update 2: Here's more on the Chrisian vocation.

Update 3: Here's the permanent link to the Archbishop's September 28, 2006 column.

Update 4: Above fixed at CPJ, though with the Archbishop already demoted to the sidebar.

Update 5: CPJ, "based on Catholic social principles", has some links about the upcoming referendum on the marriage amendment to the state constitution. The link it says is to the "Current WI Constitution" is actually to Chapter 765 [5 pp. pdf] of the Wisconsin Statutes, which deals with marriage. Here's the Wisconsin Constitution [56 pp. pdf].

Gottfried Keller

Recommended reading:
by Gottfried Keller at Reading Rat

Reference: Gottfried Keller Homepage

Sunday, October 8, 2006

The March of Technology

Mount Washington Railway station
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, September 20, 2006

Newberry Consort revives historic music tradition

Tom Strini of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews the concert we attended last night, The Newberry Consort at the UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.

When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano

Joseph Bottum's essay in First Things on the state Catholic Culture in America. The title refers, of course, to the cliff swallows annual return to Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1776. They haven't been back in about twenty years.
There's a figure in all this--a metaphor, perhaps, or a synecdoche--for the condition of American Catholicism. Its long history, certainly, from the Spanish colonial beginnings on. But, most of all, San Juan Capistrano seems an image for recent decades—because sometime around 1970, the leaders of the Catholic Church in America took a stick and knocked down all the swallows' nests.

Referring to the post-conciliar stripping away of the particularities and peculiarities. I've used as a parallel from local experience the clearing away of neighborhoods of old, often run-down, homes to make way for freeways which were never built: The Park West Church.

(via Open Book)

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Theodor Storm

Recommended reading:
by Theodor Storm at Reading Rat

Reference: Theodor Storm and his World

Friday, October 6, 2006

Assertion by Foley Angers Victims of Abuse by Clergymen

Laurie Goodstein reported in The New York Times.
If Mr. Foley was abused, they said, he has a responsibility to report his abuser to the police immediately and to identify the cleric publicly.

"You certainly don't wait," said Peter Isely, a clinical social worker in Minneapolis who was abused by a priest as a teenager and is an official of a national advocacy group for victims. "It’s extremely important that the secrecy be pierced immediately, because there could be kids at risk."

Sounds a bit at variance with arguing for extending statutes of limitations.

The Holy Rosary, Prayer of the Redeemed

is the title of the entry for this date in Prayers and Devotions from Pope John Paul II (1994).
... The Rosary also takes on fresh perspectives and is charged with stronger and vaster intentions than in the past. It is not a question now of asking for great victories as at Lepanto and Vienna, rather is it a question of asking Mary to provide us with valorous fighters against the spirit of error and evil, with the arms of the Gospel, that is, the Cross and God's Word. ...

Theodor Fontane

Recommended reading:
by Theodor Fontane at Reading Rat

Reference: Theodor Fontane, The Literary Encyclopedia

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Hot-button issues: Inclusion vs. exclusion

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan continues a series of "Herald of Hope" columns in our Catholic Herald on some current controversies. This one is on what it means to sayw "All Are Welcome", as the contemporary hymn says.
I have been intrigued by recent commercials by some other churches — very attractively done, by the way -- trumpeting their "openness" to everybody, even if, I guess, their beliefs and moral choices are clearly at odds with the teaching of Christ and his Church.

Meaning the teachings of Christ and his Church per the Archbishop and the textbook I use for Christian Formation? Or meaning the teachings of Christ and his Church per my parish pastors and Catholic Herald columnists and op-ed writers? Those aren't always the same. Hence the problem when he says
... all are welcome -- but, to what? To a community whose primary task is to call people to a conversion of life to bring our beliefs and actions into conformity with the teachings of Jesus!

Update: Here's a nearby example from Isabelle Kallie's report for WBAY, Catholic School Teacher Fights in vitro Firing.
Romenesko says in October 2004 she informed her principal that she was pregnant after undergoing the procedure, and was fired days later. Romenesko says she spoke with a priest and says she was never told what she was doing was immoral in the Church's eyes.

Friend of Dorothy Day still presses for social justice

Cindy Crebbin reports, Special to your Catholic Herald, on Mary Durnin.
While a Marquette University student, she heard a professor talk about Dorothy Day. Soon after, she connected with the Holy Family House of Hospitality on Fifth and State Streets in Milwaukee.

According to Durnin’s close friend, Sr. Marion Verhaalen, a School Sister of St. Francis, that experience, "awakened in Durnin a sense of being with the poor. In 1939 she wrote Dorothy Day, who had established the Catholic Worker Movement in New York City. She used her last money to buy a bus ticket to New York."

"I loved to travel, but part of the theology of it was to be with the poor and help the poor," said Durnin. She remembered helping Day with the works of mercy and handing out clothes to the poor as well as selling The Catholic Worker Newspaper for 1 cent on the streets of New York.

She subsequently worked with other groups in Milwaukee and abroad. Today,
From Durnin's perspective, "the church is now entering a third cycle into John's Gospel of the mystics of John and of Mary Magdalene."

Which I'm guessing is her way of saying it's The Church in the Age of the Holy Spirit.

'Nun Run' gives young women chance to meet sisters

Amy Guckeen reports, special to your Catholic Herald, that it's just an expression.
During the 24-hour "nun run," women travel from convent to convent, seeing and interacting with women who have answered the call to religious life. Transportation, overnight accommodations and meals are provided. All that is required of participants, ages 18-35, is an open and prayerful mind.

I was hoping to find out why decades ago nuns could run much faster in habits than they can today in pants suits.

G. K. Chesterton

He sought a mystical means for resisting the depredations of the omnivorous nation-state. Like T. S. Eliot, he thought that the English patriotic and religious spirit provided a transcendent defense against modern political abuses. Eliot became an Anglo-Catholic rather than a Roman Catholic, at least in part, because of this same conviction. Alas, they both were wrong. --Ralph C. Wood, The Virtues and Vices of Chesterton’s Politics, First Principles, July 7, 2009, review of Christianity, Patriotism, and Nationhood: The England of G.K. Chesterton, by Julia Stapleton

Despite Chesterton’s ‘medievalism,’ it is not at all obvious what sort of modern political mechanisms would have best embodied his distributist theory, which is arguably the theory’s greatest weakness. What is clear is that distributism was as different from Franco’s brutal politics as it was from Bernard Shaw’s socialism. --Richard John Neuhaus, While We’re At It, First Things, January 2009

Indeed, we might say that the last century belongs to Chesterton—for in that now one-hundred-year-old book, Orthodoxy, he remarkably prophesied the ailments of both modernism and postmodernism, while adeptly commending Christianity as their double cure. --by Ralph C. Wood, Orthodoxy at a Hundred, First Things, November 2008

A Literary Revolution, by Gerald J. Russello, review of The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845-1961: Newman, Hopkins, Belloc, Chesterton, Greene, Waugh, by Ian Ker, Crisis, April 2004

The Essential Chesterton, by David W. Fagerberg, First Things, March 2000

St. Thomas Aquinas by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, The Spectator, February 27, 1932

List of books by G. K. Chesterton, Wikipedia

Gilbert Magazine (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

American Chesterton Society and The Blog of the American Chesterton Society

The G K Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture

G. K. Chesterton, by Martin Ward

Chesterton Day by Day: Selections from the Writings in Prose and Verse of G. K. Chesterton, with an Extract for every Day of the Year and for each of the Moveable Feasts, Second Edition, 1912, at Jacques Maritain Center

G.K. Chesterton in Sight & Sound, YouTube

Other works online:

Do We Agree? A Debate between G. K. Chesterton and Bernard Shaw, transcribed by Cecil Palmer, 1928 (via Celia Wren at dotCommonweal)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

What people ask the vocations director

Fr. James Lobacz reports, special to your Catholic Herald, on the questions he gets as director of the vocations office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Regarding seminarians,

I am also asked, "Where are you finding these men?"

We know they're looking in bars.

Church leaders clear 'God takes no side in war'

From the National Council of Churches, an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Felton May and Bob Edgar.
One candidate for public office in a Midwest state made an important point recently. "It's time we start reading the Bible instead of knocking people over the head with it." Good advice.

And since the words of Jesus tells us we are all 'children of the Father' it might not be a bad idea to start reading and studying the Koran, the Torah, and the Upanishads.

So who are these two fellows who don't seem to know that the Torah's in the Bible?
Retired United Methodist Bishop Felton Edwin May, is the Dean of the Harry R. Kendall Science and Health Mission Center, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark. The Rev. Bob Edgar is General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA and author of Middle Church, Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right.

(via Built on a Rock)

Sacred Heart, Saint Francis seminaries: Companions on the Journey

Tom Jozwik reports, Special to your Catholic Herald,
Charged with selecting a theme for the 2006-07 school year, during which seminarians for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee would move to Sacred Heart School of Theology for their academic formation, the Sacred Heart rector’s cabinet chose

Misery Loves Company? No,
"Companions on the Journey."

That phrase probably will be readily recognized as the title of Carey Landry’s spirited hymn, with lyrics inspired by the evangelist Mark and the prophet Micah:

and a melody recalling a Folger's Coffee jingle.

Leo Tolstoy

In addition to Pevear-Volokhonsky [Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2007] and Briggs [Anthony Briggs, 2005], the Constance Garnett translation from 1904 is available to today's readers, published by Modern Library Classics.
Louise and Aylmer Maude translated War and Peace in 1923.
Along with these several translations--Pevear-Volokhonsky, Maude, and Briggs--many are still devoted to a Penguin translation by Rosemary Edmonds, since superseded by Briggs. Another edition, translated by Andrew Bromfield, published in 2007 by Ecco, claims to be the original version of War and Peace, never before published.
--Lesley Herrmann, Puritans and Cavaliers, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2008, review of War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Recommended reading:
by Leo Tolstoy at Reading Rat

Electronic text:

Online Books by Leo Tolstoy, The Online Books Page

War and Peace, Friends-Partners Library


Tolstoy Studies Journal

Reminiscences of Tolstoy, by Count Ilya Tolstoy, translated by George Calderon, The Century Magazine, Vol. 88, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

Leo Tolstoy, Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Lost in Translations by Malcolm Jones, review of War and Peace translated by Andrew Bromfield, and War and Peace translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Newsweek, October 15, 2007
(via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

Anna Karenina Reborn, review by Thomas Hibbs, of Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Crisis, December 2004

The Good Cossacks, by Cynthia Ozick, New Republic, June 28, 2004

Tolstoy’s prophecy: 'What is Art?' today, by James Sloan Allen, The New Criterion, December 1998

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Leinenkugel believes there’s room for faith in beer business

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in another beer-themed article in our Catholic Herald.

As I understand it, fifth-generation Wisconsin brewer Dick Leinenkugel connects social justice with making beer.

We certainly try to make that connection in Guatemala.

At 98, Maryknoll sister continues to serve

Amy Guckeen reports Special to your Catholic Herald. Maryknoll Sr. Antonia Maria Guerrieri reminiscences include this from her time at Marquette Medical School.
"Milwaukee is a beer town and the day prohibition was repealed, the companies were giving out free beer in the city auditorium that night," said Sr. Antonia, "and all of the male interns and residents wanted to go. I can’t drink anything like that, so they came and asked, 'Would you cover my floor today?' and I said, 'Sure.' It was a slow day, and before that evening ended, I covered the whole hospital and they all went and got their beers."

Someone who didn't drink free beer in Milwaukee when Prohibition was repealed was in the wrong place.
After a year at the hospital, Sr. Antonia joined the Maryknoll sisters and received her first assignment in 1939, a mission to China, where she remained until the Communist takeover in 1949.

She then went to Korea, then Taiwan, and eventually back to Maryknoll headquarters in New York.

Vocations program taps into Theology on Tap

Denise Konkol reports in our Catholic Herald on a vocations-themed Theology On Tap session at Derry Hegarty's Pub.
Although the subject of committing to a lay or religious vocation might seem inconsistent with the atmosphere of a pub and grill,

even in Milwaukee
it's exactly this informality that has made Theology on Tap successful.

The article didn't spell out the criteria for judging that success. They have to take into account how the object of one's attention sometimes looks better after a few beers.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The great question posed by Dostoevsky in asking about what human beings owe to one another is how we can be counted on to respect that to which we are not obliged by a truth beyond our own contriving. That is the context in which the proposition is entertained that, if there is no God, all things are permitted. --Richard John Neuhaus, Dostoevsky’s Question, The Public Square column, First Things, December 2008

Solzhenitsyn uses Christ’s own words to show the “secondary significance” of the state structure: “‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’—not because every Caesar deserves it, but because Caesar’s concern is not with the most important thing in our lives.” --Edward E. Ericson, Jr. and Alexis Klimoff, Literary Profiles of Solzhenitsyn, excerpts from The Soul and Barbed Wire, edited by Edward E. Ericson, Jr. and Alexis Klimoff, First Principles, August 6, 2008

“The line between good and evil is drawn not between nations or parties, but through every human heart.” – Dostoevsky.

That’s the way I had read it years ago and have remembered it ever since – it’s from The Diary of a Writer, a book notable for its foaming rages of Jew-hating as well as for a few jewels in the mud. --Richard Lawrence Cohen, If Dostoevsky Had Google, February 07, 2006 (via Althouse)

Dostoevsky's dowager: Martin Ebel has paid a visit to Svetlana Geier, the Grande Dame of Russian-German translation. Sign and Sight, February 12, 2007

Dostoevsky and the Fiery Word, The Public Square column, by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, March 2003

Ivan Karamazov’s Mistake, by Ralph C. Wood, First Things, December 2002

Sins of the Fathers, by Thomas G. West, review of Dostoevsky: The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881, by Joseph Frank, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2002

Wrestling Dostoevsky: A scholar concludes almost 50 years of biographical research with a final volume that reveals the novelist's dark side, review by Scott McLemee, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 17, 2002

Dostoevsky Also Nods, by Rodney Delasanta, First Things, January 2002

Dostoevsky and the Mystery of Russia, by David Allen White, Latin Mass, Fall 2001

Monday, October 2, 2006

With Cousins Center on market, groups consider options

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on the many Church and other organizations that will have to move from the Archbishop Cousins Center due to its sale to help fund the California clergy sexual abuse settlements.
When asked if the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is helping clubs, teams and groups who use the Cousins Center find a new home, Kreitzer [Bill Kreitzer, director of building services] said, "not to my knowledge."

But they're not playing favorites.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan addressed a group of archdiocesan employees housed at the Cousins Center on Sept. 8. He told them he understands their feelings and the difficulty that lay ahead, not only for employees, but also for the retired priests living at the Cousins Center. Kreitzer estimated 15 retired priests reside there. Each is responsible for finding his own housing by October 2007.

None of them qualified for the $10,000 assistance grant.

Come October, Baby Will Make 300 Million or So

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Respect Life Month October 2006

October is Respect Life Month and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site has these resources available.

If these seem to you to define respect for life too narrowly, then you might consider these Documents that Express the Social Teachings of the Church collected by Catholics for Peace and Justice.

So what did our pastor at St. Al's get for a bulletin insert today? A reprint of Fr. Massingale's op-ed. Quite the counterpoint to the homilist's urging us to pay attention to the bishops' statements on life issues.

Back to the Word again

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in our our Catholic Herald returns to reviewing the recent Chicago meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association.
Last month, I noted that for many years I have been an active participant in the continuing seminar on biblical issues associated with Jewish/Christian relations. This year our entire group decided to join the seminar on "typology," namely the patterns of salvation which Christians find in the books and stories of the First (Old) Testament.

"Old" Testament being problematic as an implied endorsement of the "New" Testament. But "First", well, who's to say how many there might be after a "Second". For example,
As guests overhearing someone else’s discussion, we found ourselves listening carefully to the presentation of papers which celebrated the great themes of our Christian faith as found in the stories of that First Covenant.

There's more on the vocabulary front.
This is the way that our early Christian writers (we call them the "Fathers" of the Church) tested and studied the sacred writings of Israel.

But back to the "Bible".
Certainly it is true that the New Testament is hidden in the Old (Shared), and the Old prefigured in the New!

How about the First (Old) [Shared] Testament? I suppose "Unshared Testament" for the New would sound anti-ecumenical.
There is an energetic movement these days to return to the writings of the Fathers.

It will need to be energetic, considering he assumed he had to explain who they were to his readers, rather than giving the link to the online edition.
Those great figures often gave us superb theology and were classical models of the engagement of faith with the greater culture of their age, but they didn't always provide solid examples for the study of Scripture!

On the other hand, some might think our Barth is worse than their bite.

The Treasury of Loyal Retainers

Recommended reading:
The Treasury of Loyal Retainers at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, by Takeda Izumo, Miyoshi Shoraku, and Namiki Senryu, translated by Donald Keene (1971), review by Branislav L. Slantchev, 2001